September 6, 2012

Japan tourism and Koyasan in Wakayama: Kukai, stunning scenery and Shingon Buddhism

Japan tourism and Koyasan in Wakayama: Kukai, stunning scenery and Shingon Buddhism

Olivier LeCourt and  Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Wakayama prefecture in Japan is blessed with stunning scenery throughout this adorable part of Japan. Equally important is the power of history, religion and culture in Wakayama because you have many national and regional treasures which beckon tourists and religious pilgrims alike to this lovely prefecture. In Koyasan you can feel the richness of Shingon Buddhism and the power of nature alongside stunning architecture. Therefore, it is easy to understand why Kukai picked this amazing place and it is nice to know that Koyasan is “a living Buddhism.”

Internationally, Kyoto is seen to be the cradle of high culture in Japan but actually this really belongs to Nara. After all, high culture was already flourishing before the power of Kyoto began because of the impact of Nara. Koyasan, just like Nara and Kyoto, is located in the Kansai region. Also, it is factual that Nara and Kyoto are much larger in terms of size and places to visit than Koyasan. However, the remoteness of Koyasan means that tourists and pilgrims flock to this stunning part of Wakayama. Given this reality, it is clear that Koyasan can’t be underestimated because of the power of Kukai and the richness of this exquisite part of Japan.

Zen Buddhism is internationally famous but in Koyasan it is the richness of Shingon Buddhism which thrives. It matters not if people are religious or not because when you visit Koyasan you can feel something special inside. This is because of the power of architecture, Buddhist temples, simplicity, “a living Buddhism” and the stunning views of nature which blesses Mount Koya in all directions.

The environment of Koyasan is extremely rich because of the layout and the abundance of temples to visit. Also, the main graveyard is extremely mysterious and many leading historical figures are buried in Koyasan. Another nice aspect is the environment whereby tradition alongside the yearning of normal tourists and religious pilgrims naturally flows.

Visual images of the Buddha mixed with the uniqueness of Shingon Buddhism is a real treat on the eye. This applies to the architecture and artistic aspects of everything that encompasses each amazing temple. Japanese gardens are equally famous and clearly the Buddhist concept of time and space can be felt deeply. The flow is so natural that lay people can feel the power and majesty of a faith which seeks a unique path along a complex road in this world.

In the world of monotheism the one God shows many sides and clearly you have various different sects. Likewise, in Buddhism you also have many different sects and in a sense religion is a mirror to what humanity is irrespective if good, mundane or where dark forces reign. Yet in Koyasan it appears that God’s Eden may exist because faith, philosophy, simplicity and nature come together.

In my earlier article by Modern Tokyo Times about beautiful Koyasan it was stated that “The non-religious may believe that God is an illusion and this may be so; however, in places like Koyasan you can feel “a magical atmosphere.” The “old world” survives within “modernity” but preserves its rich culture and maintains a rare spirituality.”

“Kukai (774-835) who became known as Kobo Daishi established the first monastery in the ninth century on mount Koya (Koya-san).  The Shingon sect had a different thought pattern within the many schools of Buddhism and Kukai believed that enlightenment could be attained in one lifetime.”

“Kukai was a searcher and he visited China and during his stay he studied Esoteric Buddhism.  Initially, he prayed for peace and prosperity because he could not find inner-peace within city life, therefore, he searched for a place where he could meditate and become even more spiritual.” 

“When Kukai saw the stunning nature of Koyasan it was clear to him that he had found the place which he desired.  The mountains meant that he was cut off from everyday city life in this period and the sublime beauty of nature added to the mysterious feel of Koyasan.”

The lovely aspect about Koyasan is that Shingon Buddhism in this amazing place is “a living Buddhism” whereby the rich traditions continue to flourish. Buddhists and non-Buddhists will adore this lovely part of Wakayama prefecture because Mount Koya is extremely beautiful. Therefore, the vibrancy of culture, architecture and religion all pull naturally together.

It is clear that when Kukai searched long and hard to find a special place to spread his teachings, that he made the right choice. The remoteness of Koyasan during his lifetime must have provided great insights into this world. Of course, according to legend Kukai is still wondering around Koyasan after being transformed into an eternal Samadhi whereby he is waiting for the next Buddha Maitreya to appear.

Therefore, if you are looking for a special break then Koyasan should come to the top of your must places to visit. Without a shadow of a doubt this mystical place is extremely charming and the cultural and religious angle completes a perfect break for people who appreciate the finer things in life.

http://www.shukubo.jp/eng /  (stunning Koyasan)

http://www.koyasan.org/          (Information about Koyasn)

http://www.visiblemantra.org/kukai.html  Kukai and information

http://ww2.coastal.edu/rgreen/  Kukai and information

 

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

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September 6, 2012

Japanese art and Utagawa Yoshitaki: Oni Demon and the dreaded Catfish (Namazu)

Japanese art and Utagawa Yoshitaki: Oni Demon and the dreaded Catfish (Namazu)

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Utagawa Yoshitaki (1841-1899) produced several stunning pieces of art related to the oni demon. In the main image in this article called the Oni Demon and Catfish you have two very powerful forces at play. Therefore, the individual in this image faces the wrath of the giant catfish and the clutches of the powerful oni which is intent on collecting souls to take to the pits of hell.

