Posts tagged ‘tokyo women’

January 23, 2012

Tokyo tourism and Odaiba: backwater to fashion, architecture and ultra modernity

Tokyo tourism and Odaiba: backwater to fashion, architecture and ultra modernity

Sarah Deschamps and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

In Tokyo several places really stand out for being unique in style and this certainly applies to Odaiba. If this is your first visit to Tokyo then Odaiba is a must because of the stunning architecture on show. Also, if you travel by New Transit Yurikamome by connecting at Shimbashi Train Station, then your first view of Odaiba and the entire area will always stay with you because this ultra-modern transport system highlights the creativity of buzzing Tokyo. Therefore, in the modern period Odaiba is clearly on the tourist map and a must place to escape the madding crowds of buzzing Shinjuku, Shibuya, and many other high octane areas like Ikebukuro.

However, not so long ago this part of Tokyo was rundown and the future looked bleak. This is difficult to imagine given the trendy boutiques on show in several elegant shopping malls and the beach which is a welcome escape. Also, at night the stunning Rainbow Bridge is a treat in itself and the same applies to watching boats passing by with people enjoying life.

Yet in the early 1990s this scene was difficult to predict because the bubble economy meant that new hope for Odaiba seemed distant. Indeed the history of Odaiba is fascinating by itself because this part of Tokyo was constructed in 1851 to keep America and others at bay. However, the winds of change meant that this dream couldn’t be maintained because Western encroachment was spilling all over Asia.

It is somewhat ironic today that you have a Statue of Liberty based in Odaiba with its French roots. This iconic image for Americans and people all over the world is a little out of place in Japan and the same applies to the history of this district which was built to keep international trade at bay.

The next major push to alter Odaiba was a public park which was refurbished in 1928 and the remnants of this venture remains today with further modernizations. However, the real momentum for Odaiba was based on the success of the Expo ’85 which was held in Tsukuba. Therefore, with the economy being in full swing in this period and the success of Tsukuba, major plans were made to turn Odaiba into a futuristic city.

This applied to designing places for exclusive living, modern architecture, important business structures, and other relevant areas. Yet after the bubble economy much of the new planning appeared like one big disaster because by the middle of the 1990s you had many vacant lots, a minor population which couldn’t maintain Odaiba and other areas were still a wasteland.  Therefore, development was very uneven and far from being a showcase it was a remnant of over-spending and grand ideas which seemed out of place.

However, in 1996 fresh thinking emerged which laid the foundation for a buzzing Odaiba and this applies to allowing entertainment districts and commercial ventures. Within a short time trendy shopping malls were entering the scene along with hotels and large companies which would alter the landscape. This can be seen today by the iconic Fuji TV building which was a trendsetter and even today it is a famous landmark. Also, new transportation links opened up the area and the attractiveness of the seaside became a winner which would be connected with the park, trendy shopping malls, new entertainment ventures and other important factors.

In an earlier article about Odaiba by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that “Odaiba is a major tourist area in Tokyo and the beauty of this place is that you feel that you are visiting a different Tokyo because of the beach, walkways, Statue of Liberty, and the colorful boats which light up the see at night.  Therefore, while Odaiba is full of life during the day it is also true that the atmosphere changes at night because of the stunning views of Rainbow Bridge at night.” 

“Odaiba is also a great place for romance because at night you will see many romantic couples walking hand in hand and you will often see people smooching near the beach area or on the beach.”

“The development of Fuji TV Building, Tokyo Big Sight, Telecom Center, and other futuristic buildings, all helped to create a new Odaiba.  Each new lavish development complimented Odaiba and by the end of the 1990s it was clear that tourism would begin to take off.”

  

In the Odaiba of 2012 you have many lovely boutiques to visit in Decks Tokyo Beach and Aquacity Odaiba. The boutiques are a mixture of Japanese fashion and international fashion and clearly many Tokyoites love to visit these fashionable malls. Also, in Aquacity Odaiba you have a major cinema complex and the wooden decks outside provide stunning views of Rainbow Bridge from various different angles.

Another great place to find elegant boutiques is Venus Fort which is designed like an eighteenth century South European town. The boutiques and restaurants in Venus Fort mix well with the stylish architecture. Therefore, the fashion aspect of Odaiba can’t be ignored and you have many conventions for cosplay and other trendy aspects of Japanese culture.

Tourists are also spoilt for choice because you have many tourist attractions and this notably applies to Telecom Center Area; Odaiba Seaside Park; Daikanransha Ferris Wheel; Museum of Maritime Science; National Museum of Emerging Science; Ariake Colosseum; Palette Town; Leisureland; Toyota Mega Web; Oedo Onsen Monogatari; Panasonic Center; Zepp Tokyo; and Tokyo Big Sight is a huge exhibition and convention center and the architecture is extremely bold.

In 2012 you have more grand designs in the pipeline and clearly Odaiba will continue to flourish. The beach is a welcome place to relax and Rainbow Bridge at night is truly beautiful.  Therefore, if you are new to Tokyo then Odaiba is a must place to visit because you will witness an ultra-modern area which is fused together with modern tourist concepts.

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3008.html

http://www.aquacity.jp/en/shop/fashion01_2.html

http://www.venusfort.co.jp/multi/index_e.html 

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

July 27, 2011

Akihabara: escapism, modernity, maid cafe ladies and raw energy

Akihabara: escapism, modernity, maid cafe ladies and raw energy

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Tokyo is a very dynamic city and each district is special for various factors and the natural ambience changes quickly.  In Akihabara the distinctive nature of this place is because of the latest high tech gadgets on sale and if you want to buy the latest electronic models then you have come to the right place.  However, Akihabara is not just about electronic goods it is also famous for maid café bars, anime and a place where otaku can buy countless goods which are in demand.

