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Monthly Archives: November 2011

Tokyo fashion: Miu Miu is maintaining the Ikebukuro fashion buzz

Tokyo fashion: Miu Miu is maintaining the Ikebukuro fashion buzz

Sarah Deschamps and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Ikebukuro is awash with fashion and in the last few years this part of Tokyo is re-inventing itself when it comes to stylish boutiques. Therefore, the recent opening of Miu Miu in the famous Seibu Department Store is mere confirmation that powerful boutiques view Ikebukuro in such a favorable light.

It must be remembered that Ikebukuro train station is the second busiest in Japan and every week millions of people pass through this part of Tokyo. When this is added to the fact that Japanese people like convenience when it comes to shopping, then not surprisingly the fashion dimension within or around Ikebukuro train station is enormous. This reality means that the fashion area is a huge hub and Ikebukuro is also the gateway for people in Saitama prefecture.

Seibu Department Store and Tobu Department Store have a very rich history and both mega-companies, alongside Lumine, Marui, and Parco, are collectively creating a huge fashion district in Ikebukuro. Also, Esola is a lovely place for ladies fashion and you have scrumptious restaurants to eat.

In Esola you have exquisite boutiques which include Actuel, Amphi, Barbie Store, Beardsley Gallardagalante, Blue Bell Market, DouDou, Elleva, FRAMeWORK, Free’s Mart, Jolly Boutique, Muriel & Mercuria, Nuit et Jour Spick and Span, Opaque Clip, Royal Flash, and Turno Jeana.

Lumine, meanwhile, is one of the best fashion outlets in Tokyo and the store in Ikebukuro is a major attraction for Tokyo ladies because of lovely boutiques like SmackyGlam (Smacky Glam) and countless others. Also, the restaurant area in Lumine is a great place to relax and unwind.

Therefore, not surprisingly the fabulous boutique Miu Miu decided to open for business in Ikebukuro. While next year American Eagle Outfitters have also selected to open a store in this fashionable part of Tokyo alongside another store in the environment of Harajuku and Omotesando. This bodes well for the future of Ikebukuro because fashion is very dynamic in Tokyo and areas need to maintain their vibrancy.

In a past article by Modern Tokyo Times about fashion in Ikebukuro it was stated about American Eagle Outfitters that The new store will have three floors of fashion in order to attract the fashion conscious and the international aspect is an added dimension.  American Eagle Outfitters have clearly done their homework because Ikebukuro is a thriving fashion district in Tokyo and redevelopment projects are in the pipeline to further enhance the area.”

“Uniqlo also understands the reality of fashion in Ikebukuro because the future potential of this vibrant district is obvious.  Therefore, Uniqlo will expand their presence in Ikebukuro and this applies to occupying two floors in Tobu Department Store.”

Obviously the same applies to Miu Miu who decided to expand their international operations in the Seibu Department Store in Ikebukuro. Also, the store was designed by Roberto Baciocchi and like usual for Miu Miu they focus on classic concepts and futuristic aspects. Therefore, you can have a lovely shopping experience and envisage the creativity of this exquisite company by viewing the stylish layout and theme of the Miu Miu store.

In the last few years Lumine and Esola have altered the fashion landscape of Ikebukuro and complemented Seibu Department Store, Tobu Department Store, Parco, and Marui. Also, the opening of the Fukutoshin Ikebukuro train station created a new fashion hub in Ikebukuro. This applies to delightful fashion boutiques and other shops which have created a lovely underground hub once leaving the main Fukutoshin Ikebukuro train exit.

The recent opening of Miu Miu and the future opening of American Eagle Outfitters in 2012, alongside the expansion of Uniqlo, is maintaining the vibrancy of Ikebukuro. Therefore, while Ikebukuro might not get the same media exposure, the reality on the ground is very different because Seibu Department Store, Tobu Department Store, Lumine, Marui, Parco, Esola, and other fashion outlets, would enhance any fashion district.

