Japanese Kit Kat – Chit Chat

On Tuesday evening, Lisa and I were invited to a ‘Smart Talk’ organised by the British Council in conjunction with Education UK (China), at the Raffles Design Institute on the Donghua University campus. The talk was by Mark Dytham, the Tokyo-based British architect and designer who co-founded, with Astrid Klein, the Klein Dytham architecture firm, and also ‘SuperDeluxe’, a creative space for independent artists to exhibit and display their works, and a platform/cross-over space for nightly performances covering all types of art and expression.  ‘SuperDeluxe’ is also the birthplace of Mark and Astrid’s global creative presentation, now a world-renowned phenomenon ‘PechaKucha’…I love ‘PechaKucha’ events having watched them all over the UK and in Beijing, China. If you are unfamiliar with ‘PechaKucha’, meaning chit-chat in Japanese, it is “a rapid fire presentation technique, designed to avoid the all too common occurrence of ‘death by Powerpoint’.  Speakers are given just 6 minutes and 40 seconds to present, with 20 slides each shown for 20 seconds.  ‘PechaKucha’ often take place as part of an evening of presentations known as a PechaKucha night (PKN).  The idea is to create a space where people can get together and share their ideas.” They now take place in over 450 cities globally and I encourage you to get involved in one of these events as they really are unique.

In this completely over subscribed talk where the audience was bulging out of the auditorium, Mark spoke of his career development and recent projects.

“We don’t just want to put the lipstick on, we want to see the whole process…Create your own luck to meet people…Yes to creation is yes to life…Design changes people’s lives.” – Mark Dytham

He finished the lecture with a series of ‘PechaKucha’ presentations by various creatives including himself. The first, by Mark, spoke of a long-term architectural and reconstruction project helping to rebuild Japan, as the country is currently recovering from the earthquake and tsunami that hit earlier on this year. It is inspirational what communities can do. The second presentation was by Peter Dixie, a landscape and architectural photographer and educator based in Shanghai, who spoke of his documentation of the ‘Seed Cathedral’ for ‘Blueprint’ magazine when it was still being built for the Shanghai Expo. ‘Made to Fit Me’ then followed, a British company based in Shanghai giving “a new approach to custom clothing at an affordable price by using an innovative measurement process ensures a unique fit.” A nice concept but I’m a little unsure on the price. I get what they are trying to do though. It is certainly a niche market. Finally, it was Mark’s second ‘PechaKucha’ presentation that spoke of a personal love…his love of the originally British chocolate bar, the Kit Kat, and how the Japanese have taken over the bar, now releasing a new flavour (I think) every 6 weeks. Amazing! Mark showed us his collection of Kit Kat boxes…so obviously, as you know I love all things quirky, archived, collected and obsessive, I had to show you on here. Fantastic right? Royal Milk Tea (since when does tartan have anything to do with tea?)…wasabi…kiwi…passionfruit…strawberries and cream…ginger ale…red bean…midnight eagle (?!!! who knows what that tastes like)…green tea…cookies and cream…you name it, there’s a flavour. I laughed so much when Mark was talking about this. I simply L-O-V-E-D it…and the fact he collected them. He said he has over 150 wrappers…what a display it would make. An inspirational night. On with ‘NaBloPoMo’!


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