I love this video so damn much. Produced by retail chain Beams, it’s a whirlwind tour of Tokyo style/culture over the past 40 years, compiled in a fun 5-minute mix of motion graphics and music. 40 years of fashion styles and music, and it makes me feel old when I think that I was there for almost half of it. Pictured, one of my favorite movements, associated with Shibuya-kei (although this is a bit early, in 1993 — I experienced the tail end). Found via David.
Fast Company has a post up sharing a selection of 11 ads that Ikko Tanaka produced for Muji during its early years. I absolutely love this stuff, not just because it’s Muji-related — still my favorite brand from Japan — but also because I’ve always had a love for the work of Tanaka (one of the best shows I’ve seen at the Ginza Graphic Gallery was a retrospective of his work).
My buddy Said Karlsson has written quite a few guides for Navitime’s JapanTravel site, and his latest contribution is for the lovely Yanaka neighborhood of Tokyo. The best thing about these posts is that they all feature great photography by Said. I also like this post that offers up a selection of kissaten (old style coffeeshops).
The title of this post is “The Biggest Guide to Tokyo Record Stores on the Internet,” and it very well may be. It’s exhaustive as hell, and written in a super personal manner, which makes for a fun read. Skimming through it, I felt a lot of nostalgia, as I definitely spent a lot of time in a lot of these shops during my early years in Tokyo. Something to bookmark as reference for use on your next Tokyo music hunting trip.
Want to get some lovely Parappa the Rapper and Rodney goods? The Rodney Fun Shop (or RodneyFun.Com Shop) is there for you, jam packed with all manner of merch covered with the art of Rodney Alan Greenblat’s characters. So much stuff I’d love to get here.
And speaking of these characters, a new series of animated shorts called PJ Berri no Mogu-Mogu Munya-Munya debuted in August.
The latest project from my former employer (and good friends) Klein Dytham Architects is a gorgeous one, and takes the form of the brand new Ginza Place building in Ginza, which hosts swanky new showrooms for Nissan and Sony. It opened today. Here’s how KDa’s Mark Dytham describes the project:
Our latest project, Ginza Place, opens to the public tomorrow. Located on one of the most iconic corners in the world, the Ginza 4-Chome crossing. Klein Dytham architecture in partnership with Taisei Corporation were responsible for the facade design and the overall massing of this new 11 storey building.
The facade, made from 5315 individual aluminium panels reflects the craftsmanship and quality which is synonymous with Ginza and JapanThe project massing takes its cues from the historic Wako building opposite with it’s clear horizontal banding which allow balconies on the 3rd and 7th floors to have unprecedented views of Ginza, Chuo Dori and Harumi Dori.
Ginza Place is a gateway to the re-birth of Ginza and has already become a new landmark for Tokyo and Japan ready for the build up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The building is home to Nissan and Sony’s new global flagship showrooms and 5 restaurants and cafes.
You’ll find a few renderings in this Spoon & Tamago post, and we can expect to see more photos soon.
One of the first friends I made when I moved to Tokyo was Patrick Benny, who I had met through a Pizzicato Five mailing list (P5ML) — I met quite a few good friends that way, including W. David Marx and Jesper Larsson. We all shared a love for Shibuya-kei music, and Patrick was especially into the scene, and to this day continues to update his Tokyo’s Coolest Sound site, and still runs his Tokyo Recohan online store.
As I’ve been heavily into listening to Shibuya-kei of late (I’m listening to Fantastic Plastic Machine’s Moments compilation as I write this), I’ve also been taking a look again at Patrick’s Tokyo’s Coolest Sound, where the latest post highlights the upcoming release of a new Maki Nomiya album that celebrates the influence of French culture on Shibuya-kei. This video will give you a taste of one of the tracks (a duet between Nomiya and Crazy Ken Band’s Ken Yokoyama of “Un homme et une femme”). Very much looking forward to hearing the rest of the record.
Back during the heights of the Shibuya-kei scene, Escalator Records was one of my favorite labels, and I loved visiting its shop and cafe as well. Kokoro & Moi were responsible for a lot of the label’s branding (including at their physical spaces), and it’s nice to see a few examples here. Now I really need to get my hands on the two compilation series they mention, We Are Escalator Records and We Were Escalator Records.
A shop that specializes in cassette tapes? Of course there’s one in Tokyo — uncover more about Waltz (located in Nakameguro) in this Spoon & Tamago post. Gotta love that wall of boomboxes to the side. I think the cassette I listened to the most — to the point of breaking it — was the James Bond: 13 Original Themes tape (this one).
I was happy to see that top shelf pictured at the Junkudo book store in Ikebukuro, bringing together that great little collection of Japanese pop culture books from Kodansha International. I remember that when Arcade Mania came out, because we were the first, it was actually challenging for bookstores to place the book, as it wasn’t obvious where it should go. But with the addition of all those other books that ended up using the same format — Matt Alt and Hiroko Yoda’s Yokai Attack and Ninja Attack, Brian’s Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential, and Patrick W. Galbraith’s The Otaku Encyclopedia — it now makes sense to display them together. I think the next step is the creation of a box set — how great a Christmas gift would that be!