Popeye Magazine


In 1988 I was living and working in Tokyo, and I had a few steady illustration gigs to supplement my other jobs, which were some English teaching when I first arrived in Japan, and then working at TOEI animation studio when I got better established.  It was a busy time but I had a lot of fun.

I enjoyed doing freelance illustrating a great deal as it gave me a chance to experiment with my own art style, whereas in animation I always had to follow the style of each show.

One of the magazines I did a few illustration jobs for was the men’s fashion magazine POPEYE, which is in a big building in the Ginza district called MAGAZINE HOUSE.

When dropping off an assignment, I’d enjoy reading in their big international magazine library, including periodicals from back home in Australia. In the pre-internet years, discovering a resource like that was a real treat when far from home.


The MAGAZINE HOUSE building must have contained production for at least 6 or 8 different magazines, and I did little spot illustrations for a few of them.

This article here was about international shopping trips and the various deals that could be had for Japanese abroad.

In those fat years of the 1980s, when the Yen was absolutely booming, Japanese could find bargains just about anywhere, apart from at home. The prices in Japan were nutty back then, and the area where MAGAZINE HOUSE had its offices, the Ginza district, was hands-down one of the most expensive areas in the country.

I remember getting a cup of coffee, and a very expensive spit-take ensued when I got the $10 bill. If that sounds steep NOW, it was excruciating for a backpacker 25 years ago.

4 thoughts on “Popeye Magazine”

  1. I don’t recall ever having heard of this one, dear Boy. I do remember having a similar experience in Piazza Navona in Rome – an even more savage gouge per head for a sit-down serve of a coffee and a modest wedge of pie; very sobering, to say the least [Looking forward to seeing you in just a few days’ time]

    • More than a 1986 U$ tenner? Yeesh. Glad I missed that one. Though I do remember a shockingly pricy coffee in St Mark’s square In Venice in 2007 (just prior to Toria’s wedding). So Italy is the place for coffee drinkers to be careful, it seems. Hasta luego!

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