Categories
Design Toys

Visiting a Sofubi Master

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This is a great little video by Jian Shen of a visit to Goto-San, a master of sofubi (soft vinyl) toys, that also features my buddy Don Kratzer. If you like what you see and want to know more about the world of sofubi, Don’s been doing a series of PechaKucha presentations on the topic over the past few years, that you can watch online here.

Categories
Art Magazines Web

The Tokyoiter

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The Tokyoiter is a fictional tribute to the great covers of The New Yorker, done as a project to celebrate the love illustrators have for the city of Tokyo. It was started by a couple of friends of mine, Andrew Joyce and David Robert, along with Tatsushi Eto. A new cover is shared on the site every Sunday, and you can watch this PechaKucha presentation to hear Andrew and David talk about the project. The cover in this post is by Tilly (aka Running for Crayons).

 

Categories
Architecture Design

Airbnb’s Tokyo Office

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A new post on Designboom showcases the beautiful new Tokyo offices of Airbnb, produced with Suppose Design Office. Despite the news we hear of Airbnb having some legal issues in Japan — or even just not being welcomed by residents who dislike seeing their neighbors rent out their spaces — it seems like the company is doing quite well in Japan. On a personal note, it was always great to have them partner up with PechaKucha, especially for our annual PechaKucha Pow Wow, a summit that brings PechaKucha Night organizers to Tokyo for a few days of sharing — Airbnb Japan provided discounts to these organizers.

Categories
Uncategorized

This Is October

This is this, and that’s that.

A bit of an update on the various things I’m involved with, starting with the very happy announcement that was made a week ago that PressPause is coming back for a second season, starting on Thursday, November 6 (at 20:00). We – me and my fellow organizers, Daryl Cole and Ryan Ruel – wanted to take some time to reconfigure things, in order to produce something that would work better in light of what we experienced with season 1. I explain it more in detail in this post on the PressPause site, but in short, we want it to feel more inclusive to people who can’t really commit to spending a lot of time on producing an actual finished game, but who still want to get a taste of what it takes to make one. We’ll still have lessons – and homework for those who want to put into practice what they learned – but we’ll also have a speaker each time, and we have a nice ending in mind that we’ll talk about more next year.

So if you’re interested in the making of games, and more specifically using Unity as a tool to make that happen, then please join us. You’ll find updates on the PressPause site, and you can now follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or subscribe to a newsletter.

As for PauseTalk, I apologize again for cancelling this month’s edition due to the typhoon. The typhoon business was actually all done fairly early in the day, and so there wouldn’t have been a problem, but I had to make the decision the day before, and didn’t want to take a chance – especially that we tend to get a lower turnout even when it’s just a rainy day. 

PauseTalk Vol. 82 will instead happen on Monday, November 10 – yes, it’s on the second Monday of the month instead of the first, to avoid clashing with the holiday and the end of Tokyo Designers Week. Hope to see a nice turnout then.

Although I’m not involved in producing PauseDraw, I’m really happy to see what’s happening with the series under the leadership of Luis Mendo, Adrian Hogan, and Eiko Nagase. After a summer hiatus, they were planning on restarting last week, which was also cancelled because of the typhoon, and so instead it’s happening today (Sunday, October 12). Follow them on Facebook or Twitter to stay updated on upcoming editions.

Lastly – but certainly not leastly – is our big Tokyo Designers Week edition of PechaKucha Night at the end of the month. As with the past couple of years, we’re having a big event under the dome on the TDW grounds, in a space that can hold up to 1000 attendees. I think we have a great lineup planned – with a possible surprise or two – and I’m especially happy that we got the creative director and lead dancer at the Robot Restaurant to present – should make for a fun presentation. It happens on Wednesday, October 29, and you’ll find the rest of the details here.

Oh, and I don’t mention it much here, but I do still write my monthly “On: Design” column for The Japan Times, which now gets published on the first Saturday of the month. The latest edition was published last week, and can be read online here.

So yeah, a big October (and start of November) with lots happening. Add to that much cooler weather and you have the makings of some nice times here in Tokyo.

Categories
Events Meta

PK Event on Wednesday

Just like I usually put PauseTalk on hold during August because of the summer slowdown (people tend to go awway on holidays), so does our regular PechaKucha Night series, but on the PK side of things, we are having something just as good this Wednesday (August 24) in the form of a special Heineken-sponsored PK event. It’s part of the Open Design Explorations competition — the winner participates in a project to design a temporary club space at next year’s Milan Design Week — and the even in Tokyo will have finalists presenting their own work (just like in a regular PKN), with one chosen to go to Milan.

It’s going to happen at SuperDeluxe, as always, with the regular start time of 20:20 for the presentations (doors open at 19:00), but with one bonus: Entry will be free, and the beer — Heineken, of course — will be cheaper, at 500 yen. Should be a good time!

