The design lover

Makoto Aida’s controversial art has made him popular with the public, but not so with the kind of corporate sponsors who usually back big exhibitions, like the one at the Mori Art Museum now. To fund the show limited-edition prints are on offer for just ¥15,000, and there are still some left. Aida prints can sell at auction for 10 times that, so this high-end stocking-filler could be rewarding in more ways than one. (Edan Corkill, staff writer)

The design lover

Dark Noon is a range of sleek, monochrome watches designed by Nendo for Danish watchmaker Noon. Noon uses a system of transparent/opaque disks and dials instead of a set of hands and Nendo has found a beautiful way to utilize that mechanism for this range. It’s both clever and classy. (Jean Snow, On Design)
All models ¥17,850; www.nordicfeeling.jp/pop/120720.html.

Ring in the New Year — and the rest of the year — with this attractive paper bonsai calendar.

It’s got a little Japanese style to it, makes a great decoration for the desk and doesn’t need watering. (J.S.)



The gadget collector

On a recent trip, I was lucky enough to have a chance to test out the Bonzart Ampel, a toy twin-lens-reflex digital camera — and it turned out to be a great way to take arty photos. It sometimes even became a conversational icebreaker, if you’re the type who likes to photograph people on the streets.

It’s not a “serious” digital camera, but it is an incredibly fun travel camera that you can hang around your neck, Flava-Flav style. (Rick Martin, Tech_Japan/Gadgets)
¥14,700; www.bonz.jp.


That neighbor who you forgot … again

If you’re not quite ready for Christmas yet, interior store Cibone has a holiday collection that should entice you to get a little festive.

From santa matryoshka dolls, mini snow globes and tree decorations to walnut candles and tasteful cards, there’s no excuse not to deck the halls or spread a little holiday cheer.

(Rina Yamazaki, editorial assistant)
CIBONE Aoyama, Aoyama Bell Commons B1, 2-14-6 Kita-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo; (03) 3475-8017, 11 a.m.- 9 p.m.; www.cibone.com.


The kid in us all

Designed by Torafu Architects for plywood manufacturers Ichiro, the Dowel Wood block set should get kids’ imaginations running, and it makes a refreshing change from the huge range of plastic toys available today. The pieces can be attached to each other using dowel pins, and there are several shapes and colors in each set of 14 blocks. (Mio Yamada, Art/ Life & Style editor)
¥8,800; www.ichirodesign.jp/shop/products/block.php (currently only available in Japan).

The foodie

Nancy Singleton Hachisu’s “Japanese Farm Food” (Andrews McMeel Publishing) takes the mystery out of preparing hearty, wholesome rural home cooking.


It’s the best Japanese cookbook this year by a country mile. (Robbie Swinnerton, Tokyo Food File)

¥2,962; available from amazon.com and amazon.co.jp.


The fashionista

For those for who simply can’t resist the cheesy Christmas sweater tradition, here’s a modern twist from cult menswear designer Mikio Sakabe. The anime-inspired pattern is amusing, yet still fashion forward. (Samuel Thomas, Style Wise)
¥40,500; available from Wut Berlin: 5-1-15, Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; (03) 3797-1505.


Know someone who sometimes feels their glasses can be both too strong and too weak?

Adlens p.o.v. lenses use innovative liquid technology that allows you to change the strength of the prescription with a simple twist of a screw. Even better, the company has also teamed up with Japanese brand Anrealage to create fashionable frames.

The prescription glasses go on sale first in the world here in Japan later this month. (Misha Janette, Style Wise)
¥7,980; www.adlensjapan.co.jp.


Unconventional jewelry can be an interesting and affordable gift for anyone with a fun sense of humor and a flair for style.

Makoto Oozu’s Brooch collection mixes hand-stitching with famous art masterpieces — you should recognize the ones pictured above. They are unusual but subtle, and look as good on a casual sweater as they do on a classy dress. (M.Y.)
¥1,800; SOUVENIR FROM TOKYO, B1, National Art Center, Tokyo; www.souvenirfromtokyo.jp.

These Onigiri Cases from Blackmeans are often seen worn on the belts of Japan’s biker gangs, but they would look just as good tucked in a briefcase. (S.T.)
¥24,150; Blackmeans: Noma Bldg, 5-13-6 Kamikitazawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo; (03) 3329-1627.

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