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Icoma Foldable Electric Bike Inspired by Japanese Transformable Toys

The moment we saw this foldable electric bike, something awakened our inner child. We couldn’t quite put our finger on it bit it was a feeling akin to seeing a brand new toy in a toy shop. It turns out that the origin story of the Icoma Electric Bike is very much a part of many of our childhoods. It’s inspired by the transformer toys of the 80s and 90s. In fact, the creator is a former employee of the company responsible for introducing “Transformers” to the world.

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120 Koinobori Flutter in Sabogawa River

photo courtesy Sabogawa Koinobori Kawanagashi Association

Around this time of year, Japan becomes decorated with scenes of fish fluttering in the sky. Known as koinobori, the carp streamers are an important celebration of Children’s Day, which is on May 5th, and is one of the consecutive holidays that makes up Golden Week in Japan. But one of our favorite forms of the celebration happens at Sabogawa River, which plays host to an unusual yet exquisite tradition. Colorful koinobori, which usually flutter in the wind, are placed back into the river where they belong.

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The New Simose Art Garden Villa: Where Art & Hospitality Meet at the Sea

All images © Simose Art Museum

Stretching over an area of 4.6 hectares and situated alongside the picturesque Seto Inland Sea in Hiroshima is the Simose Art Garden Villa. Designed by architect Shigeru Ban (previously), the newly opened destination comprises ten villas, a restaurant, and is built around the Simose Art Museum.

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Discarded Tatami Mats are Reborn as Contemporary Furniture

Tatami mats are traditional Japanese flooring made from sewn-together igusa grass. But despite their lovely aroma and natural resistance to mold, their usage has consistently declined as modern consumers opt for more contemporary living choices. The Tatami ReFab Project is an initiative to take discarded tatami mats and reintroduce them into the home by transforming them into a series of contemporary furniture.

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City and Forest Living in a Unique Concrete Log House

All images © Ichiro Mishima courtesy IKAWAYA Architects

Merging the organic with the inorganic; walking the fine line between indoors and outdoors, is a predominant theme in contemporary Japanese architecture. One of the latest iterations is from architect Atsushi Ikawaya, who recently completed a residential home in Eastern Japan that doubles as a music studio. The site location was ideal as it offered the convenience of being a 5-min walk from the train station for easy commuting, while being nestled in nature.

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The Unforgettable Landscapes of Ippan Nakamura’s World of Illustrations

All images courtesy of Nakamura Ippan | used with permission

Nakamura Ippan, a non-binary artist known for their web comic series ‘Jimocoro‘ and ‘Minna no Gohan‘, held their first solo exhibition last month in Tokyo. Art enthusiasts had the opportunity to witness Nakamura’s artistic brilliance firsthand at their exhibition titled ‘Love’, held at HB Gallery in Omotesando.

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A Struggling Regional Train Line Turns its Cars into a Photo Gallery to Boost Ridership

the winning photograph of the Koumi Line photo contest

There are numerous tiny train lines across Japan that are a dying breed. One of those is the Koumi Line, which connects Kobuchizawa Station in Yamanashi with Komoro Station in Nagano. The picturesque line, despite its views of mountains and rolling rice paddies, has been a victim of urbanization and depopulation particularly in rural areas of Japan. In an attempt to boost ridership and make up their budget deficit, the train has turned its advertisement space into a photo gallery and is hosting an in-car photo exhibition of the train submitted by users and train enthusiasts.

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Go See 5.3 Million Baby Blue Eye Flowers at Hitachi Seaside Park in Japan

baby blue flowers at hitachino seaside park

photo by teerayut hiruntaraporn

Japan’s cherry blossoms usually get all the attention for their short-lived beauty. But equally ephemeral are Japan’s Nemophila, or Baby Blue Eyes. And once a year, around late April to Early May, an astounding sea of 5.3 million of these little flowers cover the land for a little over a week. If you missed the cherry blossoms you can still catch these.

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Make Daily Life Comical With Manga Sound Effects

These acrylic manga sound effects are the perfect item to introduce some comical playfulness into your room or office. Need to drop off a stack of documents for your coworker to review? The ドーン sound effect accentuates the weight and intimidation of the pile. Want to show off you collection of comics? Use the ジャーン to dial up that “ta-daa” element.

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Noma’s New Pop Up by OEO Studio in Kyoto

All images ©Kotaro Tanaka courtesy OEO Studio

OEO Studio, a Copenhagen-based design firm, has recently completed the interiors of Noma Kyoto, a pop-up dining in Japan in collaboration with Ace Hotel. The 250 sqm existing dining space has been transformed under the guidance of stylist Christine Rudolph to create a truly unique and immersive experience that’s open to the culinary curious from March 15 to May 20, 2023.

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