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Get ready to enter the record books. Travel on a journey through the history of the U.A.E to above the clouds and beyond your highest expectations. With timed ticketing for your convenience, visit At the Top, Burj Khalifa to see Dubai as it has never been seen before. For more information please call us on 800 AT THE TOP, or visit www.atthetop.ae to purchase your tickets today.
y first trip to Japan, more than ten years ago, ended in farce. I had picked an automated â€˜love hotelâ€™ (no receptionist and a vending machine to dispense room keys) in which to stay, and when it was time to leave, I got stuck in the room; not being able to work the complicated computerised door lock, which bleeped and spat out Japanese phrases I could not understand. After an hour of pressing buttons the door unlocked and I just made my flight with minutes to spare. Our recent trip to Tokyo was a lot more successful and illustrated the huge amount of creative talent the country has to offer. We met designers, graphic artists, photographers and illustrators from around Japan. Their work is original and eclectic,
and shows not only the talent in Japan, but also the countryâ€™s beauty. Indeed look beyond the Bladerunnerstyle Tokyo skyline and you will find a country as beautiful as any in Asia. We hope to have captured some of its charm. We also publish a short story from the renowned Japanese author Hiromi Kawakami, whose offbeat portrait of the people in her neighbourhood is both quirky and endearing. Elsewhere, we examine the Japanese love affair with the noodle, and name some of the best places in Tokyo to try ramen. We also feature some extracts from Quakebook, a Twitter-sourced charity book about how the earthquake affected the country. And what of the earthquake? Well, the Japanese are as resilient as ever, and Japan is as enchanting as anywhere else on earth. We heartily recommend you go see for yourself. Enjoy the issue. CONOR@OPENSKIESMAGAZINE.COM
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THE MAKING OF THE JAPAN ISSUE
Stuff we did in Japan: met a whole lot of talented people, ate a lot of noodles, drank a lot of coffee (Starbucks tastes the same), got designers from all over the country working on the issue, took 28
some photos, made a felt Burj Khalifa, commissioned all our articles, looked out the window, ate some sushi, got lost, got lost some more, went to a nightclub called Room (the smallest
club we have ever seen), wrote, slept, bought some jazz CDs, got giggled at by some school girls, took the subway, ate more noodles and were generally amazed by Japan and its people.
Thanks to: Kylie Clark at the JNTO, Michael Miyauchi at the Capitol Hotel Tokyu, Akinori Oishi, Nishikawa Maiko, Kanako Okamoto, Yutaka Mogi, Takafumi Tsuchiya, Yoh Nagao,
Ko Machiyama, Silvia Trabattoni, Tatsuro Kiuchi, Izutsu Hiroyuki, Hiromi Chiito, Shoko Saito, Sophie Knight, David Labi, the nice man at the noodle place, and everyone we met.
If you would like to make a donation to the Japanese Red Cross, check out: www.jrc.or.jp/english/index.html
NOVEMBER ���� OUR MAN IN TOKYO TALKS ABOUT THE EXPAT FALLOUT FROM THE EARTHQUAKE (P37)... WE GIVE DUBAI’S JAPANESE RESTAURANTS THE TWITTER PITCH TREATMENT (P41)... READ ABOUT JAPAN’S SEAMIER SIDE IN OUR BOOK REVIEW �P43)... WE WONDER WHY JAPANESE HORROR MOVIES FAIL TO CROSS OVER TO THE US (P48)... UFO LEGEND TOSHIO
MATSUURA GIVES US HIS TOP TEN TUNES IN SKYPOD (P50)... A BRIEF HISTORY OF JAPANESE INNOVATION �INCLUDING A DOG WEARING SLIPPERS� (P54)... A DISUSED CAPSULE HOTEL IN THE HEART OF TOKYO IS OUR ARCHITECTURAL FOCUS (P60)... WE VISIT ONE OF THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS STORES IN TOKYO �EVEN VAN GOGH LOVED IT� (P62)... A ROUND UP OF SOME COOL PRODUCTS FROM THE JAPANESE CAPITAL IN
BOOTY (P64)... JAPAN’S BEST ILLUSTRATORS TAKE US ON A GRAPHIC TOUR OF THE COUNTRY (P70)... WE LOOK AT THE JAPANESE LOVE AFFAIR WITH THE NOODLE (P82)... A QUIRKY SLICE OF LIFE FROM CELEBRATED JAPANESE WRITER HIROMI KAWAKAMI (P92)... MEMORIES FROM THOSE WHO EXPERIENCED THE EARTHQUAKE FIRST HAND (P104)... A STUNNING PHOTOGRAPHIC TOUR OF THE COUNTRY (P116)... 31
TOSHIO MATSUURA: A former member of the United Future Organization, Toshio has DJ’ed all over the world; his combination of nu-jazz, house and funk proving a winning formula. He is currently focusing on his production and remix work.
DAVID LABI: David is the editor of Metropolis, the leading English-language magazine in Tokyo. He is also an independent ﬁlmmaker and is working on a narrative short ﬁlm based in Tokyo.
HIROMI KAWAKAMI: One of the country’s most popular writers, Hiromi has gained a reputation as a writer of offbeat ﬁction. A multi-award winner, much of her work has been translated into English.
KO MACHIYAMA: One of Japan’s most talented illustrators, Ko specialises in abstract paintings and fashion illustrations. He helped create our illustrated tour of Japan with two wonderful pieces of work.
SHOKO SAITO: Shoko is an artist and illustrator from Tokyo who loves sewing and having pink hair. For our issue she created the Flick illustration and designed a plush featured in the Booty shoot.
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OUR MAN IN
TOKYO THE EXPAT COMMUNITY’S REACTION TO THE EARTHQUAKE DIVIDED THE COUNTRY
f you read the newspapers on March 14 this year, you’d have been forgiven for thinking that a toxic cloud was storming towards Tokyo, ready to engulf everyone in it. It was a tabloid newspaper’s dream: ashen-faced foreigners crowded the airport, desperate to flee the imminent nuclear apocalypse in Fukushima, while the nightly news streamed footage of an eerily dark and empty capital. And yet for all the drama, many of the expats who left Tokyo started to dribble back after a fortnight. And just like the engineers struggling to bring the reactors under control, they had some fixing to do. For in their desperation to join the exodus, many had abandoned rental and work contracts with not a word of notice. Some even left their Japanese spouses, who had been reluctant to leave their families. Those who stayed complained that their actions confirmed the Japanese suspicion that foreigners are unreliable and disloyal, undoing all the trust and goodwill that other expats had worked so hard to build up. They accused those who left as paranoid and cowardly ‘flyjin’, a
play on gaijin, the Japanese word for foreigner. The returnees bit back, arguing that staying put was neither brave nor loyal. They said they had acted out of self-preservation, since no one had any idea of how serious the Fukushima crisis would become. Some were shocked to see a rift emerge within the foreign community – after all, in the wake of a massive earthquake, tsunami, and now nuclear crisis, weren’t we in this together? But it wasn’t that surprising: as a foreigner, the conduct of other expats can make or break your own reputation. As it is, it’s difficult enough to become accepted as a permanent member of Japanese society: one cannot ‘become’ Japanese as one can American or British, because nationality is seen as based on blood and genetics. Foreigners are not generally expected to speak the language or grasp the complex native etiquette. The gaijin are transient: a constant flow of students, bankers, models and English teachers stream into the country for a two or three year fix before hopping off elsewhere. The problem is self-perpetuating:
few hang around long enough to convince the Japanese to take a chance on them. Tired of their lack of prospects, they depart, which only confirms their boss’ prejudices. The old Japan hands, here for a decade or more, grumble about the situation, but can do little to either persuade their bosses to believe in their staying power, or encourage expats to stay. Yet, it wasn’t just foreigners who left: bullet trains heading south away from the area around Fukushima and Tokyo were packed with Japanese leaving to stay with relatives elsewhere. On the other hand, many Japanese were concerned at the way their country was being portrayed in the foreign press, and were worried that the large-scale exodus had damaged the country’s reputation. Many thanked the foreigners who stayed, explaining that their support was appreciated. Yet seven months on, it’s clear that much of the antipathy towards ‘flyjin’ was generated by other foreigners rather than the Japanese. However, the image of foreign residents as ‘fairweather friends’ will take more than a few years to dispel.
Sophie Knight is a writer for the Asahi Shimbun 37
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SUSHI RESTAUR ANTS Every month we profile a number of venues in a different city, country or continent. The catch? The companies must be on Twitter and must tell us in their own words what makes them so special. This month, we feature Dubaiâ€™s best sushi restaurants. If you want to get involved, follow us at: www.twitter.com/openskiesmag
Okku Multi-award winning OKKU luxury
Currently celebrating its third
Japanese restaurant and lounge
birthday, multi-award winning ZUMA
provides innovative dishes, haute
in Dubai remains the place to see and
couture cocktails and amazing
be seen. Simply the best!!
A trendy three-storey hub in Dubai
Eleven years ago Sumo Sushi & Bento
Rock and Roll conveyor belt sushi
with menus that vary in taste & style
was founded in Dubai. A Hawaiian
ninjas. Serving up sashimi, nigiri, ISO,
from authentic dishes and teppan
family with a love for food had a
maki, noodles, handrolls, tempura and
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dream for fresh and affordable sushi.
JAKE ADELSTEIN — TOKYO VICE
he path for most westerners in Japan is well trodden: turn up, teach English, learn a few words of Japanese and return home after a year or two with stories of sake and salarymen. Jake Adelstein did things differently; he learnt Japanese and ended up working as a crime reporter for the Yomiuri Shimbun , one of Japan’s biggest papers. His book chronicles his rise from a wide-eyed foreigner to a crack reporter – a job that nearly got him killed. Yet the book’s strength lies not in the Tokyo noir elements, but in his accounts of life working in Japan. He steers clear of clichés and truisms and instead recounts the mundane, absurd and often hilarious experiences of working as a journalist in Japan. The book reaches its climax when Adelstein breaks the story that a leading Yakuza boss (Tadamasa Goto) had received a liver transplant in the US. Threatened by Goto’s enforcers, he is forced to leave Japan and make sense of what happened. Adelstein keeps the reader engaged and despite the remarkable events taking place, it never descends into pulp. Intriguing stuff. Vintage Crime, 2011
THE CAPITOL HOTEL TOKYO, JAPAN
INTERNET SPEED: 20MB, Free PILLOWS: Four IPOD DOCK: Yes CLUB SANDWICH DELIVERY TIME:
16 minutes COMPLIMENTARY SNACKS: Tea &
coffee, breakfast, evening drinks TOILETRY BRAND: Cowshed DAILY NEWSPAPER: The Japan Times EXTRAS: CD/DVD player, TV in
bathroom, walk-in wardrobe BUSINESS CENTRE: Yes VIEW: 4 /5 RATE: From $1,200 WWW.CAPITOLHOTELTOKYU.COM/EN/
Tokyo is crazy. And we mean that in the nicest possible way. But this city of more than 10 million is an exercise in controlled mayhem, and so you need a place such as the Capitol Hotel to recover. It is one of the quietest hotels we have ever stayed in, no mean feat considering its location, but there is a sense of calm throughout the property. Maybe it’s the water features in the lobby, or the executive suites on the fifth floor that overlook the Hie Shrine and a small forest. Due to its proximity to the Japanese Parliament, the Capitol attracts visiting politicians, businessmen and the odd Korean pop star. The service, as to be expected, is impeccable; a nice mix of (very) subtle staff and modern technology. One of Tokyo’s finest.
