SNOW Magazine Part 2

Continuing with my look at the soon-to-launch SNOW web magazine, I’d like to start by doing something I forgot to do in the previous post — I’ve of course made a quick and easy iPhone wallpaper with the logo, which you can download here.

So why launch a web magazine? It’s an idea I’ve long had — taking what I’ve done over the years with my own blog (this very place) and turning into something a bit less personal, and more magazine-like. I’ve always felt that a site named after a person and set up as a blog has certain limitations in what it can achieve. Yeah, yeah, no need to remind me that the name I’ve chosen for this new project doesn’t exactly stray far from what I have now, but to me it does — I wouldn’t have chosen it if my family name could not double as a common noun.

But more than just the name, it also comes through in the presentation. As you’ll see when SNOW finally launches, it was important for me to have a design that doesn’t just feel like a constant stream of titled posts in chronological order — even though it will still be powered by WordPress — and something that also allows me to be more flexible with image size.

Here’s where I address the most important component of this project though, and what will really set it apart from what you’re used to seeing here. I’ve long been tired of seeing so-called “Japanese experts” get a lot of attention for “finding” what amounts to the worst of Japanese culture, as well as all of the attention that the “this is my life in Tokyo, what a wacky place” blogs all get. I want to not only create a web magazine, but also have a place where a group of people (everyone I’ve invited to participate for the launch) can form a community — strength in numbers, as they say.

SNOW will have regular news items by me — the sort of art/culture/design-related stuff I currently cover on my blog — but the new thing, and what I’m hoping will help built interest in the site, is that a whole bunch of people I respect and like will contribute a monthly column to the site. Some of them will be thematic, some of them visual, and some of them all over the place, but the idea is that they will all somehow work into the “Tokyo/Japan” scope of the site.


The Decade in Japanese Music

Néojaponisme takes an exhaustive look at the decade that was in Japanese Music, from J-Pop to indies and everything in between.

Meta Music

Radio OK Fred 18

And so as promised last week, here we go again with a new episode of Radio OK Fred (18), this time an episode that was recorded in Paris last year, featuring music selections by Marie from Colette. The link to download is below, and remember that you can always just subscribe to the feed.

Radio OK Fred 18 (48MB)

Events Meta

PauseTalk Tonight

And here we go with a reminder that this month’s edition of PauseTalk (Vol. 37) happens tonight (January 11) at Cafe Pause, with the usual start time of 20:00 — the cafe is reserved from 19:30, so feel free to come early. Here’s a link to the Facebook event page.

Max Hodges will be on hand again to add to the “PauseTalk Portraits” series — I’ll reveal tonight how it will eventually tie into this year’s PauseTalk 4th anniversary celebrations — and I’ll also have a few copies of a beautiful printed version of Luis Mendo’s illustrated Tokyo map to hand out.


SNOW Magazine

I finally announced it in my big year-end post, and now’s the time to start revealing more details about my soon-to-launch web magazine, SNOW. I don’t want to give an official launch date — it sort of depends on when everything is ready to do go — but I can tell you that it will indeed be “soon.” In the meantime, I’ll be writing a few posts here over the coming week to explain what exactly this project is all about, why I did it, what I hope to achieve with, and what you can expect from it.

I’d like to start by revealing the lovely logo for it, designed by my good friend Luis Mendo, an Amsterdam-based art director whose work you can also see featured at the entrance of Cafe Pause right now.

Funny story about this design. What you see now is very close to the initial sketch that Luis first sent me — he produced a few more options, but I kept going back to this one, and one thing that was so strange was how the “O” matched exactly the very first hanko I had when I first came to Japan (I since had to change it because it wasn’t legal, and had to replace it with one that has “SNOW” written in English). Just a coincidence, I know, but one that touched me.

Art Events


A new group show at the Nanzuka Underground gallery in Shibuya entitled “Corner” brings together the following four artists: Alexander Gelman, Paul Davis, Toast Girl, and Yuichi Yokoyama.

This exhibition presents the works of artists who continue to produce original works that are not influenced by the fashions and trends in the belief that the age-defining energy of art comes from these artists who stand apart. The title “Corner” suggests that the concept of art itself it about to turn a corner in the face of the extreme market oriented mentality that has seeped through the art world. The 4 artists on view may be outsiders in the current art scene. However art with vested interests is bound to be replaced by something else in the future. These 4 artists may be pointing to the possibility of that future.

“Corner” runs until February 6.

Events Photography

Hanami by Martin Holtkamp

Photographer Martin Holtkamp — and fellow PauseTalker — has just launched his first major exhibition at Gallery Speak For in Daikanyama. The show, “Hanami,” runs until January 20, and Martin should be on hand tomorrow (January 11) at PauseTalk Vol. 37 to talk about the show, and he’ll also be presenting at this month’s PechaKucha Night in Tokyo (January 27).



Lovely Package takes a look at a few examples of package design for Japan’s Calpis drinks. The branding was done by Taku Satoh. The packaging pictured is for gift sets of various Calpis drinks.


Wedding Invitation

To commemorate the wedding of Osamu Akatsu with Manami Kondo in Kyoto last month, Akatsu himself designed the beautiful invitation pictured here. Beast Pieces goes through the intricacies of the invitation, detailing the type of paper used, as well as describing how the one-color metallic design was achieved.


New Year Cards 2010

Spoon & Tamago shares a few of the New Year cards it has received from designers and design studios in Japan. Pictured here, a card by creative director Yuji Tokuda for his communication design company Canaria. Tokuda is behind the “Retired Weapons” peace design project.