Illustrator & Designer: Alexander Ito

Trick-or-Treat, it’s October, people! There’s finally a crisp breeze in the air and we’re coming close to the end of a pretty rough typhoon season. There has been quite a lot of damage sustained in areas around the Kanto region by way of Typhoon Hagibis, which caused some high winds, flooding and even an earthquake in the Chiba Prefecture. Our hearts & prayers go out to all of those severely affected and recovering from the storm’s impacts. If possible, please consider contributing a donation to any relief funds for the survivors out there (https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/super-typhoon-hagibis-relief-fund/ ; https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/typhoon-hagibis-relief-fund/)

Now moving on to some bloodcurdling business, y’all know that Halloween is right around the corner. So while you’re getting all prepped for candy, costumes, and the craziness to come, we at BCJ ask that you all stay safe, informed and absolutely get lit in whatever capacity in which you’re comfortable. Additionally, we’d also like you to keep in mind the vast array of events going on in Kansai, some of which are being organized by the members of yours truly!

Check Alex’s Instagram

Before getting to all of that though, let’s introduce our next member in the spotlight for this month: Alexander Ito. Alex is known for his uniquely intricate and vibrant illustrations that are cool, clean, and simple in design, yet speak volumes. As is the case with many other creatives, he wears a few different hats and has dabbled in a bit of modeling, photography, and can strum a mean ukulele. If Alex wasn’t already on your radar, he definitely should be so read on and get to know a little more about this upcoming artist:

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Black Creatives Japan: It’s pretty straightforward, but when did you first start drawing? Was it something you always did when you were a kid? Did you go through school and beyond wanting to become an illustrator?

Alexander Ito: I started drawing young at around 2 years old and was always encouraged by those around me. Having said that, once the time for choosing universities came around I was reluctant and afraid to apply to a university for Fine Arts and went elsewhere. Originally, I was looking at an international fashion school in Italy. In high school, I was interested in fashion, but it never lead to anything so I opted away from it for the reasons previously stated. I got a Liberal Arts degree ‘cause it was cheaper and because my mom kicked me out of the house, haha! I mainly came back to drawing later as a meditation of sorts.

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Punk Rock Goth Queen: Alyse S.

Happy September, Everyone! Congrats and ‘otsukare’ (good job) to us all, as we’ve almost made it through the last soupy dregs of this beautifully humid summer. Fret no more my friends, for the day you can put away your sweat towels and portable fans is soon to come! The weather will start strolling towards cooler temperatures, but first we’ll be enjoying the wonders of occasional heavy winds and torrential rainfall: welcome to typhoon season my dudes!

Pink meets Punk

To keep you all looking forward to the upcoming fall season and festivities, this month we would like to introduce you to horror film fanatic and goth fashionista: Alyse S. Born and raised in the DMV (Washington, D.C., Maryland & Virginia area), this elegant & punky goth is also well known for her love of amusement parks and eclectic musical tastes. Having lived in Japan for nearly a decade now, in her spare time, Alyse can be found logging useful advice for fellow expats on YouTube, rocking out with the ladies of her punk band, SecondLady, or spinning all the dark industrial tunes you’ve been needing to hear, as a DJ in the local Kansai night scene. Let’s take a minute to catch up with this multi-talented artist shall we?


Black Creatives Japan: Alyse, you’re another BCJ member with many titles and skills. If we were to use a timeline, I believe things started with your YouTube channel, where you shared your various experiences living here in Kansai. What inspired you to start your channel?

Alyse S.: I would say loneliness (cue the sad little violin). Even though I had come to Japan 3 times prior to moving, these trips were all short-term school trips; home-stays in high school and an animation department trip in college. As a result, I’d never really had the chance to make any friends in Japan. Once I moved here, it was just me, Shota (my husband) and his family. But I noticed that online, people were connecting and making blogs and videos about living in Japan. So I started my LiveJournal first, then gave YouTube a try.

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