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Turn Your Feline Into a God With This Cardboard Shinto Shrine for Cats

Your cat already acts like a god. And you probably treat it like one. So why not take the next step with this cardboard Shinto shrine for cats, created by a Japanese cardboard company. From scratching pad and hiding spot to litter box cover, there are multiple ways to use the shrine to further your devotion.

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Japanese Fisherman Trading Cards are Getting Kids Excited About the Fishery Industry

In December of last year a local government agency in Aomori prefecture set out to create a PR campaign that would boost the value and attractiveness of their fishery industry. They eventually landed on the idea of creating sets of trading cards featuring real-life fisherman, flexing in poses often featuring the fish they caught. The cards have become a huge hit among the local community and beyond with kids trying to collect different cards while also vying for rare cards.

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Japan’s Kei-tora ‘Mini Truck’ Gardening Contest

Since 2016, a uniquely Japanese event has been held in Osaka each year: the Kei-tora Gardening Contest. The kei-tora, formally known as the Kei Truck, is a tiny but practical vehicle common in Japan, particularly on smaller construction or agricultural work sites. And because most homes in Japan don’t have gardens, the Japan Federation of Landscape Contractors came up with the idea of the Kei-tora Gardening Contest. Landscape design and gardening companies from all around participate to see who can come up with the best garden within the confines of the trunk of a kei-tora.

Back in 2018 we featured the awards but we decided to check in on some more recent winning designs.

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Family-Owned Osaka Bookseller Designs Playful Book Covers

Seiwado Book Store in Osaka began producing playful covers as freebies for their customers

If you’ve ever purchased a book in Japan you’re undoubtedly familiar with the phrase kaba otsuke shimashouka? “Would you like a cover?” The book cover is a free service that booksellers in Japan offer, giving your newly purchased book a thin, dust cover that protects the binding and pages. With a little bit of creativity, one bookseller in Osaka has turned the book cover into a method of attracting new customers into their bookstore.

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Spoon & Tamago Member Lecture with Rakugo Performer Shinoharu Tatekawa

Join us for some laughs and chuckles on Saturday, November 21, 2020 (EST) for an online talk and storytelling by rakugo performer Shinoharu Tatekawa. Rakugo is Japan’s art of comedic storytelling that dates back to the Edo period (1603–1868) and remains popular today. The monologues rely on the skill of the teller, rather than scenery or complex props. A 14-year veteran, our guest, Shinoharu, spent several years growing up in America, first as a child and later as a student at Yale University, and will be performing entirely in English!

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 Shinoharu Tatekawa
WHEN: November 21, 2020 (EST) | 8:00 – 9:00 PM
WHERE: Zoom Meeting
HOW TO JOIN: All members will be receiving an email with a link to join the meeting.

Archive footage of the talk is now available. Members can sign-in to view.

The Cyberpunk, Showa Retro Aesthetic of Anime Akudama Drive

Akudama Drive is a new anime set in a dystopian future Kansai. The story revolves around an antihero group of criminals known as Akudama who are pursued by the government. And while the story and characters propel forward, it’s the art direction — in other words, the stationary elements; the backgrounds — that create this anime’s arresting aesthetic, setting it apart from others.

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A Graphic Designer Takes on the Rebranding of a Historic Shinto Shrine

Izumo Taisha is one of the oldest and most important shrines in Japan. There’s no clear record of when it was first established but the main shrine in Shimane Prefecture was built in 1744. Its Saitama branch was built in 1985 and for their 35-year anniversary the shrine decided to not only give their structure a facelift but also their palette of graphics and crests.

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Sou Fujimoto Breathes New Life Into the Shiroiya Hotel With Art & Architecture

The Shiroiya Hotel is a ryokan in the city of Maebashi (Gunma Prefecture) just north of Tokyo. With a rich history of silk production, Maebashi was an important part of Japan’s modernization and for close to 300 years the Shiroiya Hotel supported trade and innovation. In its most recent form, the Shiroiya Hotel occupied a nondescript concrete structure built in the 70s but then closed its doors in 2008. Faced with the prospects of demolition, in 2014 an initiative to restore the structure as part of a revitalization effort began. The new Shiroiya Hotel has now been completed and will begin welcoming guests in December of 2020.

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Takashi Murakami Installs Signature Flower Motifs at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC

Going in for a PET scan or a CT scan is never a fun thing, no matter how old you are. But at Washington, DC’s Children’s National Hospital, where over 2000 scans are performed annually, the experience just got a little more uplifting. Artist Takashi Murakami has covered an entire room, including the device, with his signature floral motifs.

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Japan’s Jimi ‘Mundane’ Halloween Costumes of 2020

In 2014, a subculture emerged in Japan called jimi halloween (地味ハロウィン), or “mundane Halloween.” It was started by a group of adults at Daily Portal Z who “kind of wanted to participate in the festivities of Halloween, but were too embarrassed to go all out in witch or zombie costumes.” So instead of the flashy and flamboyant costumes they had been seeing gain popularity in Japan, they decided to dress up in mundane, everyday costumes. The type of costumes that you have to explain to people and then they say, ooooh I get it.

Despite the pandemic, organizers were still able to hold the event this year, both in-person and virtually. Here are some notable mundane Halloween costumes from this year’s event.

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