Japan Pulse » » Art http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse Taking the pulse of trends, trend-watchers and trendmakers in Japan. Sat, 05 Sep 2015 02:58:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.5 http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/wp-content/themes/orange/favicon.ico Japan Pulse Japan celebrates the GIFs that keep on giving http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/japan-celebrates-the-gifs-that-keep-on-giving/ http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/japan-celebrates-the-gifs-that-keep-on-giving/#comments Fri, 21 Aug 2015 07:23:45 +0000 http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/?p=20407 GIFs — which stands for graphics interchange format, don’t you know — have made the Internet an even more enjoyable place than before, and we have the receipts to prove it.

These digital designs were technological wonders back in the days of AOL and Netscape (Google it, kids). But they eventually went from high-tech animation to cliched novelties.

In recent years, the retro aesthetic of GIFs has been making big comeback. Nowadays, instead of flashing text, they often reference classic signifiers in pop culture and have become a sort of emotional shorthand, a form of emoji.

They’re now a hip way to express a gamut of feelings — excitement, annoyance, surprise . . . Name an emotion and there’s bound to be the perfect GIF for it. That’s why sites and apps such as Giphy and Nutmeg are becoming the must-have tools for when a smiley is just not enough.

They are not only being used just to express LOLs and winks, but recently GIFs have entered the realm of boda fide art. This year Japanese artist Toyoi Yuuta set Tumblr ablaze by posting a beautiful series of 8-bit GIF creations depicting sometimes melancholic, sometimes surreal scenes of life in Japan.


Thousands of users reblogged the pieces as the designs invoked memories of the Nintendo Entertainment System and took the seemingly trite medium of GIFs to a new level.


The artist Segawa 37 took the genre a step higher for Adobe’s GIF contest by giving a modern twist to classic works of “the floating world.” Segawa 37 humorously tweaks the time-honored woodblock prints by including things such as a spaceship swooping in and beaming up Mount Fuji or a group of kimono-clad travelers watching a shinkansen train zoom by.


Segawa 37’s GIF set also includes pieces that rely more on aesthetics than humor, including paintings of the warm glow of lanterns in Edo’s Yoshiwara district and people watching the Sumida River fireworks.


It seems that GIFs are beginning to get the artistic credit they deserve, and some are even making the jump from computer screens to galleries. The GIF Exhibition will be held Sept. 5-13 at Tokyo’s Tetoka and will feature a variety of works from around 10 artists. Although the pieces may be over in a flash, visitors are encouraged to slow down and take in every frame.

GIFs have gone from Internet meme to art, but where will they go next? It’s anyone’s guess.

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Make 12th-century art using 21st-century tech http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/make-12th-century-art-using-21st-century-tech/ http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/make-12th-century-art-using-21st-century-tech/#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 08:34:31 +0000 http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/?p=20355 choju-giga

The Choju-Giga, the famed animal caricature ink paintings displayed Kyoto’s Kozan-ji Temple have been captivating people for centuries. The four scrolls, which date to the 12th and 13th centuries and depict rabbits and monkeys getting into mischief, are often cited as the first manga comics in Japan’s history.

Now art lovers can create their own masterpieces from the comfort of their Internet browser with the Choju-Giga Construction Kit website.

The site allows users to drag and drop a variety of ink-drawn animals and hiragana letters onto a virtual scroll to make whatever scene they choose. Some of the options include a fiddle-playing frog and a bow-wielding rabbit, giving users numerous story possibilities. The tools — enlarge, shrink, erase — are naturally depicted in hand-drawn calligraphy.

In the Q&A section of the site, the creator basically says he or she simply wanted a free way for users to create classic art. So go forth and roll your own epic scroll, one mouse-click at a time.

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Takashi Murakami + Frisk = super-artsy breath http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/takashi-murakami-frisk-super-artsy-breath/ http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/takashi-murakami-frisk-super-artsy-breath/#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 10:31:08 +0000 http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/?p=20117 //www.youtube.com/watch?v=NR_mFlWWmR0

For a limited time you’ll be able to freshen your breath by popping a piece of contemporary art into your mouth.

On March 16, Belgian confectionary Frisk launched a special collaborative line of art candy, called Frisk Neo, to celebrate its 30th anniversary.

The collaborator is none other than Takashi Murakami, that superfamous creator of superflat pop art.

