Must see

Things to do this weekend in Tokyo Friday February 7th – Sunday February 11th

Abracadabra

Fri Feb 7, 2014 Saloon

Abracadabra

Daikanyama’s Saloon welcomes Tokyo resident Englishman Max Essa for this intimate Friday-night bash, where he will be joined by house veteran Toshiyuki Goto.

Details

Open Fri Feb 7

Time doors 11pm

Admission ¥1,500 (¥1,000 with flyer)

Venue Saloon

Address ZaHouse Bldg. B3F, 1-34-17 Ebisunishi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Daikanyama Station (Tokyu Toyoko line); Nakameguro Station (Tokyu Toyoko line, Hibiya line); Ebisu Station

 

Tokyo Grand Shopping Week

Thu Jan 23 – Wed Feb 5, 2014 Laforet Harajuku , Omotesando Hills, Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku, and other area shops and restaurants
Tokyo grand shopping week
Now this is a sales bash that no tourist can miss! Around 260 shops and restaurants in the Harajuku-Omotesando area will be participating with bargains and much more during Grand Shopping Week, a massive sales event that sees a total of 183 stores in the shopping centres Laforet HarajukuOmotesando Hills, and Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku holding sales with discounts of up to 90%. In addition, 79 area shops will advertise specially recommended souvenirs for foreign tourists, while 23 restaurants, including ’takoyaki’, ‘okonomiyaki’, and crepe shops popular with tourists, participate in Restaurant Week with special offers such as free drinks, 10% off the final bill, and free sweets.

Pick up the official Time Out Tokyo-produced leaflet and map for full information on all discounts, souvenir recommendations, and Restaurant Week offers. During the event, foreign tourists who spend ¥1,000 or more at any of the participating shops receive a scratch card, thus participating in a lottery with prices including gift vouchers and gift items. Shoppers who pay with an overseas-issued Visa card also receive an additional scratch card at the time of purchase.

On February 1 and 2, visitors can experience Japanese culture at workshops, with alternatives including trying on anime and manga character costumes or kimonos, traditional ink marbling, origami paper folding, ‘kendama’ (a Japanese ring-and-pin game), and handkerchief decoration. Guided tours of the Harajuku-Omotesando area will also be available.

Details

Open Jan 23-Feb 5

Time Varies by store

Venue Laforet Harajuku , Omotesando Hills, Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku, and other area shops and restaurants

Address 1-11-6 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo

Transport Harajuku station (JR Yamanote Line), Takeshita Exit, Meiji-Jingumae station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda, Fukutochin Lines), exit 5.

 

The 88th Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition

Until Wed Feb 12, 2014 Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum
Kokufu bonsai exhibition
 Hobbyists battle it out for years just to get their trees accepted for judging at Japan’s (and the world’s) premier bonsai exhibition, first held in 1934. If you attend both parts, you’ll see over 500 of these fascinating little masterpieces.

 

Details

Open Part 1: Feb 4-7, Part 2: Feb 9-12

Time 9:30am-5:30pm

Admission ¥1,000 (students ¥500)

Venue Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum

Address 8-36 Ueno Koen, Taito-ku, Tokyo

Transport Ueno Station (Yamanote line), park exit; (Ginza, Hibiya lines), Shinobazu exit

 

High Street feat. DJ Craze

Fri Feb 7, 2014 Sound Museum Vision

High street DJ Craze

High Street, a ‘street-style party for adults’, returns from a 10-month slumber with a bang. Master turntablist DJ Craze and former DMC world champion Kentaro bring the heat to Shibuya’s Vision with their unrivalled scratch skills – a can’t-miss opportunity for any and all aspiring DJs and friends of technical electronic music.

Details

Open Fri Feb 7

Time doors 10pm

Admission Adv ¥3,000; same-day women ¥3,000, men ¥3,500

Venue Sound Museum Vision

Address 2-10-7 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Shibuya Station (Yamanote, Shonan-Shinjuku, Ginza, Hanzomon, Fukutoshin, Denentoshi, Tokyu Toyoko, Keio Inokashira lines)

 

Sterne

Fri Feb 7, 2014 Womb

Sterne

The stars will truly be out tonight at Tokyo techno emperor Takkyu Ishino’s regular party, as Germany’s mysterious and masked house maniacs Snuff Crew take over Womb. Minimal techno master A. Mochi will be responsible for keeping the party going in the lounge area.

Details

Open Fri Feb 7

Time doors 11pm

Admission ¥3,500 (¥3,000 with flyer)

Venue Womb

Address 2-16 Maruyamacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Shibuya Station (Yamanote, Ginza lines), Hachiko exit; (Hanzomon line), exit 3A.

 

The Mastery of Time

Fri Feb 7 – Wed Feb 12, 2014 Roppongi Hills

clock

2014 marks the 150th anniversary of Swiss-Japanese diplomatic relations, which is the perfect excuse to celebrate something both countries do extremely well: keep time. This exhibition traces the evolution of timepieces from ornate table clocks to modern-day smartwatches, and also displays traditional Japanese-style clocks.

Details

Open Feb 7-12 2014

Time 11am-6pm

Admission Free

Venue Roppongi Hills

Address 6-10 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Transport Roppongi station (Hibiya line), exit 1C; (Oedo line), exit 3.

 

Sarabeth’s Daikanyama Special Valentine’s Day Menu

Until Fri Feb 14, 2014 Sarabeth’s Daikanyama
Chocolate explosion

Owing to its heavenly french toast and pancakes, Sarabeth’s morning offering is known as the ‘Queen of breakfasts’. This special Valentine’s menu – ‘Chocolate Explosion’ – is only available at the Daikanyama location, and features a harmonious mixture of fluffy pancakes topped with chocolate sauce and marshmallows, finished off with a small explosion of chocolate sauce.

