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Whimsical Ceramic Banana Peel Art by Koji Kasatani

“father & son”

The banana peel is perhaps one of the most recognizable symbols of humor. If I had a banana for every time someone slipped on a banana peel in a vaudeville show or movie, I’d have… well, a lot of bananas. Interpreting this symbol and incoporating it into his own form of comedic art is Japanese artist Koji Kasatani.

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Hundreds of Bollards Line Side Street, Creating Surreal Scene in Shonan

all photos by Kazuya Kamogawa / Sankei Photo

On a side-street in Shonan near Enoshima, which runs along Japan’s Route 134, there is a peculiar scene that looks like something out of a Hayao Miyazaki film. Hundreds of bollards occupy the street like black ghosts poking their head out of the ground.

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Reiwa Shadow Graphics Unveiled on Osaka Stairway

image courtesy Grand Front Osaka

If you’re in Osaka, stop by the Grand Front shopping complex for a new-era surprise. The massive stairway in front of Osaka Station has been illuminated with shadow graphics that read 令和元年 (First Year of Reiwa). The stairway looks especially beautiful at night.

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Celebrate Reiwa Using the Official Festival Colors

the official Reiwa Era festive colors

Japan’s new imperial era Reiwa begins May 1, 2019. It’s a historic event that is unusually festive given that the era change comes as a result of abdication, rather than the emperor’s death. You can read more about Reiwa and the meaning behind the characters but did you know that the new era comes with it’s own official color scheme? It’s true. Now you can coordinate your ultimate Reiwa style.

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Avengers Endgame Characters Rendered in Ukiyo-e Style by Illustrator Takumi

Thanos’ 6 infinity stones served as the inspiration behind his kanji name 六道将軍佐能須, which references the 6 realms of Buddhism and a Japanese mythological character

Avengers Endgame, the culmination of the 22-film story, is hitting theaters in the U.S. this week and anticipation among fans is high. One of those fans happens to be Japanese illustrator Takumi, who previously created the brilliant Ghibli Theme Park. To commemorate the film’s release, the artist has created a series of illustrations that render characters from the film in Ukiyo-e style.

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Hanko Gets Cutting Edge Redesign with QR Codes

Over the last several months, major Japanese financial institutions have begun phasing out the use of hanko, the equivalent of a personal seal. Having been widely adopted during the late 1800s, hanko had surprisingly maintained its relevance in the face of technological change and has always been a requirement for opening bank accounts, signing contracts and almost any official paperwork. But with the winds of change comes the opportunity to rethink and redesign.

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HA KO: Leaf-Shaped Paper Incense From Awaji Island

The oldest record of incense in Japan can be found in The Nihon Shoki (日本書紀) where it states that aromatic wood drifted onto Awaji Island. Located in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea, Awaji Island has preserved this tradition of incense and, for hundreds of years, continued to rethink it. The latest innovation is, poetically, a return to roots: leaf-shaped paper that carefully burns like a dried leaf.

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Music Monday: Daoko

Daoko is a Tokyo-based Japanese singer and rapper who got her start on video-sharing site Nico Nico Douga. Since having one of her videos gain traction at the age of 15, her career has been on an upward trajectory. Still 22, her style appears surprisingly grounded and mature. She’s gained mainstream and subculture acceptance as she remixes gaming and anime culture to create visually arresting music videos.

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A Home in Tokyo Inspired by a Mountainous Hiking Path

Aptly titled Path, a mountainous home rises up in a central Tokyo neighborhood. Designed by ARTechnic Architects and created for a couple and their 3 kids, the U-shaped structure consists of multi-levels that are connected by stairs that wind through the space like a mountain trail.

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Floating Shelves Have Now Leveled Up to Invisible Shelves

Over the past decade or so, floating shelves have become somewhat ubiquitous in the minimal design world. With support mechanisms attached directly into the wall, they made legs obsolete, an effect that rendered cleaner lines. Now, those shelves have reached their next phase: invisibility.

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