May 31, 2009

Don't blame me, but I did do my bit

by Tomoko Otake

Born a son of a Japanese trading- company executive, and exclusively educated in Britain, Tetsuya Ishikawa got his first taste of life in the financial industry in the summer of 1998. That was during his pre-university “gap year,” when he worked on the foreign-exchange ...

May 24, 2009

City's new gateway to worlds apart

by Eriko Arita

When I was walking to Osanbashi Pier, I noticed that the asphalt road changed to a wooden deck leading me up a slope to a grassy hilltop. It was only then — as I caught sight of a white passenger ship and shining blue ...

| May 17, 2009

Capital's new rail map is on the right lines

by Edan Corkill

We all depend on them, especially when we are new to a place, but how many subway users realize that their trusty transit maps are the subject of a tug-of-war between the forces of geographical accuracy and graphical distortion in the interests of ease ...

May 10, 2009

Undercover revolution

by Eriko Arita

Loincloths called fundoshi have been the traditional underwear for Japanese men since ancient times, and though most now wear Western-style undershorts, they still don fundoshi at such events as local street festivals and to engage in sumo. The typically masculine Japanese idiom fundoshi wo ...

Apr 26, 2009

Kafu's Tokyo musings

“Bats were already out, and children were already chasing them. Near at hand there was a clanging of streetcars, while in the distance the horns of boats would give forth long blasts and fade away, to be followed by samisens in unison from the ...

| Apr 19, 2009

Picking up good vibrations

by Eriko Arita

The vibrations of every passing vehicle are now being turned into electricity by a venture company whose technology is powering one of 108 LED (light-emitting diode) lights on the Goshiki Zakura Ohashi bridge over the Arakawa River in Tokyo’s downtown Adachi Ward — and ...

| Apr 19, 2009

A rose by any other name is still an alien species

by Edan Corkill

“Don’t be fooled by the crowds milling around the rose beds.” That’s gardener Akemi Sugii’s perplexing heads-up for anyone planning a visit to next week’s open days of the Ark Hills rooftop garden she manages in Tokyo’s upmarket Akasaka district. That’s because, Sugii says, ...

| Apr 12, 2009

Menswear seeks meaning

by Paul Mcinnes

The luxury market is taking a beating; world-famous German minimalist fashion designer Jil Sander is working with Uniqlo, H&M are taking over Tokyo high streets and Number (N)ine, a top Japanese menswear label, has gone out of business. It would be fair to say ...

| Apr 12, 2009

Focus on: Reem Alasadi

by David Stuchbury

London-based designer Reem Alasadi brought her collection to the Yoyogi National Stadium on March 27, where it was apparent how diverse influences shape the Reem look, especially British punk and recycled materials molded into voluminous and voluptuous Victorian-inspired dresses. Reem (right), of Arabic origin, ...

| Mar 15, 2009

Slow Life ambassador tickets hasty hordes

by Eriko Arita

At a busy crossing in front of Tokyo Station, Bruno Contigiani, president of L’Arte del Vivere con Lentezza (The Art of Slow Living), an organization he founded in his native Italy, approached office workers one after another urging “Yuru yuru, shiawase” (“Go slowly, be ...

Feb 22, 2009

Its director's cut on new Festival/Tokyo

by Nobuko Tanaka

Japan may be floundering politically and economically, but amid all the uncertainties it is a joy to report the sparkling rebirth of a major international theater event in Tokyo. Tokyo International Festival (TIF) may be dead — but watch out Avignon, Edinburgh and Adelaide ...

| Feb 15, 2009

Keio's man ahead of his time

by Eriko Arita

Next time you come by a ¥10,000 bill, take a look at the face of Yukichi Fukuzawa (1835-1901) that appears on the front, for he was a most remarkable man. In October 1858, Fukuzawa, then a 23-year-old samurai, opened a small school of Western ...