For a jet-setting, award-winning media, design and branding entrepreneur, Tyler Brûlé is pretty accessible. When he called last week, a few days before the opening of his highly anticipated Monocle Shop Tokyo within the new Francfranc Village building in Aoyama, he was at the site making last-minute preparations. Instead of doing the old number- protecting PR rep hand-off, he called from his own British cell phone. "Of course, we, being the Western import, are the last to finish," he said with a laugh. "All the Japanese shops (in here) could open today if they wanted to."

A former BBC and print journalist, Brûlé is the founder of Monocle, a design-heavy global-affairs magazine that, like the successful Wallpaper* magazine venture he launched in 1996, deeply reflects his own interest in international culture. Acquiring every item on any one of the magazine's "must-haves" lists would likely require a new passport.

Printed on quality paper with high priority given to its typography, design and photography, each issue of Monocle includes a fashion spread that gives almost as much attention to the texture of the location as it does the clothing. At ¥11,400, the one-year subscription rate is substantial. But the first issue comes "hand-wrapped in Monocle-designed paper" and its 150,000 subscribers worldwide do get perks. In addition to the 10 issues a year, which they receive before the magazine hits the stores, they receive unlimited access to the online archive and invitations to exclusive Monocle events.