Akihabara is a place which either suits you greatly or it isn’t your cup of tea and this is because of the nature of this part of Tokyo.  In Harajuku you have the vibrancy of youth and changing fashion styles. If you walk along the main street which connects you with Omotesando, then it is clear that you are in fashion paradise.  Not only this, you have the stunning Meiji shrine in the same environment near Harajuku train station and the ambient buzz of Omotesando Hills. Therefore, this area is a fantastic fusion of fashion, culture, and history.

However, in Akihabara this place really connects with people who suit what this place provides.  Therefore, Akihabara may not have the sophistication of Harajuku but if you want to visit an area which is buzzing because of commerce and escapism then Akihabara caters for you.

Maid café bars have spread from Akihabara to countless other nations and this is an increasing pulling power alongside anime and otaku goods.  This in itself means that surrealism and realism blends together like the fusion of life and this all adds to the uniqueness of Akihabara.   

It matters not if Akihabara is not your classical part of Tokyo because this place is internationally famous in its own right and with the booming nature of maid café bars then you feel like you have entered into another world. 

All major cities in the world have places of high fashion and independent fashion but in most major European cities you don’t have anything like Akihabara.  Therefore, this place is a magnet for tourists based on the latest electronic gadgets, anime, otaku culture, maid café bars and in the back streets you can also find old gadgets and computer games. This means that if you love searching around for hidden old computer games then Akihabara is a gem of a place to visit because it caters for old school individuals.

In another article I wrote about Akihabara I stated that “…the electronic beauty of Akihabara is that it is not only famous for newly developed electronic goods which have just entered the market but it is also a place where the old world of electronic goods can be found.  If you are nostalgic and see the world in pixels or you dream about the first videogame which got you fascinated by this new world. Then Akihabara also provides ample opportunities to search around and find your hidden childhood.”

“The Tokyo Anime Center is another added attraction which is located in Akihabara.  Although the building is not huge it is certainly welcoming and you can obtain information in Chinese, English, and Korean, and of course in the native language.”

“In the past Akihabara was staunchly known for being famous for electrical goods but the growth of anime and maid café is changing all this and now all are part and parcel of Akihabara and this fusion makes the visit even more intriguing and distinctive.”

“Therefore, the world of Dragon Ball, Evangelion, Mazinger Z, Ultra Man, and for me, Ghost in the Shell, opens up and the rich culture of Nara seems like a different planet. In truth, this is the beauty of Japan because it offers many worlds and environments within the same nation and clearly Tokyo is a city where you can find ample diversity and the same can be said about Osaka.”

This means that Akihabara is a gaming and anime heaven and for people who are fascinated by both then locals and tourists alike will certainly love the environment of Akihabara.

Maid café bars also attract many people and this image for tourists is now very potent and it should not be underestimated irrespective of your thinking.  After all, many nations have borrowed from Akihabara and this helps to keep the place fresh and open to new changes.

It is true that in Osaka you will find maid café bars and you have a few in Shinjuku but it appears much more natural in Akihabara because of the environment.  However, you also have a distinctive feel in Osaka because the culture in this city is very different from Tokyo and this applies to the energy level and places like Namba and Umeda are very dynamic.

Ladies involved in working in the maid café bar sector do dress sexily in a cute way and they look very appealing and with a special charm.  However, just like the world of anime it is an illusion and you don’t have sexual overtones in proper maid café bars.

It could be said that maid café ladies are the modern version of the old geisha in Japan but based on different concepts and with much more innocence. Therefore, while traditional geisha was based on a more subtle, placid and gentle role this can’t be said completely for maid café ladies. After all, while the piety part will apply via language it is clear that maid café ladies are more commercial and the bond between client and staff will also be different and clearly environmental factors and time are a million miles away.

Overall, it is easy to understand the appeal of Akihabara and this part of Tokyo ticks to a different beat but the beat continues to pulsate and attract vast numbers of people.

http://akihabara-tour.com/

http://www.e-akihabara.jp/en/index.htm

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com  

July 2, 2011

Tokyo fashion: creativity, independent and high fashion

Tokyo fashion: a never ending magnet for creativity and high fashion

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

 

Milan, Paris, London, New York, and other major fashion cities in the world, have their own unique styles. However, in Tokyo you have so much variety and when you mix this with the rich environment, huge population and ongoing creativity; then it becomes abundantly clear that Tokyo is one of the best fashion cities in the world.

In truth, it is very difficult to judge which city is the best fashion place in the world because you have so many variables and language issues. Therefore, research may be tainted by geographic and linguistic factors and fashion also depends on individual tastes, influences of culture and other important issues.

However, without a shadow of a doubt Tokyo is amongst the crème de la crème and having visited or resided in other major cities; for example London, Paris, and a host of other famous cities; then at no time have I witnessed such a vibrant fashion scene which exists in Tokyo.

Modern Tokyo Times image

The uniqueness of Tokyo fashion is that you have so many districts to visit and in some of the lesser named districts like Kichijoji, Jiyugaoka, Nakano, Naka Meguro, Daikanyama and Shimo Kitazawa, you also have a vibrant fashion scene which caters for the style of each area and this is the beauty of Tokyo.

Harajuku, Omotesando, Ginza, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Roppongi Hills and Aoyama are more internationally famous and these districts hog the main headlines.  However, the lesser named districts’ enables Tokyo to become such a powerful fashion powerhouse. Also, Ebisu, Ikebukuro and Ueno have their supporters and the west side of Ikebukuro is awash with fashion and the east side is always buzzing and the Lumine shopping complex holds many lovely fashion companies

Modern Tokyo Times image

Aoyama and Omotesando are avant-garde, sophisticated, haute couture and chic places to visit because you have endless exquisite boutiques.  The architecture is also part of the image and in Aoyama and Omotesando the crème de la crème fashion companies are a treasure for Tokyo.

