The Art of Japanese Fans

On a sweltering summer afternoon, Japanese beat the heat the way their ancestors have done for centuries: head for the waterfront for some cooling breezes, put on a casual yukata kimono, and pack their hand fans. While flat, round fans, or uchiwa, originated in China, Japanese are credited with inventing folding fans over 1,000 years ago. Folding fans come in… Read more →

Oishī! Japan really loves Kit Kats

From CBS Sunday Morning: “Kitto Katto” is more than just the Japanese name for the candy we all know as Kit Kat. It’s more like Japan’s national obsession: At a shop in Tokyo’s bustling Ginza district, luxury Kit Kats are on full display. That’s right: luxury Kit Kats! And the mastermind behind these $5 Kit Kat confections is pastry chef… Read more →

Yohji Yamamoto, Avant Garde Visionary

Yohji Yamamoto, debuted his first fashion collection in Paris in 1981. In an interview with the New York Times in 1983, Yamamoto said of his designs: “‘I think that my men’s clothes look as good on women as my women’s clothing […] When I started designing, I wanted to make men’s clothes for women.” More recently he has expounded: “When I… Read more →

Putting the Culture of Japan Together with Sake

In Saijo, Hiroshima Prefecture, the largest room in the home of Hisao Maegaki, president of the sake brewery Kamoizumi Shuzo, is set for a feast. Zabuton floor cushions and red ozen, the low tray-tables traditionally used for dining in Japan, form a circle on the tatami floor, and the windows look out onto two exquisitely manicured rock gardens. The guests… Read more →

Gwen Stefani Celebrates Japanese Culture?

TIME asks Gwen Stefani of NBC’s The Voice and No Doubt fame, “Looking back on Love. Angel. Music. Baby., do you regret the Harajuku Girls given the criticism you received?” Guess what, she doesn’t! From TIME: No. There’s always going to be two sides to everything. For me, everything that I did with the Harajuku Girls was just a pure compliment and… Read more →

Suminagashi in Massachusetts 

Kathryn Fanelli, a painter in Amherst, Massachusetts, works with traditional Japanese suminagashi (“floating ink”) techniques — dropping pigments onto the surface of water and mixing them into designs before lifting the image from the water using paper. Fanelli says she began using the technique five years ago after she experienced something similar in a dream. The Eastern approach to art, she… Read more →