Annemarie is an editor for Time Out Tokyo. As part of her job, she once unwillingly shot an elastic band at the genitals of a naked Japanese man. Follow her on Twitter at @mizrama
Best nail art salons in Tokyo
Tokyo has long been a trendsetter in the world of nail art and you can get pretty much anything you want on your tips, from over-the-top 3D art to more subtle diamanté designs. Many locals visit nail salons on a monthly basis – as often as they visit hair salons – and you'll find gel nail patterns marketed according to the seasons, on-trend colours, and special occasions like Valentine's Day and Christmas. If you're a nail art newbie or you just feel like trying out something different, we've picked out five salons that offer unique nail art, along with two options for those who like the idea of DIY nails.
César Ordóñez: Tokyo Blur
When we first met César Ordóñez in 2013, he told us about his ‘Tokyo Blur’ photo series. He told us that ‘the out of focus portion of the pictures represents this space I feel between myself and the world around me when I’m in Tokyo. It’s a positive feeling’. When you look at the photos, which have recently been published as a hardcover photo book, you can really sense what he means. Usually, images of Tokyo show a very specific side of the city – like the bright lights, the colour, the tourist hotspots – but Ordóñez really gets under her skin. As with his previous ‘Ashimoto’ series, he manages to capture moments from everyday life; moments that are rarely seen or felt by those who don’t live here. Through images in black and white, most of them at night and often close to abstraction, he takes us to a mysterious, sensual and ‘blurred’ Tokyo. We sat down for a chat with the photographer and asked him to give us more insight into the images. How did the idea for ‘Tokyo Blur’ come about? It came to me while walking through Tokyo in 2013, taking pictures of dark streets in the rain, cherry blossoms, or nightclubs. I intentionally visited the city without a prior idea of what kind of pictures I would take. I wanted to be guided by the city. A city that always gives me answers to the questions I ask it through my photographs or videos. This is your fourth project in Tokyo since 2007. How does this one differ from your other series? Unlike with previous projects where colour domina
Interview: César Ordóñez
'I'm in love with Tokyo,' says Spanish photographer César Ordóñez. He is not the first to proclaim such a connection with the city, of course, but his artistic expression of it lends a unique quality to the feeling. The creators of Tokyo-Ga – an ongoing art project curated by Naoko Ohta that portrays the city through the eyes of 100 photographers – recognised this quality in his 'Ashimoto' (Around the feet) series and in 2011 asked him to be part of their campaign. Eschewing the clichés that so many come to believe about the sprawling metropolis, Ordóñez prefers to look for meaning and representation in other places. For starters, pretty feet... In your 'Ashimoto' series, you focus solely on women's legs and feet. It's not hard to understand the aesthetic appeal, but I'm sure there is more to the concept than meets the eye?The story starts years ago, when I was a child. I always thought the feet were a very interesting part of a woman. I thought they were beautiful and should be shown off all the time. When I first came to Tokyo in 2000, I was struck by how Japanese women, especially in Tokyo, take care of their appearance. Their hands and feet are always perfectly manicured. I was also struck by the diversity in style. In Barcelona, for example, in summer you see only one style of shoe – Havaianas [flip-flops] – but here in Tokyo everyone is different. It's not about fetish or fashion. I have always been interested in portraying the femininity, sensitivity and sensual charm
Ghost & mystery walk: Yotsuya, Shinjuku