In Aoyama you have stylish and chic fashion companies and this applies to Comme des Garcons, Prada, 10 Corso Como, L’eclaireur, Miyake, Issey, Yohji Yamamoto, Artisan, Loveless, Stella McCartney, Mark Jacobs, Bathing Ape, Tsumori Chisato, Diane Von Furstenberg, Undercover, Design Works, Frapbois, and many others like Deuxieme Classe.

True to the nature of Tokyo then despite Aoyama and Omotesando sharing the same area of Tokyo the client base is different.  This applies to the diversity of Omotesando because in the backstreets you have more independent boutiques and street style fashion can also be found.  Therefore, Omotesando is really diverse and this applies to the layout because Omotesando is between Harajuku and Aoyama and kawaii culture, cosplay and other trends including independent fashion and more casual street fashion is awash in Harajuku.

Therefore, age groups, fashion styles and other factors are unique to each area. However, parts of Omotesando overlap in the backstreets and this factor and the natural buzz of Harajuku can be felt alongside the avant-garde and haute couture of Omotesando.

http://www.smackyglam.com – Smackyglam image

In Omotesando you have many top notch fashion companies and I really love the style and layout of Tracy Reese.  Tracy Reese have lovely styles and color schemes and like SmackyGlam in Lumine in Ikebukuro, and other parts of Tokyo; both these two distinctive companies blend fashion with extreme care about image and the quality is exquisite.

In Harajuku you have an area of Tokyo which continues to grow in stature and international appeal. Sebastian Masuda who is the founder of 6%DOKIDOKI is part of the vibrancy of Tokyo fashion because his creativity and fashion styles have impacted on the “real underbelly of Harajuku.”

Sebastian Masuda – 6%DOKIDOKI

Kawaii culture in Tokyo goes back several decades but this unique style which belongs to Japan continues to develop and modify.  6%DOKIDOKI is part and parcel of kawaii culture and the ongoing vibrancy of this unique style. However, Sebastian Masuda does not pertain to any single style because he is a creator and styles come from 6%DOKIDOKI.  Therefore, Sebastian Masuda is not a follower of fashion but he is a rare creator of fashion and styles.

This in itself adds to the aura of 6%DOKIDOKI and clearly they have a strong appeal within aspects of Tokyo fashion and an international following which loves the vibrancy of this company.

In Shibuya you have a hub of fashion within Shibuya 109 and the vibes of Center Gai and Koen Dori are alive with fashion conscious people.  Shibuya means high octane fashion and the famous crossing is mega busy and the youthfulness of Shibuya and Harajuku can be felt powerfully.

In Shibuya you also have SmackyGlam and you have countless boutiques which include the innovative Candy.  Marui, Parco and other leading stores are based in Shibuya and the Marui store in Shinjuku is a must place to visit because of the style, layout and diverse fashion within this store. 

Modern Tokyo Times image – Lumine

Grimoire is another amazing fashion company and Dolly-kei and other fashion styles can be seen and this store is what makes Tokyo fashion so great. The same applies to 6%DOKIDOKI because you have real venture, innovation and fresh ideas.  Grimoire is managed by the elegant looking Hitomi Nomura and is owned by Naoaki Tobe and this store is on the border of Harajuku and Shibuya.

In Shinjuku and Nishi Shinjuku you have major department stores and this includes Isetan, Keio, Lumine, Marui, Mitsukoshi ALCOTT, Odakyu, Takashimaya and Mylord. Each department store provides quality of the highest and if you are a fashion guru then you need time to check the ample fashion on show.

Modern Tokyo Times image

In another article I stated about Shinjuku that “It is unfair to pick any one individual company because they all have a wide selection of brands and I am more familiar with Lumine but also visit Odakyu and Keio often and my visit to Takashimaya was very pleasurable.  Also, I know that Isetan is widely liked throughout Japan and Mitsukoshi, despite setbacks in Ikebukuro after closing their store, is very different in places like Shinjuku, Nihonbashi and Ebisu. In truth, Ikebukuro clashed too much with the nature of Mitsukoshi and this department store is vibrant in Shinjuku.” 

Marui One in Shinjuku and Isetan are very vibrant and energetic and both stores have amazing fashion on display.  The Marui One is extremely diverse and caters for Tokyo fashion, modern kimono, princess fashion, casual styles, fantasy fashion, Visual kei, Lolita, Gothic, and dreamy fashion.  Therefore, Mauri One is a great shopping experience and Isetan also understands the pulse of Tokyo and Japan and both stores are creative and exquisite. 

6%DOKIDOKI and Sebastian Masuda

Tokyoites will understand the fashion scene and people from all over Japan and throughout the world visit this amazing fashionable city.  The international reputation of Tokyo in the fashion field continues to grow and the countless number of areas to visit is what makes Tokyo fashion so unique and special.

