In response to the successive crises that have struck Japan in recent decades, Tokyo has become a calm place with many alternatives to fast-paced urban living. In this shift, the city is overrun with greenery in random, surprising ways: each nook and cranny reinvents itself as a terrace cafe (completely absent from the Tokyo landscape a few months ago) while food trucks and food courts abound …
In contrast with Western capitals that tend to look East for trendiness (East London, the East Village, the eastern part of Paris …), Tokyo looks to the West for coolness.
After Daikanyama and the resurrected Nakameguro neighborhood, Shimokitazawa and Kichijoji now have their disciples. (Re)discover these two “neo-hipster” areas where new concept stores and cafés sprout up every week. In general, Tokyo residents like the creativity, authenticity and more relaxed atmospheres of these neighborhoods
An abundance of national brands appear in department stores. Arita promotes the know-how of ceramicists from that town, Japan Senses – developed by Isetan OR Iseran – proposes an exclusive selection of Japanese designers while Beam, Tokyo’s famous speciality store introduces “Beams Japan”: 6 floors of contemporary “Made in Japan” products in the heart of Shinjuku. This trendy selection features Japanese companies that want to introduce their creativity to an international clientele.
White, beige and brown textiles, symbolic of a typically Japanese aesthetic that echoes a need for reassurance and slow living, are found next to wild, winding vegetation. A natural, uncluttered mood combines rough, rugged linens with unusual hands and “flannelized” or “sanded” cottons.
We also sense this feeling in retail with hit shopping stops like the “Center for Cosmic Wonder” or Comme de Garçons whose raw, minimal white spaces increasingly resemble art galleries.
In contrast with “soft-sthetic” is a desire for naturalness that we see at the CPCM shop in Omotesando or at Tsutaya Electric on the banks of the Tama River. At both stores, warm natural materials and a variety of woods are the setting for indoor vegetation and other rough materials – instead of immaculate whites …
In parallel, we see the growing impulse of an underground Japanese aesthetic illustrated by motifs inspired by the tattoo/biker universe or the 1980s-1990s neon/Manga pop culture. And we note the return of mystical-erotic images from the Edo era. Surprising, but definitely interesting … Keep an eye on this!