Not surprisingly, Miu Miu and other fashion companies are aware of the ongoing changes in Ikebukuro and future projects which will enhance this part of Tokyo. Given everything, the future of this fashion district is rosy and the elegance of the fashion scene is growing because of the quality of so many exquisite boutiques.

http://www.miumiu.com/it/stores

www.smackyglam.com  –  Smacky Glam

http://www.esola-ikebukuro.com/

http://orizzonti.co.jp/category/actuel/

http://www.barbie-stores.com/

http://www.bluebellmarket.net/index.html

http://www.palgroup.co.jp/brands/doudou/

http://www.turnojeana.jp/

http://www.frees-mart.com/index.html

http://m-muriel.jp/index.html

http://www.elleva.jp/

http://www.frame-works.co.jp/index_n.html

http://blog-s.frame-works.co.jp/ Spick and Span official blog

http://www.jolly-boutique.com/

http://www.world.co.jp/opaqueclip/

http://royalflash-jp.com/pc/home.html

www.smackyglam.com  –  Smacky Glam

http://sanyo-i.jp  –  Sanyo i Store (Sanyo Shokai Ltd)

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

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Posted by on November 24, 2011 in Japan

 

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Japan Tourism: Kurobe Lake and the stunning beauty of Toyama Prefecture

Japan Tourism: Kurobe Lake and the stunning beauty of Toyama Prefecture

James Jomo and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Toyama Prefecture is blessed with stunning nature in abundance and if you love nature then this part of Japan is difficult to surpass. Toyama is bordered by Ishikawa Prefecture, Nagano, Gifu, Niigata, and in the north is the Sea of Japan. In terms of landmass and population Toyama is relatively small but despite this the area is blessed with natural beauty and it is an essential tourist destination.

The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is internationally famous and approximately one million guests visit each year. In the past the area was isolated because of lack of transport and major routes but since 1971 the entire region is open to amazing views.

However, Toyama local government was keen to maintain a natural balance between sublime nature and developing the tourist trade. Therefore, great care was taken in order to blend tourism into the stunning surroundings and to preserve nature and protect wildlife. The outcome of this care is that you have a fantastic tourist destination whereby you can enjoy un-spoilt nature and see a new world opening up.

The mountain range of the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route which is open to tourism is around 90 kilometers long and the “roof of Japan” (North Alpine mountains) is a natural paradise. The transportation system is well linked and this applies to the train system, highland bus routes, cable car, trolley bus, and ropeway. Therefore, you can witness the new life of spring, the powerful rays of sunshine in summer, the stunning red leaves of autumn and the first snow falls of winter. However, the transportation system is closed during the real onset of winter because the snow falls are too dangerous.

If you want to witness magnificent “Snow Walls” then you must visit between the middle of April to the end of May. The “Snow Walls” are very beautiful and it is an amazing experience and clearly this season is very popular. It must also be added that the Murodo-daira area of Tateyama on average reaches roughly seven meters of snow during the winter season. Also, in some areas you have snowdrifts reaching around twenty meters and the region gets some of the heaviest snow falls in the world.

The Kurobe Dam is a major tourist attraction and from June 26 to October 15 you can witness the water discharge from the dam which is spectacular to say the least. Therefore, this central point is a lovely place to visit and the panorama views are amazing and this applies to the Tateyama Mountain Range and the North Alpine area.

Also, you can enjoy lovely boat trips on Kurobe Lake and walk around the lake and Kurobe Dam. In every direction you have stunning views and it is a real treat. The Kurobe Gorge is truly beautiful and thanks to the Kurobe Gorge Railway transportation system you can travel in style and get a birds-eye-view alongside ropeways and cable cars, which blend naturally into the magnificent scenery.

Other stunning places to visit in this lovely prefecture applies to the Kurobe Valley; Gokayama Village which is a World Heritage site; the Unazuki-onsen which is a real gem and soothes the body and mind; the Zuiryu-ji Temple which is famous in Japan; the stunning Shogawa-kyo Valley region; and many other stunning places to visit.

If you visit http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/regional/toyama/ the website of Japan National Tourism Organization then you can find out more details about Toyama Prefecture and tourist destinations throughout Japan.

Kurobe Lake and the entire region is a wonder to behold, therefore, irrespective if you reside in Japan or you are an international tourist, this region must be on your agenda because the views will always stay with you.

A truly fantastic tourist destination!

http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/regional/toyama/index.html

http://www.alpen-route.com/english/

http://www.kurotetu.co.jp/en/index.html

http://www.info-toyama.com/english/index.html

http://www.alpen-route.com/english/Highlight_theater/index.html

http://www.kurobe-dam.com/

http://www.alpen-route.com/english/map/index.html Alpine Route Map

http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/destinations/

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

MODERN TOKYO TIMES PHOTO IMAGES

 
 
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Posted by on November 23, 2011 in Japan

 

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K-pop essentials for Tokyoites and the international market

K-pop essentials for Tokyoites and the international market

Michel Lebon and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Korean Pop (K-pop) is growing in international esteem but for new people who are following this music scene then Modern Tokyo Times created an essential mix. Of course k-pop fans will either support or disagree with the reasons given but this is the nature of music. However, one thing that everyone will agree with who adores K-pop, is that this music scene is in the news and big time.

