As the sun set on Taketa City last month, tourists and locals alike gathered together near the Oka Castle ruins. And as darkness took hold, a stream of lights gradually faded into focus, twisting and turning as they appeared to extend towards the sky. This is Taketa City’s Chikuraku Festival.
It’s been a little over a year now since the Tsukiji Fish Market relocated to Toyosu and officially closed their doors forever. The site has since been demolished and the only thing that now remains are photographs and other documentation of the iconic fish market. Using thousands of those archival photographs, a team of designers have created an immersive artwork that explores what was once the world’s largest fish market.
“I love their pastries but hate their coffee.” “Their coffee is great but they have nothing to go with it.” It’s a common dilemma, at least for us. But luckily, there’s a savior: Bread & Espresso, a small Japanese chain specializing in two of our favorite things. Bread & Espresso has a little under 10 locations around Japan and one of their latest, which opened this summer, is housed in a beautifully renovated Kyoto minka.
As the year comes to an end, we’re afforded several opportunities to reflect on the past 12 months. One of those opportunities is the Kansai Photojournalism Awards, which were announced this week. Exceptional photojournalism and videography from 2019 were recognized by the Kansai Photojournalism Association, which is made up of 76 news organizations with offices in the Kansai region.
The Japanese visual artist Atsushi Adachi creates miniature replicas of objects from the past using old newspaper clippings and articles sourced from the same period. Artifacts from history like battleships and Neil Armstrong’s space suit come alive in what Adachi describes as a meditation on memories of our collective memory.
For more than 100 years, a town in Nara Prefecture has been using leftover, high-quality cypress wood from the home construction process to create disposable chopsticks. But even in this process there are leftovers: slices of wood called hamidashimono that were simply collected and burned. So a team of designers worked with local craftspeople to upcycle these leftovers to create an izakaya-grade DIY chopsptick set.
In April of 2016, a powerful earthquake rocked Kumamoto, toppling parts of Kumamoto Castle and damaging many other historical sites. One of those was 200-year old Soy Sauce maker Hamada Shoyu. Their oldest kura, or storehouse, had survived through the Edo, Meiji, Taisho, Showa and Heisei periods. So this earthquake wasn’t going to stop them. And, they had a powerful ally. When the earthquake struck, architect Kengo Kuma was one of the first to raise his hands and offer assistance.
The rubber eraser is said to be roughly 250 years old. But for all its old age, the partner to any pencil has always had one major flaw. You can’t see what you’re erasing. Until today. Osaka-based stationery company Seed, who has been making erasers since the 1950s, has developed a translucent eraser.
Mistletoe is an incubation office started in 2016 by serial entrepreneur Taizo Son, the younger brother of billionaire Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son. For the company’s new office in Tokyo, which opened earlier this year, architect Daisuke Motogi was tasked with a rather unusual request: to design a “perpetually unfinished” space that induces serendipity.
Incense and matches, combined as one. This ingenious yet intuitive design comes from a 90-year old Japanese match manufacturer, who never stopped innovating. After years of trial and error, the creators of Hibi arrived at the optimal mixture of paper fibres, incense and charcoal to create the perfect strike-on-box incense match.