I shamefully admit that 2009 has not been a great year for attaining my previous levels of web prolificacy. Recession and real life are keeping me from leisurely penning long essays on complex topics. Twitter has been a good outlet, but blogging has gotten to be hard. I think that Kyabajo one took me literally six months to finish up.
Anyway, here are some of the numerous things that I have been up to:
1) I wrote an article in Japanese for Brutus on the late great writer George Plimpton for the Autumn Fashion Issue “Mr. Gentleman.” Now on stands, featuring a special Thom Browne-directed “Brutus Gentleman’s Book.”
2) I wrote about half the articles/interviews in the Onitsuka Tiger/Zoo Magazine collaboration “Made of Japan” — in celebration of the shoe brand’s 60th anniversary. It will be available on newsstands soon (I think), but TAB already has it on sale as part of a special limited-edition set. My interview/profile subjects include Shugo Tokumaru, Verbal (m-flo, Teriyaki Boyz), Chiho Aoshima, Kiyoshi Kuroda, Tomokazu “Matzu” Matsuyama, Hirofumi Kurino (United Arrows), Soichiro Ito (SOE), Toshikazu Iwaya (Dress33), Rinko Kawauchi, mint designs, Né-net, Writtenafterwards, Final Home, DOG, and Bruce Osborn.
3) I was interviewed for a documentary on Japanese indie music called Live From Tokyo last year, and the trailer is out. Looks great.
4) I think I was on an episode of Tokyo Eye about Ura-Harajuku at some point this summer.
5) I completely forgot how to do formatting in HTML.
6) I published a Japanese language backpage piece in Weekly Diamond (週刊ダイヤモンド）in late July. New semi-monthly blog on market trends and culture in Japanese (and maybe also English) coming soon from parties related.
Ever the modest gentleman, our guy Matt Treyvaud’s awesome wife Chie Yoshimura has opened a lovely new cafe in Yokohama. Go visit. Eat something. Admire the logo.
Dentsu Canada shot over samples of the Sapporo beer coasters using the Pattern Pattern series of pattern designs from Néojaponisme this week. They look great! Thanks guys!
Thanks so much to everyone who came out to the Tokyo debut of Meeting Modernity. As a little fun giveaway, I designed and made a bunch of sets of Néojaponisme buttons for opening attendees. If you are interested in procuring a set, feel free to get in touch.
Unearthed outside of the city of Sano in Tochigi-ken, this portrait photography series documents Japan as it engaged with modernization and commercial photography in the Meiji and Taishō Periods.
This post marks the Tokyo opening of the Meeting Modernity Exhibition.
OPENING: A Night of Néojaponisme
A night of presentations, discourse, music, and booze.
DATE: 31st of July 2009
OPEN: 1800 START: 1900
FEE: open charge (Nagesen)
PLACE: hybrid so+ba gallery
5-29-20 KYODO SETAGAYA-KU
TOKYO 156-0052 WWW.SO-BA.CC
Come on down to the infamous Hybrid SO+BA Gallery in Kyodo (Odakyu Line) for a night of revelry with the staff of Néojaponisme. A smattering of presentations by the editors of and contributors to the site will be accompanied by Funkmaster DJ Jean Snow on the wheels of steel.
The Japanese fashion site MEKAS. that I edit started a new Twitter yesterday (http://twitter.com/mekas), and I went a bit crazy with 140-character observations as I read through the new March fashion magazines.
CanCam — not a gyaru magazine — for some reason had a “Gyaru Inside-Joke Vocabulary Dictionary,” and there were a few choice entries:
• アナル (anaru) is apparently not just a way to say “anal” but an abbreviation of “あ〜、なるほど！” (a naruhodo, “Oh, I see.”)
• Yes, We CanCam, meaning 迷わずに『CanCam』を買うこと — “buying CanCam each month without fail.” There is no way anyone actually uses this.
• ユダる (yudaru), literally “to Judas,” meaning “to back-stab, betray.” You could probably also read the verb as “to Jew” since “Jew” is yudaya in Japanese, but this connotation is not really the Japanese language’s fault. The entire character of Judas was written into the Jesus story as a way to blame Jews for his death (Judas = Judah), since crucifixion is so clearly a Roman form of execution. At least, that’s what Bishop Spong says.
• 永眠 (eimin, “to sleep forever”), which normally is a poetic way to say “to die/to pass away,” but gyaru use it as “to zonk out/to sleep deeply.”
Néojaponisme’s exhibition Meeting Modernity will be in Portland from January 8 through February 1st in the new year at downtown small press emporium Reading Frenzy. The opening will be on January 8 from 6–9PM. I’ll be in attendance (as will Ma and Pa Lynam!), so come on down.
Recently discovered outside of the city of Sano in Tochigi-ken, the Meeting Modernity collection of found photos documents Japan as it engaged with modernization and commercial photography in the Meiji and Taishō Periods. The series is comprised of portrait photography in particular.
Marxo and I have work in the upcoming WKTokyoLab show in Los Angeles at Gallery Nucleus. The exhibition is centered around the artwork and writing created for WKTokyoLab’s new book + DVD set, Tokyo.Ten. The exhibition is on November 1st at 7pm.
It’s rare that WKTokyoLab stuff makes it to LA, so for folks curious about some of the more innovative image-making coming out of Tokyo these days, this is a great sampler.
Also, my “real job” these days is Chief Editor of new Japanese fashion site MEKAS. Although most of the information is targeted towards professional business subscribers, there are many free articles such as:
I am DJing on Friday, around 11 or so. Nothing fancy, but come down if you can.
