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A Private Room with a Built-In Garden and Wine Cellar

all photos by Kenta Hasegawa / Shinkennchiku-sha courtesy Daisuke Motogi Architects

Architects are usually shackled with requirements, parameters and demands. But when you give them free-reign, it usually results in good things. At least that was the case for this private room, situated above a company’s Tokyo headquarters.

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Portraits from the 2018 Koenji Awa Odori Festival

portraits from the Awa Odori festival in Koenji (2018) | all photos by Benjamin Beech

I grew up in Koenji, a small suburb of Tokyo. Every summer the town would host the Awa Odori, one of the grandest festivals I had ever seen. For days leading up to the event I would watch in wonder as preparations were made. A makeshift wooden tower was erected outside the train station, lights and lanterns would be hung and an electric vibe began permeating the shopping streets and among the storekeepers as anticipation built. Then, as the sun set, the lights went on and suddenly a procession of sound, dance and color descended upon the town.

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A Striking Photo of an Enormous Cumulonimbus Cloud over Tokyo by Masanobu Higashiyama

photo by Masanobu Higashiyama

Last night in Tokyo an enormous cumulonimbus cloud hovered over Tokyo for hours, bringing with it a spectacular light show that at times felt like the end of days. But the thunder and lightning also afforded photographers the opportunity to capture the storm system. One of the most ‘striking’ photographs was by Masanobu Higashiyama, a reporter from the Asahi Newspaper.

Those familiar with the Ghibli film Laputa will identify the cloud not as its scientific name but as “the Dragon’s Nest.”

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Social Good Roasters in Tokyo is a Coffee Shop With a Mission

unless otherwise noted, all photos by KOP courtesy Key Operation Architects

Social Good Roasters is a new coffee shop in Tokyo that just opened last month, and they’re on a mission to help society one cup of coffee at a time. Located in a 2nd floor space in Tokyo with plenty of windows and sunlight, Social Good Roasters employs individuals with conditions like Down Syndrome and autism and functions as a coffee bean roaster and cafe.

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Japanese Instant Noodle Warriors by Taishi Arimura

Taishi Arimura is a young graphic designer based in Tokyo. At the age of 25, his eclectic body of work contains humor, wit and beauty – everything one would want in a visual designer. In one particular series of works, Arimura uses imitation food samples and actual instant noodle packaging to create ‘noodle warriors.’ We don’t know whether we want to watch them fight, or eat them.

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Photographs of Japanese Summer ‘Matsuri’ Festivals

a photo from a festival in Hokkaido taken by Hiroshi Wajima (2017). It captures someone dressed as the deity Sarutahiko crossing a sea of flames.

Japanese festivals, or matsuri, happen throughout the country, usually around late summer as many of them are closely associated to the rice harvest. Larger, more notable matsuri often feature processions and elaborate floats. But the format and size can differ drastically depending on the local region. And to ensure that these festivals, regardless of size, are documented and passed down to the next generation, Fujifilm has been sponsoring annual photography exhibitions using submissions from photographers around Japan.

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Introducing the Spoon & Tamago Jobs Board for Creative Jobs in Japan

We started Spoon & Tamago 11 years ago (in July of 2007) to highlight exceptional Japanese art & design projects, and to connect them to the rest of their world. Since then this little blog has seen several transformations such as the addition of a shop, studio visits of NY-based artists and a Tokyo Guide.

Today, we’re happy to announce a new project: the Spoon & Tamago Jobs Board. Over the years, one of the most common inquiries we get is about finding work in the the Japanese creative industry. And so often we’re unable to be very helpful. But now, there’s a solution!

Are you looking for work in Japan, or with a Japanese creative company? Or are you a Japanese company looking to hire bilingual talent? Either way, head over to our jobs board and see what it’s all about!

Photographing the Morning Fog of Kikuchi Valley

Kikuchi Valley in Kumamoto Prefecture has been closed for the past 2 years after the Kumamto earthquake struck the region. But city officials, deeming it was now safe, reopened the valley earlier this year. One very early morning in July, before the sun rose, a group of photographers parked their cars along route 45 and headed off on foot guided only by the moonlight. About 20 minutes later they arrived at the perfect spot along the river where they set up camera and awaited dawn.

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Voice of Coffee: Kobe Coffee Shop Stripped Down to Bare Essentials

all photographs by Takumi Ota

History, structure and materials are on raw display at Voice of Coffee in Kobe. The specialty coffee shop opened last year in the Chuo-ku district of Kobe and is located in a space formerly occupied by a barber shop. The architect Yusuke Seki was tasked with stripping down the space and exposing what is essential, much like what the the coffee shop aims to do with their regionally-sourced beans.

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Echigo Tsumari Art Festival 2018

Summer is winding down. The cicadas are fetching up new breath for one, final onslaught, humidity is (hopefully) on its last leg and back-to-school commercials are invading the airwaves. But you can still enjoy the great outdoors while simultaneously visiting one of the largest open air museums in the world. The Echigo-Tsumari Art Field festival kicked off at the end of July and runs until September 17, which means you still have 5 weekends to immerse yourself in one of the largest art festivals in the world, in one of the most unlikely places in the world. Known for their heavy snowfall in winter, the Echigo-Tsumari region is located in mountainous Niigata – easily accessible from Tokyo in a little over an hour by train.

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