JEANSNOW.NET Top 10 for August 2007

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This is a new series that I’ve been thinking about starting, in which every month I’ll do a post with my 10 favorite things that were probably covered on the site (but not necessarily). It’s a way for me to keep track of the things I really like, and to bring attention to some things that may have gotten overlooked. So, in no particular order, here are my favorite things for August 2007.

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The Unfold Cityscape by Palla
This is an image created by Osaka-based Palla for the Swarm of Angels project, and I ordered it as a poster. The first batch will ship in a couple of weeks, and I can’t wait!

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Freedom Project
This latest series based on designs by Katsuhiro Otomo is more than just an exercise in branding, and uses cell-shaded CG to amazing effect. The story’s not bad either!

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OK FRED/PMKFA Office in Aoyama
OK FRED and PMKFA now share an office/studio space in Aoyama, along with writer Ega, which is a great group of — inspirational — people to bring together.

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POINTS #00
Jason DeGroot’s new video series on gaming culture in Japan is off to a great start, with a look at some game-related bars in Shinjuku.

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The Analog Girl at Cafe Pause
It was our first try at having a small live event at the cafe, and I quite enjoyed the performance, as well as her use of ELECTROPLANKTON during the performance!

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PEN’s Viva Comics!
The issue of PEN that covers all things comics/BD/manga is a great survey of the medium.

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Mont-Bell Equipment
With all the hiking and trekking I’ve been doing lately, it was time to upgrade my gear, and I got some great stuff from the Mont-Bell flagship store in Shibuya, including some hiking shoes, rain cover for my backpack, a ventilated UV-protected shirt, and a hat. I also got a Millet Gore-Tex jacket for half-price at Seibu.

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Media Skin
After more than a year with Naoto Fukasawa’s NEON, I switched to Tokujin Yoshioka’s Media Skin, thanks to my friend Brad (he bought a new phone, and sold me his old Media Skin). I’m absolutely in love with it, and this is my first time experiencing one-seg digital TV broadcasts, which look terrific. I’m also really impressed by the manga viewer — they manage to get manga presentation just right on a mobile phone screen, and as a bonus you get a lot of titles in color for the first time.

Kyouei’s Umbrella Pot
I’m a big fan of Kouichi Okamoto’s designs, and his latest, the Umbrella Pot, is another fun product.

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Hello, Please!
Matt Alt and Hiroko Yoda’s great little book on Japan’s frequent use of cute characters is a fun read.

This Week in Magazines

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  • In this month’s issue of TITLE (92), it’s “Go! Go! Title Railway,” with a VIA Railway train — that’s Canada’s national railway — on the cover. They go over a few national railways inside, as well as some famous trains, routes, and, well, pretty much everything that relates to train travel. I really liked the look at the train bento — me and the wife always look forward to these when we take the train somewhere.
  • CASA BRUTUS (90) offers part 2 of their look at “Traditional Japanese Architecture and Design.” It’s a bilingual issue (English/Japanese), meaning the feature gets translated. The insert, also bilingual, acts as a guide to 45 must-see examples of traditional Japanese architecture.
  • I don’t usually cover +DESIGNING in these posts — as the tagline suggests (“Creation & Production Library for Designers”), it veers towards the technical and is aimed at people working in the field — but the latest issue (Vol. 6) offers up a fascinating look at Japanese magazine design, covering every aspect of production.
  • DESIGN NOTE (14), as always, is made up of profiles of various art directors and their work, and this time they focus on photo direction.
  • REAL DESIGN (14) claims that this issue will be all about “White Design,” but it really covers different categories of products in both black and white. I really liked the section on bicycles — I really, really want a new bike…

Higashi-Ikebukuro Pocket Parks Again on NHK

I’m told that the “My Private Tokyo” segment I did a few months back for TOKYO EYE on Higashi-Ikebukuro pocket parks will run again along with some other segments covering disaster prevention (September 1 is disaster prevention day in Japan). It will air September 12 on NHK WORLD, and September 19 here in Japan on the NHK Chijo-Digital Educational channel. You can watch the segment here, or see photos of all the pocket parks here.

PingMag: Gaffer Tape Typography

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PingMag has a great look (the direct link doesn’t seem to work, so just go to the front page) at the use of gaffer tape on construction projects, creating rather attractive lettering. They interview Hikaru Yamashita of TrioFour, who made that video I linked to a while back about the tape-made signs in Shinjuku. You can also catch an exhibition of that work, created by train guard Shuetsu Sato, in Koenji until Sunday (September 2).

Hello, Please!

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If there’s a reason Japanese snack package design tends to be so popular with tourists, it’s probably because of the cute and colorful characters that are often prominently featured all over. This country’s love for cute mascots extends to pretty much everything that surrounds you, and that includes all manner of signs and instructions. Don’t believe me? Get a copy of Hello, Please! Very Helpful Super Kawaii Characters from Japan, by Matt Alt and Hiroko Yoda, and see for yourself.

Itself a cute little book, the guide takes you on a tour of all those kawaii characters that try to make your life in Japan that much easier (and in a friendly way). It’s pretty much cover to cover photography, and very fun to read through.

Happening in Tokyo

  • “The Salon,” happening tomorrow night (August 31) at Museum Cafe MADO LOUNGE (Mori Tower 52F) and involving OK FREDDERs Audrey and Yoshi, hopes to bring some retro (20s) party action to the venue. Suggested dress code: “ladies bring your pearls, hills, feather and lipstick, gentlemen, hats, ties, or feather if you prefer…” It starts at 20:00 with entry at 3500 yen (3000 yen with flyer), with a second edition already planned for September 14.
  • Fans of sci-fi will want to catch the Nippon 2007 Worldcon that starts today (August 30-September 3) at the Pacifico Yokohama Convention Center. Author and BOING BOINGer Cory Doctorow is even scheduled to be there.
  • This weekend also marks the start of a new show at the Nakaochiai Gallery, “Magical Brothers,” running until September 23. The opening reception happens this Saturday (September 1), 19:00-21:00.
  • “Searching for Mr. Olive,” a photo exhibition/project for the fashion brand Mr. Olive, is on at LE DECO GALLERY until September 2.
  • Digiki and a few others DJ at Velours this Saturday (September 1, 23:00-5:00, 3000 yen).