Beautiful freshly painted mural of Japanese cherry blossoms tree on the wall of a well-trod underpass in Naka-Meguro in Tokyo. The mural is so new that there was still a wet paint sign taped up on the wall when we visited the mural.
American artist Curtis Kulig’s cursive “Love me” graffiti message is a global street art icon, a viral, real-world visual meme that universally resonates. We’ve seen it everywhere and in some unusual places — from NYC to Amsterdam, Brooklyn to Tokyo — in the form of spray-painted graffiti, brush-painted murals and, of course, stickers, like this one we stumbled upon affixed to the tip jar at No. 8 Bear Pond Espresso cafe at On the Corner diner in Shibuya, Tokyo.
Pictured below are copies of some local Japanese surf media we picked up in Tokyo. Given our addiction to surfing and our recent surf trip outside the Japanese capital, we were intrigued by these.
Pictured first is a copy of Off Season we found at the Saturdays Surf store in the Daikanyama neighborhood of Tokyo. Off Season is a large-format magazine-style newspaper that seems like — as its name suggests — is printed seasonally and sells for ¥200. The publisher is based in Kamakura, Japan, about an hour’s drive south of Tokyo. It’s really about surf culture than surfing itself.
A few days earlier we picked up recent copies of the super local Heisaura Coastal Press, a small-format “free paper” available at shops in and around Tateyama and the tiny beach towns along the southwestern tip of Chiba, where the surf culture is heavy and an obvious part of the coastal region’s character. Included is a map of all the key surf breaks along Heisaura’s stretch of beach, which goes on for miles and miles and a place we recently surfed.
This example of street art by French artist Invader in Tokyo is probably one of the best we’ve seen in recent months. The pixelated Space Invader videogame icon here has been created on a larger scale than most of the mosaic artworks Invader has put up around the Japanese capital and elsewhere around the world. We found this one in the quiet cool-kids neighborhood of Naka-Meguro.
The sleek, low-slung gray structure that is the 21_21 Design Sight building in Tokyo’s Akasaka neighborhood was created by two giants of Japanese design, fashion designer Issey Miyake and architect Tadao Ando. Opened in 2007, the building is the home to design exhibitions and events curated by a group of directors that includes Miyake and renowned designer Naoto Fukusawa. The museum is a little oasis of calm, minimalist post-modernism tucked on a well-groomed patch of landscape behind the Tokyo Midtown buildings complex.
The cafe in the garden of the Nezu Museum in Aoyama, in Tokyo, is a striking example of minimalist architectural design and contemporary Japanese aesthetics. Floor-to-ceiling glass walls on three sides of the rectangular space give a full view of the garden and spectacular autumn foliage. A Japanese washi paper design is part of the ceiling material and allows diffused light into the space. This is one of more contemplative spaces in Tokyo and a fine place to while away an hour in reflection, sipping a coffee or tea.