Meet the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world: Shibuya, Tokyo . . .

IT’S one of the busiest pedestrian crossings in the world. Five major crosswalks converge together, and up to 2500 people try to cross the road at each change of lights. But remarkably, it’s orderdly. There’s no pushing and everyone is polite.

That could be because the crossing is in Tokyo, the world’s largest city. Its 34 million residents are used to crowds, and even during rush hour everyone is totally ordered.

The busy crossing is located in the city’s Shibuya district, home to one of Tokyo’s busiest train stations.

It’s a cacophony of noise, of billboards, mega-lighting, neons, cool kids, gigantic buildings and fast strides.

But when the pedestrian light turns green, the race is on and they’re (we ALL are) on a pedestrian crossing mission.

But in among what COULD be a complete schmozzle and pacing disaster zone, everyone gets where they are going with little fuss.

So, yes, I just HAD to give it a go.

Weirdly, and as if in on some kind of automotive cue, the human masses on all four corners surge forward once the ‘walk’ light turns green.

Seen brilliantly from above — like I did from possibly one of the most popular vantage points, umm, the panoramic Starbucks and also from the lift of the Excel Shibuya hotel — every ‘body’ was like a soldier entering battle.

There was no clashing in the middle — crossing the road is more like poetry in motion, a nearly choreographed event (or a fluid Tai-Chi or yoga class, at least) where every movement seemed to be ordered and seamless.

At each given time, the mass of legs and moving bodies may only last a minute, but as soon as that 60 seconds of movement is up, the crossing reverts back to being a sea of bleeting and beeping cars, buses and coloured taxis.

Sure, there are always a few stragglers. (Hello me!) – who use every last second to finally get to the ‘other side’. (Usually busy on a device snapping away.)

It’s funny, but nearly everywhere else in the world a huge pedestrian crossing like this could be daunting.

But weirdly, all of the passing peeps don’t seem as chaotic and mad as those on other major intersections in cities like New York, Paris, London, Melbourne, Sydney or the total madness of Beijing.

Simply, the simple art of walking through a pedestrian crossing at Shibuya is an experience.

Of course there is potential for a bit of human collision, but for some strange reason, it all runs so systematically and ordered.

And who would ever think that this would be something you would want to put on your travel bucket list? (By the way, Shibuya is also the home to Tokyo’s best night life.)

Well, I did. I did it. And it was actually best to experience the crossing at night time.

Even at 9pm, the place was buzzing with mega lights and billboards making it even more exhilarating and exciting.

As simple as it sounds, but how much fun was is to be part of one minute of pure, pedestrian madness and be part of complete anonymity in a sea of humans.

And all with just one common goal: to get from one side of the main streets of Shibuya to another.

Melissa is in Tokyo as a guest of fashion retailer, Max & Co.

Follow the conversation on Twitter and Instagram @melissahoyer


Olivia Palermo on social media, style, life and her role as fashion ambassador for Max & Co

OLIVIA Palermo reeks of authenticity and of just being a genuinely nice chick.

At 29, she is part of that particular posse of young “Fash-It” women who have made wearing clothes into an art form. And a very financially successful and lucrative career at that.

For those who don’t know of Olivia Palermo, she’s big time when it comes to the world of fashion blogging and her style is slavishly copied by a perfect pack of Palermo wannabes.

While she is in Tokyo with her Max & Co ambassador hat firmly on — the brand has her twirling around the world spreading the word of the chic and sporty luxe label — she’s a fan of Aussie fashion too.

“There are a few close and brands that I incorporate into my everyday wardrobe and they have this kind of sporty chic effortless thing and the playing off the prints and textures is something that I love doing and I tend to do most days,’’ she says in our interview in Tokyo.

But as far as Australian style and fashion is concerned there are three names that stick out and often feature on Olivia’s hugely popular website: Witchery, Zimmermann and Bassike.

“They all get a really great reaction whenever we have them on the site,” says Olivia.

“As far as Australian fashion goes both my husband and I love Witchery and Bassike have the BEST harem pants, ever!

“Yes, I am absolutely planning to come to Australia and we are looking at putting it on our agenda for next year, I promise.”

As far as the word ‘style’ is concerned, Olivia says innate style is about incorporating colour.

“Being a New Yorker I love black, of course, but it’s important to incorporate a splash of colour especially in accessories, whether it is a shoe, a lip, a bag or on your nails.

“I think you can shape your whole outfit around an accessory and that may sound very simple, but that’s how you really do you create your own sense of style.”

With 2.5 million Instagram followers, 377,000 Twitter followers and 908,000Facebook ‘likers’ and a hoard of fans following her official website, as far as social media is concerned Olivia admits she isn’t a die hard fan.

