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Daniel Levy’s Guide to Tokyo

The actor on the third season of “Schitt’s Creek” and making time to travel

If you haven’t been following the riches to rags story of the Roses, which unfolds via weekly episodes of PopTV’s ridiculously witty “Schitt’s Creek,” do yourself a favor and catch up. A Clampett family for the Real Housewives era, instead of “moving to Beverly (Hills that is),” the silver spoon-fed clan, upon going broke, is all but exiled to the sticks—specifically to the fictional town the series takes its name from—and forced to reconcile their gilded lifestyle with that of the common folk. Now in its third season, the show, the brainchild of co-creators, stars and father-son duo Eugene and Daniel Levy, enters new territory as its characters, who have accepted and began to adjust to their new reality, fully embrace their lives as Schitt’s Creek’s most peculiar residents.

Of the current storyline, the 33 year-old Daniel Levy—who plays David Rose (the son of his father Eugene’s Johnny Rose) and considers each of his show’s seasons as chapters—says, “Very slowly, the characters have realized there is more to life than the stuff they once had. Most of the family are starting to turn the corner, [but] Moira probably never [will].” It’s true that matriarch Moira Rose (played by the inimitable Catherine O’Hara) has had her own unique difficulties with their transition, but after running for and being elected to the Schitt’s Creek town council, even she begins to settle—in the way only a woman who’s decorated her motel room-turned-residence’s walls with her dozens of wigs can.

Moira’s many hairpieces aren’t the Roses’ only surviving luxury. In every season, the entire family is dressed impeccably with fashions straight off the runway. “They have nothing else to show for their old life,” the younger Levy explains. “My biggest mandate to our costume designer was that the only way to believably articulate the plight of the Roses is if they’re clothes are real.” As such, garments designed by Nicolas Ghesquière for Balenciaga and by Raf Simons for Jil Sander have already appeared on-screen, and Levy, who plays an active role in styling his characters, cites a “full Harajuku look” sported by Moira as one of the current season’s wardrobe highlights.

Just where does Levy find inspiration for the many roles (on camera and off) he plays on “Schitt’s Creek”? “I try to travel as much as I can,” he says, citing a high school trip that, “in one month, gave me more of an education than an entire year of school did.” He adds: “Often times I’ll travel when we finish a season, or right before we start one, just to clear my head and to get inspiration.” Moira’s aforementioned Japanese school girl ensemble, for instance, was born from Levy’s recent trips to Toyko, a city he first visited five years ago with friend and street style photographer, Tommy Ton, that he now tries to return to annually.            

“You can shop all morning and spend the afternoon walking through centuries-old gardens—there is such a beautiful balance between how progressive and cosmopolitan Tokyo is and its respect for the past,” he says. Below, Levy shares his favorite places in the Japanese capital.

Cup of Joe: About Life Coffee Brewers, in Shibuya. The best coffee and friendliest baristas you’ll ever meet. Naturally.

Power Lunch: King George Sandwich Bar serves the best sandwich in the city, and the place feels like you’ve walked into someone’s house. Cozy, charming and delicious. 

Cocktail Hour: Bar Trench is a gorgeous, dimly lit, eight-person speakeasy that makes you feel like you’ve been transported back in time. A must visit. Get the absinthe! 

Retail Therapy: One of my favorite Japanese labels is Beauty & Youth, and the H Beauty & Youth flagship, in Aoyama, not only sells the in-house collection but also a sharply curated selection of other international, hyper-cool brands. Plus there’s a great pizza spot in the basement, Pizza Slice 2, for when you need to refuel. 

Field Trip: It’s a bit of a trek, but the Hara Museum is well worth the trip. I saw an amazing Cy Twombly exhibit there the last time I was in town.

Date Night: Cedros Daikanyama is a cozy little family run seafood spot tucked away from the busy streets of Daikanyama. Try the lobster risotto if you really want to know what love is.

Don’t Miss: Aside from staging some fascinating exhibits, the Nezu Museum also happens to be situated on some pretty exceptional Japanese gardens. You can spend hours getting lost following the seemingly endless pathways. I make a point to visit every time I’m in Tokyo. 

Main Image Credit: Vanessa Fein

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