Details

Open Feb 3-14

Time 9am-10pm
(Last order for food 9pm, for drinks 9:30pm)

Venue Sarabeth’s Daikanyama

Address 1-35-17 Ebisunishi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Daikanyama Station (Tokyu-Toyoko line)

 

Chinese Spring Festival 2014

Until Fri Feb 14, 2014 Yokohama Chinatown
lanterns

While it’s fun to visit whatever the season, Yokohama’s Chinatown district is never livelier than during its New Year festival. The two weeks of festivities include traditional lion dance performances and music on February 1, 2, 8, 9 and 11 (at Yamashitacho Park), as well as a parade of traditional costumes on the afternoon of February 8.

Details

Open Jan 31-Feb 14

Time Various times

Venue Yokohama Chinatown

Address Yamashitacho, Naka-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture

Transport Motomachi Chukagai Station (Minatomirai line), Ishikawacho Station (Keihin-Tohoku, Negishi lines)

 

The Lumineers

Sat Feb 8, 2014 Shibuya AX
The lumineers
Ever since ‘Ho Hey’ became our resident earworm, we’ve been waiting for this folk-pop outfit to make their way to Japan. Nominated for the Best New Artist Grammy in 2013 and familiar faces at Coachella and Glastonbury, The Lumineers are easy on the ears (and eyes). Don’t miss them at Shibuya AX.

Details

Open Sat Feb 8 2014

Time Show starts 6pm (venue opens from 5pm)

Admission 1/F Standing: ¥6,000 (advance tickets) 2/F Reserved seats: ¥6,000 (advance tickets)

Telephone 03-3444-6751

Venue Shibuya AX

Address 2-1-1 Jinnan, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Harajuku station (Yamanote line), Omotesando exit or Meiji-Jingumae station (Chiyoda line), exit 1.

 

Acid City

Sat Feb 8, 2014 Air
Acid city
 As last year’s ‘Acid City’ album proved to be a success, veteran producer DJ Emma decided that a regular acid house-themed party was in order in Tokyo. His plan has now been realised, and this first date at Air will feature Hokkaido’s deep house star Kuniyuki.

Details

Open Sat Feb 8

Time doors 10pm

Admission ¥3,000 (¥2,500 with flyer, under-23s ¥2,000)

Venue Air

Address Hikawa Bldg B1F-B2F, 2-11 Sarugakucho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Daikanyama station (Tokyu Toyoko line).

 

Off The Rocker & Verbal present Rad

Sat Feb 8, 2014 Sound Museum Vision
Off the rocker
Shinichi Osawa’s and Masatoshi Uemura’s DJ unit Off The Rocker teams up with big-time rapper and producer Verbal to bring you Rad, an ‘exciting and chaotic’ party, where they’ll be joined by 80Kidz and DJ Kyoko. Join the madness at Shibuya’s Vision.

Details

Open Sat Feb 8

Time doors 11pm

Admission Women ¥3,000, men ¥3,500

Venue Sound Museum Vision

Address 2-10-7 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Shibuya Station (Yamanote, Shonan-Shinjuku, Ginza, Hanzomon, Fukutoshin, Denentoshi, Tokyu Toyoko, Keio Inokashira lines)

 

Little Nap Music Stand

Sun Feb 9, 2014 Vacant
Little Nap Music Stand
 Yoyogi Park’s Little Nap Coffee Stand celebrates its third anniversary with an evening of music, with performances by artists Tica and Kyo Sakurai, as well as DJs Shunji Mori, Michiharu Shimoda, and Pepe California. Jinnan bistro Rojiura provides the food, and interestingly-named pastry makers Mad Donuts Riot serve their signature delicacy. Special t-shirts and prints are also available for purchase. Reservations are required – send an email titled ‘Little Nap Music Stand’ to the address below, and write down your names and contact details.

Details

Open Sun Feb 9

Time doors 4pm

Admission ¥3,000 (includes a cup of coffee) ※Reservation required – email booking@n0idea.com

Venue Vacant

Address 3-20-13 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo

Transport Harajuku station (JR Yamanote Line) or Meiji-jingumae station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line)

 

Zoushigaya Handicraft Market

Sun Feb 9, 2014 Kishimojindo , Otori Shrine
Zoushigaya handicraft market
 This handicraft market runs once a month at Kishimojindo shrine, selling everything from pottery and woodcrafts to bags and accessories. Browse the stalls while chatting to the artists over a slice of delicious cake and home-roasted coffee.

Details

Open Sun Feb 9

Time 9am-4pm

Venue Kishimojindo , Otori Shrine

Address 3-15-20 Zoshigaya, Toshima-ku

Transport Kishibojin-mae Station (Toden Arakawa line) or Zoushigaya Station (Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin line)

 

Chocolate Making at Lindt Jiyugaoka

Sat Feb 8 – Sun Feb 9, 2014 Lindt Chocolat Café Jiyugaoka
 Lindt jiyugaoka
 Everyone knows Lindt, and everyone wants some of their goodies for Valentine’s Day. Not only can you get the classic heart-shaped gift box for your beloved one, you can also drop by the café in Jiyugaoka to try making your own matcha or raspberry chocolate. Events are held twice on both Saturday and Sunday, and up to eight people can participate in each event (a minimum of four people are required). Reservations are essential.