In Japanese folklore the powerful writhing of a giant catfish (namazu) was bad news based on mythology. Thenamazu is a harbinger of devastation when breaking free from the god Kashima.

Therefore, when the namazu escapes from the clutches of Kashima terrible devastating forces are unleashed. These brutal forces apply to potent earthquakes and tsunamis which kill untold numbers. In the world of ukiyo-e the namazu and oni were popular subjects to focus on when highlighting Japanese folklore in the Edo and Meiji periods of history. After all, the oni and namazu are great storytellers and the reality that Japan is blighted by tsunamis, earthquakes, typhoons and other potent natural forces; means that in the old world of mystery it did appear that demonic forces were at play.

The role of the oni in the folklore of Japan is very potent because when the gates of hell are opened then the power of this demon comes into play for people who have done “dark deeds” in this world. Japanese artists in the Edo period clearly highlight the oni and the same applies to Japanese literature and kabuki. Therefore, Yoshitaki in his art piece titled Oni Demon and Catfish is putting the person in the scene in a terrible dilemma.

Toshidama Gallery comments about this image that “This print tells a complex narrative. The figure on the left holds a giant gourd – this was known to be one of the few magical ways to quell the much feared catfish which in the print is lying compliantly underneath. The legends of Japan say that earthquakes and tsunamis are caused by the writhing of a giant catfish (namazu) under Fuji. There were popular prints of the quelling of the catfish (Namazu-e) which appeared after natural disasters such as the Ansei earthquake of 1855.”

In this stunning image by Yoshitaki it is clear that the namazu appears unconcerned by the individuals attempt to quell the power it holds according to Japanese folklore. The oni on the other hand looks angry and powerful. It could just be that the namazu knows that the oni is too much for this brave individual who is trying to stop calamity from happening. Therefore, an almost like smirk face persists on the namazu and it could be that theoni is impatient because he wants to collect souls to take to the pits of hell.

Of course, an image by itself is always open to major interpretation but sometimes singular images can be more potent because of this fact. According to some individuals the catfish actually does behave strangely before natural disasters. This fact means that the god Kashima must be alert at all times according to Japanese folklore but sadly the namazu can’t be contained indefinitely because just like the oni, the namazu is extremely cunning.

https://twitter.com/Toshidama  TOSHIDAMA GALLERY 

Please visit http://toshidama.wordpress.com for more articles and information. 

Please visit http://toshidama-japanese-prints.com/  –   On our site you will see a wonderful selection of Japanese woodblock prints for sale. Ukiyo-e (the Japanese name for woodblock prints of the 18th and 19th centuries) are beautiful, collectible and a sound financial investment.

http://www.toshidama-japanese-prints.com/item_428/Yoshitaki-Oni-Demon-and-Catfish.htm

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

September 6, 2012

Tokyo fashion in Ikebukuro: the buzz of Ikebukuro fashion and Miu Miu

Tokyo fashion in Ikebukuro: the buzz of Ikebukuro fashion and Miu Miu

Sarah Deschamps, Kanako Itamae and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Ikebukuro is awash with fashion and in the last few years this part of Tokyo is re-inventing itself when it comes to stylish boutiques. Therefore, the opening of Miu Miu in the famous Seibu Department Store in late 2011 is mere confirmation that powerful boutiques view Ikebukuro in such a favorable light. This trend continues in 2012 and clearly this district is on “the fashion map” within Tokyo because of the buzzing fashion scene on both the east and west side.

It must be remembered that Ikebukuro train station is the second busiest in Japan and every week millions of people pass through this part of Tokyo. When this is added to the fact that Japanese people like convenience when it comes to shopping, then not surprisingly the fashion dimension within or around Ikebukuro train station is enormous. This reality means that the fashion area is a huge hub and Ikebukuro is also the gateway for people in Saitama prefecture.

Seibu Department Store and Tobu Department Store have a very rich history and both mega-companies, alongside Lumine, Marui, and Parco, are collectively creating a huge fashion district in Ikebukuro. Also, Esola is a lovely place for ladies fashion and you have scrumptious restaurants to eat.

In Esola you have exquisite boutiques which include Actuel, Amphi, Barbie Store, Beardsley Gallardagalante, Blue Bell Market, DouDou, Elleva, FRAMeWORK, Free’s Mart, Jolly Boutique, Muriel & Mercuria, Nuit et Jour Spick and Span, Opaque Clip, Royal Flash, and Turno Jeana.

Lumine, meanwhile, is one of the best fashion outlets in Tokyo and the store in Ikebukuro is a major attraction for Tokyo ladies because of lovely boutiques like SmackyGlam (Smacky Glam) and countless others. Also, the restaurant area in Lumine is a great place to relax and unwind.

Therefore, not surprisingly the fabulous boutique Miu Miu decided to open for business in Ikebukuro. While next year American Eagle Outfitters have also selected to open a store in this fashionable part of Tokyo alongside another store in the environment of Harajuku and Omotesando. This bodes well for the future of Ikebukuro because fashion is very dynamic in Tokyo and areas need to maintain their vibrancy.

In a past article by Modern Tokyo Times about fashion in Ikebukuro it was stated about American Eagle Outfitters that The new store will have three floors of fashion in order to attract the fashion conscious and the international aspect is an added dimension.  American Eagle Outfitters have clearly done their homework because Ikebukuro is a thriving fashion district in Tokyo and redevelopment projects are in the pipeline to further enhance the area.”

