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:

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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The Names of Fish are Hidden in the Kanji Characters of this Sushi Teacup

all photos courtesy Mari Ando

Even for native speakers of Japanese, the kanji characters for all the different types of sushi is not a subject anyone would want to be tested on. They have numerous strokes, are fairly complex and all look similar, owing to the fact that they all use the radical for fish, which is 魚. There’s 鱸 and 鱈 and 鯛 but what do they all mean? That’s where the Sushi Yunomi could come in handy.

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Multiple Panels Form Collaged Portraits Painted by Kotaro Hoshiyama

“Blue Smile” 530×455mm Oil and acrylic on canvas 2021

Numerous panels, much like the ones that appear in comic books, come together to form incongruous yet multi-dimensional portraits. From realism and surrealism to cubism and pop, each panel is painted by the artist himself in a multitude of styles. It’s a process typically frowned upon in the art world, which encourages consistency and singularity in artistic styles. But for Kotaro Hoshiyama, the breaking of these rules allowed him to cultivate his own unique style of art.

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Water Shadow Curtain Turns Any Room into an Underwater Oasis

The global pandemic has forced many of us to spend more time in our rooms than we ever expected. And for those living in dense cities, that also means we’ve been using our curtains more. So Tokyo-based designer Oto Kawamata came up with an idea that would allow us to make that indoor time subtly more enjoyable, even with closed curtains.

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Tsumi-gram Building Blocks Teach the Concept of Mass

How do you teach the concept of mass? Our ability to sense weight and mass just by lifting things is a skill that’s atrophied over time, particularly in the age of video games and smartphones. But a group of designers and manufacturers have weighed in, creating Tsumi-gram: a new type of toy that helps build on the concept of mass from an early age.

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