Tag Archives: Tokyo

A Solid Gold Darth Vader for the Sith Who Has Everything

To celebrate 40 years of darkness, the galaxy’s favorite villain has taken on a much shinier disposition.

For less than the cost of a trip to Tatooine, one lucky Star Wars fan will soon be able to own a solid gold Darth Vader mask — perfect for bartering, though perhaps not so good for heavy breathing.

Continue reading A Solid Gold Darth Vader for the Sith Who Has Everything

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11 of the best jazz clubs in the world

What makes a jazz club? The music, of course. The atmosphere. The cultural significance.

As an art form born in African-American communities of the 19th century and expanded in the urban melting pots of the 20th, jazz is the soundtrack of the concrete jungle.

Which makes the jazz club an essential element in any modern city’s ecosystem. Here are some of the best examples.

Village Vanguard, New York City

Village Vanguard, New York City

In a city often hailed as the jazz mecca of the world, Village Vanguard is its black stone, the ultimate place of worship, the quintessential jazz club. From the moment you descend the steep stairway to the small basement venue, you find yourself steeped in the history of jazz. From Bill Evans to Brad Mehldau, and from Sonny Rollins to Joe Lovano and Jason Moran, most of the jazz greats have performed in the same dimly lit subterranean space, adding to the aura of this place that’s a point of reference for the global jazz community.

Continue reading 11 of the best jazz clubs in the world

‘Fat finger’ Tokyo Trader Accidentally Makes $617 Billion Trading Blunder

A “fat finger” error at the Tokyo stock exchange Wednesday morning caused orders amounting to 67.78 trillion yen ($617 billion) to be canceled, the London Evening Standard reports.

According to the report, the mistake is “thought to be the most extreme example of a trader in financial markets inputting hopelessly wrong figures while working under intense pressure.”

The largest single order, 1.96 billion Toyota shares worth 12.68 trillion yen, was one of 42 canceled transactions, Bloomberg said.

The so-called “fat finger” trade refers to a human error, like pressing the wrong key, rather than a bug in the trading algorithm. 

The Evening Standard quoted Gavin Parry, managing director at Hong Kong-based brokerage Parry International Trading, as saying:

“It’s not rocket science that there was a fat finger here, but it reopens the questions about accountability.”

By Planting Miniature Gardens On Abandoned Bikes, This Project Helped Clean Up Tokyo

A good way to make an invisible problem more visible: put a flower on it. 

Abandoned bikes are a challenge in every city, but perhaps nowhere as much as Tokyo, where a staggering two million bicycles are left behind on city streets every year.

Despite the size of the problem, Tokyo locals tend to take it for granted. Inspired to help change that, a bike-sharing company called Cogoo decided to create a campaign to make people take a second look:

They collected dozens of old bikes, turned the bike seats into flower planters, and then parked the bikes back on the street.

“Cogoo wanted to raise people’s awareness by making this ‘invisible’ problem more visible,” says Kenta Ikoma from TBWA/Hakuhodo, the ad agency that worked with Cogoo on the campaign.

“We realized that people appreciate flowers on the streets even though they pay little attention to bikes left on the streets. This led to the idea of turning those bikes into an art gallery displaying ‘Saddle Blossoms.'”

The experiment worked. As people stopped to look at the tiny gardens, they also read tags on the back of each saddle linking to more information about why the project mattered. Ultimately, fewer bikes ended up on the street.

“We ran this campaign at two universities which were unsuccessful with conventional campaigns such as posting signs or putting stickers on bikes to encourage people not to leave their bikes,” explains Ikoma. “After the campaign, they were able to reduce the number of discarded bikes by 40%.”

The campaign even inspired local government to start making more of an effort to clean up piles of old bikes. If it could work in Tokyo, could it work elsewhere?

Gap-Filling Urban Abodes

The shapes of each loft are different and take forms as mundane as a circle and as crazy as an alien from Space Invaders. Live Between Buildings was designed for some of the world’s most cramped cities, including New York and Tokyo. The concept certainly seems viable and it may only be a matter of time before architects begin looking between buildings.

Live Between Buildings is a series of conceptual lofts designed to maximize space in urban areas. These lofts would be built in the narrow gaps between buildings, as indicated by the design’s name. Dutch design duo Mateusz Mastalski and Ole Robin Storjohann created Live Between Buildings for the New Vision of the Loft 2 design award, a contest held by rooftop window maker Farko and the architecture magazine A10 New European.

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TADANORI YOKOO’S PSYCHEDELIA

Tadanori Yokoo is one of Japan’s most successful and internationally recognized graphic designers and artists. He began his career as a stage designer for avant garde theatre in Tokyo.

In the late 1960s he became interested in mysticism and psychedelia, deepened by travels in India.

Because his work was so attuned to 1960s pop culture, he has often been (unfairly) described as the “Japanese Andy Warhol” or likened to psychedelic poster artist Peter Max, but Yokoo’s complex and multi-layered imagery is intensely autobiographical and entirely original. 

By the late 60s he had already achieved international recognition for his work and was included in the 1968 “Word & Image” exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.  Four years later MoMA mounted a solo exhibition of his graphic work organized by Mildred Constantine.

In 1968 Yukio Mishima claimed, “Tadanori Yokoo’s works reveal all of the unbearable things which we Japanese have inside ourselves and they make people angry and frightened.

He makes explosions with the frightening resemblance which lies between the vulgarity of billboards advertising variety shows during festivals at the shrine devoted to the war dead and the red containers of Coca Cola in American Pop Art, things which are in us but which we do not want to see.”

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In 1981 he unexpectedly “retired” from commercial work and took up painting after seeing a Picasso retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art (New York).

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His career as a fine artist continues to this day with numerous exhibitions of his paintings every year, but alongside this he remains fully engaged and prolific as a graphic designer.

Curved wall house with forest views in the city (PHOTOS)

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Japanese architecture firm Studio Velocity created this curved wall house with a bright white facade and lots of glazing that invites the indoors out. This live work house puts the work space on the main floor, offering easy access for comers and goers, and living rooms upstairs for privacy and the ultimate in views. Here’s the tour.

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The trees surrounding this urban house plan truly create a sense of peaceful isolation in this densely populated urban core – not an easy feat!

Large windows and glass doors offer instant access into this green city garden, while flooding interiors with natural sunlight.

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The home’s interiors have a certain charm without compromising its contemporary style. The lower level houses a work space, with private living areas upstairs. Wood floors add a warm, earthy quality. We love the chandelier suspended over the desk, and the old-school clock mounted to the wall, so you know the second it’s quitting time! The glass double doors swing open onto the garden and alfresco sitting area.

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A cool spiral staircase winds its way up through the house, offering a means to access the upper level while also letting natural light spill down to the lower floor. Open risers allow light and views to spill through, unhindered.

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The upper floor features high ceilings and tall windows to invite the green scenes in.

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The glazed corner provides the perfect spot to sit and enjoy the view!

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And for a closer look of the outdoors, step out onto the circular balcony overlooking the garden and the city.

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