WINTER 2011: From the Publisher

by Simon Farrell
When Custom Media - publishers of WIFM - considers partnering with a CSR project we look long and hard at candidates and conduct some thorough due diligence. In January, we found the perfect fit. Read more »

Day Trip: Hayama

by Alana Bonzi
Otowa no Mori Hotel, Chojagasaki Understated, exclusive and introspective

For many people, Hayama is a summer playground. It conjures up restless images of Morito beach crowded with the young and the young at heart flocking to the umi no ie (beach houses and bars). The area has a few beaches such as Chojagasaki, well known for swimming and near the Otowa no Mori Hotel, and the crescent-shaped Isshiki.

But when the tourists leave, Hayama returns to its introspective self. Home to an understated exclusiveness, the feel is quite different without the crowds. The Imperial Family usually stay here at the Goyoutei, or Emperor’s Summer Palace, during quieter moments of the year. Just behind the palace is one of the best beaches, Isshiki, quiet and protected in all senses.

Hayama, like many towns along the Miura and Shonan coasts, offers beaches and mountains. Go there for spectacular views and sunsets, fine fresh seafood, succulent vegetables and Hayama gyu (beef ). Escape to a slower pace, and appreciate a walk along the beach and a nice lunch or dinner accompanied by a glorious sunset. For outdoor enthusiasts, there is canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing and cross-country bike trails.

Directions
Car: Just one hour’s drive from Tokyo on the Yokohama-Yokosuka toll road; take the Zushi exit to the Zuyo toll road and then route 134. As the highway breaks, stick to the coast.

Train: From either JR Zushi or Shin Zushi stations, take a walk, bus, taxi or hotel shuttle toward the coast.

Do
Rent outdoor equipment from Beach Hayama Outdoor Fitness Club (Isshiki beach); walk along Morito, Isshiki, Chojagasaki beaches, or hike up Oomine.

Visit
Hayama Art and Music Festival (spring); Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Modern Art; Hayama Shiosai Park (part of Hayama Imperial Villa) with museum and teahouse

Eat
French: La Maree de Chaya, Otowa no Mori and Scapes; Italian: Piscaria Morito Beach, Il Rifugio Hayama, Piccolo Vaso Kotsubo-Zushi Marina; Japanese: Hikage Chaya

Stay
Otowa no Mori Hotel (Chojagasaki), Scapes (Morito beach)

wifm’s Top Six Ski Spots

by Julian Ryall
wifm’s Top Six Ski SpotsAt the first hint of a snow cloud on the horizon this winter, skiers and snowboarders were quickly dusting off their gear for another spectacular season on Japan’s best slopes. Blessed with some of the best ski runs in the world, winter resorts here also have some of the most impressive rest and recuperation options after a hard day tearing up the powder.  Read more »

Nicolai Bergmann

by Catherine Shaw
Nicolai BergmannTokyo has become home-from-home for Danish-born floral artist Nicolai Bergmann whose newly unveiled Aoyama flagship outlet—an über chic combination of café, florist and chic exhibition and event space—opened to acclaim in late 2010.  Read more »

Defying Stereotypes

by Catherine Shaw
The Capitol Hotel TokyuFormer celebrity hotel embraces local hospitality and modern design.

What is it that makes a hotel truly iconic, that certain je ne sais quoi that delivers instant recognition and a unique “sense of self” while others — trying just as hard, perhaps even more so — never quite manage to overcome the anonymity of their existence?

Good design — from external architecture to interiors — obviously plays a defining role, but while a well-known name certainly generates a certain level of interest in the early days, once a hotel settles down for day-to-day business it is surprisingly unusual to find design and spirit merging with great success.

Happily, the recently unveiled The Capitol Hotel Tokyu — a complete redevelopment of the original hotel designed for Tokyo’s 1963 Olympic Games — defies stereotypes delivering a fresh new experience of Japanese hospitality and contemporary design that looks set to create a new icon in the capital.

The Capitol Hotel TokyuCelebrated Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, renowned for his trademark modern take on traditional Japanese themes, proved an inspired choice for the redevelopment of the iconic Tokyo landmark, delivering a subtle blend of distinctive Japanese architecture and comfortably elegant interiors that evoke an easy relationship between style and modern hospitality. Kuma’s Capitol Tokyu is an unmistakably modern building, inspired by Japan’s rich traditions and culture and in large part by the hotel’s unusually tranquil garden-like setting in the Akasaka district overlooking the historic Hie Shrine and near to the prime minister’s official residence.