Though Murakami’s most expensive art pieces have sold for more than $4 million, the Frisk Neo decorated in his original Kaikai Kiki characters and signature skulls cost less than ¥400.

“We basically bring a piece of art into the pockets of normal consumers,” said chief marketing officer Jan Heelinn in the Frisk Neo x Takashi Murakami official video.

Murakami likens the candies to sculptures in the promo video. Though we shouldn’t expect them to be auctioned at Sotheby’s any time soon, every tin bears the text “Designed by Murakami.”

The local buzzsphere celebrated the pop artist’s foray into breath mints with exclamations of “kawaii!” (cute) and “getto shimashita!” (I got one!).

Not only are the tins customized, Frisk went a step further by reshaping their pellet-like mints into original Murakami motifs. The Blooming Cherry mints are pink and flower-shaped and, as the name suggests, taste like sweet cherry. Pop open the Frightening Mint tin and you will see white-and-blue skulls. You might taste a hint of chilli in the mint — eccentric, like the artist himself.

Frisk Neo is supposedly available in convenience stores nationwide, but our guess it’s a hot-seller so good luck finding a tin.

A photo posted by Tomoya Yamashita (@_txmxyx_) on

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Gokon matchmakers fan the passion with sporting dates http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/gokon-matchmakers-fan-the-passion-with-sporting-dates/ http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/gokon-matchmakers-fan-the-passion-with-sporting-dates/#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 10:33:58 +0000 http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/?p=20091 This year, the Japan Sumo Association and matchmaking website Konpa de Koi Plan are giving eligible singles a chance to mingle and possibly fall in love at the ongoing March sumo tournament.


The sumokon price of admission gets you a reserved spectator box, a meal, a photo session with a former wrestler and perhaps the chance to pin down a partner for life.

The special event, called sumokon, is a portmanteau of sumo and konpa, which means “company.” It is derived from another abbreviated term — gōkon, which translates as a group blind date.

A typical gōkon usually takes place at an izakaya (pub), consisting of even-numbered male and female members. Games are sometimes played to break the ice. This scenario is popular in Japan as it takes away the pressure of meeting a date one on one. More large-scale gōkon have emerged over the years and proven to be profitable for the organizers. One example is machikon, a mixer event that involves bar hopping.

Recently, the increase in younger sumo wrestlers has attracted more female spectators — and, in turn, the matchmaking business.

On March 18, a spectator booth at the Osaka BodyMaker Colosseum will be reserved for five men and women between the ages of 20 and 45.

“We wanted to expand the field of dating,” explained Chie Goda, marketing manager at Goodwill Planning, which is helping promote Konpa de Koi Plan.

Taking note of the increase in young sumo fans, the company thought it would be interesting to see if sparks fly as heavyweights do battle on the dohyo (sumo ring)

According to Goda, Konpa de Koi have recently been focusing on supōtsu-kon, where members can view their favorite sport with their blind date.

“Last year, we did a baseball-kon and horse racing-kon,” Goda said.

Umakon participants take part in a group date at horse races.

Umakon participants take part in a group date at horse races.

To some, watching large, half-naked men tackle each other may not be the ideal romantic setting, but this unique blend of traditional culture and modern dating may be the perfect combination for single sumo fans, or, perhaps, a good icebreaker. But the men may find themselves competing for the ladies’ attention as new young wrestlers like Bana Asayama, a former bodybuilder, make their debuts this season.

The sumokon begin with lunch, followed by a photo session with a former rikishi (sumo wrestler). Members will then receive free sumo souvenirs before watching the tournament. The charge is ¥9,800 for men and ¥6,800 for women.

“Many of the sumokon members have never seen a sumo tournament before, so I’m sure they are feeling very excited,” Goda said. “I hope that the passion for sports will turn into love for someone special.”

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J-blip: Morphing time for Okamoto’s ‘Tower of the Sun’ http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/j-blip-morphing-time-for-okamotos-tower-of-the-sun/ http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/j-blip-morphing-time-for-okamotos-tower-of-the-sun/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 08:50:36 +0000 http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/?p=19858 //www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9Fh5A9JGWA

Bandai has created toy robot versions out of virtually everything from Hello Kitty to Mickey Mouse. Now it’s morphing time for Osaka’s iconic “Tower of the Sun.”