Leaps and bounds ahead of the West, Tokyo is a fast-moving, cutting-edge metropolis that’s a feast for the wide-eyed visitor: flashing neon billboards affixed to every corner, glossy glass skyscrapers corkscrewing into the sky, and more than 12 million people manically zig-zagging their way through bicycle-packed streets. It’s both terrifying and exciting, with its hard, electric façade softened by pink cherry blossom, lantern-lit lanes and plant-lined wooden houses. Nick Clarke spotlights this November’s must-see sights so you’re not lost in translation once you touch down. WWW.HG2.COM
HOTELS 1. Park Hyatt Tokyo
3. Imperial Hotel
RESTAURANTS �. Beige Alain Ducasse
6. Choshoan Tea Room
BARS / CLUBS 9. Blue Note
GALLERIES 13. 21_21 Design Sight
15. Tokyo Metro Museum 16. SCAI The of Photography Bathhouse
MAPPED TO K Y O
HOTELS 1 PARK HYATT TOKYO
Tokyo’s undisputed superstay set in the nocturnal playground of Shinjuku. Its cooler than cool New York Bar is a must-visit, while the top ﬂoors offer some of the best views of the city.
IMPERIAL HOTEL Originally opened in the 1890s and painstakingly restored in 1923, it mixes style with timeless design and enough tasteful touches to put up the likes of Elton John in one of its 1,000 rooms.
YOSHIMIZU A boutique bolthole in the shopping district of Ginza, Yoshimizu is a bamboowalled gem: inside is a hedonistic hideaway styled on a ryokan inn, with tatami mats, sliding screens and earth walls.
NADAMAN With outlets across the country, Nadaman is a tried-and-tested favourite. The huge menu features the very best of Japanese cuisine, with sushi and teppanyaki and everything in-between.
RYUGIN Seiji Yamamoto, Japan’s charismatic culinary superstar, is the man behind the menu at RyuGin. And his efforts haven’t gone unnoticed, with a shiny Michelin star to his name.
Trendy types ﬁght for bookings at this former apartment block with 13 minimal rooms, two ﬂoors of gallery space, a design store, restaurant and a cocktail bar that serves whatever the hour.
RESTAURANTS 5 BEIGE ALAIN DUCASSE
Chef Alain Ducasse’s pristine Tokyo outpost serves French food to equally pristine clientele. On the 10th ﬂoor of the Chanel boutique in Ginza, dining here is expensive and stylish.
6 CHOSHOAN TEA ROOM
You can’t visit Tokyo without taking in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Opt for the tatami mat room where you’ll remove your shoes and sit on the ﬂoor – the way it should be done.
BARS/CLUBS 9 BLUE NOTE
Blue Note offers live jazz in an intimate basement setting. It’s hosted everyone from Tony Bennet to Dizzy Gillespie, and caters to a classy crowd of serious music connoisseurs.
There’s a gentleman’s club feel to Maduro at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo, with plush leather seating, dimly-lit chandeliers and Italian furnishings. Drinkswise, it’s all about chic cocktails and whiskies.
Womb is home to Asia’s biggest disco ball. Steel doors and concrete ﬂoors lead the way to a dance ﬂoor packed out with Tokyo’s club kids. Set over four ﬂoors, this is a club to get lost in.
Work never ends in Tokyo, which is why Ofﬁce – with ﬁling cabinet bar stools and even a photocopier – is so popular. It has cult-like status for mixing business with pleasure.
15 TOKYO METROPOLITAN
16 SCAI THE BATHHOUSE
GALLERIES 13 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT
21_21 comes courtesy of Tadao Ando – one of Japan’s most loved starchitects. All concrete walls and glass, this is an urban gallery in the manicured grounds of Tokyo Midtown.
NADiff is hard to ﬁnd down an alley in Ebisu, but those who make the effort are rewarded with three ﬂoors of exhibition space. It also houses a café, bar and an arty bookstore.
MUSEUM OF PHOTOGRAPHY Spread across four ﬂoors in Ebisu, the TMMP is home to some of Japan’s most exciting photographic talent. It is found in Yebisu Garden.
What else are you going to do with an old bathhouse other than turn it into an art hub? Mixing home-grown talent with international names, no wonder culture vultures ﬂock here.
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FLICK CELLULOID DISSECTED
apanese horror – or J-Horror, as you’ll often find it labelled in the relevant section of your local DVD store – was, until the late1990s, a pretty niche concern outside of its homeland. Then, with the new millennium looming, something of a sea change occurred. Beginning in earnest with Ring (1998), and followed by the likes of Audition (1999), Kairo (2001), Dark Water (2002) and Ju-on: The Grudge (2003), Japan scored a lengthy run of international breakout hits that left adventurous Western moviegoers cowering behind their popcorn. In fact, it stands as a testament to the chilling qualities of these imports that so many of them have been – and continue to be – remade 48
for the American market. And yet few of these remakes pack the same punch. Is Japan somehow inherently creepier than the US? And what exactly did Japanese films do to suddenly become so terrifying? In short, they went back in time. Where Western horror remains obsessed with knife-wielding maniacs as walking metaphors for the potential evils of society, Japan has been plundering its own vast archives of ancient folklore and cautionary superstition. In doing so, film-makers have unearthed a treasure trove of historical myths and ghouls that would heavily inform their industry output over the ensuing decade. Of particular value were the yurie – traditional folkloric
ghosts – and the vengeful onryo; phantoms representative of a spirit trapped in limbo. These spectres had already been given a specific visual form via the ancient practice of kabuki theatre, in which the apparitions would sport white burial kimonos, unkempt manes of jet-black hair, twisted limbs and a ghastly facial pallor. This aesthetic was lifted wholesale to create the iconic antagonist Sadako Yamamura in Hideo Nakata’s Ring, and it stuck around – Dark Water, Ju-on: The Grudge and numerous others all recycled the classic apparition to haunting effect. Still, this doesn’t explain why the US versions of these films generally fail to generate the same impact;
FAILUR WHY�WE�TO� LO ON'T�J -HORR AUNC R�CROS H? S�OVER BY�MAR K
after all, they frequently pay homage to the same spectre. What many of the remakes fail to tap into is a core concept underpinning Japan’s historical ghost tales – the notion of onnen; the belief that some emotions can be too strong for the grave, preventing the dead from settling in the afterlife until their trauma is resolved. In other words, we’re talking about an excess of emotion – which, let’s face it, is seldom a quality associated with the typical Hollywood slasher flick. And the more remakes appear, the more plausible this hypothesis appears. Whether it’s Walter Salles’ 2005 Dark Water, Wes Craven and Jim Sonzero’s Pulse (a 2006 riff on Kairo) or even The Grudge, retold
for the Western market by original director Takashi Shimizu, what seems to be lacking is an inherent focus on sadness as a motivating supernatural force. Regardless of how faithful the reworked plotlines remain, America’s cinema of fear has become so reliant on the presence of immediate threat it struggles to convey those quieter, more nagging emotions that can channel horror into reaching us on deeper levels. For the most part, apparitions in the remakes are more explicitly malevolent, visitations more aggressive, and even the use of ambient sound aims to conduct our fear responses in a carefully orchestrated series of peaks and troughs. You’ll seldom find the
tensely extended periods of silence in a remake that you often will in J-Horror – instead, you’ll be told exactly when to scream via jumpy sound effects and camera techniques. Perhaps a back-to-basics approach is what’s needed in order for Western horror to deliver something more frightening than an axe-swinging psychopath chasing teenagers around a college campus. Our own history is as rich in legends of restless souls as that of Japan; we just need to remember what it was about them that spooked storytellers, avoid telling our audiences precisely when to leap for cover, and leave some room for a few disquieting emotions. Only then will we match the modern Japanese mastery of fear. 49
MORE THAN MINE (ALT VERSION)— ZARA MCFARLANE A female jazz vocalist, from England who has just made her debut.
MAMA! MILK — NUDE VAR.1 A new piece by the female accordionist and male contrabassist duo from Kyoto. The cool sound has both a Japanese and a European feel to it.
BAD AS ME — TOM WAITS The latest work from the multi-talented Tom Waits, the sometime singer, song writer, poet and actor. In this, his first album in seven years, he returns to his trademark piano sounds. A melting pot of chaotic sounds that never ages. Mesmerising like a magic spell.
THE DEVIL & MIDNIGHT — NITIN SAWHNEY This latest song from the Indian-British artist mixes Indian sounds with blues and country to create a nostalgia-tinged new sound. A new standard in hybrid blues.
TINARIWEN — TENERE TAQQIM TOSSAM (FOUR TET REMIX) Tinariwen, a native of Mali in West Africa, has his latest song remixed by Kieran Hebden, AKA Four Tet, who is adept at everything from electronica, folk, rock, world music and jazz. An exquisite blend of African, jazz, rock and dance music.
ILLUSTRATION: NISHIKAWA MAIKO
LEGENDARY JAPANESE DJ TOSHIO MATSUURA
LITTLE BY LITTLE — RADIOHEAD (CARIBOU REMIX) From the remixed album of The King Of Limbs. It features beautiful dance mixes by dubstep and electronic artists. I chose the Caribou remix, which features harp sounds that create a mystical atmosphere.
LOVELY DAY — JILL SCOTT The brilliant revival of the 1977 song Lovely Day by Bill Withers. Sung by the 21st century soul diva, it’s become such a favourite of mine that I always listen to it on a sunny day.
BABY YOUR LOVIN — ELECTRIC EMPIRE A song from Australia with a warm vibe that feels like vintage soul music. Lately, I find that Australian and New Zealand artists are producing lots of interesting music. PORTUGUESE LOVE — BJORK (CRYSTALLINE OMAR SOULEYMAN REMIX) An Icelandic piece arranged by a Syrian artist. You would think that this is the original version because the sound is in such perfect harmony, but at the same time the sound is stimulating to the mind.
TROUBLE — JOSE JAMES (OH NO REMIX) An unreleased song from the New York jazz singer. His smoky and silky toned voice is tuned to a modern beat. I’m anxiously awaiting the release of his new album, due out in 2012.
THE KIMONO AND THE KHANDOORAH
JA PAN AND THE UAE WAEL AL SAYEGH EXPLAINS HOW THE JAPANESE HAVE TURNED FROM RIVALS TO TRADING PARTNERS
ILLUSTRATION BY VESNA PESIC
he rays of the Land of the Rising Sun reach around the globe. Its material and cultural exports have become necessities of modern living. But how far do those Japanese beams of energy penetrate into the lives of the globally aware, yet conservative, Emirati population? Japan has had an effect on the fortunes of the UAE since before the First World War. The main source of revenue in the Arabian Gulf before oil came from the export of high-quality natural pearls. Every summer, pearl merchants would fund lengthy expeditions during which the shipsâ€™ crews lived at sea for six months at a time. Each day, divers risked their lives diving for those shiny, moon-like jewels of the sea. With the harvest complete, the pearls would be transported to Bombay, the centre of trade in the region, from where
the British East India Company distributed them to the rest of the world for a very handsome profit. Almost overnight, this romantic tradition came to an end. The Japanese, building on an ancient Chinese technique, perfected the art of pearl cultivation making them far cheaper and, just as importantly, available all year round. Arabian merchants couldnâ€™t compete in this market, despite the superior quality of their pearls. The last nail in the coffin was the economic depression of the 1930s, which marked the end of the global monopoly of the higher-priced, naturally produced Arabian pearls. With its economic backbone now removed, the region plunged into depression for a number of years. Happily for the indigenous population, oil was discovered not long after and, well, those good old pearl diving days were forgotten. 53
However, with the new Arabian petro-money, a fresh chapter began with the Japanese. The relationship moved from arch rivalry to friendly trading. The UAE provides Japan with oil and gas and in return Japan provides vehicles, machinery and electrical items. The UAE was Japan’s 11th-largest trading partner in 2010, with trade increasing by 25 per cent, representing 2.5 per cent of Japan’s total world trade. Japanese imports from the UAE surged by 29 per cent during the same period.
