Welcome special AT: Asia correspondent, Ellie Nagata, who will be reporting from Kyoto, Japan about design related topics from across the Pacific. Tell us what you think!
While there are many publications in Japan that are dedicated or related to interior decoration in some way, the majority seems to cater to those who live in (or are planning to build) houses, or very large apartments at the least. The reality, however, usually isn't quite so spacious for the young and single. The notoriously cramped quarters in Kyoichi Tsuzuki's Tokyo: A Certain Style are not necessarily the norm, but many of us do inhabit fairly small spaces. So, what to do?
Amongst the books and magazines about building houses in the country, or expensive French and Scandinavian designer goods, are a handful of magazines and mooks (magazine-books) with a bunch of tips and tricks to make your 6-jō (literally, six tatami mats, or approximately 107 sq. ft.) studio more stylish and comfortable. Here are some examples: ひとり暮らしをとことん楽しむ! Hitorigurashi wo tokoton tanoshimu! This is a quarterly magazine from Shufu to Seikatsu-sha; The title literally translates to "thoroughly enjoying living alone", which sounds neutral enough, but it appears to mostly cater towards women. The most recent issue (June 2007) includes several articles related to cleaning and organizing one's room, color coordination for small apartments, dieting-appropriate recipes for one, a look at the readers'; monthly expenses, and living with pets. ひとり暮らしの Room Style Hitorigurashi no Room Style This book from Shufu to Seikatsu-sha reassembles and expands articles from the twelve-volume mook series, Roomsひとり暮らしの部屋づくり (Rooms hitorigurashi no heyadzukuri). It includes pictures of 16-20 m2 (172.2-215.3 sq. ft.) studios, as well as redecoration tips from a professional interior decorator; a manual on searching for apartments and on moving; DIY projects; recipes for one; and some tips and ideas regarding furniture. 狭くても広々暮らせるプロの技 Semakutemo hirobiro kuraseru puro no waza This book from Shufu no tomo-sha presents tips from a professional interior coordinator on making small spaces look more spacious. As you can see, making your room look spacious is pretty much the holy grail for those living in Japanese studios, where building your own walk-in closet is not an option. __________ 僕らのリアルインテリア Bokura no rearu interia For some reason, most interior decoration publications, even within this narrow subgenre, cater toward women; here's one for the guys. This series of mooks from Shufu to Seikatsu-sha, connected with the magazine JUNON, focuses on studios and one-bedroom apartments for men. The latest volume features 500(!) different studio apartments, articles on sofas and chairs, interior decoration tips on making your room more comfortable, a catalog of lighting equipment, storage techniques, DIY remodeling projects, a before/after redecoration section with readers' rooms, and (in the big green text at the bottom) a major feature on mature interior decoration that will make your room look less like that of a student and get you more girls. -Ellie