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Craft, Coffee, and Cuisine Converge at the New Shika Saru Kitsune Building in Nara

all photos by Satoshi Asakawa

From across Sarusawa Pond are views of Kofukuji Temple’s five-storied pagoda. Wander uphill a bit and the Kasuga Taisha Shrine comes into view. Nara’s famed wild deer lazily munch on grass as if knowing that they’re held securely in the palm of Todaiji Temple’s Great Buddha. It is this neighborhood where Nakagawa Masamichi Shoten laid down roots over 300 years ago and is the location of their latest initiative: the Shika Saru Kitsune Building.

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Flags From Around the World, Interpreted as Three-Dimensional Objects by Akira Yoshimura

Born from a curiosity about flags and what they represent, Japanese industrial designer Akira Yoshimura has embarked on a project to reinterpret the flags of countries from around the world and render them in three-dimensional solid bronze.

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The Secret Behind the Mysterious Girl in ‘My Neighbor Totoro’ Posters

the original poster art for My Neighbor Totoro, created for the 1988 theatrical release and still used to this day

My Neighbor Totoro was created by Hayao Miyazaki and released as a film in 1988. It’s one of our favorite movies that we’ve watched over and over, each time making new discoveries. However, one of those discoveries was not even in the film: it was staring right at us all this and we never even noticed it. In the poster from the original theatrical release, which continues to be used on DVDs and even on streaming sites, a small girl holds an umbrella in the rain next to Totoro. This girl is neither Satsuki nor Mei, the two protagonists of the film. In fact, she does not even make an appearance in the film.

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Step Inside the Miniature Worlds of Tatsuya Tanaka

For the past 10 years — beginning in 2011 — artist Tanaka Tatsuya has been creating daily miniature landscapes in the form of a calendar. That’s 3650 creative, dramatic and often humorous scenes crafted from everyday objects like fruit, vegetables and stationary, which are paired with figurines. To celebrate 10 years of work, the artist is staging an exhibition at The Mizuno Museum in Nagano prefecture.

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Incredible Ad for Pocari Sweat, Shot in a Long, Motorized Set

Pocari Sweat, one of Japan’s most-popular sports beverages, has just released a new ad that features a girl running through undulating hallways, confetti and flower petals to reach her friend. The vertigo-inducing sixty-second ad was created almost entirely in a single-take and relying largely on hand-made sets and props.

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Researchers Develop Free Software That Can Create Japanese Wood Joinery

Japanese wood joinery dates back to the seventh century and is a craftsmanship technique that involves complicated, interlocking wooden joints that form bonds without the use of nails, screws or adhesives. Practical use of these woodworking techniques, known as tsugite, has been dwindling over the years due to their complexity but a team of researchers from Tokyo University have created a software program that can generate these wooden joints, which can then be fabricated.

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Tokyo’s Colorful New Toggle Hotel Stands Out in a Sea of Grey

all photos by Shingo Nakashima courtesy Klein Dytham Architecture

Tokyo’s new Toggle Hotel, located in the neighborhood of Suidobashi, officially opened for business on April 1, 2021. Located on a triangular site and bound by the Shuto Expressway, the Kanda River and the Chuo Line railway, the hotel finds itself in the epicenter of Tokyo’s energy and vitality. Surrounded by a sea of grey monotone, the hotel takes inspiration from the movement and color of Tokyo’s energy, positioning itself as a iconic, colorful landmark.

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Spoon & Tamago Member Virtual Hanami Walk

Tokyo-based photographer Ben Beech takes us on a virtual walk through the cherry blossoms of Meguro River and Nezu Cemetery.

Members can sign in to view the video. Not a member? Consider supporting us by learning about the  Spoon & Tamago Membership Program!

Poko Poko: A New Kid-Friendly Clubhouse in the Mountains of Tochigi, Designed by Klein Dytham Architecture

As the weather continues to warm, the call of the wild grows stronger. If you’re thinking of a spring getaway with the kids, consider the Risonare Nasu Resort. Located two and a half hours north of Tokyo in Tochigi, the resort boasts an abundance of mountainous nature, easy access from the capitol and a brand new kid-friendly clubhouse called PokoPoko designed by Tokyo-based Klein-Dytham Architecture.

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Shizuoka is Installing Monuments Inspired by Their Plastic Model Industry

all photos courtesy Post Hobby

Shizuoka City, home to toy model makers like Bandai and Tamiya, prides itself as being the plastic model capital of the world. Indeed, the Japanese city just West of Tokyo is responsible for 80% of the plastic model market. Inspired by these plastic models, or puramo, the city recently launched an initiative to install puramonuments around the city that range from signage to functional post boxes.

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