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8 Ukiyo-e That Show How Fun Snow Was in Edo Period Japan


Yesterday, Tokyo woke up to their first November snow in over 50 years. The last time the first snowfall, called hatsuyuki (初雪) occurred in November was in 1962. But at the time it didn’t even stick. So if you go back to the first accumulation of snow, Tokyo truly hasn’t seen anything like this since records began in 1875. So for a city with typically dry winters, there was understandably a lot of flurry and frenzy in the air.

So we thought it would be fun to take a look at some ukiyo-e that illustrate what snowfall was like in Edo-period Japan (1603-1868).

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Now Open: The Sumida Hokusai Museum in Tokyo


the new Sumida Hokusai Museum designed by Kazuyo Sejima

If you’re an Ukiyo-e fan, it’s time to get excited. The much-anticipated Sumida Hokusai Museum, dedicated to world-renowned ukiyo-e artist Katsushika Hokusai, opened this week. And it looks beautiful.

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Interior Designer Shigeru Uchida: 1943 – 2016


We were saddened to learn that Japanese interior designer Shigeru Uchida passed away earlier this week on November 21, 2016 from pancreatic cancer. He was 73 years old.

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Ginzan Onsen: An Old Silver Mine, Now a Magical Mountainous Hot Spring Village


all photos by spoon & tamago | taken with iphone 6

Ginzan Onsen is an achingly photogenic hot spring town in the Yamagata region of Northern Japan. Literally meaning ‘silver mountain,’ the location became famous for its old-Japan look and feel after it was used for the site of the period drama Oshin.

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A Small Bank, Once Converted Into A Bar by a Legendary Art Director, Reopens


“The Bank”

In 1928, Kamakura Bank opened an outpost in Yuigahama, a coastal town just south of Yokohama. The bank merged and became part of Bank of Yokohama in 1941, and was then shuttered the outpost in 1945. But its legacy lived on. The building miraculously survived the war, as well Japan’s penchant for scrapping and building.

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Minimal Wire Sculptures That Form 3-Dimensional Shapes by Mitsuru Koga


We’re big fans of the minimalist sculptor Mitsuru Koga (previously), so when we heard he had a new show in Tokyo we couldn’t pass up the chance to check it out.

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The Japanese Museum of Rocks That Look Like Faces


The Chichibu Chinsekikan | all photos courtesy Sankei Photo

In Chichibu, Japan, two hours northwest of Tokyo, there’s an odd museum; perhaps the only one of its kind. It’s called the Chinsekikan (which means hall of curious rocks) and it houses over 1700 rocks that resemble human faces.

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Following in the Footsteps of Matsuo Basho


the entrance to oku no hosomichi (the narrow road to the deep north) | all photos by spoon & tamago

When the train doors opened there was 4 inches of snow I had to jump over to land in a shoveled away area and prevent my slip-on shoes from immediately getting soaked. Admittedly, I had been warned: my train car waiting for me idly at Sendai Station wouldn’t open its doors unless I pressed a button. “It’s that cold where this train is headed,” I thought.

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Airvase: a free-sculpting paper vase


left: the “party” airvase | right: the “Mt. Fuji” airvase

The airvase is a revolutionary series of paper vessels designed by Tokyo-based Torafu Architects. The product comes as a flat disc with perforations that allow the user to pull up each side, shaping the vase in any number of ways. Different patterns are printed on both sides of the vase, creating varying impressions depending on the angle.

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The Plight of Japanese Salarymen Expressed Through Art by Hiroaki Ito


a painting of a salaryman in deep apology, or dogeza

Japanese businessmen are called salarymen in Japan and for years they’ve been the butt of jokes. Younger generations ridicule their corporate obedience and lack of independence. And they’re an easy target because they don’t fight back. They just quietly take the abuse.

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