This week marked the 120th anniversary of The Japan Times, and the big news to come out of this celebration has been a complete redesign of the print edition of the newspaper, taking effect on April 1 (but they released a preview edition this week). The most amazing part of this news is that it’s my good friend Andrew Lee who is behind the redesign — oh, and he just happens to be the person who designed our Arcade Mania book. Andrew wrote three essays about the redesign, first about the redesign as a whole, then about the new logo (pictured above), and then looking through the various logos the paper has had through the years.
I’m really happy to see the paper get a new look like this — following the nice web redesign it got a few years ago (also created by a friend, Benjamin Thomas of Bento Graphics). I’m also quite proud to have been a Japan Times columnist for a decade — with my “On: Design” column, that ran monthly from 2005 to 2015 — and to have been part of the JT’s 120 years.
There’s a new episode of Toco Toco TV out, again game-related but more on the traditional side, profiling pro shogi (Japanese chess) player Manao Kagawa. Next episode will yet again be game-related, covering Nier-creator Yoko Taro.
After I finished my recent 1985 movie marathon, I wanted to do another one, but for a year of film that would feel very different. I picked 1967 for the simple reason that it marks a 50 year jump, and I thought it would be interesting to revisit movies of that era that I watched when I was younger, as well as discover some I had never seen.
What I found especially interesting with the selection I ended up making — I figured I was going to go for a dozen or so, and ended up capping it at 10 — was that most of what I wanted to watch was French. I’m not sure if it’s a sign that French cinema was so strong at that time, or if it’s just that I would have watched a lot of these because of my French-Canadian background, and so they were part of my upbringing. Yet, of the 30 movies I watched for 1985, none of them were French, so I do think that French cinema was on a more equal (if not higher) footing with Hollywood at the time, and that it tended to reach a more global audience than we see with French films these days (which I admittedly do not follow at all).
All in all, it was another fun exercise, offering me a satisfying snapshot at the state of film — and culture in general — at that time. Here’s the full list of films I watched — which you’ll also find under the “1967” tag.
- Belle de Jour
- Bonnie and Clyde
- Casino Royale
- Fantomas Contre Scotland Yard
- In Like Flint
- Le Samourai
- Les Demoiselles de Rochefort
- Point Blank
- The Graduate
One of the creatives interviewed in that Mt. Takao photo essay is Riccardo Parenti, who is behind a terrific site, Tokyo Graphic Designers, that offers up tons of resources for graphic designers who would like to go work in Japan.
One of the things my wife and I both miss from our life in Tokyo was the proximity to Mt. Takao (and Okutama), which we would regularly visit for a hike — even with pooch sometimes. The latest post on the State of Tokyo site is a beautiful photo essay on a recent hiking trip to Takao, accompanied with interviews of a few Tokyo-based creatives who were along for the hike. I sure love that scenery.
I mentioned last year really wanting to see the movie Hirune Hime (seems that the official English title is now Ancien and the Magic Tablet), and here’s a review of the film over at Time Out Tokyo. Considering that it’s directed by Kenji Kamiyama, who was behind Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and Eden of the East, two series I quite like, I’m definitely in for this.
I absolutely love the simple design of the new Vegeo Vegeco shop — and no wonder, since it was designed by Masamichi Katayama. The company behind it started by selling produce from the Kyushu region online, and now on top of this physical store (in Tokyo’s Nezu neighborhood), they also offer an app called Vegery for quick deliveries in areas of Tokyo. This is the kind of thing that would make me eat my greens more. More details in this Spoon & Tamago post.
I remember visiting the original Legoland in Denmark as a kid, back in the days where there was only one Legoland, and it was quite the treat. On April 1, Legoland Japan is opening in Nagoya, and as you’d expect, there are quite a few Japan-centric constructed models. Via Spoon & Tamago, and this Sankei News article.
99+1 Japan is a beautiful new guide produced by the Japan National Tourism Organization that takes the form of a website and book (which is also available as a downloadable PDF). The focus here is on art, design, and architecture, and from the browsing I did on the website, the choices are, well, quite choice. I know that my buddy Said Karlsson participated in this, with some of his wonderful photography adorning a few entries. Here’s also a Spoon & Tamago post with more details.
“Konomachi: This Town,” an illustrated piece by Erica Ward.