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.
November 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 personal services […]Published on 31st October 2017
November Community Services Feature with Charles McJilton of Second Harvest
By Tia Haygood, Community Services Director With Winter and the holiday season around the corner, many of us are mapping out our plans for the upcoming thanksgiving dinners, bonenkai, Christmas celebrations, and the like. As we make merry in our end-of-year celebrations, we should still be mindful that in Japan there are 20 million people […]Published on 31st October 2017
How I Got Here: Aya McCrindle
In my life, I’ve experience five personal ‘tsunamis’ that threatened to leave me broken, but instead gave me strength and led to the creation of the Find Your Element Workshop, a 12 week creative evening program that takes participants on a step by step journey of self-awareness and exploration. I was 24 when the first […]Published on 30th October 2017
Strategic Partner Spotlight: Sarah Furuya Coaching- Celebrating 5 Years in Business
As I write this, it is 5 years to the day since I quit my job, hopped on a plane to NYC and went to a three-day event called ‘Rich, Happy and Hot Live’ with 500 entrepreneurs and the world’s finest soulful online entrepreneurs. It was a brilliant way to enter my entrepreneurial life and […]Published on 29th October 2017
Special Event Recap: Make the Connection: Practical Networking Strategies that Work for You
What is networking? How do you prepare for a ‘networking’ event – your approach, look, conversation points, questions? How do you overcome shyness to approach others? Or how do you elegantly end a conversation? What is way the best to follow up and maintain new relationships? Helen Iwata, CEO of Sasuga Communications K.K., answered these questions […]Published on 26th October 2017
Women's Start Up Club: Marketing with a Purpose
Strategy and Implementation Consultant Zsuzsanna Jarfas of Japan Creative Enterprises will demonstrate the basic tools of marketing with purpose and how WSC participants can apply these tactics to their own businesses.
November Midweek Lunch Mixer at Le Pain Quotidien Roppongi
Take a break from work and join us for delicious food and great networking at our monthly midweek lunch gathering. The mixer will again be at Le Pain Quotidien at Tokyo Midtown in Roppongi!
Tokyo Run for the Cure
Join FEW at the Run for the Cure/ Walk for Life Marathon around the Imperial Palace on December 2nd! More details coming soon.
FULLY BOOKED! Radical Boundaries: How to Say No to Make Way for YES
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.