The OP team (as she calls her website crew) use it in order to get a message across, whether it’s for the website or a fashion label or brand association she has, But, she is no addict.

“I’m not the biggest fan of social media in the world,” says Olivia.

“We had a life before social media and we will continue to have a life after social media, “ she laughs.

“You can have those big numbers on social media but I really don’t think they mean a lot.

“I don’t think some of those numbers are incredibly accurate, I mean you look at some of those amazing Hollywood actors you know their numbers don’t necessarily match their talent, if that makes sense so I don’t really pay much attention to numbers.

“And it’s a matter of how much effort you put into it. I mean I don’t Instagram every day. I do it when I can and if I see inspiration that I like.

“But I have so much to do with every day work and a million emails to get back and so many other distractions and Instagram is not one of them.

“Sure, we use social media to let our website followers know what’s going on and that’s fantastic. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram a great platforms for brands and particularly to get out a visual message.

“We like to let our followers know about a new brand, story or support a new designer on the OP website but we don’t use it just to push product at all. We use our platforms in a very transparent and organic way and our readers appreciate that.”

As for this trip to Tokyo, Japanese fashion editors and bloggers were in awe of the Olivia factor and visibly excited when she admitted that Tokyo really is one of her favourite cities in the world (and yes, she really did mean it).

“You guys teach me about fashion every time I come here,” she told the gathered media and blogger throng after our news.com.au interview.

“Stay stylish, feel beautiful and just try to incorporate great textures and colours when you are searching for the new season.

“I am totally blown away with this store I think the exterior and the theme is just incredible. It really represents Max & Co who is an incredibly chic girl who loves rich fabrics and I think all of the details from the gold marble to the gold staircases are just beautiful.

“Mixing and matching of different patterns and clashing of prints just works so well and it’s all been put together so beautifully.

“Style for this season is about taking a mustard sweater and wearing it with a blue jacket or a green jacket so you have that nice pop of colour.”

When not in fashion modem, a normal ‘Olivia’ day is just seeing friends or taking in a gallery or museum or just hanging out and seeing friends.

As far as paparazzi intrusions are concerned she thinks she’s been pretty lucky.

“I’m pretty lucky with photographers — they get their shot — I know what they’re doing and they’re doing their job, then they pretty much leave me alone.

“And let’s face it, they have other things to do in their day too.”

it was marriage that was on the agenda last year when she married her boyfriend of eight years, German model Johannes Heubl in Bedford, New York, the bride looking spectacular in a spectacular three-piece dress by Carolina Herrera.

“We’d been together for eight years so when we did marry it didn’t change too much,” she says.

“It’s just when you are married, you are kind of bonded just so much more to each other. It’s fantastic.”

While it was the series, The City, that gave Olivia a ‘known’ face, acting isn’t something she is overly keen to pursue.

“There may be an opportunity down the track but my passion is really fashion as it is something I love and I know and I just adore being involved with it.”

Olivia says the Japanese have an innate sense of style because it is really in the culture.

“They are meticulous about everything from timing to using beautiful fabrics so I’ve been very conscious of the way they do that and have tried to incorporate that into my life.”

As for her own beauty routine she keeps it very simple and has followed the same one for life.

“You have one doctor, one dentist, so why not the same with dermatologists, make-up artists and hairdressers? Well; that’s my philosophy!”

Follow the conversation on Instagram and Twitter @melissahoyer

Melissa Hoyer was a guest in Tokyo of Max & Co

This article was originally posted on news.com.au


Jesinta Campbell talks life, love, Buddy, THAT wedding and her role with Joico helping out kids

SOME people might write her off as ‘just a model’, but Jesinta Campbell is determined to prove the doubters wrong.

The 24-year-old former Miss Australia admits her career since the pageant has been planned and very well calculated.

Since being involved in the 2010 Miss Universe quest — and coming home with the kind of kitsch ‘Miss Congeniality’ sash — both Jesinta and her management team have had a serious game plan.

Work wise, she’s been busy with everything from TV roles to ambassadorships, philanthropy and the continuation of her modelling career. She is also engaged to high-profile Sydney Swans footballer Buddy Franklin, who recently withdraw from the footy season, citing mental illness.

“I do feel like a lot has happened in five years, starting with Miss Universe Australia. I was only 18 when I won that, I was such a baby and I had never had any media training.’’ Jesinta tells Melissa Hoyer in part one of her On The Couch interview.

“I hardly ever wore heels or had any make up on. I look at that and look at where I am now and a lot has happened.