Taro Okamoto’s “The Tower of the Sun” was created to commemorate the 1970 World Exposition in Osaka and represents Japan’s past, present and future. Okamoto was known for his promotion of peace in works such his “The Myth of Tomorrow” mural, which depicts the horrors of the atomic bombings.

So we’re not sure how Okamoto would take his reflective tower becoming a menacing robot. The figurine, which will tower over your other toys at 280 mm, has the ability to transform from a tower to its final robot version. Well, actually you have to do the transforming, but still cool, no?

“The Tower of the Sun” figurine will break out of its shell on Sept. 27 and will retail for ¥17,000.

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Tokyo Designers Week 2013 http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/tokyo-designers-week-2013/ http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/tokyo-designers-week-2013/#comments Mon, 28 Oct 2013 08:25:38 +0000 http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/?p=19255 This year’s Tokyo Designers Week’s main event at Meiji Jingu-Gaien has had a bit of a makeover. As “Creative Fes,” it now includes a music venue, various food stalls and a market of hand-crafted goods. But, of course, the main focus remains design, and the event’s new Asia Awards, which includes categories for design schools, young creators and professionals, pulled in plenty of entries.

From architectural constructions to jewelry, we took a look at what the students and pros had to offer, as well as perused our old favorite — Designboom Mart. This year, we also found an extra favorite spot: the TAPAS Spanish Design for Food exhibition, which not only made us hungry for more, but proved that design can have a great sense of humor.

"Lump-bowl, lump-cup, lump-plate"/ Design Next Exhibition "Chackshade" by Masashi Yonemoto/ Asia Awards, Professional Ex "it knit" by Shogo Kishino, 6D-K/ Asia Awards, Professional Ex Bluetooth wooden keyboard by Oree Wood + Tech + Design/ Designboom Mart "Cultural Life, Native Senst Project, Bangkok University / Asia Awards, School Ex "Mama memo wrap" Kyushu University/ Asia Awards, School Ex "Music Factory" by Liu Yu-shuo/ Design Next Exhibition Bouncing balls installation by Nihon University "Detective survival guide" notebooks by Kimu Design/ Designboom Mart "The Box!" onigiri pouch by Chitow, Kun Shan University/ Designboom Mart Leather plaster rings by Kawa Shiki/ Try Market "Saddle Blossoms" by Takaya Sakano/ Asia Awards, Professional Ex Tokyo Smart Driver/ Container Exhibition "Table-soccer table/ mesa-futbolin" by Jose Andres, RS/ TAPAS Spanish Design For Food "La Cool Vie Boheme - Romantic table set for a couple on minimum wages" by Daniel Gantes/ TAPAS Spanish Design For Food Neorest x 4 Creators, a collaborative project with Torafu Architects, Noriko Hashida, Asao Tokolo and Mai Miyake/ Design Next Exhibition ]]>
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Isetan Mitsukoshi Design Week http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/isetan-mitsukoshi-design-week/ http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/isetan-mitsukoshi-design-week/#comments Thu, 24 Oct 2013 01:26:37 +0000 http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/?p=19198 Today, the Isetan Department in Shinjuku launches its Designers Week product fair “Hand Made By For Me,” featuring numerous lifestyle brands across various floors of the Isetan main building. The fair runs till Nov. 5 and with all items also available to purchase, it could be a good opportunity to get a little Christmas shopping in early.

We took a sneak peak last night and selected some of our favorite Japanese designs.