For maximum spookiness, we decided to call on Lilly Fields, founder of Haunted Tokyo Tours and guru of the ghostly spirits that roam the streets of our city. She took us on her ‘Demons of the Red Light District’ tour, which begins at Yotsuya-Sanchome Station and winds through hidden alleys, while Lilly builds a fascinating story of the area’s tragic history and how it has shaped the supernatural tales of today. Take exit 3 at Yotsuya-Sanchome Station onto Yasukuni-dori and turn left around a corner into the Samoncho neighbourhood. A gust of cold air? Could be the angry ghost of Oiwa, who floats around the area, frightening locals to the point that many won’t even set foot on these streets. Four blocks down, on a parallel street to your left, you’ll find Oiwa Inari Tamiya Jinja, a shrine dedicated to keeping her spirit placated. Why’s she so furious? As legend has it, Oiwa’s husband poisoned her (it wasn’t pretty), and she took revenge by committing suicide but vowing to haunt him forever. Oiwa Inari Tamiya Jinja After paying your respects to Oiwa, find your way back to Yasukuni-dori and cross the road. Look for the entrance to Sharikimon-dori – it’s easy to spot thanks to two tall poles bearing symbols of rickshaw drivers. This is a nod to the fact that, once upon a time, rickshaw drivers would drop off red-light district customers at this very spot. Walk down the hill and imagine a time when the little pubs that line the street were filled with geishas and, well, cheating hu
Interview: Diana Yukawa
Diana Yukawa was only 14 when she first stole hearts in Japan. It was her emotional musical tribute to her father, who lost his life in the Japan Airlines Flight 123 disaster of 1985, that struck a chord with the audience and led to her releasing her debut album in Japan not long afterwards. A second solo violin album followed, after which Yukawa broke free from the confines of classical music and began experimenting with the ‘modern electronic classical’ sound for which she is now known. Ahead of the release of her new album ‘Spaces Between Shadows’, we caught up with the genre-busting musician to talk multicultural identity, inspiration sources, and dogs in strollers. What was life like for you growing up? I was born in Japan shortly after my father died. A few months later, my mother moved us back to London, which is where she is from. My father had wanted us to grow up and go to school there. Being in such a cosmopolitan city, we had a mix of cultures at school and I completely felt like a Londoner. Do you feel Japanese, British or a bit of both? When I’m in Japan, even though I can only speak a little Japanese, I feel like this is my other home and it just feels completely natural for me to be here. But when I go back to England, that equally feels like my home. It can be quite confusing, but then I remind myself that I’m incredibly lucky to be able to have two cultures; to have heritage from this side of the world and the other. Why did you choose the violin as your in
Discover the imperfect beauty of Japanese ceramics
Last year, Death Cab for Cutie released an album titled Kintsugi. If you Googled the term, you would have learned that it refers to the Japanese art of repairing broken ceramics in such a way that the damage becomes part of a new design, rather than simply being erased. When you see the artworks of Japanese ceramicist Yuji Ueda, who is set to exhibit in New York next month, you might wonder “Is this kintsugi?” Technically, it’s not. He’s not in the profession of repairing plates and bowls. But the pieces he creates feature rough, uneven textures with cracks and layers of ceramics packed one on top of another, and they seem to embrace the deeper meaning of kintsugi: turning imperfections into something beautiful. Rough beginnings Ueda at work A completed piece by Ueda In March, Ueda takes his work to Blum & Poe in New York where he’ll be exhibiting alongside fellow ceramic artists Kazunori Hamana and Otani Workshop. The show, along with a similar one they were all part of in Los Angeles last year, is curated by renowned contemporary artist Takashi Murakami (who, incidentally, will be wrapping up his own enormously successful “The 500 Arhats” exhibition in Tokyo just as the trio make their New York debut). Although Murakami’s animated art style is in stark contrast to the kind of subtle, stripped down ceramics set to be on display here, his involvement is testament to his enthusiastic support of Japan’s traditional art forms. “Murakami is interested in old traditions and he
What makes wagyu the world's best beef?
