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the scene

Bunkamura Museum of Art
The opening of Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collection
Photos by Carlo Niederberger

Actor, singer and songwriter Fumiya Fujii Anthony Calnek, Guggenheim Museum Deputy Director of Communications and Publishing
Guggenheim Museum Chief Curator Lisa Dennison Ex-Morning Musume icon Natsumi Abe


Steve Lidbury
Courtesy of Postnormal

Steve Lidbury is busy. Within the past year, the 27-year-old has devised interiors for XLMS, a new Chinese fashion brand with shops in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, in addition to projects closer to home like the new men’s section of the Harajuku select shop Addition and the interior of Shibuya’s Obi Supper Lounge (see Bar review). London native Lidbury came to Tokyo in 2001 after a two-year stint at the prestigious Fabrica institute in Treviso, Italy, and he soon hooked up with two other expat designer/artists to found a collective called Postnormal (postnormal.com). What brought you to Japan? I was offered a private sponsorship by Benetton PR director Takako Watanabe. There was no hesitation to my answer; I knew it was the next place for me to develop my design and cultural philosophies. After England and Italy, Japan was the next challenge for me and it’s here that I aim to make my breakthrough as a designer. what are three spaces or objects not to be missed in Tokyo? The homeless “village” in Ueno Park. Prada Store, Aoyama. Nakajin Capsule Building, Ginza. What are biggest differences BETWEEN the design scene in Japan AND that in the West? Generally speaking, I see the enthusiasm and appreciation for design/art/etc. among the general public in Japan in a much more visible manner. Concrete—for or against? Depends on how it’s used. how did Postnormal get started? Postnormal was initially started with the three designers sharing similar goals to design independent interior projects in Japan. Each of us had been here for a different length of time, each with different backgrounds and design styles…[Our] interior projects often incorporate art direction and the creation and design of furniture, products, graphics and photography. What did you do last weekend? Worked my arse off for a presentation! ST


star struck

Jolly green giants
Mike Myers, Cameron diaz and their Japanese counterparts hit it big again with Shrek 2

by Chris Betros

Masatoshi Hamada, Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz and Norika Fujiwara
Credit: Chris Betros

Voice actors seldom get the credit they deserve for a difficult job, but thanks to the phenomenal success of movies like Shrek and Shrek 2, among others, stars like Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz , Eddie Murphy and Antonio Banderas are actually becoming identified with the characters whose voices they provide.

“You start to fall in love with the character and you quickly forget it’s Eddie Murphy or Cameron or Antonio. All you see is the donkey, Princess Fiona or Puss In Boots. I just love being in that world,” said Myers, 41, who provides the voice of the title ogre, on a recent visit to Tokyo.

For Japanese voice actors Masatoshi Hamada, 41, and Norika Fujiwara, 33, it’s a double challenge. They were encouraged to make the characters their own and to add their own distinctive touch, but at the same time, they had to be in sync. “All Cameron and Mike have to do is talk. Norika and I have the hard part. It’s extremely difficult to match the voice with the animation perfectly. I didn’t have the luxury of thinking how I could be funny. I even felt like quitting sometimes,” groaned Hamada. ”I’ve really come to understand how hard voice acting is.”

Fujiwara said she, too, had the same difficulty, but having done the first film and knowing Diaz quite well were a big help. “I worried about it a lot at first, but I can relate to the character of Princess Fiona, so it was fun as well.”
Shrek 2 picks up where the first one ended two years ago. Newly married Shrek and his newly ogrefied bride Princess Fiona are invited to her home, the kingdom of Far Far Away (which looks like Beverly Hills), by her parents, the king (John Cleese) and queen (Julie Andrews) who are unaware that their son-in-law is a green ogre with the manners of a slob. All the old characters are back, including Donkey (Murphy), while some new ones have been added, most notably Puss In Boots, a rogue cat hired by the king to do Shrek in.

Banderas, 44, has been getting rave reviews for his scene-stealing performance as the cat. “It’s funny,” the Spanish actor said. “When I came to America to make my first movie, The Mambo Kings, in 1992, I couldn’t speak a word of English. Now I’ll probably end up being known more for my voice than my appearance. If I had been at another point in my career, it might have concerned me, but now I like this cat more than I like myself.”