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Beautiful Bonsai

Japan, Traditional Japan

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BonsaiJuniper_X0069

To be honest I’ve never really liked bonsai all that much. Too many interior decorators seem to think that if you have a bonsai and a Buddha in the same room then you’ve got an exotic Japanese theme. Not to mention that identical bonsai’s cultivated in bulk are somewhat less than impressive. But seeing these pictures made me realize that growing bonsai’s really is an art form of its own, at least when the Japanese do it.

Sorry I can’t remember where I got these pictures from so no links today.

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Tokyo’s Twilight: Photo’s by Sato Shintaro

Art, Design, Japan, Photography

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Shintaro Sato is a photographer known for his iridescent images of Tokyo’s twilight. Sato takes his photographs the old-fashioned way using his Toyo 4 x 5 camera, and yet the photos give the illusion of digital manipulation. This surreal quality is enhanced by the lack of people, as if the city was a miniaturized set. You can visit his official website or even buy his book Tokyo Twilight Zone available here.

 

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Kimono & Yukata: Photo’s by G2slp

Fashion, Japan, Traditional Japan

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G2slp has an amazing selection of beautiful pictures on his flickr account. He’s photographed a lot of well known Japanese models and actresses, which he submits in glorious large format. These are some of my favourites.

 

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Scans: Egg Magazine

Fashion, Japan

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I have mixed feelings about the whole Kogal/Ganguro/Yamamba/Gyaru trend. I don’t really like hip-hop, but hip-hop mixed with hot asian girls is a bit more interesting. These scans are from the Gyaru bible: Egg magazine, via this site.

 

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Woo-men Plushies

Design, Japan

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I love these hand-made plush toys by Woo-men. The extra large plushies, approximately 40cm, are my favorites, but there are fourteen different designs, each with their own personality. Woo-men are stitched and stuffed by hand using the best quality fleece, felt, faux fur, and a resilient stuffing – making them irresistible to touch. Made locally, Woo-men are only available in South Africa and selected European retailers, listed here.

Check out their official website.

The Lonesome Puppy, A Children’s Book by Yoshitomo Nara

Art, Comics, Anime & Manga, Design, Japan

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In his first book for children, renowned artist Yoshitomo Nara tells the charming story of a puppy so large that no one notices him—until a determined little girl climbs high enough to meet him and become his friend. A sweet tale from an artist for whom childhood holds a magical appeal, The Lonesome Puppy is sure to delight young readers and Nara fans of all ages.”

It seems to have received quite a bit of press, but I couldn’t resist posting images from Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara’s first children’s book The Lonesome Puppy. The pictures are from Chronicle Books, while the excerpt is taken from the cover flap. You can buy The Lonesome Puppy from Amazon.

 

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Pic of the Day: Decora Girls

Fashion, Japan, Pic of the Day

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Is it cute? Is it not cute? Is it a bit scary? These girls are dressing in the Decora style, one the street fashions of Harajuku. Decora consists of colorful clothing and accessories from head to toe, as exemplified by the girl on the right. Her friend on the left is dressed in the Koteosa, or Dark Decora style. I got the picture from this website, but you have to be a member to download other pictures from their gallery.

Portraits of Geisha by Akif Hakan Celebi

Fashion, Japan, Photography, Traditional Japan

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Akif Hakan Celebi is a fashion and fine arts photographer. Born in Istanbul, Celebi now lives and works both in his home country and the US, as well as travelling internationally. Celebi is known for combining portraiture with fashion photography, as well as documenting street style. I’ll be posting more of his portfolio later, or else check out his extensive work on his official website and deviant art site.

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Manga Spotlight: D[di:]

Art, Comics, Anime & Manga, Japan

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D[di:] is a multi-talented artist who has worked as a singer, model, novelist, manga artist and illustrator. Her debut work was the comic  Fantastic Silent, which was created while she was still a student of an art college. The project took the form of a one meter long tempera painting, which was subsequently photographed and published in a magazine, a sublime example of traditional fine art turned popular culture.

Since then, D[di:] has established herself as an artist creating  experimental and unconventional work that combines different art forms. In Kigurumi she combined the novel with a manga format, filling all the frames with nothing but text. Similarly, before her debut as a singer, she included a free music CD with her manga Angel Meat Pie. As a mangaka, D[di:] describes the dark side of human nature with fascinating insight, but it is the unusual forms her work takes which really intrigue. This is her official website, blog and amazon shop.

Scans: Contemporary Wedding Kimono

Fashion, Japan, Traditional Japan

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I picked up these scans of beautiful contemporary wedding kimono a while back on the Immortal Geisha forums. Unfortunately, I couldn’t manage to find the exact post again, so I can’t tell you anything about the publication these pictures were taken from because I can’t read kanji.

These scans show how the kimono is evolving as formal wear, with traditionally styled kimono being paired with modern hairstyles on almost every page. Motifs and colours are chosen to represent the season as well as having symbolic meaning – for example the crane, which mates for life, represents longevity and fidelity. To me a colorful kimono is so much bolder than a white wedding gown, and I love the celebratory feel of the fresh floral patterns in bright colours. Enjoy!

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