Page 1


Smartphone choice

Brunch is back

Japanese gardens

Wine school

Latest Lamborghini

Everyday pottery

22 14


06 Contents : SEPTEMBER/ OCTOBER 2009 – Volume 5, Issue 5

A look into life’s dazzling diversity Published by Paradigm Kamiyama Ambassador 209 18-6 Kamiyama-cho, Shibuya-ku Tokyo 150-0047, Japan Tel 03 5478 7941 Fax 03 5478 7942 E-mail Publisher Vickie Paradise Green Editor-in-Chief Simon Farrell Editor David Umeda Creative Director Richard Grehan Art Director Akiko Mineshima Editorial Researcher Francesca Penazzi Advertising Sales Eileen Chang, Sarit Huys, Helene Jacquet, Leai Kubotsuka

Delivered Inside: • Wall Street Journal Asia (Tokyo)

Placed in the Following Exclusive Locations: • Apartments 33 • Oakwood Serviced Apartments • Bureau Shinagawa Residences • Mori Residences • Frasers Place Howff Shinjuku • Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Chinzan-so • Hilton Tokyo • Roppongi Hills Club • Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan • Yokohama Country & Athletic Club • Tokyo American Club • The British School in Tokyo



Southern comfort 06


By Karryn Miller

By Ivan Murzikov

With a laid-back café culture and award-winning vineyards, Waiheke island is New Zealand’s answer to the Mediterranean.

Lamborghini unveils the fearsome Gallardo LPS60-4 Spyder—the most likely of its beasts to be bought by women.





By John Boyd

By Catherine Shaw

With so many exciting smartphones entering the market, we take a look at what consumers in Japan are choosing.

Coveted worldwide, Warren Mckenzie prefers his unique art is reasonably priced and used daily.





By Catherine Shaw

By Kristina Dryza

Who can blame Tokyoites for heartily embracing brunch with such a delectable array of choices offered by hotels and restaurants?

Learning and sharing is half the fun in joining one of Tokyo’s popular wine clubs for beginners and the experienced alike.



Green art 16 By Catherine Shaw Traditional gardening techniques exemplify the Japanese love for ritualized, simple and meticulous creativity.

choice choices 04 Building a team. Do you KaMu?. Culinary celebration. Walk, run & dance. from the editor’s desk 03

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behind the scenes New Zealand is often overlooked for its bigger, brasher Australasian neighbor. But just a couple of hours’ extra flying time takes you to a sparsely populated country that evokes a bygone era of slow living and untouched beauty. As Japan moves out of Summer, New Zealand rolls out its own high season so our cover story introduces you to a small part of the country that is at once preserving nature and developing its arts, wine and food for visitors and residents alike. Indeed, with fine wine so appreciated in many countries around the world it is only natural that an industry would evolve helping people to share and understand it. Tokyo takes learning about wine very seriously indeed, as you can see on page 22. Americans, meanwhile, may lay claim to the idea of leisurely eating something substantial that is not quite breakfast and not quite lunch, but it was actually a Briton who first put the case for brunch on the table. Today brunch is applied to virtually any cuisine, nowhere more so, perhaps, than in Tokyo. On page 14, our writer enjoys the envious task of finding the best deals in town for variety, value and ambience. If you ever wondered what on earth people see in classic Japanese gardens, look no further than page 16. As with many things here, there’s a lot more behind the simple lines of small courtyards and gravel paths that represent the efforts of Japan’s amateur gardeners.

Even if you are not green-fingered yourself, read our fascinating explanation of how natural elements, ancient rituals, and religious worship have endured thousands of years to play a fundamental role in modern Japan’s love affair with the garden. It’s nice to know that at least one motor manufacturer has not lost faith in the world economy, as our report on page 18 suggests. Lamborghini invited our reviewer to test drive its latest macho head turner, and the biggest surprise on page 18 may be that this model is the most likely Lamborghini to be bought by women. Finally, it’s great to see a world-famous artist who wants his pieces bought for everyday use rather than public or private display. But that’s what we have on page 20—the story of America’s greatest living potter, Warren McKenzie, and his recent visit to Tokyo, where his work is so popular that sales were limited to just one purchase per person.

Simon Farrell Editor-in-Chief

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building a team International corporations working in Japan need to be able to communicate past the cross-cultural barriers that can sometimes exist. Team Building is one way that provides common ground to improve cooperation and workplace morale. This can be achieved through activities involving brainstorming, physical challenges, trust and teamwork. Transferring the knowledge from these events back into the workplace allows for better communication, and also helps to give people a new perspective on the work dynamic.

do you KaMu? KaMu cuisine pied noir in Minami Aoyama, born from the spirit of the sun-drenched vineyards of Southern France and the heady perfumed spice markets of North Africa. Our cuisine and wine list ring true to the region and warm hospitality of the people where one should not be surprised to be invited inside a stranger’s home for dinner. The amber glow and lush interior will welcome you time and time again. Enjoy merguez sausage over braised lentils with fennel and mint with a moderately priced wine from the Roussilion, finished with a homemade baklava with harissa honey, to name just a few. Created by restaurant developers Sang de Vie in June, we tirelessly pursue an accurate and energetic version of this enchanting cuisine and culture. Available for parties and functions, we will make every effort to go beyond your expectations at a reasonable price and enchanting atmosphere. So.... Do you KaMu? Call us at 03-6411-0075 for more details, or visit for directions.