Wooden hand bag and lacquered cup and bowl from Yuzuriha craft shop. www.yuzuriha.jp (MIO YAMADA PHOTOS) Bean stools by furniture and interior designers Ogata. www.ogata-japan.com Plastic necklace, towel vase from UMEAOI by Hotman, sticky notes by PETA clear and java ring files by D-bros. www.hotman.co.jp/shop/000083.html, http://takeopaper.com, www.d-bros.jp Maruni Wood Industry Inc.'s Maruni Collection Hiroshima with textiles by Mina Perhonen. www.maruni.com/jp/topics Bold textiles from Gredecana. http://gredecana.blogspot.jp @gredecana Hasami ceramics, with House Industries x Hasami tea towels. One way to treat the dog to unusual foods, toys by Flavor. www.flavor-design.com Hasami ceramics' Kurawanka Collection, Monohara by House Industries. www.hasamiyaki.jp, www.houseind.com ]]>
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Japan by the numbers (8.9.13) http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/japan-by-the-numbers-8-9-13/ http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/japan-by-the-numbers-8-9-13/#comments Fri, 09 Aug 2013 07:43:45 +0000 http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/?p=18877
  • 92% of people Asahi Newspaper surveyed on the streets of Osaka use LINE chat daily.
  • 80.6% of couples who answered a poll by O-ucchino said that their relationship is harmonious, and 78.8% of them sleep in the same room.
  • 58.0% of mothers said they emphasize easy-to-prepare breakfasts, while only 17.6% of them focus on nutritional balance, according to research by Sato Foods.
  • 41.0% of voters surveyed by Google  used websites to collect information in order to decide which candidate to vote for in the Upper House election.
  • 32.5% of single women polled by MyNavi said they would rather be a housewife than a working woman after marriage.
  • 8.7 % of the parent generation in a parent-child survey conducted by Asahikasei Homes are considering the specifics of their property inheritance situation.
  • ]]>
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    Crafty creators converge on HandMade in Japan Fes 2013 http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/crafty-creators-converge-on-handmade-in-japan-fes-2013/ http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/crafty-creators-converge-on-handmade-in-japan-fes-2013/#comments Tue, 23 Jul 2013 03:30:15 +0000 http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/?p=18708 Second-hand mashups from Toumei Manila Watermelon bikini from Punto Punto Funky faced rings and baubles from Ogoh Ogoh Leather creatures from Nomuo Nature suspended in acyrlic, from mishicusa.com Shoes from drawing on the fabric Traditionallly styled bags from Tama Gyoku Accessories from Kaku Shika Descartes

    More than 2,000 creators converged on Tokyo Big Sight this past weekend for HandMade in Japan Fes 2013. While the range in styles and quality was wide, the creators did share one thing in common: they’re part of the virtual shopping/community site Creema, which is basically Japan’s version of Etsy. The inaugural event, while not yet on the scale of Design Festa, is definitely off to a strong start.

    Here are a few of the creations on display that caught our eye. (All photos by Mio Yamada.)

    Happy faces from Ieshima Prints Felt headgear from Honoyo Fun footwear from Holy Crap! A smartphone case that was born from a collaboration with Hamee and Tokyu Hands. Traditional sandals from Ei Japan A rainbow of bags from Cucco Accessories from 4ma 4ma Panda sandwiches from Katokoto ]]>
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    Pulsations (07.05.13) http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/pulsations-07-05-13/ http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/pulsations-07-05-13/#comments Fri, 05 Jul 2013 11:25:05 +0000 http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/?p=18165 Here are the latest Pulsations, links to fresh stories and visuals about Japan, shout-outs to fellow bloggers, and highly clickable stuff that we think you might enjoy.

    In no particular order, they are . . .

    Visual Pulse

    A singer-songwriter and an illustrator formed a duo called MimimemeMIMI to delight your eyes and ears simultaneously. Their debut single “Sensational Love” goes on sale Aug. 14, but in the meantime, check out this clip of “Mr. Darling.”


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    Pulsations (07.01.13) http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/pulsations-06-27-13/ http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/pulsations-06-27-13/#comments Thu, 27 Jun 2013 07:58:35 +0000 http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/?p=17992 Here are the latest Pulsations, links to fresh stories and visuals about Japan, shout-outs to fellow bloggers, and highly clickable stuff that we think you might enjoy.

    In no particular order, they are . . .

    Visual Pulse

    Follow the Yurikamome line at hyper speed as it wraps through Shiodome’s steel canyon’s and coils around Rainbow Bridge in one of the better Tokyo time-lapses we’ve seen.


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    Tweet Beat: #真4, #ソクラテスの死, #キスの日 http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/tweet-beat-%e7%9c%9f4-%e3%82%bd%e3%82%af%e3%83%a9%e3%83%86%e3%82%b9%e3%81%ae%e6%ad%bb-%e3%82%ad%e3%82%b9%e3%81%ae%e6%97%a5/ http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/tweet-beat-%e7%9c%9f4-%e3%82%bd%e3%82%af%e3%83%a9%e3%83%86%e3%82%b9%e3%81%ae%e6%ad%bb-%e3%82%ad%e3%82%b9%e3%81%ae%e6%97%a5/#comments Wed, 29 May 2013 23:27:54 +0000 http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/?p=17573 //www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4N6FSPhrcI

    The Twitter Japan blog releases a list of top hashtags for each week. Tweet Beat investigates the buzz behind the hashtag. 