'Wagyu is not just meat. It's all the things that Japan is famous for... Tradition and quality and conviction,' says chef Federico Heinzmann. Originally from Argentina, he runs the show at Park Hyatt Tokyo’s New York Grill, where he creates mouth-watering wagyu dishes for guests. We met up with him at the restaurant, where we were also joined by ‘wagyu master’ Hisato Hamada, founder of Viva Japan, a company that's working to assist Japanese farmers to export wagyu around the world. Let’s begin with the burning question: are wagyu cows really getting massages, drinking beer and listening to classical music? Federico: While it’s true that the cows are treated like members of the family, and I have in fact met one farmer who plays music for his wagyu, this is largely a misconception. The real key to their quality lies in the genetics, the high quality of food they are fed, and the fact that each farmer develops their own complex process to create the perfect size and shape of cow. Hisato: Also, they have longer lifespans than ordinary cattle, which significantly improves flavour. Wagyu cows live for about 30 months, sometimes 35. American cows, by comparison, are slaughtered at 15-22 months. Okay, so the cows are living the life. But is this what makes wagyu’s flavour so superior? F: This is part of it, of course. But wagyu beef is known for being very fatty, and this is the main point of difference. Each farmer works very hard to find the perfect recipe for their feed mix so
Discover the imperfect beauty of Japanese ceramics
Last year, Death Cab for Cutie released an album titled Kintsugi. If you Googled the term, you would have learned that it refers to the Japanese art of repairing broken ceramics in such a way that the damage becomes part of a new design, rather than simply being erased. When you see the artworks of Japanese ceramicist Yuji Ueda, who is set to exhibit in New York next month, you might wonder ‘Is this kintsugi?’ Technically, it’s not. He’s not in the profession of repairing plates and bowls. But the pieces he creates feature rough, uneven textures with cracks and layers of ceramics packed one on top of another, and they seem to embrace the deeper meaning of kintsugi: turning imperfections into something beautiful. Rough beginnings Ueda at work A completed piece by Ueda In March, Ueda takes his work to Blum & Poe in New York where he’ll be exhibiting alongside fellow ceramic artists Kazunori Hamana and Otani Workshop. The show, along with a similar one they were all part of in Los Angeles last year, is curated by renowned contemporary artist Takashi Murakami (who, incidentally, will be wrapping up his own enormously successful ‘The 500 Arhats’ exhibition in Tokyo just as the trio make their New York debut). Although Murakami’s animated art style is in stark contrast to the kind of subtle, stripped down ceramics set to be on display here, his involvement is testament to his enthusiastic support of Japan’s traditional art forms. ‘Murakami is interested in old traditions and he
The birth of sake
Not too far removed from Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Erik Shirai’s The Birth of Saké is a contemplative portrait of a year inside Japan’s Tedorigawa sake brewery. The atmospheric film looks at the lives of a small group of manual labourers who must brave difficult working conditions (like having to live together for six months at a time) to preserve a 2,000-year-old tradition. Shirai and producer Masako Tsumura first visited the brewery in 2012 and, after months of negotiation, were finally given access to film at the brewery. They returned in 2013 to ‘live amongst the workers at the brewery and capture the intense and relatively unknown process (even within Japan) of traditional sake making’. Why did you want to tell this story?As a Japanese-American, I wanted to share the story of my own people and my culture. I see so many films made about Japan and Japanese culture through the eyes of foreigners and I felt that it was important that this film be made with a Japanese perspective. This film is a tribute to all Japanese artisans who dedicate themselves to their craft. Do you think the tradition is in danger of dying out?I do not believe that sake making will ever completely die out but I do believe that, in this modern age, making sake traditionally has become very difficult. I hope that this film will allow more people (both in Japan and abroad) to appreciate the craftsmanship and dedication involved. What was it like to live amongst the workers at the brewery? It was very intere