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At Evergreen Outdoor Center, we are a multicultural company that has worked together to try and find the best way to help form strong teams and develop activities that promote all aspects of Team Building. By using group and individual tasks, as well as throwing in a competitive edge, participants are driven to succeed and persevere. This gives groups a shared experience to take away with them and strategies that may be applied in the workplace. With a number of varied outdoor activities, our customized Team Building events will allow businesses to come away with a stronger core of members, while at the same time having loads of fun!

culinary celebration Tour d’Argent Tokyo is celebrating its 25th anniversary in September 2009, having added the essence of Paris to the Tokyo dining scene through the years. While faithfully guarding genuine French tradition, La Tour d’Argent Tokyo also has fully evolved, integrating the elements of Japan that bring out the very best in presentation, ingredients, and taste. Orchestrated by Monsieur Christian Bollard and Chef Alexandre Trancher, a two-week celebration will commence on September 17, Thursday, and extend to October 4, Sunday. The delectable fortnight will introduce Chef Trancher’s new menus, with the restaurant also open to dazzle the lunchtime gourmet. The celebrations will include a Gala, entitled “Once upon a light,” that will take place on October 3, Saturday. Exquisite French cuisine, candlelight, Champagne from Krug, Ruinart and Veuve Clicquot, and French “Art de vivre” will grace the menu on this special occasion. La Tour d’Argent Tokyo, Hotel New Otani, 4-1 Kioi-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. Tel. 03-3239-3111. Closed Mondays.

walk, run & dance The 2009 6th Run for the Cure®/Walk for Life (www.runforthecure. org/events/index_en.html) is on October 17, Saturday, 9:00-14:00. Get ready to organize a team of colleagues, or encourage your employees to take part and increase your donation through Team Sponsorship from your collective network. Enjoy a fun 10k/5k run or 5k walk around the Imperial Palace grounds. There will be lots of entertainment, including cheerleaders and gospel singing, as well as a variety of delicious food stalls, and great DJ music to keep your feet moving before and after your walk or run! Also, you have a chance to win some great prizes at the raffle! Last year, over 1,000 participated in raising ¥6.7 million. Why not sign-up online today ( index_en.html)? You can also do so from 9:00 on the day of the event at Hibiya City. If you are considering a group registration with your company, please contact the RFTC Office (nhama@ for a group registration form. ¥5,000 per adult; ¥2,500 per child 5-12 y.o. (below 5 y.o. is free). “The Magic of Giving” is the theme for the 6th annual Pink Ball, on October 30, Friday, from 18:30, at The Westin Tokyo, in Yebisu Garden Place, Ebisu. It is a night filled with exciting entertainment that includes a very special appearance by a celebrity magician, dancing and great music, and a dynamic performance from the taiko drum group Gocoo. Guests will enjoy a one-of-a-kind dining experience designed by Beverly Hills-renowned chef Marcel Vigneron, who is coming to Tokyo specially for the Pink Ball. Silent

and live auctions offer guests the opportunity to bid on a wide variety of luxury trips, hotel stays, and many other fabulous prizes. Cost is ¥35,000 per seat, ¥350,000 per table. Online registration form at Run for the Cure® Foundation is a registered non-profit organization based in Tokyo. Its mission is to eradicate breast cancer as a life-threatening disease in Japan. The Foundation’s sights remain high to bring greater awareness, high-quality screening, early detection and timely treatment—especially in medically underserved areas of Japan—to this life-threatening disease, which is diagnosed in 1 in 20 Japanese women between the ages of 25 and 55.

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southern comfort Fine wine, café culture, and a laid-back lifestyle help make Waiheke island New Zealand’s Mediterranean. By Karryn Miller Photos Courtesy New Zealand Tourism

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y husband cheekily glances at me before he starts to run, stripping down to his board shorts as he nears the shore. I let out a laugh and match his stride, flicking my sandals off just in time to plunge into the gentle waves. We paddle out past the families watching their young ones splash around in the shallows, glimpse back at the pockets of people sunning themselves on the golden sand, and roll on to our backs to see the vast blue sky drift by. Situated a short ferry ride from Auckland’s city center, Waiheke island feels more reminiscent of the shores of southern Italy than the neighboring City of Sails. Once a haven for hippies, the 26km (16-mi) long strip of land is now home to over 25 wineries, trendy cafÊs and fine-dining establishments, along with protected forest and clear blue waters lapping sandy shoreline. Kaleidoscope / 7

We take the 35-min journey to Matiatia Wharf and pick up a Jeep for the overnight trip. My husband and I pull away, with top down and seat back, from the gravel parking lot. Weaving our way up to Waiheke’s main strip, we come across a collection of cafés, shops and galleries suggestive of a small country settlement. After pulling into The Lazy Lounge, an arty hangout at the tip of town, we take a seat at a rustic picnic table out back. The plot gazes out past a fence crafted from native fern tree trunks and overlooking Oneroa Bay below. Like many Waiheke residents, the owners opened their lounge after falling in love with the island and needing a way to make money to stay. In 10 years’ time, the place has become an institution with the neighborhood’s creative crowd. Resident artist Toi Te Rangiuaia’s Maori-inspired sculptures are on display throughout the grounds and carved pounamu (a type of jade), among other intricate pieces of jewelry, are up for sale. Rangiuaia is

one of about 70 artists who settled on the island—all of whom add an original flavor to Waiheke life. We leave The Lazy Lounge and pick up my great aunt, an exmainlander who traded in city living for a cliff-top abode. Her sunkissed shoulders, make-up-free glow and the relaxed ease at which she approaches us lay testament to the benefits of the slower pace of life down under. We move aside and let her take the helm to Passage Rock, a winery/café set across the island in Te Matuku Valley. She curves effortlessly along the winding roads as we sit back watching grape groves extend out like soldiers standing at attention in perfectly formed rows. The island’s rolling hills at their tallest reach 230m (755 ft). At each peak we catch glimpses of the Hauraki Gulf and New Zealand’s largest city. Passage Rock’s Syrah grape has won a handful of top local awards. Kiwi food magazine Cuisine also has ranked it as one of the best five Syrahs in New Zealand for three consecutive years.