“So, I think a lot of the time a lot of people look at this and go ‘you’re just lucky’ but a lot of hard work and preparation goes into it and a lot of planning and you do things quite strategically as well, so it really is a business for me, and I’ve worked really hard to get to where I am but I do feel like a lot has happened in the past five years.”

Being tarred with the ‘but you are just a model brush’ has certainly happened but Jesinta was quick to debunk that cliche.

“Very early on I was definitely targeted with that and that’s why I did go onCelebrity Apprentice,’’ says Jesinta.

“So I think that was a real turning point for me in my career — people all of a sudden saw me as something more than a beauty queen or more than a model. So I don’t feel like I have to prove anything — I am who I am — take it or leave it — with everything that has happened lately.

“ I have had really terrible comments on social media — you know — you come across as such a wholesome women but then you pose in a bikini. And it’s like — well why can’t I pose in a bikini and have an opinion? Isn’t that what feminism is about?

“Isn’t that what being in a woman in this century is about? If I want to wear a low cut top than I can and I can still have an opinion — being sexy doesn’t mean you’re not smart.

“I think there is still that battle, like, why would you post a selfie when you want to talk about things like racism and mental health. It’s like — why can’t I post a selfie AND talk about that too? People don’t almost get it. “

As for getting seriously match-ready, as she did before her recent runway outing that saw Buddy proudly supporting her in the front row, Jesinta only has one thing to say.

“You don’t get the arse you want by sitting on the couch, unfortunately!”

Campbell, who is an ambassador for Joico’s “JOI OF GIVING” program in partnership with the Starlight Foundation, has stood by her man during his mental health battle and told her 293,000 Instagram followers she is “incredibly proud of Bud’s strength and courage”.

Follow the conversation in Twitter and Instagram @melissahoyer

This article was originally posted on news.com.au


English uber model David Gandy hits Australia for Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue scent

FROM vowing never to do a fashion show ever again, Essex-born uber model David Gandy is the real deal.

Clever, charming, down-to-earth, witty, and yes, yes, yes, handsome, this 35-year-old is one clever cookie.

“When I did my first fashion week in Milan when I was 22, which I hoped to be my last, as fashion weeks are just horrendous,” says David.

“I vowed never to do it again. You’re treated like cattle.

“Not by Dolce & Gabbana, as they have a very different way as they have a very small casting of people they choose. You go to the offices and it’s all very civilised.

“But I couldn’t believe some castings where they have 400 guys lined up and they all try on the same sweaty T-shirts that has been tried on by the last 300 guys.

“The Dolce show was the only one I did in my first season and the association continued before we negotiated the Light Blue campaign and the relationship has built and continued and grown from there.”

It was after the huge success of being the face for Dolce & Gabbana’s Light Blue men’s scent when a whole lot of other fashion houses came calling, hoping to get some dandy Gandy in their fashion shows.

“But hang on,’’ says David.

“I thought ‘where the hell were you guys when I was first here’? So no thanks very much!

“It’s the absolute loyalty between the two parties and there is a real loyalty between Dolce and me and that’s how I only like to operate.

“I don’t understand models who do one campaign and then they do all their rivals as well. You have to be clever about what you do.”

David echoes the words of fellow model Cindy Crawford when it come to brand loyalty.

“She says ‘I never want a one-night stand with a brand, I want a marriage’ and I think that sums it up perfectly.”

As the face of the Dolce & Gabbana’s fragrance (that many women have taken a shine to as well) the globally renowned model is on a fleeting visit to Australia.

“I was in the studio for GQ yesterday here and I then actually had 4 hours of walking which I never, ever do,” he smiled.

“I feel guilty for doing that but is was just such a brilliant few hours of wandering to get a feel of Sydney.”

David, who is (allegedly) dating The Saturdays singer Mollie King, says he is not an avid social media user and you won’t see him splashed over gossip sites in constant party mode.

“I use social media purely for my work,’’ he says.

“You cannot be seen in the wrong places or with the wrong people as everyone is now paparazzi at the end of the day. One wrong image can ruin your whole brand.

“I put up the things on social media I am working on but I am very protective about my private life.

“I reply to people who support you and are loyal to you but I am very reticent to expose too much of my ‘other’ life.”

The Essex-born bona fide supermodel puts his success down to brand loyalty but it is his fitness and physique (obviously) that David has become as well-known. Let’s face it, the campaign pics are testament to that.

“Health starts in the kitchen,’’ says David.

“It is all about what you put into your body. I really, really do avoid processed anything.

“Only you can be in control of your own body and your own brand.”

As for the current state of the Rugby World Cup, David grimaces when we talk about the performance of his home team, England.

“That’s why I’m here at least!” he smiles.