インタビュー：アンマリー：ラック 2015年7月17日、安倍晋三首相は世界に向けて語った。「2020年東京オリンピック・パラリンピックの会場となる新しい国立競技場の現行案を白紙に戻し、ゼロから取り組み直す」と。競技場のデザインと費用については3年近くにわたって非難されてきたが、今回の声明は、世間を驚かせただけでなく、その決定を公式に伝えられることなく、ニュースで初めて知ったザハ・ハディド・アーキテクツのデザイナーたちを困惑させることとなった。事務所側は、彼らの設計した競技場の建築が、10月には開始される見込みであり、旧国立競技場の取り壊しが5月に行われたことからも、物事が予定通りに進むものと考えていたのだ。 飾りたてたデザインが、予算を1,300億円から2,520億円にまで押し上げたのだと、政府が新たな非難をする中で、ザハ・ハディド・アーキテクツは7月28日に「事実関係をはっきりさせるため」の声明を発表した。ワールドラグビーもまた意気消沈している。ゼロからやり直すということは、競技場が2019年のラグビーワールドカップに間に合わないことを意味するからだ。ワールドラグビーの広報担当者は、新しい競技場で大会を行えるということを何度も言い聞かされていただけに、団体は「大いに失望した」と話した。 その間にも、メディアと世論が突然の決定の裏に隠された本当の理由は何なのかを探ろうとする騒ぎは広がり、ザハ派と日本派のような対立を招いた。一方には（日本の著名な建築家たちによって様々な呼び名で罵られてきた）デザインこそが、費用を2倍近くにまで押し上げた原因だと主張する人々がいて、ただし、2012年に行われたコンペティションの審査委員会の委員長を務めていた安藤忠雄が、現在でも確固としてザハ派のひとりであることは注目するべきだろう。彼は「ハディド氏のデザインを破棄すれば、国際的な信用を失うことになるだろう」と発言している。他方には、費用の急激な増加は当然のことであり、大規模な建設事業のほとんどを1つの請負業者が監督する日本の土木業界では、これは当たり前のことなのだと説明する人々がいる。そして、2020年東京オリンピック組織委員長である森喜朗が会見を開き、どう見ても筋の通らないスピーチを行うとますます状況は、泥沼に陥っていった。 私たちは、より確かな情報を得るために、2012年にザハ案が選出されたときからザハ・ハディド・アーキテクツでプロジェクトディレクターを務めてきたジム・ヘヴェリンに話を聞いた。
あなたの目の前に、恐怖の表情を浮かべた裸の男性がいるとする。彼の背後には、1人の男性がゴムバンドの端を握り、別の男性が反対のゴムの端を裸の彼の股の間に通し、それをそっと渡してきたら、あなたはどうするだろう? 答えはひとつ。ほかの観客と共にカウントダウンし、「3、2、1」の合図で、伸びきったゴムを手放す。そして、大事な部分にゴムを打ちつけられた、可哀想だけど勇敢な男性が床に転がるのを見つめる。それだけで、会場は熱狂の渦に包まれるのだ。 通常のショーパブは、ラスベガススタイルの華やかさと日本の伝統舞踊を混ぜ合わせたようなものが主流。また実際に夜遅く開催しているショーは少なく、出演者が全員男性であるのに「キャバレー」と呼ばれるような、怪しげなものばかり。しかし私たちは、こうして夜の街に集まる人々を楽しませることが仕事の、この男性の縮こまった性器と向き合うこととなった。六本木のショーパブ体験は、決して一般的なものとは言えないだろう。 六本木には数多くのショーパブとキャバレーが点在し、そのエンターテイメント性や露出度の高さは、それぞれによって異なる。ホストクラブやホステスバーとの違いは、ショーをメインにドリンクとフードを提供しているところ。また共通点は、綺麗に着飾った女性や男性 (もしくは女装した男性) と交流できること。どちらも日本のサラリーマンと働く女性たちをファンタジーの世界へと導いてくれるのである。自制心も羞恥心も解き放ち、日本のカイリー・ミノーグと一緒に『江南スタイル』を踊ってみてはいかがだろう。
Taste luxury green tea, served by a master of the ceremony
It took Shinya Sakurai 12 years to become a tea master. That's a long time to dedicate to tea. But when you visit his shop in Omotesando's Spiral, Sakurai Japanese Tea Experience, and sit down opposite him as he prepares an exquisite tea ceremony in an equally exquisite café space, you'll begin to appreciate the hard work and patience that goes into this tradition. Shinya has modelled his store on the concept of tea being a form of medicine – as it used to be many moons ago – and he travels around Japan to source the best quality tea leaves. They're all on display in little glass containers, which are lined up in front of packs of tea for sale at his shop. At the back of the store, there's a seated area where you can enjoy sipping on the tea of your choice. If you'd like to taste different varieties, you can sample individual teas for ¥320 each, but we decided to try the full experience and asked for the 'five tea tasting course' (¥3,800). We sat down at the wide black counter that forms a neat square in the small café area. Shinya took up his place and set to work, making sure the water was the right temperature and then systematically pouring it from cup to cup to cool it down. The reason, he told us, is because the type of green tea he was serving – called gyokuro – needs to be brewed at milder temperature. Gyokuro is one of the most luxurious green teas in Japan. It's grown in the shade, which gives it a unique, refined flavour that's less bitter and full of umami. Shi
