photos by Shiori Kawamoto | click to enlarge
Discontinued and abandoned factories in Japan are being given a second life. Large companies like Toshiba and Fujitsu have been converting obsolete semiconductor factories into indoor gardens where they hope to turn lettuce into cash.
But it’s not only major corporations who can play this game. Earlier this month artist Takahashi Hiroko, a textile artist who has been broadening the boundaries of kimonos by incorporating geometric, black & white patterns into the traditional wear, announced that she had relocated into a renovated steel factory in Tokyo.
“Want to go for a walk in the park? On my roof?” That winning question could be yours if you lived in “Secret Garden,” the latest home designed by architect Hisanori Ban.
It all started many years ago when the current homeowners went camping with the family one summer. They stumbled upon a ravine and decided to venture down into it where they discovered a beautiful yet secretive spot tucked away from the other swarms of campers. After the trip the family returned home only with memories of the distant spot. Never would they think it would be reincarnated into their home.
The Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong was once the most densely populated place on earth. And without a single architect or any oversight whatsoever, the ungoverned hive of interlinking buildings became a haven for drugs, crime and prostitution. This is perhaps why the surreal, M.C. Escher-like structure, where one couldn’t even begin to imagine what life was like, captured the interest of the Japanese.
When it was demolished in 1993 the Japanese public tuned in to national television where it was being broadcast. But what most didn’t know was that, up until the previous evening, a group of Japanese researchers, which included architects, engineers and city planners, and led by historian and cultural anthropologist Hiroaki Kani, had entered the deserted city and had been documenting every nook and cranny up until the bulldozers arrived.
2,400 dancers with umbrellas, a drone and an incredible 5-minute single sequence shot. That is, in effect, a quick summary of OK Go’s latest music video I won’t Let You Down. But to not watch the video itself would be an incredible disservice to you and your Monday morning. Trust me. They won’t let you down.
Do you wish you could recreate the wonder of the ocean on canvas? Learn how to draw and paint crashing waves with Craftsy’s free, exclusive guide, Secrets to Creating Realistic Waterscapes in Mixed Media, by artist Antonella Avogadro.
With 21 pages packed with step-by-step mixed media tutorials, tips and tricks, you’ll learn how to make beautiful waterscapes you’ll be proud to hang in your home. Enjoy foolproof techniques for drawing flowing water, painting crashing waves and painting a picturesque pond. Plus, gain the skills to draw water drops and much more. Download the free PDF guide instantly and enjoy it forever.
Akiko Kobayakawa is a young, Tokyo-based artist who creates sensuous, delicate paintings with watercolors and Japanese sumi ink. Her work often features animals, flowers and landscapes with slightly surreal elements mixed in every once in a while. In her latest series of “animal paintings” Kobayakawa takes her surrealism to greater heights by depicting animals posing while showing off their long, sexy legs.
Throughout all the years of blogging, one of the most common emails we’ve gotten is, “hey I’m going to Tokyo. What should I do?” And as guilty as we feel, we were simply unable to to respond to these many requests. But we felt like something needed to be done because it was clear that people wanted something a but more customized than your average tour guide. So today we’re happy to announce Spoon & Tamago’s Tokyo Guide.
The guide is divided into 2 parts:
- Custom, curated guides by long-term Tokyo residents. These guides are meant to be intimate, deep-dives into Tokyo’s many small neighborhoods. They’re created in Jauntful and are readable, shareable and printable.
- A continuously updated, interactive selection of hot spots and best-kept secrets. We’ve taken all the places we love (and think you’ll love) and divided them into 6 different categories: New, Eat, Shop, Relax, Play and Art Shows.
Play around with the Tokyo Guide and let us know what you think! We hope you like it.
photos by Kenta Hasegawa courtesy Schemata Architects
“Wearable Tokyo.” That’s the concept of En Route, the new select shop and concept brand backed by Japanese fashion powerhouse United Arrows. “No cars, no taxis, no buses, no trains” reads the mission statement. Just walking, cycling and running.
And their new store that just opened in Ginza proposes a new metropolitan life that blends city casual with contemporary running wear.
The illustrator and manga author Osamu Tezuka was a visionary who single-handedly catapulted Japanese comics into a league of their own. Without the “god of manga,” the art form would surely have evolved differently. Tezuka proved that comics were not only for kids. Under his talent and imagination they could effectively tackle complex topics like immortality, religion and Hitler.
And those who were familiar with his nearly 700 series of works know that Tezuka wasn’t afraid to point his pen at the female body. On numerous occasions both slender and sumptuous nudes were incorporated into his work. And now, thanks to a titillating exhibition at Gallery Kai, the sensuous protagonists of Tezuka’s world will be on display for all to see. (Needless to say, there is some mild nudity after the link.)
The Japanese can do amazing things with their rice paddies but the real beauty lies in the ancient art of terraced rice fields. Referred to by some as “Japan’s pyramids,” terraced rice fields were the work of ancient farmers who carved wondrous, majestic stairs into the side of cliffs for more effective farming. But with the onset of modern technology and agricultural machinery farmers began abandoning these old platforms for more profitable farming. Photographer Kit Takenaga decided to photograph and capture the terraced rice fields before it was too late.
Head over to Nippon.com to see more pics.