“Uniqlo also understands the reality of fashion in Ikebukuro because the future potential of this vibrant district is obvious.  Therefore, Uniqlo will expand their presence in Ikebukuro and this applies to occupying two floors in Tobu Department Store.”

Obviously the same applies to Miu Miu who decided to expand their international operations in the Seibu Department Store in Ikebukuro. Also, the store was designed by Roberto Baciocchi and like usual for Miu Miu they focus on classic concepts and futuristic aspects. Therefore, you can have a lovely shopping experience and envisage the creativity of this exquisite company by viewing the stylish layout and theme of the Miu Miu store.

In the last few years Lumine and Esola have altered the fashion landscape of Ikebukuro and complemented Seibu Department Store, Tobu Department Store, Parco, and Marui. Also, the opening of the Fukutoshin Ikebukuro train station created a new fashion hub in Ikebukuro. This applies to delightful fashion boutiques and other shops which have created a lovely underground hub once leaving the main Fukutoshin Ikebukuro train exit.

The recent opening of Miu Miu and the future opening of American Eagle Outfitters in 2012, alongside the expansion of Uniqlo, is maintaining the vibrancy of Ikebukuro. Therefore, while Ikebukuro might not get the same media exposure, the reality on the ground is very different because Seibu Department Store, Tobu Department Store, Lumine, Marui, Parco, Esola, and other fashion outlets, would enhance any fashion district.

Not surprisingly, Miu Miu and other fashion companies are aware of the ongoing changes in Ikebukuro and future projects which will enhance this part of Tokyo. Given everything, the future of this fashion district is rosy and the elegance of the fashion scene is growing because of the quality of so many exquisite boutiques.

http://www.miumiu.com/it/stores

www.smackyglam.com  –  Smacky Glam

http://www.esola-ikebukuro.com/

http://orizzonti.co.jp/category/actuel/

http://www.barbie-stores.com/

http://www.bluebellmarket.net/index.html

http://www.palgroup.co.jp/brands/doudou/

http://www.turnojeana.jp/

http://www.frees-mart.com/index.html

http://m-muriel.jp/index.html

http://www.elleva.jp/

http://www.frame-works.co.jp/index_n.html

http://blog-s.frame-works.co.jp/ Spick and Span official blog

http://www.jolly-boutique.com/

http://www.world.co.jp/opaqueclip/

http://royalflash-jp.com/pc/home.html

www.smackyglam.com  –  Smacky Glam

http://sanyo-i.jp  –  Sanyo i Store (Sanyo Shokai Ltd)

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

September 6, 2012

Japan and North Korea need to go the extra mile in order to lay the path ahead

Japan and North Korea need to go the extra mile in order to lay the path ahead

Ri Kuk-Chol and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Japan and North Korea have had a frosty relationship for far too long and it is hoped that officials from both nations will have laid the foundation stone for genuinely turning the corner. Of course, expectations are not too high because of countless stumbling blocks on both sides. However, if officials from Japan and North Korea can overcome genuine concerns and at least start to “walk together,” even if not in complete unison, then this will be positive.

North Korea must understand that negative relations with Japan only serve the enemies of Pyongyang. Likewise, political leaders in Tokyo have recently witnessed the “nationalist switch” in China and South Korea respectively. Therefore, it is clear in Tokyo that the only “trusted friend” in the region is Taiwan. Yet if the “Chinese economic bandwagon” one day swallows this island economically, then even this solace may be taken away.

The Russian Federation is also a central nation in the geopolitical reality of Northeast Asia and throughout other parts of Asia. After all, political elites in Moscow fully understand the geopolitical importance of Central Asia and developing strong ties with China and India respectively. At the same time the geopolitical importance of Mongolia is fully understood in the Russian Federation. Therefore, Japan should overcome its petty nationalist tendencies towards this major power and seek a solution to the disputed areas, which continue to hinder a powerful friendship based on mutual trust.

Turning back to events covering the talks today between officials from Japan and North Korea, it is obvious that both nations need to “break their respective chains.” The new political leader in North Korea can show the world that he is open to sweeping geopolitical changes alongside supporting genuine economic reforms with the help of China. Given this reality, Kim Jong-un can genuinely try to reach the masses based on the similar motives of Deng Xiaoping in China when he came to power.

The Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan, Osamu Fujimura, stated prior to the meeting that “The abduction issue will be included as a matter of course.” Likewise, Koichiro Gemba, Foreign Minister of Japan, spoke in a similar vein when he stated that “We’d like to ask the North Korean side to positively work on pending issues between the two countries including the abduction issue.”

However, despite the seriousness of this issue it is clear that political leaders in Tokyo must move towards a more broad approach. Surely, other more important issues like the nuclear angle, geopolitical concerns, testing military hardware and building economic bridges must outweigh the continuing stumbling blocks. Once other developments move forward then naturally North Korea will be more forthcoming.

Japan must understand that millions of Koreans died defending Korean nationalism from Japanese imperialism and then against American aggression during the Korean War. After the brutal Korean War the United States then supported successive authoritarian governments in South Korea before the onset of democracy in this nation. It is too easy to point the finger at North Korea but the reality is that all nations have their own histories and outside forces led to a siege mentality in Pyongyang – but this siege mentality was not based on whims but on hard facts related to history.

