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Vibrant Photographs of Tokyo at Night by Masashi Wakui

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Tokyo is an infinitely photogenic city. And there’s no shortage of photographers capturing its vibrant landscape. But local resident and photography aficionado Masashi Wakui has a unique, surreal style of capturing Tokyo by night and making it look like an animated still from Akira or a Ghibli film.

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Edo Period Tsunyuji Temple in Tokyo Renovated in Minimalist Concrete

tsunyuji temple by Satoru Hirota Architects (1)

unless otherwise noted, all photos courtesy Satoru Hirota Architects

Although there are no clear records, the Tsunyuji Temple in a Northeastern part of Tokyo was thought to have been originally built in the early Edo period sometime between 1624 – 1645. It belongs to the Otani school of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism and has been a spiritual boon to the neighborhood since any resident can remember. But the last time it had any major work done was in 1949, after it had to be rebuilt from damage during WWII.

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Stay in the Kyoto Moyashi House: a 120-Year Old Renovated Machiya

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unless otherwise noted, all photos by Craig Mod | used with permission

120 years ago it was an indoor greenhouse for growing koji seeds, a key ingredient in sake as well as miso and soy sauce. Now, thanks to a small group of friends, it’s been beautifully renovated into the Kyoto Moyashi House. Whether you’re looking for an authentic place to stay or to host an off-site seminar, the large Machiya can serve as a unique backdrop.

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Less may be enough: Tokyo’s Aoyama Dori in a Rare State of Transition

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all photos by Andreas Kofler

One morning, early last October in Tokyo, Andreas Kofler awoke to find something peculiar. Working ever so quietly and efficiently, overnight workers had given Shibuya’s emblematic Aoyama Dori a new layer of asphalt. And in doing so, the road’s primary markings – cross walks, lane dividers, arrows – had all been replaced by minimalist, provisional “sketches.”

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A Version of Monopoly That Celebrates Japanese Traditional Arts & Crafts

Japanese Craft Monopoly

Monopoly: Traditional Japanese Arts & Crafts Edition

The board game Monopoly, released in over 200 countries, has proved so popular that the exhaustive list of variations is just that: exhaustive. But now we can add one more esoteric variation for those obsessed with traditional Japanese craft work. Yes, it’s the “Traditional Japanese Arts & Crafts Edition.”

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Japan To Redesign Its Pictograms to Be More Foreigner Friendly

Japan New Pictograms

image courtesy the Asahi. Translated by Spoon & Tamago

When we moved to Japan in the early 80s my dad, a Jewish New Yorker from the Bronx, quickly realized that he had made a terrible mistake. “We’re surrounded by Nazi’s,” he proclaimed, wide-eyed, as we all stared at a map of our local neighborhood in Koenji. He was, of course, looking at the manji symbol (卍), a reverse swastika that could understandably be mistaken for the symbol of Nazi Germany, instead of its intended representation of Buddhist temples.

Now, over 30 years later, Japan is taking steps to update and redesign some of its more esoteric pictograms in a move intended to make the country more foreigner-friendly.

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Otherworldly Photos of the Antarctic by Yutaka Kagaya

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“the arctic universe,” the place Kagaya feels is most closest to space

Yutaka Kagaya is a self-proclaimed “planetarium imagery creator” and a CG artist with a passion for all things celestial. And while he hasn’t been to space, he recently visited a location that, for him, is the next best thing: the Antarctic.

Earlier this month he went on an expedition through the arctic sea, snapping pictures on his way and posting them to his twitter account. Here are some of our favorites.

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Blue’s: a magazine about Japanese construction worker culture

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the inaugural edition (March, 2015) of Blue’s Magazine: a publication about Japanese construction worker culture

Last year a very specific Japanese magazine launched. Titled “Blue’s Magazine,” it billed itself as a construction culture magazine and focused on the lives, philosophy and unique culture of Japanese construction workers. “There’s no media anywhere about these guys, but they’re so cool!” That’s Tomonobu Yanagi, the founder of the magazine, explaining the simple thought behind the publication.

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Takashi Murakami to put his private art collection on display

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Takashi Murakami sits among his personal collection of art

It’s no secret that Takashi Murakami, perhaps Japan’s most well-known contemporary artist, is also an avid art collector himself. He began collecting early on as a student, buying prints and photographs, but expanded his purchases as he became more successful. In a rare move his collection, now at over 1000 pieces and stored in an industrial building in the suburbs of Tokyo, will be on display for the public.

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Fa-bo: The Earthquake Resistent Office Grounded with Hundred of Carbon Fibres

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In a country regularly rocked by natural disasters, safe havens are always on people’s minds. “If a tsunami approaches, or a earthquake rips the earth apart, where will we go?” That’s fabrics manufacturer Komatsu Seiren explaining their worries, and the reasoning behind commissioning architect Kengo Kuma to create fa-bo, their new office and laboratory space in Ishikawa Prefecture. Kuma was the perfect man for the job. After the great 2011 tsunami, the architect made an important realization that rerouted his attitude towards architecture.

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