This Week in Tokyo – 19 January 2021
Welcome to ‘This Week in Tokyo’, a review of the Maction Planet week that was and a look ahead to what’s coming up in the city. Hosted by Mac, our Founder and Lead Guide, you can check out photos from our tours and read insights into our explorations as we get under the skin of the World’s Greatest Metropolis, and beyond! This week: Doraemon x Parco; Ebisu x Tomohiro Todoroki; Shadow of the Torii; Shibuya Station graffiti extravaganza and Toy Sapiens MV.
Featured image – Doraemon x Parco: From 2 – 17 January these Doraemon were outside Shibuya Parco, as part of their ドランバザール (Doran Bazaaru) event. What’s a Doran Bazaaru? Bazaaru is Bazaar in Japanese. Grand is written グラン in katakana. A Doran Bazaar is a Doraemon-promoted Grand Bazaar. We do love our wordplay here.
The world’s most famous robot cat from the future was shilling himself to cross-promote his new movie ‘Stand By Me 2’.
Ebisu x Tomohiro Todoroki: The Seibu Shibuya department store has collaborated with many creators under their ‘Art meets Life’ concept. From 29 December 2020 to 17 January 2021 their featured artist was Tomohiro Todoroki, an artist famous for his vehicle paintings, with works in the permanent collections of the Toyota Automobile Museum and the Italian National Automobile Museum.
The solo exhibition was titled ‘HAPPY DRIVE! + Blessing 2021!’ and featured 30 pieces. Alongside some of Todoroki’s class ‘Car’ series acrylic works, new works featuring the Seven Gods of Fortune and Maneki Neko (Beckoning Cat) were unveiled in order to celebrate the new year. It was a great exhibition showcasing Todoroki’s unique style.
This cutout out of Ebisu, my favourite of the Seven Gods of Fortune, greeted shoppers as they entered the Seibu Department Store from Koen-dori. I hope your 2021 is as happy as he looks!
Shadow of the Torii: I love the Hanazono Shrine in Shinjuku. For the last couple of years I’ve headed there for the annual Tori no Ichi festival.
I snapped this as I was taking a masked, socially distanced stroll around the shrine at night. I love the shadows cast by the imposing torii.
Shibuya Station graffiti extravaganza: For 3 days in September 2020, Shibuya Station was plastered with graffiti! Why? The Tokyu Toyoko Department Store at Shibuya Station, whose predecessor opened in 1934, closed in September 2020. The West and South Buildings of the department store will be dismantled and the area redeveloped. How best to use a space that is about to be demolished? Host one of the country’s largest legal graffiti projects, of course! Incredible artworks, drawn overnight on 23 September, were on display for 3 days. Murals, tags, detailed paintings… you name it, it was there! I was lucky enough to visit and documented it all for you to enjoy!
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Toy Sapiens MV: In August, a dear friend of mine in New York messaged me mentioning that if I ever went down to Osaka and got a chance to “visit and do a video of Toy Sapiens, [he’d] love to see it.” I said I would try to head there soon, and we left it at that. It hasn’t been the best year for my friend. House catches fire with major damage, pandemic, losing his job and then being diagnosed with cancer. Ordinarily I would have been on a plane straight away but, you know, that’s not been straightforward to do lately. The next best thing I could do to cheer him up was to head to Toy Sapiens and fulfil my promise to make the video. That’s exactly what I did in October, and finally our first-ever music video is out. 3 and a half minutes of fun for all Marvel fans. Enjoy!