The humans of Tokyo make this metropolis pulse with energy. In this Voice of Tokyo, from our May-June 2022 issue, we check in with four of the many Tokyo voices that make the cacophony a symphony.

Gaelle Roques, Fashion PR

The girl from the French countryside has always dreamed of bigger cities and travels. That’s why she started teaching herself Japanese, eventually enrolling as an international student at a Japanese university and then moving into the world of high fashion.

What’s your current obsession?

Does my job count? I’m keeping up with Tokyo’s fashion and culture scene and there are always so many new things. Apart from that, I recently moved to a new place with a huge balcony and I’m having fun decorating it and learning how to take care of plants.

Apart from us foreigners, what makes Tokyo cosmopolitan?

The fact that there is always a place somewhere for everyone in this big city. So many subcultures and communities.

What’s the best fashion item you’ve seen on the streets of Tokyo recently?

Two things have caught my eye recently: leather harnesses for shoes and a long red vinyl coat.

Tell us a Tokyo secret!

It’s not really a secret but I think that the islands in the south of Tokyo are very underrated. Tokyo has about a dozen small islands you can reach within a few hours by boat from Shinagawa.

Kosuke Shimasaki, Photographer

This Tokyo-based photographer finds his themes in the beauty and the transience of life. That’s why his photos span multiple genres and mediums: both digital and analog, as well as portraits and cityscapes. And he does it all through his own distinctive perspective.

What’s your current obsession?

Reading books and photo books. One of the best new books I have read recently is Yoshimori Marui’s Genealogy of Contemporary Photography. Another book I recommend is Distances by French photographer Romain Laprade.

What does it mean to be a Tokyo Walker?

Tokyo Walker is a media project of mine that explores new possibilities for photography through walking. Looking for peace of mind, a slow life, interacting with people. And then putting all that through text and photos in a single story.

The beauty of cherry blossoms is so hard to capture. What’s your trick for a good sakura photo?

Of course, shoot on a sunny day with a blue sky. Alternatively, try and get a close-up shot of the blossoms.

Follow Kosuke on Instagram.

Fara Taraie, Designer and Entrepreneur

This long-time Tokyoite is a force to be reckoned with. She’s the founder of New Norm Design and, and a manager at Impactech Japan. A University of Tokyo alumna, she’s worked in architecture and design for a decade, and currently sustainability is one of her biggest passions.

What’s your current obsession?

Anything to do with sustainability, design and technology. Helping social growth and innovation is another thing. I also used to enjoy long walks and picnics before the pandemic.

What makes Tokyo cosmopolitan and is the city a great environment for innovation?

I don’t really believe it’s the size or structure of the city itself that can help innovation, more so it’s the people and policies. Innovation needs a sense of risk-taking that the current political and social structure of Tokyo or Japan in general lacks. I would like to help change that. Only a small portion of the overall population in Tokyo has an international mindset.

What upcoming efforts for sustainability in Japan are you excited about?

I would love to see places like CiC (Cambridge Innovation Center) in Toranomon grow and pop up everywhere. Communities, startups and more support for sustainability in general. I hope to see more clients interested in sustainability in design and architecture in 2022.

What’s a perfect Tokyo day for you?

A nice walk around my favorite gallery and lunch with friends. Maybe a walk in the park close to my house. It’s on top of a small hill with a river surrounding it. I love the wind there.

Yusuke Ajima, Lead Vocalist of Yowamushi Club

Ajima rocked the Tokyo music scene as the vocalist of post-punk band The Flickers from 2011 to 2016. After that, he founded the electro-punk band Yowamushi Club in 2017. Although the frontman can be shy with words, the stage is where he truly shines.

What’s your current obsession?

Skateboarding. I practice it during break time at work and after work every day. It’s very difficult and I learn the use of my body every time I fall. I think it’s very interesting to overcome pain and fear.

Yowamushi can be a word to insult the weak — why do you use it as the band’s name?

Because I want to affirm my own and other people’s weaknesses. I want to shine a light on our hang-ups and sublimate that into positive expressions.

What is Tokyo the best at?

Tokyo is very convenient and it’s also walkable.

If you were to choose only one sound to represent Tokyo, what would it be?

A song titled “neo tokyo” by The Flickers, my former band. I made that song to be an audio image of Tokyo.

Check out the music of Yowamushi Club


Read the previous installments of TW’s Voice of Tokyo:

Voice of Tokyo #1 | Voice of Tokyo #2 | Voice of Tokyo #3 | Voice of Tokyo #4