Her sun-kissed shoulders, make-up-free glow and the relaxed ease at which she approaches us lay testament to the benefits of the slower pace of life down under.

We take a seat under an open canopy a few steps away from the vines that once cultivated the wine we’re drinking. A tasting platter piled with plump marinated olives and warm Foccacia precedes a wood-fired pizza stacked with goat cheese and chunky portions of seasonal vegetables. I ease a little deeper back in my chair as the wine and good food start to work their magic. Right now, the Italian coast doesn’t seem far away. Just as the resident wines are making a name for themselves, so, too, are Waiheke’s olive oils. Rangihoua Estate’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil has won gold at contests both locally and abroad—including the Los Angeles Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition. The family-run business began when the father, Colin, brought back a five-liter jar of olive oil from a farm in Tuscany, where he had worked picking olives. The family recalls him saying, “If we can produce olive oil like this, then we’ll be in with a chance.” He was right. The Estate’s location in a valley with an olive grove of 1,000 trees spanning the surrounding hillside makes us want to stay a while. New Zealand native forest and tropical gardens are part of the setting, and the island remains verdant with green—only a limited number of civilizations breach upon the grassy hills and forest fringe. The best time to visit Rangihoua is at harvest time, in November, when residents hold their annual olive, jazz, food, art and wine festival—combining the island’s quintessential elements. Though a few months late for the festival, we are able to stop by the tasting room and dunk fresh bread into Rangihoua’s own signatory blend—before picking up a bottle to take home. As a break from the gastronomic decadence, there are a number of walking trails throughout the island. The Matiatia, Church Bay, Oneroa loop walk is an appealing option for those starting straight from the ferry. Walkers can see the Atawhai Whenua Reserve, translated as “a kindness towards the land.” Through the efforts by the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society, 40,000 plants have been planted onsite, with an additional 4,000 being added annually. Rocky Bay’s Te Whau loop explores more established coastal

forests and a part of the island that many day visitors don’t get a chance to see. The 2.5km (1.55-mi) Park Point Coastal Walkway is a suitable choice for wine lovers—the loop starts and finishes near Mudbrick Vineyard & Restaurant. Along with expansive coastal vistas, the track introduces Pohutukawa, the fiery red native Christmas tree, and Kowhai with its vivid yellow drooping flower petals. The Mudbrick establishment is, as its name implies, built out of mud bricks, and opened in 1992 when the owners—two accountants—bought a piece of prime Waiheke real estate overlooking Auckland city. The land was cultivated, a restaurant created, and now diners can enjoy wine and a meal overlooking an abundant vineyard stretching down the hill toward the water. Waiheke is traditionally known for its Bordeaux-style red wines; and a sample of the Cabernet Sauvignon or the Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon—both of which have won Bragato awards at this annual New Zealand wine competition—demonstrate the quality of wine produced on the island. The accompanying menu has a distinct kiwi flair—with options like basil crusted John Dory served with cauliflower, spanner crab croquette, and a poached oyster. On the other side of Waiheke is one of the island’s many seaside accommodations. The Boatshed provides private cottages with louver-shuttered decks and reclining beach chairs—perfect for enjoying a nightcap. The nautical-themed rooms don’t scrimp on entertainment options, and come complete with a TV, DVD and CD players, along with a selection of music, movie and reading materials. We chose to stay at my great aunt’s home, a cozy two-story cottage amid rich native greenery. With matted hair from the salty sea breeze, and a belly full of fine food, my husband and I curl up and fall asleep to the sound of a wide-eyed Morepork Owl breaking the night’s silence.

Karryn Miller is a freelance writer based in the U.S.

Fullers • Lazy Lounges • Vino Vino Cafés • Passage Rock Café & Vineyards • Rangihoua Estates • Mudbrick Vineyard & Restaurants • Stonyridge Vineyards • The Boatshed accommodations • Kaleidoscope Kaleidoscope // 99

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smartphone shakeout Here comes the exciting era of agile computing. By John Boyd

□ Apple iPhone


□ NTT docomo Google Android

martphones are ringing up plaudits worldwide with each new generation. Apple Inc.’s latest offering, the iPhone 3GS, launched in Japan on June 26, now sports among other improvements an upgraded 3-megapixel camera with autofocus, video recording/editing functions, a built-in compass to reorient GPS maps in the direction you are facing, and voice control. The “S” in 3GS stands for speed, and you now can access the Internet and e-mail twice as fast as with the older iPhone 3G model. Softbank Mobile Corp. is the exclusive carrier for the iPhone in Japan. Under a sales promotion campaign that continues to the end of September 2009, the 16-Gbyte memory model can be purchased for ¥11,520 and the 32-Gbyte model for ¥23,040 spread across a 24-month installment plan. On top of that, however, expect to pay around ¥5,500 monthly for a full flat-rate packet service, plus any call fees.

