Plain Talk


Six Pack Blues by Maris Piper

I met my friend, Eggs, in Shibuya last week. He has said he had a present for me. Excited I raced down there and was handed a T-shirt! I unfolded it saying "Six Pack Coming Soon". If you knew Eggs, you would know that "soon" was the wrong choice of words. It was hardly apt for me, either.
I tried to give it back obviously, but he said it merely reminded him of failure. The story was that he had tried join a gym for the first time in years, and done a few trials at a various trendy gyms in town, but declined them all.

- Oh come on you slob. Get back in there! - But Eggs said Japanese gyms "were not real gyms!". You're making excuses, I thought; but no, as always, he had his reasons....

First, he said it is hard to find a gym that is open 24 hours. Like everything else in Tokyo, they are also pretty small, which makes them crowded and not very well-equipped. Most of the gyms, just had machines and not many free weights, which meant the free weight area was too crowded.
- This is Tokyo. It is crowded. Go and live in the mountains then! -

Eggs had his own theory on another weird thing about Japanese gyms, that too many of the gyms he tried were substitute "host clubs"!
- What are you talking about? -

Eggs reckoned most of the members were housewives and single women and were pampered by the predominantly male instructors, and in return acted as fan club. The gym was more a "service industry" than about health and fitness or physical education. That was the real reason that most of the gyms exceed US$150 a month to use. Lots of fake instructors just chatting.
- Ahh, poor Eggs is jealous... -

Never be jealous of anyone, he said proudly. "The main reason was actually due to Japanese gym etiquette, or well, the lack of it!".

According to him, there was less gym etiquette than the US. Too many people hogged machines, put down towels while they wandered off, basically broke all the rules: " Apart from the trains, it is the only place, Japanese are impolite".

So it seems that the gym culture in Japan lacks the traditional Japanese norms of politeness, modesty, and respect for others. Maybe as a western import, natives think it doesn't warrant the full Japanese treatment.
I put it down to the rules only applying in public. We get none of that in my local oba-oji gym because it is a public space, where Japanese traditional rules applies. Western gyms have their problems too: steroidal men grunting and strutting; locker rooms that stink; hippy waffle from fake yogi wannabes. I simply recommend Eggs comes to the oba-oji gym with me.

He politely declines as we work on the six-pack - the one in the fridge! ... Cheers!












彼は丁寧に断った。腹筋を六つに割るトレーニングは。 じゃあ、冷蔵庫に半ダースあるビールは? 乾杯!

Plain Talk


Icons and Elderly by Grant Piper

My local subway station is currently installing the newest generation of ticket vending machines. The electronic gates that are compatible with paper tickets and various pre-paid cards and digital payment platforms were replaced with upgrades last year, and now the train company is working on the vending machines. When I came to Japan there were no automatic gates, or protective platform barriers. Instead, train station employees manned the exists and individually punched holes in commuter tickets as they passed through. And when they weren’t busy doing that they stood there twirling the hole-punchers in their hands like cowboy quick-draw shooters - looking like Dirty Harry or Doc Holliday. Also, when I arrived here ticket vending machines still accepted the old blue-hued 500-yen paper note, which had only recently been replaced with the 500-yen coin and was in the process of being phased out. So the newest electronic gates and ticket vending machines are the fifth or sixth - seventh? - generation of electronic machines that I have seen in Tokyo. Watching and commenting on them are one way to map the advance of digital technology in society.

The constant replacement of old machines with new provides some humor. Almost every day I see elderly passengers at the ticket machines - and bank ATMs and convenience store copy machines as well - in confusion pushing the screen with their fingers as if they think they are pushing buttons. I want to shout at them, “It’s not a button, it’s an icon!!! There are no moving parts!! It’s a computer! You don’t push it, you only touch it!” I worry their violence might damage the machines over time. Of course, we are most familiar with the technology, the books, the music and TV shows that we grew up with and the current crop of elderly grew up in a world of mechanical devices featuring moving parts and vacuum tubes, not digital ones featuring solid chips. That explains why they still push the ATM and vending machines screens as if they were still pushing moving buttons. It’s funny ... and a little pathetic.

