Short trip over to Hakone to relax in the onsen hot springs.
Staying at a ryokan inn and soaking in onsen are a popular tourist activity as well as a favorite domestic vacation for many Japanese. Families, friends, couples, co-workers, etc. all go to ryokans which are more often located in rural areas, to get some relaxation time away from their hectic everyday lives. Culturally, we love baths but natural onsen is said to have healing properties from its mineral contents which makes it special.
Alain is a calligrapher based in Tokyo, Japan. Growing up in Okinawa, he learned the traditional ways of Japanese calligraphy known as “shodo.” One of the principles (and beauties) of shodo is that one has only a single shot when writing on the washi paper with a brush loaded with sumi ink. There is no way to touch up the brush stokes later so it can be said that the end result represents the calligrapher’s state of mind at that moment. This stems from the teachings of Zen Buddhism, stressing connection to the spiritual rather than the physical and requires one to have a clear mind to let the brush strokes flow naturally.
While Alain is deeply rooted in this traditional discipline of shodo, many of his works also demonstrate unconventional ways of using this traditional style of calligraphy. One of his current goals is demonstrate that shodo is fun, and that there are different approaches one can make to a traditional style. While you’ll see him paint live at events and holding solo exhibitions around Tokyo as a calligrapher, you might also be able to catch him on a billboard in Shibuya or various fashion magazines as he is also a popular men’s fashion model.
Alain recently created a new website where you can view some of his work.
A series of amusing subway manner posters that appeared in Tokyo sometime between 1976 and 1982.
Careful not to get your bag caught between the train doors.
This poster shows the three types of trouble-making monsters on the train. As you can see, they are taking up space and being annoying. “Asshi-” crossing it’s legs. “Nesshi-” sleeping. “Shinbunshi-” opening up a newspaper when crowded.
The WTC More shopping mall in Hong Kong hosted a fashion show and pop-up store exclusively featuring the eccentric fashion of Dog Harajuku this past Thursday. These videos promoting the event in Hong Kong introduces Dog and will give you a glimpse of what their store and fashion looks like. Video is mostly in Chinese, hosted by my friend Ivan Wang. But wait! There’s a commentary by American fashion designer Jeremy Scott in the middle. (In English ofcourse)
Dog is a Japanese street fashion brand that has lead the underground fashion scene in Tokyo throughout the decade and consistently remains a staple store to the kids who live by the sub-culture. Their shop is hidden away in a basement on Harajuku Street selling a variety of vintage and reworked items. They also own another located called Secret Dog in the Kita-Kore building in Koenji. Dog owner Satake Kai and designer Takuma Fuji create the pieces themselves, often incorporating an industrial punk flair. Expect to see a lot of metal plates, studs, spikes, and other bling of the sorts. Sometime within the past few years, even Lady Gaga has fallen victim of the Dog fashion and visits the store to get her fix when she’s in Japan. We respect Gaga, but who in the underground cares what celebrities think, right? Made with Japan guarantees you their high level of street creds. Owner and designer of Nincompoop Capacity, another popular street fashion brand likewise with shops in Harajuku and Koenji, expressed respect for Dog by mentioning their continuing popularity with the young kids in their interview with us HERE.
Our fellow Made with Japan contributor, NOIZ-DAVI who is also founder and member of the famous Rinpa Eshidan art crew, mixes it up with the rest of the group to promote the new Mini-Cooper in Ginza. NOIZ-DAVI is wearing a black cap and is painting the hood of the Mini in the beginning of the video.
At Nincompoop Capacity store in Harajuku. I visited Hashio and Take to get an inside look at their underground street fashion brand. You can view pictures of their cool clothing and the interview here. Thanks again Nincompoop!
In front of the popular department store, Laforet Harajuku. While walking back home after the interview, I ran into a Japanese friend of mine whom I met in the U.S. What a pleasant surprise! to say the least.
The purpose of our photo diary is to share our snapshots. This first series features my visit to Japan during Fall 2010. Enjoy!
Looking out into Harajuku/Omotesando and Meiji Jingu Shrine in Tokyo. One of the cool things about the concrete labyrinth of Tokyo are the large patches of greenery which can be enjoyed at parks and Shinto shrines where people can go picnicking or take a stroll.
In this area, you will be pleased to find arguably, the best shopping in the world. Find anything from the cheap and funky fashion items, small underground fashion boutiques, large fast fashion stores, to the international luxury brands. The area is also known as the breeding ground for Tokyo street fashion and youth culture. If you ever come across a Tokyo street fashion snap, chances are they were taken on one of the streets here. The kids here really know how to mix up styles and get away with looking good!