There are amazing new designs coming from China. Some of them are happening in retail spaces – especially in book stores. Shanghai Zhongshu Industrial Ltd. is one such bookseller that has been using Shanghai-based X+living design firm to create amazing book stores.
Most noteable to me was this 1,300 square-meter (approx. 14,000 sq.ft) store on four levels is located in the Zodi Plaza completed in 2016 in Chongqing. The clever use of mirrors and staircases makes it a truly M.C. Escher-esque experience and takes its inspiration from old libraries with the dark brown hues and floor-to-ceiling shelves.
For other stores, the designers also took cues from the shapes of Chinese lanterns and lamp shades:
What makes the areas of the store even more fantastical is the use of mirrors and reflecting surfaces that makes the space seemingly endless and turns things upside down.
I’m continually amazed by the innovative work coming out of China. They appear to be having a real design renaissance. I for one will be keeping an eye out for work coming from there.
Every Halloween the Friends of the Lone Fir cemetery put on a ‘Tour of Untimely Departures’ where volunteers would dress in period garb and guide you through the cemetery to hear stories about some of the deceased buried there.
Every time I go to Tokyo, I end up eating at Piss Alley as often as I can get over there.
While there, I always try to drop into this place that serves amazing eel skewers. The old man appears to have more or less retired, but his daughter is there now running the show and was great to talk with.
Owl Cafe – I went to Owl Village and had a great time. They seemed to genuinely want to take care of their Owls and treat them well. Still, I can’t say as I would ever do it again.
While in Kyoto, don’t get scammed by overpriced tourist kimono places. Also, it’s very hard for men to find yukata and kimono. Turns out, however, there are some amazing resources. Here’s some links that discuss places to pick up quality and used kimono for men and women.
Here’s some of the suggested places:
Nishijin Textile Center – great place to pick up quality men/women’s kimono at very reasonable prices. Men selection was a little limited.
Takashimaya – upper-end department stores like Takashimaya have dedicated kimono floors (It’s the fifth floor in the Kyoto Takashimaya)
Shinkyogoku Street and Teramachi Street.
Chicago – 1st floor is vintage clothes, 2nd floor is used Kimono
How about bathing green tea, sake, in a wine bath? Yeah – I did those, and they’re 100% real:
Or the Doctor Fish which are tiny fish nibble at your toes:
Osaka and Yakiniku/Wagyu and Kobe Beef
Here’s a really good guide on how to cook/eat and enjoy Wagyu and Kobe beef. Trust me, there is a difference between good Wagyu/Kobe beef and the low grade stuff most Americans get. Do not hit any of the tourist-trap looking places. Do some research and get a recommendation for high quality places that locals go to. If you’re not paying around $100 for a meal of about a 6-12 pieces, you’re probably not getting the real stuff. Once you do, you’ll never have realized how beef can taste. Meat that literally melts on your mouth is a real thing and worth having once in your life.
If you ever watchGameCenter CX, then you are familiar with Arino’s attempts to beat old video games. One of the things he uses are cooling pads. Last time I was in Japan, I bought some. Here’s what they are.
If you are further south, check out the Memorial Cathedral for World Peace at Hiroshima. I went to mass here and prayed that we never see nuclear weapons used in war again.
I absolutely love maps and visualizations. I’m always on the lookout for cool new creations.
Scott Reinhard combines contemporary land elevations with historic maps to create three-dimensional environments of a specific region, city, or state. To produce the digital maps, he pulls elevation data from the United States Geological Survey, which he then embeds with location information and merges with the original design of the old maps.
Pyramiden, located far above the Arctic Circle on Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, has been all but abandoned since 1998 – with only 6 year-round residents.
Aleksandr Romanovsky, who likes to go by the nickname ‘Sasha from Pyramiden’ has worked as a tour guide at the Russian settlement since 2012 when, he thinks, he was the only person to apply for the job. A loner by nature, Romanovsky has come to feel at home in this unusual, otherworldly place, where he spends the time between giving tours and warding off polar bears by enjoying solitary pursuits, such as playing guitar and learning Spanish.
Two hundred and seventy white garbage bags hang like ghosts in the columned hall of Vienna, Austria’s Museum für agewandte Kunst (MAK) for the exhibition Sagmeister & Walsh: Beauty. The piece is by Nils Völker, and is titled after the number of bags present in the installation. Over 1000 precisely installed fans and 45 circuit boards keep their movement on track, helping to rhythmically inflate and deflate the hanging plastic objects.