Ivan Ramen, ready in an instant

| Feb 27, 2009

Ivan Ramen, ready in an instant

The success of Ivan Ramen, a noodle shop founded in 2007 by U.S.-born chef Ivan Orkin, has been well documented in the press over the past year. Indeed, it is not unusual for the 10-seat restaurant in Minami Karasuyama, Setagaya Ward, to have dozens ...

Decades as Tokyo's tower of girl power

Jan 22, 2009

Decades as Tokyo's tower of girl power

In any panoramic photograph of Shibuya’s always busy crossing, a structure likely positioned prominently in the background will be the part-wedge-shaped, part-cylindrical Shibuya 109 building. The teen district of Shibuya is continually in flux, with trends and stores coming and going by the week, ...

Festival swaps mobsters for something 'safe'

Nov 22, 2007

Festival swaps mobsters for something 'safe'

In days past, a film festival held within rough-and-tumble Kabukicho might be assumed to feature a sampling of the work from gangster-flick director Seijun Suzuki (“Tokyo Drifter,” “Branded to Kill”), or perhaps “Yojimbo,” the Akira Kurosawa classic where a samurai arrives in a village ...

Bulbous hair gives 'Brand King' a head start

| Jul 15, 2007

Bulbous hair gives 'Brand King' a head start

People aligning themselves with a unique hairstyle is nothing new. But Tsutomu Morita is likely the first pitchman via pompadour. “Some people don’t believe it is real,” Morita says in a back room of his discount luxury-brands store, referring to the black bulbous bob ...

Jun 22, 2007

A Japanese Grand Prix

The red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival could be graced by more Japanese if the government and the film industry were to cooperate in a more substantiative way, suggests director Naomi Kawase, this year’s winner of the Grand Prix for her film “Mogari ...

Asakusa Jinta march into history

Apr 6, 2007

Asakusa Jinta march into history

Unless in search of a cheap, dusty souvenir for a relative, Tokyo’s historic Asakusa district isn’t on the radar of too many folks under the age of 70. But Asakusa Jinta, a seven-piece band that mixes elements of ska, swing, punk and chindonya (traditional ...

A haven of hedonism's days are numbered

Mar 29, 2007

A haven of hedonism's days are numbered

As any good street tout will tell you, high foot-traffic is the key to success. Sure, he might toss out his chest, flash his best smile and smoothly sell you an explanation for the apparent contradiction between the shapely, high-class ladies he promises and ...