My buddy Ian Lynam is simply one of the smartest people I know on this planet, and when he writes something, you should pay attention. His latest zine — which you can order online from his Wordshape webstore — acts as a guide to new graphic design graduates. I also highly recommend his Start Somewhere zine, which sorta inspired me to get writing again (which led to the rebirth of this here blog).
Idea is a fantastic magazine about typography and graphic design, and it’s one of the rare Japanese publications that is entirely bilingual (English/Japanese). The latest issue covers the work of graphic designer Koichi Sato. Lucky for you, my buddy Ian‘s Wordshape webstore sells copies. It may sound pricey ($50, including shipping), but each issue of Idea is massive, and features beautiful paper stock. Think of it like getting a beautiful new book.
Oh how I’d love to attend the first edition of the new talk/lecture series called Supplement: Tokyo. The first edition (on October 4) will have a list of speakers that includes two friends I think are smart as fuck (W. David Marx and Chris Palmieri), and will be moderated by one of the best dudes, period (Ian Lynam). Produced by Temple University Japan (where Ian also teaches design classes), each edition will be made up of “four short talks about the relationship of design, art, fashion, visual culture and writing followed by a Q&A panel session.” Love seeing something like this happen, and even the tagline: Supp: Tokyo.
Ian Lynam is a Tokyo-based dude I love so much, and embarrassingly it’s just now that I’m catching up on the fantastic essay/exhibition he produced earlier this year called “That’s Entertainment!” Get some background through this TypeThursday interview, and then get online and read through the project’s main essay — and that’s also where you can download plenty of digital material to take in the rest of the project, like all of the posters that were part of the exhibition.
W. David Marx’s upcoming book on the popularity of the American Ivy League fashion style in Japan in the 60s, Ametora (short for “American Traditional”), comes out on December 1, and you can pre-order it from Amazon.
This is a project that David has been slowly cooking – let’s call it a crock-pot of a project – for quite a while, and seeing it finally get to a point where it’s almost out and already getting some great coverage – like a recommendation in the latest issue of Monocle, pictured in this post, and an excerpt in Lapham’s Quarterly – is really fantastic. There’s no one I know who is more knowledgeable about this topic – and to be honest, the history of modern fashion in Japan – than him (he even wrote a thesis on A Bathing Ape).
This all gets me feeling quite nostalgic. David is one of the very first friends I made when I first moved to Tokyo over 15 years ago. We became acquainted slightly before my arrival, through a Pizzicato Five mailing list, which is how I made all of my first friends in Japan.
Yes, even back then, electronic communications were a thing, imagine that.
Over the years we’ve each had our own entertaining journeys, and his involved producing some excellent music (under the Marxy monicker), and before launching the Néojaponisme website with Ian Lynam, he was quite well known for some epic online essays about Japanese culture that evolved into some of the most pointed and heated discussions, usually with Momus playing the role of foil.
So yeah, Ametora, can’t wait to read it.
My good friend Ian Lynam recently created a typeface family called Kirimomi for Onitsuka Tiger, based on the company’s history, and available as free downloads. It appears that there have already been over 10,000 downloads of the fonts, and in celebration I’ve decided to change the logo on this site to what you see now, which uses Kirimomi Swash.
Go and do something with them too — “just do it” (oops, that’s another company I think).
Maybe “Tightening the Belt” is not really the best way to describe what I’ve been doing of late, but I am on a trajectory to make my online presence a bit leaner (and maybe even a bit meaner). As I announced a week ago, I’ve put SNOW Magazine on indefinite hiatus, and I’ve done the same with my little GAME site.
Yes, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I just can’t handle all of the things that I’d like to be doing online, at least in terms of my personal projects (i.e. the stuff that doesn’t bring in income). It was getting to the point where I’d feel guilty about not updating these various sites, and I finally figured that enough was enough.
For now, and for the foreseeable future, expect me to stick to just The Magaziner, new episodes of the Codex, the monthly editions of PauseTalk, and the odd scribblings here — there’s another podcast project that I’d like to get off the ground too.
As for the day job — I’m Executive Director of the PechaKucha organization — things have never been more exciting, and we have a lot of very cool things in the works. It’s also been a pleasure to be working more closely with my good friend Ian Lynam, who has taken on the big task of refreshing our visual identity and online presence.
If you’ve been to the front page of this site sometime this week (I have to assume that many of you reading this in your feed reader), then more than likely you’ve noticed the giant banner I have there now. It’s for the big Global PechaKucha Day – Inspire Japan event I’ve been working on over the past few weeks, set to happen this Saturday (April 16). I alluded to it in a recent post, but if you don’t know about it, it’s a big charity event we’ve put together, bringing together the PechaKucha community — we’re 404 cities strong, as of this writing — for a day/night of events all over the world, with the goal of raising funds for reconstruction efforts in Japan. As with last year for Haiti, we’re teaming up with Architecture for Humanity.
The core of the event is on Saturday, with a whole bunch of cities holding PKNs, and a lot of them will be streaming live as well — just go to the Inspire Japan site on the day of the event, and whatever is currently streaming live should be up at the top of the site. But our Inspire Japan efforts will also span all of April and May, and we’re inviting organizers of all PKNs during this period to collect donations — because this all came together so suddenly, many cities were not able to re-schedule already planned events, and some just found it difficult to organize something on the 16th.
Here in Tokyo, instead of our regular home of SuperDeluxe, the event will be held at the Roppongi Hills Tokyo City View (52nd floor), with doors opening at 17:00, and presentations starting at 18:00 (it should run until around 21:30 or so). Entry will be a minimum donation of 1000 yen — you’re of course welcome to leave more. To access the event, you’ll need to go to the 3rd floor to get a free ticket to get to the top, and we’ll have signs there to point you to the event space (where you’ll pay the entry fee).
This will also be the first time I present in quite a while — I only presented once at a PechaKucha Night, 3-4 years ago at a special Tokyo Design Week edition with my friend Jesper (it was about the Swedish Style event we had organized at Cafe Pause). This time, I’ll be teaming with Ian, who is responsible for all of the Inspire Japan graphics you’ve been seeing. The presentation will pretty much be about design efforts to raise money for Japan aid, based on that post I started a few days after the quake, as well as the follow-up I did in last month’s edition of my “On Design” column for The Japan Times. For his part of the presentation, Ian will cover the projects he worked on to help raise awareness and collect donations.
The event should be amazing — I mean, you can’t really beat that view — and you’ll also be contributing to reconstruction efforts, so I urge you all to come and support us. Also, if you’d like to help spread the word, feel free to get and use Inspire Japan banners and ads that Ian created, as well as a very cool (and workable) QR code that SET Japan designed for us.