But apart from trade connections, there are quirkier links between the UAE and Japan. Did you know that the majority of khandoorahs and abayas (traditional Gulf Arab garments) are tailored using Japanese fabrics? Or that the libraries in Higher Colleges of Technology across the UAE have immensely popular sections dedicated to the Japanese graphic literary forms of manga and anime? The first Emirati to receive the prestigious Sheikh Zayed Book
Award won in the category of children’s literature with the firstever Arabic-language manga book. The novel, Kafka On The Shore, by the world-famous Japanese writer Haruki Murakami was among the first batch of books to be translated into classical Arabic by the Kalima project, an Abu Dhabi government initiative to convert the best of world literature into Arabic for the cultural benefit of the Arab world. Some Emirati poets have even started experimenting with
A BRIEF HISTORY OF JAPANESE INNOVATION
With one for every 23 people, Japan has more Vending Machines than anywhere else; with everything from frozen meat and noodles to clothes and even hotel rooms for sale. Invented by the Greek scientist Hero; but the Japanese have taken convenience to a new level.
One of Japan’s most well-known exports, the ﬁrst Anime cartoon was made nearly a century ago. The modern style started in the 1960s and gained prominence in the West in the 1980s. Look out for big eyes, bold colours and some ludicrous plot lines.
Chindogu is the art of the useless invention. Think slippers for dogs, butter dispensing pens and toilet rolls on top of baseball caps. The basic tenet of the concept is a seemingly good idea rendered useless by the actual embarassment, or difﬁculty, of using it.
Invented in Japan by a Taiwanese chef, the ﬁrst Instant Noodles (chicken ﬂavour) were an ‘instant’ hit. In 1971 cup noodles were introduced, and the rest is (cholesterol inducing) history. There is even a ramen museum in Tokyo for noodle nuts.
haikus in classical Arabic, which have gathered a surprisingly large following. The martial arts of karate, judo and aikido are popular with Emirati youth. And of course who can escape sudoku? So where does Emirati interest in Japanese culture come from? Perhaps it’s to do with the fact that both groups have historically had a tribal social structure. A strong sense of honour and shame informs their everyday decisions. Both nations have seen
a tremendous amount of change in a very short time, and have experienced swift modernisation and the opening up of a previously closed society. This has resulted in a questioning of the core principles of what it means to be Japanese or Emirati. It raises questions such as how their cultural identity fits into the world around them, and what they can absorb from other cultures without losing their own values. The kimono and the khandoorah
are both worn with a feeling of pride and inner dignity that only people from each respective culture can make authentic, In business, the short-term financial benefits of a project seldom take precedence over the importance of building and maintaining a long-term relationship. In other words, it’s not a matter of what you have, but who you are and whom you represent. The Japanese-Emirati story continues to unfold; we have barely started the first chapter.
Daisuke Inoue invented the Karaoke Machine in 1971 after realising his out of tune club singing was gaining a following among businessmen. One small problem: he forgot to patent his invention and so lost out on hundreds of millions in royalties.
Invented by a Sony engineer Nobutoshi Kihara for his boss who wanted to be able to listen to opera on his trans-Paciﬁc ﬂights. Kihara came up with the idea of the Walkman while submerged in his swimming pool, a practice he followed each morning.
The ﬁrst commercial Mobile Phone Service was introduced by NTT, covering the city of Tokyo with 23 base stations in total. In 1983 the network was expanded to include the entire country, the ﬁrst such national network (known as 1G) in the world.
The Electric Toilet was ﬁrst introduced in 1980 in Japan. The toilet (or washlet), features an array of posterior pyrotechnics to satisfy even the most demanding defecator. These include seat warming, a blow-dryer, room temperature control and massage functions.
MY TRAVELLED LIFE HIDEJI MACHIDA, 44, S A L A RY M A N
traditionally difﬁcult for Japanese to build high
two weeks. Each running tour lasted about
ON WORK CULTURE
buildings and our houses were generally made
an hour. Frankfurt and Paris in particular
People work very long hours every day in
of wood due to earthquakes.
are great places for a morning run as they
the ofﬁce in Japan. I normally work from
have a nice river I can run along with local
around 9am to 10pm, although I am often
people. I always feel happy running in my
in the ofﬁce at 7.30am and don’t leave until
even later. I also travel just under an hour to
Japan is also an island so it’s different in terms
work and back again from home. Another
of its thinking compared to life in Europe
aspect of Japanese business life which is
and the US: we cannot envisage such a huge
ON GOING HOME
perhaps unique is the fact that normally
imagination. I’m always inspired after visiting
I love travelling, but I also enjoy coming
people don’t change jobs. They work for one
these historic big scale buildings in Europe.
home. When I return to Tokyo after a
Asics trainers listening to music.
company for life. Ofﬁces are also generally
business trip, I relax by eating Japanese
very conservative here.
food with my wife. I also feel energised
when I come back from travelling. I feel I
Whenever I’m away, I always like to go
have more power to live my life to the full,
running. On my last business trip, I ran
as I’ve managed to release some of the
Travelling is one of my hobbies and I love it.
seven times in seven cities in the space of
stresses of daily life while I was away.
I have visited around 50 countries so far. I love eating local food. I also enjoy witnessing daily life in different places, talking to local people, exploring the culture. I travel often for business. I normally go on trips to Europe around ﬁve times a year. I also go on holiday with my wife outside Japan maybe once or twice a year.
ON DIFFERENCES I can feel a special energy in Europe, which we do not have in Japan. The scale of the old buildings is always very big, which is completely different from the Japanese style. It was 57
STREET PEEP â€¢ ER TO KYO Â«WWW.STREETPEEPER.COM Â« Â™
SHOP OWNER, BENCH
AT THE GREENE
ARTIST Hash Browns hoodie All vintage
Hussein Chalayan jacket Alexander Wang shirt &
DIGITAL STRATEGIST Comme des Garcons Noritaka Tatehana shoes
jacket & skirt/pants
Dress from Lane Crawford
Virgin Mary moccasins
STUDENT Tomorrowland jacket All vintage
Jil Sander trousers
PLACE NAKAGIN CAPSULE HOTEL« « ÇÏÍÈ
PHOTO: KIM ERLANDSEN
A RC H I T E C T U R E M APPED
STORE U R BA N C ARTO G RA P H Y «ISETATSU«TOKYO «PAPER
ne of the things that always impresses visitors to Japan is the ubiquity of good design. One of the most notable of these was Vincent Van Gogh, a famous Japanophile. He used traditional motifs in many of his works, and if you look closely at the bottom-left corner of his 1887 work Portrait of Pere Tanguy, you will find a pattern belonging to a certain shop – a shop that still exists today in the Taito area of Tokyo. The establishment in question is Isetatsu, purveyor of chiyogami – or woodblockprinted paper – for more than 150 years. The first glimpse of this unprepossessing space belies its lineage. Until, that is, you inspect the products. Prints featuring Japanese scenes, rendered with cartoonish figures, stand alongside origami dolls, furoshiki cloths for wrapping lunchboxes, and reams of paper, of different thickness and quality – all printed with an array of patterns. It’s these patterns that make Isetatsu what it is. The shop holds some 1,000, created over the years within the household, and hand-printed from sakura woodblocks onto paper. Once, there were many establishments producing chiyogami in such a way; now only Isetatsu remains. Stepping into the crowded little shop, you will likely be greeted by one of four children of the late owner, the fourth Tatsugoro in a line stretching back to the business’ founder. The shop IMAGE/ TEXT: DAVID LABI
flourished from its opening in 1864 through the Meiji era, when Japan opened up to Western culture; and barely survived through the great Kanto earthquake of 1923, the poverty after the Second World War, and the country’s subsequent reinvention. The family line prevails, as does the tradition of beautiful detail that runs deep in Japanese culture. One of the fifth generation of the family, a smiling Hisako Takahashi, is forceful when asked if chiyogami is art or design. “Design,” she says. “Its origins were in the Imperial Court. It was used as decorative paper for the poems nobles sent to one another. Then it was used as packing paper, book covers, it was put under cakes. It’s an everyday thing.” Back in the Edo period, the concept of “iki” was central to urban fashion. Hard to translate, it falls between taste, wit, and sophistication. “It was something the country folk couldn’t get,” chortles Takahashi.In Tokyo today, the attention to detail visible in the appearance of both men and women shows that little has changed. Isetatsu is open 364 days a year; New Year’s Day’s the only holiday. “We only sell what we can make,” says Takahashi. Such modest objectives fit in with the values of Isetatsu, where they promise to add a little beauty to your daily life. Isetatsu, 2-18-9, Yanaka, Taito-Ku, Tokyo (81) 3 38231453
BOOTY TO KYO
WE FIND SOME QUIRKY TREATS IN THE SHOPPING CAPITAL OF THE WORLD.
Brutus, $8. This innovative Japanese menâ€™s magazine focuses on Star Wars.
Owl Bank, $16. Keep your coins in a safe place with this delightful piece of Strigiforme design.
City Cards, $9. Deal in style with this set of playing cards based on the Tokyo map grid.
Tsutaya Book Store,
Tokyu Hands, Inokashira,
Muji Tokyo Midtown,
Origami Paper, $4. Fold and sculpt your way to perfection with this rather addictive pursuit.
Mini Geisha, $12. A tiny Japanese lady made of wood and silk (we think).
Muji Tokyo Midtown, Akasaka, Minato-Ku
Secret Agent Popsicle, $30. Shoko Saito’s plush creations take ‘cute’ to a whole new level. We like it. A lot.
Jazz CDs, $40. Some aural brilliance courtesy of Indigo Jam Unit and Soil & Pimp Sessions. Futuristic jazz from Japan.
Tower Records, Shibuya-Ku
2 3 Th u
i Fr t Sa
London is ablaze with fireworks as Guy Fawkes night is celebrated. www.viewlondon.co.uk
The official Muslim occasion of the ending of the Hajj pilgrimage.
