Posts tagged
with Japan


The Blinged-Out Work Trucks of Japan Photographed by Todd Antony

February 13, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

For more than 40 years Japanese truck drivers have been piling on lights, patterned fabrics, and other over-the-top adornments to their work trucks, creating moving masterpieces covered in LEDs. This tradition of decorated trucks or “Dekotora” originated from a 1970s Japanese movie series inspired by Smokey and the Bandit titled Torakku Yaro or “Truck Rascals.” Drivers first began decorating their vehicles in the style of the comedy-action films in hopes of being cast in upcoming films. Eventually the extravagant trucks became a way of life for many workers, with decoration costs to produce such elaborate vehicles sometimes running over $100,000.

Although the art form is now seeing a decline after it reached its peak in the ’80s and ’90s, the Utamaro-Kai Association of Dekotora drivers has begun to help raise funds for various charity initiatives, including areas of the country that have been hit by the recent Tsunami. Photographer Todd Antony‘s latest photographic series documents the men behind the association, taking a peek inside their cabs to view the personalization that goes into each piece of machinery. You can view more of Antony’s recent projects on his website and Instagram. (via Colossal Submissions)




Japanese-Designed Public Restrooms in the Shape of Fish, Crabs, Tree Stumps

February 6, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Flickr user and photographer Okinawa Soba (Rob) has been documenting the obscure designs of public restroom facilities on the Japanese island of Okinawa for the last six years. Rob has lived on the island, which is home to 1.3 million residents, for nearly 43 years, and has had the chance to explore some of the stranger bathrooms the prefecture has to offer. Included in this group is a koi-shaped bathroom which asks guests to enter through the mouth, a sliced orange, a stubby trunk with windows that have replaced its missing branches, and a robotic crab. You can see more of Rob’s unique Japanese finds (including these Okinawa manhole covers) on his photostream. (via Web Urbanist)



Craft Food

Interactive Culinary Embroideries by Ipnot

January 25, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Japanese embroidery artist ipnot creates pieces of food and drink that seem to leap off of the fabric and into life. Ipnot enhances the realism of her embroideries by staging them with their real-life inspirations and surroundings, like piles of fluffy rice in a bowl, and slices of stollen crumbling off a miniature fork. Ipnot shares on her website that her grandmother’s embroidery practice inspired her to start, and she uses the needle and thread similarly to the painting technique of stippling. You can see more of the artist’s petite embroideries on Instagram. (via Spoon & Tamago)



Colossal Design

Tokyo Lights up at Night in New Glow-In-The-Dark Furoshiki Scarf

January 3, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Famed for its radiant skyline at night, Tokyo glows on The LINK Collective’s newest addition to their modern furoshiki line. Featuring a special soft touch glow-in-the-dark paint, the design by Hannah Waldron captures the Japanese megalopolis’s towering architecture in a contemporary, slightly abstracted design. Mount Fuji and a star-spangled sky watch over the city on a background of cerulean blue, accented with red and white. Throughout the day, the glow-in-the-dark paint absorbs ambient light, and at night the city’s windows light up.

Furoshiki, the classic Japanese square textile, are meant to be used for a variety of purposes from wrapping packages to picnic blankets and of course, as a scarf. The LINK Collective works with Japanese craftsmen and artists from around the world for their line of hand-made furoshiki. Tokyo and other designs are available in The Colossal Shop.



Art Craft Food

Japanese Tip: An Exhibition of 8,000 Chopstick Sleeve Sculptures Left Behind at Restaurants

December 19, 2017

Johnny Strategy

Yuki Tatsumi was working as a waiter in a restaurant when one day, as he was cleaning up a table, he noticed that a customer had intricately folded up the paper chopstick sleeve and left it behind. Japan doesn’t have a culture of tipping but Tatsumi imagined that this was a discreet, subconscious method of showing appreciation. He began paying attention and sure enough noticed that other customers were doing the same thing. Tatsumi began collecting these “tips” which eventually led to his art project: Japanese Tip.

Since 2012, Tatsumi has not only been collecting his own tips but he’s reached out to restaurants and eateries all across Japan communicating his concept and asking them to send him their tips. The response has been enormous. He’s collected over 13,000 paper sculptures that range from obscure and ugly to intricate and elaborate.

left at a restaurant in Kochi

Earlier this month, Tatsumi staged an exhibition in Tokyo where he displayed 8,000 of some of the most interesting sculptures sourced from all 47 prefectures around Japan. “Japanese Tip is a project between restaurants and customers,” says Tatsumi, “to communicate the ‘appreciation for food’ and ‘appreciation of the service’ by using the most common material used at any Japanese restaurant.”

The exhibition has since closed but you can see some of the paper sculptures on his website and you can follow the initiative on Facebook. (Syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)

left at a cafe in Mie




Meet Tatsuo Horiuchi, the 77-Year-Old Artist Who ‘Paints’ Japanese Landscapes With Excel

December 4, 2017

Christopher Jobson

For over 15 years, Japanese artist Tatsuo Horiuchi has rendered the subtle details of mountains, cherry blossoms, and dense forests with the most unlikely tool: Microsoft Excel. The 77-year-old illustrator shunned the idea of paying for expensive painting supplies or even a basic drawing program for his computer, saying that he prefers Excel even over Microsoft Paint because it has “more functions and is easier to use.” Using simple vector drawing tools developed primarily for graphs and simple shapes, Horiuchi instead draws panoramic scenes of life in rural Japan.

Great Big Story recently visited Horiuchi at his home for a brief interview and a behind-the-scenes look at how he works in the video above. If you’re even slightly skeptical, here’s two of his earlier Excel artworks you can download and explore yourself:

Cherry Blossoms at Jogo Castle (2006)
Kegon Falls (2007)

You can explore more of Horiuchi’s Excel drawings on his website and at Spoon & Tamago.




A Japanese Home Designed Around a Climbable Earthquake-Proof Bookshelf

December 4, 2017

Johnny Strategy

Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves are lovely, and can act as a robust focal point in any home, though accessing the high shelves can be a problem. The common sidekick has always been ladders which can also add character and charm, but for smaller homes like in Japan they can be a nuisance, occupying too much space for not enough usage. Japanese architect Shinsuke Fujii came up with a simple, yet brilliant solution that solves another problem too: earthquake safety.

The “House in Shinyoshida,” as it’s called, named for the neighborhood in Yokohama where it stands, was conceived shortly after the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake. The client, who happened to be an avid book lover, approached Fujii with the task to design a home around a large bookshelf that’s both easily accessible but also one that won’t spill all the books if there’s ever a tremor.

The solution was to slant the entire western-facing façade and create a built-in slanted bookshelf whose shelves also function as a ladder. The slant allows family members of all ages to climb up and reach books, but also keeps the books from falling should an earthquake ever shake the home. The slanted façade also has the effect of creating an open feeling in the family room, where the home’s high perch allows for plenty of sunlight to enter through the large windows. (Syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)