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In May 2003 Mark Dytham lured me to SuperDeluxe with the promise of “real English ale.” That seemed like a good enough reason to overcome my instinctual resistance to any nightclub run by an architect, especially one master-minded by a crazy Brit living in Tokyo for two decades. Just down the block from the recently opened Roppongi Hills complex, but light-years away from all that glitz, SuperDeluxe was a place where Mark could throw the kind of parties once held in the offices of Klein-Dytham Architects without having to worry about someone sitting on a model of a project he and his partner Astrid Klein had to present to the client the next day. Real English ale was almost unheard of in Tokyo, but the beverage had been specially created by a local brew master, whose company had decided not to hire Mark and Astrid for an architectural commission. In the process of losing the job, Mark had made friends with the brew master and convinced him to whip up a batch of British beer. Mark is good at talking people into doing things they hadn’t really thought about doing.

So I found myself in a windowless space in Roppongi, an ale in hand. A motley crew of architects, artists, musicians, design geeks, and Friends-of-Mark were hanging around, waiting for something called a PechaKucha to begin. Mark had promised me the ale and in return I had promised to show 20 images of things I had seen during my two-month visit to Japan. Each image would be projected on a screen for just 20 seconds, so I couldn’t bore the small gathering for very long. The format was clearly the conceit of a person with too many ideas in his head. But I played along and had a good time.

Little did I suspect that PechaKucha would sweep the world, with more than 600 cities hosting such events in the next 10 years. Although no one outside of Japan can pronounce it correctly, PechaKucha has spawned a robust website ( where you can find some of the best 400-second presentations, a blog, and information on upcoming events. PechaKucha celebrated its tenth anniversary at SuperDeluxe in Tokyo last night, right where it all started. [Click the image below to watch video from the event, which originally streamed live.]

Happy birthday, PechaKucha! Anybody got a pint of real English ale?

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Click the image above to watch video from the 10th anniversary celebration...