The order given does not denote preference because each song selected is deemed to be “essential” for newcomers to K-pop because lovers of this music scene will already have deep knowledge. However, the first track selected isn’t released until December 7 and this adds more spice.

Therefore, the first essential buy applies to BoA who is well known in Japan and her new track released on December 7 called “Milestone” is a classic track which plays to the strengths of this elegant lady. “Milestone” hits the heart because you can feel the passion of BoA and the lovely melody and exquisite voice works fantastically.

BoA hits every height with this track and shows the richness of such a talented lady and her avid followers are rewarded by this lovely tune. A must buy for people who want to feel the passion of K-pop and listen to a lady with a rich history.

The next essential tune is “Step” by Kara and clearly this group is loved in Tokyo and throughout Japan. How could you keep Kara out of any essential mix? Simply put, when you listen to Kara you can feel their international dimension. Kara, therefore, is a must for all individuals who want to feel the real vibrancy of K-pop.

Girls’ Generation consist of nine exquisite and elegant members and Taeyeon, Tiffany, Yuri, Jessica, Hyoyeon, Sunny, Sooyoung, Seohyun and Yoona, are highly loved in Japan just like Kara. The track called “Mr. Taxi” sums up the catchy and sultry nature of this K-pop group because they have style in abundance and this track is a must for all K-pop lovers in Japan.

Another essential buy is “Shanghai Romance” by Orange Caramel (a sub unit from After School) because Raina (Oh Hye Rin), Nana (Im Jin Ah) and Lizzy (Park Soo Young) look so stylish and natural together. They have a lovely sex appeal which is natural and charming and each individual plays to their strengths.

“Shanghai Romance” is a catchy tune and the singing, dancing, and image is truly wholesome. After School and Orange Caramel clearly have a bright future and the three stunning ladies who represent Orange Caramel have their own unique vibe and sound and highlight the diversity of K-pop.

The next essential tune is “Like The First Time” by T-ara because the adorable 7 girl group members are working their special charms in Japan. In truth, T-ara have played it gently on entering the Japanese market and older tracks highlight a different vibe and in time they will cross over their earlier work and create a new formula.

T-ara have evolved from five members to seven and these ravishing ladies will continue to win new hearts throughout South Korea, Japan, and internationally.  They are certainly adding to the “Korean Cool” image.

Another essential tune is “I Remember” by Bang Yong Guk which is extremely powerful and appeals internationally.  The video was over dramatic near the end but the track was fantastic and many new paths should open for Bang Yong Guk.

Future tracks by Bang Yong Guk will find it hard to surpass “I Remember” because it is that good. However, in saying this, his high octane nature and spirit may build on such a powerful tune. It will be interesting to see how he develops because all the signs look promising.

“Top Girl” by G.na is another essential buy because while the lyrics are so-so this extremely talented lady still pulls it out of the fire and creates a lovely track. This in itself shows the elegance and style of G.na because her individualistic style hits a positive nerve.

G.na appeals internationally because of her style, lovely image, interactive nature of her performance and other fine qualities. Therefore, “Top Girl” is a great tune which highlights the fine qualities of this exquisite lady.

The next group is Chocolat who have a bright future and “Syndrome” was selected because these beautiful ladies have a highly promising career and would work a treat in Japan. Therefore, this track was highlighted with an eye on the future and surely this group will grow and prosper.

“So Cool” by Sistar is another catchy tune to listen to but the video was a little negative and didn’t highlight their strengths. Despite this, these stunning ladies have a real buzz about them and clearly they work well together and Sistar have talent in abundance.

A Pink is a new group which is just reaching out but they have many fine qualities and their track “Wishlist” highlighted their individualistic talents. In truth, both writers of K-pop at Modern Tokyo Times are expecting a lot from A Pink because they have “elegance, poise, refinement and the glories of youth.”

