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Fukuoka to Paint Giant Port Crane as Giraffe, Hopes it Will Cheer up Children in Hospital

rendering courtesy Fukuoka City

Here’s your wholesome story of the day: Fukuoka City has stated its intent to re-paint one of their port cranes to look like a gigantic giraffe. Unveiling the initiative on July 20, 2021, the mayor noted that he hopes it will cheer up the kids in Fukuoka Children’s Hospital, which looks over the port. The zoomorphic paint job is expected to be completed by February 2022.

Fukuoka’s Island City has a total of 6 cranes, each towering 100 meters (328 ft) into the sky. The paint job is expected to cost 100 million yen (about $900k usd) but if the first one proves popular, the city will consider painting the other five as well.

Capybara Onsen Cheesecake

Many of you know that we have a soft spot for capybaras. So we were absolutely smitten when we discovered this capybara cheescake depicting the oversized yet gentle rodents soaking in an onsen, or Japanese hot spring. The delectable delight was created by university student and baker rinsforest, who says that they were inspired by the real life capybara hot springs of Japan.

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Giant Head Hot Air Balloon Floated Over Tokyo in Surreal Art Installation

all photos by Kozo Kaneda

If you were in Tokyo yesterday and looked up into the sky, or out your window, there was a good chance you might have thought you were still dreaming. At approximately 8AM, a giant hot air balloon began to inflate and then slowly rise into the sky from Yoyogi Park. Shaped like a giant head of a random person, the hot air balloon was a one-day installation by Japanese art collective and titled “Masayume” which means ‘dream come true.’

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Animism Meets Craftsmanship in Japanese Obake Lanterns

Summer is a time for scary stories, but also lanterns, or chochin in Japanese. In fact, Japan’s peak lantern production happens in July ahead of Kyoto’s famous gion matsuri, which see streets and floats lined with lanterns. So now is a perfect time to admire these handmade lanterns designed by Ryosuke Harashima, which combine elements of tradition and ghouls.

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Woodblock Prints of Wood Blocks and Other Objects by Akihiro Kumagaya

all images courtesy Akihiro Kumagaya

Japan has a rich history of creating woodblock prints. And one of its many allures lies in its ability to conceal its true nature. In a recent series of prints, designer Akihiro Kumagaya has reconfigured this notion, returning — both literally and figuratively — to the roots of woodblock printing by creating a series of woodblock prints of wood blocks that emphasize the surface, grain and tree rings of the wood.

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MAPPA Studio: a look inside the office that’s creating your favorite anime

all photos by Akira Koyama

Thanks to a growing international audience, Japanese anime now represents a 2.5 trillion yen ($22 billion usd) industry. But it’s also notorious for poor working conditions, which has led to an exodus of animators and artists who now have more options to choose from like the gaming industry or other Asian markets. But MAPPA Studio, known for producing some of your favorite anime like Jujutsu Kaisen and Attack on Titan, are changing the game starting with the place where their animators spend the most time: the studio.

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Giant Kitty Now Greets Commuters at Shinjuku Station

If you’re coming out of Shinjuku station and see a giant kitty about to pounce on you like a mouse, don’t be alarmed. The anamorphic illusion is part of Cross Space, a new LED screen outside the world’s busiest train station that’s set to begin delivering scheduled broadcasts to commuters and other bystanders. In between programming, this slightly scary and enormous cat will nap, stretch, pace around and sometimes interact with people down below.

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WA Boxes: Delivering Culture from Japan to Your Doorstep

this post is sponsored by WA Boxes

WA Boxes are hand-crafted packages filled with authentic Japanese objects delivered straight from Japan to your door. Yes — there are various Japanese boxes on the market, but WA Boxes stand out through their thoughtfully curated selection of objects and meaningfully inspiring concepts. The boxes are curated by designer and artist Mirit Weinstock, known internationally for her Jewelry brand.

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Ishinomaki Laboratory Celebrates 10 Years of Empowering Local Communities Through Design

all photos by Masaaki Inoue

Ishinomaki Laboratory was founded in the wake of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami as a means of empowering and reviving a devastated local community. The initiative began with small DIY workshops for residents affected by the disaster, as well as projects to restore and renovate local shops, creating spaces “where people could reimagine the future of the city together.” Led by designer Keiji Ashizawa, the brand is now celebrating 10 years of DIY design through an exhibition in Tokyo.

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The Petite Market Makes it Easier for Farmers to Run Unmanned Produce Stands

all photos by Akihiro Yoshida

Exploring the Japanese countryside, and even suburban areas of major cities, you might come across produce stands stocked with fruits, vegetables and fresh-cut flowers. With a price list and just a small box to drop money, these stands are literally built on trust and are a symbol of tight-knit community. And as Japan’s distribution systems become more and more advanced, these stands, known as mujin hanbaijo, are being increasingly seen as a solution to cutting food loss, as well as means of delivering fresh and local produce to the community.

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