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.
Upcoming Fall 2018 Community Service Events
With the changing of the leaves comes many opportunities to support various NGOs and their efforts. Take a look at the events below and reach out to the organizations through the contact information provided if you’re interested in lending a helping hand! The Big Draw Festival 2018 The world’s largest cross-cultural drawing festival, led by […]Published on 15th October 2018
Recap: WSC — Creating Your Story & Brand with the Help of Masterminding Groups
“A brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon For the 2018-2019 season, Women’s Startup Club focuses on helping you create YOUR story and brand, kicking off the season with Masterminding—Supporting Your Success. Thirty women from diverse career backgrounds, a wide variety of […]Published on 7th October 2018
October 2018 Sponsor Offers & Member News
Check out the latest offers and opportunities from our Sponsors and other FEW Community Events here! Our Sponsors are committed to bringing the best services and products to FEW members. Visit our Sponsors page to learn more about all of FEW’s Sponsors, who not only support FEW’s activities but also provide professional and personal services benefiting […]Published on 30th September 2018
September Monthly Meeting Recap – Rina Bovrisse
From Prada Epicenter to Court Battle…and How She Persists Rina Bovrisse, a former fashion industry leader who sued her employer – Prada Japan – for discrimination and sexual harassment in 2009 and, eventually, lost her fashion career due that suit, shared her inspiring journey at the FEW Monthly Meeting in September. Now running her own […]Published on 26th September 2018
July Monthly Meeting Recap – Ama Divers
Living at the pace of the ocean In July, FEW welcomed professor Anne McDonald from Sophia University to share the stories of Ama divers, female free divers of Japan, during the Monthly Meeting. McDonald has been researching the Ama communities by interviewing the members and taking part in their daily life – even diving into […]Published on 26th September 2018
CANCELLED - Earthquake Preparedness Workshop with WaNavi Japan
Disasters happen. WaNavi, with FEW, will help you prepare for them.
Rethinking Strengths with Professional Certified Coach Jennifer Shinkai
In this experiential workshop, participants will create a visual map of their strengths based upon the concept of “Strengths are what make me strong”.
Midweek Lunch Mixer
Take a break from work and join us for delicious food and great networking at our monthly midweek lunch gathering at Cafe Park in Ebisu!
Note: The Lunch Mixer will take place on a Wednesday!