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Hayao Miyazaki to Invest Own Funds to Create Nature Park for Children in Okinawa

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a rendering of Hayao Miyazaki’s new nature park slated to open in 2017 | image courtesy Kume Creation

The filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki is a big proponent of nature. Conservationism and a reverence for the natural world are recurring themes in his movies like Nausicaa, Totoro and Princess Mononoke. Now Miyazaki has announced plans to pass on his love for nature to children in the form of a tangible nature park. The project is being called “The Forest Where the Wind Returns.”

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Animals Camouflaged by Cloudy Pools of Sumi Ink by Miki Saito

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Using a process called suminagashi artist Miki Saito creates layers of abstract tones. Once the ink has dried the artist goes in with acrylic, gouache and mineral pigments to add intricate details that reveal animals hidden or camouflaged by the ink. Some require several minutes to spot while others are more apparent.

After spending the majority of her life growing up between the U.S. and Japan and travelling extensively in-betweens (Saito counts more than 25 countries) the 30-year old artist has recently returned to Japan where she is staging her 2nd solo exhibition since being back.

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Tokyo Type Project: an experiment in strengthening city identity


Tokyo’s various town block indicator plates | all images courtesy Type Project


Edo was renamed Tokyo in 1868, when it became the official capital of Japan. Since then the various districts within the city have evolved both culturally and typographically. Navigating the city can be a challange and town block indicator plates (as seen above) were Japan’s answer to street names.

But these primary identifiers of location lacked continuity in visual appearance and format. And while, admittedly, they do add local flavor to various neighborhoods, graphic designer Yoshiaki Irobe felt that Tokyo needed a signage system that would strengthen the city’s identity and also serve as a silent guide for the 20 million tourists the government is targeting by 2020.

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Melting Dream: A Public Toilet Made to Look Like a Mountain of Dessert

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photo by Yasunori Takeuchi, courtesy Toilennale

What looks like a giant cake, or possibly an ice cream sunday, stands in the street, connected to a park. This is a piece of art. But it’s also a public toilet. It’s both. As part of the 2015 Oita Toilennale, perhaps the world’s first art festival dedicated to toilets, artist Minako Nishiyama conceived of the project. And with the help of artists Mika Kasahara and Yuma Haruna, the 3 female artists brought “Melting Dream” to life.

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A Minimal Sushi Shop in Tokyo Designed Around the Chef’s Counter

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Minimalism is about about stripping away the unnecessary and bringing into focus the things that truly add value to our lives. So when the owners of sushi restaurant Yoshii began discussions with the architects at Suppose Design Office to create their new restaurant, one essential component of the sushi dining experience came into focus: the counter.

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All Your Favorite Japanese Snacks in One Place With The Japanese Snack Poster

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From sweet to savory, Japan has a rich culture of freshly-made snacks. There’s gyoza and takoyaki for late-night snacking and castella and yokan for afternoon tea snacking. There’s kakigori for summertime snacking and hanami dango for spring cherry blossom-snacking. Illustrator Fanny Chu and I both share a love for Japanese snacks. The difference is that the former decided to turn her passion into a poster.

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43 Consecutive Coin Tosses Creates a 2-Second Orchestra

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This may be one of the more absurd things you see today. But who doesn’t need a little absurdity on the day after Labor Day weekend?

43 beakers lined up, each meticulously filled with water to create a musical note. Several feet away, 43 participants in lab coats. In one swift motion, all of them precisely toss a coin into the air and it lands in the in the beaker.

I’m not sure how many takes it took but the motion was captured on camera. Viewed normally it’s nothing more than an incredibly soothing 2-seconds of concentration and precision. But when slowed down, the motions reveal Mozart’s “Minuet.” (Watch the video below!)

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Morioka Shoten Ginza: A Bookstore That Only Carries One Title Per Week

morioka shoten bookstore ginza

Photos by Miyuki Kaneko courtesy Takram

Issatsu, Isshitsu (一冊、一室). It’s a phrase that literally translates to ‘A Single Room, A Single Book,’ and it’s one that’s come to define a small, minimal bookshop in the backstreets of Ginza. As the name would lead you to believe, you won’t be doing any browsing here. Morioka Shoten offers only one title per week to its visitors.

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10,000 Books Line a Bookshelf That Traverses the New MUJI Store in Tokyo

muji bookshelf by atelier bow wow (1)

Yesterday everyone’s favorite minimal lifestyle store MUJI opened a new shop in Yurakucho, Tokyo. The new space, which is actually a renovation of an existing store, occupies 3 floors and 3,277 square meters, making it MUJI’s largest flagship store in the world. One of the main attractions is a partially-suspended bookshelf that holds 10,000 books and traverses 2 of the floors.

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Skull Jewelry Carved From Pearls by Shinji Nakaba

shinji nakaba skull pearls

Oyster pearls are formed when foreign parasites breach the boundaries of its shell. In order to protect itself the oyster covers the intruder with layers of nacre until, to borrow from the poet Clint Smith, “the very thing that was trying to destroy it becomes the thing that makes it most beautiful.” Which is why it’s equally poetic that, in the hands of Japanese jeweler Shinji Nakaba, oyster pearls are turned into morbid yet beautiful skull jewelry.

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