As an editor based in Tokyo for the past five years, I continue to be fascinated by the way people think, live, work and play in this complex mega city. Herein is a collection of stories about people and place, as gathered from within the city’s vast array of neighbourhoods.

Photo by Toshimichi Sakaki

Pasona: Plant Life

Assemble Papers

“When you first catch sight of Pasona HQ your eyes transfix – unable to divert nor wander. Located at the intersection of two busy avenues in Tokyo’s downtown business district of Nihombashi, the verdant building appears to move with its own natural rhythm against a backdrop of hulking concrete towers.”

Paddlers Coffee – Make yourself at home

Is Japan Cool? | All Nippon Airways

“It is a rare yet brilliant moment when you come across a place that, having been crafted with the warmth and attention to detail usually reserved for private spaces, feels so comfortable that you can’t help but want to make it yours for the day. Tucked away in a former residence just off the Nishihara shotengai, Paddlers Coffee is a cafe with a homely charm that has quickly become a neighbourhood favourite since opening its doors earlier this year.”

Yanaka on two wheels – Explore at your own pace with tokyobike

Is Japan Cool? | All Nippon Airways

“With the exception of a handful of busy thoroughfares, the general lack of traffic (at times there’s more pedestrians than cars) not only allows for stress-free riding, but gives you the piece of mind to explore and delve into the area at your own pace. Therein begins the simple pleasure of cruising the famous curves of Hebi Michi, the mellow street that divides Yanaka and Sendagi, not to mention the arms-width laneways and the occasional rolling hill that quickly sends you down into the backstreets.”

Ace Kissa and the original nori toast

The Thousands Tokyo

“Almost as remarkable as the toast is that fact that the old-style cafe has remained largely unchanged since the two brothers helped their late father open its doors in 1971, shortly after they graduated from the now-closed barista’s college in Shimbashi.”

Snow Shoveling – Dig for old classics, uncover new favourites

Is Japan Cool? | All Nippon Airways

“All too often a casual visit turns into an enjoyably long undertaking, so much so that it’s not unusual to find an assortment of people – from yoga instructors to photographers and university students – casually lingering mid-chapter, mid-conversation, mid-coffee (or some combination thereof) on the motley circle of armchairs and couches.”

One Day in Tokyo

The Thousands Tokyo

This video feature follows me on a journey across the city and back again as I visit some of the places and people – from craftsmen to bakers and a nomadic artist – that have become a part of The Thousands’ community.

The White Paper
This site is an informal archive of feature articles and other projects by Ben Davis.

Ben Davis
Ben is an Australian-born editor based in Tokyo since 2010. Known for his hands-on approach to capturing the charm of local places, he is the former editor of The Thousands Tokyo, columnist for ANA’s ‘Is Japan Cool?’ website and has contributed to publications including Monocle (UK), LS:N Global (UK), Popeye (JP) and Assemble Papers (AU).

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「The White Paper」について

オーストラリア出身の編集者。2010年より東京を拠点に活動。ローカルな視点から都市を紹介するオンラインマガジン「The Thousands」東京版の元編集者。ANAの訪日外国人向けサイト「Is Japan Cool?」にコラムを寄せるなど、地域の魅力を伝えている。