Tue We d
Fr i Sa t
Racing. Partying. Britney Spears. Did we mention the motor racing? www.yasalam.ae
ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX WEEKEND
SANDANCE Dubaiâ€™s best beach party with world renowned DJs. www.atlantisthepalm.com
LEBANON INDEPENDENCE DAY Beirut is awash with colour and music as it celebrates the birth of Lebanon. www.lebanontourist.com
RADO CENTRIX JUBILÉ / WWW.RADO.COM
P. 92 º new japanese fiction
P. ÖÕÙº The quake book
R SHUTTE D ISLAN
APHIC TOUR A PHOTOGR NS CITIES, TOW OF JAPAN’S TRYSIDE AND COUN
A country Rendered Japanese artists sketch out their favourite places
KO MACHIYAMA Walking down a slope by the University of Tokyo, the neighbourhood that still has an old town feel, you find yourself in the Nezu Shrine where it’s so quiet and serene that you wouldn’t believe you are actually in Tokyo. Multiple red Torii gates add an accent to the whole enigmatic atmosphere of the shrine. I’d love to live up on a hill right by the shrine so that I could look at it everyday. www.loopool.info 根津神社 〒113-0031東京都文京区 根津1-28-9 下町の雰囲気が漂う東京大 学横の坂を下ると見えてくる広い敷地内 の神社はとても東京内とは思えない 静さ！！ 沢山並んだ鳥居も幾重にも赤が重なって 神秘的です。神社横の高台の家に住んで 毎日眺められたら最高だなぁなどと思って しまいました。
NEZU JINJA SHRINE
KIUCHI TATSURO This work shows people approaching Niemon Island, just off the coast of east Japan. The island is very small, but people do live there and I find the whole area very beautiful. I think the people look hopeful and the water is sparkling. This area, near Chiba, east of Tokyo, is one of my favourite places in Japan. http://penstillwrites.com
仁右衛門島 （Niemon Island） を描き ました。wikipediaによると、 千葉県最 大の島で、 周囲約4kmほど。 個人所有 だそうです。中学、 高校時代、 夏になる と家族でよく訪れました。沖縄など遠 くへ行けばいくらでも奇麗な海はあり ましたが、 ここは比較的東京から近く て奇麗で素潜りが楽しめる、 僕にとっ て思い入れのある島なのです。
GORO ASAKI This illustration is of an elderly man I saw walking through an alley on a fine autumn afternoon by the bank of the Arakawa River. The scene brought me a peaceful atmosphere. The Arakawa flows for more than 170km, before spilling out into Tokyo Bay. www.tis-home.com/gorosasaki
気持ちのよい秋の昼下がりに荒川土手沿 いをのんびりと歩くお年寄りのイラストレ ーションです。 この光景を目にして心がほ っこりしました。 東京湾に注ぐ荒川は全長 170kmにものぼります。
HIROMI CHIITO LAWSON STORES
Many people come to Tokyo to find a chance of becoming successful. They leave their family in their hometown. They feel so lonely in the biggest town in Japan. Convenience stores relieve their lonely feeling because there is someone in there all the time. They do not talk to each other but they feel they are not the only one who feels alone. So convenience stores are the guardians of the city’s lonely people. www.hiromichiito.com わ多くの人々が成功を求め、 家族を故郷に 残し東京にやってくる。見知らぬ土地で、 知り合いもなく、孤独に生活するのだ。 真夜中に淋しくなった時、 僕はコンビニエ ンスストアに行ってみる。知り合いが居る わけでもないけれど、 同じような気持ちの 人間がいつも何人かはいる。 自分だけが、孤独なんじゃないんだと少し ほっとする。真夜中のコンビニエンススト アの灯りには、 そんな救いがあるのだ。 75
KO MACHIYAMA Needless to say, the museum itself is very pretty, but I love strolling down the boardwalk that’s located right outside the museum to Mabori-Kaigan station, looking at the ocean and feeling the sea breeze. It just feels so good! I fell in love with this good ol’ port town atmosphere! www.loopool.info
横須賀美術館 （ボードウォーク） 〒239−0813 神奈川県横須賀市鴨居 4-1 横須賀美術館の綺麗さもさること ながら、 目の前のボードウォーク （海の 散歩道） から馬堀海岸駅までの海を眺 めながらのウォーキングコースは景色も 良くてとにかく気持ちがいい！！港町独 特の懐かしい雰囲気も加わり完全に心 を掴まれてしまいました！！
YOKOSUKA MUSEUM OF ART
NISHIKAWA MAIKO Tokyo Tower is one of the city’s most famous symbols. It is a place where you can go and feel good about the city and about Japan. A lot of tourists visit the tower, it is often compared to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and looks quite similar, I created this during the new year celebrations when the tower was lit up and the atmosphere was very festive. www.asterisk-agency.com 東京タワーは、 東京で一番有名なシンボ ルの1つ。東京、 また日本を感じることがで きる場所。 エッフェル塔とよく比べられ、実 際ルックスも似ているし、 観光客もよく訪 れます。 この絵を描いたのは、 まだお正月 気分の残る賑やかな時期で、 東京タワー はライトアップされキラキラしていた。
KANAKO OKAMOTO This is a park near my home in Setagaya, Tokyo. It is a special place for me and my child. Due to safety concerns, I can only move between my home and the park with my daughter, and I am concerned this will not satisfy her imagination. But we made a startling discovery; a maze far from the main park. It is almost always empty. Our journeys together take me to special places such as this. As we explore them, we grow together. www.kanakookamoto.jp わ子育てをしている私にとって、 特別な場 所とはそう有名でもなくごく普通の場所 です。子供の行動というのはいつも予測 不可能なので、 公園のような安全な場所 でない と親も子供も落ち着くことができ ません。 なので、 毎日家と公園を往復 する 日々です。そのような日々はとても退屈で すが、 時にははっとするような発見もあり ます。このイラストの場所はもとの大きな 公園から離れた場所にある迷路がある広 場 で、 知っている人が少ないせいか、 いつ も空いています。 まるでどこかの 空間 に迷い込んだような不思議な場所です。 このように時々子供は私を特別な場所へ 連れて行ってくれます。 それは驚きと発 見に満ちていて、 私自身が育てられている かのようです。
PEACE OF MIND STARTS WITH PROOF OF QUALITY. Carat Weight 1.53
Color Grade E
Clarity Grade VS1
Laser Inscription Registry Number GIA 16354621
Natural Diamond Not Synthetic
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THE UNIVERSAL STANDARD BY WHICH GEMS ARE JUDGED.
TAKAHIRO KIMURA Kabukicho is one of the most interesting parts of Tokyo. There is so much neon and activity at night. The area gets very crowded and it is a place where people go to have fun. The area was named after a Kabuki theatre that was planned for the area, but never built. This collage captures the excitement of the area. http://faceful.jp 歌舞伎町は東京の中でもかなり賑わう界 隈です。 ネオンがきらめき、夜を楽しむ人 達で賑わいます。 歌舞伎町という名前はそ の当時建設予定だった(結局建てられる事 はなかった)歌舞伎の劇場に由来していま す。 このコラージュ作品は歌舞伎町のエキ サイティングな雰囲気を表現しています。
string THEORy MATT GROSS GOES IN SEARCH OF THE ULTIMATE BOWL OF RAMEN AND TRIES TO FIGURE OUT JAPAN’S LOVE AFFAIR WITH THE NOODLE
PHOTOGRAPH THIS PAGE: BRYAN LENUG // ALL OTHER PHOTOS: © 2011 BASIL CHILDERS/ THE NEW YORK TIMES
ot far from Waseda University in Tokyo, round the corner from a 7-Eleven, down a tiny alley, lies a ramen shop that doesn’t look like a ramen shop. In fact, Ganko, as it’s called, doesn’t look like anything at all. There’s no sign, no windows, only a raggedy black tarp set like a tent against a tiled wall, with a white animal bone dangling from a chain to signal (somehow) what lies within. Past the tarp and through a sliding glass door is Ganko proper. Five stools are lined up along a faux-wood counter, and above it a thin space opens like a proscenium onto a small kitchen, crusted black with age and smoke but hardly dirty. The lone performer is a ramen chef. With a week’s stubble on his chin, his eyeglasses fogged with steam and a towel wrapped around his neck, he certainly looks ganko, or stubborn, and he speaks hardly a word as he methodically fills bowls with careful dollops of flavourings and fats, ladles of rich broth, noodles cooked al dente and shaken free of excess water, a slab of roast pork, a supple sheet of seaweed, a tangle of pickled bamboo shoots. All is silent until the final moment, when the chef drizzles hot oil on top and the shreds of pale-green scallion squeal and sizzle From then on there is only one sound — the slurping of noodles. Oh, it’s punctuated by the occasional happy hum of a diner chewing pork or guzzling the fat-flecked broth, or even by the faint chatter of the chef’s radio, but it’s the slurps that take centre stage, long and loud and enthusiastic, showing appreciation for the chef’s métier even as they cool the noodles down to an edible temperature. 84
And when the noodles are finally gone, the bowl empty of everything but a few oleaginous blobs, each diner sets his bowl back upon the counter, mumbles Gochiso-sama deshita — roughly “Thank you for the meal” — pays the 700-yen fee (about $7.85) and wanders back out into the daylight world where Ganko suddenly seems like a hallucination, a wonderland dream of noodly bliss. Now, you might think that Ganko would be a closely held secret — a destination I managed to uncover only through bribes, threats and entreaties. But you’d be wrong. I learned about Ganko out in the open, from an English-language blog, Ramenate!, started by a Columbia University graduate student working on his Ph.D. in modern Japanese literature and, more importantly, cataloging his near-daily bowls of noodles. Ramenate! is hardly the only ramen blog out there. There are dozens, many in English, many more in Japanese. Together they constitute but one small corner of Tokyo’s sprawling ramen ecosystem, a realm that encompasses multilingual guidebooks, glossy magazines, databases that score shops to three decimal places, comic books, TV shows, movies (like the 1985 classic Tampopo, in which a Stetsonwearing trucker helps a beleaguered widow learn the art of ramen) and, according to the Shinyokohama Raumen Museum (yes, there is a ramen museum), the 4,137 shops selling bowls of noodles in broth. Still unclear? Well, combine a New Yorker’s love of pizza, hot dogs and hamburgers, throw in some Southern barbecue mania, and you’ve still only begun to approximate Tokyo’s obsession with ramen.
