I think this Japan Times piece makes a nice follow-up to what I had recently shared about the resurgence of “city pop” — here, we look at the resurgence of the physical vinyls themselves, as well as re-issues.
I definitely knew about Lion in Shibuya, but this Japan Times piece introduced me to a few other meikyoku kissaten (“musical masterpiece cafes,” or classical music cafes), like Renaissance in Koenji and Violon in Asagaya. Would love to check out these places.
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.”
Here’s a nice little piece with lots of photos from the Japan Times that takes a look at some of the old kissaten (coffeeshops) that survive in Tokyo, here focusing on the area of the city called Yanesen (a combination of Yanaka, Nezu, and Sendagi).
This weekend I managed to finish going through the posts of 2005 (all 1063 of them). As I was going through these posts, I could see that it was a really important year for me. My first professional writing work started in 2004 as I became editor of MoCo Tokyo (a spinoff site to MoCo Loco, where I was also a contributor), and then at the very end of that year I started my monthly anime and design columns for Tokyo Q, but it was in 2005 that I started my monthly “On Design” column for The Japan Times, wrote for Gawker’s Gizmodo and Gridskipper, and also wrote some other freelance pieces. I’d definitely point to that year as the start of my writing career.
It was also the year I started writing almost weekly round-ups of Japanese magazines — which years later led to me starting the now-defunct The Magaziner website. It was also the year of me and Jesper’s first big collaboration together, in the form of our “Mamma Gun” exhibition/event at Cafe Pause, part of Swedish Style/Tokyo Design Week.
I’m pretty thankful that I can go through archives of my life like this, and see exactly how things happened and evolved.
I first heard the name Mokoto Shinkai the other day when my wife mentioned that his latest film, the animated Your Name (reviewed here by The Japan Times), had scored a huge box office opening since its release last week in Japan (grossing close to $40 million during its first 10 days). Not really knowing anything about him and his films, I did some digging, and decided to watch some of his work last night. I started with the film 5 Centimeters Per Second, which is made up of 3 slightly-interlocking chapters. The story of young love didn’t really grab me, but what did grab me was the stunningly beautiful animated world we’re presented with, both in terms of its hyper-real portrayal (it’s a Japan you recognize as true) and its inspired use of color. Add to this an intriguing structure and edits, and it resulted in a film I loved taking in. I then followed this up with a 6-minute short film he also directed, called Dareka no Manazashi, which I loved as well. I can’t wait to watch the rest of what he’s produced so far.
It’s too late to take in the “House Vision 2” exhibition (it ended this past Sunday) but you can still experience some of the highlights courtesy of this Japan Times piece, written by Mio Yamada, who was the last editor of my “On Design” column (and who continues to write it now). The exhibition offered a look at what future homes could be like, with designs by renowned architects.