□ NTT docomo/NEC N-01A

Though not the first to jump in, Apple can take credit for making a splash in the Japanese smartphone market following the release of its iPhone 3G a year ago. With its multitouch display, virtual keyboard and iPod music functions—all managed via an elegant interface—the iPhone launch was greeted with long lines of excited customers; even Japan’s national broadcaster NHK covered the event in some detail. A spring survey of 2,300 retailers taken by market researcher BCN Inc. placed the 8-Gbyte and 16-Gbyte iPhone 3G models first and second, respectively, in a ranking of 10 smartphones. NTT DoComo’s SH-04A model came in third, Wilcom Inc.’s WS020SH fourth, while the Blackberry Bold from Canada’s Research in Motion Limited. notched up sixth place. Taiwan-made handsets accounted for most of the remaining in the pack. Various industry estimates indicate, however, that the smartphone category currently accounts for less than 5% of all domestic mobile

Kaleidoscope / 11

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phones sold, of which nearly 36 million units were shipped in Japan during the fiscal year ending in March. As pent-up demand for the iPhone has eased, industry analysts note that sales have declined. Softbank and Apple don’t reveal sales figures; but Softbank CEO and President Masayoshi Son said during the launch of the new 3GS model that “a cellphone’s sales normally peak two or three months after its debut. With the iPhone, it is steady growth.” Market researchers estimate up to 1 million of the original iPhones have been sold in Japan, but they do not expect the 3GS model to achieve similar sales—despite overwhelming demand overseas. So if smartphones are so brilliant, why aren’t they selling in much larger numbers to the gadget-loving Japanese? Besides their relatively large size, the answer lies in Japanese manufacturers such as Sharp Corp., Panasonic Corp., Toshiba Corp. and NEC Corp. making advanced handsets for a number of years, coupled with access to the mobile Internet having been possible for a decade in Japan. What’s more, high-end standard phones provide features of which most smartphones are not capable—namely, one-seg mobile TV reception, electronic cash and commuter pass services. Which begs the question: Just what is a smartphone, anyway? The term lacks an industry definition. But a phone is considered smart when it provides functions similar to those found on a computer, particularly standard PC e-mail and access to the full Internet—not merely to the scaled-down sites created for mobile phones, such as with DoCoMo’s i-mode. So does this mean smartphones, at least as the rest of the world knows them, are doomed to a niche presence in Japan? Not necessarily. The aforementioned BCN report notes that, while sales of standard phones in Japan are falling, the smartphone

market grew nearly 80% in 2008. Such growth is attracting more attention from local firms, which expands awareness for what is still a relatively new market. In July, DoCoMo released a touch-screen smartphone running Google Inc.’s new Android mobile operating system that rivals the iPhone OS in sophistication. The phone is manufactured in Taiwan, but Japanese cellphone manufacturers are reportedly working on their own Android models. Another plus for smartphones is the advent of online stores for software applications, enabling users easily to purchase and download software through their phones. Apple’s App Store leads the industry with a phenomenal 65,000 apps available for the 40 million iPhones and iTouch iPods shipped worldwide. While many of these apps may be frivolous, nevertheless, some are polished gems, still others are free and fun, while the rest run just a few dollars. Apple announced in July that its App Store had registered a stunning 1.5 billion downloads. Competitors have their own variations—including Android Market, Blackberry App World— and Microsoft Corp. is preparing Windows Marketplace for its Windows Mobile OS. Pointing to the app stores, as well as the PC-like power of smartphones and the growing awareness of their benefits, Yoshinari Shiraishi, chairman of Japan’s Mobile Computing Promotion Consortium, wrote in a White Paper in June: “We believe that these factors will help create an environment of ‘agile computing,’ accelerating the usage of smartphone applications that differ from the ‘content’ available through [standard] mobile phones.” Sounds like a smart assessment. John Boyd is a freelance technology writer based in Kawasaki.

Apple’s App Store leads the industry with a phenomenal 65,000 apps available for the 40 million iPhones and iTouch iPods shipped worldwide.

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hybrid for the hungry “Cheerful, sociable and inciting,” Tokyo loves brunch. By Catherine Shaw


runch, a linguistic and culinary hybrid enjoyed at any time between mid-morning and late afternoon, has emerged in stressful, credit-crunch times as the most coveted meal of the week. Though often associated with the vast American-style buffets, brunch actually is a British invention dating back to 1895 when author Guy Beringer first used the term in an article titled “Brunch: A Plea.” Beringer suggested fellow food lovers should exchange traditional heavy Sunday meals of meats and savory pies for the new food experience served around midday. Thankfully he avoided dictating which dishes, inspiring chefs to bring their own interpretation to the meal. Luckily in food-obsessed Tokyo, there is a brunch to suit everyone. Here are a few tried and tested favorites. At the Hilton Tokyo Marble Lounge, in Shinjuku (03-3344-5111, ¥5,950 adults/¥ 3,200 children), the seemingly never-ending buffet table starts with fresh baked breads and pastries, and plates piled high with fresh salads, then leads on to soups and appetizers, teppanyaki, and a selection of traditional roasted dishes, including rotisserie chicken, roast beef and baked hams. Egg dishes are prepared on request. A low-set children’s buffet table featuring popular items such as French fries and sausages is a thoughtful addition for families. A balloon-twisting clown keeps little ones occupied for hours—that is, once they’re enticed away from the Cold Stone ice cream table where an array of toppings are mixed into original made-to-order ice cream creations. “It’s a very relaxed venue,” says General Manager Christian Baudat, “It’s also very affordable and, at the same time, offers a casual and relaxed venue, which is, maybe today, what true luxury is: enjoying a leisurely good time amongst friends and loved ones.” When it comes to Beringer’s demand for variety and selection, nothing succeeds quite like a Chinese dim sum brunch. Grand Hyatt

