We cannot imagine a Japanese room without tatami, or mat flooring woven from igusa (soft rushes). Tatami became part of everyday life for people during the Edo period (1603–1868), a time of unprecedented prosperity for commoners. Igusa is a cushioning natural material that is cool in summer and warm in winter. Typically one sleeps on a futon rolled out on a tatami floor, but lifestyles are changing: many now prefer to put a bed on the tatami, a hybrid of East and West that produces a modern atmosphere in the bedroom.
Seen from afar, the cloth appears plain, but up close you see a fine detail: this is Edo-komon stencil dyeing technique, which was originally used for the kamishimo, the formal wear of samurai. Competition resulted in increasingly ornate designs until the shogunate imposed restrictions. This led to the development of patterns so fine that appeared to be a single color. Countless variations were available from the no-nonsense patterns favored by samurai to designs popular among common people such as animal patterns. Today Edo-komon can be seen not just on kimono but on various dress fashions and accessories.
Traditional Japanese Umbrella × Vinyl Umbrella
Umbrellas and other wet weather items were highly developed in Japan, a country beset by a warm, wet rainy season. The umbrella, once an item exclusively for the upper classes, became widespread around the 18th century, when the traditionally japanese umbrella bangasa made by bamboo and washi paper was produced. Advancing technology has delivered us the ubiquitous Transparent Umbrella, but the bangasa, a quality product, remains beloved today by those who value its culture and beauty.
Ukiyo-e × Virtual Singer
The development of woodblock printing technology in the 18th century brought ukiyo-e prints into the mainstream of popular culture. Most arresting were the nishiki-e, or "brocade prints" made using more than 10 color print blocks, a unique Japanese art from that influenced the Impressionist artists. Meanwhile, it is now 10 years since the birth of Hatsune Miku, the Vocaloid character that symbolizes Japanese culture today. She is an example of Japan's art finding new fans the world over.
Kendo × Video Games
The Asian art of kendo has been a part of Japanese martial arts since the age of the samurai. Kendo players fight with bamboo swords and protect themselves with armour. There are many kendo dojo around Tokyo, and it remains a popular pastime today.
Meanwhile, video games are popular as well. Indeed, Tokyo has plenty of spots to enjoy old and new, be it the ancient martial art of kendo or video games.
Ginza was named in 1612, as the location of a silver coin foundry. The town, home to traders and craftspeople, was always bustling due to the large number of kimono stores. Since the Edo period, it has always been a major entry-point for the latest foreign cultural trends, including brick construction in the European style of 19th century and the first cafes in Japan. Ginza is just as vibrant today, with its mix of grand old streetscapes and new commercial developments.
Mochi Pounding × Rhythm game (Taiko no Tatsujin-"Taiko Drum Master")
Sticky steamed rice that has been rhythmically pounded and formed into various shapes of rice cake, or mochi, is a traditional food of Japan, and making it is an activity that accompanies celebrations. It is most commonly eaten at the New Year and the custom of mochi-tsuki (mochi pounding) at the end of the year is still followed in Tokyo today. By the same token, including the most famous taiko drumming rhythm game, there is a wide array of video games in the game arcades, or "game centers", which are enjoyed by people young and old.
Sumo × Kawaii
Hairstyles during the Edo period (1603–1868) were largely restricted to the chonmage (topknot) for men and nihongami (two sides of the hair sticking out until curving at the back) for women. Hair was bundled and tied according to status and age for each of these. Today, a glimpse of these hairstyles can be seen in the sumo wrestler's topknot. Actually, the people of Edo (Present-day Tokyo) were highly sensitive to fashion and popular hairstyles came and went. The youth of Harajuku, known for their embrace of the world-famous "kawaii" culture, are no less alert to the trends and enjoy a freewheeling approach to styles and coloring.
Puppet Doll × Robot (Robi)
Exquisitely crafted karakuri ningyo (puppet dolls) were immensely popular during the Edo period (1603–1868) . Today, robots are evolving on a daily basis. They are now able to mimic human tics and movements including walking, understanding and producing language, singing and dancing. They embody much of the skill and spirit of Japanese manufacturing.
Yakatabune (Japanese Houseboat) × Water Bus (Hotaluna)
Waterways were developed extensively in the city of Edo (Present-day Tokyo) . The Edo period (1603–1868) saw the start of land reclamation that produced new urban areas, as well as new rivers and canals. Transport was faster by water than overland for both people and goods. The period also launched the Yakatabune (Japanese houseboat) that entertain revelers nightly on the Sumida River. Nothing has changed in the desire of people to enjoy the river and today they are joined by a ferry named Hotaluna, a futuristic vessel shaped like a spaceship.
Bento × "Character" Bento
Bento, the box containing the meal you plan to eat at your destination. The bento box developed in the 18th century when recreational outings to outdoor sights and cultural events became accessible to the masses. The Makunouchi ("Interlude") bento in particular, designed to be eaten between scenes at the kabuki theater and combining rice with a number of toppings, was a basic type that remains popular to this day. "Character" bento first appeared in the late 1990s. The development of social media has further stoked the bento boom.
Green Tea × Sweets
Sado, or "tea ceremony", has been a way of enjoying tea since ancient times and involves various rules and courtesies. It was already popular among common people in the Edo (Present-day Tokyo) of the 18th century. Sado, which places high importance on hospitality, serves traditional sweets together with tea. Meanwhile, on the subject of sweets, cotton candy is a popular treat at Japan's festivals and recently, it has been taking on various colorful forms. In Tokyo it is possible to try everything from traditional tea ceremonies to cutting-edge sweets.
- Japanese-style Room
[Location : Hotel Homeikan]
[Location : Hotel Ryumeikan Tokyo]
[Location : Konnoh Hachimangu Shrine]
- Traditional Japanese Umbrella
[Location : Bankizan Hojiji Shogetsuin Temple]Vinyl Umbrella
[Location : TOKYO SQUARE GARDEN]
- Virtual Singer
[Location : Wako]
[Location : NISSAN CROSSING]
- Mochi Pounding
[Location : Sado Kaikan]Rhythm game
(Taiko no Tatsujin-"Taiko Drum Master")
[Location : SEGA Ikebukuro GiGO]
- Puppet DollRobot (Robi)