While walking up the street in Shibuya this evening this evening, I came across a store with an intriguing name: Three Minutes Happiness, so of course I wandered in. Near as I can tell, it seems to be owned by the fashion chain Comme des Garçons. The first floor had very low-priced fashion accessories (scarves, barrettes, makeup, etc) so it wasn't particularly interesting, but the second floor got my attention -- dry goods, like a version of Crate & Barrel, with spare-looking and pastel-shaded dinnerware, kitchenware, and housewares, at very low prices. Very nice looking, and I wound up buying some basic chopsticks, wooden chopsticks rests (¥105 each) and little square dishes that match some square plates I had from IKEA (¥150 each), and air fresheners in tins like cat-food cans (vanilla, ¥105 each). Nice, uncluttered designs, so I may go back to supplement my existing Muji fetish.
I also dropped in to the Tower Records bookshop nearby -- a big English-language book and magazine source in search -- unsuccessful -- of a newspaper (the International Herald Tribune, that is). While there, I browsed and looked over their offerings including their many displays. Like all Tower Records stores, they had displays set up highlighting whatever artists or themes take the fancy of the store people -- in this particular store I’ve seen displays set up for particular authors, Beat literature, Charles Bukowski, and other such topics. One particular display today, however, caught my eye, for Chipp Kidd.
Chip Kidd is not a book writer -- at least not primarily one. What he is is a book designer, known for revolutionizing book cover design starting in the 1980s or so (he actually has written a couple of novels, as well as putting together some collections of comic-related items, including collections of Batman and Peanuts material). The books in this display included not only the material he produced, but merely those books that he had designed.
This is not a completely out-of-the-blue idea or obscure, as the first I'd heard of the guy was here, through two exhibitions devoted to his work over the last few years. Both were at a graphics gallery in the Ginza, with one featuring just his book design work, while the other being devoted to his newly published book collecting the art of Charles Schulz. I actually have a copy of the latter book on my shelf.