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Tokyo’s Chinaroom (03-4333 8785, ¥3,900 per person), in Roppongi Hills, serves one of the best selections in Tokyo with an All You Can Taste daily menu of 33 dim sum items. Classic delicacies include crispy shrimp dumpling, deep-fried pork dumpling, and crab and shrimp fried spring rolls, while steamed shark’s fin dumplings and the delicious mango pudding are signature dishes. “The sheer variety of dim sum and the relaxed atmosphere mean it’s a very child-friendly option,” says Executive Chef Josef Budde. Japanese chefs are no stranger to the concept of a slow-paced indulgent meal. The Ritz-Carlton’s Hinokizaka (03-3423-8000, ¥11,500), inside Tokyo Midtown, in Roppongi, is the ideal sky-high culinary sanctuary for Michelin fans to indulge in Chef Kurose’s exquisitely presented seasonal dishes, including fig with sesame cream, nuts and sea urchin; and simmered eggplant, steamed abalone, ginger and red pepper. Brunch includes free-flowing Tattinger Rosé champagne, an excellent match for Japanese cuisine. The six-course mini kaiseki menu and main course—featuring a selection of smaller-portioned samples—offers a welcome departure from a traditional Sunday brunch, according to Troy Clarry, executive assistant manager of Food & Beverage. “The cuisine is very light and healthy, and there is enough food and variation served—but not too overfilling so you can still enjoy the champagne.” The brunch menu is available during the week for special requests. “Brunch in Japan is still a growing business compared to other countries in Asia and Europe,” says Clarry. “However, this is changing quickly amongst the younger set—and those Japanese who travel overseas—who are taking the time to enjoy their weekends off and spending it relaxing and dining with good friends and family— the most important component in enjoying a brunch experience.” In the bustling shopping district of Marunouchi, the Ekki Bar & Grill at the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi (03-5222-

7222, ¥4,900 per person, or ¥18,000 per person with a Bottle of Krug Grand Cuvée Champagne shared by two) is a stylishly casual restaurant with a convivial bar ideal for grown-up, all-day cocktails. The weekend brunch menu features healthy appetizers—such as mash and stone fruit salad with candied walnuts; poached prawn cocktail; and warm veal tonnato. Choice main courses include fish of the day fresh from nearby Tsukiji Market, Hokkaido scallops with poached egg, and the Ekki Wagyu burger. British chef Gordon Ramsay has long been one of the strongest promoters of brunch, so it should come as no surprise that his elegant interpretation is a popular draw at his eponymous restaurant in the Conrad Tokyo, Shiodome (03-6388-8000, ¥9,800 for a three-course fare with free-flowing Louis Roederer champagne). The setting on the 28th floor is suitably glamorous, transforming breakfast into a special occasion. Jump-start the à la carte offerings with crab and sweet-corn spring rolls with sweet and sour sauce, or a salad of bresaola with balsamic figs, gremolata and pecorino, for instance. Main courses are a triumph—roasted rib eye of beef served with classic bubble and squeak rösti, tomato tarragon salsa, and gently melting Café de Paris butter; or vegetarian-friendly, twice-baked macaroni; and Swiss-cheese soufflés with sautéed spinach and roasted celeriac. Australians also have gotten into the act. Bill Granger, the “Sydney breakfast king,” had made his mark at his modern beachfront

restaurant, bills (0467-33-1778), in Shichirigahama, Kamakura (one hour from Tokyo). Creamy scrambled eggs, savory sweet corn fritters with roast tomatoes, and fluffy ricotta pancakes served with honeycomb butter make the train ride and long queue outside worthwhile. It’s not quite Sydney, but still a very pleasant local alternative. There are hundreds of neighborhood brunch spots, too numerous to mention, although Good Honest Grub in Shibuya (03- 3797 9877) tops most lists. Canadian owner Don Foley says the classic Eggs Benedict is a signature dish, and adds that the home-baked beans and toast, and Greek omelets with hash browns are also popular. The casual eatery is renowned for its Canadian Bloody César, a North American interpretation of a brunch’s best friend, the Bloody Mary. “We replace the tomato juice with Clamato juice, so it is not as heavy. It’s really light and refreshing,” says Foley, “and one or two are perfect for brunch.” Observed Beringer with great insight more than 100 years ago: “Brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting.” “It is talk-compelling,” he continued. “It puts you in a good temper; it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings; it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.” Make brunch your favorite ritual this weekend.

Catherine Shaw is a freelance writer based in Tokyo.

Kaleidoscope / 15


green art Japan’s enduring love affair with the garden. By Catherine Shaw


s with many other seemingly simple aspects of Japanese life, from drinking a cup of tea to bathing, the design of gardens has been elevated to a highly ritualized and respected art form. A love of nature is not peculiar to Japan, but when it comes to the design, purpose and appreciation of its gardens—whether they are a tiny Kyoto courtyard or meticulously raked Zen gravel garden—it is unlike any other culture. The reason is simple: despite its rapid post-WWII industrialization and modernization, Japan has kept its garden design deeply rooted in ancient religious and cultural beliefs to this day. From the earliest times, ancient Shinto animistic beliefs held that natural elements—rocks, trees and water—were sacred and housed divine spirits. Initially demarcated with simple ropes or small stones, their importance in Japanese garden design has endured for thousands of years. Buddhism in the 6th century introduced another influential concept—symbolism. Landscaped gardens came to represent

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paradise; and so sophisticated designs with ponds, rocky islands, bridges and waterfalls began to emerge. Raked sand was used to evoke a river, rocks a mountain, while miniature trees were employed to depict a forest. Over time, a well-designed garden became a symbol of wealth and success; and even samurai began to practice the art of gardening. Stroll gardens emerged during the Heian Period (794-1185), and were particularly popular with the aristocracy in Kyoto who recreated miniature views of hills and valleys on their estates. The concept of shakkei, or borrowed views, was introduced by the Tokugawa reign during the Edo Period (1603-1868), synthesizing completely different types and styles of landscape in order to provide an interesting change of scenery for visitors as they strolled about. Design techniques also evolved, most notably to create the illusion of depth in a relatively small space. Hills or a waterfall were visually integrated into the overall perspective, blending natural and contrived beauty to great effect. This concept of blurring the line

