Category — notes from the editors
It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and finally it’s happening: we now have our own shop! The concept has always made a lot of sense but the stars have just never aligned. But now we’re ready to make the official announcement, which I wanted to do last week but we ran into a few bumps. (if you tried to access the site during the last 48 hours you probably saw this…..sorry!)
We’re starting out with a small selection of hand-picked goods that we love and have tried. And if you’re a reader of the blog you’ll most certainly recognize many of them (but there are also a few new goodies). We’ll continue to slowly add to our selection and you can follow along on our designated twitter account, or through our newsletter.
Oh, and of course if you have any suggestions for the shop, be it UI or product-related, drop us a line. All we ask is that you keep it polite. (we don’t really know what we’re doing)
November 18, 2013 6 Comments
As you’ve probably heard, Tokyo was formally selected as the host of the 2020 Olympics, beating out Madrid and then Istanbul. The activities will be held from July 24 to Aug. 9, 2020, under the theme, “Discover Tomorrow.” The initial reaction has been split. There were scenes of jubilation in Japan early Sunday, mixed with criticism that Japan has more important things to deal with like Fukushima. However, the fact that attention from the international community will increase exponentially is probably a good thing.
For your convenience, here is a round-up of many of the reactions and preemptions leading up to the announcement.
A Reuters photographer snapped this great shot the moment the bid was announced.
And then citizens in Tokyo formed a “Thank you” in the civic square.
Everyone seemed to be excited about the Olympics, except TV Tokyo.
Ahead of the announcement, Tokyo-based digital media producer, artist and runner Joseph Tame ran 385km (240 miles) on the streets of Tokyo, tracking his path and “drawing” the Tokyo 2020 emblem – all 83 petals.
In his 1988 film “Akira,” Katsuhiro Ootomo makes an amazing prediction, accurately setting the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. My friend Ashley Rawlings sez in a FB post: “It’s curious how things come full circle. “Akira” (1988) was possibly the first encounter I had with Japanese visual culture when I was about 11, and it affected me enormously. The film is set in Neo-Tokyo, built some time after WWIII, and it’s 2019, the year before the city is due to hold the 2020 Olympics. This epic scene toward the end of the film takes place in the city’s Olympic Stadium and the mutation, as in so many aspects of postwar visual culture, is a legacy of post-Hiroshima anxieties about radiation. So, approximately 20 years after seeing this film, here I am today, in the city that has just been awarded the 2020 Olympics, but against a backdrop of renewed fear about radiation. I just hope that having the Olympics here can bring the kind of international scrutiny needed to push the government to do more in Fukushima, give Japan a new boost of confidence, and maybe help open this country up more to the rest of the world.
Yahoo Japan put together a lovely interactive piece celebrating the announcement
And someone has already created a Google map of Tokyo 2020 Olympics venue plan:
Twitter users were touched to discover that “Congratulations Tokyo” was trending on Twitter in Istanbul. It also recalled memories of Turkish Airlines captain pilot Orhan Suyolcu who saved 215 Japanese stranded in Tehran during the 1985 Iran-Iraq war.
Finally, this is what Zaha Hadid’s new national stadium will look like when it’s completed in 2019.
And this is what SANAA’s stadium would have looked like if they had been chosen.
September 8, 2013 Comments Off
If you follow me on twitter you know that I’m back in Japan right now with my family on vacation. You also know that it’s really, really hot. Both facts help explain why posts have been even more sporadic than usual, which I apologize for. Expect this to continue through the end of Aug when we’ll be back and regular posting should resume.
But instead of goofing off the whole time I’ll try and post a few quick items – mainly shows or exhibitions I went to go see that I think are worth highlighting. If you’re bored you can check out two recent features we did, one on Mt. Fuji and one on Japanese Trains.
I hope everyone is having a happy summer!
August 22, 2013 1 Comment
We recently surpassed 10K fans over on our facebook page (thank you!) so I wanted to take a quick moment to express my gratitude for all the support and to give a quick update AND to play a little game.
It’s always been something I’ve wanted to do but I’ve finally made the leap and decided to open a small e-shop on the site. It’s still a work in progress and probably won’t launch until later this fall, but I wanted to announce it to the world. This way I really have to do it!
And to commemorate this confluence of events, we’re giving away a small gift package (pictured below) as a sneak peek of some of the stuff we’ll be stocking.
