TB.Grafico Tokyo Walking

A Weekend in June


It’s a nice sunny Saturday, and we leave our place unusually early (noon) in order to make it to the Muji flagship store in Yurakucho for lunch at Meal Muji. After a nice healthy lunch and a bit of shopping, we make our usual stop at the Okinawa shop (picking up a Taco Rice kit and some Chinsuko cookies), and then head out to the Ginza Graphic Gallery for the Danish Posters show. We then make our way to the Apple Store, with the purpose of finding out how much it would cost to replace the dead battery in my iBook (a replacement is the same price as a new one: too damn expensive). While waiting for my turn at the Genius Bar, I play around with a 17″ Powerbook. Sweet. Before leaving Ginza, we make a stop at the Matsuzakaya depachika (basement food court), and get loads of great things to eat.

The following day is dedicated to heading out to Todai for some studying (something we were planning on doing after what was supposed to be a “quick” stop in Ginza the previous day). Arriving in Hongo, we start the afternoon by making our regular stop at the Mermaid Cafe. Leafing through a pamphlet, I find out that there’s also one in Daikanyama. After an afternoon of studying (well, that and reading the newspapers and recent issues of TIME and NEWSWEEK), we exit the campus and decide to check out the Neo Sitting Room (moblog entry here), a nice little cafe I’d spotted in a magazine (can’t remember which one). Their specialty is Japanese style desserts (I have a delicious Agepan Ice), but the other people there have ordered tasty looking noodle based dishes. We’ll try them out next time. A Happy End album is playing, and I’m very happy to hear my favorite song by them, “Kaze wo Atsumete.”



Rice+ is a former rice shop in Kyojima, Sumida-ku, that was renovated and now functions as a unique, alternative art space. Open now at the venue is a cafe that hosts a variety of Okinawan-themed events. The cafe was named Kanasan — meaning “dear” in Uchinaguchi (Okinawan dialect) — after Okinawan artist Yamashiro Chikako, so this is another project that expresses Rice+ owner Kato Emiko’s longstanding love of Okinawa. Along with an impressive line-up of Awamori (rice Brandy), Taro of “Eat&Art” serves super-delicious Okinawan food, and the perfect island mood is completed by an attentive staff that brings the scent of the Okinawan summer to Tokyo. (REALTOKYO)

Sounds and looks like a nice place (you can see a few pics at the Rice+ site), especially since me and Yuko love Okinawa food. Picked up a few things the other day at the Okinawa shop in Ginza, including a Taco Rice set, and some Chinsuko cookies.

Events Film

Classic Japanese Cinema

Kurosawa Akira, Mizoguchi Kenji, Shimizu Hiroshi, Gosho Heinosuke, Ichikawa Kon… A total of six movies by such grand masters of Japanese cinema from the 1930s-50s are shown with English subtitles (‘The Idiot’ and ‘Scandal’ even in new prints). This is also a precious chance to experience the juicy performances of famed actresses Yamada Isuzu, Hara Setsuko, Takamine Mieko, Awashima Chikage and others. The program further includes a lecture by Japanese film specialist and director, Donald Richie (admission free!). Not only for foreign residents in Tokyo, but for everybody interested in Japanese cinema, this is a great chance not to miss, especially since tickets are only 600 yen at the door! (REALTOKYO)

The event takes place June 25-27 at the Japan Foundation Forum in Akasaka. More info here.

Tokyo Walking

Tops Again

Tokyo remains the world’s most expensive city, according to the latest cost of living survey by Mercer Human Resource Consulting released Monday. London was ranked 2nd, Moscow 3rd, with Osaka and Hong Kong rounding out the top five most expensive cities, while Asuncion in Paraguay is the least expensive city in the survey of 144 urban areas.

Great, we’re tops again! No wonder I can’t go out as much as I’d like to. Read the rest of the article here.

Events Film

Yokohama French Film Festival 2004


It’s that time of the year again, when the Yokohama French Film Festival comes into town.

If you are a fan of French movies, the Yokohama French Film Festival, an annual event to be held June 16-20 this year, is a must-see. A delegation of as many as 50 French actors and filmmakers, headed by actress Emmanuelle Beart of 8 femmes fame, will be present at Pacifico Yokohama to greet filmgoers and introduce their respective films. The Yokohama French Film Festival, has annually served a tempting buffet of French movies for 12 years, making it a great occasion for moviegoers in Japan to sample the best of current French film firsthand.

Read the rest of the DAILY YOMIURI article.

Design Events

Danish Posters

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I’ll be checking out the following tomorrow, at the Ginza Graphic Gallery.