(I am not responsible for the event name.)
COCK & BALLS Vol. III
at TREASURE CHEST (1F, 10-13 Maruyamacho, SHIBUYA)
start 22:00 – all night
Our Man Hickey
Ian Martin (Call & Response Records)
This event is the W+K team’s first exhibition in Tokyo. It will showcase a visual remix of the 9 WKTLAB hybrid CD/DVD releases and feature the 42 artists who participated in the TEN project. It will also world premiere the latest WKTokyoLab music video for Jemapur’s Maledict Car, directed by Kosai Sekine.
The show is a pretty star-studded lineup of visual creators who work in Tokyo. The participating artists are:
01 ERICA DORN : JAPAN / UK
02 TAKAGI MASAKATSU : JAPAN
03 CHRISTOPHER HUTCHINSON : USA / JAPAN
04 KUSTAA SAKSI : FINLAND / NETHERLANDS
05 KENTARO KOBUKE : JAPAN / UK
06 ELECROTNIK : JAPAN
07 FIEL VALDEZ + Peter Vattanatham : UNITED STATES
08 EDWIN USHIRO : JAPAN / USA
09 SHANE LESTER : USA / JAPAN
10 FREK / OUTSIGN LAB : HONG KONG
11 IAN LYNAM : USA / JAPAN
12 PHUNK STUDIO : SINGAPORE
13 KAZUFUMI KIMURA / VJ GEC : JAPAN
14 EARL BURNLEY JR. a.k.a. JUS REP : UNITED STATES
15 FIEL VALDEZ + Peter Vattanatham : UNITED STATES
16 ZONGY : BELGIUM / USA / JAPAN
17 FURI FURI COMPANY : JAPAN
18 PAUL HWANG / NANOSPORE : UNITED STATES
19 DRISCOLL REID : USA / JAPAN
20 AGENCY COLLECTIVE : UNITED STATES
21 LUIS SANCHIS : SPAIN / USA
22 TOSHIKO KIMURA : JAPAN
23 WOOG : HONG KONG / USA / JAPAN
24 KAMIKAZEDOUGA : JAPAN
25 MOTOKO : JAPAN
26 BURACO DE BALA : BRAZIL
27 TORU NAGAHAMA : JAPAN / UK
28 GENKI ITO JAPAN
29 ALEKSANDRA DOMANOVIć : SLOVENIJA / GERMANY
30 MAREK OKON : CANADA / JAPAN
31 TADAOMI SHIBUYA : JAPAN
32 MAHARO : JAPAN
33 KAMI : JAPAN
34 SASU: JAPAN
35 TATSUYA YAMADA : JAPAN
36 SUN AN : USA / KOREA
37 TADAHIRO GUNJI : JAPAN
38 SEONGHYUN KIM : SOUTH KOREA
39 THE_GROOP : UNITED STATES
40 SOLOBONGNU-SENSEI : JAPAN
41 KOSAI SEKINE : JAPAN
42 +CRUZ : PHILIPPINES / USA / JAPAN
The exhibition is in celebration of W+K’s new book and dvd release. This is a project set up so that W+K Tokyo LAB, in collaboration with all the artists with can express a range of “POINTS” (“点（TEN）” in Japanese) relating to Tokyo. A point is a moment in time, a dot, a location, and a reason for doing something. What’s the “point” or mark that makes Tokyo different? A point of view, a physical location, a point or moment in time. What do you think of when you think of “Tokyo”? What makes Tokyo special?
DVD (total recording time 70 minutes）
The greatest hits of W+K Tokyo Lab’s artists, including Hifana, Afra, Jemapur, and Takagi Masakatsu.
My new album Forty Years from Now is finally out! The first quote-unquote single “Cat vs. Mouse” is available for free download and features vocals from UT of the band Kiiiiiii and production from Pandatone. The twelve-song album was recorded, mixed, and mastered in various recording studios and bedrooms across Tokyo and New York City.
Why has there been very little content on Néojaponisme lately?
I, W. David Marx — Chief Editor, have been in Los Angeles in a jetlag-haze for the last week, and I will be in a jetlag-haze in Tokyo for the next week until I can get my schedule back in order. Team Néojaponisme have also been working on lots of big things: book releases, album releases, etc. We also have full-time jobs, although we aren’t supposed to mention that to maintain a myth of artistic dedication to our respective crafts.
Can we expect this content winter to continue?
Yes and no. We are currently planning out a very big step for Néojaponisme — perhaps launching it into physical space. (But not literally “outer space.”) There are essays being written and assignments being assigned. Things may be light for a bit though, so if you are thinking of bothering us with a story idea, this is an excellent time.
Is there anything you can recommend while the nuclear content winter is defrosting?
I did this podcast with Patrick Macias in Los Angeles. We discuss Cool Japan. Also, I will have some personal L.A. dispatches over the next week, hopefully.
The University of California at Los Angeles (“UCLA”) will be hosting a conference on exporting Japanese pop culture called J-Wave USA this upcoming weekend (March 13-15). Full schedule available here.
I will be presenting at 11:10 on Saturday morning at the sesssion “Japanese Street Fashion in Japan and the US” with Prof. Yuniya Kawamura, moderated by Patrick Macias. My presentation will look at whether Japanese fashion styles are “bottom-up” or “top-down” and how fashion magazines play a part in setting trends.
Admission is free, but registration is required for researchers hoping to attend. I will be at the other events that are open to the public, so say hello if you see someone very tall.