Archive | Lifestyle RSS feed for this section

Japan’s ‘kanban’ are still hanging in there

21 Jun

Little information remains about the personal life of the artisan Kojiro Shimizu. His personality and interests, his passions and motivations — all are shrouded in mystery. What we know is that he worked in Kyoto in the late 19th and early 20th century and that he appeared to be on good terms with members of […]

Dipping into Hakone’s more unusual hot spas

18 Jun

‘I love red wine, it’s my favorite thing!” These are perhaps not the words that a mother particularly likes to hear from her young daughter — especially when she is only 4 years old. But this was precisely what my daughter told me when we recently paid a visit to one of Japan’s less conventional […]

Japan’s kanban’ are still hanging in there

18 Jun

Little information remains about the personal life of the artisan Kojiro Shimizu. His personality and interests, his passions and motivations — all are shrouded in mystery. What we know is that he worked in Kyoto in the late 19th and early 20th century and that he appeared to be on good terms with members of […]

When too many things ‘spark joy,’ it’s a Wonderwall life

28 May

Masamichi Katayama, the founder of interior design firm Wonderwall, has a lot of friends. But as he glances around the empty meeting room of his studio, he says, “I feel a little lonely.” A month ago, the same room housed numerous objects and artworks, while a huge ox head (an art piece by Simon Fujiwara) […]

Lost: Struggling to cope with millions of unclaimed items in Tokyo

27 May

Among the millions of items that were registered with Tokyo’s lost and found center last year was an urn containing someone’s ashes. And yet this should perhaps not surprise you — urns are handed in to lost and found centers more regularly than you might think. Last year alone, the Metropolitan Police Department’s lost and […]

Never forget: keeping track of belongings with technology

27 May

A Tokyo-based startup is offering a range of services to help people keep track of their belongings. Mamorio Inc. has created a small electronic tag that can be inserted in a wallet or attached to a keyring and other personal items, and used to track down the tag’s location. The 3.5 cm x 1.9 cm […]

The fidget spinner toy craze has spun out of control

21 May

NEW YORK – Stores can’t keep them in stock. Parents are scrambling to find them. And some schools have banned them. The mania for fidget spinners — the twirling palm-sized gadgets taking over classrooms and cubicles in the United States — is unlike many other toy crazes. They’re not made by a major company, timed […]

Looking back on the final days of the Dojunkai apartments

20 May

All cities change, but the 20th century saw Tokyo undergo more destruction and rebuilding than in any other period since its founding. The capital was devastated first by natural disaster and then aerial bombardment, and was subsequently re-imagined in the frenzy of construction that typically follows such calamity. Today, the city reads like a quilt, […]

Weekend drama can be great for the kids

14 May

My two daughters rub the backs of their ears to retrieve some magic dust, which they then use to summon a pile of pizza and ice cream, before tucking into the newly-created feast with arm-waving gusto. This sounds like the stuff of dreams for any imaginative young child, but in this instance, it’s not just […]

Calling card: the evolution of business cards in Japan

6 May

On the afternoon of Jan. 26, 1948, a man claiming to be a public health official walked into a branch of Teikoku Ginko (Imperial Bank) in Tokyo’s Shiinamachi district and told all 16 people present that dysentery had broken out in the neighborhood. After handing bank clerks a business card that identified him as an […]