Japan and North Korea need to forgo the historical and political obstacles in order to radically alter the situation. Osamu Fujimura stated that “We have been working based on the principle of settling the unfortunate past and on restoring normal relations.”

The new leader of North Korea showed sincerity by allowing a group of nationals from Japan to reclaim loved ones who died because of the tragic events of World War Two. Sadao Masaki, who is part of this group, commented that “Things have proceeded to a stage that is beyond what we had even hoped for. We are extremely grateful.”

In another article by Modern Tokyo Times about relations between Japan and North Korea, it was stated thatSome analysts are indicating that North Korea is reaching out because of current tensions between Japan and other regional nations based on territorial issues. For example harsh comments have been made by the leader of South Korea towards Japan in recent times. However, this is too cynical because the new leader of North Korea must be judged on what happens during his leadership.”

Analysts in Japan and North Korea are eagerly awaiting the outcome and clearly major powers throughout the region will be watching events closely. It is only hoped that political leaders in Japan and North Korea will move forward by showing sincerity and mutual respect.

 

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

September 6, 2012

Japanese Art and Ukiyo-e: Ghost of Koheiji by Konishi Hirosada and Evil Akuba

Japanese Art and Ukiyo-e: Ghost of Koheiji by Konishi Hirosada and Evil Akuba

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The power of the Shinto faith runs deep throughout the fabric of Japanese religion, folklore, culture and other important aspects of society. Buddhism which emanated from outside of Japan would also greatly impact itself within the fabric of society. Modern Japan in major cities may look a million miles away from the richness of Japanese folklore but remnants remain. In the countryside the old world survives much more easily but throughout the veins of Japanese tradition major festivals keep aspects of old Japan alive within major cities even if diluted.

Of course, you will have many living religious places of worship throughout major cities in Japan but the mystery can be felt stronger in the “still night” of the countryside whereby local shrines have so much power. Not surprisingly, with the two dominant faiths having so much richness then ghosts, demons and the underworld played a powerful role in Japanese folklore.

This in turn expressed itself through Japanese art, plays and literature. In the world of ukiyo-e many amazing artists depicted ghosts, demons and the underworld. Also, the power of Japanese culture and the indigenous Shinto faith impacted greatly on Buddhism. This means that many fusions have crossed over between the faiths of Shinto and Buddhism. Indeed, the mystery of the Shinto faith is its openness, diversity, blending naturally within nature and the richness of local traditions which vary from place to place.

Konishi Hirosada (Gosotei Hirosada) produces a stunning image of the ghost of Koheiji (top image in the article) which seeks revenge towards his wife Otowa and her devious lover. Koheiji is brutally tortured and murdered by Otowa with the hands of her lover to blame within many realms. This applies to psychology and a very twisted crime of passion induced by strong emotions between both scheming individuals. The pain of the torture and betrayal was brutally shocking and clearly Koheiji couldn’t enter the next world because his spirit was restless for revenge.

The Toshidama Gallery comments about the print by Konishi Hirosada that “This is a very fine and rare print by the Osaka artists Konishi Hirosada. It depicts the ghost of Kohata Koheiji who, having been tortured and drowned by his unfaithful wife Otowa and her scheming lover, takes revenge upon them from beyond the grave. Koheiji is played by the kabuki actor Arashi Rikaku II. Revenge plays of this sort were hugely popular and often depicted evil women called akuba. This play, A Mysterious Tale of Revenge at Asaka Marsh, was so popular with audiences that a sequel was commissioned.”

Toshidama Gallery further comments that “A strange twist, given the subject of this role, is that the actor portrayed here, Arashi Rikaku II, was the adoptive father of Arashi Rikaku III, himself imprisoned for his part in the poisoning (of) his lover’s mistress. His lover, Yoarashi Okinu, was what audiences would refer to as an akuba. She administered the poison after becoming pregnant by Rikaku. She was eventually arrested in May 1871 and decapitated in 1872.”

Clearly Koheiji was unlucky to have married an akuba lady because these ladies would do anything for the people they love. Extortion and murder, and other acts of betrayal, were part and parcel of being an akubalady. However, the spirit of Koheiji was too strong because he desired vengeance from the underworld and refused to enter either heaven or hell until he fulfilled this.

The power of ghost stories in the Edo and Meiji periods of Japanese history were cherished because of the strong connection of faith and the power of the stories that were portrayed. At the same time amazing ukiyo-e artists could depict the vastness of this world.

 

http://www.toshidama-japanese-prints.com/item_352/Hirosada-Arashi-Rikaku-II-as-the-ghost-of-Koheiji.htm

http://www.toshidama-japanese-prints.com/item_261/Hirosada-The-Ghost-of-Togoros-Wife.htm

http://www.toshidama-japanese-prints.com/item_177/Hirosada-Kasa-Ippon-ashi-One-Legged-Umbrella-Demon.htm

http://www.toshidama-japanese-prints.com/

http://toshidama.wordpress.com/

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

September 6, 2012

Tokyo fashion in Yurakucho: Lumine Department Store

Tokyo fashion in Yurakucho: Lumine Department Store

Michel Lebon, Kanako Itamae and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times 

Tokyo fashion is internationally famous and the Yurakucho fashion angle keeps on growing from strength to strength. This factor is also helping other famous districts nearby and this notably applies to Ginza. Both areas naturally flow together because they share the same dynamic environment whereby the crème de la crème of international and Japanese boutiques can be found.