between the garden and its setting—so that the landscape itself becomes a garden—was deeply embedded in the philosophy of gardening that looked to fuse natural and artificial elements. A stone lantern placed near a stream blended the natural and manmade, and quickly became the distinguishing element of Japanese gardens. The Japanese characters for niwa and sono beautifully illustrate this basic principle of garden design. Niwa (or tei, according to the Chinese pronunciation) means wild nature. Sono (or en) means controlled nature. The compound word, niwa sono (or more commonly used teien), explains the powerful dichotomy of the traditional Japanese garden aesthetic. However, the ornate and contrived nature of such gardens proved at odds with the restraint and discipline of some cultural practices, especially that of the revered Japanese tea ceremony. The Grand Master Sen no Rikyu already had inspired a more subdued aesthetic in the architectural design of the simple teahouse, and led the way to a more delicate composition of the garden, considered more worthy of inspiring a practice as important as enjoying tea. Even today, the smallest of tea gardens follows set principles designed to help tea connoisseurs focus on the ceremony. “Its [the tea garden] purpose is to spiritually prepare visitors by leading them on a journey of stepping-stones, over thresholds, through gates and past lanterns, to a water basin where they purify hands and mouth before moving on to the tea house where the host serves powdered green tea in a ritualized ceremony.” (Infinite Spaces, the Art and Wisdom of the Japanese Garden).

Each stone has a purpose, be it to slow down the visitor, inspire contemplation or heighten anticipation of what is to come. During the Muromachi Period (1335-1573), when the emperor still ruled from Kyoto, even Zen monks began to design small gardens to aid their spiritual discipline and enlightenment. Such meditation gardens usually featured simple white sand raked into different symbolic patterns. The most famous of this style is Kyoto’s Ryoanji, renowned for its perfect harmony and balance despite its unusual asymmetrical design. At no single observation point of the dry landscaped garden can all 15 of its famous rocks be seen simultaneously, representing the notion that it is only with true enlightenment that such perfection can be enjoyed. According to Japanese Gardens’ authors Geeta Mehta and Kimie Tada, the complex Japanese concept of wabi sabi plays a unique role in the garden’s intrinsic beauty. The aesthetic and philosophical concept used to express the beauty of imperfection and impermanence is derived from Buddhist teachings. In gardens, the concept is often reflected in the choice of garden materials and their composition, such as when old and worn materials are used. “Driven by Zen ideals that seek to look beyond temporary physical perfection, Japanese gardens seek a ‘perfect imperfection’ by, for example, raking a perfect geometric pattern and then sprinkling a few dead leaves over it.” Imperfect it may be, but simple beauty never fails to inspire. Catherine Shaw is a freelance writer based in Tokyo.

Sakuteiki: Notes on Garden Design

Symbolic Plants

As far back as the 11th century, gardeners had adopted firm principles of balance and harmony in garden design. One of the earliest and most famous manuals, believed to be written by Tachibana no Toshitsuna, sets out general principles and includes timeless advice such as:

Even plants and the elements have symbolic significance in the Japanese garden:

• “Always remember to make the style suit the site.” • “Because it is difficult to appreciate an arrangement at close quarters you should always try to make sure that your design will look best when viewed at a short distance.” • “Pick and choose from the very best that you have seen in nature, ensuring that every stone contributes something to the overall effect.”

Pines and Evergreens >> Permanence or Longevity Bamboo >> Truth and Vigor Water >> Purification

Kaleidoscope / 17


What Recession? Lamborghini’s fearsome, extreme and hardcore Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder. By Ivan Murzikov


ogic suggests that 2009 is not the year to launch a new supercar. In the first two months, luxury goods sales were down 40% in Europe alone. For a company such as Lamborghini, which makes only super expensive power machines, and very pricey apparel, times are tough. But the company’s CEO, the flamboyant and enthusiastic Stephan Winkelmann, remains positive, saying that Lamborghini could even turn a profit this year, which would be remarkable. Remarkable, however, is not a word that applies to the famous company’s new Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder. No, remarkable is a far too soft description. Fearsome, stupendous, extreme and macho are far more applicable. You see, unlike other supercar manufacturers, Lamborghini is not interested in softening its approach in any quest to appeal to a wider audience. In fact, it wants to revert to the extremely hardcore DNA that typified the brand in the ’70s and ’80s. The Gallardo Spyder is the company’s most popular model. The latest LP560-4 version gets the same knife-edge styling that made Lambo’s extremely limited-edition Reventon supercar such a visual assault weapon. The car is so sharply styled, so aggressive, that you don’t need the vivid yellow or green hues that form part of the company’s paint palette to get attention. Plain old silver or white will do just fine. Under the wild skin, there is a significantly modified car (compared with its immediate predecessor). There is a heavily reworked,

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competition-inspired suspension setup, new engine and much-refined e.gear transmission (thank goodness, as the old one was a bit slow). Lamborghini flew us to the Canary Islands to drive its new stunner; and the smooth, free roads of Tenerife proved to be an excellent proving ground—not to mention the famous Teide volcano and its surroundings as spectacular backdrops for any photoshoot. Starting up at the hotel, with the roof down (folding in spectacular fashion in 20 sec), it doesn’t take long to realize that the Gallardo is a beast. As the engine barks to life, the tourists strolling past the hotel duck for cover. The car soon settles into a—barely—quieter idle; and I notice when tickling the throttle that the engine is very responsive, the revs rising and falling at the merest provocation. This is going to be fun. Not much of a fan of the e.gear automated transmission in the past, I much prefer a proper manual; but the revised version is vastly improved. It operates smoothly and quietly in the background to give you the type of boulevard-cruising ability the old one didn’t possess. It also reacts far more quickly when the driver mashes the throttle. Using the paddles behind the steering wheel is also a delight—you can’t help but flick up and down the rev range to listen to that engine. Yet, I wish the levers were longer, or that there was also a proper shift lever. As it is now, I often ended up flashing oncoming traffic when grabbing the column stalk by mistake.