スマホでの自撮りは簡単だ。たとえば旅行で、東京のような素晴らしい街で過ごすなら、記念写真を撮りたくなる。しかし、地元の人々に撮影をしつこく頼み続けたくはないだろう。パートナーや友人、家族との旅をプロに撮影してもらい、リビングのテーブルに飾るノスタルジックなアルバムを作りたいと思う人に勧めたいサービスがある。 Travelshootは、世界中の都市（オーストラリア、カナダ、アメリカ、ヨーロッパ、アジアなど）にいる写真家と旅行者をつなぐ、旅行写真専門の会社である。ウェブサイトから予約すると、写真家、撮影場所などをアレンジしてくれる。料金が異なる3つのプランがあり、『ベーシック』（1時間32,700円）、『ゴールドスタンダード』（2時間49,200円）、『ハイフライヤー』（4時間73,900円）から選択する。いくつか撮影場所を勧めてくれるが、自分でリクエストすることも可能だ。撮影の2日後には、オンラインギャラリーでサンプル画像を見ることができ、7日以内に完全版のアルバムができあがる。 ラインナップに東京が追加されたことを発見し、早速予約してみた。今回は、都内の3ヶ所（渋谷交差点、原宿の竹下通り、明治神宮を推薦してくれた）で撮影し、編集後の写真が50枚もらえる『ゴールドスタンダード』を選んだ。 東京に拠点を置く写真家、ヒース・スミスとの待ち合わせ時間や場所がスムーズに決定した。ヒースは素晴らしい写真家で、上手に気分をほぐしてくれた。まず、どんなスタイルの写真がいいか（楽しい雰囲気のもの、ロマンティックなもの、それとももっと直球勝負がいいかなど）や、編集手法について（白黒、ポップな色使い、繊細な雰囲気など）を聞いてくれた。2時間の撮影は、渋谷交差点からスタートし、原宿まで裏通りを通り抜けながら、最後に緑豊かな明治神宮にたどり着くというコース。素晴らしい写真をただ撮ってくれるだけではないそれ以上のものがあった。 専属の写真家を引き連れて、東京をクールに散歩してみてはいかがだろう。 『Forget selfie sticks, get your Tokyo holiday snaps taken by a pro』原文はこちら Travelshootの公式サイトはこちら
Forget selfie sticks, get your Tokyo holiday snaps taken by a pro
Selfies have their place, sure, but when you're on holiday in a pretty city like Tokyo, you want to capture the bigger picture. Plus, you don't want to have to keep nagging locals with photo requests (although Tokyoites do enjoy a good tourist snap). Also, wouldn't it just be nice to have a few professional, atmospheric shots of you and your partner/friends/family that you can turn into a nostalgic coffee-table album? Enter Travelshoot, a boutique travel photography company that connects travellers with local photographers in popular destinations around the world, including Australia, Canada, the US, Europe and Asia. They've already done the networking and have a host of photographers on hand in different cities, so when you book one of their packages via their website, they make all the arrangements on your behalf and then put you in touch with your very own professional photographer. You can choose between three different packages: Basic (one hour, ¥32,700), Gold Standard (two hours, ¥49,200) and High-Flyer (four hours, ¥73,900). They recommend certain locations, but they are also more than willing to take requests. And you'll get sample images delivered to you via an online gallery within two days, followed by the full edited album within seven days. Tokyo is fairly new to their lineup, so when we heard about the service, we decided to book a session and see just how well it works. We went for the Gold Standard package, which allowed us to shoot at three different locatio
Five reasons to go watch Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Totem’ Japan Tour
We’ve been waiting for it for months, so when February 3 rolled around we made sure we were at the opening night of Cirque du Soleil: Totem Japan Tour. Two-and-a-half enthralling hours later we were ready to tell the world: you need to see this show… 1. To figure out how these ladies balance on their unicycles while tossing bowls onto each other’s heads For this entire performance, we stared in awe at these ladies’ strong little feet as they balanced on one leg by swiftly pushing the pedal back and forth, while using the other foot to toss bowls onto their co-stars’ heads. Also, how do they get on and off those unicycles? 2. To remember your love of rollerskating We know skateboarding is way cooler, rollerblades killed the dream, and even ‘Whip It’ failed to resurrect the sport, but watching this couple spin around on white skates and a teeny tiny circular stage (1.8m in diameter!) made us want to immediately log on to Craigslist and search for ‘vintage rollerskates’. Seriously, at one point she hangs by a cord around his neck, her legs at 90 degrees and they turn into a human spinning top. 3. To wonder if these two have any bones in their bodies There were times when we almost had to look away. These two caterpillar-esque contortionists manage to bend and shape themselves into such unusual positions that it's hard to believe they aren’t in pain. But their elegance and control turns their portion of the show into one of the most outstanding segments of the night
Go night canoeing in the middle of Tokyo
