For years the hip Ace Hotel, with locations in cities like New York and Portland, has been a favorite for Japanese tourists. Now, Japan is getting their own Ace Hotel, the first in Asia, that will open in Kyoto in late 2019.
For 90 years The Adachi Institute of Woodcut Prints has carried on the tradition of Japan’s woodcut print techniques. But the Tokyo-based studio is not beholden to the past. Rather, they’ve been actively collaborating with contemporary artists to create contemporary ukiyoe woodblock prints using the same 17th century techniques. Their latest is a collaboration with American-Taiwanese artist James Jean.
Several days ago we highlighted a twitter hashtag (#私の作品もっと沢山の人に広がれ祭り) that Japanese artists were using to share their work. It’s an exhaustive hashtag with thousands of tweets but one project that caught our eye was the “Braille Nueu” typeface created by designer Kosuke Takahashi, a universal typeface that combines braille with existing English and Japanese characters.
“Truth is stranger than fiction,” Mark Twain famously wrote. “But it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; truth isn’t.” Indeed, scenes of oddities and drama are all around us. All we need to do is look around and pay attention. But Tokyo-based street photographer Shin Noguchi has a particular knack for capturing extraordinary moments of excitement, beauty and humanism that play out on the streets of Japan. Since 2010, Noguchi has been documenting these scenes in an ongoing series titled “Something Here.”
Sumi, a shade of charcoal grey that comes from Japanese calligraphy, served as the inspiration for fashion designer Issey Miyake’s new Kyoto boutique, which opened last weekend. It was designed by longtime collaborator Naoto Fukasawa, the product designer best-known for helping shape many of MUJI’s minimal products. And together, they’ve created a shop that is discreet, elegant and may very well consist of 50 shades of grey.
Today is officially the first day of Spring, and that means just one thing: cherry blossom season is just around the corner. Hanami, as it’s called in Japan, is one of the most popular national pastimes. And one of the most important aspects of hanami – second only to location – is food. For those too lazy to cook (like us), we present you with a few seasonal takeout bento options you can pick up in Tokyo that will certainly impress your friends!
Back in 2015, a cleaning robot underwent a radical career change when Japanese artist Masato Yamaguchi hacked it and transformed it into a painter. Nicknamed Mr. Head, it was armed with bottles of paint and a new set of autonomous commands that allowed it to dribble paint onto a canvas as it moved around, creating abstract works of art. But his best work is still to come.
Taro Okamoto’s iconic Tower of the Sun was completed in 1970. The 230-foot structure served as a symbol of Expo ’70, the first ever Expo held in Asia. It was meant to symbolize the past, present and future but the statue fell into disrepair after many years of neglect. In 2016 a massive effort began to restore the structure, as well as bring it up to date with earthquake codes.
If you’re unfamiliar with the story, global athletic brand Nike actually got its start in Japan when founder Phil Knight first visited the country in 1962. As described in his incredibly entertaining autobiography, Knight was so impressed by Onitsuka Tiger sneakers that he began importing them in a deal that shaped the future of Nike and footwear itself. So it seems only fitting that 55 years later, and right before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Nike gets a brand new Tokyo office and showroom that brings together all the different groups of the company.
Pickles, or tsukemono, are the unsung heroes of Japanese cuisine. And now there’s a revolutionary new tool that builds on our predecessors traditional methods. For thousands of years pickles have quietly played their role as side-dish but I don’t think I’m alone in admitting that I’ve often enjoyed them as a main dish, along with a bowl of white rice. The Picklestone is everything a modern-day pickler needs: with an emphasis on material and usability, it’s beautiful, portable and functional.