“You guys are looking very good. But I can’t put any money on you, I mean, I am an Englishman!”

Philanthropy is something David is incredibly aware of and uses what contacts and time he has to help out wherever and whenever he can.

“Look, it’s fashion, we’re not curing cancer but if I can help charity and younger brands and can use my ‘celebrity’ then I am happy.”

And with that, he takes in his Sydney Harbour view one more time heads off to talk the talk.

David Gandy’s tips for looking good and staying healthy:

• Everything starts in the kitchen and it’s everything in moderation

• Stay away from processed foods, processed meats or packaged foods

• Stay away from white bread, pastas, high saturated fats and high sugars

• Exercise and getting your body in shape is all about repetition

• Crunches are a load of crock: “If you want to do the plank do it but your abs don’t just get into shape with crunches. Light weights and body weights are the things to do in repetition. Do ten of each and a stop for 45 seconds and just keep going. It’s all about repetition.”

This article was originally posted on news.com.au


Box office hit musical, Aladdin, heading to Australia . . .

DISNEY’S Aladdin, the cult musical comedy based on the classic Academy Award-winning animated film, will open in Australia in 2016.

Musical mogul and President and Producer of Disney Theatrical, Thomas Schumacher, flew in from New York to officially unveil plans of the musical that has been described by credible theatre critics as “awesome”, “jaw-dropping”, “fabulous and extravagant” and “Broadway magic”.

Having seen the musical in New York earlier this year, this writer thinks it is all this and much more. Aladdin is pure, A-grade entertainment and even better, proves that a night at the theatre is the perfect antidote to sitting on your smart phone around a restaurant table or on the lounge at home all night.

“You know, we are very excited to be partnering once again with the New South Wales Government and Destination NSW on Aladdin which is our third Disney production to premiere in Sydney,’’ said Mr Schumacher. (The other three successful Disney musicals that have done well in Australia include The Lion King, Beauty & The Beast and Mary Poppins.)

“Director Casey Nicholaw and his team have created an entertainment as full of heart as it is joy and I cannot wait until we get to play it in Sydney, one of the world’s great theatre cities.”

Mr Schumacher says Australians are a big musical going population and knows they are going to love the show here.

“It’s big and it’s colourful and it’s funny plus it is also very honest and heartfelt,’’ he told news.com.au

“Our job is now to find actors who can nails the role and who are hot and beautiful.

“These people are trained like athletes. There is no pre-recording and it is pure talent that shines and ultimately leaves totally satisfied.”

The New South Wales Government, through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW, is the partner of the Disney box office smash.

“This is a real coup for NSW and we anticipate Aladdin will bring more than 120,000 visitors to Sydney, generating $39 million for the NSW economy,’’ says NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres.

“Disney Theatrical has a long and successful history of producing first-rate musical theatre productions here in Australia and we are thrilled to announce that Sydney’s magnificent Capitol Theatre will be the venue for the Australian premiere of this huge Broadway hit.”

Mr Schumacher says it is such a multicultural cast so there is great scope to have such a wide-range of performers.

“In an era where everyone’s head is stuck in their smart phone or on their tablets or on their computers, it just makes great sense to immerse yourself in pure theatre and entertainment,” he adds.

The show is produced by Disney Theatrical Productions and features music by Tony Award and eight-time Oscar winner Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Newsies, Sister Act, Little Shop of Horrors), lyrics by two-time Oscar winner Howard Ashman (Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid), three-time Tony Award and three-time Oscar winner Tim Rice (Evita, Aida) and four-time Tony Award nominee Chad Beguelin (The Wedding Singer).

The musical is adapted from the hugely popular Disney film and centuries-old folktales including “One Thousand and One Nights,” and is has been celebrated for bringing fresh theatrical life into the idea of a musical.

Aladdin opened on Broadway to critical acclaim on March 20th in 2014 and quickly established itself as the biggest blockbuster in recent years with a million people seeing it and breaking eight New Amsterdam Theatre house records.

The animated film Aladdin was released by Disney in 1992 and was a critical and box office smash, grossing over $500 million worldwide (not adjusted for inflation) and becoming the highest-grossing film of the year.

“My happiest moments are sitting there and watching anything in the theatre and this job was always my dream job. I love what I do and do what I love,’’ adds Mr Schumacher.

“Then I go home and feed the cows and that just brings me way back down to earth!”

The film has won the Oscar for Best Original Score and introduced the hit song “A Whole New World,” which won the second of the film’s two Academy Awards as Best Original Song. The Peabo Bryson/Regina Belle recording of the tune soared to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

So, Australia, get out your Aladdin lamps and put the show on your bucket list.

This article was originally posted on news.com.au