City living getting you down? You're not alone – according to our recent City Living Survey, plenty of you 'had a little cry' or 'got drunk enough to have a hangover' as a way of dealing with your stress. Here's a better idea: spend an evening canoeing your way down a calm river in Tokyo's Koto ward, with a rewarding view of the lit-up Skytree Tower. We signed up for the experience with Zac, an outdoor sports club that hosts a variety of adventure activities, and welcomes all skill levels. If you're a beginner, the guides, Yukio Fukazawa and Masako Kurakazu, will explain the rules of the river and how to paddle, but take it from us, it's super easy – Kyu Naka river is manmade so there's no risk of being swept away by strong currents. You'll be given a lifejacket just in case, but there's not much chance of you falling in. The guides are Japanese but they speak enough English that you shouldn't have any problem understanding what to do. They also offers daytrips, which we'd recommend trying out during cherry blossom season. The tour costs ¥5,500 and lasts about one hour and 45 minutes, with a meeting time of 5.30pm just near to Higashi-Ojima Station. The website with details about what to bring is in Japanese, but basically you'll need: light footwear like Crocs, rain jacket, gloves, towel, change of clothes, copy of your health insurance card. To make a booking, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. And start warming up those bicep muscles...
Looking for a Tokyo food tour? Dinner is served...
At Time Out Tokyo, we spend a lot of time hunting down the best eating and drinking spots to help you experience all the gastronomic delights that this city has to offer. Unfortunately, we can't actually take you from restaurant to restaurant, but that's where Oishii Tokyo Food Tours comes in. Launched in April this year, the tour provider has already become a massive hit among tourists and even a few locals who perhaps just want to discover a different side of various neighbourhoods. The hosts speak English, are highly entertaining, and will go out of their way to introduce you to Japan's vibrant culture. We joined them on a recent 'Aka Chochin' (Red Lantern) tour around Ebisu to get a taste of what's on offer. From the minute we met up with our fellow tour participants at Ebisu Station, it felt like we were just hanging out with friends. The three others on the tour with us were all in Tokyo on holiday and had discovered Oishii Tokyo Food Tours online. Our guide first took us to an izakaya to try out yakitori (chicken skewers), giving us a little lesson in how to kanpai (cheers) in Japanese, and then to a sashimi restaurant where we were served chuhai (shochu alcohol with lemon) and the freshest fish we've ever eaten – no seriously, we watched the chef remove it from the fish tank and it was still twitching as we ate... Squeezing lemon for the chuhai, not as hard as it looks The calm before the twitching fish Preparing the fish... Next we strolled alon
Five reasons to visit ‘Takashi Murakami: The 500 Arhats’ exhibition
Other than to see if you can actually account for all 500 arhats, here's why you need to check out the acclaimed Japanese artist's new solo show at Mori Art Museum... 1. It’s Takashi Murakami’s first solo show in Japan in 14 years That’s a long time considering he’s one of the country’s (and the world’s) most acclaimed contemporary artists. But that’s not to say he hasn’t been busy. Over the last few years, the 53-year-old has been running his company Kaikai Kiki, which nurtures and manages young artists in Japan; he directed his debut film ‘Jellyfish Eyes’; and then there’s the small business of actually creating ‘The 500 Arhats’. The monumental painting was originally produced in 2011 as a token of gratitude to the State of Qatar, which offered immediate support after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. It was unveiled in Doha in 2012, and this is the first time it's been shown in Japan. 2. He actually painted one of the works himself Wait, what? Murakami doesn’t paint his own art? Well, of course he has in the past, but the prolific artist – who was once called ‘the next Andy Warhol’ – is known for gathering together groups of art students and directing them as a sort of commander-in-chief. This is how he’s been working for the last decade, and it’s how he created ‘The 500 Arhats’, enlisting over 200 Japanese art college students to help him complete the task. But besides the main painting, this exhibition also showcases several new works, one of which bo
