Live Like A Local: Videographer Tim Lambourne In Tokyo

The ex-TV host, who now calls Tokyo home, shares his top tips for this buzzing city


Tim Lambourne on the rooftop of his Koenji apartment. Photo / Babiche Martens

Videographer Tim Lambourne is holding up a YouTube video on his phone called Long Eggs. “It’ll blow your mind,” he promises. It’s a clip showing the mass production of long, cylindrical hard-boiled eggs for slicing into perfect rings for sandwiches and salads, eliminating the small-end-of-the-egg offcuts and yes, blowing our minds.

Viva has taken over Tim’s apartment in Koenji to take his photo for the Tokyo issue, and use it as a base for the day’s shoot, and the always affable ex-TV host has treated us to a walk through his vibrant neighbourhood for coffee (and egg sandwiches), where we discuss everything from great vintage shopping to the prevalence of loneliness in Tokyo. Tim points out some of the city’s best strawberry mochi along the way, handmade by Toshikazu Suzuki and served by his wife, Tomomi, at their shop Suzukura.

READ: Where To Find The Best Cheap Eats In Tokyo

But back to Tim. “You don’t tend to go to people’s homes in Tokyo, so you don’t have that chill time that relationships are usually built on. It can be hard to make friends here,” he says. That Kiwi notion of just “hanging out at home” is something he misses since moving to Tokyo three and half years ago, but it’s still his favourite city in the world “for myriad reasons, and I love it more and more everyday”.

Tim relocated to Tokyo three and a half years ago. Photo / Babiche Martens

Smaller apartments are a negating factor. Tim and his girlfriend (and Viva cover model) Nagisa Chauveau’s apartment is a perfectly compact example, where Tim has to duck his head to get through the doorways. There’s always the roof terrace to retreat to, with 360-degree views of the city, only partially blocked by Tokyo’s ubiquitous rooftop clotheslines. When it comes to socialising, they’ll head out to restaurants and bars, which suits Tim since he’s on a constant quest for great music, and does the odd DJ gig himself.

READ: Meet The Model: Get To Know Nagisa Chauveau

Tim has been working predominantly in the fashion and beauty realm in Japan, creating videos for The North Face, Kose, ReFa and other brands like the Park Hyatt Tokyo, the hotel made famous by the movie Lost in Translation. He calls himself a “one man band”, directing, shooting and editing content. He still finds time to work with homegrown brand Huffer, and records a weekly radio show from his apartment for George FM on Sunday nights called Good Radio Show. He recently shot a video for fellow New Zealander Lily Gibson and her online Japanese vintage store Super Mizu.

I lived In Tokyo ... for a year in 2014 on a working holiday visa. I assumed that would be the end of my Tokyo life, but over the next three years as I travelled I realised how much I missed it. This culminated in a 72-hour holiday in 2017 when I realised I had to move back.

A typical work day for me is ... heading to an agency called Obruza after the commuter rush has died down. I’m lucky enough to be able to use their space in Daikanyama to work and edit.

A typical weekend for me is ... pretty social and night-time focussed. I love house music and it’s obscene how many of my favourite DJs play here every weekend. I also love record shopping. Japanese are avid music fans and collectors, so the quantity and quality of records you can find here beggars belief.

My favourite pastime is ... sento, or public bathing. Nagisa and I go about three times a week. You strip down and wash yourself and then soak in hot baths with your neighbours. It’s become almost meditative.

I used to think that Japan and New Zealand were the exact opposite... but that’s not quite right. There are different ways of doing things here - order, structure, process - that might seem antithetical to the Kiwi mentality of No. 8 wire or “she’ll be right” but I have come to realise that it’s just a different way of getting to the same place: creating what you can with what you have.

I live in ... Koenji, which reminds me a bit of Karangahape Rd or Kingsland. It has its own identity and community and I really love it here. It has an attitude and community that is quite unique in Tokyo and I’m very grateful to get to experience that every day.

The best area for shopping is ... Koenji for its vintage stores. There are hundreds and they each have their own speciality be it 1950s and 60s American workwear or 1980s/90s high-end Japanese designers.

MY TOP 9 IN TOKYO
1. Safari vintage clothing store in Koenji.

2. Trunk vintage clothing store in Koenji.

3. Coffee Amp, Koenji.

4. Switch Coffee, Meguro.

5. EAD Records, Koenji.

6. BnA Hotel Bar, Koenji.

7. Disk Union (Shibuya, Shinjuku, Shimokitazawa).

8. Vent nightclub, Omotesando.

9. Knock nightclub, Koenji.

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