Speaking to WIFM about the design process, Kuma says that respecting the earlier design incarnation by architect Isoya Yoshida — an architect he greatly respects — was critical. Yoshida’s creation of the former Tokyo Hilton Hotel was the first global chain hotel in Japan, which went on to operate as the Capitol Tokyu Hotel from 1983 until its closure for redevelopment in 2006. For decades the hotel was considered one of the most prestigious addresses in Tokyo, favored by international celebrities such as The Beatles, the Three Tenors: Plácido Domingo, José Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti.

The original hotel was completely demolished to allow for a new approach to the unique site and creation of a high-rise building. The result is an impressive 29-storey structure with 251 generously proportioned guest rooms from the 18th floor upward, five restaurants and bars, five banquet spaces and two floors of fitness and spa facilities, including a 20-metre indoor swimming pool. The hotel entrance is unlike any other in Tokyo, sharing a space with the 500-year old Hie Shrine helps set the scene as does Kuma’s striking stone-clad façade that creates a unique sense of entrance: the building may be high-rise but the atmosphere from the ground level is distinctly personal.

Inside the main entrance

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Not Your Father’s Club

by Catherine Shaw
Not Your Father's ClubWith a ¥19 billion upgrade to a new 20,420m2 bespoke designed building housing state-of-the-art dining and recreational facilities, the Tokyo American Club (TAC) — which opened its sleek new doors in mid-January — has transformed itself from good to one of the greats in terms of private members’ clubs.  Read more »

Dyson Digital Slim DC35 Multi Floor

by Simon Farrell
Dyson Digital Slim DC35 Multi Floor Product Review:

Just when you thought those clever Dyson engineers had done it all, they outsmart everyone again with another innovative creation to make your home a nicer place to live.

If you ever used the Dyson DC31 handheld vacuum cleaner and thought it would be great to have a longerreach and more powerful version for all floors, without losing any attributes, check out the Dyson Digital Slim DC35 Multi Floor.

Dyson says it’s the global market’s most powerful lightweight cordless vacuum — twice as powerful as its closest rivals — and after a weekend thoroughly testing it, I am not surprised at this.

Sometimes, I just want to quickly clean up a small or awkward space, such as a bedroom, stairs or under a table. With a regular vacuum cleaner, it’s a pain to get it from a cupboard, extend the cable, attach the right tools, and find somewhere convenient to plug it in.

Being versatile, compact, cordless and light, it’s like the DC35 was made especially for Japan’s relatively small homes and limited storage space.

For a start, the “docking station” included allows you to easily hang it on a wall (and recharge it there or elsewhere) along with the tools, always handy for quick and easy access.

Dyson Digital SlimOnce started, I could actually feel the dust being sucked up — even on carpets, which are generally harder to clean than smooth surfaces. That’s because it has a motorized tool to perform equally well on all floors — carpets, tiles, stone or other soft and hard coverings — and armed with rows of anti-static carbon-fiber ultra-fine brushes for hard floors and rotating nylon brushes for ground-in carpet dirt.

It’s not just floors, though, as I found its remarkably light weight ensured that overhead cleaning — closets, light fittings, ceilings, air conditioning units, tops of doors and above curtains — was far less heavy work. With a head that rotates 180 degrees, even low furniture, tight corners, awkward gaps and so on cannot escape as it has a detachable long-reach wand that reaches virtually everywhere.

Did I say versatile? To use it as a nifty handheld for quick spills, spot cleaning, upholstery and car interiors, simply detach the wand and “hey presto”.

You can clearly see the dust and dirt inside the clear bin at all times; so when you see it’s full, simply press a button that releases the canister into the bin. No messy bags!

At the heart of the Dyson Digital Slim DC35 Multi Floor, I am told, is the digital motor that spins up to three times faster than conventional motors to produce powerful centrifugal forces to catch nasty dust and

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Future Beauty

by Custom Media
Future BeautyEurope’s first exhibition to comprehensively survey avant-garde Japanese fashion was featured recently at the Barbican Art Gallery, London in an event co-organized by the Kyoto Costume Institute. Visionaries such as Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto redefined the very basis of fashion; challenged established Western notions of beauty, and turned fashion very firmly into art.  Read more »

Economist Conference

by Julian Ryall
Economist Conference Generation Change in Japan: New Leaders, New Outlook

The challenges that confront Japan are numerous, complicated and shifting but the message that came out of a symposium organized by Economist Conferences in mid- December is that many of the key problems have been identified and steps are being taken to deal with them. Domestic politics may be stalemated, the national economy clearly needs attention, and education and the role of women can benefit from new thinking— but none of these problems are insurmountable, the delegates indicated.

