Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Today’s J-blip: rrrrrrrroll

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

roll lightpost

Have you seen these  hypnotic, strangely beautiful GIF images yet? At a rate of roughly two a week, they’ve been appearing on a Tumblr blog called rrrrrrrroll that is dedicated to the project and run by a group of friends.


Sometimes it’s a young woman spinning on an axis, at the unhurried pace of a ceiling fan set on low.  Other times it’s an object — an umbrella, or an electric rice cooker, for example — set in motion. A simple concept, yet undeniably captivating.


According to the group’s Facebook page, the blog has attracted more than 10,000 followers. Not too shabby for a group that only started uploading photos in April.

And a hat-tip to Tofugu for the find . . . though it was Huffington Post  that first shined the big light on the rrrrrrrrollers.

Pulsations (07.20.12)

Friday, July 20th, 2012

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 . . .

  • On Japan’s excessive use of cones  (from Shoot Tokyo): Tokyo based photo-blogger Dave Powell, otherwise known as Shoot Tokyo, takes us on a visual tour of a land where the cone is king. Be sure to take a look at some of Dave’s other entertaining posts with stunning photography from Japan and abroad.
  • Former yakuza busted in nationwide sting (from Tokyo Reporter): A story with all the makings of a mob classic, but this time it’s for real. Kenichiro Nakao, a former member of the Dojin-kai criminal organization, claims he had nothing to do with the fraudulent activity he’s been arrested for — big surprise there. The more you read, the more “former gangster” sounds like an oxymoron.
  • Homemade hayashi chuuka bento (from Being A Broad): Hiyashi chuuka is a healthy dish perfect for taking to school or the office. Here is a simple recipe with different combinations of meat and vegetables as well as detailed instructions on how to prepare it. Simple, delicious and inexpensive.
  • The life of director Ichikawa Kon (from Japan Navigator): Japanese culture blog Japan Navigator profiles the long life and career of film director Ichikawa Kon, active in the industry from 1936 until his death in 2008. Within his extensive filmography he is best known for “The Burmese Harp” (1956), “Alone in the Pacific” (1963), and “The Tokyo Olympiad” (1965). A must-read for fans of Japanese cinema.

Visual pulse:

J-vlogger Ciaela and her friends translated Adele’s hit “Someone Like You” into Japanese. The result is completely professional — and just as likely as the original to get stuck in your head.

Today’s J-blip: K-Pocke pocket

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Form meets function, but unfortunately not fashion. K-Pocke (say “kay po-kay”) is a new line of shirts with a uniquely designed pocket to safely secure your mobile device. Shake, rattle and roll all you want. Nothing will fall out due to the convoluted way it’s constructed, they claim. I’m as worried as the next person about dropping my phone. Unfortunately, I’m more worried about looking like Steve Urkel. Cool innovation, but it might have a better chance if it were still the 90’s — and if pants didn’t have pockets.

Today’s J-blip: Mount Fuji summit panorama

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

(Click the photo to see the full panorama!)

Climbing season is just getting under way at Japan’s Mount Fuji. Every year hundreds of thousands of people make the trek to the summit—note the massive line of people in the lower-left corner. This photo, from, was uploaded by “Rio Akasaka,” who snapped it from the summit this weekend after a rainy trek. What an amazing view! For English-language resources and information on climbing Mount Fuji, see Fujiyoshida City’s official website.

Pulsations (6.29.12)

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

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 . . .

  • Why raising the consumption tax is a good idea, and good politics (from Mutant Frog): A must-read for anyone who wants to engage in the debate. Blogger Adam Richards offers a reasoned argument on why raising the consumption tax is good fiscal policy as well as a wise political move. The debate in the comments is smart, too.
  • Fujimori’s new “Trojan Pig” tea house (from Spoon & Tomago): Japanese architect extraordinaire Terunobu Fujimori is famous for designing striking and unique tea houses. His latest creation, which has been likened to a “trojan pig,” does not disappoint. But why a pig?
  • Sculpture or photography? (from Art It): We all know photographs can freeze a moment in time, but have you ever considered sculpture as a medium for doing so? Artist Rirkrit Tiravanija has. Read about how he started creating these full-size scenes, his ideas, inspiration, and latest solo exhibition at Gallery Side 2 in Tokyo.
  • Japanese photo exhibit on Korean “comfort women” sabotaged (from Global Voices): During World War II, the Japanese military forced tens of thousands of foreign women into sex slavery for soldiers overseas. Known as “comfort women” these victims were made to endure horrible atrocities. Ahn Se-Hong, a South Korean photographer who documented the now aging women, has faced numerous obstacles leading up to and during his Tokyo exhibition.
  • Green-roofs in Saitama Prefecture (from Japan for Sustainability): No, those aren’t weeds you see growing on the roof of your local konbini. Well, they might be, unless you live in Saitama Prefecture. The region has introduced a green-roof project for local convenience stores, which can help off-set carbon emissions.

A time-lapse video of Toyota engineers customizing their new, family-oriented concept car, the Camatte.

Today’s J-blip: Bang a paper drum

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Yumiko Matsui’s “Portable Shrine (Omikoshi).”

The booming of the taiko drums and the shouts from touts at carnival games and food stalls — you can almost hear the sounds of a Japanese summer festival when you look at Japanese artist Yumiko Matsui’s delightful paper sculptures. She is known for intricately crafting scenes with a whimsical take on familiar sights, from the stands at the festivals to the billboards in Shibuya.  While you’re in a matsuri mood, don’t forget to bookmark the JT’s monthly festival listings.

Pulsations (06.23.12)

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

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 . . .

  • How to Spend 3 Nights in Tokyo All Included on ¥10,000 ($US125) (from Tokyo Cheapo): While some tourists in Japan spend at least ¥10,000 a night for a hotel alone, others prefer to spend the same amount for their entire stay in Japan. Impossible? Well, these guys claim they have a plan for spending three days in Tokyo for just ¥10,000, everything included!
  • 1929 Japanese animation “Kobu tori” (from Japan Sugoi): Here is your chance to see the 1929 Japanese anime “Kobutori” by Chozo Aoji and Yasuji Murata. It is a 10-minute piece featuring two old men with large lumps, the “kobu” in the title, on their faces. They encounter similar situations, but one has a good temper while the other has an evil one.
  • Pots made from radioactive soil collected from within the Fukushima exclusion zone (from Spoon & Tamago): That’s the fascinating but radioactive idea Hilda Hellström had for her senior thesis show at the U.K.’s Royal College of Art. The project indeed is historical as the artifacts will always remind us of the most serious nuclear disaster in human history.
  • Lesbian invisibility in Japan (from Japan culture blog): Lesbianism is not as widely discussed as male homosexuality in Japan, where women are expected to be primarily good wives and wise mothers. Ramona Naicker explains how three decades ago, plenty of lesbian activist groups emerged seeking change but were forced to shut down due to lack of support.
  • Why Do Japanese People Wear Surgical Masks? (from Tofugu): I have been asked several times why so many Japanese people wear masks in public spaces. I did not know how to answer this question until I stumbled upon this post on Tofogu. Find out if you should be wearing one, too.

A former Australian rugby captain puts his unique skills to use on a rush-hour Tokyo train.

Today’s J-blip: Geek-approved cutting board

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Mario cutting board

Instead of bopping mushrooms with his head, this Mario helps you slice and dice them. Iowa artist Jim Van Winkle takes Mario and other 8-bit favorites off the screen and into the kitchen. No coins required for use!

From Prairie Oak Studios on Etsy


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