Finally, but not least, is the lovely and delightful Kan Mi Youn whom both writers have a mega soft-spot.  Kan Mi Youn never lets you down and if you are new to K-pop then you are spoilt for choice because all her latest tracks have been fantastic.

“Paparazzi” is a lovely track and Kan Mi Youn is one of the classiest K-pop singers and like BoA both soloists are pure class. Therefore, “Paparazzi” is a must buy because Kan Mi Youn is an amazing singer and she is so talented.

The records selected were not based on order but seemed like a natural order and A Pink and Kan Mi Youn were chosen near the end for obvious reasons. Kan Mi Youn was selected like BoA to start because both ladies have hit the heights many times in the past and will continue to do so. Meanwhile, A Pink is just starting on their path and show great prospects.

Overall, if you are new to K-pop then check the many great South Korean websites online for latest news.  After all, the vibes coming from South Korea are reaching out to new people every day.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9J6zsvcvhaU  BoA – “Milestone”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOcCNpdkjG4 Kan Mi Youn – “Paparazzi

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhseD2tRLUY  Girls’ Generation – Mr. Taxi

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxxoq7uqnbU Orange Caramel – “Shanghai Romance”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bPhbYl7rV0 T-ara – “Like The First Time”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHrx5dWxcJ4   Bang Yong Guk – I Remember

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nli8waw_5vY G.na – “Top Girl”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUVbf_aqU5k&ob=av2n Sistar – “So Cool”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYoYoBtLqOY&ob=av2n  Kara – “Step”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bD3LzPp6KDs  A Pink – “Wishlist”

http://moderntokyotimes.com

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2011 in ASIA, Japan

 

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Tokyo tourism: Kiyosumi Gardens and Fukagawa Edo Museum

Tokyo tourism: Kiyosumi Gardens and Fukagawa Edo Museum

Sarah Deschamps and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Tokyo is ultra-modern and the fashion scene is amazing throughout the capital of Japan. However, if you want to know more about Japanese culture and relax in a stunning garden then a visit to Kiyosumi Shirakawa via either the Toei Oedo Line or Hanzomon Line is most rewarding.

The stunning Kiyosumi Gardens is extremely beautiful and without a shadow of a doubt it is one of the most exquisite gardens in Tokyo. Therefore, irrespective if you are a Tokyoite or a tourist to this dynamic mega-city, you will certainly enjoy the magnificent layout and feel refreshed.

Kiyosumi Gardens is blessed with many stunning features and the autumn and spring periods are real treasures because the humidity of summer is over and the same applies to the pesky mosquitoes. This means that you can sit down and look at the exquisite surroundings, read a book, take photos, chat with friends or enjoy quality time by yourself.

The Iso-Watari section is a real treat because the stepping-stone pathways lead across the pond where it is shallow. For children, it is a time of fantastic pleasure because they can enjoy playful times and be connected with nature at its best. Also, for adults, the “child inside” comes flooding back when you walk on the stepping-stone pathways and at all times you will have opportunities to see fish in the pond.

Inside Kiyosumi Gardens you also have stylish buildings and this applies to the Ryotei building and Taisho Kinenkan. These buildings heighten the cultural aspects and ambience of Kiyosumi Gardens. Therefore, if you enjoy photography you can combine architecture and nature together and of course each angle provides a new image to treasure.

The fee to enter is only 150 yen for adults and clearly every yen is being used to maintain this stunning garden complex. Also, you will be given pamphlets in various languages in order to help non-Japanese people who can’t read this complex written language.

In truth, a visit to Kiyosumi Gardens is a must because the ethics of Japanese gardens is truly wonderful. Space, time and connecting nature with “the self” comes together naturally and while the inner vibe will depend on each individual, it is true to say that a natural change will happen within the psyche. This is because of tranquility and the exquisite nature of Kiyosumi Gardens.

Also, from a cultural point of view the entire area is rich and this applies to the Fukagawa Edo Museum, Basho Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art and the Morishita Culture Center.

Currently at the Fukagawa Edo Museum you have a stunning collection of ukiyo-e and this applies to Ando Hiroshige and Keisai Eisen. The exhibition will finish on November 27 (2011) and it is a real treat for lovers of ukiyo-e. Also, if you want to see a glimpse of old Edo then the permanent collection of the streets of Fukagawa-Saga Town of the Tempo Period (1830-1843) is a real treat.

