Observation | Monocle

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As this ninth issue of Monocle comes to a close we’re managing the final layouts between our headquarters in London and our bureau in Tokyo. It’s not an ideal way of working but sitting in a Tadao Ando- designed building with Aoyama on your doorstep isn’t exactly a hardship either. In between trips down to the local Lawson convenience store and moments spent watching the Harajuku kids stumble home as the sun rises, I’ve been contemplating what my ideal day might look like a year from now.

For starters, it would be great if more cities that claim to be world capitals started behaving like them. The cities that will attract the brightest and most creative will be the ones that have a 24-hour-a-day metabolism. Working from Tokyo reveals how sleepy London, Zürich and New York are. While our office is well equipped, it’s positively self-sufficient given that the Lawson store is only 30 seconds away, never closes, and can solve most logistical and supply issues. The little koban (police box) next door is a feature that other cities need to adopt if they want to keep life on the streets and make residents and visitors feel secure.

I’d like to walk out of my flat and read a different type of newspaper than what’s currently on offer and listen to a fresh morning news and business bulletin that would make me bullet-proof for the day ahead (that’s one we’re working on). I’d like to listen to it via a wafer-thin phone tucked neatly in a jacket made by a company that I knew cared about not just the environment but everyone in the manufacturing process. I live in hope that the whole sustainability discussion moves away from simply focusing on how happy the sheep were that contributed to my jumper and focuses on people instead.

Come this time next year we’ll hopefully know who the next president of the United States is and feel good about it. Should the election go to the wrong candidate there’ll be a brisk trade in residency applications from Americans who’ll feel beaten down by the system.

If things go the right way the new commander-in-chief must embark on a rethink of the entire Homeland Security apparatus and make the US an easier place to visit or even transit through.

Elsewhere in the world, Beijing will either be lying back watching the smog settle again after the Olympic flame is extinguished, or will use the momentum to admit to itself that press freedom and sustainable, environmental initiatives actually have value if you want to assume your position at the top table. In Europe red carpets will either be unrolled or put back into storage depending on what happens in Washington. Regardless of what occurs in November, the focus will be on the Near, Middle and Far East.

As travel is a major feature in my daily life I hope that the brands mentioned in our Travel Top 50 supplement continue to push innovation and prompt others to follow. I’d like to see StarFlyer come to Europe, more high-speed rail links everywhere and the easing of out-dated, pointless aviation security measures.

Finally, I’m rather intrigued by this fitness craze called kaatsu, which involves placing tight rubber bands on your limbs during exercise in order to increase blood flow and enhance your metabolism. If the hype that’s currently swirling around this city is anything to go by then it will have me in perfect form for next Christmas and will prove to be one of the biggest fitness trends for 2008.

While you contemplate your own year ahead, we’re going to enjoy a few extra weeks off and rest up for our February issue and the first anniversary of Monocle. From all of us in London, Tokyo, Zürich and New York I would like to thank you for all your feedback and support and wish you a Merry Christmas, happy holidays and a healthy and prosperous 2008.

You can read more from our editor in chief every Saturday in the International Herald Tribune or at iht.com. If you have any questions or comments, please drop him a line at tb@monocle.com

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