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.
Q&A with Color and Style Consultant Maud Janssen
Leading up to our upcoming monthly meeting on ‘Reinvigoration & Reinvention: Color Your Life,’ we’re featuring a Q&A with Maud Janssen, a color and Style consultant working for the British company House of Colour. The Q&A is modeled on the Proust Questionnaire, designed to reveal insights into the respondent’s personality. Learn about how finding the right colors that suit you […]Published on 9th January 2018
FEW Community Survey 2017 Results
Results of the FEW Community Survey 2017 conducted in the summer have been released. This survey, which was sent to FEW members as well as the wider FEW community, was designed primarily to determine overall satisfaction level among current FEW members and wider community so as to ensure FEW is accomplishing its organizational mission and vision. Of the 158 […]Published on 4th January 2018
The Best of FEW: Fall 2017
Happy New Year from FEW! Thank you to everyone who joined us at all our events since we kicked off the 2017-2018 FEW Year in September. As the go-to place for personal and professional learning, connection and inspiration, FEW is proud to offer various events, resources, and networking opportunities for internationally-minded women in Japan. We look […]Published on 4th January 2018
November 2017 Women’s Start-up Club Recap: Marketing with a Purpose
On November 29, the Women’s Start Up Club hosted Zsuzsanna Jarfas to speak about her experience and run an interactive workshop on “Marketing with a Purpose.” Every business needs a strategy to help define the direction and vision of that business. According to Zsuzsanna, the definition of strategy is “a plan to reach a financial […]Published on 4th January 2018
January Strategic Partner 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 […]Published on 4th January 2018
Brunch Mixer at Blu Jam Cafe in Daikanyama
Join us for delicious food and great networking over brunch at Blu Jam Cafe on Sunday, January 28, at a special edition of our monthly midweek lunch gathering.
Women's Start Up Club: Online Presence - How to Create Content Online
Join us on Jan. 31 as Wolfgang Bierer of Endeavor SBC KK shares what online presence tools are available and gives a deeper understanding of the best ones for your particular business needs.