Details

Open Feb 8-9

Time 10am-noon, 2-4pm on both days

Admission ¥5,000 (includes ingredients and box)

Telephone 03 5726 8921

Venue Lindt Chocolat Café Jiyugaoka

Address 2-9-2 Jiyugaoka, Meguro-ku, Tokyo

Transport Jiyugaoka Station (Tokyu Toyoko line)

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The next olympic sport? Synchronized walking, only in Japan

The video of a 47-year-old tradition at Japan’s Nippon Sports Science University went viral in November last year. ‘Shuudan koudou’, which means ‘Collective Action’, is a unique routine where a group of students put up an amazing display of synchronized walking.

On November 14, 77 students performed before a crowd of 11,000 people at the university’s festivities. Their walking routine was similar to military movement exercises or synchronized marching band movements. But they were far more intricate and precise. Watch the video, and you’ll know just how precise. Seriously, the way they move is simply mind-blowing.

synchronized walking

Prior to the program, the students practiced three days a week, for five months straight. Their training included exercises to get them in shape for the dazzling display. They ended up walking almost 1,200 kilometers during practice (roughly the distance between Paris and Rome).

23-year-old Keiko Suzuki, the captain of the team, said: “People say Japanese youngsters these days lack the ability to work collectively in a group, but we just proved that we don’t.” She also said that the training would give them an edge in their job search. “We all mastered this highly disciplined training and made it our habit to stick to strict rules. I believe this experience will be an asset as we enter into the job market.”

Synchronized movements are embedded deep into Japan’s culture. In Japanese schools, morning assemblies have students standing equidistant from each other. The NSSU group movement is a very popular tradition. It is almost like the western equivalent of cheerleading. The complicated routines have been practiced since 1966, and the very first exhibition by female students happened in 2011.

NSSU is famous for producing Olympic gold medalists, sumo wrestlers, and surprisingly, politicians. Many of its graduates go on to work as Physical Education teachers, trainers and coaches. The annual festival is meant to be a display of the students’ athletic prowess.

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Got hay fever? No fear, the new ‘Pollen Robo’ is here!

For several years, Weather forecaster Weathernews Inc. has deployed a special robot at this time of the year to help Japan’s hay fever sufferers better navigate the pollen season.

The new Pollen Robo designed for this year will be capable of collecting data on not only pollen, but also on PM2.5 particulate matter and yellow sand that blows across the sea from China.

The company is dispatching 1,000 units across the country.

Hay fever sufferers will be able to access the information online in real time, allowing them to know where the levels are highest and plan their days accordingly.

Weathernews said pollen levels started climbing in the Kanto region (the Kanto region is where Tokyo is located)  from late January, and will greatly increase from around mid-February.

The amount of airborne pollen is expected to climb by 10 percent this year from an average year.

The spherical Pollen Robo measures 15 centimeters in diameter and has human facial features such as eyes, nose and a mouth. The eye color also changes according to the amount of pollen it detects.

Weathernews Inc.’s new Pollen Robo will monitor pollen and PM2.5 levels.

Weathernews Inc.’s new Pollen Robo will monitor pollen and PM2.5 levels.

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Dog Castle – The Coolest Dog House in Japan

Japanese love their pets, but some take their love to a whole new level!

Meet Nanami,  a playful Japanese pooch can claim to be the only dog in the world to be living in a regular castle.

Built as a small replica of Japan’s famous Matsumoto Castle, Nanami’s castle stands 2.5 meters tall and features three rooms. At the front is the main hall, where Nanami can just lay on his belly and watch out for the mailman, while at the back he has a sand-floor room, for cooling down during the hot summer days, and a rear room to hide in during thunderstorms.

Located in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, Nanami’s castle took his owner six months to complete, and cost 50,000 yen ($583). While it may not be as old and famous as the real Matsumoto Castle, built in 1504, Nanami can be proud of his new dog castle.

Japanese dog house

Matsumoto castle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Things to do this week in Tokyo: Tuesday January 28th- Sunday February 2nd

of Montreal

Tue Jan 28, 2014 Tsutaya O-West

Of Montreal

Funky indie rockers of Montreal (actually of Athens, Georgia) return to Japan after a five-year absence, during which time their style has gone through a number of mutations, most recently returning to a form of classic, straightforward rock with the 2013 ‘Lousy with Sylvianbriar’ album.

Details

Open Tue Jan 28

Time doors 6pm, show 7pm

Admission Adv ¥5,000, same-day ¥5,500

Venue Tsutaya O-West

Address 2-3 Maruyama-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Shibuya station (Yamanote, Ginza, Hanzomon lines), Hachiko exit.

 

Akiko Endo exhibition: ‘Opening the Abyss of the Soul’

Until Tue Jan 28, 2014 Ueno Royal Museum
The evening bell has gone
 Renowned contemporary Tokyo artist Akiko Endo’s work has been compared to Escher’s for its layered complexities. Visit her solo exhibition at Ueno Royal Museum for a retrospective of her work, including a new film ‘depicting the four seasons’ and a talk by the artist herself.

 

Details

Open Jan 15-28 2014

Time 10am-5pm daily (until 6pm during special exhibitions).

Admission ¥600 adults, ¥400 university students, free for high school students and children

Telephone 03 3833 4191

Venue Ueno Royal Museum

Address 1-2 Ueno Koen, Taito-ku, Tokyo

Transport Ueno station (Yamanote line), park exit; (Ginza, Hibiya lines), Shinobazu exit.