    Demons and Samurai

    “Shin Megami Tensei IV,” the first numbered title in the Shin Megami Tensei role-playing game series in 10 years, was released on May 23 in Japan. Between the anticipation of the release date, the build up of PR like the 10-minute gameplay video above and the tweets of fans buying and playing the game, it’s not surprising that the hashtags #真4 (“shin”) and #メガテン4 (“Megaten” is the series’s nickname among fans) would trend.

    “Shin Megami Tensei” is known for its brutal difficulty. One player finds a humorous way to say he was annihilated in the tutorial. This time around, the characters are samurai from the Mikado Kingdom, but they still become stronger via the series hallmark of negotiating with demons for help. The game is due out in North America July 16.

    “The Death of Socrates” as re-created by Japanese students

    Jacques-Louis David painted “The Death of Socrates” in 1787. According to Plato in “The Apology of Socrates,” the great thinker was sentenced to death by poison for “act[ing] unjustly in corrupting the youth, and in not believing in those gods in whom the city believes, but in other strange divinities.” David’s work is said to be somewhat historically inaccurate, though it is nonetheless famous.

    In fact, it’s so famous that some Japanese students decided to re-create it as a photo the other day. Once tweeted May 25, with the hashtag #ソクラテスの死 (“The Death of Socrates”) the image promptly blew up (on a popularity trajectory that had it beating out a tweet from kawaii idol Kyary Pamyu Pamyu by some metrics) as people expressed their interest in giving it a shot, wished they had enough real-life friends to be able to pull it off or just laughed.

    Taking creative photos like this has been a popular hobby lately, it seems. You may remember Makankosappo but have you seen the “Attack on Titan” meme yet?

    Kiss Day

    May 23 is #キスの日 (Kiss Day). No, really! It commemorates the first time a kissing scene was shown in a movie in Japan, which, by the way, was the premiere of Yasushi Sasaki’s “Hatachi no Seishun” in 1946. People tweeted a lot of kissing pictures, whether of celebritiesDisney characters, dolls or their single selves. There is also plenty of fan art, even some featuring Harry Potter characters.

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    Tweet Beat: #NintendoDirectJP, #華麗なる公式 , #デザフェス http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/tweet-beat-nintendodirectjp-%e8%8f%af%e9%ba%97%e3%81%aa%e3%82%8b%e5%85%ac%e5%bc%8f-%e3%83%87%e3%82%b6%e3%83%95%e3%82%a7%e3%82%b9/ http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/tweet-beat-nintendodirectjp-%e8%8f%af%e9%ba%97%e3%81%aa%e3%82%8b%e5%85%ac%e5%bc%8f-%e3%83%87%e3%82%b6%e3%83%95%e3%82%a7%e3%82%b9/#comments Sun, 26 May 2013 04:48:20 +0000 http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/?p=17495 //www.youtube.com/watch?v=77IT-rWMl3s

    The Twitter Japan blog releases a list of top hashtags for each week. Tweet Beat investigates the buzz behind the hashtag. 

    The latest news from Nintendo

    When Nintendo has something to announce, it has been tending in recent years to do it via a Nintendo Direct presentation. These streaming events allow “direct” communication with fans of their games. On May 17 the latest #NintendoDirectJP included a special focus on Sega. The next three Sonic the Hedgehog games will be made exclusively for Nintendo platforms; “Sonic: Lost World” is slated for release on Wii U and 3DS this fall. Sega is also bringing “Yakuza 1 & 2 HD” to Wii U in Japan.

    Another highlight was downloadable content for “New Super Mario Brothers U” called “New Super Luigi U” with 82 revamped Luigi-only levels. It will also be available as a stand-alone Wii U game. For the the full details of the presentation, check your local Nintendo Twitter account: @Nintendo, @NintendoAmerica, @NintendoEurope.