Ah, that engine … The 5.2-liter V10 unit now features direct injection, and develops a whopping 412 kW at 8,000 r/min and 540 N.m of torque at 6,500. Performance is electrifying, with the 0-100 km/h dash dispatched in only around 4 seconds, and top speed being 324 km/h—making the Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder one of the world’s fastest convertibles. But in these eco-conscious times, it is also heartening to hear that Lamborghini has managed to improve fuel consumption by 18%. Bare figures can’t describe how fast this car feels, though. On the twisty, rather narrow roads carving through the national park of which Teide is the star attraction, this Lambo left me breathless on more than one occasion. Due to its wide stance—and mostly the presence of all-wheel drive—grip levels are extremely high, so novice drivers must be careful that they don’t get lulled into a false sense of absolute security. This happens easily because the Gallardo feels perfectly glued to the road—and copes very admirably with the bumps and road imperfections that are thrown its way. This makes it feel invincible— and so will anyone behind the steering wheel. Yet, it is not only about the sensation of speed, but also the total sensory attack. Sling-shotting through the endless twists and turns—the sound of the engine bouncing off the cliffs, and the whiff of hardworking brakes reaching the cabin—you feel at one with this incredible machine. Lamborghini admits that this Spyder is the softest car in its current line-up—and the one most likely to be bought by women. Yet, it drips with machismo, and is easily one of the most hardcore, adrenalineboosting cars I’ve ever experienced. It’s not only the best Lamborghini in my experience, but also one of the best cars, full stop. No wonder Mr. Winkelmann remains upbeat. SPECIFICATIONS Engine Power

5.2-liter V10

412 kW/8 000 r/min


540 N.m/6,500 r/min

0-100 km/h

4.0 seconds

Top speed

324 km/h


14 liters/100km



It’s not only the best Lamborghini in my experience, but also one of the best cars, full stop. No wonder Mr. Winkelmann remains upbeat.

Kaleidoscope / 19

ARTS AND Culture

passion for pottery Although Warren Mackenzie’s pieces are keenly collected and exhibited, he prefers them to be used as “everyday” items. By Catherine Shaw


oon after we arrived in Japan, I took the rather unpopular decision to throw away my two young children’s extensive collection of plastic cups and plates. Out it all went, from the Little Mermaid-decorated plate to the faded Micky Mouse cup. It had occurred to me that it was sacrilege to use such things while living in Japan, home of some of the most beautiful pottery in the world. I also hoped that the visual and tactile pleasures of natural stone and ceramic wares would quietly seep into their childlike consciousness—bringing with it a life-long appreciation for such crafts. Years on, it’s amusing to see that our children’s personal favorites— two small rather rustic pottery cups, jealously guarded from each other at mealtimes—did not come from one of the many renowned Japanese potters, but from an American: Warren Mackenzie. In defense of Japanese potters, it should be noted that, despite an entirely western upbringing and early interest in hard-edged geometric Mondrian abstractionist art, the Minnesotan demonstrates a very Japanese understanding of his craft. He gives much credit to the influences of Britain’s Bernard Leach and Japan’s Shoji Hamada— both pivotal players, together with Soetsu Yanegi, in the Japanese mingei folk craft style of pottery. As a young art student, Mackenzie came across a copy of Bernard Leach’s iconic A Potter’s Book. The discovery was to change the direction of his life forever. Inspired by Leach’s simple down-to-earth approach to pottery, MacKenzie and his wife, a fellow artist, flew to England in 1949 and arrived in St. Ives looking to work with the master potter. Leach initially rejected the two young Americans; MacKenzie says Leach took one look at their work, and very quickly and politely told them his studio was already full. He agreed, however, that they could return a year later; and they did—and the three remained steadfast friends until Leach’s death at age 92. “I think that Leach was perhaps one of the most articulate, perceptive people about ceramic work of anyone I’ve ever known,” says MacKenzie (Oral history interview with Warren MacKenzie, Smithsonian archives of American Art). After 2½ years, Mackenzie returned to the United States, to bring his own personal style to the technical experience he had acquired with Leach—sometimes referred to as the “Mingeisota style.” There is no mistaking the underlying passion as Mackenzie quietly talks of his love of working with pottery. I was particularly struck by his personal modesty during a recent visit to Japan; surprising in 20 / Kaleidoscope


a man widely acknowledged as the greatest living American potter— and so demonstrably revered by the Japanese community who turned out in force to meet him. Core to his philosophy is the simple functional aesthetic in traditional craft pottery. While MacKenzie’s works are keenly collected and exhibited in museums and galleries, he would rather they be considered “everyday” items to be used and enjoyed. For many years he did not sign his works, and has long adhered to the principle of not selling pieces at exorbitant prices. At his latest exhibition at Hiroo’s Shun Gallery, for example, each guest was limited to one purchase. At prices like ¥4,000 for a small bowl, it was, in turn, both thrilling and frustrating—compelling visitors to take time to discover that one truly special piece to take home. In response to complaints by other potters about his low prices— and claims that he had used his university salary to subsidize his pottery—MacKenzie replies: “They didn’t seem to realize that when I spent time teaching, I wasn’t making pots! To bring your prices down you have to make pots quickly and sell them quickly. That’s the way I work. Not all potters work this way. Some potters work much more slowly. Everyone is entitled to his own way of working.” (Warren MacKenzie: American Potter, by David Lewis). By way of explanation, he points to Leach, who created both standard ware and more refined studio pots. The first category was made very quickly in large numbers, while studio pots took much longer, were more individual and, therefore, sold at significantly higher prices. As the interview wound down, I explained to the master potter about my plan to introduce an appreciation of pottery to my children. Mackenzie listened quietly, smiled, and then insisted that we return to the tiny gallery to select among his cups—each as a personal gift from him. “You can’t choose it for them,” he explained. “It has to be their own choice: they must touch and feel it in their hands to see if it is the cup for them. They will know immediately which one is theirs.” I watched with fascination as each daughter picked up and inspected several MacKenzie cups that had been set-aside on a simple redlacquer tray. The youngest, our five-year-old, was the first to find hers. She cupped it in her hands, ran her fingers over the ridge half way up the cup, raised it to her lips, and then said with all the authority of a connoisseur: “This one is mine.” Our elder, holding a smooth smoky black cup, replied with equal authority: “Mine is better.”