The transition to new technology is fully achieved not by convincing people of its merits but only once the older generation familiar with older ways and means has died out. On our journey through life some totally ignore and avoid the new, preferring to live out their lives with their familiar things. That’s fine. Others, bless them, wholeheartedly embrace whatever comes along. Others, like my own mother, just dip their toes into the new technology. That’s how paradigm shifts occur, not all at once like a light turning on, but gradually as the old paradigm slowly expires. I frown on the practice of businesses and governments forcing ‘progress’ us though unilateral decisions to accept payment and applications, and to provide service only online. More and more we are penalized for using cash, penalized for seeking service from a live human, and denied service if our machines use a different operating system or program.

I enjoy watching those elderly push the touch-sensitive screens as if they were buttons. It’s a live experiment in learning curve.

Unfinished business


Farewell to a Japan Jazz Icon by David Gregory

The messages from all over Japan read aloud during the service helped us realize how widely Koyama-san touched lives and how many like us were feeling something newly missing from our worlds. But, although wonderful and sometimes saddening us, they did not trigger crying. That happened next.

Those first few notes of the "'Round About Midnight" Miles Davis version, the cut Koyama-san always used to open Jazz Tonight, performed by a live piano and trumpet duo up front near the coffin, did it: Instant recognition, recollections, sighs around the room, eyes closed, arms crossed, heads dropped back or down, and tears, at least for me. How many times had we heard, after Miles breathed his somber opening, Koyama-san's low, raspy voice welcoming us into the studio with, "Minna-san, gokigen ikaga desho-ka everybody, how are you feeling?"?and never thought that someday we would hear him ask about us no more?

Koyama-san's widow, whom, like him, had never known me, stood alone at the coffin head and bowed in silence to everyone in turn after they placed flowers around his body as the duo continued with another slow number, the trumpet sounding so strong and crisp and unusual in a memorial service hall. After we placed our flowers, she responded to my hand on her shoulder, a touch just meant to console her, by immediately turning and reaching for me?a total stranger?burying her head in my chest, and breaking down. She needed that hug that everybody sometimes needs. She let go after her respite when she was ready to face the coffin and everyone else again, and returned to her position. Going to Kashiwa in a snowstorm was worth it just for those few moments when I could do something for her.

So our Kashiwa day was both sad and good. But, why did I even want to go a funeral for a man whom I only knew by voice, and who, although linked to jazz, was not even a musician?

Koyama-san and his Jazz Tonight program I listened to since at least the early 2000s. For more than sixteen years, while my life in Japan has been filled with huge uncertainties, he has been here Saturday nights on the radio, reliable, keeping me connected to the world's music and opening my ears to music from Japan I would not know without him. Listening to him always made me feel good, no matter what had happened in my life during the week or what was coming up in the weeks ahead. Koyama-san and Jazz Tonight were my respite. How well can I replace that comfort?

Koyama-san, thank you for helping this foreigner feel good in Japan. Please rest well in jazz heaven.

NHK Radio, thank you for giving Koyama-san a way to connect with us. Please encourage other DJs to continue doing what he did so well.

To Koyama-san's surviving family members: Please care well for yourselves now, and thank you for supporting and sharing Kiyoshi with us.



The Smallest Box by David Gregory

She came over to my table and asked if I remembered her.
“That’s my boyfriend over there.”
Their table hugged a pillar blocking the sunny Tokyo Bay view enjoyed by the other customers that afternoon in Chiba’s AquaRink ice skating facility café.
“Maybe we will marry next year.”

On my way out, I stopped to congratulate the potential groom to be. What I later heard happened with Hiromi and Hiroshi that night at another place also close to the bay sounded so too good to be true that I visited that place to confirm it really happened. It did.