This ramen is definitely not the dried stuff you subsisted on in college. At the best shops, and even at lesser lights, almost everything is fresh, handmade and artisanal, from long-simmered broths and hand-cut noodles, to pigs raised on red wine (for an inside-out marinade). In some quarters, regional varieties predominate: shoyu, or soy-enhanced chicken broth (like Ganko’s), is popular throughout Honshu, Japan’s main island, but tonkotsu, or porkbone broth, from the southern island of Kyushu, has developed a widespread following, while garlicky,
INSIDE GANKO, THE LONE PERFORMER IS A RAMEN CHEF
thick-noodled miso ramen from Sapporo, in the north, has adherents too. Elsewhere, the flavours are simply at the whim of the chef, or of ever-shifting trends. Over six days in late November, I submerged myself in Tokyo’s ramen culture, eating roughly four bowls a day at shops both fancy and spartan, modern and ganko, trying to figure out not just what makes a good bowl, but also the intricacies of ordering and eating well. Above all, I wanted to know why such a simple concoction — brought from China by Confucian missionaries in the 17th
Why does such a simple concoction, brought from China in the 17th century, inspire such devotion?
century — inspired so much passion and devotion among Japanese and foreigners, and to gain some deeper understanding of Tokyo itself. My guide for much of this ramen adventure was Brian MacDuckston,
the 31-year-old English teacher from San Francisco behind RamenAdventures.com. Not that he ate much ramen at first. It was only in January 2008, after months of noticing the 45-minute lines outside Mutekiya, a trendy ramen shop in the Ikebukuro neighbourhood, that he finally decided to dip his chopsticks. “It was awesome back then,” he told me. The shop had recently been on TV and was serving a special porkladen ramen: “A slice of pork, and then it was stewed pork, and then it was a pork meatball, and then it was a pile of ground pork too. I couldn’t 85
Orders can be placed via vending machines which dispense hot bowls of noodles
BASANOVA SPECIALISES IN GREEN CURRY RAMEN, AN ADAPTATION OF THAI FLAVOUR
NAGI’S INTIMATE DINING AREA IS DECORATED WITH BROWN-PAPER FLOUR SACKS
comprehend it. It was delicious.” He was hooked. He began Googling best-of lists and standing in line for hours. “That’s crazy, any way you look at it,” he said. “It’s noodles and soup, and you wait two hours for it?” Still, it was his kind of crazy, and since he was between jobs and surviving on unemployment insurance, he started to blog. Today, Mutekiya’s lines remain long, but MacDuckston’s tastes have matured beyond the shop’s serviceable tonkotsu broth and slightly overcooked noodles. After Mutekiya, he became a huge fan of Nagi, a mini-chain with a branch just outside the wild, neon Shibuya shopping-and-night-life zone. Nagi looks more like an exclusive drinking den than a bustling noodlery. The dining room is intimate, its walls decorated with brown-paper flour sacks, and you place your order not by buying a meal ticket from a vending machine, as is often standard, but with an actual waiter, who lets you specify just how hard (or soft) you want your noodles. We asked for ours bari — wiry — and that’s how they came, thin and deliciously mochi-mochi, the Japanese analog of al dente. They were so good, in fact, that we left soup in our bowls to flavour the kaedama, the almost requisite extra helping of noodles we’d ordered. That soup wasn’t bad either — a
INDULGE TILL YOU FLY
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tonkotsu broth, simmered for days until milky and rich — and the toppings (tender roast pork, an incredibly eggy slow-cooked egg) were top-notch, but, in truth, Nagi was all about the pasta. At the next place MacDuckston took me to, Basanova, in a not very exciting neighbourhood a few train stops west of Shibuya, the broth was definitely the star. That’s because Basanova specialised in green curry ramen, a clever adaptation of Thai flavours to Japanese tastes. It was fascinating to slurp, at once vibrant with the heat of chilies and the aromas of lemon grass, but at heart a classic Japanese ramen you won’t find in Bangkok. Another fusion dynamic was at play even further west, at an unassuming corner shop called Ivan Ramen. Ivan
is the brainchild of Ivan Orkin, a 46year-old New York City native and former cook at Lutèce who in 2003 moved to Tokyo with his Japanese
It’s truly an everyman dish; it’s affordable, and a good bowl is balanced perfectly
wife and son and, well, needed a job. Since “ramen’s fun,” as he told me one morning before the shop opened, his path was set. He started Ivan Ramen in 2007, and despite occasional skepticism from traditionalists it became a hit. His classics — salt and
soy broths of remarkable singlemindedness — and his whimsies, like a “taco” ramen or rye-flour tsukemen (noodles served dry with broth for dipping), are so popular that he has a line of dried products in Circle K convenience stores and a line of 20odd customers outside his door. “One of the reasons it’s an obsession is it’s truly an everyman dish,” Orkin said. “Pricewise, it’s affordable for just about anybody. It comes in a bowl, and a good bowl of ramen is balanced perfectly: the soup, the noodles, the toppings, everything works together. So when you’re eating it, even though it’s all these disparate ingredients together, somehow they feel as if you’re eating one thing.” Nowhere did I have a more balanced bowl than at Ikaruga, where I ate with
MUTEKIYA IS A TRENDY RAMEN SHOP IN THE IKEBUKURO NEIGHBOURHOOD
THE ARRAY OF INGREDIENTS THAT MAKE UP THE RAMEN IN IKARUGA
Meter Chen, a Hong Kong native who works in the entertainment industry and who has written a Chineselanguage book about ramen, and his assistant, Naoko Yokoi. As we stood in a 20-minute line out front, Chen was hopeful — he liked Ikaruga’s logo. “You know if the taste is good or not by the attention the owners pay to design.” Inside, Ikaruga was bright and peaceful, with ample room between tables and counter. The cooks and waiters were bright and peaceful, too, wearing black shirts buttoned to the collar and Zenned-out smiles on their faces. This was an oasis, and I understood why it had been featured in Girl’s Noodle Club, a guidebook to shops that defy ramen’s stereotypically macho image. And Ikaruga’s ramen? It seems almost heretical to pick it apart, to praise separately the deep tonkotsu broth with its hint of bonito flavour, or the slices of pork, their edges 90
caramel-sweet, the flesh tender and not too fatty, or the bite of the noodles or the egginess of the soft-cooked egg. Suffice to say, this ramen was perfect. After a few days in Tokyo, I’d collected several theories about ramen’s popularity. At the Shinyokohama Raumen Museum — a cavernous basement done up like a 1958 urban area with branches of famous ramen shops — an exhibition explained that in the 1960s as Japanese cuisine became industrialized and as foreign cuisines attained “gourmet” status, ramen became a throwback to a simpler time. By the 1980s, ramen was a way for an affluent new generation to connect with its roots. Yokoi, Chen’s assistant, said there was another angle — for young people, ramen is now a demonstration of trendiness: “It’s status for them. Knowing and going to a famous ramen shop is cool.” Each
© 2010 MATT GROSS DISTRIBUTED BY THE NEW YORK TIMES SYNDICATE
step in that process brought other rewards as well. I learned better how to navigate Tokyo’s notoriously unnavigable streets. I improved my Japanese, and I began to see how ramen mania, whatever its origin, allowed strangers to connect in a city where connections can be hard to make. All I had to do was mention my quest, and I’d be besieged with recommendations, reminiscences and requests to join in, which is how, one evening, I found myself eating ramen topped with grated cheese with Sohee Park, the romantic lead from The Ramen Girl, a 2008 movie starring the late Brittany Murphy as an aspiring noodle chef. His verdict (and mine): “fun to try”. “Fun to try” may not sound like much, but in Tokyo — a city that is, open to all manner of experiences and yet just as often closed to those who don’t know the social codes — “fun to try” goes a long way.
People From My Neighbourhood
by Hiromi Kawakami
TRANSLATION BY TED GOOSSEN
Extracts from her offbeat short story
here’s a hell, the man said, for people who are mean to chickens. If you get sent down there, a giant chicken comes and spits fire on you, and pecks you, and tramples you with its claws. And that goes on forever. I listened. The man was from a branch of what had been the biggest farming family in our area. Now they were farmers in name only – they had sold almost all their land, and apartment blocks and housing estates stood on what had once been their fields. The man still raised goats and chickens in his yard, but no one from the main house had anything to do with agriculture. The young people all commuted to white-collar jobs in downtown Tokyo, to business districts like Shinbashi and Shinagawa. He was raising about ten chickens. Some were fine roosters with magnificent combs; others looked worn out and bedraggled.
“The strong ones peck the weak ones,” he told me. I was dying to see the weak ones get pecked, but it never seemed to happen when I was there, no matter how closely I watched. Instead, each chicken wandered around the yard by itself, quite unconcerned as to whether another chicken happened to be nearby or not. The man was missing an eye. Lost it in the war, he said. He wore a glass eye in its place that never moved. Sometimes he’d take it out and show it to me. It was bigger than the biggest marble I’ve ever seen and coloured a cloudy white. “Look here!” he’d say, thrusting it out at me in his right palm. He knew it scared me. Not long ago I went to a big art museum and saw a painting of Chicken Hell. And all that time I thought he had made it up! An illustration in a 13th century Kamakura hand scroll. A national treasure. It showed a scaly-breasted
giant rooster with both wings extended. The man occasionally tormented his own chickens. When he put feed out in their box they’d all come running. Then he’d kick them away. If he was in a really bad mood, he’d chase them around the yard. His chickens laid lots of eggs, which he piled up in a bamboo basket. I never got a single one, no matter how longingly I looked at them. When a hen stopped laying, the man always let it live. Just can’t stand breaking their necks, he said. I once witnessed him bury a dead chicken in the backyard. Why don’t you eat it? I asked. Won’t eat ’em if they die of natural causes, he replied. I haven’t a clue what he is doing these days. I stopped visiting him around the time I entered the fourth grade, and that was that. A small white building stands where his house used to be, its ground floor rented to an antique shop and a patisserie — their Mont Blanc cake is delicious. 93
He called it his office, but it was really just a gazebo in the park. Although he rarely attended school, he always wore a school uniform. It was so old the black had faded to a dull purplish colour. If you got close you’d catch a whiff of mothballs. He was not a big talker. He had three set phrases—“Shall I sign here?,” “Final balance, please,” and “It’s raining hard today”—and that was it. He would take a cushion and a writing pad with him when he went to his office. Then he would sit there drawing on the pad with a pencil stub. The cushion wasn’t for himself - he sat cross-legged on the gazebo bench. 94
Rather, the cushion was for guests. If someone approached him he would turn it over and push it in their direction. I was afraid to talk to him alone, so I always got Kanae to go with me. Kanae was pretty nasty. She would boss him around, commanding him to recite the two times table and so forth. “Shall I sign here?” he would mumble and fall silent. I went to see him by myself only twice. The first time was the day we heard reports that a big typhoon was about to hit. I got worried and went to check in on him, but he wasn’t there. The second time was not long after that, when I took him a deep-fried bun left over from my
school lunch. I placed it on his knee but he pushed it away. “Final balance, please,” he said. I was upset - I had saved it especially for him – so I stamped my foot. He looked startled. Then he squeezed his eyes shut and held his hands tight over his ears. I didn’t find out he was four years older than I was until I started junior high. By then he had stopped going to the office. Sometimes we would bump into each other on the street. I would say hello, and he would say, “Shall I sign here?” “Alright,” I would answer, and he would continue, “Now the final balance, please.” Then, whether I nodded yes or shook my head no, he would just walk away. He had an exhibition of his drawings at the children’s centre, so I went with Kanae. He had drawn pictures of animals, boats, flowers, and so forth in crayon on sheets of drawing paper. I couldn’t judge their quality, but I still found them amazing. He made a bit of a name for himself, appearing on TV from time to time. He got rid of the school uniform and started wearing striped shirts and overalls. When we met on the street he would still ask, “Shall I sign here?” Once I didn’t answer but just stood there, looking at him. “Deep-fried buns are yummy,” he said. It was the first time I heard him say anything other than his three phrases. Then he walked away without waiting for my reply. He died at 33. A collection of his drawings was published posthumously and apparently sold very well. I leafed through it at the bookstore, but the illustrations seemed terribly flat compared to the real drawings I’d seen at the children’s centre.
Kanae had an older sister. Her hair was straight and long, and her eyes had a hint of blue. Although the colour was like a Westerner’s, her flat face was most definitely Japanese. “That’s not my sister, that’s a stranger,” Kanae would say from time to time. Kanae was a nasty kid. Her sister was two years older, yet she was the one who was clearly intimidated.
Kanae’s house had two floors. The kitchen and living room were on the first floor, the girls’ room and their parents’ bedroom on the second. The parents’ bedroom had a double bed, still quite a rarity at that time. I always looked forward to sneaking into the room with Kanae and jumping on it. One day, we were in there bouncing wildly in the air when we noticed Kanae’s sister standing in the doorway, watching us. “Tell Mom and you’ll be sorry,” Kanae said darkly. Her sister spun about and ran down the stairs. Not long after, their mother came stomping up from below and flung open the door. By that time, of course, Kanae and I were no longer jumping on the bed. Instead, we were sitting beside it, our faces the picture of innocence, pretending to play with our dolls. The moment we had heard her mother’s footsteps on the stairs we’d rushed to Kanae’s room to get them.