Koto City in Tokyo highlights a different ultra-modern city by focusing on culture, art, haiku, music, history, and other rich traditions. Kiyosumi Gardens is a lovely central point to your visit and the different museums open up a new world and this applies to either tradition or the modern vibes of the Museum of Contemporary Art.

It is pleasing to know that haiku is being preserved at the Basho Museum and they are connecting this rich tradition to children in the modern world. Also, you have a famous Basho Haiku stone in Kiyosumi Gardens. 

Overall, a visit to Kiyosumi-Shirakawa is most rewarding and for Tokyoites, then “once bitten always smitten” and for tourists it is a great place to relax and soak up Japanese culture.

http://teien.tokyo-park.or.jp/en/kiyosumi/  Kiyosumi Gardens

http://www.kcf.or.jp/fukagawa/event_list.html  Koto City Fukagawa Edo Museum

http://www.kcf.or.jp/basyo/index.html Basho Museum

http://www.mot-art-museum.jp/eng/ Museum of Contemporary Art

http://shintomin.com/xoops/modules/chapox2/content.php?lid=12  Morishita Culture Center

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

ALL IMAGES FROM MODERN TOKYO TIMES

 
 
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Posted by on November 23, 2011 in Japan

 

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Utagawa Kuniyoshi and Japanese art: Images of tranquility and landscapes

Utagawa Kuniyoshi and Japanese art: Images of tranquility and landscapes

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Utagawa Kuniyoshi depicted many images and covered various different subject matters. Therefore, the art of this stylish ukiyo-e artist in this article provides only a glimpse into the real Kuniyoshi.

Kuniyoshi was born in 1797 and died in 1861 and throughout this period many developments erupted in Japan. This applies to traditional rule in the earlier part of his life to rapid changes from the middle of the 1850s and onwards until the Meiji Restoration of 1868.

Ando Hiroshige and Katsushika Hokusai are the most famous ukiyo-e artists internationally but Kuniyoshi was also a crème de la crème artist along with many others. Also, the broad spectrum of many ukiyo-e artists is truly amazing and this also applies to the art of Kuniyoshi. Therefore, the art work of this wonderful artist is complex and depends on various different circumstances.

This article focuses only on the tranquil nature of his art and elegant landscapes which appealed to many Japanese people. However, it would be wrong to believe that these lovely landscapes and scenes of serenity provide the real Kuniyoshi because this would be false.

Despite this, for people who know the art work of Kuniyoshi the opposite could be said because all too often this angle of his artwork is neglected. Yet clearly Kuniyoshi’s landscape images match that of any ukiyo-e artist irrespective of people’s own preferred artist.

The Edo Period was succumbing to outside forces during the lifetime of Kuniyoshi and this must have infringed heavily on this stylish artist. However, when one door closes another opens up and this certainly applied to the later stages of his life. Therefore, new techniques, different thinking, growing outside influences, evolution within the Japanese art world, and others factors, impacted greatly on Kuniyoshi.

Images in this article by Kuniyoshi are a reminder of a world which was mainly un-spoilt before the economic, social, and political revolution which took hold in Japan and culminated with the Meiji Restoration of 1868.

In an earlier article I commented that “Kuniyoshi and other famous ukiyo-e artists also take you back to a different Japan in all its confusion.  Therefore, Kuniyoshi designed prints which covered a vast spectrum and this applies to landscapes, women, kabuki, humor, nature, satire, shunga, cats, surimono and other areas.”  

“It is apparent that Hokusai (1760-1849) had much more political and sexual freedom and this notably applies to Hokusai’s shunga which is very powerful and erotic.  However, the Tenpo reforms of the early 1840s introduced measures which banned prints of erotic women and actors who belonged to the kabuki scene.  This meant that Kuniyoshi had to focus more on warriors and legends but his historical depictions were under close scrutiny. Therefore the popular satire of shogun Tokugawa Ieyoshi and other prints led to an official reprimand and many prints were confiscated and destroyed.”

Kuniyoshi also opened up the past and this applies to the depiction of historical figures in Japanese history, brave samurai warriors, events in Japanese history, famous legends and other related areas which nurtured each new generation.  

Famous art pieces produced by Kuniyoshi include The 108 Heroes of the Popular Suikoden All Told, At The Shore of the Sumida River, Mt. Fuji from Sumida and Pilgrims in the Waterfall. Of course you have many other famous collections and art pieces by Kuniyoshi and preferences will vary with each individual.