Hiroshi had reserved for the course menu that night at OCEAN TABLE, next to Chiba Port, on the second floor, where tables sat by the huge windows facing Chiba Port Tower and Tokyo Bay. No view-blocking pillars there. And they had a wait, even with their reservation, because it was Christmas Eve, which in Japan matters much more than the following day; the Eve is the year’s couples’ night out, and single women without dates that night can feel their whole year was wasted.

Hiroshi had changed into a suit after skating, and had urged Hiromi, against her protests about overdressing, into a plaid one-piece, raising expectations. They had never come to a place this nice, one requiring reservations. Saizeriya was more their speed: fast faux-Italian, cheap, and everywhere.
The unexpected wait made Hiroshi antsy. He relaxed and all was perfect after they were seated.

They talked. They ate the Christmas Dinner courses. They ignored the soft Christmas background music. They admired the gleaming, golden Christmas Tree rising from the first-floor buffet area through the open center space across from their table. They could see outside the sparkling flashes and half the tree in Port Tower’s Christmas Illumination, and beyond, the lights from the ships on and facilities around Tokyo Bay, appearing almost twinkling. Perfect—but not for Hiromi.

She went to the toilet. Still he had not asked. The day was done. The reservation system only allowed them two hours there. They had been together all day. He had remembered her birthday-just by coincidence, also that day-with a necklace at AquaRink. Nice, but was that all? He had pestered her since early December about what Christmas present she wanted until she had finally exploded with, “Nothing! Don’t you know I just want a proposal?!” And had added she wanted it to be a surprise. Here he had the perfect chance, and he was wasting it.

She could try enjoying what was left of the evening. Dessert was next. At least here was better than Saizeriya….She was still stuck when she returned to the table, and had no chance to do or say anything, anyway. It was his toilet turn.

Their desserts came. Hiromi sat and waited and pondered the future. Outside, the tower stood alone against the dark sky and Tokyo Bay’s inky darkness.

Their desserts waited. Maybe his tooth was bothering him again. Maybe he was just tolerating it to make the night go well. Maybe for her. Maybe she should go to check on him. Wait-maybe she just heard his voice across the room.

No, only Santa Claus, posing for photographs with diners at the far table. He then started circling the room, giving a small present from his big sack at each table. She could check after he was done.

Hiroshi still had not returned to his seat when Santa reached their table. He handed Hiromi a big, red stocking, by far the room’s largest gift, accompanied by a squeaky, “Atari! You’re a lucky one!” Yeah. She set it aside and Santa moved on. What was he still doing in the toilet?

Santa finished his round, returned to Hiromi, and pointed at her unopened stocking with squeaky, “Un! Un!” grunts. The other diners had opened their presents. She forced a smile and said she was waiting for her boyfriend to return. “Un! Un!”

When Hiromi still resisted, Santa took the stocking in his white-gloved hands and opened it himself. Out first came a big, pink box, heart shaped. He opened that and pulled out another heart-shaped box, and then, from inside that, another heart-shaped box. Another smaller, heart-shaped box followed. He removed from that an even smaller heart-shaped box, and thrust it to Hiromi with one more squeaky, “Un!”

Still gone. Well, he’d miss it. Hiromi obeyed Santa this time and opened it, the smallest box in the room …and her mind and face went blank.

After that frozen moment passed, Hiromi looked at Santa. The second shock hit, and more followed. Santa Claus had ripped off his gloves, furry hat, sunglasses, and huge, flowing beard. He took the box from her?she was still speechless?dropped onto one knee, held the open box out and up to her in both stretching hands, and said in a voice loud enough for everyone in the room to hear, “Hiromi-san, boku-to kekkon shite kudasai! Hiromi, please marry me!”

Outside, to anybody looking, Port Tower’s Christmas Illumination still flashed, and the lights on and around Tokyo Bay still appeared almost twinkling. Inside OCEAN TABLE, on the second floor, everything was happening so fast that Hiromi just did not know which was more difficult to believe: Hiroshi and the ring he first tried slipping onto the finger on her right hand, the one he had taken in his before she held out her left hand, or the following PAN! and PAN! PAN! PAN! PAN! PAN! and PAN! PAN! and PAN! explosions ripping and ribbons shooting around the room as diners at the floor’s other tables popped the party crackers they had found with the notes in their presents from Santa Claus.