Expelled from the bedroom, we moved to the girls’ room, where we found Kanae’s sister. “You asked for it!” Kanae said, and began tickling her. I tickled her too. It seemed like harmless fun at first, but as we kept it up her sister started behaving strangely. Her spasms of laughter turned into strangled cries that hovered halfway between sobs and hiccups. When we finally stopped, Kanae’s sister was facedown on the floor. “She can’t take being tickled,” Kanae said lightly, pulling her over on her back. A narrow stream of saliva trickled from her mouth. I was relieved to see that she was breathing and her bluish eyes were open. They were wet with tears. Not long after that, I visited Kanae’s house again. She was off playing somewhere – only her sister was at home. “Want to come in?” she asked. I found it somehow impossible to refuse. She took me to their room, opened the desk drawer, and pulled out a small box. She snapped open the lid. Inside was some kind of white, squishy substance. I asked her what it was. “Brains,” she replied. “Doll brains. They’re from Tammy, the one lying over there on the shelf.” She was pointing to the yellowhaired doll Kanae had pretended to be playing with in her parents’ bedroom the last time I was there. You’re a liar, I shot back, but Kanae’s sister just gave a faint smile. I ran down the stairs and out into the street. My shoes were only half on, but I rushed along anyway. When one fell off, I frantically stuck my foot back in it and kept running. Doll brains looked dark and somehow unclean around the edges –they weren’t pure white at all.
Blackie was vicious. Blackie was the name we gave the black dog that belonged to Kiyoshi Akai. He called his dog John, but there was nothing John-like about it. No, a common black Japanese mutt like that could only be called Blackie. Blackie was a barker. Not only did he bark, he bit, and not playful little nips, either. His bites were serious, the kind that draw blood. We often saw his victims in front of the Akais’ house, complaining. “Look at the blood!” they’d bellow. “What are you going to do about it?” Yet the boy and his mother always appeared quite unperturbed. Blackie was allowed to run free until sundown. He would go from house to house in the neighbourhood as if patrolling his territory, thrusting his snout into the hedges and sniffing 98
furiously. If you crossed his path, he would bark like crazy, and if you tried to run, he would chase you till he caught you. Then he would bite. Of course, everyone detested Blackie. If a much larger dog started barking at him, they all egged the larger dog on. Blackie’s response was to bark a few times and then make a quick exit, tail between his legs. “Serves you right!” everyone would shout. But there were few big dogs around, so Blackie was usually king of his world. The plot to kill Blackie was hatched by my friend Shimizu’s older brother and his pals. Their idea was to poison him with pieces of meat laced with laundry detergent. They chose the daytime when he was out and running around, and successfully fed him the
meat. But though he gobbled up every last bit, he remained healthy. The detergent didn’t affect him at all. Blackie caught a thief. We heard him barking with all his might at a burglary taking place just two houses down from Kanae’s place. When the startled thief tried to flee, Blackie bit him. Usually he would bite and let go, but this time he hung on to the thief’s leg for all he was worth. Apparently the thief started to cry. It hurts, it hurts, he kept whimpering through his tears. Shimizu’s older brother and his buddies dismissed the thief as “a loser.” Nevertheless, from that point on, they quit trying to poison Blackie. Blackie died three years later. A dump truck hit him out on the main drag. Kiyoshi Akai dug his grave in the garden with an angry look on his face. Nobody liked Akai either, but when this happened we felt some sympathy for him. That sympathy evaporated, however, when he built a weird-looking statue next to the grave not long after. The statue was made of Plasticine and seemed to have been modeled on Blackie. Yet Akai was no artist, so it was quite misshapen and didn’t really resemble Blackie at all. Exposed to the wind and the rain, it soon began to fall apart. Akai would take the broken pieces and stick them back on, so that the statue came to look less and less like Blackie. The Akais moved away not long after that. There was a rumour that Akai grew up to be a very handsome man who made the rounds of nightclubs crooning oldfashioned Japanese songs, but I have no idea whether that rumour was true or not.
A school principal lived in our neighbourhood. A dog school principal that is. There was a small dirt run in the park where everybody took their dogs. The people would walk in circles around the run while their pets zigzagged back and forth as the spirit moved them. Whenever the school principal caught a dog pooing on the ground or barking at someone, he would go running over to give them a scolding. He wore a T-shirt with the words Dog School on the back. Across his belly was the word Principal. I would say he was in his fifties. He spent pretty much every weekday at the dog run. The school principal was as bald as an egg. When a child called him baldie he would smile and pat him on the head. His eyes weren’t smiling though. I talked to the school principal on several occasions. He always initiated the conversation, though, not me. Whenever I took my dog to the run he’d greet me with a bow, and I would have no choice but to bow back. “That’s a mixed breed, right?” he would come up and say. When I gave a noncommittal nod he would go on. “Marvellous. They’re a heck of a lot better than those expensive purebreds they sell in pet
stores. Give me a mutt any time.” I would nod faintly again and escape. I wanted nothing to do with him. I figured he wouldn’t approach me if I wasn’t with my dog, so I began taking my walks by myself. The first few times he left me alone, but finally he had to ask. “Where’s your dog?” he said. “Is he sick or something?” I shook my head no, but from then on I couldn’t avoid him. The school principal had a way with dogs – all he had to do was click his tongue to make them obey. Apparently, some people paid him to train their dogs. “It’s not cheap, though,” he said. “After all, it’s a private school we’re running.” One time I brought up the story of
Blackie, a dog that went around biting people in the neighbourhood back when I was a kid. “Oh yes,” he replied. “I know all about him. Belonged to the Akais, if I’m not mistaken.” When I expressed my surprise, the school principal introduced himself by name. It turned out that he and I had been attending the same primary school around the time Blackie was alive. The principal still hated his classroom teacher. Said she’d made him stand in the school corridor for three hours straight. His crime was stuffing a girl’s satchel full of chicken bones he’d carefully collected for her. “Why would you do something like that?” I asked. “Every time I ate roast chicken, I licked all the bones clean and kept them for her,” he proclaimed. “How could that be seen as anything other than a declaration of love?” The school principal had a wife and two daughters. His wife was a lawyer and his daughters both worked in banks. “They lead such boring lives,” he laughed, but his eyes weren’t laughing. Occasionally, the school principal wore a wig to the park. It was chestnut brown and parted on the side.
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My family lost the Hachirō Lottery twice. The first time was when I was four years old, the second when I was in the third grade. The lottery loser was determined by a random draw. That meant there were some families that never lost, and other unlucky families that lost a number of times. The worst case was the Kawamata family two doors down from Kanae’s, who lost the lottery on eleven separate occasions. Each loss was good for three months. Hachirō would live in your home during that time, and it was your family’s responsibility to feed him and make sure he attended school regularly. You were allowed to ask him to perform normal chores but not to keep him home from school to work or to demand he run errands late at night. He was also to be paid an allowance. Hachirō was a big eater whose mere presence caused a family’s food bills to shoot through the roof. He was poorly behaved, too, which meant those looking after him were often called in for teachers’ meetings, after
which they had to write formal letters to apologise for whatever rules he had broken. Hachirō always had a ready tongue. He became a real pest if you said anything at all critical to him – quibbling, talking back, even making false accusations. Not long after the family that ran the noodle restaurant Ramen Five lost the lottery, for example, dumplings temporarily disappeared from the menu. Hachirō’s daily complaints about how horrid they were had driven the owner around the bend. Hachirō was the 15th child born to a family called Shikishima. They had seven girls and eight boys, of whom Hachirō—literally “number eight” – was the youngest. It was because the Shikishimas were unable to look after so many children
that it was decided that Hachirō should rotate among the families in the neighbourhood. I’ve been listing Hachirō’s defects, but he had his good points, too. For one thing, he had a green thumb when it came to growing herbs; for another, he had a gift for a certain kind of sculpture. Huge clumps of mallow, savory, blue star, peppermint willow, and other
exotic herbs, planted and nurtured by Hachirō’s own hands, filled the yards of all the homes he had lived in. Since no one knew how to cook with them, though, they were left to go wild. As for sculpture, well, Hachirō was able to turn out exquisitely detailed depictions of the human heart. This was apparently a Shikishima family tradition. They looked so gross that people kept them out of sight. The second time Hachirō stayed in our home he was in junior high. He was a terrible pain in the neck, peeking at me whenever I took a bath and pestering me, a mere third-grader, to help him with his homework, but every once in a while we’d meet outside the house and he’d treat me to ice cream. Hachirō kept rotating among the families in our neighbourhood until he left junior high, at which point the Hachirō Lottery came to an end. He continued his studies at night school and worked for a construction company during the day. After graduating from university, he got his architect’s licence and set up his own business, then offered to renovate or rebuild many of the homes he had stayed in at a special, very low price. You could always tell which families had taken Hachirō up on his offer. The giveaway was the presence somewhere on their walls or fence of a heart sculpted in realistic detail. Families turned off by this idea would avoid him, however cheap his price. This so infuriated Hachirō that he would begin sneaking into their yards to plant large quantities of flea-killing chrysanthemum. Apart from its insecticidal properties, this plant is known for its powerful stench
80 mm wide x 224 mm high
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In just four weeks, the 2:46 Quakebook project has turned an idea first voiced in a single tweet, into a rich collection of essays, artwork and photographs submitted by individuals around the world, including people who endured the disaster and journalists who covered it. The tweets were compiled into a book, extracts of which we now publish here.
We are not alone. March 11, 2011. The day the world changed entirely. We all recall in vivid detail the shock, the sadness, the fear and the uncertainty. The scale of the disaster was unprecedented. The sadness we feel for the lives lost and all that was swept away will never fade. We have a responsibility to remember. As long as we do, those who are gone will remain alive in our hearts. I was lost for words when I visited the disaster areas of Ishinomaki, Onagawa, and Sendai. The damage was simply too great. I walked around Iitate, a village that is now being evacuated. In the face of a situation so grave that it threatened to chill me to the core, I realised how vital it is that we share each otherâ€™s warmth. We must move forward. We must share our stories. We must help one another. What we need most at the moment is to listen to the voices that well up like sighs from deep within our fellow human beings.
Quakebook brings together the myriad voices of a multitude. The road ahead may be filled with challenges, but how wonderful to know that we do not face them alone. Kenichiro Mogi Tokyo, May 2011
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My friend Mari and her 15-year-old
It’s been a week since the earthquake
At 2:46 p.m. on March 11, 2011, I was at
daughter Haruko were in Kesennuma,
hit us. Our region of Soso has now been
home in Shinjuku, writing an abstract to
Miyagi prefecture, when the tsunami hit.
designated as an area of radioactive
a research paper I’d just completed. Our
They managed to stay safe on a building,
contamination; we have to head
apartment started to shake. I thought,
but they were trapped as the water
outside the 30-kilometre exclusion
“Oh, not now, I’m trying to concentrate.
rushed into the city. When I finally got
zone from the nuclear plant to pick
Abstracts are tough”. You get used to
in contact with Mari two days ago, she
up relief supplies. Many people from
earthquakes in Tokyo. The city rumbles
told me how they witnessed a neighbour
Fukushima Prefecture have had to
every now and then but the shaking
try to hold onto a post to stop from being
evacuate, but many still remain. Many
rarely lasts more than a minute. This
swept away. The post broke, and the
haven’t relocated because they are
time, it kept going. It got stronger. I stood
woman disappeared in the water. She
too old to move to emergency shelters.
under the steel frame of our front door
hasn’t been found yet.
