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The Subtle Art of Japanese Curation

Alan Tsen
Alan Tsen
1 min read
The Subtle Art of Japanese Curation
A retro homage to American revival in the backstreet of Shinjuku 📸 Alan Tsen

Table of Contents

Wandering through Japan, you quickly pick up on a unique vibe: a deep appreciation for the past, brilliantly repurposed for today. On a trip earlier this year, I got to see this firsthand, whether buzzing through the tech paradise of Akihabara or exploring the quaint vintage shops of Shimokitazawa.

It’s like the whole country has embraced the art of kintsugi—where broken pottery is fixed with gold, not just to mend but to enhance. Here, there’s a story behind everything. Those old gadgets and retro jackets? They’re not just kept around; they’re celebrated, given a new lease on life. They're given the kintsugi treatment, brought back to life with a cultural coat of gold enamel.

In Akihabara, you feel it in the reverence for classic electronics—these aren’t dusty relics but prized pieces, each with a fan base. Over in Shimokitazawa, the vintage stores are more like treasure troves, where fashion from yesteryears gets a modern twist and a chance to shine again. These spots aren’t just shops; they’re galleries, each piece displayed with pride.

As life speeds by, Japan’s thoughtful way of holding onto the old offers a refreshing pause. There’s a beauty in how things last here and a lesson in the stories they tell. It’s about more than just keeping things for the sake of it—it’s about valuing what they represent and letting them enrich our modern lives. In Japan, every item invites you to slow down, appreciate its journey, and maybe see your world a little differently.

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🌞 Day: Looking for my next thing 🌚 Night: investor in fintech startups + former chair of Fintech Australia, writer of Fintech Radar.