 

http://www.dokidoki6.com/    (6%DOKIDOKI website)

http://www.metrocity.nl/tokyo/streetfashion/harajuku-fashion/

http://shibuyafashion.metrocity.nl/

http://sebastianz.jugem.jp/   (Sebastian Masuda – also, please read about the Mighty Harajuku Project)

http://www.maruione.jp/en/

http://6girls.jugem.jp/  

http://www.parco.co.jp/customer/

http://www.lov-lab.com/  

http://tokyofashion.com/6dokidoki-world-tour-harajuku-kawaii-experience/   (Many images of 6%DOKIDOKI)

http://yaplog.jp/grimoire-blog/

http://www.omotesandohills.com/english/shops-restaurants/index.html  

http://www.tracyreese.com/c-45-dresses.aspx  

http://www.smackyglam.com/

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

http://tokyofashion.com/candy-sister-fashion-shibuya/  

http://moderntokyotimes.com

June 25, 2011

Katsushika Hokusai and Nobuyoshi Araki: Who is the more erotic? Part 3 of Hokusai

Katsushika Hokusai and Nobuyoshi Araki: Who is the more erotic?  Part 3 of Hokusai

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Katsushika Hokusai was born in 1760 and Nobuyoshi Araki was born in 1940 and today Araki still continues to take photo images. Hokusai is famously known throughout the world for The Great Wave off Kanagawa and his Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji. However, Araki is known for his sexual images and the unique erotic styles that he often takes but Araki is much more diverse than this because his work involves many different forms of photography.

Hokusai and Araki were born in different Japan’s but sexual artistic flair can be witnessed by both individuals because sexual images and erotic art forms belong to aspects of their respective work. 

Both individuals were born in Tokyo and while Hokusai is famous for non-erotic forms of art to most lay people the same can’t be said about Araki because Tokyo Lucky Hole is either extremely erotic or pornographic depending on your viewpoint. 

Irrespective if we use the word “erotic” or “pornographic” because people have different sensibilities the fact remains that Araki is extremely gifted and creative.  Like all photographers the artist will either appeal or not appeal. However, Araki is clearly showing a sexual and seedy side of Tokyo which not only exists but is quite prevalent in many main areas in modern day Tokyo.

Their different art forms can’t be compared because both were born in very different societies and technology, thought patterns, environmental differences and countless other factors, means that it is unfair to compare and counterproductive.

However, it is abundantly clear that the “erotic” side of aspects of their work is a uniting factor and both are famous sons of Tokyo. Yet, in the image of most art lovers both clearly have a distinctive connotation and mystery and while the “erotic” and seedy side of Tokyo creates image of Araki in the mind; it is clear that for most people Hokusai is deemed to be “a classical artist” and one of the most famous artists that graced the soil of Japan. 

Indeed the word “artist” and “contemporary artist” is also subjective because while Hokusai will smoothly fit into the word “artist” you will have different opinions towards Araki.  This applies to stating that Araki is a “contemporary artist” but for conservative individuals Araki will be tainted by the word “pornography.” Also, the vagueness of “contemporary artist” means that it is difficult to define in the absolute sense because different thought patterns view the world differently.  

The first time I ever saw work by Araki was in Manchester, England, when I viewed Tokyo Lucky Hole when I was around 19 years old.  My first impression, and coming from a non-artist background at the time, was “wow” and these ladies look “so hot” therefore for myself I viewed this to be pornographic when I was young but I did find it in the art section.

However, the more you view aspects of Araki’s work then it does become abundantly clear that in his field he is extremely talented and not everything is what it seems. 

In my article called “Nobuyoshi Araki shows the cultural side of Tokyo in the flesh” I state that Araki “…goes much further because this famous photographer opens up a Tokyo which is often neglected or not imagined.  He also fuses his photography with the landscape of Tokyo amidst naked bodies or ladies being tied up and his imagery is clearly powerful.”

“Therefore, Nobuyoshi Araki is also focusing on the emptiness of entertainment districts and the sex industry; albeit from an erotic human form and the energy and visual nature of his photography expresses many emotions.”

“Like any artist; people will see different things within his photography and while some people will gain from his works others may reject him on various grounds.  However, if you look deeper into his work then Nobuyoshi Araki is providing a real glimpse into a Tokyo which exists and not only this, he does this by creating a rare energy within simplistic and complex themes.”

Hokusai is in reverse because my first contact with the work of Hokusai was when I viewed The Great Wave off Kanagawa and Fuji in Clear Weather and this was followed by the Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji. Immediately I liked Hokusai because the sheer power of The Great Wave off Kanagawa was striking.  I therefore believed that Hokusai was similar to John Constable (a classical artist from England who was born in 1776) who painted The Hay Wain and Dedham Vale and many other classic paintings.

Yet, many years later I viewed the The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife by Hokusai and other images from Kinoe No Komatsu which is a collection of shunga.  I was shocked because I never understood this side of Hokusai and The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife is not only erotic but it mind boggling because of the perverse nature of what is happening.  

In my article called “Katsushika Hokusai and erotic art: The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife (Part 2 of Hokusai)” I comment that “The image shows a lady who was deemed to be a shell diver (ama) with her legs wide apart while the fully grown octopus performs cunnilingus.  She is fully naked and her breasts and hairy pussy are clearly visible and her body is clearly welcoming both the fully grown octopus and the small and younger octopus.”

“The eyes of the fully grown octopus are really striking because while performing cunnilingus on the lady it is clear that the eyes are fully focused on her face and pleasure and satisfaction belong to both.”

“It is suggested that the small octopus may be the son and if so then this makes the sexual experience even more erotic to some or alternatively “on the edge” for others.  Either way, only Hokusai really knows the role of the small octopus but it is clear that the lady is enjoying the power of the fully grown octopus and the magical touch of the younger octopus which is fondling her nipple and mouth.”

“Her face depicts complete sexual bliss and in the image it appears that nature and humans are one and the same.  Yes, visually different; however, enjoying the sexual experience together.”                                                                                  

“The image which is graphic is also based on consent, pleasure, joy, and bliss.”

