Archives for the month of: May, 2011

Spread alongside the JR Yamanote line, between Ueno and Okachimachi stations, is the grid of narrow congested alleyways known as Ameyoko. This is Tokyo’s premier street market; with its myriad stores, food vendors, candy and fruit stalls and restaurants, the area is a perfect antidote to the ultra cool boutiques of Aoyama and Harajuku and the polished perfection of the city’s many retail shopping plazas and depato.

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Japan’s workforce is known for its hard-working ethos. OECD data calculated that the average worker in Japan in 2009 clocked up 1714 hours, but unofficially members of the nation’s full-time workforce put in many more hours than that. Employees routinely work many hours of sābisu zangyo, サービス残業, – or unpaid ‘service’ overtime, workplace culture sees staff idling away evening hours at their desks because the boss hasn’t left the office yet, annual leave days remain unused and karōshi, 過労死, – death from overwork, and suicide are unnaturally common among the working and salaried classes. In Tokyo, the pace is hectic most days of the week, with well-dressed workers running to train platforms, salarymen and women spilling out of station exits and into tower buildings, businesspeople rushing around the city’s streets and working on documents and files in cafes and restaurants.


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Tokyu Hands is a retail wonderland; the ultimate window-shopping venue. Check out Hands in Shibuya, Shinjuku or Ikebukuro to find everything from souvenirs and giftware to home wares, stationery & art supplies, models & other hobbyist goodies, DIY supplies, grooming & healthcare items and just about anything else you can think of.

An initial visit to Tokyu Hands is good for about four hours of in-depth browsing and a solid denting of wallet-plastic.

William Gibson

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What began as a ‘muslim drink’ in Africa has become a global beverage thanks to the Italians and their ubiquitous espresso machines. At its best coffee is drunk the Italian way, made as espresso to bring out the flavor, the aroma and the creamy richness of the coffee. In Japan’s rich café culture, the kissaten coffee lounges, independent coffee shops and corporate café chains have been joined by a new wave of authentic Italian style cafes that have emerged serving Italian coffee brands with Italian style: Segafredo, Lavazza, illy. These are the places to go if you’re looking for a decent caffeine hit.

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What began as a ‘muslim drink’ in Africa has become a global beverage thanks to the Italians and their ubiquitous espresso machines. At its best coffee is drunk the Italian way, made as espresso to bring out the flavor, the aroma and the creamy richness of the coffee. In Japan’s rich café culture, the kissaten coffee lounges, independent coffee shops and corporate café chains have been joined by a new wave of authentic Italian style cafes that have emerged serving Italian coffee brands with Italian style: Segafredo, Lavazza, illy. These are the places to go if you’re looking for a decent caffeine hit.

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Tokyo is home to some of the great fashion innovators: Kawakubo, Yamamoto, Miyake, Watanabe, Takahashi, Osumi to name a few. It’s the home of some of the world’s greatest fashion shopping, with meccas such as Isetan, Parco, OIOI and Laforet. It’s also a city whose citizens are, on the whole, quite fashion savvy and the city’s trendsetters and fashionistas are some of the most innovative fashion stylists in the world. It’s no surprise that the streets of Tokyo are one of the great inspirations for the fashion industry at home and abroad. Photographers and bloggers also find rich material in the city.

Street style in Shibuya, Yurakucho and Nakameguro.

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