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Discarded Tatami Mats are Reborn as Contemporary Furniture

Tatami mats are traditional Japanese flooring made from sewn-together igusa grass. But despite their lovely aroma and natural resistance to mold, their usage has consistently declined as modern consumers opt for more contemporary living choices. The Tatami ReFab Project is an initiative to take discarded tatami mats and reintroduce them into the home by transforming them into a series of contemporary furniture.

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City and Forest Living in a Unique Concrete Log House

All images © Ichiro Mishima courtesy IKAWAYA Architects

Merging the organic with the inorganic; walking the fine line between indoors and outdoors, is a predominant theme in contemporary Japanese architecture. One of the latest iterations is from architect Atsushi Ikawaya, who recently completed a residential home in Eastern Japan that doubles as a music studio. The site location was ideal as it offered the convenience of being a 5-min walk from the train station for easy commuting, while being nestled in nature.

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The Unforgettable Landscapes of Ippan Nakamura’s World of Illustrations

All images courtesy of Nakamura Ippan | used with permission

Nakamura Ippan, a non-binary artist known for their web comic series ‘Jimocoro‘ and ‘Minna no Gohan‘, held their first solo exhibition last month in Tokyo. Art enthusiasts had the opportunity to witness Nakamura’s artistic brilliance firsthand at their exhibition titled ‘Love’, held at HB Gallery in Omotesando.

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A Struggling Regional Train Line Turns its Cars into a Photo Gallery to Boost Ridership

the winning photograph of the Koumi Line photo contest

There are numerous tiny train lines across Japan that are a dying breed. One of those is the Koumi Line, which connects Kobuchizawa Station in Yamanashi with Komoro Station in Nagano. The picturesque line, despite its views of mountains and rolling rice paddies, has been a victim of urbanization and depopulation particularly in rural areas of Japan. In an attempt to boost ridership and make up their budget deficit, the train has turned its advertisement space into a photo gallery and is hosting an in-car photo exhibition of the train submitted by users and train enthusiasts.

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Go See 5.3 Million Baby Blue Eye Flowers at Hitachi Seaside Park in Japan

baby blue flowers at hitachino seaside park

photo by teerayut hiruntaraporn

Japan’s cherry blossoms usually get all the attention for their short-lived beauty. But equally ephemeral are Japan’s Nemophila, or Baby Blue Eyes. And once a year, around late April to Early May, an astounding sea of 5.3 million of these little flowers cover the land for a little over a week. If you missed the cherry blossoms you can still catch these.

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Make Daily Life Comical With Manga Sound Effects

These acrylic manga sound effects are the perfect item to introduce some comical playfulness into your room or office. Need to drop off a stack of documents for your coworker to review? The ドーン sound effect accentuates the weight and intimidation of the pile. Want to show off you collection of comics? Use the ジャーン to dial up that “ta-daa” element.

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Noma’s New Pop Up by OEO Studio in Kyoto

All images ©Kotaro Tanaka courtesy OEO Studio

OEO Studio, a Copenhagen-based design firm, has recently completed the interiors of Noma Kyoto, a pop-up dining in Japan in collaboration with Ace Hotel. The 250 sqm existing dining space has been transformed under the guidance of stylist Christine Rudolph to create a truly unique and immersive experience that’s open to the culinary curious from March 15 to May 20, 2023.

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Experience Japanese Tea Time at Home With Sakuraco

many thanks to Sakuraco for sponsoring Spoon & Tamago this week!

Sakuraco is a monthly subscription box with an emphasis on Japan’s tradition of tea and wagashi. Each month subscribers receive a specially-curated and seasonally appropriate assortment of authentic snacks. But it’s not just about the food. With the arrival of each box, Sakuraco offers an opportunity to slow down; to connect with the roots of Japanese snack and afternoon tea culture.

Founded in 2015 by Tokyo native Ayumi Chikamoto, Sakuraco works directly with local makers and communities to bring you premium, authentic wagashi with seasonality and tea pairing in mind. Give yourself, or someone you know, the gift of Japanese tea time with Sakuraco.

Breeze Bird Cafe & Bakery in Kamakura is Situated Along the Enoden Train Line

photos by Katsuhiro Aoki courtesy Same Picture Company

For all that’s written and said about the difficulty of starting a business in Japan, there is one exception. The country’s lax zoning laws make it particularly easy to convert a section of your home into a cafe or eatery. Case in point: Breeze Bird Cafe & Bakery in Kamakura, a 2-family home ideally located right next to the Wadazuka train station along the quaint Enoden line.

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Veggies Reimagined as Miniature ‘Wabi-Sabi’ Bonsai

Bonsai, as we all know, is the Japanese art of growing miniature trees. Some bonsai trees are hundreds of years old while the technique itself is thousands. The art form has inspired other genres from painting to contemporary installation. But its latest iteration reimagines ordinary household vegetables as miniature bonsai toys.

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