Let’s get starting with a small introduction, can you please tell us a bit about yourself, where do you come from?
My name is Chace Fedor, I grew up in Vancouver, Canada. I came to Japan five years ago, and I am now working in Tokyo as a creative director. I am now producer and creative director of poweredby.tokyo, a pro-active project by my company.
Were you doing something special in Canada?
Yeah, I was really into 90’s Ura-Hara* street culture and fashion; Hiroshi Fujiwara, Jun Takahashi etc… Japan was everything during that time.
Did you come to Japan in a spontaneous way?
No, I mean most foreigners have a their own particular pull to Japan. There are two distinct groups of foreigners here in Tokyo. The people who come here on transfer visas and expat packages without much interest or knowledge of the country. And then there are people like me who grew up with this deep-seated fascination with the place and lifelong interest in someday spending an extended amount of time in it.
It was like a dream coming true...
Yes totally. In my twenties, I always had an interest in moving to Japan and then one day, I woke up, and thought that if I don’t do it now, even if I turns out to be a failure, the attempt would be comforting enough. Canada and Japan have a working holiday visa agreement, so I got one, came over, and decided to stay.
So, you speak japanese fluently?
It’s a lifelong work in progress. Baby steps. Day by day. It’s such a complex language with all the speaking formalities. If you’re not careful, you can blow a business opportunity just by using the wrong tone of voice, depending on who you are speaking with and at what time of the day, but as learners i.e. foreigners, we are granted leniency.
Yeah I get it, it’s like New York City, if you are living in Manhattan or Brooklyn. And then, poweredby.tokyo got bigger.
Snowball effect. I remember the early days when I was contacting people and places to check if I could get a permission to shoot, and some of them said no naturally, but little by little, as I pounded the pavement, the snowball got bigger. All I had were my words and my network and this point. People and businesses, especially in Japan, are quite risk-averse. But once you get that one place or person involved with a level of prestige or respect, everyone else jumps on board.
So you feel that the creative community has accepted you?
That is the beauty of Tokyo, there is so much support and collaborative spirit in the community. From day one I had a lot of support, a lot of people believed in what I was doing. It’s cliché but I couldn’t have done it without them. Shouts to Tikini, Benji, and Vaughan haha. We all wanted the same thing; to create a more authentic image of Tokyo through our respective crafts and let things grow organically.
It feels that way! When you see the videos that goes with the text, there is a special atmosphere I don’t know how to describe it but you want to be a part of it...
Thanks! It’s been crazy, the feedback has been amazing ands beyond out expectations. It’s a dream to be able to work with Tokyo’s finest such as BEAMS, PEN magazine, and all the monumentally talented creators around us.
And how about settling up here, has it been difficult?
YIt’s an uphill battle. Coming here on your own wheel requires patience and perseverance. You have to want to be here. For me, Tokyo, and Japan in general offers things that are important to me personally, in regards to a quality lifestyle. The safety, the cleanliness, no violence or petty crime. I feel rested here. Only thing missing is a solid breakfast culture.