Other images by Hokusai are also extremely sexual and graphic between people having sex and maybe just like Araki showing the seedy side of modern Tokyo it could be said that Hokusai was also doing the same.  However, the image where a woman is happily spreading her pussy so that she can feel the pleasure of an octopus and clearly feeling orgasmic; then for myself this image is not only mind boggling it is mysterious, perverse, erotic and showing images of pleasure all into one image. 

The scholar Danielle Talerico desires to put this image into the context of the Princess Tamatori story which was well-known in the Edo period. However, Hokusai may have played on this in order to create something else because in the Princess Tamatori story she dies from her wounds.  However, in Hokusai’s work it is clear that sexual pleasure and mutual gratification is taking place and the image does not show fear.

This is getting away from the point of Hokusai and Araki and the question of who is the more erotic.  Of course, people will have different opinions and again time, environment and other factors will make the judgment difficult.

Also, because of the very nature of art and different thought patterns then some may deem Hokusai to be “a master artist” or “a perverted artist” when it came to shunga. The same applies to Araki because to some people his work is “erotic art” but to others it is “pornography” and not artistic. Also, can aspects of pornography be deemed to be artistic?

This minefield does not belong to this article and despite all the sexual images by Araki I believe that Hokusai’s work was more erotic and this applies to many images from his Kinoe No Komatsu collection.  More to the point, the image of The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife is in a different dimension to anything that Araki created.

Obviously both individuals have created their work within themselves and their respective work is not based on competition with anyone.  However, the point is that while Hokusai remains within the fold of “classical artist” it is clear that Araki “is on the edge” and either he is well liked or disregarded. 

Yet, if Araki is disregarded based on his subject matter then clearly the same does not apply to Hokusai.  Both individual have opened up a door to “a hidden Japan” which is “not so hidden” for people who reside in major cities like Tokyo and Osaka. 

However, when it comes to erotic images then The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife by Hokusai takes some beating and the power of this image remains today.

 

http://www.asia.si.edu/exhibitions/online/hokusai/launch.htm   (Hokusai)

http://www.hokusai-kan.com/treasure01.htm  (Hokusai)

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2011/05/31/katsushika-hokusai-japanese-artist-with-a-rich-legacy-part-one/  

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2011/06/03/katsushika-hokusai-and-erotic-art-the-dream-of-the-fisherman%e2%80%99s-wife-part-2-of-hokusai/

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2011/04/02/nobuyoshi-araki-shows-the-cultural-side-of-tokyo-in-the-flesh/

http://fantomatik75.blogspot.com/2010/02/les-cordes-nobuyashi-araki.html (images taken from this website when applies to Araki but photos remain within the search engine but problems with modern website)

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

June 13, 2011

Harajuku street fashion and praying at the Meiji Shrine

Harajuku street fashion and praying at the Meiji Shrine

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Harajuku is famous for fashion and latest trends and the atmosphere is dynamic. Therefore, Harajuku is one of the most popular places to visit in Tokyo.  The beauty of Harajuku is that when you leave the Harajuku train station on the Yamanote Line you have two distinct options and people often mix both together if they are tourists.  This applies to visiting the stunning Meiji Shrine which is a major Shinto place of worship or browsing around the diverse fashion area. 

The Shinto religion is the indigenous faith of Japan and unlike Buddhism it fuses Japanese folklore with history and mythology.  Often you will see Shinto shrines and small statutes in the mountains of Japan and everything appears natural. 

The Meiji Shrine is a fantastic place to visit because nature and Shinto blends naturally and tourists, Tokyoites and religious people feel at ease immediately.  The serenity and architecture amongst the beauty of nature is very powerful and time and space will mean different things to each individual. However, you can certainly feel the pulse of something irrespective if it is Shinto mysticism or your own personal feelings. 

During my visits to Buddhist temples I feel nothing but I admire the architecture and in special temples the beauty of the gardens are amazing.  However, the kami spirits seem mysterious and irrespective if in the Meiji Shrine or the mountains of Japan; the mystery of life and nature does seem alive in Shintoism.

The beauty of the Shinto faith is that it also allows reality and does not seek to enforce pressure on individuals.  Therefore, before entering the main entrance you will see young Japanese people dressed in diverse styles of fashion and despite the closeness of this area to the Meiji Shrine, it is clear that no pressure is being put on fashion lovers who are within meters of the main entrance.

Leaving the religious world behind and visiting the fashion areas of Harajuku is a good way to understand Japan and Shintoism.  It is about co-existence in the modern world and the free spirit of Shintoism and the diverse kami which exist in nature and animism.

Literally within one minute or two minutes of leaving Harajuku train station you are either in the environment of the Meiji Shrine, Yoyogi Park or the fashion area of the Takeshita Dori or the more upmarket main street.  Therefore, the choice is yours and this is what makes Harajuku so special.

Also, the more you venture in Harajuku then you will also enter Omotesando and the fashion changes to high brands and exquisite fashion.  In truth, high quality and individualistic brands can be found throughout Harajuku and Omotesando and 6%DOKIDOKI and Tracy Reese sum up the fashion area.

This applies to the striking individualism of the fashion designer Sebastian Masuda and his dedicated staff at 6%DOKIDOKI because this fashion company represents the Harajuku feel and spirit of freedom. The color schemes at 6%DOKIDOKI are amazing and the style is vibrant and energetic.

 
6%DOKIDOKI and Sebastian Masuda

Meanwhile Tracy Reese represents the elegance of fashion in America and both companies represent the richness and beauty of fashion.  Therefore, just like the pluralism of Shintoism you have the rich diversity of fashion in Harajuku and Omotesando.

If you are a first time visitor to Tokyo then Harajuku should be high on your list because you can just soak up the atmosphere and the changes which can be found in this diverse part of Tokyo.  From the heart of Japanese religion which is represented at the Meiji Shrine to the creativity of fashion and designers like Sebastian Masuda.

