The New 52

No, I’m not referring to the “New 52” revamp that DC Comics launched in 2011, but rather to the fact that as we close off the month of August (it’s just past 23:00 as I write this), I’ve written 52 posts on the blog this month (this will be post 53).

The last time the site had over 50 posts in a month was in December 2009 (89), and that was truly when my activity started reducing drastically, as it then hovered around 10-20 until the summer of 2012, and then down to barely 1-2 per month in the years that followed until now. You can easily see this by looking at the monthly archive list in the sidebar of the site, which I have active right now.

The desire to start blogging again was sparked when I started work on rescuing the archives of the site earlier this month. After the initial repopulation of posts (the text at least), it’s been a long process of going through each post, trying to find the original images, either through the Wayback Machine, or through some image archives I found on my laptop. I’m up to March 2005, and counting.

Seeing what I was doing and how much fun I was having (and how I gradually went from amateur blogger to published writer) has been a blast, and it put me in the mood to try and do it again for a bit. I’m especially surprised that I got to 50, considering I started doing it in the middle of the month, with this post. As I wrote at the time, I’m still considering it nostalgia blogging, and I’m still having a lot of fun doing it.

So for the first time in about 6-7 years, the blog is active again, and that makes me happy.

FROM_TOKYO_TO_NEW_YORKI noticed that back in the day I used to finish long update posts with a note on what I was listening while I wrote it. I’ve been in a retro groove of late, and am currently listening to a compilation produced by Fantastic Plastic Machine for Uniqlo in 2005 called Synchro: From Tokyo to New York.

Tomoyuki Tanaka

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I can’t believe it. The image you see here (of Shibuya station, from this Architizer post) was drawn first by pencil, and then pen, by Tomoyuki Tanaka. He has created these massive and insanely detailed works for various stations, and they’re currently on show at the “Doboku Civil Engineering” exhibition at 21_21 Design Sight.

Portland in Tokyo

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This was definitely something that I was already seeing before I left Tokyo, and I see that it has continued with gusto. I’m referring to the growing love of all things Portland in Tokyo, via quirky cafes/bars that go as far as serving imported craft beers from the city. Here’s a piece that offers up a tour of a few of these spots, like Paddlers Cafe (pictured) and PDX Taproom.

Yuichi Yokoyama’s Iceland

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I’m writing a post about something that was blogged by Momus, and suddenly I feel like it’s 2004. But no, it’s 2016, and I just came across his review of Yuichi Yokoyama’s latest manga, Iceland. The piece goes beyond said book, and does a great job of describing what is so interesting about Yokoyama’s work. But I don’t think you even really need to try and take in his work at that level — the graphic energy found in his books is reason enough to pick them up.

Liam Wong

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I came across this post on Design You Trust with really fantastic photography of Tokyo by Liam Wong, and then after doing a bit of digging, I find out that he’s an art director at Ubisoft Montreal (that’s where I work). You’ll find more of his city photography at his Instagram account, and you can buy prints and other things from his Society6 page.

Update: All these lovely photos were actually first shared in this post on Kotaku back in March, by none other than my buddy Brian Ashcraft.

Happy Hour

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Outside of animation, I’ve really fallen off the wagon when it comes to watching Japanese films. I don’t know if it’s because I don’t make the effort to find interesting things anymore, or if it’s that there are just less interesting films coming out, but that’s where I found myself. I’m happy though that my friend Hiroko Tabuchi (New York Times reporter extraordinaire) pointed out a film she just watched and enjoyed, in the form of Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Happy Hour. At over 5 hours long, it doesn’t sound like something that’s easy to take in, but reading Richard Brody’s review for the New Yorker really makes it feel like something special. I hope I’ll get to watch it sometime.

Mr. Robot (Season 2)

I was planning on binging the season once it was over, but playing the Mr. Robot iOS game put me in the mood to dig in, and now I just hit episode 7, and wow. And the opening 15 minutes of episode 6. Without reading specific things about the season, I was getting a general sentiment that this second season wasn’t as good, but I’ve really enjoyed it. I like that it feels quite different from the first one, and plays on your expectations of what will happen. 

Captain America: Civil War

I wasn’t expecting to really like this – I didn’t like Age of Ultron, and everything I saw in the trailers for it made it look so drab – but hey, I enjoyed it. But it does look drab (in terms of art direction). I mostly liked the fight scenes, especially the big one (in the drab-looking airport). The highlights for me were anytime Spider-Man and Ant-Man were on-screen.

Mati Mati

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Mati Mati is a beautiful series of stationery that takes authentic map data from areas in Japan as a graphic base. The first collection covered Marunouchi, Kichijoji, Omotesando, and Fukuoka Tenjin, while the new collection includes Yokohama (pictured), Kyoto, Umeda, and Kobe. It was art directed by Yuruliku Design.