This Valentine’s Day we thought we would put together our collective couple heads and come up with some kind of top-ten of our loves to do with Japan. Because as much as Japan has its many problems, this is not the time or place for that – today is all about love:
Continue reading for our Top Ten Loves this fine Saint Valentine’s Day, hope you are having a good one too…
10 – I love Deco (Rebecca)
Oh deco: you make my life a happy sparkly place (apart from Deco Rage that everyone gets once in a while). Despite not being that great at the art itself, I have a long-standing love affair with deco and had gone through several mobile phone cases before I even knew what it was properly called. I think I could quite easily spend much of my income on stones and cabochons and glue and exciting things if Samuel didn’t physically restrain me once in a while. Just call me the magpie.
9 – I love People Watching (Rebecca)
When we’re hitting Tokyo hardcore, such as around Japan Fashion Week, we can quite easily cover several miles every day. Due to my penchant for high heels that take me from 5’8 to 6’1, my feet don’t often have a lot to thank me for! However, all that changes when I get down to one of my favourite past-times; people watching. From the street snap photographers by Omotesando Hills to the guys trying their luck at nampa outside the Studio Alta department store, Tokyo is one of the best places in the entire world to kick back with whatever you’d picked up from a vending machine and simply chill out while observing the millions of Tokyoites.
8 – I love Jewelry (Samuel)
If you have been reading this blog for some time you will know that I am fairly fanatical about jewelry, of all types, of all cultures and of all values. Now, Japan does not actually have the best history of jewelry oddly enough, probably because pre-Meiji and way back into Japan’s history all forms of excessive adornment were strictly forbidden on the common folk. But what that did lead to is the very practical Netsuke as some kind of precursor to the wallet-chain, and on that account Japan does not disappoint. Modern jewelry tends to fluctuate between being ultra-cheap, or created in gorgeous silver with gold reserved for the dull well-to-do women about town. For me the silver scene is the best in the world and as you can see from a tiny glimpse into my collection above, I might well know what I am talking about.
7 – I love Vintage (Rebecca)
It seems like I’m not the only one who loves a bit of vintage these days! Vintage shops often seem like they’re two a penny, but Japan takes it one better – most second-hand stores have their own distinct identity making them stand out from the crowd. We love folk-dolly Grimoire, 80s pop Spank! and ethereal gothic Virgin Mary… Take a look at the vintage tag and get retro-fabulous!
6 – I love Self-Customisation (Samuel)
I can think of no country where there is a stronger spirit of self-customisation than Japan. As much as perfectly formed items are crammed into every inch of retail space there is a huge amount of people who rebel and make their own. Thankfully that is unbelievably easy thanks to shops like Tokyu Hands where you can pick up packs of snake skin for 700 yen, bulk studs and frankly anything you might need to professionally custom and even make your own clothes. For me the most interesting brands that Shibuya’s Candy stocks tend to be the re-made items and don’t get me started on my own mecca – the Kitakore building. In the meantime check out my latest creations in the form of the biker boots above which I will be putting up on NOMI soon.
5 – I love Make-up (Rebecca)
Foundation, powder, eyebrows, blusher, highlighter, eyeliner, mascara and lipstick – I can’t get enough, and Japan is terrible and keeps on showing me beautifully packaged make-up that I have to give in to, ’cause, well, it’s lovely isn’t it?
4 – I love Shinjuku (Samuel)
The mysterious Tiger Mask is a rather odd feature of Shinjuku, for people who don’t know, this guy is always walking around the streets of Shinjuku and in particular the East side which also happens to be my favorite side. I used to live round there and see this guy pretty much every day, soon we would greet each other with a knowing nod and even now when months can elapse before I see him we always share a moment. As long as this guy is still walking the streets of Shinjuku, all is right with the world as far as I am concerned.
For the record, the reason Shinjuku is my most beloved area of all of Tokyo is that it has it all. Wealth next to poverty, the best restaurants next to the worst, the cheapest Host shop in the basement of the most exclusive and the best date spots in the heart of the red-light district. In short, it has edge, it still finds ways to surprise me and it is where you will generally find us on a night out.
3 – I love Tea (Rebecca)
Samuel is more of a coffee person (no one’s perfect!), but I am a true tea devotee – I can’t remember ever not drinking tea. Although I favour an English breakfast bend for my first, and best, cup of the day, I’m also quite partial to Earl Grey and I do love a cup or three of green tea to pick me up in the afternoon. In Japan however, my love of good tea sometimes gets me into trouble as I search with an ever-increasing caffeine comedown for something that isn’t Darjeeling with full-fat milk and sugar syrup. I think it’s about time for my tea adventures (here and here) to get an update!
2 – I love Horror Films (Samuel)
If there is one thing we like to do on a quiet night it is to curl up on the sofa with a good horror film. Not a gore-fest like Guinea Pig, a proper horror film like Kairo (above), which does not need course measures to make its point. For us Japanese directors get that true horror is in the unknown, not what is in the shadows, but what might be…
1 – We love each other!
Sorry to be a bit corny on the last one, but it is true. We met studying Japanese, bonded over our interest in Japan and lived about 10 minutes from each other in Osaka before we even met. Now Japanese fashion keeps us working side-by-side which is a luxury we are grateful for everyday, not just today.