Secrets of Tokyo: The East.

secrets of tokyo magazine cover.

I was at the magazine stand while passing through Tokyo, and saw this one with the cover of “Secrets of Tokyo” and started to flip through it. There was a feature on the Tokyo Sky Tree, which will become the world’s tallest broadcasting tower, and is already the tallest structure in Japan (in earthquake country no less). It is located in east Tokyo, which has gained much more attention with the building of Tokyo Sky Tree.

I walked through parts of east Tokyo just recently, and surprisingly enough the crowds of Shinjuku or Shibuya just weren’t there. It was just much more quaint, more local, more like any normal neighborhood where people knew each other. That’s just the feeling I got. I was actually searching for this cafe in Higashi-Mukojima called KOGUMA (which means cub), which was remodeled from an old drugstore from 1927. Inside you can eat, read from the cafe’s library of Japanese and some English books and just enjoy an afternoon in a quaint little street – if you can find it! A photo of my meal is below.

lunch in mukoujima, tokyo.

secrets of tokyo magazine story.

In about a week, I will attempt to find more of these hidden “secrets” in Tokyo and will report back. stay tuned.

Tokyo Direct: New Subway Line, New Manners to Learn.

tokyo metro\'s fukutoshin line opens.

On June 14, Tokyo’s new subway line, the “Fukutoshin” line opened to the public. This line added 7 new stations to the system, in addition to 9 existing stations, extending from the city of Wako in Saitama Prefecture to Shibuya in central Tokyo for a total of 20.2km (12.55mi) of track, of which 8.9km (5.53mi) was newly added. Taking the complete route would take about approximately 35 minutes. For foreigners, the letter “F” is used to identify the line and its stations.

tokyo metro\'s fukutoshin line opens.

In addition to a new subway line, Tokyo Metro continues its “manner campaign” to promote subway etiquette. The image below are the monthly promotions since the campaign started in April. Basically on the train you are advised not to put on make up, nor take more than one seat on board. In addition (and most importantly), you should not be using your mobile phone while on the train, and all phones should be on “manner” (vibrate) mode. If you are standing near the priority seat, your phone should be switched off. You will find that on Japanese trains most people read, play games or send SMS messages, but rarely do you actually see anyone talking on the phone, as it is truly frowned upon.

tokyo metro manner posters.

My Favorite Japanese Magazines.

Whenever I travel to a foreign country, I usually try to bring back some local magazines that are about design and travel. Some of my favorite ones are from Japan. There’s just something about Japanese “packaging” of magazines that makes you want to buy them. So here are my favorites:

japanese magazines.


What I love best about this magazine are the city pages towards the front cover. For each edition (the magazine is published twice a month, on the 1st and the 15th of the month), there is a summary of what is hot in major cities around the world. In the most current edition, the editors introduce new places to stay in Stockholm and discount stores in London, as a few examples. These noteworthy items can be easily torn out and kept for future reference.

Recently, the editors of pen have also published the guide for the “XXIst Century Man” exhibit at the 21_21 Design Sight in Tokyo, which is also worth a look.



Casa BRUTUS ad.

The main magazine BRUTUS is all about design, culture and lifestyle in Japan. Its sister magazine, the Casa BRUTUS, is dedicated to home furnishings and design. These two are definitely fun magazines to flip through even if you may not read Japanese.

Real Design.

I have to admit, this one is actually a recent find, even though the magazine recently celebrated its two-year anniversary. As per the magazine title, this magazine is all about design. But don’t get fooled by the title, as reportages cover a variety of topics, including culture, food and more. The most recent issue dedicates nearly 40 pages to gifts to everyone on your list. There are also articles about modern design in Kyoto and where to buy great gifts with unique packaging. Now that’s truly Japanese. No website for this one though, sadly.