 

Jamie Cullum

Wed Jan 29 – Thu Jan 30, 2014 Orchard Hall
Jamie Cullum
Standing at around 5’4″ and with a six-album discography of easygoing swing-pop, Jamie Cullum has become known as the ‘jazz hobbit’ – a nickname that was reinforced when he married the rather taller author and model Sophie Dahl in 2010. Matters of height aside, Cullum is eminently likeable on stage and has branched out musically in recent years to embrace house and trip-hop – there’s even a guest vocal spot by Roots Manuva on his new record Momentum. This Tokyo date, his first visit to Japan since playing at Fuji Rock in 2010, kicks off a nationwide tour including gigs in Osaka, Nagoya, Hiroshima and Fukuoka. Tickets go on general sale on July 20.

Details

Open January 29-30

Time Doors 6pm. Gig 7pm

Admission ¥6,500 adv

Venue Orchard Hall

Address Bunkamura, 2-24-1 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Shibuya station (Yamanote, Ginza, Hanzomon lines), Hachiko exit.

 

Positive Short Films Program

Until Fri Jan 31, 2014 Brillia Shortshorts Theatre
Positive short films program
This program includes five short films with positive or otherwise light-hearted messages, allowing visitors to escape their daily troubles and emerge from the theatre with smiles on their faces. Check out the German flick Dear Mr Starr, a thoughtful story about a hairdresser in early 1990s Germany who admires the Beatles drummer.

Details

Open Jan 2-31 2014

Time 5:30pm-7:30pm

Admission Adults ¥1,000, children & seniors ¥800

Venue Brillia Shortshorts Theatre

Address Filmee 2F, 5-3-1 Minatomirai, Nishi-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa

Transport Shin-Takashima Station (Minatomirai line)

 

Los Lonely Boys

Thu Jan 30, 2014 Liquidroom
Los Lonely boys
Get a swinging introduction to ‘Texican’ rock ‘n’ roll with Los Lonely Boys tonight at Liquidroom. Hailing from the great state of Texas, the three Garza brothers won a Grammy in 2005, and captured the hearts of many Japanese listeners at the 2012 edition of Fuji Rock. Anyone partial to classic rock should enjoy this trio’s version, which is further flavoured with country and tejano influences.

Details

Open Thu Jan 30

Time doors 6.30pm, show 7.30pm

Admission ¥6,500

Telephone 03 3444 6751

Venue Liquidroom

Address 3-16-6 Higashi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Ebisu station (Yamanote, Hibiya lines), west exit.

 

Asobinite with Kyary Pamyu Pamyu

Fri Jan 31, 2014 AgeHa

Asobinite

Celebrate the 21st birthday of Harajuku pop princess Kyary Pamyu Pamyu at this AgeHa bonanza. The lineup is of course led by the birthday girl herself, while other performers include Yasutaka Nakata‘s Capsule, DJ Kyoko, and rapper Verbal. Advance tickets are on sale now.

Details

Open Fri Jan 31

Time doors 9pm

Admission Adv ¥3,000, same-day ¥4,000, couple ticket ¥5,400

Venue AgeHa

Address 2-2-10 Shinkiba, Koto-ku, Tokyo

Transport Shinkiba station (Rinkai, Yurakucho lines).

 

Alien Radio feat. SIS

Fri Jan 31, 2014 Sound Museum Vision

Alien radio

Vision’s underground techno party ‘Alien Radio’ returns with a bang after an all too long absence and welcomes Berlin native SIS of ‘Trompeta’ fame. Dance your socks off to his original but easily digestible beats.

Details

Open Fri Jan 31

Time doors 11pm

Admission Women ¥3,000, men ¥3,500 (one drink included)

Venue Sound Museum Vision

Address 2-10-7 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Shibuya Station (Yamanote, Shonan-Shinjuku, Ginza, Hanzomon, Fukutoshin, Denentoshi, Tokyu Toyoko, Keio Inokashira lines)

 

Hyperdub 10

Fri Jan 31, 2014 Unit
Hyperdub 10
Feel the beat at Daikanyama’s Unit tonight, as London-based dubstep and bass label Hyperdub showcases some of its representative artists at this 10-year anniversary party, which will see appearances by heavy hitters like owner Kode9, DJ Rashad, and Laurel Halo.

Details

Open Fri Jan 31

Time doors 11pm

Admission Adv ¥3,800, same-day ¥4,500

Venue Unit

Address Za House Bldg, 1-34-17 Ebisu-Nishi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Daikanyama station (Tokyu Toyoko line).

 

No Age

Sat Feb 1, 2014 Shibuya Club Quattro

No age

The LA-based based punk duo No Age recently released their fourth studio album, and seem to be getting closer and closer to perfecting their innovative sound that combines noise, psych, and hardcore elements with an honest punk attitude. If you haven’t heard of these guys yet, this Tokyo gig’s a great chance to see what you’ve been missing out on.

Details

Open Sat Feb 1 2014

Time doors 6pm, show 7pm

Admission Adv ¥5,000

Telephone 03 3444 6751

Venue Shibuya Club Quattro

Address 5F, 32-13-4 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Shibuya Station (Yamanote, Ginza, Hanzomon, Fukutoshin, Denentoshi, Tokyu Toyoko, Keio Inokashira lines), Hachiko exit

 

Cocoon / Sven Väth

Sat Feb 1, 2014 Womb
Cocoon
German techno godfather and Cocoon record label founder Sven Väth has been doing his thing for over three decades now, including running the annual ‘Cocoon Ibiza’ bonanza at the party island’s Amnesia club since 2000. The legend now brings his stuff to Tokyo, hopefully treating fans to one of his famed extended-length sets.