In Harajuku the old world and new world does not clash because the environment is based on harmony and co-existence.  Also, the Meiji Shrine is blessed with stunning walks and this enables people to contemplate and think about the richness of this life.

 

http://www.meijijingu.or.jp/english/   (Meiji Shrine)

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3006.html (Places to visit)

http://www.dokidoki6.com/ (6%DOKIDOKI fashion)

http://www.omotesandohills.com/english/shops-restaurants/index.html  

http://www.tracyreese.com/c-45-dresses.aspx  (Tracy Reese fashion)

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

June 2, 2011

Tokyo ladies and daily fashion

Tokyo ladies and daily fashion

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

6%DOKIDOKI and Sebastian Masuda highlight the raw energy and vibrancy of Tokyo fashion.

Fashion in Tokyo is very important and this applies to both sexes and the quality and styles are so diverse.  Therefore, Tokyo is a fashion paradise for fashion lovers and you have so many places to visit in this amazing city in order to view the latest trends or to try on new clothes.

It is clear that Tokyo is a fashion Mecca because you have so many areas of high quality fashion shops, independent fashion and mega department stores.  Therefore, within a short distance you can witness the different styles of Ginza, Harajuku, Omotesando, Ikebukuro, Shibuya, Ebisu, Aoyama, Shinjuku, Ueno, and in other parts of this city. 

 

Also, within Harajuku you have a huge variety of fashion and this applies to kawaii culture, individual styles, upwardly mobile and high brand designs can be found within the environment of Harajuku, Omotesando Hills and Aoyama which is very exclusive. 

Therefore, the age group also changes because parts of Harajuku and Shibuya are buzzing with trendy teenagers or young adults. However, Omotesando Hills and Aoyama caters for the wealthy and adults of various ages can be seen browsing around and buying high quality and exclusive products.

6%DOKIDOKI and fashion designer Sebastian Masuda

Shibuya is the same because some areas are completely alive with young teenagers and young adults but mixed within this are high quality department stores.  Also, the closeness of Shibuya, Omotesando, Harajuku and Aoyama means that you can feel the energy and natural flow of the changing styles.

If you are a fashion lover then Tokyo is your city because the diversity is amazing and fashion designers have a rare edge because some designers like Sebastian Masuda (6%DOKIDOKI) and Takashi Aoki (Macaronic) have creativity in abundance.

Both Sebastian Masuda and Takashi Aoki are based in Harajuku and the beauty of this part of Tokyo is that the independent spirit is still alive and kicking.  Yes, of course you have famous international and Japanese brands in Harajuku and Omotesando but it is designers like Sebastian Masuda and Takashi Aoki which inspire.

Kawaii culture and fashion companies like 6%DOKIDOKI have developed a strong following throughout the world because of the stunning color schemes on offer and the huge creativity which can be seen.

Therefore, if you log on to Twitter or Facebook it is clear that young teenagers and adults from France, Indonesia, America, and all over the world, have a taste for Tokyo fashion.

This is because of the creativity on offer and when you add this to the amazing environment of Tokyo then it is easy to see why Tokyo is so popular and a world famous city. 

If I ever feel blue then a walk around Harajuku while listening to house/trance music perks me up because I can relax by watching the natural street fashion on show.

Fashion companies like 6%DOKIDOKI, Comme des Garcons, SmackyGlam, ato, Macaronic, Candy Stripper, and a host of others; are extremely diverse and they cater for a huge difference in taste.

This adds up to an amazing fashion scene and the fashion blends within the environment that the shops are located and this fact is what is so fantastic about Tokyo.

http://www.dokidoki6.com/

http://www.smackyglam.com/

http://candystripper.net/

http://www.macaronic.jp/

http://tokyofashion.com/

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

May 27, 2011

Tokyo: Shiseido The Ginza is where cosmetics and décor melts into a pure beauty experience

Tokyo: Shiseido The Ginza is where cosmetics and décor melts into a pure beauty experience

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

 

Ginza is located in a very refined and exquisite part of Tokyo and Shiseido The Ginza blends into its environment perfectly.  The total beauty facility is not only based on the highest of beauty products but the style of the entire store is based on panache and an environment which focuses on pure luxury.

Shiseido is a company with a very rich history and this can be seen by the store in Ginza because each of the three floors is based on a new experience whereby shoppers can engage themselves amongst the sophistication which is on offer.  Of course, this sophistication is matched by the quality of the products on offer and by staff who represent the finest of qualities which befit Shiseido.

Tokyo ladies and women who are visiting Tokyo will not find a finer place to shop around and enjoy the fabulous layout of each floor.  This applies to product sampling areas, beauty parlors, a photo studio and state of the art technology whereby customers can interact and make the most of their visit to Shiseido The Ginza.

On the second floor you will find highly trained staff who will listen to your needs and who will cater for your desires or any questions that you may have.  The first floor is where you will find quality product after quality product and the usage of technology is a wonder to behold. 

Therefore, Tokyo ladies and visiting ladies can experiment with digital cosmetic mirrors which are fully interactive and once the barcode is entered of the product which took the eye of the customer; then this will show the person how it will look once it is matched with the customers face.  This enables the individual to utilize all the various colors which are on offer and the image also shows the look from different angles and this is pure luxury mixed with convenience and style.

Counselors are on standby in order to help people with their skin types or other related areas of care and this all adds to the experience of each individual feeling special.  Added to this, estheticians are available and with all the knowledge that they have learnt from the Shiseido Academy of Beauty & Fashion; then the customer is bound to get the highest quality of care and attention.