Many linger because of their deep
and watched the skyscrapers wobble.
attachment to the land handed down
There was an emergency earthquake kit
from their forefathers. Medical workers,
under our bed. A list of emergency num-
in devastated facilities with shortages of
bers by our phone. A childhood’s worth
Brighid Rader Kentucky, USA
medicine, also remain to help the people
of earthquake drills in my memory. I
who need them.
had prepared, yes, but I wasn’t prepared.
Soso Bureau Staff, Soma and Futaba
Annamarie Sasagawa Shinjuku, Tokyo
The rolling blackouts are inconvenient but they are nothing compared to the cold in the shelters
On the Chiba coast, an oil refinery was in flames, spewing bursts of fire. I couldn’t reach my mother. She wasn’t answering her mail. Morning came, and finally a friend living a couple of houses down from my parents told me mum was OK. Daddy got on a train when it finally started moving, came home in the morning, and fell asleep straight away. A friend sent me a message saying she walked all the way home. And then came the worries over the nuclear power plant, people scavenging batteries and non-perishables. The university shut down as it was spring break anyway. A British colleague No! It’s an earthquake! It’s shaking like
is taking refuge at our house. She has
nothing ever before! It took me about
a granddad in New Zealand. She’s
one minute to realise this. And then,
pretty worn out what with one quake
straight away, came the blackout. I
rushed back to the school to pick up my
The rolling blackouts are indeed
older daughter. Someone was saying,
inconvenient, but they’re nothing
according to forecasts a huge tsunami is
compared to the cold in the shelters. The
coming, but at this point, I was thinking,
cake shop didn’t open on our little girl’s
We’d just come home from my elder
“No way!” A neighbouring granny said,
birthday, so I did the baking. For the
daughter’s farewell concert, when the
“We’re going to be all right here, dear.
chocolate, I gathered all the Hershey’s
unprecedented catastrophe occurred in
If something happens, we all escape
left from Valentine’s and melted them.
Tohoku and Kanto. Our small daughter
together.” The neighbourhood agreed.
Finished baking exactly 10 minutes
was in the toilet, but the kids’ room door
And then the lights came back. We saw
before the rolling blackout. Phew. We
was shaking, banging. That’s strange. Her
the devastation, and wept. The huge
put emergency candles on the gateau
sister is still at school. Is it a ghost? What
black tsunami, swelling over the levee,
chocolat, and together celebrated the
a silly idea.
swallowing homes and cars in its path.
little one’s eighth birthday.
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On the same day, navy-coloured slip-
solemn and holy. Everyone had their
on shoes arrived. I’d ordered them for
heads held high. Twelve-year-olds. How
the graduation ceremony. Our usual
are they taking in this disaster?
delivery man from Sagawa brought
The future of Japan will be theirs to
it. He never stopped his rounds, saying
rebuild. It will be up to their generation.
Sagawa will deliver no matter what.
We weren’t sure whether there would be
I thanked him from the bottom of
a graduation ceremony at all. I think of
how fortunate I am to
“Thanks to you, I can wear new shoes
have been there at such a milestone
for the graduation ceremony.” The
event. Happy graduation. May you
ceremony took place right in the middle
all have a good journey as you
of the blackout. But it was such a bright,
walk along your paths of life.
sunny day, there was ample light inside the gymnasium. When the children paraded into the gym, backs straight, chests out, my eyes stung. There was no microphone or anything. Just the fifthgrade children playing instruments and singing songs for the departing sixth-graders. Everything seemed really
May Arai, Kamakura
The future of Japan will be theirs to rebuild. It will be up to their generation
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their minds to stay here and fight.
I don’t know where to start. . . Ten days
Rumours about radiation pollution
have passed since the earthquake. My
continue to grow. What have we done
parents’ house is within 40km of the
to deserve this? We are suffering like
Fukushima nuclear plant. They’ve been
others in disaster affected areas. The
told they must stay indoors. Although
difference is we have an unnatural
the house wasn’t greatly damaged by
and unseen danger to deal with. Please
the earthquake or tsunami, as the house
don’t abandon Fukushima. Please see
is built on solid ground, they have to
the reality. Please give us accurate and
contend with the problem of radiation.
timely information. Please get this
Although this is far from the worst case
nightmare power station under control
of losing a family member or home, they
as soon as possible. And please know
have scarcely any information regarding
that Fukushima is doing its best.
radiation. All they can do is watch news on TV. They don’t know really if they are
May Arai Kamakura
in danger or if they are safe, and fight against an invisible enemy inside the
house. Even if they decide to evacuate,
I have been around Tokyo for 15 years
there have no gasoline, so they don’t know
and I feel I am needed here now more
how far they would get. The trains aren’t
than ever. The decision whether to stay
is the most complex one I have ever had
My 70-year-old mother refuses to go
to make in my life. Japan is my adopted
to a shelter and insists on staying at
home. I would not leave a burning house
home. She says she’s not bothered by
alone if my family were still inside.
magnitude 3 earthquakes. Even though
Our house is not as of yet on fire, but I
the government seems to have forgotten
need to be available in the event it does
her, she is perfectly calm. What is the
go up in flames. We as a community
government doing? Don’t they care
don’t owe it to Japan. But when I think of
about the people in Fukushima? When
the Fukushima 50 risking life and limb,
people living towards the coast were
when I think of the children now without
confronted with the threat of radiation,
parents in the Tohoku region, when I think
the whole town decided to evacuate
about the untold damage to the region
without waiting for government
far beyond the scale of the New Orleans
instructions. Nobody in my hometown
flooding, this is simply where I need to be.
will evacuate. Why? What’s more, they
It’s where I want to be.
took in people evacuating from the town next-door, so now they feel they can’t
Dan Castellano, Tokyo
evacuate themselves and leave those people behind. People of the Tohoku region are stoic, compassionate, calm and humble. They have always just dealt with the situation without complaining. Of course they have questions and fears, but they
This book was written as a record of the
hesitate to show them as they know
disaster that befell Japan, as well as a
other people are experiencing far worse.
way to provide relief for the survivors.
They don’t expect the government
Please consider donating to the Japanese
will help them, but they’ve made up
Red Cross at www.quakebook.org
JAPAN THROUGH A LENS
PHOTO: THOMAS CHRISTOFOLETTI
A TRUCK AFTER A SNOW STORM IN THE VILLAGE OF TAKAYAMA // THE AREA IS HIGH IN THE WEST JAPAN MOUNTAINS //
KIYOMIZUDERA TEMPLE OVERLOOKS THE HISTORIC CITY OF KYOTO // BUILT IN 1780, IT IS ONE OF THE COUNTRY'S MOST REVERED BUDDHIST SHRINES //
PHOTO: THOMAS LOTTERMOSER // MANGANITE.NET
A TRADITIONAL BAR LIGHTS UP A DESERTED STREET IN NAKANO IN CENTRAL TOKYO // 120
PHOTO: HELENE ANTONIODODOT SABA // WWW.ANTONIOSABA.COM
PHOTO: RON GESSEL
A SNOW MONKEY IN HELL VALLEY IN THE MOUNTAINS OF NAGANO // THE MONKEYS WARM THEMSELVES IN THE HOT SPRINGS DURING THE WINTER MONTHS //
A LONE ISLAND OFF THE SOUTH COAST OF OKINAWA // JAPAN'S SOUTH HAS A TROPICAL CLIMATE AND ATTRACTS TOURISTS FROM ASIA ALL YEAR ROUND //
PHOTO: AKIRA ASAKURA
SAGANO BAMBOO FOREST A FEW MILES FROM KYOTO // THE NOISE OF THE WIND BLOWING THROUGH THE FOREST HAS INSPIRED GENERATIONS // 126
PHOTO: THOMAS CRISTOFOLETTI
P. 138 º route map
P. ÖÙ×º our fleet
TO THE OUR GUIDE TE: IRATES ROU LATEST EM URG ST PETERSB
TES EMIRA S TO FLIGHT STARTS RG ON ERSBU ST. PET MBER � NOVE
ST PETERSBURG EMIRATES CREW OLGA GIVES US THE LOWDOWN ON HER CITY WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT? Summer is the best time of year, and it is definitely worth going from the middle of June until early July as that is when the city has its ‘white nights’, when the sun doesn’t set. Although if you are visiting in December and early January you will get to experience New Year and Orthodox Christmas celebrations that go on for a few weeks. WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE IN THE CITY? St. Petersburg is definitely a city of bridges and during certain seasons all the bridges open simultaneously to let ships into the city – my favourite is Palace Bridge, next to the Hermitage museum. I love going to watch it with my friends and family. WHAT ARE THE LOCALS LIKE? The people are friendly and eager to help. Sometimes Russian gestures may
be seen as being a bit rough, but the general attitude is kind and genuine. There is an immense pride for their city and the history that has shaped it. WHERE IS A SECRET PLACE THAT THE TOURISTS DON’T KNOW? If you’re near Nikolskiy Cathedral, you should go to the Pikalov Bridge – it is a small bridge near several water channels. There is a certain spot where you can stand and see seven other bridges. People say that when you spot all seven bridges you can make a wish. WHAT NIBBLES SHOULD I EAT? We are a part of the former USSR, so our cuisine is highly influenced by the countries that surround us. If you want a quick snack you can’t go wrong with Blini (pancakes) especially at a place called Teremok in the centre of the city. I have mine
with stvorogom and izumom (cheese and raisins). WHERE IS A GOOD PLACE TO RELAX? I would go to Nevsky Prospekt, it’s full of little cafes and teahouses where people mingle and hangout. WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO GET AROUND? Transportation is cheap - if you know the language! But you should be wary of the odd taxi driver who might try to exploit a tourist. You should never need to pay more than 1000 roubles (US$30) getting from one side of the city to another. My advice is to negotiate the price before you set off on a journey and to always make sure that the taxi has a registered ID. The city is quite easy to navigate anyway and it has very good public transport systems including a metro, water taxis and a lot of buses.
AND THE WINNERS ARE… SKYWARDS HAS ANNOUNCED THE winners of its second annual Skywards Future Artists competition. The winning designs will be displayed on the Gold, Silver and Blue membership cards of the Emirates award-winning frequent flyer programme. The three winners
were Naji Muneer from Jordan (Gold), Cecile Faucheur from France (Silver) and Australian, Bryan Smith (Blue). Not only will the winners receive the year-long exposure of their art on the membership cards, but they will each receive $5000 and their design portfolio will be exhibited at the Art
Dubai fair in early 2012. The entries were judged and voted upon by a mixture of industry professionals, experts and Skywards members via the Skywards Future Artists website. The judging criteria was based on creative merit, technical excellence and suitability.
