It’s not without a sense of irony that I find myself settled in Tokyo with my Japanese husband and two children, writing about Japan for a living and wondering when we will ever make it back to England. My first love affair with a country as a schoolgirl was in fact with Japan’s fractious neighbor China, not Japan, thanks to my Chinese heritage on my father’s side.
But a visit to Japan, in which I was plunged straight into the world of summer temple festivals and Hello Kitty conventions, soon saw a swing in my allegiance that strengthened over the years until all I could think of to do upon graduating from university was to go and live there. Thus I ended up on the JET program teaching English in Osaka, where some animistic Japanese deity of fate dealt me their next blow: meeting my future husband.
In Osaka, I developed a mystified fascination with Japanese fashion, whether cosplayers at a Gackt visual-kei concert or flagrant youth fashions, the likes of which I had observed on the streets and studied endlessly in the pages of the FRUiTS book of Japanese street snaps.
Embarking on a PhD in social anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London to study the motivations and social lives of these egregious dressers in Tokyo, someone pointed out to me that my own obsessively coordinated outfits must be at the root of my fixation with those who dared to mix and match to the extreme.
A PhD and two books later, I still find myself safely coordinating my looks, even if they do contain the odd eccentric piece from fieldwork days or ‘research’ shopping trips. It was thanks to the upcoming publication of the second book, Tokyo Fashion City (now available!) that I stumbled into FEW, being asked to present on a fashion-themed panel in late 2015.
The year’s free membership I received in thanks was a most welcome (and very cunning!) reward, and I was soon back for another monthly meeting not as a presenter, but a member. Now I am a regular attendee of both monthly meetings and the business group, and it is with FEW’s support and bonhomie that I consider the next stage of my encounter with Japan.
Philomena’s latest book is Tokyo Fashion City: A Detailed Guide to Tokyo’s Trendiest Fashion Districts. Check it out here on Amazon.
Remembering Doreen Simmons, May 29, 1932 – April 23, 2018
Obituary for Doreen Simmons May 29, 1932 – April 23, 2018 It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of one of FEW’s longest patrons and members, the inimitable Doreen Simmons. Ms Simmons died in her sleep in the early hours of April 23, 2018 at age 85. Details of her memorial service […]Published on 26th April 2018
Q&A with Catherine O’Connell and Naoko Matsuzaki
Leading up to our upcoming monthly meeting on ‘Lessons from the Lawyers,’ we’re featuring a Q&A with Catherine O’Connell, a bilingual New Zealand lawyer and founder of Catherine O’Connell Law, and Naoko Matsuzaki, Director, International Anti-Corruption and Global Intelligence for PwC Japan’s Forensic Services Group. The Q&A is modeled on the Proust Questionnaire, designed to reveal insights into […]Published on 10th April 2018
Special Event Recap: The Essence of Belly Dance Workshop with Sara Amira
FEW’s March Special Event, “The Essence of Belly Dance Workshop,” was hosted by belly dancer Sara Amira at the Belly Dance Arts studio close to Omotesando, whose team generously allowed us to use their beautiful space for this workshop Sara started by telling the participants about her personal journey and how she first got into […]Published on 5th April 2018
April 2018 Strategic Partner Member Offers and Other News
Check out the latest member offers and opportunities from our Strategic Partners here! Our Strategic Partners are committed to bringing the best services and products to FEW members. And go to our Strategic Partners page to learn more about all of FEW’s Strategic Partners, who not only support FEW’s activities but also provide professional and personal services […]Published on 5th April 2018
March 2018 Monthly Meeting Recap: Celebrating Women as Change Agents in Post-Disaster Tohoku
In honor of International Women’s month and the 7th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, we welcomed Megumi Ishimoto, Executive Director of NPO Women’s Eye, and Dr. Jackie F. Steele, a political scientist at the University of Tokyo, to share the stories and challenges of the amazing women change agents in post-disaster Tohoku. Neither […]Published on 5th April 2018
Yoyogi Park Outdoor Drawing Workshop with Divya Marie Kato
Join us for this members-exclusive special event where Strategic Partner Divya Marie Kato will offer a daytime drawing experience in Yoyogi Park to help rekindle your creativity and boost your confidence in sketching.
May 2018 Women's Start-Up Club: Cyber Security
Mark your calendars for May 30 to round up our series on Building an Online Presence with the ever important theme of Cyber Security with speaker Nicola Vote of McAfee. More information to follow soon!
May Midweek Lunch Mixer at Citron
Take a break from work and join us for delicious food and great networking at our monthly midweek lunch gathering. In May, we'll be meeting again at Parisian-style salad bar, Citron, in Gaienmae!
FEW 20th Career Strategies Seminar (CSS): AMPLIFY!
Join us on June 2 for AMPLIFY, a transformational and inspirational day-long event full of seminars, workshops and networking opportunities to help you elevate your career to new heights.
Radical Boundaries Workshop with Sarah Furuya: How to Say No to Make Way for YES
Due to its high popularity, we are offering the Radical Boundaries Workshop again. Join us for an exclusive workshop with Sarah Furuya on developing techniques to say 'no' in order to devote your time and attention to the things and people you truly love.