'Kawaii' gets a landmark

Dec 25, 2014

'Kawaii' gets a landmark

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While Japanese cool hunters might lament the lack of pop cultural exports in recent years — all the more conspicuous when compared to K-Pop’s successful forays westward — kawaii (cute) culture has quietly permeated into global consciousness with all the effortless grace of singer ...

Shonan complex offers a curated lifestyle

Dec 12, 2014

Shonan complex offers a curated lifestyle

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A discreet black sign, concrete floors, industrial-style ceilings, wooden shelves filled with design toys and gourmet treats. This may sound like the minimal interior of an urban lifestyle store in some hip corner of Tokyo, but the reality is more surprising. It is, in fact, ...

Brightening your holiday mood

| Dec 12, 2014

Brightening your holiday mood

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year — well, that’s what the song says, anyway. For many, December is a flurry of tinsel, wrapping paper and anxiety, while for others it as a time to reflect on the year ahead. Yes, the Christmas ...

Bilingirl has plenty to teach you

Dec 5, 2014

Bilingirl has plenty to teach you

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Chika Yoshida, aka Bilingirl, wears many hats. She teaches English, sings, dances and makes costumes. She could be dressed up as Malificent with horns sticking out of her head, have her face painted white and talk in a squeaky voice like comedian duo Nippon ...

Designers illuminate us on their winter wonders

Dec 4, 2014

Designers illuminate us on their winter wonders

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When you think of Japanese art forms, many cultural pursuits will come to mind. The grace of ikebana, perhaps, or the beauty of ukiyo-e woodblock prints. At this time of year it becomes clear, though, that holiday lighting displays — referred to simply as ...

Seizing the initiative for women at work

Nov 22, 2014

Seizing the initiative for women at work

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Faced with a domestic economy that is sputtering, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has in recent months attempted to promote a sector that has long been underutilized in Japan — women. Speaking before the U.N. General Assembly in New York last year, Abe pledged “to ...

Kendama: a whole new ball game

Nov 8, 2014

Kendama: a whole new ball game

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Almost every child that has grown up in Japan has seen a kendama, a wooden traditional Japanese toy consisting of a ken (sword) and tama (ball) connected by a length of string. The ken has three cups and a spike that fits into a ...