Straw belts

| Oct 16, 2012

Straw belts

Dear Alice, My question is about those straw belts that get wrapped around the trunks of pine trees a meter or so above the ground. I know they have something to do with fooling insects into laying their eggs in the straw instead of ...

What it means to be 'Made in Japan'

Oct 2, 2012

What it means to be 'Made in Japan'

“Made in Japan” is a such a simple phrase, yet it instantly evokes an image of exceptional design and high-quality production. Japan today is known for creating some of the most stylish, innovative and whimsical products in the world. Tokyo-based architect and writer Naomi ...

Kaohame

| Sep 18, 2012

Kaohame

Dear Alice, I travel a lot within Japan, and often come across a dated sort of tourist attraction that I don’t know quite how to describe. They are wooden façades, often hand-painted and rather amateurish, depicting a person or persons with a hole where ...

Chindonya

| Jul 17, 2012

Chindonya

Dear Alice, Some years ago on a visit to Japan, in Osaka, we came across a wandering band dressed in full kimono and playing what sounded like Dixieland jazz on an odd assortment of Japanese and Western instruments. From what I could make out, ...

Slow design: Everyday objects that make us rethink our lifestyle

Jun 21, 2012

Slow design: Everyday objects that make us rethink our lifestyle

If you’ve never been to the 21_21 Design Sight exhibition space in the Tokyo Midtown complex, and have even a passing interest in craftsmanship, now is the time to pay a visit. Just touring the building, which was designed by famed architect Tadao Ando ...

Seaweed Salt

| Jun 19, 2012

Seaweed Salt

Dear Alice, I recently received a gift of some special kind of Japanese salt. If I understood correctly, this particular salt is made from seaweed and by some ancient Japanese production method. It’s beige in color and has a nice, rich taste. But I ...

Kura

| May 15, 2012

Kura

Dear Alice, I love to wander around Tokyo, particularly the older neighborhoods where small shops and little factories are mixed in among homes and schools. Every now and then I spot a strange sort of structure, obviously quite old, that is completely different from ...

Pampered pets

| Apr 17, 2012

Pampered pets

Dear Alice,Don’t you think it’s time you did a column on the crazy pet products and services available in Japan? I can’t believe the lengths some dog owners go to — dressing their pets in frilly clothes, pushing them around in baby carriages and ...

Mar 22, 2012

Photographing history: pioneers of technique

A good retrospective presents an artist’s full career, challenges our preconceptions and encourages us to rethink his or her work and contributions. Two new exhibitions at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography do just that, shedding new light on two very different photographers: Felice ...

Photographing history: pioneers of technique

Mar 22, 2012

Photographing history: pioneers of technique

A good retrospective presents an artist’s full career, challenges our preconceptions and encourages us to rethink his or her work and contributions. Two new exhibitions at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography do just that, shedding new light on two very different photographers: Felice ...