    The “magnificent” presence of official Twitter accounts in Japan

    If you follow Japanese companies on Twitter, you may have noticed some of them have boatloads more personality than you might expect. Forgoing stiff PR and capitalizing on the “social” in “social media,” accounts such as @kumamototaxi (a taxi service), @enganbus (a bus company), and @imuraya_dm (food company known for red bean sweets) became known as #病気公式アカ (“sick official accounts”) last fall (perhaps because it seemed as if they had gone off the deep end). The tweets that chronicle the history of the hashtag are archived here.

    suggestion from @nhk_pr that they come up with something less insensitive to people who are actually suffering from illness led to adopting #華麗なる公式 (“magnificent official [accounts]). For a good example of how these accounts interact with each other, see this collection of tweets between @tanitaofficial and @sharp_jp. Note the liberal emoticon usage.

    So how did #華麗なる公式 end up so trendy this particular week? It’s hard to say for sure, since it’s continuously active, but I’d like to think because of this play on words by the Japan Self Defense Force Miyagi Provincial Cooperation Office:

    They were having trouble cooking their Friday curry, but the best part is the hashtag duo: #華麗なる公式 (karei naru koushiki, “magnificent official [accounts]”) is joined by #カレーなる金曜日 (karē naru kinyoubi, “curry Friday”).

    Design Festa Vol. 37

    The “international art event” #デザフェス (“dezafesu,” short for “Design Festa”) vol. 37 was held May 18 and 19 at Tokyo Big Sight. Just browsing the tweets gives a great taste of what was on offer as exhibitors posted photos to promote their booth and attendees were documenting on the fly. If you’re distraught over discovering this gathering after the fact, don’t despair! Vol. 38 is already on the calendar for Nov. 2 and 3.

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    Christmas gift ideas 2012 http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/christmas-gift-ideas-2012/ http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/christmas-gift-ideas-2012/#comments Wed, 12 Dec 2012 06:34:15 +0000 http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/?p=16212 Gift-giving at Christmas still isn’t a big tradition in Japan, but that doesn’t let you off the hook. We’ve joined our Japan Times colleagues in doing a little pre-holiday homework for you to take the pressure off. Now all you have to do is whip that wallet out . . .

    Tempo Drop

    Turning to an app on your smartphone for weather updates, while convenient, can be terribly unexciting. Like a bit of a challenge? With Tempo Drop, you can now forecast the weather by observing the appearance of the liquid in the glass.

    S: ¥3990, L: ¥5775, at Cibone

    Flex Leather Tray

    Too old for a pencil case and too cool for a pencil holder? This minimalistic, sculptable leather tray splits the difference. By the way, know what’s uncool? Not knowing where your supplies are and having to borrow them from the next desk. Tsk.

    ¥3,990 at 100perstore.com

    Hand warmers

    With the weather getting frostier by the day — and it hasn’t even started snowing yet! — what could be more useful and relevant than Christmas-y hand warmers? Even the toughest guy would appreciate one in his jacket pocket when battling the cold on the streets.

    ¥567; all Loft shops

    A few Japan Times columnists and editors have also given us a peek at their carefully curated gift lists. You’ll find presents for all your art and design-loving friends as well as stocking stuffers for the film buffs in your life. And don’t forget the folks who love Japanese gadgets! Ho ho ho!

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    Pulsations (12.07.12) http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/pulsations-12-07-12/ http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/pulsations-12-07-12/#comments Fri, 07 Dec 2012 10:47:03 +0000 http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/japan-pulse/?p=16245 Here are the latest Pulsations, links to fresh stories and visuals about Japan, shout-outs to fellow bloggers, and highly clickable stuff that we think you might enjoy.

    In no particular order, they are . . .

    • Breastfeeding doublespeak in Japan (from StarryBrooke): A new mother discusses Japan’s seeming inclination towards formula milk and its take on a healthy infant’s recommended weekly weight gain.
    • Dead Sensei Society (from Little Japan): Need to let out a few sniggers at work? This web comic features a “bumbling ex-pat who loves Japan, and reluctantly and inexpertly teaches English in order to stay.” Art imitating life, it seems.
    • The frustration of fruit (Japan As I Find It): Blogger Ciara airs her frustration with the cut-throat prices of fruit in Japan. Has your intake of natural vitamins taken a dip since moving here, too?

    Visual Pulse

    Good news, Doraemon fans. You’ll soon be able to relive your childhood, for the tubby and resourceful blue cat will be back on the big screen this coming March. Keep your fingers tightly crossed that the world doesn’t end on the 21st of this month…


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