Details

Open Sat Feb 1

Time doors 11pm

Admission Same-day ¥3,500 (¥3,000 with flyer)

Venue Womb

Address 2-16 Maruyamacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Shibuya Station (Yamanote, Ginza lines), Hachiko exit; (Hanzomon line), exit 3A.

 

Gift feat. Cassy

Sat Feb 1, 2014 Air
Gift
 Minimal techno master DJ Masda is one of the ever-presents in the Tokyo underground scene, having attracted some of the world’s top talent to the city with his long-running ‘Cabaret’ party. His new creation ‘Gift’ now welcomes Berliner Cassy, a regular at the German capital’s famed Panorama Bar, who will be joined by Japanese talents Kabuto and Ryosuke.

 

Details

Open Sat Feb 1

Time doors 10pm

Admission ¥3,500 (¥3,000 with flyer, under-23s ¥2,500)

Venue Air

Address Hikawa Bldg B1F-B2F, 2-11 Sarugakucho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Daikanyama station (Tokyu Toyoko line).

 

Yun*chi & Una at Tokyo Grand Shopping Week

Sun Feb 2, 2014 Omotesando Hills Space O

Yun*chi

Tokyo Grand Shopping Week, a massive sales bash for foreign tourists, is in full swing all over the Harajuku-Omotesando area. On February 2, Harajuku-associated singers Yun’chi (about to release her first album this month) and Una will perform at Omotesando Hills’s Space O, flanked by ‘kendama’ performance unit Zoomadanke. Yun’chi will take the stage first, at 2pm, followed by Zoomadanke (from 3.45pm) and Una (from 5.15pm).

Details

Open Sun Feb 2

Time 2pm-6pm

Venue Omotesando Hills Space O

Address 4-12-10 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Omotesando Station (Ginza, Hanzomon, Chiyoda lines), Meiji-Jingumae Station (Chiyoda, Fukutoshin lines)

 

Fuji in the Bakumatsu and Meiji Eras

Until Sun Feb 2, 2014 JCII Photo Salon
Mt Fuji
Continuing the JCII gallery’s series of historical photo exhibitions, this show displays around 100 shots of Mt Fuji, taken in the early years of photography that coincided with the beginning of Japan’s Meiji era. Pictures by Felice Beato, von Stillfried, Wilhelm Burger, Renjo Shimooka, Juzaburo Usui, and other great photographers of the time show the sacred mountain and its surroundings from angles that have become inaccessible in modern times, while also documenting the unchanging beauty of Fuji, recently registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Details

Open Jan 6-Feb 2 2014 (closed Mon)

Time 10am-5pm

Admission Free

Telephone 03 3261 0300

Venue JCII Photo Salon

Address JCII Bldg., 25-banchi, Ichiban-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

Transport Hanzomon Station (Hanzomon line), exit 4

 

Shinro Ohtake: Documenta 13 – Materials

Until Sun Feb 2, 2014 NADiff Gallery
Shinro Ohtake
Contemporary artist Shinro Ohtake was one of the contributors to last year’s documenta, the world-famous modern art exhibition taking place once every five years in Kassel, Germany. This Ebisu gallery exhibition takes a closer look at his documenta piece ‘Mon Cheri: A Self-Portrait as a Scrapped Shed’, and also marks the launch of a special-edition materials publication by the artist.

Details

Open Dec 20-Feb 2 2014 (closed Mon)

Time noon-8pm

Telephone 03 3446 4977

Venue NADiff Gallery

Address B1F, 1-18-4 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Ebisu Station

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Japans whacky holidays: Coming of age day

The second Monday of January is Coming-of-Age Day, a national holiday to encourage those who have newly entered adulthood to become self-reliant members of society. (The holiday used to be on January 15, but in 2000 it was moved to the second Monday of the month.) Last Monday we celebrated the coming of age day for 2014.

Local governments host special coming-of-age ceremonies for 20-year-olds, since an “adult” in Japan is legally defined as one who is 20 or over. They gain the right to vote on their twentieth birthday, and they’re also allowed to smoke and drink. But along with these rights come new responsibilities as well, and so age 20 is a big turning point for the Japanese.

Coming-of-age ceremonies have been held since time immemorial in Japan. In the past boys marked their transition to adulthood when they were around 15, and girls celebrated their coming of age when they turned 13 or so. During the Edo period (1603-1868), boys had their forelocks cropped off, and girls had their teeth dyed black. It wasn’t until 1876 that 20 became the legal age of adulthood.

These days, males generally wear suits to their coming-of-age ceremony, but a lot of females choose to wear traditional furisode – a special type of kimono for unmarried women with extra-long sleeves and elaborate designs. For unmarried women, furisode is about the most formal thing they can wear, and so many of them don it to the event marking the start of their adult life.

Coming of Age Day is a joyous occasion in Japan. Although most 20-year-old girls choose to wear a traditional kimono, get their nails painted, and have their hair done up, usually with some curls and a few accessories such as flowers or jewels. But one young adult who goes by the name “Harutamu” on Twitter, celebrated her milestone with some of the most extreme fashion we’ve ever seen. Don’t take our word for it, have a look yourself:

Harutamu crazy hair

Harutama full lenght

▼ Let’s play “Where’s Harutamu?”

