I grew up in a mixed Japanese and Western-style wooden house in Tokyo. Both of my parents worked, so whenever I was home I loved watching the traditional Japanese carpenters who frequently renovated our house.
We lived in a residential area close to Hanegi Park. The park was beautifully landscaped and perfect for adventures in the 1960s. My friends and I often found our way to a bomb shelter that was still there from World War II. It had been closed but someone had found a way to open it. The shelter was my favorite place to play. It was like an underground house, free of parental supervision. There was a sense of freedom there.
My father, Mitsuaki, was an executive at Toyota, and my mother, Sachiko, is a fashion designer who owned a couture boutique near the Higashi-Matsubara train station—a 10-minute walk from our house. My mother was always busy, so a maid came in to clean and cook, and look after my younger brother and me. My mother’s eye for fashion and design didn’t influence my aesthetics, but because she often went off to see European fashion shows, I was always curious about studying abroad. Today, my mother designs my clothes. […]