Copyright © 2018 David L. Gregory All rights reserved.


I Did It! by David Gregory

She had been here before. But, those were tour-guided or hand-held visits. After living most of her life in white-bread suburban USA, driving everywhere, shopping in giant malls and supermarkets, and needing only one currency and one language, my mother ventured out on her own, within and beyond Chiba, during one trip to Japan. From her notes, here are Dorothy's...

Grocery Shopping in Neighborhood―Walk five only one bag...walk five blocks back. Survived it!

Shopping in City Center―Walk six blocks to bus stop. Ride bus fifteen minutes. Arrive at stores. Walk around. Look. Decide: cookies.

Buying: “Ikura desu-ka how much?” Hmm. “Kakimasu kudasai write please.”

Paying options: give large bill, let clerk figure change, or open change purse, let clerk take out correct amount. Decide to just give some cash.

Clerk shakes her head (“NO! MORE!”), then counts out correct amount needed from register and shows me. I mimic her action from my change purse. Smiles! Deep bows with many, “Arigato gozaimasu thank you very much!”-es.
(My error: thought there was decimal point in Yen price....)

Open cookies, expecting pirouettes with chocolate centers. Instead, peanut butter waffle rolls, no chocolate. No wonder, now I see peanut sketch on package. “Shoganai can’t be changed,” I did it to myself. It could have been worse!
Travelling to Visit Friend’s Family on Other Side of Chiba―Walk ten blocks to train. Purchase ticket. Electronic lady on ticket machine screen says, “Arigato gozaimasu” and bows. Ride train twenty minutes, watching for correct stop, get off, walk seven blocks to house. I did it myself!

Visiting Hisae Overnight―My Japanese study partner in USA returned to Japan, now lives on other side of Tokyo Bay.

Take large purse and large tote bag with jacket, nightie, toothbrush, cosmetics. Walk six blocks to bus stop. Ride bus to train station. Ride train eighty minutes to Yokohama. Find correct exit from station. EASY. Did not even look at note in pocket explaining route and Japanese signs. And, look! Hisae and three-year old Kei are waiting! “Hello!” they say! Many hugs!

I did it!

Then, still more travel: train together fifteen minutes, short taxi uphill to lovely apartment, sunny and bright.

Returning to Chiba, just reverse process. Next time, we can meet at a station halfway in between. I can do it.
I can do it!

Copyright (C) 2015 David Gregory. All rights reserved. Chiba, Japan

Book Review


Cherry Blossoms in the Time of Earthquakes and Tsunami by Rey Ventura
Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2014,
291 pp, USD34.00

Reviewed by Randy Swank

video maker and scriptwriter Rey Ventura won the 2015 National Book Award for his third collection of essays, Cherry Blossoms in the Time of Earthquakes and Tsunami, but for some strange twist of fate you will find very little information on this book. You can’t even buy it on Amazon. This is a shame because Cherry Blossoms... is a beautiful, insightful and thought-provoking book.

These 11 essays, some of them autobiographical, see Ventura travelling back and forth between the Philippines and Japan, his adopted country, often portraying the many ways Filipino lives have been shaped and affected by their rich quasi-neighbor. Like in "A Suitable Donor," where the young men who live in the Manila slum of Banseco tell of how they came to "donate" a kidney or another organ to help a rich person in need − often from Japan.

Cherry Blossoms in the Time of Earthquakes and Tsunami
by Rey Ventura
Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2014, 291 pp, USD34.00

In "Miniskirts and Stilettos" we meet Ginto, a young lady who comes to Japan dreaming of making it big as a singer and entertainer but has to deal instead with a much darker reality; while "Mr. Suzuki Tries Again" and "Into the Snow Country" are tragicomic tales of arranged marriages where the dreams and expectations of bride-starved farmers from Japan's Deep North clash with those of young Filipino women who want to escape their poverty and go into marriage "as a girl goes into a convent." Ventura tells these stories with a great eye for detail and manages to find a ray of light even in the darkest corners, or poetry in the midst of a nuclear disaster.

