Tag Archives: Bookshop

Tokyo, Japan: Five Spots Recommended by a local, Dan Ushikubo


Tokyo-Japan-Restaurants-Shops-Museum-Photo Mademoiselle Le K-copyright 2014

You asked me addresses of a local: here are some hot spots recommended by Dan Ushikubo. Who’s Dan?

Few years ago, he was the originator of the “Tokyo by Tokyo” city guide edited by Claska (the design hotel): “I started asking fifteen friends about their hot spots. The city is too large, with too many people”. It wasn’t another city guide. Dan’s been a High Tech Consultant at Sony and wanted to bring some geek flav. The result was fun and really useful in a city where before moving, you often check the adress on Goole Maps. Even the Tokyo native do it!

Dan’s fav for few days in Tokyo:

1.Check out Book Off, an old second hand bookshops with a polisher to clean books: “really Japanese”!  

2. A museum: Japan Folk Craft Museum. Plus a gallery: “NADiff, near Shibuya: an art gallery and bookshop”.

3. Shopping in Aoyama. Course! The hypest fashion area with amazing shops like the Prada‘s building (on the picture above). 

4. Dinner in Omoide Alley, an alley with yakitori (grilled chicken) in Shinjuku: 1 Nishi Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, 160-0023. Near train stations: JR / Tokyo Subway / Odakyu Line / Keio Line Shinjuku Station west exit.

5. “I also recommend you a very small alley near the main exit of the JR Shibuya station, where salary men drink sake and have dinner after work. Less famous, but very local” (pictures above). I had a dinner in a tiny restaurant there: great experience!

Domo arigato gosaimasu Dan!

Photos : Mademoiselle Le K – copyright 2014, tous droits réservés. 

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Fantastic Meeting with Rem Koolhaas @ Taschen

Last tuesday @ Taschen Bruxelles : 

Rem Koolhaas was signing copies of “Project Japan, Metabolism Talks…” written with Hans Ulrich Obrist (between 2005 and 2011) and edited by Kayoko Ota. The Dutch famous architecte who’s won several international awards including the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2000, came with James Westcott. He contributes to the book as a writer (picture 5) and will participate to this improbable interview!

Among many emblematic works of Rem Koolhaas, the headquaters of CCTV in Beijing and Casa da Musica in Porto, which is my favourite!  A crazy shaped building with perspectives of German Expressionnist movies : “with a low floor space and less impact on the environment” (Rem Koolhaas). I really enjoyed discovering each spaces, going from one surprise to the next. Like a succession of decors both playful, aesthetical, convenient and unconventional.

No surprise : Rem Koolhaas studied scriptwriting before studying architecture. He wrote an unproduced script for Russ Meyer, the filmmaker of “Faster Pussycat Kill Kill” (the master of  B- movies is today a cult director)! In 1975, Rem Koolhaas founded OMA together with Elia and Zoe Zenghelis and Madelon Vriesendorp. Then he had a student called Zaha Hadid… Quiet on the set!

– Why a book about the Japanese architecture?

Rem Koolhaas answers in French :

Today there is no more Dutch, or French or American architecture. Except in Japan, there’s always been a Japanese architecture. It is the last nation with an influent architecture. The Japanese architects have a more sophisticated link to the past. Which is both a weight and a gift.

– What is the Japanese movement Metabolism?

–  For Metabolism, the architecture is a phenomenon almost organic, constantly changing. In 1960, there was an optimism about the role of technology. Those architects created an architectural vocabulary. In the book, the interviews review all context of this Japanese architectural movement and the role of the Japanese  bureaucracy at the launch of this movement. It’s really a human book. We interviewed the surviving members of Metabolism, together with their mentors, collaborators, rivals, critics, protégés,  the architects widows and families.

– Is the book a task of remembrance?

– Yes, it’s about transmission. It is a cultural document representing a moment before the market be the dominent force.

Rem Koolhaas shows me the book spine, with a multicoloured stripe design. Each one of these colours corresponds to one complete section of the book. Really helpful – I was about to write “to navigate”! lol!

– Today  architect has to be more than an architect?

– Architect has always had to be more than architect. Architect-businessman, or architecte-sociologist, or architect-writer…

MANY THANKS TO Rem Koolhaas, James Westcott and Taschen.

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Brussels, Belgium: Les Sablons

Under snow and Chrismas decorations, the picturesque Sablons district is absolutely stonished. Pictures 1 & 3: Chinese lanterns outside and shop interior of the chocolatier Pierre Marcolini, the belgian Pierre Hermé. Photo 2: in the window of an antique dealer, this superb sledge, like in fairy tales. Pictures 4 & 5: the chic selection and window inspired by the Xian footsoldiers in chocolate, of the house of  Wittamer, since 1910 and Official Supplier to the Court of Belgium. Picture 7: the Taschen bookshop, also opened sundays, after a brunch in the Pain Quotidien, 11 rue des Sablons. And if you miss cultural events, the musée d’Art Ancien and the musée d’Art Morderne are really near: 3 rue de la Régénce, and next to the very media Musée Magritte too: 1 Place Royale. Last picture: THE refined shop of the great Belgian fashion designer Jean-Paul Knott, trained by Yves Saint Laurent and former Cerruti’s Art Director. Do enjoy the Sablons!

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Brussels, Belgium: avenue Louise, place Stéphanie, Toison d’or

Opera @ la Monnaie, Brussels: “Iphigénie en Tauride” of Christoph Willibald Gluck

MSSNDCLRCQ, Brussels: Exhibitions of Anish Kapoor, Sarah Botswick and Fabrice Samyn