EMI RATES NEWS
DELHI ON TRACK
THE DELHI METRO SYSTEM HAS BECOME the first rail system in the world to earn carbon credits from the United Nations for helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Launched in 2002, the metropolitan transport system is used daily by 1.8 million people, and according to the UN it has helped reduce pollution levels annually in the city by 630,000 tonnes. Because of its recent accreditation, the Metro system operator will now receive US$9.5m in carbon credits
F WASTE TONNES O HE C A ROSS T RECYCLED IN P U GRO EMIRATES ����/�� DUBAI IN UP RATES GRO SOURCE: EMI
every year for the next seven years, in order to encourage its efforts to reduce the amount of pollution the city’s 14 million people generate. The UN report states that for every passenger who takes the Metro instead of a bus or a car, the amount of greenhouse gas produced is reduced by 100g of carbon dioxide for every 10km journey. The Metro system’s regenerative braking process has also received praise as it reduces energy costs by nearly 30 per cent.
The use of biofuels has been a hot topic in the aviation industry in recent years. Generating fuel from renewable organic sources is much more environmentally friendly than using fossil-based fuels, with claims that biofuels emit an estimated 80% less carbon dioxide than kerosene. Initially, concerns arose regarding the use of farmland to grow fuel crops rather than food, however, the industry is committed to focusing on 2nd and 3rd generation biofuels that are made from non-food crops such as algae and even cooking oil waste. However, the main sticking point remains that despite its green potential, using biofuel can cost nearly double the price of ordinary aviation fuel. Several airlines are successfully testing biofuel powered flights, and along with other initiatives, there are positives signs the feasibility of biofuel is moving beyond one-off flights to fueling the entire global aviation industry.
1,082 THE NUMBER OF TONNES OF PAPER AND
CARDBOARD RECYCLED BY EMIRATES
A recent study has
Piqqo Projects is a
A 13-year-old American
FLIGHT CATERING IN 2010/11
claimed that 86
by a researcher at
smartphone app that
girl has won the UNEP
per cent of the
the United Nations
lists carbon reduction
Green Energy Solutions
Earth’s land species
projects around the world.
award for an energy-
and 91 per cent
Programme, predicts It highlights a variety of
of sea species are
that our planet is
projects from biogas projects waste oil. The project
home to some 8.7
in Hungary to indigenous
will help people in her
OF AVIATION GRADE ALUMINIUM RECYCLED
groups in Mexico that are
community who need
BY EMIRATES ENGINEERING’S AIRCRAFT
by scientists. The
striving to protect their land. extra fuel for winter.
IT’S A SMALL WORLD
generating project using
SOURCE: EMIRATES GROUP
REFURBISHMENT PROGRAMME IN 2010/2011 SOURCE: EMIRATES GROUP
EMI RATES NEWS
BEFORE YOU R JOU R N EY CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE TRAVELLING IF YOU HAVE ANY MEDICAL CONCERNS ABOUT MAKING A LONG JOURNEY, OR IF YOU SUFFER FROM A RESPIRATORY OR
IN THE AIR
CARDIOVASCULAR CONDITION. PLAN FOR THE DESTINATION � WILL
TO HELP YOU ARRIVE AT YOUR destination feeling relaxed and refreshed, Emirates has developed this collection of helpful travel tips. Regardless of whether you need to
rejuvenate for your holiday or be effective at achieving your goals on a business trip, these simple tips will help you to enjoy your journey and time on board with Emirates today.
SPECIAL MEDICATIONS? GET A GOOD NIGHT’S REST BEFORE THE FLIGHT. EAT LIGHTLY AND SENSIBLY.
AT TH E AI R PORT
SMART TRAVELLER DRINK PLENTY OF WATER
YOU NEED ANY VACCINATIONS OR
ALLOW YOURSELF PLENTY OF TIME FOR CHECK�IN.
AVOID CARRYING HEAVY BAGS THROUGH THE AIRPORT AND ONTO THE FLIGHT AS THIS CAN PLACE THE BODY UNDER CONSIDERABLE STRESS. ONCE THROUGH TO DEPARTURES TRY AND RELAX AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.
REHYDRATE WITH WATER OR JUICES FREQUENTLY.
CARRY ONLY THE ESSENTIAL ITEMS THAT
DRINK TEA AND COFFEE IN MODERATION.
YOU WILL NEED DURING YOUR FLIGHT.
MAKE YOURSELF COMFORTABLE
DU R ING THE FLIGHT CHEWING AND SWALLOWING WILL HELP EQUALISE YOUR EAR PRESSURE
DURING ASCENT AND DESCENT. BABIES AND YOUNG PASSENGERS MAY SUFFER MORE ACUTELY WITH POPPING EARS, THEREFORE CONSIDER PROVIDING A DUMMY.
LOOSEN CLOTHING, REMOVE JACKET AND
EXERCISE YOUR LOWER LEGS AND CALF
GET AS COMFORTABLE AS
AVOID ANYTHING PRESSING AGAINST YOUR BODY.
MUSCLES. THIS ENCOURAGES BLOOD FLOW.
POSSIBLE WHEN RESTING AND TURN FREQUENTLY.
USE SKIN MOISTURISER
AVOID SLEEPING FOR LONG PERIODS IN THE SAME POSITION.
W H EN YOU ARR IV E TRY SOME LIGHT EXERCISE OR READ IF YOU CAN’T SLEEP AFTER ARRIVAL.
CABIN AIR IS DRIER THAN NORMAL THEREFORE
APPLY A GOOD QUALITY MOISTURISER TO
SWAP YOUR CONTACT LENSES FOR GLASSES.
ENSURE YOUR SKIN DOESN’T DRY OUT.
EMI RATES NEWS
CABIN L BE CREW WIL LP HE HAPPY TO D E IF YOU NE
CUSTOMS & VISAS
E C N A T S I S S A PLETING COM THE FORMS
TO US CUSTOMS & IMMIGRATION FORMS WHETHER YOU’RE TRAVELLING TO, OR THROUGH, THE UNITED States today, this simple guide to completing the US customs and immigration forms will help to ensure that your journey
is as hassle free as possible. The Cabin Crew will offer you two forms when you are nearing your destination. We provide guidelines below, so you can correctly complete the forms.
CUSTOMS DECLAR ATION FORM
IMMIGR ATION FORM
All passengers arriving into the US need to complete a CUSTOMS DECLARATION FORM. If you are travelling as a family this should be completed by one member only. The form must be completed in English, in capital letters, and must be signed where indicated.
The IMMIGRATION FORM I-94 (Arrival / Departure Record) should be completed if you are a non-US citizen in possession of a valid US visa and your final destination is the US or if you are in transit to a country outside the US. A separate form must be completed for each person, including children travelling on their parents’ passport. The form includes a Departure Record which must be kept safe and given to your airline when you leave the US. If you hold a US or Canadian passport, US Alien Resident Visa (Green Card), US Immigrant Visa or a valid ESTA (right), you are not required to complete an immigration form.
FLEET GUI DE
ELECTRONIC SYSTEM FOR
WILL EXPIRE ALONG WITH
TRAVEL AUTHORISATION (ESTA)
IF YOU ARE AN INTERNATIONAL
APPLY ONLINE AT WWW.CBP.GOV/ESTA
TRAVELLER WISHING TO ENTER THE UNITED STATES UNDER THE
VISA WAIVER PROGRAMME,
FOR THE VISA WAIVER *:
YOU MUST APPLY FOR
AUSTRIA, BELGIUM, BRUNEI,
�ESTA� UP TO �� HOURS PRIOR
CZECH REPUBLIC, DENMARK,
TO YOUR DEPARTURE.
ESTONIA, FINLAND, FRANCE,
IRELAND, ITALY, JAPAN, LATVIA,
GERMANY, HUNGARY, ICELAND,
INFANTS REQUIRE AN
LUXEMBURG, MALTA, MONACO,
THE NETHERLANDS, NEW
THE ONLINE ESTA SYSTEM
ZEALAND, NORWAY, PORTUGAL,
WILL INFORM YOU WHETHER
SAN MARINO, SINGAPORE,
YOUR APPLICATION HAS BEEN
SLOVAKIA, SLOVENIA, SOUTH
AUTHORISED, NOT AUTHORISED
KOREA, SPAIN, SWEDEN,
OR IF AUTHORISATION
SWITZERLAND AND THE
A SUCCESSFUL ESTA
APPLICATION IS VALID
** ONLY BRITISH CITIZENS QUALIFY UNDER THE VISA WAIVER PROGRAMME.
FOR TWO YEARS, HOWEVER
L U X U R Y
M A N N E Q U I N S
80 mm wide x 224 mm high
SUBJECT TO CHANGE
THIS MAY BE REVOKED OR
THE NUMBER OF NATIONALITIES REPRESENTED BY THE EMIRATES CABIN CREW
EMIRATES LOUNGES ACROSS THE NETWORK
HANDMADE WITH PRIDE ENTIRELY IN ITALY DO NOT ACCEPT IMITATIONS NO COMPROMISE CAN COMPARE
www.kingmanichini.com firstname.lastname@example.org tel. +39 059 694800 carpi, modena italy
EMI RATES NEWS
ROUTE MA P
ROUTE MA P
EMI RATES NEWS
ROUTE MA P
ROUTE MA P
EMIRATES EMI RATES NEWS NEWS
FLEET FLEETGUI GU DE I DE
Boeing 777-300ER Number of Aircraft: 61 Capacity: 354-442 Range: 14,594km Length: 73.9m Wingspan: 64.8m
Boeing 777-300 Number of Aircraft: 12 Capacity: 364 Range: 11,029km Length: 73.9m Wingspan: 60.9m
Boeing 777-200LR Number of Aircraft: 10 Capacity: 266 Range: 17,446km Length: 63.7m Wingspan: 64.8m
Boeing 777-200 Number of Aircraft: 9 Capacity: 274-346 Range: 9,649km Length: 63.7m Wingspan: 60.9m
Boeing 777F Number of Aircraft: 3 Range 9,260km Length: 63.7m Wingspan: 64.8m 142
FOR MORE INFORMATION: WWW.EMIRATES.COM/OURFLEET
C OUR FLEET ADE 165 PLANESS. SMENGER PA UP OF 156 D9 E PLAN S AN ANES CARGO PL
FLEET GUI DE
Airbus A380-800 Number of Aircraft: 19 Capacity: 489-517 Range: 15,000km Length: 72.7m Wingspan: 79.8m
Airbus A340-500 Number of Aircraft: 10 Capacity: 258 Range: 16,050km Length: 67.9m Wingspan: 63.4m
Airbus A340-300 Number of Aircraft: 8 Capacity: 267 Range: 13,350km Length: 63.6m Wingspan: 60.3m
Airbus A330-200 Number of Aircraft: 27 Capacity: 237-278 Range: 12,200km Length: 58.8m Wingspan: 60.3m
Boeing 747-400F/747-ERF Number of Aircraft: 4/2 Range 8,232km/9,204km Length: 70.6m Wingspan: 64.4m
AI RCRAFT N UMBERS AS OF 3 0 /11 /2011
80 mm wide x 224 mm high
e are all about consumption next month: food, fashion, ideas — why and how we consume. We look back at the cause of the original economic boom and bust – the humble tulip, which almost ruined Amsterdam in the 1700s. We examine the Michelin Star rating system and wonder if, in an age of food blogs, it is still relevant. Copenhagen gets the mapped treatment and we travel to Thailand to report on the rather strange conflict between the country’s two biggest beer manufacturers. And one of the world’s premier marketing experts tells us how fashion brands get us to buy their products. You, of course, get to read Open Skies for free – so stop by next month and devour our December issue.
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