Tokyo Films

Introducing 6different films set in Tokyo. How about watching these movies and then visiting the locations they were set in?

1

LOST IN TRANSLATION
(RELEASED IN 2003)

Location: Shinjuku (Park Hyatt Hotel Tokyo)

A Hollywood veteran actor named Bob (played by Bill Murray) comes to Japan to shoot a whisky commercial and meets Charlotte (played by Scarlett Johansson), a young wife who is there accompanying her husband, a celebrity photographer, on a work trip. After their first encounter at a hotel bar, the movie follows their respective reasons for loneliness as they gradually develop feelings for one another while facing the realities of being in a foreign land. Director Sophia Coppola is able to portray the hustle and bustle of Shinjuku through beautiful imagery.


2

KILL BILL
(RELEASED IN 2003)

Location: Nishi-Azabu (Gonpachi yakitori restaurant)

Just as the title reads, the protagonist is a former professional assassin (played by Uma Thurman), who falls into an abyss of despair after waking from a coma and realising she has lost her unborn child. She seeks revenge by trying to kill the ringleader, Bill, who masterminded the whole sitatuation and all of his subordinates in this violent action movie. Gonpachi yakitori restaurant in Nishi-Azabu was used as the main reference point when creating the setting for the large scale action scenes which take place in the second half of the film. However, because they could not shoot in the actual restaurant, a movie set based on director Tarantino’s photos of the venue was assembled instead.


3

BABEL
(RELEASED IN 2006)

Location Shibuya, Shinjuku

An incident occurs when American couple Richard (played by Brad Pitt) and Susan (played by Cate Blanchett) are suddenly shot by an unknown person
while travelling through Morocco. Due to this chance event, the movie then intertwines the stories of people located far apart in Morocco, Mexico,
the United States and Japan. In the movie, places such as night clubs, which act as the heart of Tokyo youth culture, are depicted with a magical touch.


4

THE WOLVERINE
(RELEASED IN 2013)

Location: Shiba Park (Zojo-ji Temple), Akihabara, Shinjuku

Hugh Jackman takes on the role of popular character Wolverine, the hero in this second instalment of the science fiction action spinoff from the X-MEN comic series. Set again in a foreign land, Wolverine visits Japan and has a fateful encounter with a person that then leads to a series of fierce battles. While the filming actually took place on location in Japan, various scenes unique to Tokyo such as a pachinko parlour in Akihabara and the tourist attraction of Zojo-ji Temple, were cut from the final release.


5

PINK AND GRAY
(RELEASED IN 2016)

Location: Shibuya

Popular actor, Rengo Shiraki, commits suicide leaving behind 6 wills. The first person to discover him is a good friend from his childhood – Daiki Kawada. Guided by Rengo’s pre-prepared wills, Daiki suddenly announces that he will be the author of a biography on Rengo’s short life, however, he gradually loses sight of himself as he deals with his sense of loss and the lies surrounding Rengo’s fame. What truth lies behind Rengo’s death? The movies focuses your attention on the deception which changes his world from pink to gray.


6

JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI
(RELEASED IN 2011)

Location: Ginza (Sukiyabashi Jiro), Tsukiji

A documentary which follows master sushi maker and shop owner, Jiro Ono, and his famous sushi shop in Ginza, Tokyo – Sukiyabashi Jiro. Despite
being over 80 years old, his continued service to preparing sushi has garnered him high praise on the international stage with his restaurant receiving 3 Michelin stars for 5 consecutive years. American film director, David Gerb, was mesmerised by his style and spent 3 months closely covering his approach as a sushi artisan, as well as the teacher/student relationship he maintained with his son.

Kimono

The charms of kimono, still admired today

Kimono were worn by people as everyday clothing. The refined design of the garment is still popular with many Japanese people, as well as people from all over the world to this day. Let’s unravel its history and take a look at how the style of the kimono has changed and discover why it is loved by so many people in today’s Japan.

Compiled by Kaori Kinoshita

HISTORY OF THE KIMONO

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The archetype of today’s kimono has its roots in kosode, a type of kimono that had its sleeves sewn up to just below the wrist. Nobles used to wear this garment underneath a twelve-layered robe, commonly known as, ” juni hitoe”, while commoners, from time to time, wore the narrow-sleeved kimono alone for going out. However, as the samurai class emerged during the Muromachi period (1336-1573) and a greater emphasis was placed on movement in clothing, the fashion style of the upper class blended with that of the lower classes and kosode became a common garment worn when going out.

Since then, through the Edo period (1603-1868) to the Meiji period (1868-1912), the design has evolved to today’s style of kimono.

