Travelling Through Eizan Railway’s Picturesque ‘Momiji Tunnel’

all photos courtesy Eizan Electric Railway

Along Kyoto’s Eizan Electric Railway is a section known as “Maple Tree Tunnel” (momiji tunnel, in Japanese) that is lined with hundreds of maple trees. They are, of course, beautiful any time of year. But maple trees are particularly stunning in the fall and the railway goes out of its way to accentuate their beauty while allowing riders to get the most of all the sights.

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Nature and Engineering Intertwine in Toshio Shibata’s Photographs of Japan’s Landscape

Kitashiobara Village, Fukushima, 2016

Depending on where you stand on the spectrum of environmental engineering, Japan’s monolithic yet ubiquitous cement structures are either pork-barrel politics suffocating the landscape, or engineering marvels that sustain life. The photographer Toshio Shibata offers a third, more neutral stance. A poetic and abstract look at nature being intertwined with man-made structures.

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Spoon & Tamago Member Event: Virtual Kyoto Tea Ceremony

Join us next weekend on December 11, 2021 (EST) as we virtually step inside a traditional Kyoto machiya to experience the refined world of matcha. The Camellia Tea House will guide us through an intimate and authentic tea ceremony!

In the tea world, this time of year is very much considered the new year of tea. Two exciting things happen: the tea that was picked, processed, and put into storage to settle in the spring is unveiled and turned into Matcha. Also, the hearth upon which the water is boiled for making tea in the Japanese tearoom goes from resting above ground for the warmer months, to being in the ground for the winter, a tradition known as robiraki (炉開き), or the unveiling of the sunken hearth.

The online event will be available to Spoon & Tamago members. Already a member? Awesome! Members will automatically be receiving a link by email to join. Not a member? Consider joining us and getting access to this talk, as well as many other perks!

*whispers* we’re doing a members-only holiday sale in our shop so there’s never been a better time to join!

Online Member Lecture Series with Camellia Tea House
WHEN: December 11, 2021 (EST) | 8:00 – 9:00 PM
WHERE: Zoom Meeting
HOW TO JOIN: All members will be receiving an email with a link to join the meeting.

An Undulating Glass Facade Defines this Renovated Kimono Showroom in Kyoto

all photographs: RuRi Photo Studio

For the last several decades the market for kimono, Japan’s traditionally worn garments, has been in decline. Recently, thanks to the the efforts of many, kimono have been undergoing a renaissance but kimono makers still need to stay relevant in order to survive. For Kyoto-based kimono maker Souhee, that meant creating their latest showroom in a renovated machiya that blends elements of tradition and modernity.

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Illuminated Paintings of Tokyo After Dark by Keita Morimoto

After Dark, 2021, acrylic and oil on linen, 4860×2273 mm | all images courtesy the artist

The element of light has fascinated us for centuries. Artists from the classical and baroque periods used light to imbue their paintings with grandeur, dramatism and sometime the sacred. For contemporary artist Keita Morimoto, light illuminates his nondescript street scenes of Tokyo, except his sources of light are vending machines, fast food restaurants, electric signs in parking lots and other symbols of consumerist society.

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Setouchi Jozojo’s New Brewery and Retail Shop

all photos by Tomoyuki Kusunose + Daici Ano | courtesy Sugawara Daisuke Architects

Earlier this year we gave you a glimpse of the branding from Setouchi Jozojo, a new wine and cider maker that has laid down roots in the Setouchi region of Japan. Now the brewery, which exclusively uses local ingredients to create beverages that are inspired by the region’s unique climate and history, has unveiled their brewery and restaurant, as well as their retail shop: two distinct locations that create a “micro public network.”

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Japan’s Edo-Era Concept of Mottainai and How We Can Use it to Make a Positive Impact Today

this post is sponsored by The Japan Foundation, Center for Global Partnership

On Monday November 29 at 8pm ET, join a free online event with two experts to discuss how the concept of mottainai can have a positive impact on our environment, ourselves, and generations to come.

Mottainai, a Japanese word encompassing the spirit of getting the most out of everything, took root in Edo period Japan (1603-1868). Today, as environmental problems become increasingly common place, the online webinar will explore how each of us can embody the concept of mottainai to have a positive impact on our environment, ourselves, and generations to come.

To kick off the series, “Edo’s Eco Life for Today: Part I”, Edo period experts Professor Azby Brown and Professor Kamatani Kaoru will delve into the beginning of mottainai, a grassroots mentality that was pervasive throughout the Edo period, and discuss the inspiration we can take away as today’s global community.

You can tune into the YouTube Premiere of the webinar series on November 29 at 8pm ET: https://www.youtube.com/c/TheJapanFoundationCGPNY

Pura-an Teahouse Constructed Entirely From Leftover Plastic Model Parts

all images courtesy Bandai Spirits

Earlier this year in April 2021, toymaker Bandai announced a new initiative called the “Gunpla Recycling Project.” With the cooperation from customers around Japan, the company began collecting the leftover plastic model frame sections of their pura-model toys. And over the weekend, the company’s efforts were unveiled at an event in Shinjuku.

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Japanese Government Uses Anthropomorphic Pile of Poo to Teach Kids About Taxes

Taxes are not the most interesting subject. But they affect us all. So if I had to learn about taxes, I’m definitely going to pay more attention if the subject is being taught by an anthropomorphic pile of poo. That was essentially the idea that Japanese Finance Ministry’s Tax Bureau had with their new “Unko Zeikin Drill” (Poop tax drill) for children.

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The Impressionistic, Pointillism Animation of Honami Yano

Born in 1991 on a small island in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea, Honami Yano is an animator and filmmaker based in Kyoto and Tokyo. Having always loved to draw and paint, it wasn’t until her years in college, and a chance opportunity to study at RISD in the U.S., when she discovered animation. And it quickly became on obsession that merged her love for drawing, with moving images.

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