How to Play
1) Leave a comment below
2) We’ll contact 1 random winner at the end of the week
3) That’s it
If you want to keep up to date with shop news you can follow this brand new twitter account, or sign up for our newsletter where we’ll infrequently spam you with new products and other Spoon & Tamago related news.
[Update] Comments are now closed. Congrats to Andrea. Your prize is on the way!
July 1, 2013 169 Comments
S&T contributor Angela Salisbury recently co-authored Tokyo Craft Guide: A Collection of Japanese Craft Shopping Adventures. She tells us about the book, and why it’s meant to help you find craft gold among the side streets of Tokyo.
One of my favorite things about Tokyo is the abundance of specialty shops for the most serious of enthusiasts. For me it’s fabric, but for others it’s French wine, custom robots, toy trains, or even kaleidoscopes, where a shop owner graciously let me handle a ￥80,000 ($800) vintage kaleidoscope filled with glass marbles. I almost lost mine.
These shops are like secret gems in the vast metropolis that is Tokyo, where finding them, even with an address, is sometimes the largest hurdle.
That’s why we wrote Tokyo Craft Guide, a specialized shopping guide for people as excited about crafts and Japanese fabric as we are. Tokyo Craft Guide helps visitors — as well as Tokyo residents — navigate the city’s back streets through a collection of illustrated neighborhood guides and curated craft-shopping excursions. They are treasure maps, and X marks the spot for vintage Czech buttons or a perfectly sculpted fruit parfait. Tokyo Craft Guide presents an insider’s guide to the best craft shops the city has to offer, and provides a uniquely Tokyo experience — the hunt for small yet serious, specialized hobby shops.
June 28, 2013 1 Comment
We need your help! We’re running a short 2-minute reader survey with our advertising partner Nectar Ads to better understand our audience.
This information will help us understand the types of people visiting our site, leading to better, more useful advertising that will continue to help fund this site and other great art sites.
The survey is anonymous and we will not be collecting or sharing any personal information about individuals.
Please take a moment now to fill out the reader survey. We’d really appreciate it. Thanks!
April 10, 2013 Comments Off
While you were asleep, Japan was busy posting various internet pranks on the Internet. Japan’s new-found holiday seems to get more and more popular each year. There were simply too many to post so here is a small selection of some of my favorites.
If you’re interested, you can check out what kind of lies Japan came up with last year.
Cell phone provider AU launched a phone bed stating, “since people only use their smartphones in bed, why not turn the bed into a smartphone?” You can sleep with your favorite anime character, use it as a head-pounding alarm clock, or even jog on it while scrolling through webpages.
iKA, the new e-reader from major publishing house Kodansha
SanktGallen Brewery is selling a dark beer made from elephant poop or, “Black Ivory.”
Google Japan unveiled a revolutionary new way to type Japanese using only the spacebar. It’s incredibly annoying and time-consuming.
Canned pizza anyone? Only from Domino Pizza.
Mixi, Japan’s home-grown SNS, has launched a new “like” button that is compatible in all different dialects.
If you’ll recall, earlier this year a team of researchers from the U.K. and Japan captured footage of a 10-ft long giant squid. In other news, an udon noodle shop in Gifu is advertising giant squid tempura. Just 87,000 yen!
Hirotada Ototake, the famous writer born without arms and legs, tweets “I grew arms and legs.”
The official crime task force in Japan tweeted to remind us that “A liar is the beginning of a thief.” But then they also said that on some occasions it can be forgiven.
April 1, 2013 1 Comment
This new B movie about killer sushi looks like all kinds of awesome.
Akira Kurosawa’s favorite actor Toshiro Mifune was tapped to play Darth Vader (but he turned it down)
And the New Yorker remembers Japanese photographer Shomei Tomatsu, who died last December at the age of 82
Interesting new site kokomae.jp – basically a record of what used to be here. Good for fast-changing cities like Tokyo.
Stablemates: Rei Kawakubo collaborates with Hermès
Pictures from Tadashi Kawamata’s exhibition at BankArt
MoMA talks about the work of Noriko Ambe.
Exactly how hard is it to buy a gun in Japan? Very hard.
Japan had a big snowstorm this week so the local community helped clean up.
January 20, 2013 Comments Off
Happy Holidays from Spoon & Tamago!
