This Week in Tokyo – 14 February 2023

Happy Valentine’s Day from the World’s Greatest Metropolis!

Featured image – Love Love Love: In the series of works started in 2016 and presented in the Roppongi Crossing 2023 exhibition at Mori Art Museum, Yokoyama Nami paints realistic renditions of neon signs she commissioned of words such as “History” and “LOVE” that have been handwritten by those close to her, including family members and friends.

The handwriting of those close to her, traced by the luminous glass tubes, serves as a representation of the people who wrote it. Furthermore, the presence of the backing, such as the frame that supports the glass tubes and the power cables, suggests the depth of that word for that person, or what lies behind the words themselves. It is for this reason that Yokoyama depicts all components of the neon signs in her paintings.

When the various shapes of “LOVE” written by those close to her converge, they create a comforting world, just like the way neon signs gently illuminate their surroundings.

Roppongi Crossing is a series of co-curated exhibitions staged every three years by the Mori Art Museum. Catch it until 26 March!

Anju at Chanel Nexus: ‘A girl philosophy – Anju Photo Exhibition`’ was on at Chanel Nexus Hall from 18 January to 12 February 2023.

Born in Tokyo, Anju moved to France after being scouted as a model when she was a student, and went on to work as an international model, appearing in the Paris Collection among other achievements. After returning to Japan, she published the novel The Circus Boy and became a photographer. She subsequently went on to create her own unique world of photographs with stories into which Missing Girl, A Tiny Sun, and other novels are woven.

In her own words: “Having hovered between life and death due to illness in my childhood, I realized that life is finite. You cannot take photos of things that do not physically exist. But invariably, I yearn to take photos of what the eye cannot see: the meaning of life, time, emotions, beauty and love, fantasy, and stories that have these things concealed within. A girl philosophy brings the universal questions that arose during childhood into focus through iconic tales known throughout the world, to explore where these little girl philosophers progress toward as they live through unstable times.”

Nihongo Night at Tokyo Comedy Bar: Tokyo Comedy Bar is THE venue in Tokyo for Stand-Up Comedy, with a great line-up of craft beers to boot. And speaking of the interaction of chuckles and brews… Sam B, Digital Media Manager of Baird Beer, MC’d a special Valentine’s Day night of Japanese Stand-Up on 8 February, introducing acts like BJ Fox, Vinay Murthy and Ruben VM. Here he is in full flow!

The new normal from Ryusuisen: Founded in 1865, Ichinoya Sake Brewery’s famed sake is made in Shinano-Omachi in Nagano Prefecture, giving them access to delicious water from the Northern Alps.

I was honoured to be invited to an event at the Japan Sake and Shochu Information Centre for the launch of their Ryusuisen brand.

Based on the concept of ‘Sake that maximizes the pleasure of eating’, the Ryusuisen brand has three series – basic, new normal and premium – and each series consists of up to three grades – Standard, Premier Cru and Limited.

  • Basic: Fruity and easy to drink.
  • New normal: Effervescent with a relatively low alcohol content of 13% or less
  • Premium: Limited releases using the finest sake rice and aged for over a year.

One aspect that I found interesting is the use of multiple types of water, adopting the optimal brewing water for each product.

From January to October 2023, 2 to 3 products a month will be released. In total, over 25 products should hit the market. I highly recommend you check them out!

Kanpai Planet is 2!: Thursday 9 February 2023 marked the two-year anniversary of the release of the first video on the Kanpai Planet YouTube channel.

It all began with a review of the Foo Fighters’ Japanese Sake release on 9 February 2021.

In the intervening two years I’ve:

– Dropped over 50 long-form videos about whisky, sake, shochu, energy drinks, regulations and more
– Released ‘Making Sake on Sado’, the most comprehensive documentary series about sake-making ever produced
– Featured exclusive interviews with some of the most important move makers and shakers in the Japan drinks scene
– Attended drinks events the length and breadth of Japan
– Trained a Swiss Hotel on their Japanese Whisky menu
– Produced sponsored content to help promote Japanese sake
– Given lectures and tours – online and offline – about Japanese whisky and sake
– Guested on a number of podcasts, livestreams and other fantastic drinks-focused YouTube channels
– Been invited to speak in the US and Australia about Japan’s drinks
– Made introductions and connections which will lead to some very exclusive bottlings at some very exclusive places!

It’s been an incredible journey. I am very proud of what has been covered and achieved, and the reaction to it.

As always, it’s the people who make the places, and Kanpai Planet is no exception. The platform wouldn’t be where it is without YOU, the viewers.

A large shout out to all the contributors at Please consider becoming one of them and supporting the future of Kanpai Planet.

We continue… and Kanpai!

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