Uh oh, I just found these two unfinished blog posts in my drafts... I wrote them on the way back from Japan and Korea back in November last year! Really must remember to update...Anyway, onto the Japan leg of the trip:
I just got back from a two-week trip to Asia with our head designer Stacey. We spent 3 days in Japan staying at the New Otani Hotel. She joined me on my usual morning jogs around the Palace heading back on the last leg through the hotel’s 5 acres Japanese garden complete with bridges, waterfalls and carp fish. Apparently it was a traditionally lucky weekend to be married in the Japanese calendar and so we witnessed 5 weddings in one day!
We spent the first evening with Nigel Cabourn and his team. Nigel took us to his favourite hangout in Tokyo – George’s Jazz Bar that boasts the first ever jukebox in Japan. The walls are covered with posters and signatures of all the Jazz Greats and as we watched Nigel sing along to his favourite tunes into the wee hours of the morning. I couldn’t help but wonder how the place must have really buzzed back in its heyday.
The following morning we had 5 hours of meetings all in the restaurant of our hotel. Combined with the jetlag, we were completely exhausted by the end of it to say the least. That afternoon we spent a few hours looking around Isetan Department Store. Apparently more people pass through the ground floor of the building each year than the number of people who visit Disneyland...it really is incredible. I gave Stacey a tour of the building and she couldn’t get over the scale and diverse range of brands and products on offer. We stopped by our concession in the men’s formal department to see the shop floor boys who were delighted with the shortbread biscuits we had brought them all the way from London. A regular customer was in, and I spent some time with him and his girlfriend selecting the right look for a wedding he was going to. We decided on a navy peak lapel 1-button number with a twill white shirt with turn back cuffs. We accessorised the look with a shot navy and emerald green tie. I suspect he might outdo the groom!
That evening we headed to Inakaya, a Japanese Robatayaki restaurant in Roppongi which our Japanese business partners call a ‘shouting restaurant’. It was an experience to say the least! Two chefs sit in front of a long hotplate with a wide selection of raw foods that you select from and watch them cook in front of you. Each time you select something from the smorgasbord the chefs shout out your order and then all the waiters echo it throughout the restaurant. There was one young man serving us who looked like a Japanese version of Steve Erkle from Family Matters but with a baritone voice - “thank you very much”. I particularly liked the crunchy crabs and BBQ field mushrooms which went down a treat with the saki served in wooden cube cups! How very Japanese!!
The next morning we stopped by to have a quick breakfast with Nigel Cabourn again before heading to his new store which just opened. It is fantastically merchandised with old war items and vintage clothing and furniture. His team looked great all decked out in his range of washed shrunken jackets and cotton trousers. Nigel loved the idea of girls wearing items from his guys range and so had Stacey try on all the coats in his collection. We had a brief tour of his design studio (based directly above the store) where he gave us a preview of the Autumn/Winter 2010 collection before we rushed off to catch our plane to Korea...
Email Tim: firstname.lastname@example.org