Casita launches winter 'kotatsu' dining to keep you cosy
You might laugh when you read the caption on the above photo, but actually, Casita loves its customers so much that they have been known to stay open long after their 1am closing time just because a guest has quietly fallen asleep at the table and they don't want to disturb him. And after experiencing the restaurant's winter outdoor kotatsu dining – which features electric blankets on your seats and another comfy blanket draped over the table with a small heater underneath – we can understand how easy it would be to nod off here. It's. Just. So. Warm.One of the best things about Aoyama's Casita is its outdoor terrace, but when the weather gets chilly it's not always inviting to dine outside. But it would be a shame to waste this pretty space for an entire season, so Casita has come up with the ingenious idea of incorporating the old-school kotatsu concept into its dinner course. This gives customers the chance to experience this traditional Japanese way of keeping warm while enjoying a ¥7,000 course that includes an all-you-can-eat buffet and a main steak dish (for an extra ¥1,500 you can swap the steak for the seafood hot pot dish we ordered, and for an extra ¥3,000 you can enjoy free-flowing wine).Be sure to reserve a seat ahead of time; if you do, you'll be treated to Casita's very special version of omotenashi – we won't spoil the surprise by telling you what exactly this entails, but there is one clue if you scroll down to the last pic below.More information about Casita
<img id="4959e0d0-c058-be9c-4120-28ca22e84d9e" data-caption="" data-credit="" data-width-class="" type="image/jpeg" total="2867222" loaded="2867222" image_id="102925562" src="http://media.timeout.com/images/102925562/image.jpg" class="photo lazy inline"> Misha Janette (third from left) with Kawaii Monster Café's 'Monster Girls' whose costumes she designed ミーシャ・ジャネットは、人気ファッションブログwww.tokyofashiondiaries.comの創設者として有名だが、ジャーナリストやテレビ番組の司会者、そして、最近ではスタイリストとして、新たな自分を発信し続けている。タイムアウト東京は、原宿のコンセプトレストランKAWAII MONSTER CAFEでインタビューを行った。ミーシャが手がけた「モンスターガール」のコスチュームのスタイリングについて、彼女にとって東京はどのような場所なのか、そして、次に東京で流行するのは何なのか、内部のこぼれ話を交えて教えてくれた。 ーまず始めに、東京に来たきっかけは何ですか。 私はスタイリストになりたいと思っていました。しかし、ワシントン州で育ち、お金もそれほど持っていなかったので、ずば抜けた人間になりにくいことは分かっていました。それに、ファッションの世界では、まず注目を浴び、それから自分の力を示さなければなりません。なので私は来日して文化服装学院で学び、違う文化の中に身を投じて、その中で自分のアメリカ人的な感覚を融合させることにしました。 ー10年前に来日されているようですが、当時のファッションと今はどう違いますか。 今よりも値段が高かったです。普通のTシャツは10,000円くらいでした。キャミソールでも安くても7,000円はしたと思います。最近では、値段にもかなり幅がありますよね。 ーご自身のスタイルはどう進化したと思いますか。 ある意味、円の中を回っているような状態です。まさに今は、文化服装学院の学生だった頃のようなファッションに回帰しています。黒や白を用い、グラフィカルに仕上げています。私がスタイリストになり始めた頃に、イサベラ・ブロウ風の美しい彫刻のような帽子を作った帽子デザイナーと出会い、それを東京ファッションウィークに被って行き始めました。基本的にスタイリングは自分で行っています。 ーカワイイの分野にも行かれていて、NHKワールドのテレビ番組「カワイイ・インターナショナル」の司会までされていますが。 はい、これは私がブログを始めた後で、約4年ほど前に始めました。同じ頃に、増田セバスチャン（カワイイの第一人者）やカワイイファッションを紹介されました。私はそういった服を着るように依頼されるようになり、それがきっかけで「原宿ガール」と一緒にNHKの司会をすることになりました。最近だと、私の役割は変わってきていて、ファッションの進化を紹介したり、日本での実際の捉えられ方と比較しながら、外国人からの視点を説明したりすることに重点を置いています。 ー最近は、原宿のKAWAII MONSTER CAFEのコスチューム作り
Watch this stationmaster find beauty in the simplest task