Group pic

Don’t worry, Harutamu’s extreme fashion has company. Introducing the Coming of Age dress of Twitter user, “Richu,” who just happens to be Harutamu’s friend:

Richu

If you’re shocked by these ladies’ choice of clothing and accessories, take a look at how they look on the weekend:

gyaru

Harutama and Richu are both part of a gyaru group called Black Diamond. Gyaru are fashion-conscious young women who like to dress in extreme makeup, but we probably didn’t have to tell you that. Upon turning 20 years of age, these girls are now technically adults in the eyes of the Japanese government, but we’re not so sure this is the kind of adult they had in mind. Especially with Twitpic captions such as, “Check out my long-sleeved kimono for the coming-of-age ceremony ♡ mini prostitute ʕ•̫͡•ʔ♡ʕ•̫͡•” (but we have to give her props for adding bear emoticons). As expected, most Twitter users who retweeted Harutama and Richu’s pictures were also unsure if the pair could be considered adults and one user wondered, “What happened to the Japan of old?” But no matter your opinion, we suppose there’s nothing left to say but, “Congratulations!” and hope for the best as these young ladies continue their journey into adulthood.

Categories: history of Japan, Japanese customs, Must see, News about Japan | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

An office for everyone: 5 share spaces in Tokyo for creatives and freelancers

With the cost of property in Tokyo so high, and an estimated 6,000 people squeezed into every square kilometre of the city, more and more urbanites are starting to think small. As well as choosing tiny houses that provide everything required for living but with none of the clutter, people are learning that life is far easier if, rather than yearning for their own private spaces and a multitude of possessions, they learn to share.

Following in the footsteps of movements such as last winter’s Warm Share, which offered incentives to members of the public who frequented designated–heated–public areas instead of sitting at home with their air-con cranked up, a number of “share spaces” are cropping up all over Tokyo, inviting both business people and freelance workers to use their facilities rather than staying in an office or cooped up at home.

So throw your laptop in your bag and come with us as we take a quick look at eight of Tokyo’s trendiest shared places to work.

Offering a wide variety of workspaces and the facilities you’d find in most modern offices but with a cooler, comfier vibe, share spaces are a sign of things to come in urban Japan. With high-speed internet access practically everywhere, ultra-portable computers, and data always obtainable from the cloud, many jobs can be done without the need for a dedicated office. But when team members need to get together, or when individuals simply need a place to work other than their own home, where can we turn?

Enter share spaces.

  • 1. The Terminal Harajuku

The terminal Harajuku

It might look a little bit like an Internet cafe, but you won’t find anyone playing WoW here. For 380 yen (US$3.80) per hour or 1,000 yen ($10.15) for three, freelancers at The Terminal can enjoy the facilities of a typical office without needing to suit up or clock in. Those with a lot of work to get through can pay 2,000 yen and remain glued to their computer for the entire day, while business types can rent private meeting rooms for 5,000 yen per hour.

Other facilities on offer include: space for giving presentations, copy machine access, access to additional power outlets, space for relaxing and reading, drink service, a roof garden for smokers, and of course wireless internet access.

The terminal

▼ A cute and cosy presentation room, complete with projector.

presentation room terminal

  • 2. Portal Point Kita Aoyama

Portal Point Kita Aoyama

Situated between trendy Omotesando and Gaienmae Station, “Transit Sharestyle Office” Portal Point is a sophisticated blend of a hotel, business centre, and cafe. One of the most extravagant of Tokyo’s newest share spaces, a hotel-style concierge service is available at reception, with staff on hand to direct groups or freelancers to the area best suited to their needs and handle future bookings.

With a dedicated conference room, long, well-lit tables for team-based tasks, personal booths for those who prefer cubicle-style office spaces, and even low chairs with coffee tables for those caffeine-fuelled tete-a-tetes, there’s something here for everyone. Beware, though, these facilities won’t come cheap; prices range from 52,000 yen (US$527) per month for personal-use desks with standard office equipment, to 399,000 yen ($4,000) for offices suitable for small businesses.

Aoyama

  • 3. Academy Hills Roppongi

Academy hills Roppongi

Another marvellously trendy and expensive workspace is Academy Hills, which can be found on the 49th floor of Roppongi Hills‘ iconic Mori Tower and aims to bring together “space, books, and opportunity.” Private study/work spaces can be rented for just 10,000 yen ($100) per month, with creatives and businesspeople alike given full access to an enormous library, desk and meetings spaces, and of course those absolutely stunning views of the surrounding city to take in while getting creative. You’ll need to be a ‘community member’ to gain entry to the facilities, but then if you’re hanging around one of Tokyo’s poshest areas, chances are you already are!

  • 5. Creative Lounge MOV Shibuya

Creative lounge MOV Shibuya

Soft sofas, armchairs and expensive-looking bicycles brought indoors, Creative Lounge MOV is something of a trendster’s dream. Boasting nine uniquely decorated meeting rooms costing between 6,000-16,000 yen ($60-162) per session, a spacious, comfortable lounge with rows of private booths, and a “residents’ area” which is made up of small rooms designed for individuals or pairs to use on a daily basis, MOV can be forgiven for looking a little like a hangout for the those who refuse to ride anything other than fixies and only listen to bands that no one else has heard of.

Categories: Must see, Things to do, Workspaces in Tokyo | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Things to do this weekend in Tokyo October 18- October 20

Innovative Sweden

innovative designs
This touring show of innovative designs has arrived in Tokyo, having already visited a number of countries, including the US, China and Brazil. Expect innovative design and technology from 20 up-and-coming Swedish companies in the fields of ICT, cleantech, gaming and life sciences, with the likes of eye-controlled computers and green mobile phone chargers on the bill.

Details

Open Oct 2-18

Time 10am-5pm

Admission Adults ¥600, 18 or under ¥200

Venue National Museum of Emerging Science & Innovation

Address 2-3-6 Aomi (Odaiba), Koto, Tokyo

Transport Funeno-Kagakukan station or Telecom Center station (Yurikamome line).

