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.
Recap: Mentoring Moments – Finding Love in Japan
The third and final Mentoring Moments event for the year was held, Sunday, July 8th at the Kiwi Kitchen in Hiroo. Despite the sweltering heat, eight ladies came to ask questions to three FEW members about finding love in Japan and the subsequent situations that stem from cross-cultural dating and married life. Married ladies […]Published on 21st August 2018
Strategic Partner Spotlight: Warm Hearts Coffee Club
The Warm Hearts Coffee Club is a community of coffee lovers based in Japan. Since April of this year we deliver freshly-roasted coffee to households & offices all over Japan & provide a connection between the coffee growers, the coffee’s country of origin and our community members. We do this by supporting organic & fair […]Published on 8th August 2018
Appointment of 2018-2019 FEW Japan Board of Directors
Following approval by the current Board of Directors and majority vote of the regular membership, FEW Japan is delighted to announce the appointment of 15 new and returning members to the FEW Board of Directors for the 2018-2019 FEW year, effective September 1, 2018. These outstanding individuals bring to FEW unique experience, expertise and capabilities as […]Published on 1st August 2018
Recap: June FEW Women’s Start-Up Club – Branding with Archetypes
During the last WSC of this season Marci Kobayashi took us on a journey to “Find your Archetype for your branding”. The overall goal is to “Transform your brand and your overall online presence into a genuine reflection of who you are personally, and professionally, from the inside out, not outside in.” Branding by Archetypes […]Published on 28th July 2018
July Community Service Feature: Japan Association for Refugees (JAR)
Numerous crises around the globe have forced men, women, and children to seek safety and asylum as refugees in foreign lands. Refugees are individuals who have been forced to leave their home country due to political or religious persecution, violence, war, or natural disaster. According to the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), the United States, Saudi […]Published on 26th July 2018
Rina Bovrisse - The Accidental Activist : From Chanel to Governor of Tokyo?
Join us for the first meeting of the new FEW year to hear from Rina Bovrisse about how she became an accidental activist working in the fashion industry and ending up with a burning desire to get into politics.
Midweek Lunch Mixer
Take a break from work and join us for delicious food and great networking at our monthly midweek lunch gathering, this time at Blu Jam Cafe in Daikanyama!
Note: The Lunch Mixer will take place on a Wednesday!