The book's first essay is called "The Slow Boat to Manila" and indeed, slowness is the first word that comes to mind when considering Ventura's approach to writing. Everything Ventura does is slow. He is no magazine reporter after all, and will spend days or even months getting to know a person he wants to write about. That's the kind of personal commitment and deep connection with his subject that one feels when reading his essays.


Tokyo Fab



Bring your family, friends, and your pet to a BBQ at the beach! Why not dress up in a halloween costume to add some flava to your BBQ. After all, it is HALLOWEEN BBQ “Ghost NEVERLAND”! DJs will play some good music to hype up the festival. You can join the festival without getting a BBQ table as well. Food stalls and bar will be offering tasty food and drinks.

10/25 (Sun) 12pm - 7pm
@ THE BBQ BEACH in TOYOSU: 6-5 Toyosu, Koto-ku, Tokyo - Closest Sta.: Ichibamae Sta. (Yurikamome line)

For more information, please visit


#Ari-Hallo 2020

Come and join us in your best costume! Halloween Carnival will be held at Ariake Garden Outdoor Area. Kids Parade, Kids Disco, Halloween workshops and more! Your kids can dress up and join the ‘Kids Parade’ to receive some treats! *to join the parade (3pm), please get the numbered tickets (limited to 60 tickets), that will be handed out from 11am beforehand.

10/24 (Sat) & 25 (Sun) 11am - 6pm
@ Ariake Garden Park: 2-1-8 Ariake, Koto-ku - Closest Sta.: Ariake Sta. (Yurikamome line)

For more information, please visit


Roppongi Hills Halloween

Roppongi Hills Autumn Event Roppongi Hills Halloween: a stamp rally for children using smartphones. The costume theme is "movie". Collect 3 or more stamps at the stamp rally checkpoints and get the sweets at Roppongi Hills! *Children under 12 years old (must be accompanied by a guardian)
*Serving limited to the first 1000 customers.

10/31 (Sat) 11am - 4pm
@ Roppongi Hills: 6-5 Toyosu, Koto-ku, Tokyo - Closest Sta.: Roppongi Sta. (Hibiya line)

For more information, please visit


Halloween Festa

At Akagi-yama Auto Campsite, guests can fully enjoy Halloween experiences. From the Halloween decorated camp venue to Halloween parade and daring “Pumpkin Hunt”, it’s filled with fun Halloween activities! Enjoy the crisp autumn air in the mountains for this Halloween!

10/24, 25, 31 & 11/1 : Every Sat and Sun
@ Akagi-yama Auto Campsite: 425-1 Miyosawa-machi, Maebashi, Gunma prefecture - Closest Sta.: Ogo Sta. (Jomo line)

For more information, please visit


Tan Exhibition

Celebrating his 23rd anniversary, Sakuzo Tan holds his yearly exhibition from November 4th (Wed) to November 9th (Mon) at Gallery Koro Koro in wakamatsu-cho, Shinjuku-ku. Starting his path as an artist in music, he has always been seeking a way to express his emotions and thoughts through art. At the age of 35, realizing the limitations in expressing through a heavy metal band, he decided to change his medium from music to painting. Blessed by his talent, he bloomed as a painter and for the first time, from the beginning to the end, he was able to express his emotions and thoughts and truly be responsible for what he expresses. From water colors to acrylics, oil paintings, pastels, depending on the inspiration he receives, he uses different methods of painting, though water colors have been his favorite for the past few years. At this exhibition, more than 200 artworks will be displayed 360 degrees from the floor, walls, and to the ceiling creating his own universe. All artworks are chosen solely based on his momental emotions. Captive, intuitive, wondrous, his artworks will stir your raw emotions. Let his art expression help you find your inner cognitive emotion.