 

The Trojans

Fri Oct 18, 2013 Shibuya Club Quattro
The trojans
Celebrating the first new Trojans album in 14 years, frontman Gaz Mayall brings his ska rockers back to Japan and to Shibuya’s Club Quattro. Members and times have changed, but the Trojan sound remains something truly special, combining ska and reggae with Celtic tunes and more. The band will be joined by guest vocalist Hollie Cook and trumpeter Eddie ‘Tan Tan’ Thornton.

Details

Open Fri Oct 18

Time 7.30pm (doors open 6.30pm)

Admission Adv ¥6,000

Venue Shibuya Club Quattro

Address 5F, 32-13-4 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Shibuya Station (Yamanote, Ginza, Hanzomon, Fukutoshin, Denentoshi, Tokyu Toyoko, Keio Inokashira lines), Hachiko exit

 

Tokyo Vegefood Festa 2013

Sat Oct 19 – Sun Oct 20, 2013 Yoyogi Park (Keyaki Namiki Road)
Tokyo vegafood festa 2013
Throughout the year, Yoyogi Park serves as a gathering point for Tokyo’s various ethnic minorities and special interest groups. This weekend, one of the more long-suffering communities gets its moment in the sun: the vegans. Tokyo Vegefood Festa boasts roughly 100 stalls, ranging from macrobiotic cafes to vegetable vendors to fair trade goods. Though the event hopes to convert a few carnivores to the cause, it’s probably the people who’ve already sworn off meat, fish and dairy that’ll enjoy it the most.

Details

Open Oct 19-20

Time 10am-5pm

Admission Free

Venue Yoyogi Park (Keyaki Namiki Road)

Address 2-1 Yoyogi Kamizounocho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Harajuku Station (Yamanote line), Yoyogi-Koen Station (Chiyoda line), Yoyogi-Hachiman station (Odakyu line)

 

Tokyo Meat Market Festival

Sat Oct 19 – Sun Oct 20, 2013 Tokyo Central Meat Wholesale Market
Tokyo meat market festival

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once every year, and perhaps as a rebellious answer to Yoyogi’s Vegefood Festa, this unique wholesale market opens its doors for one meaty festival. This is your chance to try free samples, buy special wares at reduced prices, and marvel at the various animal flesh-related exhibits. The focus is squarely on the good stuff: shabu-shabu, tonkatsu cutlets, yakiniku, and so on.

Details

Open Oct 19-20

Time Sat 10am-4pm, Sun 10am-3pm

Admission Free

Address 2-7-19 Konan, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Transport Shinagawa Station (JR lines)

 

Japan Hoop Dance Championship

Japan hoop dance championship
The time has come to give credit to the most talented hoop dancers in the land. Although relatively popular in the West, hooping has failed to break out on a large scale in Japan so far. However, the community keeps growing and this event brings together the best dancers from all over the country. Marvel at the finalists’ performances at the main gala show and get acquainted with this energetic form of expression.

Details

Open Sat Oct 19

Time 1pm-3:30pm

Admission General admission ¥1,500, children ¥500 (first-come, first-serve)

Venue Ushigome Tansu Citizens’ Hall

Address 15 Tansumachi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Transport Ushigome-kagurazaka Station (Oedo line), exit A1

 

Sancha de Daidogei

Sat Oct 19 – Sun Oct 20, 2013 Setagaya Public Theatre , around Carrot Tower
Sancha de Daidogei
Though Sangenjaya is always nice for a wander, there’s no better time to visit than during this two-day street performance festival, in which acrobats, clowns, musicians, dancers and assorted costumed freaks ply their trade to a gawping public. Keep an eye out for the international visitors including France’s aerial hoop artist Julot and the stilt-sporting Nani-Sole (who, at about 10 feet tall with enormous wings, is pretty hard to miss).

Details

Open Oct 19-20

Time 6pm-8pm

Venue Setagaya Public Theatre , around Carrot Tower

Address 4-1-1 Taishido, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Sangenjaya station (Tokyu Denentoshi line) Sancha Patio exit.

 

Nezu-Sendagi Shitamachi Matsuri 2013

Sat Oct 19 – Sun Oct 20, 2013 Nezu Shrine
Nezu Sendagi Shitamachi Matsuri
Nezu flaunts its shitamachi (downtown) roots at this autumn festival, a relatively recent invention that marks its 15th edition this year. The action centres around Nezu Shrine, which will be hosting concerts and performances throughout the weekend, accompanied by a flea market and stalls selling traditional goods. The rest of the neighbourhood follows suit, with attractions including a Sunday afternoon parade, and performances of traditional Japanese music and various dances at the Fureai-kan on Shinobazu-dori.

Details

Open Oct 19-20

Time 6pm-8pm

Venue Nezu Shrine

Address 1-28-9 Nezu, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo

Transport Nezu Station or Sendagi Station (Chiyoda line), Todaimae Station (Namboku line)

 

Kagurazaka Bakeneko Parade

Sun Oct 20, 2013 Kagurazaka Nursing Home, around Kagurazaka O-dori
Kagurazaka Bakeneko parade
Kagurazaka will again play host to the Bakeneko Parade, one of the more curious Halloween-related events in the city. Everyone is welcome, all you have to do is dress up as a cat and bring a feline attitude. You can get a cat makeup done for ¥100 before the parade, and there are also costume-related goods available for purchase in case you feel the need to complement your outfit. The parade route reaches along Kagurazaka O-dori toward Iidabashi Station and back again.