Catherine Shaw is a freelance writer based in Tokyo.

“The question I ask my potter friends is: what’s the point of making functional pots which are so high in price that people can’t afford to use them?” Warren MacKenzie: American Potter, by David Lewis

Kaleidoscope / 21


thirst for knowledge Sharing and learning is the best way to fully appreciate wine. By Kristina Dryza

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here are many charms in wine. The huge variety is the most important one for Mineo Tachibana, senior managing director of L’Academie du Vin in Tokyo. “More than a million different wine labels are printed and put on bottles every year all over the world. There are many types—red, white, rose, sparkling, fortified. Many styles—big fruity wine, elegant wine. And many prices— from $2-20,000. “You will never get bored with wine once you catch the wine bug,” he adds. While wine enthusiasts can acquire knowledge from reading books, it’s difficult to learn about wine tasting on your own, which is why many people join wine clubs. They also want to make wine friends. “Wine lovers are a kind of minority in our society,” says Tachibana, “and they are looking for the companion with whom they can share their love and passion.” L’Academie du Vin, founded in Paris in 1972 by British wine expert Steven Spurrier, opened in Tokyo in 1987. It’s the No. 1 wine school in Japan with more than 30,000 students having completed the curriculum. The students learn detailed knowledge about wine—grape varieties, regions, production techniques, food pairing, and how to taste and appreciate wine. L’Academie du Vin specifically trains participants in the skill of blind tasting. The wine most students want to learn about first and foremost remains Burgundy, preferring this to Bordeaux.

L’Academie du Vin regularly holds more than 50 different wine courses. Most students are Japanese, but there are two classes for English speakers living in Tokyo. In the Japanese classes, 70% are female, 30% male. The majority are in their thirties and forties, and they tend to have a relatively large disposable income. As Tachibana confesses, “Wine can be quite expensive as a hobby.” Some 70-75% of the students are so-called amateurs. The two Englishspeaking courses (basic and advanced) consist of six lessons and cost ¥63,000 each. The Hotel Okura Tokyo established a full-scale Wine Academy in 2006, the first of its kind in a city hotel. As wine has become more prominent in all aspects of Japan’s culinary culture, the hotel believes “proper wine knowledge and manners are becoming necessary for successful business gatherings or everyday social occasions.” Chief Sommelier Akio Watabe is also the chief lecturer at the hotel’s Wine Academy. Owners of wineries from abroad also are invited to give tutorials. The academy’s defining characteristic is that the hotel’s world-class French, Japanese and Chinese cuisine form part of each wine-tasting class. Experiencing the affinities of wine and food provides an even deeper understanding and enjoyment of the wine. The Wine Academy sommeliers are available to support members in all areas of their wine lives, offering advice on wine selection,

“Wine lovers are a kind of minority in our society, and they are looking for the companion with whom they can share their love and passion.”

Kaleidoscope / 23

“Proper wine knowledge and manners are becoming necessary for successful business gatherings or everyday social occasions.”

storage and purchasing. The admission fee is ¥210,000 and the Introductory Basic Class costs ¥151,200 for 12 sessions in Japanese. The Master Class costs ¥252,000 for 12 sessions in the vernacular. Dr. Shoichi Okuyama, president of The Tokyo Wine Society, concurs that wine brings people together because it is consumed with food. “Good food and good wine bring people closer as they enjoy these together. This is different from hard liquor. I do not think that too many people keep having beer only during the course of one meal. We come to taste wines and eat. We do pay attention to selection of wine and the choice of restaurants we use, but that is about it. “People just come and share the same wine and food, and, most importantly, have fun. Wine is just an everyday thing,” he continues. “A mystique—if there is any—is artificially created by those who think they can get money out of it; and I think that they are awfully wrong.” When The Tokyo Wine Society meets, they blind taste nine different wines. While tasting is basically blind, it is not so in a rigorous sense. There is a wine list and a tasting score sheet; and at the end of the tasting, each attendee submits his or her own ranking to find out the collective ranking of that evening. People then

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compare their tastes and preferences with the collective results, and with those they are sharing a table. After the tasting, there is a dinner with more wine served. A mix of Japanese and foreign wine lovers pay ¥12,000 for each event. Founded in London in 1933, The International Wine & Food Society (IWFS) is today the largest independent food and wine society in the world. Its original purpose was “to bring together and serve all who believe that a right understanding of good food and wine is an essential part of personal contentment and health, and that an intelligent approach to the pleasures and problems of the table offers far greater rewards than mere satisfaction of appetites.” In recent years, the society has seen good growth of new branches in developing cities such as Dubai, Mumbai and Tallinn, where there’s a growing thirst for knowledge. “Perhaps, there is a mystique behind wine,” states John W. Valentine, an international council member of the IWFS, “but there does not need to be. “The best way to learn is to appreciate what you enjoy most,” he adds, “and to share that experience in the company of friends.” In Tokyo, there are many places where you can do just that. Kristina Dryza is a freelance writer based in Tokyo.


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2009 Run for the Cure Walk for Life


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Lifestyle Magazine


Lifestyle Magazine