Egyptology asks Japan: Can you spare a synth?

Feb 10, 2015

Egyptology asks Japan: Can you spare a synth?

For many visiting musicians, a Japanese tour consists of a brief, meticulously coordinated onslaught of gigs, interviews and in-store appearances, possibly capped by a karaoke session with the record label’s PR team. Few get to spend six weeks schlepping around the country on an ...

Blue Bottle Coffee offers a fresher brew

| Feb 3, 2015

Blue Bottle Coffee offers a fresher brew

Whether by accident of fate or surfeit of real estate, Tokyo’s Kiyosumi-Shirakawa neighborhood is turning into one of the most caffeinated corners of the capital. Already home to artisan roasters, including The Cream of the Crop and Arise Coffee, this district of galleries, parks ...

Dendera

Jan 31, 2015

Dendera

Though there’s still plenty of debate about whether it was ever common for Japan’s rural communities to deal with elderly relatives by leaving them to die on a mountain, it makes for a great story. Depicted in Keisuke Kinoshita’s 1958 period drama, “Narayama Bushiko” ...

The meat and masochism of Swans

Jan 20, 2015

The meat and masochism of Swans

When Swans last played Tokyo in 2013, the venue itself seemed to be groaning under the weight of the onslaught. Two hours into a set of tempestuous rock catharsis, the power cut out; once restored, the group kept playing for another 30 minutes. Such ...

Nozy Coffee knows blends are old news

| Jan 6, 2015

Nozy Coffee knows blends are old news

Sometimes a bit of youthful brashness goes a long way. Masataka Nojo was still just a university student when he started his coffee empire in 2009, from a humble coffee stand in Kanagawa Prefecture’s Shonan region. “I didn’t really know much about coffee at ...

Rock, J-pop and dance: Albums we liked in 2014

Dec 16, 2014

Rock, J-pop and dance: Albums we liked in 2014

The year-end album charts in Japan have a tendency to prop up the same acts year after year: Exile, anything that ends in a “48,” and almost every group from the Johnny & Associates stable of boy bands. Writers at The Japan Times, however, ...

What's beneath all that latex, fabric and plastic?

Dec 6, 2014

What's beneath all that latex, fabric and plastic?

In 1910, a man named Otto James was arrested for parading down a busy street in Tacoma, Washington, wearing fancy dress. The charge of “public masquerading” — so quaint to modern ears — was itself nothing new, but the choice of costume was notable: ...