Details

Open Sun Oct 20

Time 2pm-3.30pm
participant registration 10am-1pm at Kagurazaka Nursing Home

Admission Free

Venue Kagurazaka Nursing Home, around Kagurazaka O-dori

 

Shimokitazawa Curry Festival

Until Sun Oct 20, 2013 Shimokitazawa area
Shimokitazawa curry festival
‘Making Shimokitazawa the holy ground of curry’ is the motto of this spicy ten-day festival, in which participating restaurants (over 70 in total) tout their specialty curries in all corners of the trendy neighborhood. Meet the ‘Curryman’ mascot, see who gets crowned ‘Miss Curry’, and use the curry map (available for free around town) to discover the tastiest curry joints.

Details

Open Oct 11-20

Time Varies by event

Twitter CurryShimokita

Venue Shimokitazawa area

 

Rhizomatiks Inspired by Perfume

Until Sun Oct 20, 2013 NTT InterCommunication Center
Rhizomatiks inspired by perfume
Creative group Rhizomatiks – best know for their work on the stage productions of J-poppers Perfume – will be displaying their work in an exhibition. This group of creators and engineers have garnered attention around the world for their original production methods and use of cutting-edge technology – including 3D scanning and data visualisation. This exhibition will introduce visitors to their production techniques, and showcase costumes and equipment from Perfume’s music videos and stage performances, as well as 3D models of Perfume group members.

Details

Open Sep 21-Oct 20 Closed Mon (Tue if Mon is a holiday)

Time 11am-6pm

Admission ¥500

Telephone 0120 144199

Venue NTT InterCommunication Center

Address 4F Tokyo Opera City Tower, 3-20-3 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Transport Hatsudai Station (Keio line)

 

Mitsuaki Iwago: Cats & Lions

Mitsuaki Iwago
Popular wildlife photographer Mitsuaki Iwago just can’t seem to get enough of milking the internet’s favourite meme. Following his Go With Cats show at Mitsukoshi Nihombashi, the avid snapper heads to the more highbrow Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography for another exhibition devoted to all things feline. This time around, Iwago will be juxtaposing photos of domestic cats with similar images taken of lions in the wild. ‘Cats are just small lions,’ he observes. ‘Lions are just big cats.’ Deep.

Details

Open August 10-October 20 Closed Mon (Tue if Mon is a holiday)

Time Tue-Sun 10am-6pm (Thu, Fri until 8pm)

Admission Adults ¥800, students ¥700, over 65s, high school & junior high school students ¥600

Venue Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography

Address Ebisu Garden Place, 1-13-3 Mita, Meguro-ku, Tokyo

Transport Ebisu station (Yamanote line), east exit; (Hibiya line), exit 1.

 

 

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Things to do: Fashion Week Tokyo October 10-October 23rd

Check out Tokyo's fashion week from October 10-23

Check out Tokyo’s fashion week from October 10-23

This year’s autumn Fashion Week kicks off at Shibuya‘s Hikarie building with the Zakka Runway (themed ‘British Check’), Sweets Runway, and Designers’ Cocktail Runway events. Sample the latest accessories, snack on some glamour sweets, sip on fashion-inspired drinks, or just take in the atmosphere of a world-class event. The runway shows start from October 14.

Details

Open Oct 10-23

Time See official website for event details

Venue Shibuya Hikarie

Address 2-21 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Shibuya Station (Yamanote, Shonan-Shinjuku, Ginza, Hanzomon, Fukutoshin lines, etc.)

 

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Must see: Japanese talent show for gaijin (foreigners)

Big in Japan: A group of foreign residents compete in the 2011 edition of Gaikokujin Star Tanjo. This year's event will feature rap, dance and classical music.

Big in Japan: A group of foreign residents compete in the 2011 edition of Gaikokujin Star Tanjo. This year’s event will feature rap, dance and classical music.

They say that fortune favors the brave and this Saturday, in Fukuoka, brave non-Japanese residents will get the chance to feel like a star.

The sign-up period to take part in Gaikokujin Star Tanjo has passed, but you can still get in on the fun by heading down to the party to cheer on other hopefuls. The talented bunch will be competing for the prize of being Fukuoka’s “most talented foreigner.”

Gaikokujin Star Tanjo will be held this year for its fourth time and is reportedly one of the biggest international parties in Fukuoka. The event will take place at JR Kyushu Hall in Hakata Ward.

Contestants from Canada, Nepal, France and other countries are ready to deliver, through music and dance, an entertaining and cultural experience that allows the audience to gain an insight into the traditions of their home countries.

The seven finalists will perform from 7 p.m. and their talents include rap, dance and classical music. The top prize is ¥100,000 in cash.

The event, inspired by the TV singing competitionAmerican Idol,” was launched in 2010 under the name Gaijin Idol. A year later its name was changed to Gaikokujin Star Tanjo.

It is co-organized by Fukuoka Now, a local bilingual monthly magazine run by Fukuoka Now Ltd., and JR Hakata City, the owner of a commercial complex in the Hakata Station building.

The event will be hosted by Sebastien, the single-monikered personality behind “C’est ça la France” and “Afternoon Delight” on Fukuoka’s Love FM.

 

Details:

Gaikokujin Star Tanjo will take place Oct. 5 from 7 p.m. till 11 p.m. at JR Kyushu Hall on the ninth floor of Hakata City, a multifunctional facility complex at JR Hakata Station. Tickets cost ¥1,500. For more information, visit www.fukuoka-now.com/gaikokujin-star-tanjo.

 

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