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The Surreal Levitating Air Bonsai Are Now Available

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Back in January of this year the Hoshinchu team released a fascinating product: the air bonsai. It was a levitating plant propelled into the air with a magnetic force, creating a surreal, magical bonsai. The Kyushu-based company was looking for funding on kickstarter, and they got it. The Air Bonsai surpassed everyone’s expectations and raised close to 1 million dollars.

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The Roasters: a small coffee roasting plant and cafe in Wakayama

masashi murakami the roastes and the stand

The Roasters is a small, independent coffee bean roastery in Wakayama. It was started by furniture designer Ken Kamiya, who grew up in the area but had relocated to Fukushima where he worked. But with the fallout of the nuclear power plant in 2011, he decided to make a U-turn and move back to Wakayama, taking his family with him.

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Magical Photographs of Fireflies from Japan’s 2016 Summer

2016 summer firefly selects - spoon and tamago (1)

photo by 365March (Yu Hashimoto) | click images to enlarge

Each year when summer comes along, we all look forward to different things. Some of us head to the beach, others to the mountains for camping. Some look forward to the epicurean delights like watermelon and ice cones. But for a select group of photographers in Japan, Summer signals the arrival of fireflies. And for very short periods – typically May and June, from around 7 to 9pm – these photographers set off to secret locations all around Japan, hoping to capture the magical insects that light up the night.

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Anonunoya Creates Perfectly Equipped Tablecloths for Craft Fairs

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a tablecloth specifically for fair booths

If you’ve ever sold anything at a craft fair you’ll know that being organized can make all the difference. There are so many small things you need like calculators, scissors, stamps, bags, cash – and those are just the basics – that it’s sometimes hard to stay sane through it all. Well, Anonunoya is a Japanese online shop that sells a very specific product: tablecloths and aprons specifically designed for selling at craft fairs, or any kind of booth really.

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Studio Ghibli Celebrates 30 Years of Film Making With Food, Toys and a Huge Retrospective

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In 1984 filmmaker and animator Hayo Miyazaki released Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, ushering in a golden age for Studio Ghibli, as well as anime. 30 years later the studio found itself in limbo when Miyazaki announced his retirement. But that hasn’t stopping them from celebrating. This week, a large-scale exhibition opens in Tokyo’s Roppongi Hills. Highlights will include tons of memorabilia, Ghibli-themed food and limited edition toys.

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Showa 88: an imaginary past photographed by Kazuyoshi Usui

kazuyoshi usui showa 88 (5)

Japan’s Showa period lasted from 1926 to 1989, ending with Showa 64 when Emperor Hirohito passed away. But if the Showa period would have continued, this year would be Showa 91; 2017 would be Showa 92. Which brings us to the work of photographer Kazuyoshi Usui. In 2011 he presented “Showa 88,” a look at Japan’s colorful and vivacious past, which extends into today.

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Utilitarian Vessels Transformed Into Otherworldly Ceramic Objects by Keiko Masumoto

keiko masumoto ceramics 1

When it comes to art and craft, there’s a fine line between the two. Can art be utilitarian? Can craft be simply decorative without serving any functional purpose? What ceramic artist Keiko Masumoto wants to do is to take that fine line and crumple it into a ball and kick it around a little.

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Toki: a 3D-Printed Zoetrope That Captures Time and Movement

akinori goto toki zoetrope

In 2015, a young media artist named Akinori Goto created a fascinating device called toki, meaning “time” in Japanese. Goto explained that it was “a media installation born from a combination of modern technologies:” the age-old zoetrope meets 3D printing technology.

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Umi Hashi: Chopsticks Made From Ocean Plastic

umi hashi PlasticInHand

Each year people are consuming more and more sushi. And it’s clear that’s not going to change. But according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, plastic waste will outnumber fish by the year 2050. So, clearly something has to change. And that’s exactly what Yavez Anthonio is trying to do. For his graduation project, the advertising student created Umi Hashi: chopsticks made entirely out of plastic collected from the ocean.

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Paintings of Everyday Places and Things That Ryu Itadani Likes

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from the collection of “Things” Ryu Itadani likes

“I only draw things that I like,” says painter Ryu Itadani. It’s a simple statement but also one that cuts through to the essence of the painter’s work. Sometimes it’s the shape, sometimes it’s the color. But it’s always something simple; something that anyone can easily find – a bottle of detergent, a jar of mustard, a magic marker – that catches the eye of Itadani and becomes the subject of a painting. “It’s sort of like a self-portrait,” he explains.

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