Most garments we see today were woven after the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1568-1600). A lot of the garments made before that era have not kept their shape and only parts of the fabric remain. Some garments worn between the Azuchi-Momoyama and Edo periods still exist today, however they are mostly ones that once belonged to wealthier citizens, such as people from the aristocratic or samurai classes, or rich merchants. This is because commoners in the era would repurpose their old, damaged clothes that were no longer wearable to make everyday household items such as bedclothes or smaller kimono for their children. When these also got worn out, they would use the fabric as a rag or nappy until it fell apart.

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Also, yukata are universally loved due to their ease of wear and low price. Originally, the word referred to a plain linen garment worn when going to take a bath and to absorb sweat afterwards. During the Edo period, cotton replaced linen as the fabric of choice due to its superior absorbency, smooth feel and lower price.

Yukata were originally worn at night, or as protection against rain and dust, and as casual summer outfits. However, since the mid-Meiji period, it has been quite common for people to wear them when going out, much like they do now

KIMONO FASHION BY ERA

THE AZUCHI-MOMOYAMA
(1573-1603) TO THE EARLY EDO PERIOD (STARTING 1603)

After the end of the warring state period, an extravagant culture that reflected the taste of the samurai classes emerged, where gold and silver was used in abundance. Even though single-colour weaving patterns had been mainstream until then, the colours and patterns used diversified. As a result, the more dynamic styles of momoyama kosode and keicho kosode appeared.

THE EARLY EDO PERIOD
(STARTING 1603)

As the shogunate system of the Edo period stabilised and the economy developed, the common classes became the new bearers of culture in place of the samurai class. The fashion of actors and prostitutes led to the birth of kanbun kosode, which had an unconventional dyed pattern from shoulder to hem. The kosode became more sophisticated, which led to the emergence of genroku kosode.

MID-TO-LATE EDO PERIOD
(EDO PERIOD: 1603-1868) TO THE MEIJI PERIOD (1868-1912)

Due to a ban on luxury initiated by the Edo shogunate, plain fashion, such as striped patterns, became the trend during this period. Regardless of their age or gender, people often wore kosode with a dark coloured outer layer, usually brown, navy blue or grey. In addition to that, komon, small patterns drawn on the whole garment, and susomoyo, patterning on the skirt, became popular. In the Meiji period, most people mainly wore traditional Japanese clothing, in keeping with the plain colour trend from the Edo period. The susomoyo also remained prominent in the first half of this era. In the second half of the era, kimono dyed vivid colours with chemical dye started to appear.

THE TAISHO PERIOD (1912-1926)

In the Taisho period, the economy was booming and this gave rise to
a wealthier, less restrictive culture. The colours used in kimono became significantly brighter, using motifs with a western influence, such as oil paintings, art nouveau and art deco.

THE EARLY SHOWA PERIOD (1926-1945)

In the early Showa period, the western style that gained popularity in the Taisho period and the traditional style combined, producing a bold colour variation with a modern design. This style became prolific during that era.

THE MID SHOWA PERIOD – THE HEISEI PERIOD
(1989-CURRENT DAY)

After World War II, in the lead up to the bubble economy of the late 1980s, Japan experienced accelerated economic growth. In this era, western clothing steadily became more commonplace and more luxurious kimono were being produced. However, many new trends came and went during this period. One example of such a trend is the use of lamé fabrics.
By the Heisei period, the trend had moved towards a more conservative and elegant style. Later on, driven by a rise in popularity of antique kimono and colourful yukata, particularly with young people known to be rule-breakers, the style began to trend towards a more free and unique way of combining pieces.

BY THE HEISEI PERIOD, THE NEW KIMONO STYLE BEGAN
TO TREND TOWARDS A MORE FREE AND UNIQUE WAY OF COMBINING PIECES.

CONTEMPORARY KIMONO AND YUKATA FASHION

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KIMONO styling HANA
Photo: Yoshiko Honda
Styling: Rie Yoshitake

Yoshiko Honda, a professional photographer, saw Japanese beauty as epitomised by an actress wearing kimono. “KIMONOstylingHANA” is a project she has been working on, showing Japanese beauty through the garments. She hopes that this project will encourage more people to wear kimono in a smart and stylish way, and that they can come to enjoy it in their everyday lives.

YOSHIKO HONDA

Profile: Yoshiko graduated from Aoyama Gakuin Women’s Junior College before working for an airline. Later, after having children, she focused all her effort to become a professional photographer, working in the bridal market for almost 10 years. Now, she has a photographic studio in Tetsugakudo in Tokyo’s Shinjuku, where she has been doing portraits as well as pregnancy photo-shoots in her own unique style. She has also been working as a photographer for the websites of various companies, magazines and celebrity collections.
Web: yoshikohonda.com


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KIMONO DE ROCKON Project

Producer: Kureha Takaishi
Styling: Koji Fukumoto
Hair & Make-up: Ai Shimizu
Photo: Ayato Ozawa

The “KIMONO DE ROCKON Project” presents a hybrid way of wearing kimono,
pairing contemporary clothes and kitsuke (the traditional way to wear kimono) which has been passed down through generations. By contrasting the classic and contemporary styles, they aim to present the idea of an image and shade in a mirror, which is the original concept of the theme, ‘Re-flection’, while hoping that Japanese culture can be revitalised through kimono and yukata.

