Kisses in Tokyo

OK if this tech works as shown in the video it’s pretty amazing. There is no word on pricing or a launch date, just summer of 2016. It’s a pretty interesting concept, although I’m not sure why they don’t have a smartphone app to launch at the same time as this. An app just makes so much sense since the dictionary could update in the background, and the translation algorithms  could be updated as well. Plus people always have their phone with them, and this is one more thing you have to carry. None the less, the translations shown in the video seem pretty remarkable, and apparently more accurate than any translation app I have on my iPhone. As for the marketing, the video is just bizarre and even though it has been seen by over a million people, ili has been forced to post an update that makes me question it. If everyone in the video is an actor and an actress it makes me think the whole thing was scripted and rehearsed, which sort of invalidates the results. Hmmmm I guess we will just have to wait and see.

Japan Society, “Garden of Unearthly Delights”.

If I were in New York, or going any time soon, I’d be heading to the JApan SOciety gallery for the fall exhibit which runs from Friday, October 10 through Sunday, January 11. From the video below, this looks pretty damn cool with a blend of traditional and emerging mediums. The narrator does an excelent job of summarizing the show, the artists, and the background of this group exhibition. Now I just have to figure out how I can squeeze in a trip to New York before the show closes in January.

A monster tsunami uproots a city. Modern tough guys lock samurai-style in battle. Candy-colored streams of animals and flowers hyperpixilate. These dramatic visual moments are among many to be encountered this fall in our new exhibition Garden of Unearthly Delights. The featured artists Manabu Ikeda (b. 1973, Saga Prefecture), Hisashi Tenmyouya (b. 1966, Tokyo) and the art and technology collective teamLab (est. 2001) are today’s takumi, or master artisans, taking pride in the execution of dense and precisely detailed works requiring time and contemplation to grasp. Their creative imaginations travel through time, finding inspiration in a range of styles; from medieval Buddhist paintings to contemporary anime and manga. Come stroll through their fantastical visions.

“The Craft of Movement”

Since it is a frozen waste land of bone crushing cold and snow outside I thought I would search Vimeo for some nice Spring clips. Something with green leaves and cherry blossoms. I thought it might make the 6 more weeks of winter a bit easier to tolerate. While cruising through a number of Spring related short films I came across ‘s Spring/Summer campaign fro 2013 and the making of film.

 got together with NAM to capture the Craft of Movement in modern day Japan. The 60 second spot features some really nice slow motion footage great camera work and post. As you watch the film you see objects, and people suspended in air slowly moving through frozen objects. NAM made no attempt to hide the rigging and wires in the shoot, which ads a level of surrealism to the overall effect. If you are the least bit curious about how they made this, watch the making of video below. It takes almost 24 hours of studio time and compresses it into just a few minutes showing the magnitude and complexity of of the final piece.

Saturday Eye Candy. “Night Stroll” by Tao Tajima

Night Stroll from tao tajima on Vimeo.

According to Tao Tajima, the idea for this video came to him as he would walk home late at night in Tokyo listening to music. As he walked he would visualize the shapes in his mind. This video is the recreation of what he saw in his head.

I love the nice rhythmic animations that follow the tempo of the music without distracting from the live footage. The 3D tracking matches the perspective of each shot so well, and the simplicity of the shapes just work.

“I simply visualized the images I was seeing,” Tajima tells us. “I think anyone who’s walked home at night listening to music has experienced this feeling,”
Tao Tajima

Just In Time For Summer.

The first day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere is just a couple of days away. With it comes long warm days, sunshine, and unfortunately harmful UV rays. In many cultures using an umbrella to shield you from the sun is as much a custom as using one to keep the rain off of your head. Unfortunately most umbrellas don’t offer a solution that is visually fun and exciting.

Japanese designers Fumito Kogure and Shinya Kaneko have come up with an artful answer to the umbrella. Komorebi is a Japanese saying that roughly translated means “sunshine filtering through foliage.” These two designers have applied that phrase to your typical umbrella creating something that shades you with the feeling of sitting under a tree. Komorebigasa, can be used in rain or shine but the shadows it creates on a sunny day simply make me smile.

If you have 3900 Yen ($41.50) you can pick it up here.



Life After Death. Reinventing Funeral Services Advertising.

The subject of death and funerals in most of the world brings up somber visuals in monochromatic shades of black. Japan, is no exception to this with funeral services being viewed as a largely a black & white affair, with any deviation from the code being considered taboo and disrespectful to the deceased and the family.

The March 11th Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami had a traumatic effect on Japan where so many people died as a result of this tragedy. Issues of life and death, hope and despair, beauty and tragedy became an all too real part of people’s everyday lives in Japan.

In the months that followed the tsunami, funeral home Nishinihon Tenrei approached Tokyo-based ad agency I&S BBDO and asked them to create an ad for funeral services that broke from the standard mode of operation. The request understandably posed several challenges for I&S. The challenge became how to communicate the funeral home’s new role of remembering and celebrating the beauty of a lost person’s life. The result is the spectacular image shown below.


Creative director Mari Nishimura decided to create a real-size human skeleton made from pressed flowers. The image is both beautiful, as well as celebratory, expressing through flowers what remains after death.


Tsuneaki Hiramatsu’s Fireflies.

It’s firefly season again, and for the next 30 or so days the field to the south of my house will be blanketed with thousands of glowing lights from dusk until dawn. Hopefully this year, I’ll be able to get photos of it that are as nice as the ones taken by Tsuneaki Hiramatsu.

Hiramatsu’s photos of fireflies were taken around Maniwa and Okayama Prefecture in Japan using slow shutter techniques combined with multiple composites to create the final images. They show the fireflies during their mating season after thunderstorms from June through July’s rainy season in the area.

The images really are quite astounding.