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Music Monday: 4s4ki

The annual Japanese music festival Fuji Rock was cancelled last year. And in the midst of a 5th wave surge in Covid-19 cases, this year seemed precarious as well. But the festival pressed on over the weekend with domestic acts only, limited capacity, YouTube livestreams and other precautionary measures. One of the stand-out acts for us was the 23-year old hyperpop artist 4s4ki (pronounced ‘Asaki’).

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Studson Studio Transforms Trash into Magical Ghibli-Inspired Miniature Models

Miniature model-maker Studson Studio first got into model-making by way of plastic Gundam kits. Fast forward 20 years later and this crafty creator is now taking plastic and other trash out of the environment—everything from plastic containers to cereal boxes—and using them to create impressive miniature models inspired by Studio Ghibli and the films of Hayao Miyazaki.

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This Cat Table Gives Your Feline a Seat in the Table

Japanese online retailer dinos has released a new line of cat furniture and part of their line-up includes this all-natural oak wood table. With a perch underneath and a hole in the middle, it gives your feline friend a seat, right in the middle of the table. Expertly crafted with high-quality wood, the fashionable table is beautiful both with or without your kitty.

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‘Nude’ Photos of Pastel-Colored Urban Tokyo by Rumi Ando

Tokyo-based photographer and retoucher Rumi Ando creates unsettling urban landscape photography of Tokyo. Seemingly nostalgic yet out-of-place, Ando has retouched each of her photographs, painstakingly removing all evidence of human life except for the buildings they’ve built. All windows, A/C units, antennas, ducts—”noise” as Ando calls them—have vanished, leaving only the skin of a city: a nude Tokyo.

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Installation at Tokyo’s National Art Center Made From Brochures of Pandemic-Related Cancelled Events

PAN- PROJECTS, The Matter of Facts, Mixed media, 2021, The National Art Center, Tokyo, Installation view

The global pandemic has hit the pause button on life. Everything that brought us together—art shows and festivals to trade shows and symposiums—have all been cancelled. But memorializing these events and re-contextualizing them as a city’s collective urban memory is Yuriko Yagi and Kazumasa Takada, the duo behind the architectural design studio PAN- PROJECTS.

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Yayoi Kusama’s Yellow Pumpkin, Symbol of Naoshima, Washed Away by Storm

strong waves slam into Yayoi Kusama’s “Yellow Pumpkin” moments before it is washed away | screenshot of video by taka aoki

Yayoi Kusama’s “Yellow Pumpkin,” a symbol of Naoshima island that sits at the tip of an abandoned pier, was washed away by strong winds and waves generated by Typhoon No. 9 on August 9th. The iconic artwork was installed back in 1994 and was partly responsible for the large influx of tourists to the remote islands of Kagawa prefecture. The pumpkin has since been retrieved but it is badly damaged and will likely have to be replaced.

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London-Based Illustrator Edward Luper’s 36 Views of the BT Tower

In the early 1830s, Katsushika Hokusai created 36 Views of Mt. Fuji. Images from the series would go on to becomes some of the most iconic images Japan has ever produced, their vast reach and influence being almost impossible to measure. And 190 years later, they continue to inspire. The London-based artist Edward Luper grew up looking at one of his city’s landmarks: the BT Tower. And his love and admiration for Japanese prints eventually led him to create an homage to his artist hero Hokusai. “London is my Edo,” says the artist. “And although I don’t have a Mt Fuji, I do have the BT tower.”

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Creepy & Crawly Plush Sculptures by Hine Mizushima

Among the many skills of Vancouver-based Japanese artist Hine Mizushima is slow crafter, needlefelter and miniature collage artist. Her work often manifests itself in animals, sea life, parts of the human body and other curiosities of the natural world. For a recent exhibition in Tokyo she turned her eye, and needle, to the world of creepy and crawly insects, creating plush specimens of mosquitos, fleas and centipedes that would otherwise make our skin crawl.

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A Small Furniture Company in Hokkaido Created 5000 Medal Cases for the Tokyo Olympics

unless otherwise noted, all photos courtesy Shinya Yoshida

Nestled deep in Northern Hokkaido is the town of Tsubetsu: pop 4400. It’s home to Yamagi Mokko, a 3rd generation family owned furniture company with just 22 employees. But size is not always an indicator of success. Back in 2019, the company won a contract to design and create 5000 wooden cases for Tokyo Olympic medals.

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Playful Everyday Olympics by Tokyo-Based Illustrator Adrian Hogan

With a little bit of close observation, the spirit of sporting, competition and the Olympics can be found all around us. And for Tokyo-based illustrator Adrian Hogan this rang true, especially over the last two years as Japan struggled to contain the coronavirus while also preparing to host one of the world’s most notable sporting events.

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