In recent times H & M and Uniqlo have altered the fashion landscape in Ginza by having places to shop whereby the prices suit all pockets. Despite this, Ginza and Yurakucho are famous for luxury boutiques and amazing department stores which enrich the entire area.

Last year the exquisite Lumine Department Store opened a new venture in Yurakucho and clearly this factor is enticing the younger generation to shop once more in this part of Tokyo. This means that you have ample places to shop in both districts which suit all age groups. Also, because of companies like Uniqlo you now have places to go bargain shopping. Therefore, shoppers are spoilt for choice in Ginza and Yurakucho.

In Ikebukuro the Lumine Department Store enriches the west side of this very trendy part of Tokyo. Likewise, Lumine in Yurakucho is also enriching the fashion scene of this district because of the many amazing boutiques to be found throughout this stylish store.

Timothy Schepis, the owner of Tokyo Fashion Daily, commented about the arrival of Lumine in Yurakucho last year that “…the newly redeveloped Yurakucho location will be the 14th for Lumine in Japan and will be the first not to be part of a railway station. At 22,000sqm Yurakucho Lumine will house up to 100 tenants targeting women in their 20s and 30s which make up Lumine`s core customer. Most of the tenants will be fashion brands including United Arrows with the rest of the tenants; cosmetics brands, household goods and restaurants.”

A partial list of the many boutiques which are based within the exquisite Lumine Department Store in Yurakucho includes Adam Et Rope, Beaver, Bshop, Bulsara, Choosy Chu, Couture by Rojita, Deuxieme Classe, Diana, Emoda, Freak’s Store, Gallardagalante, Goa, Journal Standard Relume, Laguna Moon, Manhattan Portage, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Martinique Le Conte, Mercuryduo, Mignon et Enchainement, Muji Nano Universe, Odette e Odile United Arrows, Ozoc, Parigot, Peach John The Store, Piche Abahouse, Ron Herman, Royal Party, Salon De La Trinite, Shel’Tter, Shinzone,  Spick And Span, Spick And Span Accessoires, Stunning Lure, Tomorrowland, United Arrows ( Men’s, Ladies, United Arrows Green Label Relaxing, Urban Research Doors, Urban Research&Rosso and Wjkw.

If you adore fashion then clearly Lumine in Yurakucho will appeal to lovers of stylish boutiques. Like always the choice at this exquisite store is also extremely rich because each individual boutique provides a fresh angle to fashion.

 

http://www.lumine.ne.jp/yurakucho/

http://www.fashion-j.com/E/trend/201010.html

http://tokyofashiondaily.blogspot.com/ – TIMOTHY SCHEPIS  (can be followed on Twitter)

http://tokyofashiondaily.blogspot.com/2011/10/coming-soon-yurakucho-lumine.html

http://www.fashion-j.com/E/trend/201010.html (3rd article from the top shows some images of Lumine in Ikebukuro.)

MODERN TOKYO TIMES IMAGES

http://moderntokyotimes.com

August 9, 2012

Tokyo fashion continues to bloom in the adorable Omotesando Hills shopping mall

Tokyo fashion continues to bloom in the adorable Omotesando Hills shopping mall

Michel Lebon, Hiroshi Saito and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Tokyo fashion is extremely diverse because you have so many places to visit throughout this ultramodern city. Irrespective if you are a Tokyoite or visitor to Tokyo you can’t but help to notice the sophistication of fashion in this amazing city.  Therefore, you are literally spoilt for choice but if you like refined areas, a lovely mixture of Japanese and international fashion and a real vibe, then Omotesando and the entire area is one big fashion paradise.

This applies to the continuity of Aoyama, Harajuku, Omotesando and Shibuya. It is simply amazing and you have so many other areas of quality fashion. Therefore, for the fashion conscious Tokyo is a must and international tourists who love fashion will simply adore the many areas of this trendy and vibrant mega-city.

Omotesando Hills is a fantastic place to visit and see the rich variety of Japanese and international fashion. Also, while the initial issue of the opening of this building cast doubts, related to the old area which was loved by locals in Aoyama. It must be stated that many years later then all this seems like a distant memory because Omotesando Hills is certainly on the map.

Modern Tokyo Times took images of aspects of the fashion on show inside the building of Omotesando Hills. This applies to images showing fashion from Adore, Anterpima, Betsey Johnson, Black Fleece, Escada Sport, Tour H. creer (Merveille H.), Yves Saint Laurent, and Zara.

However, you have other lovely fashion companies like Tracy Reese, Kiwa Sylphy, iliann loeb, Milly, Tiara, Apartment Department, Martinique Le Conte, Patrizia Pepe Firenze (Incontro), Oriental News and so many others. In truth, it is unfair to not name all the fashion stores because all are blessed with exquisite fashion, style and are full of panache. Therefore, please check the Omotesando Hills website for the full list of companies because you have so many sophisticated boutiques and other stores in this lovely fashion complex.