DATE: November 4th (Wed) to November 9th (Mon), 2020
Venue: Gallery Koro Koro
Hours: 12:00−19:00
Address: 35-15 Wakamatsu-cho, Shinjuku-ku Closest Sta. Wakamatsu-Kawada Sta. (Oedo lone)
Free Admission

For more information, please visit


What’s App With You?


Noah’s Ark Animalibrium:

Noah’s Ark Animalibrium isn’t a typical recreation of the famous story. Instead of a massive boat, there’s a precariously wobbly water-bound bowl for the animals to balance on. Also, there are just eight critters, rather than all of that two-by-two shenanigans you’d previously heard of. Still, youngsters won’t mind as they have fun with the playful physics, flinging things about, scrolling the scene, and even dragging animals underwater − whereupon they close their eyes, and the audio appropriately dulls. You also get two buttons: one changes the weather; the other shoots a snap for posterity, should the player manage truly epic balancing. There’s a one-off IAP too, for those who fancy a trip back to prehistoric times: $1.99/£1.99/AU$2.99 unlocks a pack of eight dinosaurs to save from a flood. We’re pretty sure that wasn’t in Noah’s Ark either…

Wonderbly Story Time Books:

Wonderbly Story Time Books is an iPhone take on a personalized illustrated children’s book. The story centers on a child’s magical quest to find their forgotten name, and each letter has its own beautifully realized miniature adventure. In fact, each letter has more than one scene, which means there’s no duplication even if your kid has the unlikely name ‘Daaaaavid’. The only minor snag on iPhone is the text is sometimes a bit small. You can use a zoom gesture, but the second you let go, the page snaps back into place. Still, should you want to free your book from the confines of your iPhone, you can order a printed version. And should you want to revisit previous adventures in digital form, they remain stored inside the app.


Tokyo Voice Column


Last December, TNB have received this poem with a short message, "Recently I was walking on the streets of Ginza and was so inspired by that experience, I decided to write a poem about it. Hope you enjoy."

The streets of Ginza by Kohana Otsuka

The sky is inky blue
But the sparkle of lights surround me
I think I have lost my sight of you
Though I don't care,
because at least I'm free

It's not that I don't like my home
But rules can be so binding
I was looking for a place to be alone
Alas, I found it in Ginza

Designer stores sell cheap dreams
I window shop till I get bored
Chinese people walking in streams
Dragging baggage filled with soap

So if you too, are looking for
Where no one knows who you are
Don't be scared, step in the crowd
Because I found it in Ginza





MUSEUM -What's Going on?-


traNslatioNs - Understanding Misunderstanding

21_21 DESIGN SIGHT holds the exhibition "traNslatioNs - Understanding Misunderstanding" from October 16, 2020. The exhibition director, Dominique Chen, is informatics researcher and has undertaken many interdisciplinary studies of art, design and expressive media internationally. The word "translation" conjures up the idea of conversion between one language and another, with assorted acts of communication involved in those process. Since ancient times past, translation has been part of daily life as people seek contact with other cultures, and try to understand them. A remarkable evolution has recently come about with translation software, now routine in deployed to enable us to connect each other, "whenever and wherever," beyond all linguistic boundaries. Modes of communication have changed so much that what was once in an unknown world is now familiar. However, communication using "translation" is not restricted to languages.

Ella Frances Sanders
“Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium
of Untranslatable Words”

There are translations where visual or auditory sensations, or bodily expressions, play the role of bridge to transmit and receive communication. The diverse interpretations, conversions and expressions that are generated by all these processes can be said to have much in common with art and design. This exhibition is based on Dominique Chen's idea that "translation is designing communication." We define translation as "the trial processes linking mutually non-comprehending parties from different backgrounds" and use this to explore the possibilities of translation from multiple perspectives. The venue includes experiential exhibits employing AI-based automatic translation and video work by creole speakers with multiple native languages. There are also instances finding translations by through the body expression, such as sign languages or gestures and communication between humans and other species, even with microorganisms. All the works enquire into the possibility of translation. We hope that through the notion of translation, this exhibition encourages visitors to realize the joy of finding emotions and cultures in "others," and of discovering a world beyond.

