Garth write in to tell us about a fun bilingual magazine that no longer exists. Lucky for us, some of the articles are online:
Eat Creative is this design house in Tokyo that started out publishing a magazine called Eat. This magazine was similar to Benetton’s Colors magazine in that each article was in two languages and each issue had a theme. In the case of Eat, it was Japanese/English and the themes were always food related. They stopped publishing this
magazine several years ago when they realized the could be more successful just doing design work for other companies.
I remember there was a two page spread on interesting Japanese gourmet ice cream
flavors; lettuce, sperm whale, etc. There was also an interesting/slightly-disturbing article on people that drink their own pee.
Eat main page
Check out these little Tetris block-shaped stuffed toys. You can use them for hugging, puzzle-solving, playing fetch with the dog, or simply as a nice touch to your living room furniture.
via Daily Portal Z (Japanese)
There’s this great temporary store at Meguro Station called Steam Cream. It’s sold in the UK and Japan in these pretty tin cans, and right now, they’re having this special collaboration with artist Hiroyuki Takahashi. I bought one for 1500 yen ($16) with a nerdy geisha girl (kimono, red-rimmed glasses) on it. I couldn’t resist—the design was great, and the cream inside smelled like a fresh burst of lavender and chamomile, and made my skin feel like velvet. Another reason I couldn’t resist: I have had this strange urge all week to buy stuff in between interviews. I think I’m working my ass off and I deserve little rewards here and there.
COACH is teaming up with mobile phone company KDDI to release this limited edition branded Christmas edition cell phone. It's kinda pretty. $200 for the cover and accessories in addition to the standard handset retail price. There are less than 2000 on the market, though, so be ready to fight Shibuya gals in line if you want to get your hands on one.
via Wireless Watch
What global economic meltdown? A jewellery store display in Osaka laughs at the so-called "world recession" with their 1.6 million dollar 24k gold Christmas tree all blinged out with diamonds and pearls. It’s decorated with over 240 priceless gems. The store attendant justifies this extravagance:
Economic sentiment is sluggish. But, at least in this store, we want people to feel a gorgeous atmosphere.
Link (by Emily Co)
Intern Emily found this awesome photo of an office building in Osaka that has the Hanshin expressway running through it.
Tokyo designer Kouichi Okamoto makes crazy cool lamps and other household objects inspired by everyday objects like lightbulbs, balloons, and flat screen TVs. The umbrella stand is really neat—it has a little patch of grass on the side that feeds off of excess water that drips down from the umbrella. And that white mountain range-like thing on the left is a soup plate that simulates the topography of a mountain range.
Kyouei web site via The Japan Times
The Tokyo American Club has these awesome lamps by artist Shoichi Sakurai. He and his American wife make beautiful lamps and other furniture using recycled materials, like the breastplate of broken Edo period armor and old rusty pipes.
What better way to enjoy a good read than to curl up amidst your books? Bookshelf-meets-lounge chair in this sweet piece of furniture designed by Sakura Adachi.
Your toilet seat should match your shower curtains, too. Starting in November, for just two months, furniture and interior design company INAX is selling these awesome toilet lids in 11 different colors. Of course, no Japanese toilet seat is marketable without a bidet system installed, so it is fully capable of shooting warm water up your ass. It even has a fully automated toilet seat that automatically shuts after use so you don’t have to get yelled at for leaving the seat up. Oh! And also, it has a self-cleaning nozzle.
It retails for 156,000 yen, a little under $1,400.
Press release (Japanese, via Impress Watch)
Starting in December, electronics company Plus-Minus Zero is going to start selling these awesome colorful space heaters. They come in bright red, forest green, baby blue, and gray. These heaters—which will retail for about $120—were actually designed by Naoto Fukuzawa, who won the Good Design Award for it this year and also created some of au’s most popular handsets, like the neon and the INFOBAR2.
Product page (via Impress Watch)
A recent NY Times article discusses a new clothing line by a 29-year old Japanese fashion designer who created skirts-that-disguise-themselves-as-vending-machines for paranoid pedestrians. WTF? Does she really think this will fly? I mean what if the stalker/flasher wants a drink and pushes the "BUY" button, which happens to be conveniently situated right on her left nipple? That would be SO much worse. But actually, I don’t think it’s so much the designer that thinks this is a real crime deterrent than it is the reporter who wrote the story.
Besides, this isn’t a new concept at all. Vending Machine Red has been tearing shit up in Tokyo for months!
The designer hand-sews these things and sells them for about $800 each.
Link (Thanks, Katherine!)
The Tokyo Auto Show is coming up, and the big three Japanese automakers are slated to unveil a bunch of cutesy space-agey cars like the Nissan Pivo 2, a concept car that was introduced at a preview event this past weekend. I don’t know if I’d be caught dead driving this thing. But the girl pretending to drive it is cute!
More cute car photos on Mainichi.
Check out this crazy bathtub designed by Tetsuya Nakamura. It looks like a glass pipe you can purchase at a smoke shop on Haight Street, but it’s actually made of reinforced plastic. This is one of many furniture items that the artist designed for his Premium Unit collection.
Link (via Pink Tentacle)
Look! A red and black Nintendo DS Lite, coming October 4th.
Product page (Japanese)
Rumors are flying about Kanye West’s new album, Graduation, whose cover features a Takashi Murakami flying teddy bear spewing out of a giant mouth. People are psyched because the teddy bear is wearing those patented Nike’s worn by Marty McFly in Back to the Future II. Maybe Kanye’s highly anticipated album will help those who have been fighting to get the "McFly 2015s" back into existence and onto the consumer market.
I love that pop culture has become so multidirectional that you can now combine American hip hop with Japanese retro cute art with kicks from an 80s movie.
For more Super Flat fun a la Murakami, check out this video.
These beautiful lamps from Luca Nichetto for Foscarini are made of fireproof fabric and photographic images to look like those pretty little Japanese sugar confectionaries they sell at old candy stores.
The Transformers movie comes out today in theaters across the US—very, very exciting for robot geeks and other humans who believe in more than meets the eye. PingMag has a great interview with Alex Kubalsky, the Tokyo-based toy designer at Takara Tomy who helped design the disguised robots who appear in the new movie. You can see how, from early drawings to the finished plastic product, Optimus Prime came into existence. Pretty rad.
Can’t wait for the next cherry blossom season? This miniature LED cherry blossom tree will light up any room, desktop, or garden with lovely neon ambiance. I like the red, but it also comes in multi-color.
Guess what guys? We’re on the home stretch of the Tokyomango Design Contest, and we’ve got our Top 3 Finalists (based on your votes, sent to me both as comments and in emails). I know you guys voted already, so don’t feel like you have to do it again. But any comments, suggestions, etc. are always welcome. I’ll be announcing the winner on MONDAY.
Note: Designer James sent me 2 revised designs later in the week, so I’m subbing those in for his last 2, which got the most votes anyway.