Monday, June 22, 2009

still japanese

tomoko sawada
tomoko sawada

sawada is funny.
upon first glance, her photography seems straightforward - studio portraits, class pictures, and photo booth prints make you wonder what sets sawada apart from regular commercial photography. but upon closer look, it's easy to see sawada's sense of humor.

i sent asked tomoko a few questions about her transition from being a japan-based to a nyc-based artist. tomoko admits that she had been interested in becoming an artist since junior high school, but it wasn't until university that she developed an interest in photography. she has done several exhibitions outside of japan, though most of her work was produced in within japan.
tomoko admits that though many people view her work as statment pieces about japan, her orignial intent was not to make a statement about japan or japanese culture. when i asked tomoko who the lady was in her most popular work, she answers, "i don't know which work is most popular." i can't tell if she doesn't want to tell me who the mystery lady with the round face and cute smile is, or if she didn't understand that i was much more interested in finding out the woman's identity than claiming which work was most popular...whoever she is, her face will be floating around my japanese dreams for a long time to come.

sawada in japan
sawada on artnet

first and foremost

welcome to hello houndstooth.

hello houndstooth is about music.
hello houndstooth is about art.
hello houndstooth is about culture.

so many treats to be devoured, but where to begin? why, here of course.

(about the author)
near-mid-twenty something, soon moving back to the u.s. after two years of living in japan.
i'll be heading back to my native state of virginia, hoping to move to richmond soon.
i've been fortunate enough to do a lot of traveling in the last couple of years and i'd like to use this space to make a sort of cultural collage, linking alternative/vintage/contemporary sights and sounds from all over. i hope to sate my constant need for music, fashion, and art, while spreading the news about the many diamonds sprinkled throughout this rough that is the internet.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


After 2 years in Osaka, I'm back in the US. The Japanese underground/indie music scene is a bit tricky to figure out, shows are often underadvertised, especially In English-language media. But, there's a whole treasure trove of quirky Japanese goodness just waiting to be discovered. Here's a start...
The Telephones (Rock/Funk/Pop) A little bit Bloc Party, a little bit Sparta, and a little funk...the Telephones offer a fresh new energy and sound to the usual Japanese rock scene. Plus, the artwork alone should get them noticed.

The Beaches
(Pop/Rock) Surf music, reggae, and ska fuse to make a delightfully fun sound. Though The Beaches are from Tokyo, you can hear some Okinawan island influences in some songs like the background on "Hana hou."

Mad Masato (Psychobilly) I think the photo of this dude can pretty much sum it up…psycho(billy). I'm not sure what the following is for a genre-within a genre here in Japan, but with a song title like "Devour the Bleeding Bitch," I don't think Masato is too worried about alienating anyone.

My Proof (Screamo/Nu-metal)Definitely influenced by Chaimara, and some more recent screamo, but with a bit of J-Rock vocals in the mix. Fortunately they don't overdo it with the whiny J-rock singing and balance it well with the screaming. Check out: "In the Name of Justice"

Endzweck (Hardcore)
Endzweck deserves praise in spite of their indecipherable name. Hardcore, pure and simple. Don't bother going to their webpage as it's very scant. The last time I checked, the player on their myspace page was freaking out, so head on over to
to give 'em a listen.

And for dessert…
80KIDZ (Electronic/Dance)

This Tokyo-based outfit released their latest album "Welcome to My Shit" in April 2009. Often remix-based, 80KIDZ offer electronic music that doesn't dominate the rock and pop foundations that they stir up. I.E. 80KIDZ produce an enjoyable sound that even us non-electronophiles can believe in.