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18th Century ‘Wind God and Thunder God’ Painting Recreated in LEGO

all photos by Jumpei Mitsui

If you have some time to kill at Narita Airport (I mean, who doesn’t?) head up to the 4th floor of Terminal 1 where you’ll find a newly opened LEGO store. And not only will you find a toy to entertain little ones on the long flight to come but you’ll also find a specially-commissioned mural, made entirely of LEGO, that replicates a famous 18th-century Japanese painting.

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Kumu in Kanazawa Connects People and Places

all photos by takumi ota

The Japanese word kumu is a verb with many nuances. Depending on the context, kumu can mean “to join,”  “to draw out,”  or “to pour.”  In that sense, it was the perfect name for a hotel that embodies connection and hospitality: connecting people with a place, drawing out a guests feelings and pouring them a drink.

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Japanese Monk “Exorcizes” Regrets of Those Unable to Take Paid-Time-Off

At a dimly lit ceremony hall in Osaka this week, a Buddhist monk sat at the front of a large room chanting, surrounded by 300 lanterns. The chants, however, were not Buddhist scriptures. They were the regrets and remorse of individuals who had been unable to take their paid-time-off.

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20,000 Bamboo Lanterns Illuminate the Chikuraku Festival

photos by yuka sutani courtesy sankei photo

As the sun set on Taketa City last month, tourists and locals alike gathered together near the Oka Castle ruins. And as darkness took hold, a stream of lights gradually faded into focus, twisting and turning as they appeared to extend towards the sky. This is Taketa City’s Chikuraku Festival.

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Recreating Memories of Tsukiji Through Photogrammetry

It’s been a little over a year now since the Tsukiji Fish Market relocated to Toyosu and officially closed their doors forever. The site has since been demolished and the only thing that now remains are photographs and other documentation of the iconic fish market. Using thousands of those archival photographs, a team of designers have created an immersive artwork that explores what was once the world’s largest fish market.

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Looking Back on 2019 Through Japan’s Photojournalism Awards

top prize went to Kan Emori for his photograph of a fleet of shinkansen trains engulfed in glimmering muddy waters after Typhoon Hagibis

As the year comes to an end, we’re afforded several opportunities to reflect on the past 12 months. One of those opportunities is the Kansai Photojournalism Awards, which were announced this week. Exceptional photojournalism and videography from 2019 were recognized by the Kansai Photojournalism Association, which is made up of 76 news organizations with offices in the Kansai region.

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Atsushi Adachi Explores Memories Through Sculptures Made From Old Newspaper

The Japanese visual artist Atsushi Adachi creates miniature replicas of objects from the past using old newspaper clippings and articles sourced from the same period. Artifacts from history like battleships and Neil Armstrong’s space suit come alive in what Adachi describes as a meditation on memories of our collective memory.

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Make your own izakaya-grade chopsticks with Hamidashimono

For more than 100 years, a town in Nara Prefecture has been using leftover, high-quality cypress wood from the home construction process to create disposable chopsticks. But even in this process there are leftovers: slices of wood called hamidashimono that were simply collected and burned. So a team of designers worked with local craftspeople to upcycle these leftovers to create an izakaya-grade DIY chopsptick set.

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A 200-Year Old Soy Sauce Maker Rebuilds Itself After the Earthquake

In April of 2016, a powerful earthquake rocked Kumamoto, toppling parts of Kumamoto Castle and damaging many other historical sites. One of those was 200-year old Soy Sauce maker Hamada Shoyu. Their oldest kura, or storehouse, had survived through the Edo, Meiji, Taisho, Showa and Heisei periods. So this earthquake wasn’t going to stop them. And, they had a powerful ally. When the earthquake struck, architect Kengo Kuma was one of the first to raise his hands and offer assistance.

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Japanese Stationery Company Develops Translucent Eraser

The rubber eraser is said to be roughly 250 years old. But for all its old age, the partner to any pencil has always had one major flaw. You can’t see what you’re erasing. Until today. Osaka-based stationery company Seed, who has been making erasers since the 1950s, has developed a translucent eraser.

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