The third floor is the finishing touch because the exquisite notch just increased even further and customers now have counseling rooms which cater for the individual and this applies to premium Shiseido products.  The booths which are designed for private usage all adds to the whole experience for the customer and the third floor is based on a luxury décor format alongside quality technology which shows the ethics and care of Shiseido.

If Tokyo ladies and visiting women to Tokyo love cosmetics and beauty products; then Shiseido The Ginza is a place to visit and because of the rich history of Shiseido then the quality on offer is of the finest.

Shiseido is always based on innovation and this is matched with exquisite products of pure quality and a visit to the Shiseido The Ginza is clear evidence that this company understands not only state of the art innovation; but, they understand the needs of modern ladies and their staff clearly care about each individual who visits.

http://stg.shiseido.co.jp/  – SHISEIDO THE GINZA

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com  

Image from http://nyabs.exblog.jp/14773731/

May 18, 2011

Ueno in Tokyo: fashion, culture, and a different environment

Ueno in Tokyo: fashion, culture, and a different environment

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

 

Ueno is in northern Tokyo and it differs from the exquisite and wealthy nature of Ebisu and Ginza.  Also, the fashion scene is very different when compared to Harajuku and Shibuya.  In truth, Ueno does not feel like modern Tokyo despite many major companies being based in the area.

Ikebukuro, which is the gateway to enter Tokyo from Saitama prefecture is distinctively Tokyo in feeling and atmosphere; but Ueno is a blend of old Tokyo and an energy which can be found in parts of Hong Kong. 

Ueno is also very vibrant and at the same time “on the edge” because you have an abundance of cultural places to visit but this is tinged with many homeless people in and around the main park in Ueno.

It certainly feels like the poorer neighbor of fashionable and trendy Omotesando in Tokyo.  However, this working feel and “on the edge” nature of Ueno adds to the creativity of many small sized retail companies and the street fashion of Ueno is energetic.

The very nature of Ueno means that people often have a strong comment to say about this part of Tokyo, irrespective if positive or negative.  However, Ueno is certainly a must visit for all tourists who will visit Tokyo because it provides its own energy and you have so many cultural places to visit.

My first ever visit to Ueno was an eye opener because I entered a shady area where you had many hostess clubs and women were tottering up and down in very sexy clothing.  This was followed by a visit to one of the many museums and then enjoying a walk in the park which had many beautiful views alongside images of many homeless people.

This fusion can be seen in the fashion of Ueno because despite having high quality fashion stores within the environment of Ueno station.  The real feel is street fashion and women are free from the high octane nature and pressure of Ebisu where wealth is visibly on show; irrespective if the individual is wealthy or not.

The Ameyokocho bazaar is very large and it caters for so many different products and this part of Ueno is certainly distinctive from the usual images of high fashion or powerful department stores which dominate throughout Tokyo.

Marui and other major department stores are now based in Ueno and major redevelopment is in full swing.  Therefore, parts of Ueno may succumb to the usual features of all major areas in Tokyo. However, the Ameyokocho bazaar, small retail companies, and shady parts of Ueno; means that this will add to the diverse nature of Ueno but in the near future it will not be able to destroy the unique atmosphere of this part of Tokyo.

If you love culture then Ueno can provide this in abundance and you have many museums and galleries to visit which are based mainly in the Ueno park area.

Tokyo National Museum boasts the most potent collection of Japanese art in the world and the exhibits on show will please all people who are interested in Japanese art, culture, and history. 

If you are interested in Buddhism then a visit to the Gallery of Horyuji Treasures is a must. In contrast to the Gallery of Horyuji Treasures you have the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art which focuses on contemporary art.

Other popular places to visit include the National Science Museum, National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, Shitamachi History Museum, Tosho-gu-Shrine, Iwasaki Family House, Yushima Tenjin, Ueno zoo, and seeing the statue of Saigo Takamori who was a samurai in old Japan who practiced ritual suicide.

Ueno is certainly worth a visit if either you are a tourist to Japan or a Japanese national from outside of Tokyo.  Of course many Tokyoites or people from Chiba or Saitama areas close to Ueno may also revere this part of Tokyo because of its rich diversity.

The street fashion of Ueno is strong despite recent developments which have brought trendy Marui and Arte to Ueno.  Therefore, Ueno now offers a broad array of fashion with more elegant and exquisite brands opening up for business but the street scene of Ueno remains vibrant.

At night the shady areas light up to the throngs of the sexual side of Tokyo and the “on edge” nature of Ueno adds to the vibrancy and energy of this most distinctive part of Tokyo.

http://www.tokyoessentials.com/ueno.html (about Ueno)

http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/regional/tokyo/ueno.html  (info about Ueno)

http://moderntokyotimes.com (please visit)

May 13, 2011

Tokyo ladies: fashion in Ikebukuro and Shibuya

Tokyo ladies: fashion in Ikebukuro and Shibuya

Lee Jay Walker 

Modern Tokyo Times

Smacky Glam – Modern Tokyo Times Image

In a survey by Kanebo Cosmetics it was reported that Tokyo ladies use more make-up than any other major city in Asia.  Fashion is also high on the agenda and for the modern Tokyo lady image, style, and dressing fashionable is a way of life.

Tokyo is awash with fashion and Daikanyama, Ebisu, Harajuku, Ikebukuro, Ginza, Omotesando, Shibuya, Shinjuku, and other areas in Tokyo, caters for fashion on a grand scale. 

This sector is extremely competitive and this applies to domestic companies and international companies.  Therefore, for Tokyo ladies they are spoilt for choice and “in places” and famous stores are competing for a slice of the enormous apple pie. 

