Although most Japanese don’t care about fragrances, last end of July, there was an event to announce the launch of Kenzopower at the former Tomyoji Temple in my hometown Naka Ward, Yokohama. Kenya Hara, one of the most prominent creative minds (and my favorite packaging designer) in Japan, worked on the packaging of this new Kenzo fragrance. Continue Reading
Sou (Sosuke) Fujimoto is probably one of the most promising young architects in the world. His website sucks big time, but I even find that interesting. Or maybe he just doesn’t have time to worry about less important matters. Anyway, he has an amazing sense of space. Continue Reading
Those who have been to Japan will have visited the ancient capital Kyoto but may not have heard of a city called Kamakura. Kamakura is a city by the Pacific ocean 40 miles south-west of Tokyo and was the capital during 1192 to 1333. Today Kamakura is a relatively quiet town where Buddha meditates in the barrel, and surfers meet a Samurai from the past.
Kamakura is my “soul city” where I attended a Jesuit school founded by German priests shortly after World War II, and whose school uniforms were supplied by the U.S. military (they donated a bunch of used U.S. Army uniforms). Unlike Kyoto where aristocrats had always been omnipresent, Continue Reading
In summer of 1987, I met a handsome Harvard student in Tokyo. He was staying in Japan during the summer break. I don’t remember why he wanted to visit Japan but clearly do remember what he wanted to become. He was still twenty-one or so and was in his undergraduate years. When I asked if he wanted to become a lawyer like his father, he simply replied, “No, I want to be an author.” It sounded naive, but his eyes looked determined.
We didn’t stay in touch after he had returned to the States, but I had remembered those eyes and his name ‘John B. Schwartz’ for years. About ten years ago, when I introduced myself to a woman at a friend’s party in Brooklyn, she immediately recognized that I was Japanese because of the book she had read. The story took place in Japan, and she told me that one of the characters in that book had the same name (Nobi) as mine. A few days later, when I got a copy of the book, I was grinning and laughing.
Last night we had a dinner with Ron Winnegrad (The head of IFF perfumery school) and his wife Robin. Ron has quite an interesting personal background – his father was a manager for known prize fighters, and he was babysat by them as a child. His looks and his way of thinking seem to belong to an artist rather than someone who runs a very exclusive and successful perfumery school, and of course that is why I always enjoy seeing him. I am always interested in hearing about the young and talented future perfumers. This time Ron told me about a young student from Brazil whose story reminded me of John B. Schwartz, which made me think that a real determination often appears in a very innocent manner.
Becoming a perfumer for known houses could be more difficult than becoming a successful author, but you will get there if you are disciplined and determined enough.
This unconventional house designed by Hiroshi Nakamura, a young architect based in Tokyo, has a wall in the living room which has been pushed outside creating a big ‘bump’ in the facade of the house Continue Reading