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.
March 2017 Women’s Start-up Club Recap: The Art of Pricing and Negotiation
On March 29, 2017, the FEW Women’s Start-Up Club covered two crucial topics to successfully grow your business: Pricing and Negotiation. Vanessa Oshima, General Manager, Women’s Category, at Nike Japan, first led an engaging discussion on identifying and developing strategies for successful price setting. Tanja Bach, FEW Women’s Start-Up Club Committee Member, then continued the discussion with insights on successful negotiation […]Published on 4th April 2017
History of FEW Series: Top Highlights from Past CSS Events
By Raena Murakami, Public Relations and Communications Co-Director One of FEW’s flagship events is the biennial FEW Career Strategies Seminar (CSS), a full-day professional development event led by experienced, successful female business leaders and mentors. The event consists of workshops and skill-building sessions to equip participants with the tools necessary to enhance their lives and […]Published on 3rd April 2017
Q&A with Travel Industry Experts Chiara Terzuolo and Rie Miyoshi
Leading up to our upcoming monthly meeting on ‘Unveiling Japan: New Themes in Travel & Tourism,’ we’re featuring a Q&A with speakers Chiara Terzuolo of Veltra and Rie Miyoshi of Outdoor Japan. The Q&A is modeled on the Proust Questionnaire, designed to reveal insights into the respondent’s personality. Here, Chiara reflects on valuing those who […]Published on 1st April 2017
The Way of Tea Recap – An Introduction to Japanese Tea Ceremonies with Ruth (Sōshin) Lionberger
By Tanja Kinnen, FEW Special Events Director The Way of Tea and the chance to gain deeper insights into this mysterious Japanese tradition brought 15 curious women to attend our special event on a sunny Monday afternoon. The national holiday seemed like the perfect opportunity to get to know more about the Japanese Tea Ceremony. Ruth (Sōshin) […]Published on 1st April 2017
How I Got Here: Tanja Bach
Ever been asked “What do you do?” My answer: “I empower people to become the best version of themselves.” As a coach and facilitator, I am lucky to do what I love by enabling leaders, teams, entrepreneurs and anyone with a dream to realize their potential and be the best version of themselves. I like […]Published on 1st April 2017
Inspiration and Creativity
Each of us has a creative side just waiting to be awoken! Join us as we hear how a panel of creativity-focused women took the leap to turn their creative passions into their life's work.
Mirai No Mori Fundraiser at Toriizaka Art Gallery
Join us for this special fundraiser for our Community Strategic Partner Mirai no Mori at Toriizaka Art Gallery. Hear from the gallery founder, Karen Thomas, and enjoy a tour of the gallery over wine, cheese and delicious food. All proceeds to Mirai no Mori Back to Nature Program.
Midweek Lunch Mixer at Le Petit Marché Roppongi
Take a break from work and join us for delicious food and great networking on our monthly midweek lunch gathering at Le Petit Marché in Roppongi.