They say that Japanese people become masters of their craft, no matter what that craft may be. The more time you spend in Japan, the more evident this becomes as you begin to notice not just the celebrated masters but also those who are unrecognised in their everyday duties and jobs. A few months ago we published a video clip by American journalist Charli James, who brought worldwide attention to the shinkansen cleaners' '7-minute miracle'. Now, Israeli artist Erez Sitzer brings us an equally inspiring clip that captures just three minutes in Miyako the stationmaster's daily job yet it's enough to make us feel a little dreamy – and perhaps sit up a little straighter at our desks. Because, if you were a stationmaster, could you really see yourself putting as much love as Miyako does into waving off a train? Sitzer says he discovered Miyako by chance while searching for a small countryside train station to photograph. He saw how much care she put into smiling at each disembarking passenger and then decided to film her as she waved off the departing train. 'Surprisingly, she continued waving. She waved until there was no trace left of the distant train. No-one witnessed her, except, well, me,' he says. 'When I spoke to her later, she said at first she felt so shy and hardly waved at all. Slowly, over time, she began doing something she neither needed to do nor imagined she ever would.'View the Facebook post here.
Q&A with stylist and blogger Misha Janette: 'Tokyo is like a refuge'
Misha Janette (third from left) with Kawaii Monster Café's 'Monster Girls' whose costumes she designed She's perhaps most well-known for being the founder of popular fashion blog www.tokyofashiondiaries.com, but Misha Janette continues to reinvent herself – as journalist, TV host and, most recently, stylist. We caught up with her at Harajuku's latest themed restaurant, Kawaii Monster Cafe, to ask her about styling the costumes for the café's 'Monster Girls' and to pick her brain about what Tokyo means to her. She also gave us a few insider titbits on what's set to be the next big style trend in Tokyo... What brought you to Tokyo?I wanted to be a stylist, but I knew that growing up in Washington State and not having much money was going to make it difficult to stand out. And in fashion, you have to stand out first, and then show what you’re made of. So I decided to come to Japan and study at Bunka Fashion College, and immerse myself in a completely different culture where I could mix in my American sensibility. You came here 10 years ago. How was the fashion different back then?For one, it was way more expensive. A basic T-shirt cost ¥10,000. I remember I couldn’t even find a camisole for less than ¥7,000. These days, there is a lot more variety in price range! How has your own style evolved?I’ve kind of gone in circles. Right now, I’m back to dressing how I did when I was a student here: black and white, graphical. When I was starting out as a stylist, I met a hat designe
The world's most mysterious dinner comes to Tokyo
What started as a picnic in Paris 27 years ago has evolved into one of the world's most exclusive and mysterious dinner events, with waiting lists reaching into the thousands. As of this year, Diner en Blanc is active in 70 cities and 35 countries around the world and, last weekend, Tokyo finally held its very own 'secret white dinner' in front of the illuminated Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery. As is the tradition, the location was only revealed to guests after they met at certain points around the city, and there was a strict all-white dress code. Guests also had to bring their own tables, chairs and food, and when they left, they packed up and disappeared into the night as if they were never there to begin with. How can you get in on the action next year? Well, that's the catch that makes it so exclusive: you have to be invited by the inner circle (see, now you want to go even more, don't you). The lucky few who do get an invite receive a card in the mail signed from 'Mr and Mrs White' with explicit instructions about the evening. You can also sign up for the waiting list, but here are a couple of numbers to show you what you're up against: for New York's August 2015 dinner, which was held alongside the Hudson River in Tribeca, there were 5,000 guests and more than 35,000 hopefuls. That's a lot of sad unworn white cocktail dresses. That said, you might have more luck with the Tokyo leg seeing as it'll only be in its second year in 2016. For more information, visit tokyo.din