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MUJI’s New Prefabricated Vertical House For City Living

muji vertical house tatenoie

Fifty years ago, on October 10, 1964, the Olympic torch arrived at Tokyo’s National Stadium to mark the beginning of the summer Olympics. 5 years earlier, when Tokyo was awarded the right to host the games Tokyo went on a construction spree with new buildings, highways and trains being built. By the time the games began not only did Tokyo look brand new but so did it’s population, which had grown exponentially to 10 million people.

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A Gliding Penguin Cover For Your Floor Wipe

felissimo gliding penguin floor wipe

felissimo gliding penguin floor wipe

Regular house chores and cleaning got you feeling down? Mix things up with this penguin cover that fits through the handle of your floor wipe. It will look like a penguin is gliding up and down your floors on its stomach, picking up all the dust on its way.

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The Unearthly Delights of Manabu Ikeda, Hisashi Tenmyouya & teamLab

Garden of Unearthly Delights Japan Society

images from right to left: Manabu Ikeda, Hisashi Tenmyouya and teamLab | click images to enlarge

If you plan to walk through a garden this fall, make it the “Garden of Unearthly Delights,” a new exhibition at New York’s Japan Society that opens this Thursday (Oct. 9, 2014). But be careful to stay on the footpath or you’ll quickly be consumed by a monster tsunami uprooting a city, an intense samurai-style battle and a candy-colored stream of hyperpixilating animals and flowers. This, in a nutshell, is the work of Manabu Ikeda, Hisashi Tenmyouya & teamLab, who are the focus of the exhibition.

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This Winter Keep Warm With Grated Daikon Radish Sculptures in Your Nabe

grated daikon art

Essentially Japan’s version of a hot pot, nabe (pronounced na-bay) is a large, simmering pot of meat and vegetables that’s served during the winter. It typically sits on a portable stove and people gather around it together, keeping warm and enjoying a nice hot meal. One evening in early December of last year, Masanori Kono, who works at a purikura company and runs a flea market in Nakameguro on weekends, decided to have a little fun and get creative with one of the ingredients: grated daikon radish.

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Boo! Skull Shaped Japanese Sugar Designed by Nobumasa Takahashi

wasanbon nobumasa takahashi (2)

These black and white sugar skulls are made from Wasanbon (和三盆), a fine-grained premium Japanese sugar, traditionally made in the Shikoku prefectures of Tokushima and Kagawa.

They were designed by artist Nobumasa Takahashi and come in 18 pieces of black and white (9 each). The black sugar is made all naturally from bamboo charcoal and can be used just like regular sugar. Perfect for a Halloween party, or for just sweetening your tea or coffee when you’re in a ghoulish mood. Looking for that unique gift to bring to a Halloween party? They’re available in our shop!

wasanbon nobumasa takahashi (1)

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Yusuke Asai’s Sprawling Mud Mural Comes to Houston, Texas

yusuke asai yamatane at rice gallery | click to enlarge

Photos by Nash Baker courtesy Rice Gallery

Yusuke Asai doesn’t use store bought materials to create his murals. Instead, he sources pigments found in local mud and sand, producing, what could very well be, the truest “site-specific” mural. We’ve followed him around the world – India, Tibet, Japan – where he’s created intricate, nature-inspired murals not only on the walls of galleries but in classrooms too. Now, for the first time, Asai’s work is on display at a gallery in the US: at Rice Gallery in Houston, Texas.

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Arata Endo: the architect who carried on Frank Lloyd Wright’s Legacy in Japan

Imperial Hotel Wright frank lloyd wright

the entrance to Wright’s Imperial Hotel (1922) | images courtesy wikimedia commons

Famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright discovered Japan through the same method as many in his time: ukiyo-e prints. “I remember when I first met Japanese prints, I’ll never forget it,” Wright once said in a filmed interview. “Japanese art had a great influence on my feeling and thinking.”

Wright first arrived in Japan in 1917 and that same year he met Arata Endo – 27 years old at the time and fresh off the team working on plans to construct Meiji Shrine. Like Wright, Endo had also risen to notoriety after publishing a scathing criticism of architect Kingo Tatsuno.

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Strata: Aiko Miyanaga Designs the Process of Constant Change

aiko miyanaga strata at Liverpool Central Library

Aiko Miyanaga is a young Japanese artist who often works with the chemical compound Napthalene, which she uses to model everyday objects. The properties of the chemical then cause the objects to gradually transition from a solid to a gas, illustrating a fleeting and almost destructive sense of time. We wrote about her back in 2009 but she’s come a long way since and recently landed a site-specific installation at Liverpool Central Library’s Picton Reading Room.

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Over the Continents: Chiharu Shiota’s installation of 400 shoes connected with 4 miles of yarn

Over the Continents: Chiharu Shiota

For her latest installation, Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota reached out to the public to amass nearly 400 individual shoes accompanied by personal notes of memories associated with those shoes. In a monumental yet intimate installation Shiota uses almost 4 miles of red yarn to tie the shoes together and connect them all at a single point. The notes invite visitors “to consider the life of an object” and “the fundamental ties that connect humans to one another.”

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