In the Belly of the Whale, Louis Vuitton Foundation, Paris

Approaching the building, possibly the Magnum Opus of Frank Gehry’s career, is an unexpectedly emotional experience. Beginning with the childhood trope of, “Is it a bird, is it a plane…?” and continuing on to the discomfort of confronting extreme departures from form, the structure is composed of contradictions and surprises. Frank Gehry is an interventionist, […]

Excalibur, Kanesoh Knife Shop, Tokyo

Some women fall prey to Manolos, while others lose their heads (and 401K’s) to Chanel or Louis Vuitton. I’m just not that kind of girl. For me, it’s kitchen stuff – wasabi graters made of sharkskin, spoons and ladles, stoneware, katsuobushi shavers. Above all, carbon steel, given a final bump and grind, while you watch, […]

Miyajima, Beyond the Gate

The vast majority of visitors to Miyajima remain on the island for only a few short hours, a day trip from Hiroshima. Not venturing past the torii gate, paying their respects at Itsukushima, they return to the ferry terminal, stopping along the way to shop on lively Omotesando street with its restaurants, food stalls, and […]

Backstreets and Alleys, Kyoto

A very narrow alley, barely wide enough for two pedestrians side-by-side, running from Shijo-dori to Sanjo-dori, one block west of the Kayo River, Pontocho Alley is one of Kyoto’s most atmospheric dining streets. It offers a wide variety of dining options, from inexpensive yakitori to exclusive establishments requiring the right connections and a very fat […]