This luxurious shopping mall was designed by the highly acclaimed Tadao Ando and the architect he implanted was pure genius. This applies to the lovely layout, the nice imagery and the casual nature of browsing around because everything works like clockwork.

The building itself graces the entire area and inside it looks sophisticated without needing any glitz.  Instead, you have a building with natural light and which suits the landscape of this fashion conscious area.  Tadao Ando clearly won over many individuals and for newcomers to the area then all they will know is that Omotesando Hills is a landmark building.

Therefore, this is the highest compliment that could be given and today it is a must place to visit for fashion lovers who enjoy style, elegance, lovely fabrics, exquisite clothes and bags with quality and style. To cap all this, the ambience inside Omotesando Hills is extremely relaxing and you have a lovely environment whereby you can relax and drink coffee or eat delicious food.

Also, you don’t have the rush factor or searching around for the odd quality fashion store. Instead, you have quality stores after quality stores and while the emphasis at Omotesando Hills is fashion, you also have other types of stores which compliment the elegance of this shopping mall.

Therefore, you have many beauty services and this works well with the entire theme of Omotesando Hills.  If this is you area of interest, or if beauty services will compliment your shopping, then you have quality companies inside this ultra-trendy shopping mall.

This applies to Createur Reveal (nail salon), hair make Pas de deux (hair salon), le bois (spa and beauty treatment), M.A.C. (cosmetics), and shu uemura beauty boutique (cosmetics).

Omotesando caters for exquisite ladies fashion, mens fashion, baby and kids apparel, jewelry, accessories, bags, beauty services, shoes, eyewear, watches, fashion goods, lifestyle and to add a real touch you have lovely galleries.  Also, you have many places to eat and drink and you have ample quality restaurants, cafés and bar food to cater for shoppers during your visit to Omotesando Hills.

Overall, the fashion is exquisite, the choice is varied and the layout of Omotesando Hills is a treasure. If you love fashion and you want to enjoy a crème de la crème shopping mall then this is the right place to see the latest fashion trends.

http://www.omotesandohills.com/english/

http://www.adore2005.com/

http://anteprima.com/

http://www.ap-dp.com/

http://www.betseyjohnson.jp/

http://www.brooksbrothers.co.jp/fleece/index.html

http://www.erikonail.com/

http://www.escada.com/

http://www.iliannloeb.com/

http://eu.jimmychoo.com/en/restofworld/page/home?notify=yes

http://www.kiwasylphy.jp/

http://www.lebois.jp/

http://www.maccosmetics.co.jp/

http://www.merveilleh.co.jp/

http://www.melrose.co.jp/martinique/index.html

http://ameblo.jp/oriental-news-omotesando/

http://www.incontro.co.jp/

http://www.melrose.co.jp/tiara/

http://www.pasdedeux.co.jp/

http://www.ysl.com/d/

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

ALL IMAGES BY MODERN TOKYO TIMES

August 9, 2012

South Korea, Japan and US fashion styles by Kpopsicle: Stunning international fashion

South Korea, Japan and US fashion styles by Kpopsicle: Stunning international fashion

Kanako Itamae and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times 

Kpopsicle (http://kpopsicle.com) is an amazing online fashion store which caters for stylish ladies who want to connect with the vibes of South Korea, America and Japan. Of course, the styles of these buzzing nations appeal internationally and this is the beauty of Kpopsicle. Therefore, this online fashion company provides stunning female fashion products all year round.

The Kpopsicle website is user-friendly and is updated regularly in order to connect with their client base and to highlight the latest trends hitting the streets of Seoul, Tokyo, New York and other vibrant cities. Also, images of items are extremely clear and taken from different angles in order that viewers can get a real feel about the product being viewed.

On the Kpopsicle website this company states that “We focus on stylish and trendy designs” and this is clearly true. Immediately on entering the website ladies will find an abundance of images and products to search. True to the words of Kpopsicle it is clear that this adorable online fashion company does focus on stylish and trendy designs which will appeal to ladies all over the world.

The models at Kpopsicle are extremely stylish and always highlight the lovely fabrics being used. Also, the color schemes and care of each product is more than noticeable. This means that not only is the Kpopsicle website user-friendly but more important everything seems so natural because the styles appeal greatly. Therefore, you have a lovely online fashion store whereby individuals can buy stunning products at the click of a button once studying the products from different angles on the Kpopsicle website.

International fashion styles hitting the streets of South Korea, Japan and the United States can be felt within the fashion on show. Of course Kpopsicle appeals to trendy female fashion lovers all over the world irrespective of nation. This is the beauty of Kpopsicle because they understand the latest trends and how to relate to fashion lovers.

In recent years the K-pop music angle keeps on growing therefore South Korean culture is in vogue and gaining more international headlines. This is rightly so because Korean culture is blessed with an amazing history. True to the nature of this country you have a culture which is rich in history but which is also ultra modern. Therefore, South Korean culture is ultra modern, vibrant, sophisticated and is connecting internationally. Not surprisingly, the fashion angle of South Korean fashion is also growing in strength because of all the above factors.

Kpopsicle fashion focuses on many different styles which relate to the modern fashion scene. This means that you can feel the latest trends running throughout the K-pop music scene through the fashion products that they sell. Kpopsicle fashion also focuses on elegance, sophisticated looks, streetwise fashion and a plethora of styles which are hitting the streets of major cities throughout South Korea, Japan and the United States.

