Tokyo Signs: Products Inspired by the Streets of Tokyo

If there’s one things that’s visually unique about Tokyo it’s the vibrant, rich and sometimes overstimulating skin of signs: store signs, street signs and traffic signs in a rainbow of colors. In fact, take Tokyo’s skin and apply it to any other city in the world and it will look like Tokyo. Tokyo Signs is a new brand of fashion that takes inspiration from the streets of Tokyo that’s “bursting with visual delights at every turn.”

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A 280-Year Old Dried Foods Shop in Tokyo Gets a Facelift

all photos by Kenya Chiba

In 1737 a shop opened for business in what is now Nihonbashi, a central part of Tokyo that neighbors Ginza. And for 8 generations Yagicho Honten has stayed in business by producing and selling what is the backbone of Japanese cuisine: dried foods like katsuobushi (dried bonito), konbu (kelp), and shiitake mushrooms, three basic ingredients that go into dashi soup stock. Now, on the 280th anniversary of its birth, the shop has been renovated in a deep-redish hue that pays homage to both the original color of the structure, as well as the color of the dried bonito.

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Experimental Japanese Typographic Kanji Characters by ‘Nozaki’

everyone’s favorite ramen noodles, written traditionally as 拉麺

A Japanese web designer and typographer who simply goes by the name ‘Nozaki’ creates beautiful, pictorial Japanese typography that can sometimes walk a thin line between recognizable and unrecognizable. The phrases that are used are sometimes seasonal, sometimes random but in either case, Nozaki renders them with pictorial style that is enjoyable even if you can’t read Japanese.

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YU: An Elegant and Minimal Wooden Furniture Collection by Mikiya Kobayashi

Ever since establishing his own studio in 2006, designer and director Mikiya Kobayashi has placed great emphasis on material; namely, natural resources like wood. So it only made sense for Masterwal, a Japanese furniture manufacturer that has made a name for themselves by producing high quality furniture made from walnut wood, to team up with Kobayashi. Together, they recently unveiled YU, a new collection of elegant and minimalist furniture.

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Music Monday: yahyel

yahyel is a Japanese 5-piece indie band formed by sampler Miru Shinoda, vocalist Shun Ikegai and track maker Wataru Sugimoto. They’re joined by percussionist Kazuya Ooi and video artist Kento Yamada, who is responsible for the groups groundbreaking music videos. Together with Ikegai’s cosmic, falsetto voice and Sugimoto’s dystopian post-dub step tracks, the group creates futuristic sounds that are far removed from any Japanese context.

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Japanese Vending Machines at Night Juxtaposed with a Wintry Hokkaido Landscape

“In Hokkaido where I live, winters are harsh and snows are deep,” says photographer Eiji Ohashi. “Every day can become rather inconvenient” due to the constant snowfall. But heavy snows also bring wintry wonderlands and the discovery of small pleasures.

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Japan Has Guns; They’re Just Really Hard to Purchase

A Tokyo gun shop owner (Reuters)

In the wake of senseless domestic terrorism like the one we saw today in Las Vegas, Japan often becomes an example of how gun control can lead to a drop in gun violence. Take any year in recent history and Japan’s gun deaths per year are but a tiny fraction of the U.S.

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Rice Straw Animal Sculptures from the 2017 Wara Art Festival

Autumn is officially upon us. It’s the season of shorter days, brighter moons and bountiful harvests. Niigata prefecture, in Northern Japan, is known for its rice paddies and rice production. Around this time of year the rice harvest becomes a big deal, as well as the tons of rice straw, or wara, that is leftover. It can be plowed down as soil improver, fed to livestock, or even woven into decorative ornaments. But before any of that, for the past 9 years Uwasekigata Park has hosted a Wara Art Festival by teaming up with art students to create creatures, both large and small, from rice straw.

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“Graceful Degradation” and the Art of Redesigning the Flashlight

 

 

Often times Japanese design is more about improving upon an existing design, rather than creating something new. And when a well-thought out yet subtle redesign drastically improves the way we use something, that in of itself can be revolutionary.

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Inside Yayoi Kusama’s New Tokyo Museum

all photos by Cédric Riveau for Spoon & Tamago

Yayoi Kusama, one of Japan’s most prolific and successful artists, surprised her fans and the art world in August when it was reported that the 88-year old artist was getting her own museum in Tokyo. The Yayoi Kusama Museum opens to the public today, October 1. We were there last week for a sneak peek into what visitors can expect from the 5-story building.

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