We want to take a moment to thank you for stopping by and reading our posts. We know there are a lot of great blogs out there so it means a lot to us to when you decided to come to Spoon & Tamago. We’re excited about what 2013 holds: we’ll continue to improve functionality on the site, as well as hopefully relaunch our flash sales (which have been on hiatus). But most importantly we look forward to bringing you new and exciting stories on Japanese art, design and culture.
Here are our 10 most popular stories of 2012, which – we’re proud to say – are all original stories that we reported on before any other foreign media outlet!
A tiny fish that creates intricate sculptures to lure mates captured the hearts of our readers and was the most popular post of 2012. And now a major television network is looking to cast this little fish as the star of a documentary!
A pop-up photobooth in Tokyo that prints miniature 3D sculptures of you and your close ones. Mini me, anyone? It’s open through January 14, 2013.
Earlier this year the inaugural Tokyo Hotaru festival was held in which an impressive display of 100,000 LED lights – made to resemble fireflies – floated down the Sumida River through central Tokyo.
When a Japanese farmer unearthed a peculiar-looking daikon radish, she gave it anthropomorphic traits and photographed it.
A company in Japan has invented a mechanism that levitates homes moments before an earthquake strikes, making them immune to tectonic rumblings. Sounds like science fiction, right? Well it’s not.
A new cafe in Shibuya merges craft and caffeine. Fab café comes with a laser cutter that anyone can use. However, it’s recommended you have your coffee before operating the machine.
7. Lego Tokyo
In celebrating the 50th anniversary of the iconic building blocks being introduced into Japan, 1.8 million LEGOs were used to create a gigantic replica of Japan.
An installation of 11 computer-programmed incandescent light bulbs hung from strings. They playfully re-enact Newton’s Cradle – or more aptly, Edison’s Cradle – visualizing the transfer of kinetic energy. Mesmerizing.
Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 is epic in every sense. An art student at Cooper Union created an equally epic infographic that charts and visualizes all the meals that occur throughout 1Q84.
10. A MUJI Lottery
Last but not least, a lottery that offered winners 2-years of rent-free living in a MUJI house fully-furnished with MUJI furniture.
If you’re interested, here are our previous year-in reviews.
December 26, 2012 Comments Off
Last night I attended a small, intimate talk by Tatzu Nishi at the Nippon Club. In case you haven’t heard of him, you should check out his current project. I had never heard him speak so I was delighted, yet not all that surprised, to learn how brutally honest and funny the man is.
We were treated to numerous insider stories and behind-the-scenes incidents, giving us an enlightened view into what it actually takes to install his large-scale public art projects. I wish I could share them all but that would result in an incredibly long post so here is 1 episode that, for reasons uncertain even to myself, really stuck with me.
In 2006, Nishi created an installation for the Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art titled “sometimes extraordinary, sometimes less than common.” The piece incorporated the museum’s most expensive artwork – a Picasso from his blue period valued around $40 million – and encased it in a typical middle class Japanese kitchen. The original concept was to demonstrate that, when an extraordinary work of art with historical significance is placed in common setting it maintains its aura.
But to Nishi’s surprise, when the room was complete and staff replaced the color copy with the original painting, it was wiped clean of any aura. In fact, when visitors entered the room many of them didn’t even notice the Picasso. Instead, they were impressed by the replica of the kitchen. At the last minute, Nishi decided to change the name of the piece to something more fitting, hence the current title.
And convincing the museum staff to was no easy feat either. Their most prized possession was suddenly going to be placed next to a rice cooker, a bottle of soy sauce, and a carton of cheap sake – all items that have the potential to easily ruin a painting. Nishi finally convinced them by promising to mount every single item to its surface. This way no one would be able to lift the kettle, or any other item for that matter, and swing it at the painting in some drunken stupor.
However, no one on the team had calculated how long it would take to mount everything and, low and behold, they ran out of time. But instead of making a big deal over it, they just said nothing, crossed their fingers, and hoped that the exhibition would run smoothly without incident. Luckily for them, it did.
The ordeal underlines one of the main takeaways of the talk – how difficult it is to implement public art in Japan. Based on Nishi’s own experience, Japan is by far the most difficult country to get public art projects approved. England tails behind at 2nd, but with a huge margin. And yet “Japan needs public art the most,” Nishi argued. But they’re just not interested in doing anything different, anything beyond their call of duty.
(special thanks to kosuke for getting me in!)
October 25, 2012 1 Comment