You’ll remember that late last year David shared a fantastic series of Pizzicato Five reviews on Neojaponisme, and now he’s shared this terrific mix, a true celebration of Shibuya-kei. I was lucky to get an early draft version of this mix a while back, and it’s been my favorite thing to listen to since (I’ve literally listened to it over 30-40 times). I keep bugging him for Volume Two.
I’ve recently become excessively obsessed with Jeremy Parish’s fantastic YouTube Channel (yes, I’m ridiculously late to the party on this), and among everything I’ve been watching, I’ve been quite enjoying watching his “Good Nintentions: 1985” series (available in this handy playlist), which acts as a perfect accompaniment to my current 1985 movie marathoning (22 movies so far). Each video is a fantastic little documentary on the game it covers, and it’s just insane how he is able to produce such great videos, in such quantity, on such a consistent basis. The best news is that he has just stepped down from his role as editor-in-chief of USgamer (leaving the site in the capable hands of Kat Bailey) to devote all of his time on these videos and podcasts — you can support him through Patreon (and this Patreon is specifically for the video stuff).
The noren is certainly one of the most recognizable aspects of Japan’s traditional retail spaces. J.J. O’Donoghue writes a piece for the Japan Times that could pretty much be described as “everything you ever wanted to know about noren but were afraid to ask.”
Omotesando Koffee is back, sorta. I was sad to hear about its closing back in 2015, but Eiichi Kunitomo is not only back with a new shop at the exact same location (in the back streets of Harajuku/Aoyama), but with a twist as well. Koffee Mameya is more interested in selling you beans than serving coffee — you can order a cup to go, but that’s just an aside. Time Out Tokyo has a great piece that features an interview with Kunitomo talking about the new spot.
Well this seems like a pretty big deal for Nendo. As Spoon & Tamago reports, it has teamed up with Dentsu to form a new business design agency called Cacdo (to be run by Nendo). I’ve been following Oki Sato and Nendo for pretty much the whole time I was covering design in Japan, from when he was producing a few products a year, and so it’s pretty amazing to see how big a presence Nendo has taken in the Japan design scene during that time.
Beautiful signage created by art director Arata Takemoto for the offices of Medecins Sans Frontieres — there’s more to see here.
My buddy Luis created lovely portraits for the editors/bloggers of Fujingaho, the oldest woman’s magazine in Japan (you’ll see them on this page).
I’ve been doing my Debaser “media consumption diary” for a few years now on Tumblr, and a couple of weeks ago I decided to import all of the posts I’ve written there (over 700) to this blog, as I figured why not just bring everything to just one site. I still wanted to keep it separated in some way, so they all live in the “Debaser” category, which you can access through its own page here — I’ve installed a plugin that lets me set it so that these posts don’t show up on the main feed of the site, for those who just come for the Japan-related news stuff (but they still get mixed up with everything if you visit monthly archive pages — you can’t win them all). Oh, and that means that I’m no longer updating the Tumblr blog.
It’s been a while since I’ve played a Yakuza game — the last one I played was the 4th one, and I didn’t finish it — but with the release this week of Yakuza 0 and seeing screenshots from what friends were seeing while playing (as they share them on Twitter), I got the itch to enter that world again. I started playing it this morning, and had such a blast — I was transfixed enough to play straight through the first chapter (and only stopped then because I had to go out to run errands). I think it was good to take a break, and now I’m back to loving this series, and I’m absolutely wowed by how it looks on PS4. Makes me excited for the upcoming Yakuza 6 as well.
It was pretty exciting to see the photo you see here, taken as a giant banner for the game I worked on for most of 2016 was being put up in Akihabara. We all know that western releases don’t get that much attention in Japan, and so it’s pretty great to see For Honor get featured front and center in the heart of Tokyo’s “electronic” district. I also see that Famitsu is hosting a special site dedicated to the game.