Period: October 16 (Fri), 2020 - March 7 (Sun), 2021
Venue: 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT Gallery 1 & 2
Hours: 11:00 - 18:30, 10:00 - 18:30 Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays (last admission 30 minutes before? closing)
Closed: Tuesdays (Except 11/3, 2/23), 12/26 - 1/3
Admission: General ¥1,200 / University Student ¥800 / High School Student ¥500 / Junior High School Student and under free

For more information, please visit


Rimpa and Impressionism: Arts Produced by Urban Cultures, East and West

The Rimpa school of painting was initiated by Tawaraya Sotatsu in the early seventeenth century. It evolved through the work of Ogata Korin in the early eighteenth century and Sotatsu’s and Korin’s colleagues in context of the townsman culture of Kyoto, then Japan’s imperial capital. In the early nineteenth century, Rimpa was carried on by artists such as Sakai Hoitsu and Suzuki Kiitsu, in Edo (today’s Tokyo), the shogun’s headquarters. In Edo, the evolving Rimpa school became an urban genre with a decorative aesthetic at its core.

Tawaraya Sotatsu “Wind God and Thunder God”
Edo period, 17th century,
Kenninji Temple, National Treasure
(On exhibit from December)

Impressionism was an innovative, modern school of art that emerged in Europe in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Centered on Paris, the Impressionists included artists such as E´douard Manet, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Paul Ce´zanne who candidly expressed their impressions of their everyday experiences and the delights of urban lifestyles. This exhibition is an innovative attempt to compare and survey, through works by artistic geniuses nurtured by urban cultures in Japan and Europe, East and West, what the sophisticated aesthetics characteristic of major metropolises achieved. The exhibition includes the Impressionist masterpieces that are the core of our collection and Rimpa works from our collection being shown for the first time, plus masterworks from temples and museums in Japan. The hundred exhibits include two National Treasures and six Important Cultural Properties. Rimpa and Impressionism, a watershed exhibition, makes “urban culture” its lens in reassessing Eastern and Western art.
*Works on display will be changed during the exhibition period. Please check their website


Period: November 14 (Sat), 2020 - January 24 (Sun), 2021
Venue: Artizon Museum
Hours: 10:00 - 18:00 (last admission 30 minutes before? closing)
Closed: Mondays (Except 11/23, 1/11), 11/24, 12/28 - 1/4, 1/12
General ¥2,000 / University, college, high school students and children through junior high school Free entry *Advanced booking required

For more information, please visit

Strange but True


You Are a Work of Art!

Now, Google has launched a new Art Filter in its Google Arts & Culture app that allows you to transform yourself into famous works of art. Florent Robineau, Tech Lead at Google Arts & Culture, said: “What if you could learn about the story of the Girl with a Pearl Earring while wearing her earrings yourself? Or how about putting on a Japanese helmet to take you back to the time of Samurai traditions? Users can choose from five 3D augmented reality filters based on iconic paintings, objects and accessories from around the world. These include Van Gogh and Frida Kahlo’s self-portraits, the Girl with a Pearl Earring, a traditional Samurai helmet, and a remarkable Ancient Egyptian necklace. In this novel experience, each filter has been crafted carefully so that you can explore the artefacts in high-quality detail from every angle.

You can be James Bond?!

From bagpipe flamethrowers to spike umbrellas, James Bond is known for his range of weird and wonderful gadgets. And Bose’s latest offering would no doubt be right up Bond’s street (that is, if he wasn't a fictional character). Bose has launched three new Bose Frames - sunglasses with speakers hidden in the arms. The Frames Tempo is designed specifically for outdoor workouts, while the Frames Tenor and Frames Soprano are for everyday use. All three pairs look much like standard sunglasses and have polarised lenses that block up to 99% of UV rays. However, unknown to outsiders is the fact that the sunglasses have two sneaky speakers hidden in the arms, allowing you to listen to music or take calls while protecting your eyes. The sunglasses connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth, allowing you to listen to music, take and receive calls, or interact with your smart assistant.



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