House Tour: Yoyogi Artist Studio (with a hidden bed)

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all photos courtesy K-NARF

After almost two years in Nakameguro, the Tokyo-based French photographer K-NARF recently relocated to Yoyogi. Located in an 7-floor building from the late 60s, the artist created a unique, versatile space that functions as artist studio by day and apartment by night. Here’s a peek inside…

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Artless Craft Tea & Coffee

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all images courtesy artless craft tea & coffee

This month a new café opened in Harajuku. Artless Craft Tea & Coffee is located on a quiet backstreet – a road so small most cars can’t fit down – just a 10 min walk from Harajuku Station. It’s operated by Artless, the Tokyo-based design and branding agency headed by Shun Kawakami. The space, which became fully operational on May 1, represents an interesting trend: design agencies opening their own cafes.

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Flower Vases Made From Repurposed Wormy Wood

Flower Vases Made From Repurposed Wormy Wood

At Oyama Lumber in Toyama Prefecture, Japan, every year a large portion of wood goes unused. It’s left in a pile to rot, or turned into sawdust, both of which seemed incredibly wasteful. The wood’s only fault was that it had fallen victim to Japan’s ambrosia beetle, which feeds on wood.

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Aquarium Ferns Grow Inside an Air Bubble Within This Radical Fish Tank

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Conventional aquarist knowledge has held that the water goes inside the fish tank, air is around it and everyone is happy. That’s just the way it is. But Japanese designer Haruka Misawa has completely turned that logic upside down to create one of the most beautiful fish tanks we’ve ever seen.

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Music Monday: Ego Wrappin’

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Ego Wrappin’ has been around for a long time. I discovered them in college in the early 2000s but they go back to 1996, which means that this year they’re celebrating their 20th anniversary. For those who don’t know them, Ego Wrappin’ are a duo originally from Osaka: Yoshie Nakano and Masaki Mori. Nakano’s deep, soulful vocals and Mori’s dexterous instrumentation create a unique sound that blends elements of jazz, ska, swing but also cabaret music from Japan’s Showa-era that will at once sound nostalgic and modern at the same time.

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Sky Magic: A Mesmerizing Light and Sound Show of 20 Drones Equipped With 16,500 LEDs

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Sky Magic is a type of drone developed by Japanese tech company MicroAd. But what makes these flying devices special, and earns them their name, is that they’re equipped with hundreds of LEDs that can be controlled to generate mesmerizing lights shows. Case-in-point: the recent live performance that was conducted at the foot of Mt. Fuji with a group of Shamisen players.

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Japanese Lego Master Builds Delicious-Looking Creations From Blocks

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I don’t think I’ve ever felt so hungry looking at Lego blocks! A Japanese Lego creator who goes by the nickname Tary has sculpted one of the most delicious-looking collections of food made entirely from Lego blocks. From fruit and vegetables to bento boxes, junk food and even deserts, Tary has almost all major food groups covered!

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Who is Asao Tokolo? | the designer behind Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic Emblem

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Tokyo’s 2020 Olumpic and Paralympic emblems designed by Asao Tokolo

On Monday this week it was announced that a committee of judges, after hearing feedback from the public, had decided on 1 out of 4 shortlisted designs. The winning design, which we previously knew as option A, was revealed to be designed by Asao Tokolo, a 47-year old artist based in Tokyo. The winning “harmonized chequered emblem” references Japan’s ichimatsu moyo, a checkered pattern that became popular in the Edo period. It was created in a deep indigo blue, a traditionally Japanese color that expresses elegance and sophistication.

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Music Monday: Okazaki Taiiku

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Okazaki Taiiku is not your typical musician. At age 26, he’s chubby with unkempt hair and stubble. His typical uniform is a hoodie and baseball cap, which rests haphazardly on his head. He looks more like he’s been lying around playing video games, rather than making what he calls Basin Techno. It’s an odd look that is a stark contrast with his stage name Taiiku, meaning physical education (his real name is Akitoshi Oka). But looks can deceiving and perhaps that is part of the allure to Taiiku, who mixes humor with addictive beats and melodies while jumping around in his music videos out of breath, looking like he may collapse.

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Kintsugi: the Japanese art of repairing broken ceramics

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photo by Kunio Nakamura

To find beauty in broken things is the spirit of wabi sabi, at least according to Muneaki Shimode, a young artisan from Kyoto who practices kintsugi. The word is written as 金継ぎwith kin meaning gold while tsugi means to connect, as in connect to the word or connect to generations. It’s the Japanese art of repairing broken ceramics using a special lacquer mixed with gold, silver or platinum. The 400-500 year-old technique seeks to fix broken things not by disguising the break but, instead, accentuating it.

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