Indeed, in Tokyo you can envisage the Kpopsicle fashion angle easily when you walk around fashionable districts like Harajuku, Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, Shibuya and other amazing places in Tokyo. This is the beauty of Kpopsicle and this applies to the “instant connection” which can be felt when viewing their website.

 

The vibrant nature of K-pop with amazing groups and soloists like Girls’ Generation, BoA, Kan Mi Youn, T-ara, Kara, Orange Caramel, Sistar, G.Na, After School, A-Pink and a plethora of others can be felt within the fashion angle of Kpopsicle. Therefore, if you adore female fashion and the “Korean Cool” angle then Kpopsicle fashion will appeal to you.

Kpopsicle simply means style and vibrancy which connects easily within the complexity of international fashion. The reason Kpopsicle can connect easily with international fashion is because this online company understands the current trends hitting major international cities. Therefore, with a click of a button on your computer you have an adorable fashion company to view and then buy amazing and beautiful products.

 

http://kpopsicle.com Kpopsicle

ALL IMAGES BELONG TO KPOPSICLE

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

August 9, 2012

Japan Tourism in Toyama: Kurobe Lake and the amazing beauty of Toyama Prefecture

Japan Tourism in Toyama: Kurobe Lake and the amazing beauty of Toyama Prefecture

Hiroshi Saito and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Japan is blessed (http://www.alpen-route.com/english/) with so many amazing places to visit that tourists are literary spoilt for choice. Familiar names for international tourists will apply to Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, Kamakura, and countless other places like beautiful Koyasan in Wakayama. Therefore, with so many places to pick and choose it is difficult to pick one special place because you have so many fantastic places to visit.

If you adore stunning nature whereby you can relax and see the majesty of this world then Kurobe Lake and the beautiful prefecture of Toyama is highly recommended. Toyama prefecture is relatively small but despite this the area is a wonder to behold because of stunning nature throughout this delightful part of Japan. In the north you will find the Sea of Japan and Toyama is bordered by Ishikawa prefecture, Gifu, Nagano and Niigata.

One very special place is the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route which attracts around one million visitors each year. This amazing place is known internationally because of the stunning scenery and abundant places to visit and enjoy a special holiday. Prior to 1971 the remoteness of the area meant that it was difficult to travel around but since this year the transportation system opened up a real gem of an area.

Despite this, the local government of Toyama desired to maintain a natural balance between sublime nature and creating a tourist trade which would benefit the local community, tourists and preserve nature and the amazing environment. Therefore, you have major areas which protect wildlife and all development projects took enormous care in creating an environment which enhanced all angles. The end result of this well thought out plan is that you have a destination place which tourists desire to visit because they also understand that the natural environment remains un-spoilt.

The stunning (http://www.info-toyama.com/english/index.htmlmountain range of Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is an enormous pulling power because the scenic views will literally melt the heart. This special route is approximately 90 kilometers long and this exquisite natural paradise is called the “roof of Japan.” The North Alpine mountain range is a place where seeing-is-believing and if you have never been to this part of Japan before then once bitten always smitten. Another special feature is the transportation system which enhances everything and this applies to the train system, cable car, ropeway, highland bus routes and trolley bus. Therefore, depending on when you travel to this part of Japan you can see the first signs of new life during the spring period, feel the increasing power of the sun throughout the summer time, witness the adorable red leaves of autumn and view the first snow falls which changes the landscape quickly. However, the area does close during the real cold winter time because the snow falls are too deep and dangerous.

In an earlier article by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that “If you want to witness magnificent “Snow Walls” then you must visit between the middle of April to the end of May. The “Snow Walls” are very beautiful and it is an amazing experience and clearly this season is very popular. It must also be added that the Murodo-daira area of Tateyama on average reaches roughly seven meters of snow during the winter season. Also, in some areas you have snowdrifts reaching around twenty meters and the region gets some of the heaviest snow falls in the world.”

“The Kurobe Dam is a major tourist attraction and from June 26 to October 15 you can witness the water discharge from the dam which is spectacular to say the least. Therefore, this central point is a lovely place to visit and the panorama views are amazing and this applies to the Tateyama Mountain Range and the North Alpine area.”

Another lovely feature of the Kurobe Dam is that you can enjoy boat trips on Kurobe Lake and gently walk around parts of the lake at your own pace. In every direction you will see adorable views which will last long in the memory. The Kurobe Gorge is beyond your wildest dreams. Also, the Kurobe Gorge Railway transportation system will enhance everything. This applies to providing amazing views while you travel in this adorable part of Japan. The ropeways and cable cars which connect everything also blend naturally within the environment and this is because of the care of the local government.

Throughout Toyama you have so many amazing places to visit that the following places are only a partial list. Therefore, it is essential to check all the websites provided in this article and to search around carefully. This partial list applies to the stunning Kurobe Valley; the fascinating Gokayama Village which is rightly a World Heritage site; the Unazuki-onsen which is a pearl of a place to visit because it soothes the body and mind; the Zuiryu-ji Temple which connects people with the bigger picture in life; the amazing Shogawa-kyo Valley area; and a host of other amazing places to visit.