KIMONO DE ROCKON PROJECT

Profile: In this project, a group of people, dressed in traditional kimono in a stylish and cute way, walk proudly around the city of Tokyo. The photos can be found on Facebook and Instagram. Their eye-opening kimono style should not be missed.
Facebook: www.facebook.com/kimonoderockon
Instagram: @kimonoderockon


akiratimes

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AKIRA TIMES Photobook
‘KIMONO times’

Images: AKIRA TIMES

AKIRA TIMES is an artist from Yamagata, in the north-east of Japan, who has been creating new and surprising images of kimono. He has gone viral online, posting images since 2008. By teaching himself a range of skills, including photography, computer graphics, design, kitsuke, styling and make-up, he has shaped his own unique view of the world. He has dedicated almost 10 years to creating these works, eschewing the strict, traditional rules of the kimono. His complete works are available in the photo collection,
“KIMONO times”.

AKIRA TIMES

Profile: Akira was born in 1980 in Yamagata prefecture, Japan. After graduating from junior high school, he worked on his family’s fruit farm before suddenly developing a panic disorder, which drastically changed his life. He found himself drawn to photography and computer graphics, and has been producing his works ever since. He still lives in Yamagata and continues with his work, showcasing the beauty of kimono for the whole world to enjoy.
Facebook: www.facebook.com/akira.times Web: akiratimes.exblog.jp

AKIRA TIMES PHOTOBOOK
‘KIMONO TIMES’

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5,500 yen + tax │ 297×210 │ 144 pages Softcover
Author: Akira Times
Contributor: Sheila Cliffe
Web: www.libroarte.jp/akiratimes.html

Five Ways to Live on Budget in Tokyo

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1. Using 100-yen Shops

A good policy is to always check the 100-yen shop before buying something from a regular store. They carry an amazing variety of items and are ideal places to stock up your apartment with dishes, silverware, and other essentials to survive when you first arrive.

2. BUY IN BULK

Not everything is a bargain at the 100-yen shop, especially toiletries and other things that you’ll use everyday. It’s better to buy essential consumable supplies like tissues, detergent or body soap in bulk from stores like Costco. There are several around Tokyo and if you can find a friend with a membership, tag along with them every once in a while and stock
up. It’s also a good idea to buy lots of frozen veggies and fruits, as these can be absurdly expensive when sold fresh in the supermarkets. If you can’t make it to Costco, try finding a local wholesale food store such as “Niku nom Hanamasa” (there are several around Tokyo) which caters to restaurants and sells meat and seafood at big discounts. To manage bulk amounts of food, I bought a cheap box of 200 plastic bags which I then use to separate and freeze a few weeks worth of meat and fish.

3. BEWARE OF WARIKAN

Obviously, you should try to cook at home as often as possible if you’re living on a budget. And you should also try to pack a lunch everyday if you can. But sometimes you get invited out and want to have fun. In Japan, it’s pretty normal for a group of friends to share all the food and it’s often (but not always) customary to split the bill at the end of the night (called warikan). The problem is that you end up having to help pay for the five bottles of expensive wine someone decided to order. If your friends are considerate they will pitch in more if they had a lot, but don’t count on it! Your best bet is to go to a place with nomi-hodai or all-you-can-drink (usually for two hours) with a set individual price or to go to a Westernstyle pub where you pay separately as you order, (called betsu-betsu). You can also just buy snacks and drinks at a convenience store but be careful because it’s bad etiquette to eat and drink while walking around.

4. INTERNET ONLY PHONE

Mobile phone plans can cost up to 8000 yen a month or more and require you to sign a 2-year contract. Opt for an internet-only plan (with no calls included) and use free apps to communicate like Skype or LINE, which are really popular in Japan. Or, you could buy a portable Wi-Fi router that you can use at home and then carry in your pocket when you’re out to use with your smartphone. Either option will only cost you about 3000 yen a month.

5. SHOP ONLINE

Shopping online using Amazon or Rakuten is easy and convenient in Japan. You can even have your package sent to a local convenience store for pick up and often can get next day delivery. You can use a barcode reader on your phone to find better deals online while you’re shopping at stores, too. I usually use Amazon to buy big boxes of oatmeal or my favourite cereal that I know I’ll eat and that last for a long time.