Monday, November 30, 2009

Japan's Herbivores Make NPR

More on the "Herbivores" of Japan. I posted awhile ago about the new trend in Japan which finds the country's men rebelling against the long standing norms of gender, sex, machoism, and all around lifestyle decisions that have been apart of the Japanese culture for decades (original Post here). The new breed of younger, twenty and thirty somethings are breaking the mold and pursuing their passions without shame.

NPR has recently produced a story to investigate the trend further. My original post was made after reading an article on Slate.

Find out more about Japan's "Herbivores" HERE and HERE

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Null Stern Hotel: Switzerland

This video is a short film that gives insight into a very interesting feat in hospitality taking place in Switzerland. Null Stern means "No Star." No star hotels could very well be the new trend in travel accommodations.The entire project is a part art installation and part real functional hotel. This being so, guests are treated to unique experiences as well as comfortable beds. The set up may not be for every traveler, but definitely for those looking for a refreshing and original approach to hospitality.

Null Stern SITE

Monday, November 23, 2009

2 Trios to check out

Micachu and The Shapes & Kitty, Daisy and Lewis

Both groups have built great word of mouth for their music. And both groups include talented musicians. The videos (below) are fun, and reflect the flavor of each act.

Micachu is a student of music and experiments with sound like a "noise researcher." She is joined by two friends to help her in doing so. Kitty, Daisy and Lewis are a family act heavily influenced by music their parents introduced and made apart of the family fabric.

Check out their sites to learn more and to hear some great stuff.
Micachu Site
Micachu Myspace
Kitty, Daisy and Lewis Myspace

Kitty Daisy & Lewis 'Going Up The Country'

Sunday Best | MySpace Music Videos

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Theo Adams Company: London

Theo Adams is a performance artist from London and this is a video of a piece put together and presented for W Magazine. Adams has a vision and he goes for it along with fellow creatives and members of his eponymous Company. He is the kind of person who wears braces on his teeth well after they were due to come off. The company is all self funded. I am sure that will soon change.

Theo Adams Company will be performing for one night only in Tokyo, Japan at the end of November. If you can't make it, check out the video above or the links to the Theo Adams Company blog.

You can truly get pulled into the pieces and may also feel slightly disturbed while watching. The artists do pour so much of themselves into their work. I find it poetic, exciting, and great to watch.

Interesting Theo Adams Interview
Theo's Blog site HERE

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Obamitas Cookies: Based on President Obama

A Branding and Design firm in Spain have created a cookie inspired by President Barak Obama. Maybe you have seen this before. The firm, Neos Brand, gained some coverage on this chocolate treat in various publications, but I am just coming across it. My first thought is: Is this racist in any way? In all fairness, I am sure that the firm did not intentionally make the cookie as a racist gesture and to be mean spirited. On the contrary, it is probably a nod and a compliment to America's first Black President. But, the group must have known that there would be questions about RACE raised by their design. And maybe that is part of the project. Unfortunately, I do not speak nor read Spanish. If you do, however, Neos Brand have provided a case study for the "OBAMITAS COOKIE" (link below). 

I suppose my main concern is that, unless you count the addition of slightly large ears on the "face" of the cookie, there is truly no likeness to President Obama. And giving nods to the ears is pushing it, I think. And a chocolate cookie nonetheless... The cookie does give an example of the power of the "Obama Brand" and the president's apparent mass appeal. But where do we draw the line? Black gummy Obamas anyone?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Kris Van Assche: Londerzeel

I was taking a look at Kris Van Assche's website to see his SS 2010 Menswear collection. But I found more than fashion on his pages. Kris Van Assche is a designer. He is also an artist and the Artistic Director for Dior Homme. What I found, and what I have linked to below, is a magazine put together by Kris with help from several artists and creatives. Londerzeel starts with a quote from The Little Prince; to tame… something too often forgotten. It means to create ties.”Ties between him and other artists, between him and men, between him and you.

The magazine showcases work by Van Assche, including an installation entitled  Poet On Strike (pic below), and others such as Ali Kazma and Andrea Mastrovito (the drawings by Mastrovito, like the one above, are very moody and incorporate looks designed by Van Assche).

I recommend taking a look at Londerzeel for inspiration and/or thinking about the life of a creative individual as he relates to the world around him.

As for Kris Van Assche's Mens Fashion designs: I feel like the man who wears these clothes may be introverted yet there is some "thing" that is a created product of his deeply inward thinking and lifestyle and this "thing" is shared with the rest of the world and "ties between men" continues.

Kris Van Assche site HERE

Londerzeel HERE

Sunday, November 8, 2009

"Tokyo Vice" by Jake Adelstein

When I first heard of this book, I thought it would be a low key affair. But Jake Adelstein is truly promoting his newest book, "Tokyo Vice," even appearing on 60 minutes about a week ago ( I watched by chance, happy to hear they were doing a Japanese story, and was surprised to see him on TV). The 60 minutes piece was not actually on his book, but about a Top Level Yakuza (Japanese Mob) who received a liver transplant here in the USA. It seems that now Adelstein must watch his step after bringing forth such a revelation: His life may be in danger. It is no surprise that Adelstein would make some enemies while putting in time as a Crime Beat reporter for a Tokyo newspaper. But it is hard to tell just how much danger he may be in, particularly when he is appearing on TV, print, and even NPR (this coming week) to talk about his book. Regardless, I am a Tokyo fan and will definitely give the book a read in order to understand the city's underground a bit better.

What is a bit "messed-up" is that, on a Japanese internet site who gave Jake's book a thread, someone who is not too nice actually posted his parents address and suggested that affiliates of the Yakuza pay them a visit. Perhaps Adelstein is at more of a risk than I thought...

Linked is a interview given by Adelstein for Random House who is the "Tokyo Vice" publisher. HERE

Tokyo Subculture: site edited by Adelstein about Japan Underground

Monday, November 2, 2009

Yayoi Kusama

Obliterating the world with dots: Yayoi Kusama has given us some fantastic works of art. I am just now learning a bit more about the Japanese artist and think that other art lovers who don't already know Kusama's work need to take a look. Check out the trailer for a Kusama Bio film by Heather Lenz and Karen Johnson (below). Kusama's official website is also very informative.

She has done happenings, sculpture, painting, performance, installations, and more. Her name is known, but her work is probably not as known as it should be. Kusama has lead a very intriguing life and lives in a Mental Hospital in Tokyo with her studio down the street. 

Kusama Website HERE