foreigners

Nakano and Koenji are nowhere in the new Tokyo Metro tourist poster

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外国人の観光客のために、シンプルな東京メトロの新しい地図ができました。観光客は山手線ばかりを使ってしまいます。中野と高円寺が入っていません。

Tokyo Metro, in one of its first large communication efforts for foreigners, has helpfully simplified Tokyo transit for those ready to go beyond the Yamanote JR loop line and the Sobu-Chuo metro commuter lines. Cool Tokyo, Night Life, Metropolitan Luxury, and Cultural Fusion are newly invented geographies with some suggested destinations.

I am secretly glad not to see Nakano and Koenji on the map. We can be “off the radar. I also wonder how well the tiny interactive Journey Planner works. The initial screen looks like the map threw up on itself in four languages. I guess it’s a start.

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Yes, you can spend more than US$ 200 for a watermelon in Tokyo

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外国人は、こんなに高いフルーツに驚きます。伊勢丹デパ地下で、21,000円のスイカが売っています。もちろん、珍しいひょうたんの形で、王様の椅子に座っています。

Foreigners who imagine Tokyo is expensive always mention over-the-top fruit. Even if it were in a gourd shape, as this one is, who in the US or Europe would spend over $200 for a watermelon? In Japan, few purchase these trophy fruit, but they are always available at places like Isetan’s food emporium.

New book features global artists & cultural figures talking about favorite places in Japan

Travel Guide to Aid Japan」という本は3.11の後、外国人にもっと日本を訪れるように勧めます。この本の編集者が、僕の「のんべい横丁」の写真を使いたいと連絡してくれました。世界の芸術家や作家やファッションデザイナー41人が、日本で一番好きなところについて書いています。この本に参加できたのがうれしいです。

I just received my copy of Travel Guide to Aid Japan, a stylish book with 40 artists, writers, fashion designers, and other cultural figures recommending their favorite places to visit in Japan. The WAttention editor had asked me recently for permission to use my Nonbei Yokocho photo, and it’s amazing how fast the book went to print. The foreward is by Alex Kerr and participants include Tokyo’s Jean Snow. I was glad to participate in this book.

I am lucky that Japanese sometimes think foreigners’ design is unique

史火陶芸教室でもっと植木鉢を作っています。私のいつもの植木鉢は色が一つだけど、今回は違う技術で作りました。様々な粘土を混ぜました。麺棒を使っているところ、私のデザインは太くなってしまいました。でも、ほめてくれました。日本人は、外国人のデザイン感覚は特別だと思っています。だから、得をしました。

I am making more flowerpots at Shiho ceramic studio. Usually I like to make monochromatic flowerpots that don’t distract from the plants. This time I tried a technique that other students have used where they combine several colors of clay. Once I used the rolling pin, what I thought was a thin design became fat. When something this accidental happens, I feel lucky that Japanese sometimes think foreigners have unique design sensibilities.