In Ikebukuro the Lumine company is re-igniting fashion in this part of Tokyo and the west side of Ikebukuro is “breathing to a new fashion beat” because major restructuring is ongoing.  This applies to many fashion boutiques opening up in and around the train station.

Lumine is vibrant and full of energy and the décor is a wonder to behold and this is matched by an abundance of high quality stores which provide stylish clothes and other products.

The list of high quality companies in Lumine is too many to name but Smacky Glam (SmackyGlam) caters for ladies who love exquisite fabrics and designs.  This fashion outlet is full of panache and is ultra modern and this suits the modern Tokyo lady to the full.

Also, it is clear that space, design of the layout and the show of the products on offer is part and parcel of this exquisite company.  Smacky Glam therefore utilizes the natural environment of the Lumine layout and creates an image of modernity, style, and elegance.

This is matched by extremely high quality clothing and delightful color schemes which suit the modern Tokyo lady.  Smacky Glam, and other high quality companies in Lumine in Ikebukuro, have created an atmosphere of luxury, modernity, and creativity.

Ikebukuro is connected to Shibuya by several train lines and Shibuya is famous for its energy and it is a Mecca for young adults.

Shibuya is always buzzing and latest fads pass through Shibuya and Harajuku. Also, just like all major fashion areas in Tokyo, you have a distinctive feeling in Shibuya and the raw energy is noticeable.

Shibuya fashion is not just about extremes it is about a mixture of fashion styles and just like life, it is never static but always looking for a new creative feel.  Shibuya 109 is a hub for fashion and keeps on drawing in the crowds. If you want the more daring side of Shibuya then boutiques like Candy is for you or you can feel the vibes of the Center Gai area or Koen Dori.

Smacky Glam is also located in Shibuya given the fresh outlook of this company and the appeal of fashion in Shibuya is its rich diversity.  Boutiques like Candy, Smacky Glam, and a host of other fabulous fashion companies, can be found and the richness of styles is amazing.

Lumine in Ikebukuro – Modern Tokyo Times Image

Even if you are not a fashion guru you can feel the rich and youthful energy of Shibuya, therefore, if you desire to feel “the teenage or young adult within you” then it will be revitalized in Shibuya.

It is also noticeable that “Shibuya girls” care deeply about hair style and the “in colors” are blonde, reddish brown, light brown and a mixture of other colors.

Ikebukuro and Shibuya are very near and by the Saikyo Line it takes between 8 and 10 minutes or you can travel by the Yamanote Line. 

Therefore, you can easily visit both Ikebukuro and Shibuya on the same day and appreciate both places for their unique differences. 

Shibuya and its energy

Local Tokyoites will clearly have their own special parts of Tokyo which appeals to them and the same applies to people who reside in Chiba, Kanagawa, and Saitama. 

If you are a tourist or if you are thinking about visiting Tokyo in the near future; then for fashion lovers you will find so many fantastic boutiques in Ikebukuro and Shibuya. 

A visit to Candy in Shibuya and Smacky Glam in both Ikebukuro and Shibuya is well worth it.  This applies to the contrasting styles and different thought patterns which have produced such stylish clothing.

The ying and yang of different fashion boutiques is refreshing the fashion industry in Tokyo.  In truth, you have so many exquisite boutiques in Ikebukuro and Shibuya, therefore, you will be spoilt for choice.

www.smackyglam.com –  Smacky Glam

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

http://tokyofashion.com/candy-sister-fashion-shibuya/ 

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

http://moderntokyotimes.com (please visit)

 
May 12, 2011

Smacky Glam in Ikebukuro: elegant fashion, creative and stunning colors

Smacky Glam in Ikebukuro: elegant fashion, creative and stunning colors

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

http://www.smackyglam.com – image from Smacky Glam

Ikebukuro a few years ago appeared to be sleeping on the west side but in the last six months it is clear that fashion is springing up in abundance.  This applies to Lumine where you have so many high quality boutiques which compliment the stunning décor.

Also, in Ikebukuro on the west side you have an abundance of new shops near the Fukutoshin train station and with so many universities based in or around Ikebukuro then you have a strong youthful outlook.

At the same time traditional companies like Tobu Store and Seibu Department Store adds to the ambience and quality of Ikebukuro.

Turning back to Lumine it is abundantly clear that you will find an abundance of high quality fashion stores and alongside this you will have other types of companies which cater for the finer things in life.

One exceptional store which takes the eye immediately is Smacky Glam because the fashion is graceful, creative, ultra-modern, and the fabrics are high class. 

Smacky Glam – Modern Tokyo Times image

Added to this is the stunning and vibrant colors on offer and female fashion not only comes alive, it even appeals to lay people because Smacky Glam is based on a fabulous back drop.

The high quality fabric, adorable color collections, quality fashion, and exquisite décor all adds to an amazing shopping experience where space and fashion is fused to create an atmosphere of ambience amidst exquisite fashion.

Ikebukuro is a gateway for people who reside in Saitama and Lumine is a gateway for fashion. Also, within Lumine you have companies with panache, style, grace, and quality; and these words of high esteem certainly applies to Smacky Glam.

Tokyoites, tourists, business ladies passing through Tokyo and people from Saitama and further afield who pass through Ikebukuro; must visit Lumine and grasp the fashion on offer and the same applies to visiting companies like Smacky Glam.

Ikebukuro is waking up once more and companies like Smacky Glam are putting this city on the map for fashion in Tokyo.

If you have the opportunity to visit Ikebukuro then take time out and visit the bountiful boutiques on offer on the west side of Ikebukuro which are based within the train station.

For a special treat, then a visit to Smacky Glam is a must!

www.smackyglam.com –  Smacky Glam

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

http://moderntokyotimes.com (please   visit)