Pilgrims in the Waterfall is extremely beautiful because it shows and highlights important aspects of Japanese culture when it applies to religion and nature coming together.  This notably applies to Shintoism which is “the real heart of Japan” despite the influence of Buddhism within the Japanese psyche. Also, in this stunning art piece it is abundantly clear that space is very important and this applies to religion, Japanese gardens, meditation and other aspects of Japanese culture.

The serenity which can be felt by the Pilgrims in the Waterfall connects humanity, nature and religion together.  Therefore, Kuniyoshi is highlighting a powerful reality which belonged to his world.  

Kuniyoshi’s ukiyo-e is very varied and images in this article are limited to landscapes and internal tranquility in Japan.

http://www.kuniyoshiproject.com/  – Fantastic website and just click onto the section you are interested in.

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 
 
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Posted by on November 23, 2011 in Japan

 

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Tokyo fashion and Nakameguro: a lovely fashion district

Tokyo fashion and Nakameguro: a lovely fashion district

Michel Lebon and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Tokyo is a vibrant capital city and you have so many fashionable areas to visit and enjoy the ambience of elegant districts. Nakameguro is one of these lovely and charming districts and the fashion angle appeals greatly. Therefore, not surprisingly this district is in high demand and the reputation keeps on growing.

Nakameguro is one of the many smaller fashion districts which keep on adding spice to life in Tokyo alongside Daikanyama, Jiyugaoka, Kichijoji, Nakano, and Shimo-Kitazawa. In truth, the beauty of Tokyo is that while Aoyama, Harajuku, Ikebukuro, Ginza, Omotesando, Shibuya, and Shinjuku, hog the limelight; it is the lesser lights which have enhanced the quality of life in Tokyo.

If you want the crème de la crème of international and Japanese boutiques then a visit to Aoyama, Ginza, and Omotesando will be high on the agenda and not Nakameguro. However, despite this the fashion sector is buzzing in this part of Tokyo and the independent angle appeals to many fashion lovers.

Nakameguro is blessed with elegant boutiques, an abundance of café bars and quality restaurants and the entire ambience appeals to many individuals who desire to relocate to this trendy district. Also, the location is fantastic because you are on the doorstep of Daikanyama, Jiyugaoka and bustling Shibuya. Therefore, the area is a major hub of fashion and the closeness to Shibuya is a major pulling power for new fashion companies which have opened up in the other smaller districts.

In trendy Nakameguro you will find lovely boutiques along the river and many of these boutiques have young designers who have fresh dreams and ideas. Meanwhile, in the back streets of this enchanting part of Tokyo you will find many shops catering for vintage fashion and independent styles.

Nakameguro is a magnet for artists, musicians, and designers. This in turn is creating a lovely buzz and you can feel the energy. 

Mitsuyo Hara in an earlier article commented that she visits Nakameguro because “the culture is cool and relaxed and she adores vintage fashion.” When asked if she noticed any real changes in recent times she commented that “more fashion boutiques and companies have moved in but a nice balance remains and now more hip than the past.”

Modern Tokyo Times also asked Chika Tanaka about why she visited Nakameguro so much.  Chika Tanaka replied by stating that “The quaint fashion contrasts greatly with Shibuya and refreshes her thinking.”

Chika Tanaka further commented that “Omotesando, Jiyugaoka, and Nakameguro were her three favorite fashion districts.” Also, she hopes to relocate “…to either Jiyugaoka or Nakameguro in the future.”

Takako Hotta, who is an adorable and stunning model and actress in Tokyo, simply adores the boutique Monde Garage in Nakameguro. In her video she comments that “all the clothes are handmade” and this appeals greatly to Takako Hotta.

Also, Takako Hotta likes the independent angle and Chika Tanaka mentioned this aspect. Therefore, fashion lovers who like to buy their clothes in Nakameguro not only look stylish but they also look extremely chic and independent wrapped into one.

In an earlier article by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that “Shops like J’Antiques stock vintage products and you have many fascinating stores like this in Nakameguro.  The boutiques in the backstreets compliment the vintage angle because you have a nice blend of old and new.”