What is needed is a willingness to think—and act— outside Japan’s existing parameters, to learn from other nations’ experiences, and a more decisive attitude to achieving change. This is, after all, the country that rebuilt itself so spectacularly after the ravages of World War II; it must be hoped that the descendants of that generation of Japanese have inherited some of their drive to regenerate after what some are describing as two lost economic decades.

The symposium—Generation Change in Japan: New Leaders, New Outlook—was held at the Hotel New Otani and brought together both experienced and up-and-coming leaders in the realms of politics, business, academia and civil society to discuss ways in which Japan can be reenergized.

The daylong event began with an interview with Kevin Turner, the chief operating officer of Microsoft, who pointed out that even though it is one of the most technologically advanced nations on the planet, the utilization of that know-how is startlingly uneven in smaller Japanese firms. Cloud-computing technology is one clear example, he said.

“The functionality that you can get via your laptop and mobile phone in this country is very advanced in comparison with the rest of the world, but investment in that by small companies pales in comparison,” he said. “Small and medium-sized enterprises need to unlock their ability to do digital advertising and marketing, for example.”

Another area that would benefit the nation as a whole would be to encourage a new generation of young leaders, he said.

“The system that Japan has at present is very successful in its own right, but there is the opportunity to unlock some of the potential and give people with good ideas—regardless of their age or background—a chance.

“They may fail occasionally, but it’s about allowing the growth of new ideas,” he said. “Some will be winners and some will be losers, but without trying you will never know.”

The first panel session of the day considered potential growth industries of the future, how the government might support those nascent industries and how Japan might become more competitive internationally, with David Line, senior editor for Asia, Industry and Management at the Economist, underlining that 99 percent of all firms here can be considered small or medium-sized and that Japan requires that they be strong for the nation

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Introvert or Extrovert?

by Anne Good
Understanding these two personalities helps communication and relationships

Want to improve your personal and business relationships? Then lets investigate this communication lark a little further by drawing on more Myers-Briggs information. Communication is about getting your message across, no matter what the situation. Why is it we get on better with some people and less so with others?

George Bernard Shaw once said: “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has occurred.” When he wrote this, I wonder if he had introverts and extroverts in mind. Carl Jung, a Swiss psychologist, uses “extroversion” and “introversion” to refer to how people prefer to energize. Myers-Briggs believes that everyone has both an extroverted and an introverted side, with one more dominant than the other.

Power: Solar v Battery

Extroverts prefer to direct their energy to, and draw it from, the external world of activity and the spoken word, so I call them “solar powered.” Introverts, meanwhile, prefer to direct their energy to, and draw it from, the internal world of thoughts and to communicate in writing, so they are “battery powered.”

Let’s take an example of an everyday business or social meeting. Extroverts like to contribute verbally and are happy to engage their mouth before their brain is in gear. But introverts will only speak when they have had time to internalize and think through exactly what they want to say — they would never start to speak until they are completely satisfied that they know exactly what they want to say.

If an introvert is asked a question, it can take a while — up to 14 seconds according to a recent psychological study — before they answer the question. They are thinking their answer through and having an internal dialogue, and until they are completely happy with their planned response they will not answer. Extroverts do not like silence, so you will never catch them waiting that long to speak. They will eagerly fill the silence with some comment and then think through what they really want to say on the hoof.

So remember next time you are talking with someone, whatever the purpose: if they are not answering you as quickly as you would like, they are probably introverted and this is their preferred way of living. Or if someone seems to be dominating the conversation, they are probably extroverted.

Once you are aware of their energy source — solar or battery — then you can adapt your communication style accordingly, reap the benefits of knowing who you are, and celebrate the differences in people.

Extroverts

Introverts

• Energized by the flow of energy outward into the environment
• Attuned to the external world
• Prefer to communicate by talking
• Work out ideas by talking them through
• Learn best through doing or discussing
• Have broad

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