The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 17 January 2018

Affairs

Image: Reuters

Changing of the guard

The Canadian governor general is on her way to eastern Europe in a move that highlights the country’s shifting approach to defence.

Canada’s newly minted governor general, the country’s head of state, embarks on her first overseas trip in the role today. Julie Payette – a polyglot former astronaut, classical musician and now the country’s commander in chief – will visit Canadian army personnel stationed in Ukraine and Latvia, and hold discussions with the leaders of both countries during the two-day visit. Canada has sought to play a robust role in the region, through Nato, as its military focus under the Trudeau government has shifted to training and supporting security forces overseas, rather than the combat role emphasised by Canada’s former Conservative government. Trudeau’s government so far has excelled at promoting Canadian soft power overseas but it has also tried to re-calibrate its military role internationally. By focusing on Canada’s military presence in eastern Europe, Payette’s visit aims to highlight the strengths of a more nuanced, imaginative defence policy that Canada hopes will be one of its key contributions to international affairs.

Fashion

Image: Getty Images

Vive la France

An exciting line-up of established menswear labels and new designers proves that Paris is still a big deal.

After an underwhelming season so far, the menswear world has gathered in France’s capital for Paris fashion week, which begins today. Paris currently boasts the strongest line-up of the menswear weeks. Although Saint Laurent and Balenciaga are missing from this season’s schedule (both are showing co-ed collections during the women’s event next month), most of the big luxury brands from France and Japan will be showing including Louis Vuitton, Dior Homme, Maison Margiela, Berluti and Comme des Garçons. For younger labels look out for Julien David, which shows this morning, and for the debut collection by Boramy Viguier: the former designer at Lanvin is staging a presentation tonight. This enticing mix of marquee brands and smaller labels – not to mention the excellent tradeshow Man, where many buyers place their orders for the new season – means that Paris remains a tantalising stop for press and buyers alike at a time when other menswear events are struggling to make an impact.

Infrastructure

Image: Shutterstock

Going for gold

South Korea’s biggest airport opens its new terminal just in time for the Winter Olympic Games.

With weeks to go until the Winter Olympics, South Korea is flexing its infrastructure muscle. Incheon International Airport – the gateway to Seoul – opens a new terminal on Thursday, from which arrivals will be able to jump on a new high-speed rail line to the host county Pyeongchang. The new terminal is only the second to be added to South Korea’s largest airport since it opened in 2001 and should assist with the Olympic deluge. Airport-industry figures will be watching how the slick airport handles the extra baggage. Incheon has held the best airport title since 2005, according to the trade association Airports Council International, keeping Singapore’s Changi airport, which opened its own hi-tech terminal last year, in second place. Let the games begin.

Media

Image: Getty Images

Success story

Sales of a Japanese manga based on a 1930s novel have this week topped one million – but the saga doesn’t end there.

The title, Kimitachi wa do ikiru ka (How are you living your lives?), sounds like the sort of thing you’d find in a bookshop’s self-help section but it’s actually a bestselling Japanese manga, albeit one based on a novel written in 1937 by Genzaburo Yoshino. As of this week, sales of the book, illustrated by Shoichi Haga, have surpassed one million copies. It’s a surprise hit for a story about a 15-year-old boy raised by a single mother and whose conversations with his uncle were meant as a veiled criticism of Japan’s military leaders during their brutal invasion of Asia. The success story is to continue: renowned Studio Ghibli anime director Hayao Miyazaki is set to produce a feature film named after the book.

From Monocle 24

Pun intended

The Tech 10

Entrepreneur Ivan Pun is reviving the cultural scene of his native Yangon with Pun + Projects. The firm has cooked up some of the tastiest dining spots in Myanmar’s capital and beyond.

From Monocle Films

Kyoto: The Monocle Travel Guide

Japan's ancient capital may be full of hushed streets steeped in tradition but don't be fooled: there's plenty of forward-thinking retailers, innovative chefs and modernist architecture too. Our Kyoto guide will help you navigate your way around, as well as setting you off on your own path.

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