Overall, Nakameguro is a lovely district and this applies to fashion, having a relaxing time, enjoying quality restaurants and soaking in the ambience.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYIqXrZ9G2Y Takako Hotta and Monde Garage

http://www.takakohotta.com/

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 
 
 
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Posted by on November 19, 2011 in Japan

 

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Afghanistan: a nation where converts to Buddhism and Christianity face death

Afghanistan: a nation where converts to Buddhism and Christianity face death

Murad Makhmudov and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The United States, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, and a host of other nations, keep on sending economic support to Afghanistan and how do the leaders of this nation respond?  Yes, they still support an ongoing Islamic inquisition whereby every Muslim convert to Buddhism, Hindusim or Christianity faces the death penalty.

In truth, the policies of Karzai and the Taliban are not so different because both sides support killing apostates from Islam, the prevention of non-Muslim places of worship, continuing discrimination against women and rigid stratification of Afghanistan. Therefore, any positive images of Kabul being shown in the media, is just “a hidden disguise of reality” and corruption is endemic alongside the heroin trade.

Afghan converts to Christianity and other faiths also face persecution outside of Afghanistan and if de-Islamization of culture isn’t installed into the younger generation via the education system, then what is the point?

Therefore, the mosque and Islamic Sharia law needs to be kept out of all major institutions and reformist Muslim organizations should be supported. After all, how can commerce, pluralism, religious freedom, female emancipation, the rights of homosexuals, and so forth, happen under the prevailing conditions of modern day Afghanistan?

Secularism, credit unions to help business initiatives, a growing liberal media network, a judiciary which is free from religious dogma and an educational system based on liberal values is needed. Of course, other important areas need changing and this applies to restrictions on dress and challenging the power base of traditional rulers who care little about modernity.

This Sunni Islamic version of Islam in Afghanistan is mainly ultra-conservative and based on preserving inequality and the subjugation of non-Muslims, women, and maintaining stratification. The Islamic enlightenment in this country is a million miles away. Therefore, the current Western policy appears to be based on the status quo and allowing another generation of girls to be chained by an oppressive society.

If the option is the Taliban who recently stoned a woman to death for so-called immorality, yes, Mohammed married a child of 6 years of age and consummated the marriage with Aisha when she was 9 years old, and by this time Mohammed was over 50 (Obviously morality is conditional on individuals and not their own prophet); or the Karzai government which is corrupt and supports killing apostates via the state; then what option is this?

Trillions of dollars have been spent on Afghanistan and the return on all this money is you have schools which teach basic education to girls. However, this educational system is uneven and in more conservative areas it is still disliked.

Therefore, what are NATO forces and American troops dying for? Why are the sons and daughters of democrats being thrown to “the jaws of radical Sunni Islam” and the complete corruption and hypocrisy of the Karzai regime?

Once Buddhism and Hinduism nurtured the land of Afghanistan but the Islamic inquisition after countless invasions changed everything and one day all Buddhists would disappear because of many factors. These factors apply to dhimmitude, massacres, pogroms, and once the power shift became dominated by Islamic forces then Buddhism was doomed to just being a shell.

However, the Taliban didn’t even like a shell, therefore, the forces of conservative Sunni Islam turned against all Buddhist images. At the same time, the forces of radical Sunni Islam then turned against the Shia and slaughtered them in the thousands but of course Osama Bin Laden believed that this policy was both Islamic and a jihad.

This madness, and it is madness, which desires to kill apostates to Buddhism, apostates to Christianity, kill homosexuals, stone women to death for adultery, and so forth; isn’t being challenged by “the light of democracy;” on the contrary it is being challenged by appeasement and the corruption of the Karzai regime which also supports killing all apostates and not allowing any other religion in Afghanistan.

If Western political leaders just desire the status quo then surely they should stop wasting the lives of military people who are dying for nothing. Also, tax-payers money shouldn’t be thrown at a county which is undemocratic and corrupt.

America likes to rebuke North Korea but women at least have a million times more freedom in this nation than Afghan women. The same also applies to Saudi Arabia where women can’t drive cars and shop freely with men and so forth.

Indeed, you have more Christian churches in North Korea than in both Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. What does this tell us about Western policy and the nature of conservative Sunni Islam? Also, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia are deemed to be allies but from the point of view of democracy, religious freedom, equality of the sexes, and so forth, it certainly doesn’t look like it.

It is time to stop coddling up to despotism and for greater accountability.

http://www.aina.org/news/20111116185325.htm  (Recent article about apostates in Afghanistan)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2060380/Afghan-mother-daughter-stoned-shot-dead-Taliban-accused-moral-deviation-adultery.html  (Woman and daughter stoned to death)

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 
 
 

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