Another (http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/regional/toyama/) important website to visit is the Japan National Tourism Organization because this website provides essential information about Toyama Prefecture. Also, like the name implies, the Japan National Tourism Organization provides information about tourist destinations throughout Japan.

Toyama prefecture is very special!

http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/regional/toyama/index.html

http://www.alpen-route.com/english/

http://www.kurotetu.co.jp/en/index.html

http://www.info-toyama.com/english/index.html

http://www.alpen-route.com/english/Highlight_theater/index.html

http://www.kurobe-dam.com/

http://www.alpen-route.com/english/map/index.html Alpine Route Map

http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/destinations/

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

August 9, 2012

Tokyo fashion and vibrant Beijing: Roberto Cavalli and expansion in Northeast Asia

Tokyo fashion and vibrant Beijing: Roberto Cavalli and expansion in Northeast Asia

Kanako Itamae, Michel Lebon and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Roberto Cavalli towards late 2011 opened a new store in the exquisite area of Aoyama in Tokyo. Other companies like Akris, Bally, Freitag and many more also targeted the vibrant city of Tokyo in the same year. In 2012 the continuing growth of Roberto Cavalli can be seen throughout Northeast Asia by the recent opening of a new store in Beijing, China.

It is clear that in recent years the popularity of major cities in China like Beijing and Shanghai, and a host of others, are attracting the crème de la crème of international fashion companies. Therefore, Roberto Cavalli recently opened the first phase of a new store in the vibrant city of Beijing.

Roberto Cavalli commented that “Beijing is becoming one of the most vibrant and glamorous capitals in the world. It was time to open a Roberto Cavalli boutique to give the possibility to my many Chinese fans to discover my world in its entirety. For years, the most beautiful movie actresses of this country have loved wearing my collections on the international red carpet … Now my fashion and my style will be accessible to all. The femininity and beauty of Asian women has always inspired me …”

It is clear that Roberto Cavalli speaks from the heart because his words hit a chord immediately. When Roberto Cavalli spoke about Tokyo he stated that “Tokyo is on the world’s stage of fashion, glamour, and sophistication.  This is a city of energy and inspiration.” He continued by stating that “I wanted to create a boutique in which elegance dominates, for both women and for men, in a welcoming and exclusive atmosphere, in which each person can totally fulfill their dreams and desires. I have always been extremely interested in Japanese culture…..”

Therefore, the vibrant reality of both Beijing and Tokyo appealed greatly to Roberto Cavalli. Equally important alongside the trendy reality of both major cities is the purchasing power which is enormous. Also, like Roberto Cavalli commented For years, the most beautiful movie actresses of this country have loved wearing my collections,” and now his new collections are open to the people of Beijing and Tokyo.

The new Roberto Cavalli store in Beijing is based in the highly acclaimed arcade area of the Peninsula Hotel. Therefore, just like Roberto Cavalli picked Aoyama in Tokyo because of sophistication, style, and the richness of architecture. He also decided on this part of Beijing because it is known for exquisite brands which sell luxury products to eager clients.

April 18, 2012, was the initial opening time whereby the first phase was implemented and the second phase is hoping to be finished by early 2013. It is reported that once everything is put into place then Roberto Cavalli will visit Beijing.

In an article published on http://fibre2fashion.com it is stated that “The Beijing store hosts the women’s and men’s prêt-à-porter collections, as well as the accessories, eyewear, perfumes, time-wear and kidswear collections. The layout of the space has been specifically designed in such a way to emphasize the various product categories present in the store.”

Once everything is completed then the ground floor will cater for fashionable ladies and the basement area will cater for stylish men who adore quality in abundance. Also, the store will provide a special VIP room whereby individuals will be fully cared for in their requests for finding new and beautiful clothes. At the same time, great detail will be put on the design of the store and the same applies to the layout. Therefore, for fashion lovers it will be a great experience in trendy Beijing.

In an earlier article by Modern Tokyo Times related to why Roberto Cavalli picked Aoyama in Tokyo it was stated that “Also, you have stylish and exquisite shopping stores in this exclusive fashion district which includes Boutique W, Dress Camp, Flair Aoyama, Loveless and other stunning shopping stores. Therefore, Roberto Cavalli picked an ideal location because the proximity of Aoyama to Omotesando, Harajuku and Shibuya means the entire area is awash with creativity, exquisite boutiques, energy, sophistication, changing styles and one long and continuous fashion scene, which would grace any major city in the world.

Therefore, it is clear that Roberto Cavalli thought deeply before picking ideal locations for his new stores in Beijing and Tokyo. True to nature, he picked places based on sophistication, grace and panache.

 

Roberto Cavalli Aoyama Boutique, SS Minami Aoyama 1/2F, 5-5-4.

http://www.robertocavalli.com/

www.net-a-porter.com/Roberto_Cavalli

AOYAMA SHOPPING LINKS TO HELP TOKYOITES AND TOURISTS

http://www.japan-hotels.ws/tokyo/aoyama/shopping.htm

http://www.aoyama-net.com/fashionmap/index.htm  – Map of where the fashions companies are

http://tokyofashion.com/tag/aoyama/    – Aoyama fashion

http://www.fibre2fashion.com/news/fashion-news/newsdetails.aspx?news_id=110224

Lee Jay Walker helped in the article related to background information.

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com  

http://moderntokyotimes.com