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A real find: Tokyo of 'Lost in Translation'
February 29, 2004 | By Charlie Amter, Special to The Chronicle
(02-29) 04:00 PST Tokyo — 2004-02-29 04:00:00 PST Tokyo -- Whether or not Sofia Coppola's "Lost in Translation" wins the Best Picture Oscar tonight, it's the film that captures today's postmodern Tokyo best. From the Shinjuku district's futuristic high-rises to Shibuya's busy game centers and karaoke parlors, "Lost in Translation" also cuts through the maze of Tokyo's tourist traps and reveals some of thehippest urban hideaways where a black-clad San Franciscan would feel right at home.
The club's name is not especially apt, since Air is in a basement, but the scene is jumping here on weekends, with a good mix of hip-hop heads and house divas dancing the night away. White vinyl chairs only look immaculate here -- the club is a bit on the dingy side. Nevertheless, the sound system here is first-rate and the club experience authentic at Air. Just one stop away from Shibuya is the highly underrated and underexplored Daikanyama, seen in several scenes of "Lost in Translation." The neighborhood feels positively sedate compared to the youthful and noisy bustle of Shibuya, with sophisticated boutiques such as Christian Lacroix dotting the tree-lined streets and fashionable artist types trying to keep a low profile.
In the Omotesando/Harajuku district, hundreds of hip boutiques rub shoulders here with Tokyo flagship shops from some of the biggest brand names in the world, such as Gucci. This is also the epicenter of Tokyo's teen youth fashion scene -- and all the outlandish manifestations of Japanese fashion sensibilities can be seen on the backs of Omotesando and Harajuku's wild teens. Coppola chose the A.P.C. Underground clothing store here as the setting for her film's strip club scene. One of the trendier stores in Omotesando/Harajuku, A.P.C. is located in a basement space on a well-traveled side street. The small, womb-like shop has distinctive, wooden curved walls and an even more distinctive collection of clothes. Minimalism is the word at A.P.C., and short black dresses move out of this store at an alarming rate despite the prohibitive price tags.
By Charlie AmterSource: A real find: Tokyo of "Lost in Translation"published on SFGate.com
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