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Literal Sponge Cake, and Other Creative Confections by LowIQ

Japanese Youtuber and content creator LowIQ specializes in unorthodox cakes and sweets that are unappetizing yet mesmerizing. Take one of their latest creations, for example: the–quite literal–sponge cake. To top it off, the desert is decorated with a plate of strawberry jam to resemble a dirty dish and smeared with whipped cream as dish soap.

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Japanese Vinyard and Chusen Dyeing Come Together to Create Sustainable Gift Set

Japan has a problem. It’s culture of gift-giving and wrapping, while beautiful, often results in layers and layers of single-use plastics. There is another way though, which sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Or in this case, the bottle. The Kanda Budo Orchards in Rikuzen Takada is a family-run vineyard that dates back to 1905. Tomoe Senko is a dye company in the neighboring prefecture of Iwate and dates back to 1908. With a combined 230 years of history under their belts, the two organizations decided to produce a gift set featuring wine wrapped in a chusen-dye tenugui tea towel that conveys the history and roots of the two artisanal producers.

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The Leather Scrap Kimono by Tomoe Shinohara is Inspired by Hazy Mountains

photos by Sayuki Inoue courtesy Tomoe Shinohara

Kimono are typically made from a combination of hemp, linen, silk. But designer Tomoe Shinohara’s bold attempt to create a leather kimono from scraps intended to be thrown away, has resulted in a stunningly airy garment that is inspired by the hazy gradients of mountains.

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Exploring Japan’s Historical Landmarks and Shrines in the Middle of Streets

If you’ve ever driven in Japan you may have come across an unfamiliar scene: a small shrine right in the middle of the road. Sometimes the road curves to one side to avoid the shrine and give it some space. Other times the shrine rests literally in the middle of the road, unbothered by the passing traffic as if the cars are just a blip in time. And sometimes they aren’t even formal shrines. Just a sacred rock or tree.

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You Can Buy Individual Industrial Ceramic Tiles at the Tile Kiosk

If you’ve ever walked through the back streets of suburban Japan you may have noticed the ubiquitous use of ceramic tile. They’re everywhere from the roofs of homes to the fencing around them, serving both functional but also decorative means. These tiles have typically been reserved for industrial use and made available only in bulk. But the Tile Kiosk is changing that.

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Sleep Alongside Art & History at the New Goemon House in Hiroshima

If you’re looking for an excursion off the beaten path, we have just the spot for you. The new Goemon House, which recently opened after a 3-year renovation, is an inn built from a 65-year old wooden home. It’s located on Momojima Island, which is just off the coast of Onomichi in Hiroshima, and accessible by a 30-minute ferry ride. Don’t come for convenience. Come for the chance to immerse yourself in island life, art and a piece of Japan’s grisly past.

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Miniature Neon Shop Signs Turn Stacks of Books into Bustling City Blocks

Tokyo’s vibrant skin can be overstimulating and chaotic to some. But the neon shop signs vertically stacked on one another is what gives the city its unique, almost nostalgic feel. Now, you can recreate that vibe in the comfort of your own room as long as you have stacks of, preferably unread, books.

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Rendered Video by Sho Ito Pays Tribute to the Nakagin Capsule Tower

After years of back-and-forth over the fate of the Nakagin Capsule Tower, Tokyo’s iconic structure and symbol of the Japanese Metabolism movement is being demolished. Designed by architect Kisho Kurokawa and completed in 1972, the tower stood in Ginza for 50 years promoting the concept of metropolis as living organism. Much has been written about the landmark (this piece in the L.A. Times is a good place to start) but today we’re remembering the Nakagin Capsule Towers through a lovely rendered video by UK-based designer Sho Ito.

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Hachio Gin: a New Craft Gin Produced in Tokyo’s Western Suburbs

From The Kyoto Distillery and the Tokyo Riverside Distillery to the Mitosaya Botanical Distillery in Chiba, it’s no secret that, in recent years, Japan has been experiencing a domestic craft spirits boom. One of the latest to join that group is the Tokyo Hachioji Distillery, located in the western suburbs of Hachioji and producing gin under the clever name, Hachio Gin.

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Moln is a new Japanese travel brand that’s giving us serious wanderlust

Throughout the pandemic, as travel restrictions kept us in our homes, an unlikely project was in the works: a new travel brand called moln. Inspired by the Swedish word for cloud, moln aspires to take us on a idyllic journey beyond borders and languages.

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