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A Wooden Cabin Constructed Locally in the Mountains of Japan Using a 3D Wood Cutter

unless otherwise noted, all photos by Takumi Ota

Nestled deep in the Gokayama mountains of Japan is Marebito no ie, a wooden cabin constructed near Toga village. The region is renowned for a unique type of A-frame housing design and architectural style known as gasshō-zukuri (合掌造り) which uses wooden beams combined to form a steep roof that can easily shed snow from their roofs. Marebito no ie was designed as a contemporary homage to this tradition but with minimal impact to the environment: an affordable Shopbot 3D wood cutter was brought in and the entire project was completed with local timber that did not have to be transported.

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Kuwamizu Sento: A Private Residence with a Public Bath in Kumamoto

photos by Shigeo Ogawa

There are a countless number of projects these days to renovate sento public baths and turn them into cafes, art galleries or both. Indeed, the old relics of society are on the decline and it’s not everyday a new sento opens but that’s exactly what happened in Kumamoto recently with the opening of Kuwamizu Sento.

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Makeup Artist & Buddhist Monk Kodo Nishimura on Celebrating Sexual Diversity

all photographs by Masaki Sato

Kodo Nishimura grew up in Tokyo but moved to New York at age 18 to study art at Parsons. After returning to Japan to complete his training as a monk he then chose to travel again to Los Angeles where he furthered his classical training in makeup. Today, Nishimura, who identifies as non-binary, divides his time between his two passions: makeup artistry and the Buddhist monastery. He also recently published an autobiography celebrating sexual diversity and spreading the message in Japan that different is beautiful.

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Spoon & Tamago Member Lecture with Kimono Researcher Sheila Cliffe

Join us on September 5th for an online talk with Dr. Sheila Cliffe: kimono researcher, author and stylist. A longtime resident of Japan, Sheila will discuss kimono fashion history, recent developments after the internet broke the kimono world hegemony, as well as her own work as cultural bridge and ambassador for kimono fashion.

The online lecture 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!

Online Member Lecture Series with Sheila Cliffe
WHEN: September 5, 2020 (EST) | 7:00 – 7:40 PM
WHERE: Zoom Meeting
HOW TO JOIN: All members will be receiving an email with a link to join the meeting.

UPDATE: members now have access to the archive recording below. Sign in to view. 

Bakers, Knitters and Illustrators are Remixing the 2025 Osaka Expo Logo

Earlier this week Osaka announced that they had chosen a bizarre, googly-eyed character as their logo for the upcoming 2025 Osaka Expo. And over the next 24 hours the Japanese public reception appeared to shift from utter confusion to disgust and then to adoring the little red creature. The public quickly warmed to Inochi no Kagayaki-chan, an endearing nickname borrowed from the Expo’s theme, and opened their arms to it. From illustrators and bakers to knitters and even monks, remix culture quickly set in and social media has been buzzing with creations. Below are some of our favorites.

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Artist Transforms 70-Year Old Countryside Train Station into Immersive Art Installation

the exterior of Inakadate Station | photo courtesy Inakadate Village

A 70-year old train station in Inakadate Village, located in the Northern region of Aomori prefecture, has received an unexpected facelift. A local artist who goes by the name Goma was commissioned to illustrate the interior — everything from floor to ceiling and even trash cans — and transform it into an immersive art installation.

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Sculptural Satsuma Kiriko Glasses Designed by Shizuka Tatsuno

Satsuma Kiriko (薩摩切子) is a type of cut glass Japanese craft that dates back to the mid-1800s. It was originally manufactured by the Satsuma clan but the craft was almost completely wiped out after several wars ravaged the region. Today there are a handful of studios and craftsman that are faithfully creating reproductions and one of those is Satsuma Vidro. The Kagoshima-based studio recently partnered with designer Shizuka Tatsuno on a new brand of contemporary tableware called grad, a nod to the gradients that result from the craft.

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The Ancient Japanese Art of Sleeping In

“a rooster and a couple” (1767) by Harunobu Suzuki

Are you planning on sleeping in this weekend? Well, you can try hiding your alarm clock, lowering your heavy curtains and wearing an eye mask. Or, since you’re already turning to Japan for their art of tidying, forest bathing, fixing, and accepting things, you might as well try their art of sleeping in.

In 1767, Harunobu Suzuki, a Japanese designer of woodblock print art, created this print titled Niwatori to Danjo (鶏と男女) which translates to ‘a rooster and a couple.’ It depicts a male and female couple who are looking forward to spending a long, fun night with each other. And to ensure they’re not woken up early they’ve brought out a pot of sake and are trying to get the rooster so drunk that it doesn’t crow in the morning.

And judging by the look on it’s face, the rooster may have caught on the the couple’s plan. This print, along with many others, is part of a large Ukiyo-e exhibition in Tokyo that’s going on now through September 22, 2020.

Have a great weekend!

Akihabara Train Station Now Home to Wall of Over 150 Gachapon Vending Machines

a wall of over 150 gachapon vending machines newly installed at Akihabara Station

For fans of the miniature capsule toy-dispensing gachapon vending machines, Kenelstand is your new best friend. Wall-to-wall gachapon vending machines filled with fun, whimsical and sometimes surreal miniature toys have recently popped up at train stations around Tokyo.

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