In June 2004 Ginza Graphic Gallery will hold an exhibition entitled Danish Posters – Over the past 10 years. Enormous changes have taken place in Europe during the past decade, a period encompassing the end of the twentieth century. The present exhibition looks back on the design world design during that time through posters created by twenty-five groups of major Danish designers. Rigorously chosen by the Danish Design Centre, the posters cover a wide gamut, ranging from classic graphic-design posters to photographic posters and art posters. The works convey a variety of cultural, commercial, political meanings and purposes. The exhibition offers a look at the current situation in Denmark, which occupies an important place in the international design world.

TB.Grafico Tokyo Walking

Hige Cho


We finish up our week of pics from Roppongi Hills with this shot of the Hige Cho Taiwanese bento shop. According to Yuko, it’s the only memorable thing at Roppongi Hills (well, that and Village Vanguard).

TB.Grafico Tokyo Walking

An Afternoon at Roppongi Hills


After both getting some haircuts early in the morning at a hair salon not far from our place (the area around Azuma Dori in Ikebukuro has 7-8 of them), we grab a quick lunch at home before taking the Tokyo Metro (its new official name) for a visit to the Mori Art Museum at Roppongi Hills. The latest exhibition is a collaboration with New York’s Museum of Modern Art, and so we get to see a good part of their collection. I find some nice pieces in the later part of the show, but it doesn’t compare to the massive HAPPINESS from last year. After getting a few Murakami badges (yeah, yeah, so passe, but hey, they still make me happy), a very nice t-shirt designed by Yamaguchi Akira, and a Brockmann Light figure (more on this later, and a chance for you to get one), we are refused entrance to the City View section of the Mori Building. Seems that it’s not included in the MoMA ticket, which I find to be a total rip (this would have been Yuko’s first chance at seeing this, and I was looking forward to it). We head back down, filthy lucre in my new Porter bag (my birthday present to myself), and decide to seek out a nice cafe space.

We first head to the Toraya Cafe, which I’d seen mentioned in last month’s CASA BRUTUS, only to find a queue that would mean an uncomfortable wait. A check of the menu reveals nothing but costly options, and peeking through the window doesn’t entice us any further. Crossing the street we try the Idee Caffe, and end up with a nice table on the terrace. Not a bad place, even though the music can be a bit “much” (I don’t want to be in Ibiza). An ice latte and cinamon roll later, we slowly make our way through the Roppongi Hills complex, finally ending up at one of our favorite shops, the very eclectic Village Vanguard, where Yuko uses her powers of luck to get me a fourth figure in the “Guys in Relax Town” collection (having the worst of luck when it comes to gacha gacha machines, I usually fear trying once I have 2-3 figures in a set). Yuko then grabs a bite to eat at a Taiwanese bento shop called Hige Cho, one of only 2 locations of this real Taiwan franchise in Japan. We spot a few savory looking bowls of ramen (one shop coming from Kobe, Yuko’s hometown), but fight the temptation and make our way back to Ikebukuro.

Pictured above, from left to right: the Idee Caffe terrace, Murakami flowers that help you find your way at Roppongi Hills, a print of the complex at one of the gift shops, the view from the Mori Art Museum.

Fashion Tokyo Walking

Harajuku T-shirt Shops


Metropolis has an article spotlighting 6 Harajuku t-shirt shops, including BeamsT, Graniph, Akiz, Densuke, Shop 33, and Ijiit Keiji Itakura (the link to the article is not permanent; after a week, just look in the sidebar for issue 531).

Events Photography

Nakahira Takuma


In this ‘portrait movie’ (as it is referred to in the press release), popular photographer Homma Takashi portrays the daily life of Japanese ‘photography legend’ Nakahira Takuma, whom he has been visiting frequently over the period of four years. But the man who appears on the screen doesn’t have much of a legend, but just looks like an ever-smiling, good-natured old man. Presumedly an after effect of his amnesia, Nakahira keeps muttering mostly inaudible gibberish that makes one feel like asking fo subtitles, but that’s in fact an essential part of the man and the reality he lives in. Homma’s camera captures such sceneries ‘illustrated botanical dictionary’ style, and although with 40 minutes the film appears rather short, that’s probably just another typical Nakahira/Homma effect. Don’t miss also the photo exhibition of the same title that’s presently being shown at NADiff. (REALTOKYO)

I’ll cop to not having heard of Nakahira Takuma, but this project sounds interesting. It’s also a good excuse to head out to NADiff for a look-see (and drool over all the books I can’t afford). The screening of the movie takes place at Eurospace 1 in Shibuya (June 5 to early August). You can also get more info at the Slowlearner page.