all photos courtesy Miharu Matsunaga | click to enlarge
We carry our childhood books with us to adulthood: the morals, the lessons, the values. In fact, “books shape who we are” has become a commonplace saying. Such so that a new campaign in Japan to bring librarians back in to libraries interprets the saying literally.
all photos by Naohiro Tsukada
Seijyun Nishihata is a plant hunter. He travels around Japan and the world collecting exotic, magical plants. That doesn’t sound like a real job but actually it very much is. In fact, Seijyun comes from a long line of ancestors who were in the same field. Seijun is the fifth generation owner of Hanau, a wholesale floral product distributor that dates back almost 150 years. The company cultivates thousands of plant species that Seijun has collected.
photos by Mariano Cruz
It’s no secret that Japanese manhole covers are some of the most intricate and colorful in the world. So French-born designer and illustrator David Robert decided to create replicas; not from cast iron but on paper.
“Victory 1945″, one Fukuda’s best-known works, features a projectile heading straight at the opening of the barrel of a cannon
If Shigeo Fukuda were alive today, I wonder what he would say; what he would make. The Japanese influential graphic designer – he passed away in 2009 – used minimal graphics to voice antiwar and environmental advocacy messages. Perhaps the most well-known, or the one that stands out most to me, is “Victory 1945,” showing a projectile artillery shell heading straight for the opening of the cannon barrel. It was this type of visually humorous yet elusive style that made Fukuda’s posters so powerful.
Tokyo is finally getting a bookshop where you can fall asleep in without being scolded. In September of 2015 book nerd dreams of falling asleep in bookshops will come true with the opening of BOOK AND BED TOKYO. Slated to open in the Ikebukuro neighborhood of Tokyo, the new hostel will combine lodging with bookshops to create the ultimate bibliophile dream.
Atsu Harada’s “White Ghost” was the winner of the Endangered Wildlife category | click images to enlarge
Late last month the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation announced the awards for their annual Wildlife Artist of the Year Exhibition. Beginning in 2007, the initiative has raised over $200K for conservational projects.
One of their most important categories is Endangered Wildlife: portraiture of animals threatened or endangered. This year the winner was Atsu Harada, a Tokyo-based artist who creates stunningly realistic and artistically composed portraits of wildlife.
It’s been roughly 350 years since the advent of Ukiyo-e, and 38 years since the original Star Wars film. Finally someone has brought the two together into an epic space opera that combines distinguished painting, excellent craftsmanship and, of course, the Force.
There’s a craft beer boom brewing in Japan. Craft beer has been popping up in every corner of the country. And what’s amazing is, it’s actually good. Well, most of it. Osaka’s Minoh Brewery won the World’s Best Imperial IPA award in 2013. The Coedo Brewery in Kawagoe won a silver in the “American-style amber lager” category at the 2014 World Beer Cup. How are they accomplishing this? The same way they’ve elevated the whiskey, denim and coffee game: by “taking things from other places, tweaking them and making them better.”
One of the latest to join the craft beer craze is Rise & Win Brewing. Located in Tokushima, the unique brewery is also putting an environmental twist to their beer.
Seven leading Thai brands were chosen to showcase their innovative takes on traditional Thai craftsmanship at Slow Hand Design in Milan 2015. These brands specialize in various facets of furniture design and all of them are finding alternative materials and solutions to make their manufacturing process more eco-friendly.
Crafactor employs many innovative approaches to utilise water hyacinth and other water-based composites as an alternative for ecological design. Kenkoon & Moban are brands from a well-known outdoor furniture manufacturer who is always looking for sustainable materials for its production. Mobella, an expert in fabric and leather upholstery manufacturing, employs the zero waste policy with their production by using their material to its fullest potential. Palazzo is taking recycled leather to the next level with its new collection of modular furniture system. Performax is another manufacture who is highly skilled at water hyacinth interweaving techniques. Deesawat’s Love Earth collection features pieces made with leftover materials from their production line. Kun is an aluminum outdoor furniture manufacturer who has been in the industry for over 4 decades. Its new collection is a revamp of its leftover stock, in combination with interesting designs and innovative techniques.
To learn more about this collection of sustainable design items visit Eco A Mano.
“Everyone is an artist” (2015). Kawasaki City, Kanagawa
During the month of June, 2015 Spanish street artist Pejac was traveling through Asia installing whimsical, captivating and sometimes provocative street art. One of his destinations was Japan, where he stopped by Tokyo, but also some surrounding cities like Kawasaki (Kanagawa prefecture) and Sanmu (Chiba prefecture), to create a series of street-based artworks. Personally, the most striking is this silhouette of a cleaning lady pouring out a bucket of Hokusai’s iconic “The Great Wave Off Kanagawa.” That, understandably, is why the artist chose Kanagawa for the location.