Categories
Meta TV

27 Hours

This past weekend I spent more hours than I should really admit watching Fuji TV’s 27-hour comedy marathon (and even recorded the whole thing). It’s no secret that the only Japanese TV I watch is comedy, and this year’s event was hosted by Takeshi Okamura of the duo 99, who has been my favorite comedian ever since I first came to Japan back in 1998. He had a mental breakdown last year and took a break for 6 months or so, and although he’s been back on TV since late last year, this sort of acted as a big comeback. 99 (along with SMAP member Masahiro Nakai) hosted the FNS 27-hour special 7 years ago, and it’s basically sucked since, especially the last couple of years.

I’ll say that overall it wasn’t as good as the one from 7 years ago, but there were still a lot of really fun moments, and since we have it all recorded, we still sometimes watch some of the funnier bits.

People are sometimes surprised when they find out about my love for Japanese comedy — it certainly lightens up any gathering I have with Japanese people, when I bring up the topic. I will admit that I still don’t understand 100% of what is said, which is why I tend to prefer physical comedy, but I still do like a wide variety of comedians.

Recently, when I helped judge the Core77 Design Awards, we had a nice lunch afterwards with all the judges (for our category, Interiors/Installations), and there was a designer from Shiseido who suggested I should do a PechaKucha presentation on Japanese comedians. Maybe I should.

Categories
Events Meta Music

Codex 33

A new episode of the Codex (33) is up, another entry in the alphabet series. And while I have your attention, let me mention that this Wednesday (June 29) is PechaKucha Night in Tokyo Vol. 83 at SuperDeluxe, and it’s looking like a great lineup. 

Categories
Meta

Tightening the Belt

Maybe “Tightening the Belt” is not really the best way to describe what I’ve been doing of late, but I am on a trajectory to make my online presence a bit leaner (and maybe even a bit meaner). As I announced a week ago, I’ve put SNOW Magazine on indefinite hiatus, and I’ve done the same with my little GAME site

Yes, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I just can’t handle all of the things that I’d like to be doing online, at least in terms of my personal projects (i.e. the stuff that doesn’t bring in income). It was getting to the point where I’d feel guilty about not updating these various sites, and I finally figured that enough was enough.

For now, and for the foreseeable future, expect me to stick to just The Magaziner, new episodes of the Codex, the monthly editions of PauseTalk, and the odd scribblings here — there’s another podcast project that I’d like to get off the ground too. 

As for the day job — I’m Executive Director of the PechaKucha organization — things have never been more exciting, and we have a lot of very cool things in the works. It’s also been a pleasure to be working more closely with my good friend Ian Lynam, who has taken on the big task of refreshing our visual identity and online presence.

Categories
Architecture Design Events Meta

Global PechaKucha Day – Inspire Japan

If you’ve been to the front page of this site sometime this week (I have to assume that many of you reading this in your feed reader), then more than likely you’ve noticed the giant banner I have there now. It’s for the big Global PechaKucha Day – Inspire Japan event I’ve been working on over the past few weeks, set to happen this Saturday (April 16). I alluded to it in a recent post, but if you don’t know about it, it’s a big charity event we’ve put together, bringing together the PechaKucha community — we’re 404 cities strong, as of this writing — for a day/night of events all over the world, with the goal of raising funds for reconstruction efforts in Japan. As with last year for Haiti, we’re teaming up with Architecture for Humanity.

The core of the event is on Saturday, with a whole bunch of cities holding PKNs, and a lot of them will be streaming live as well — just go to the Inspire Japan site on the day of the event, and whatever is currently streaming live should be up at the top of the site. But our Inspire Japan efforts will also span all of April and May, and we’re inviting organizers of all PKNs during this period to collect donations — because this all came together so suddenly, many cities were not able to re-schedule already planned events, and some just found it difficult to organize something on the 16th.

Here in Tokyo, instead of our regular home of SuperDeluxe, the event will be held at the Roppongi Hills Tokyo City View (52nd floor), with doors opening at 17:00, and presentations starting at 18:00 (it should run until around 21:30 or so). Entry will be a minimum donation of 1000 yen — you’re of course welcome to leave more. To access the event, you’ll need to go to the 3rd floor to get a free ticket to get to the top, and we’ll have signs there to point you to the event space (where you’ll pay the entry fee).

This will also be the first time I present in quite a while — I only presented once at a PechaKucha Night, 3-4 years ago at a special Tokyo Design Week edition with my friend Jesper (it was about the Swedish Style event we had organized at Cafe Pause). This time, I’ll be teaming with Ian, who is responsible for all of the Inspire Japan graphics you’ve been seeing. The presentation will pretty much be about design efforts to raise money for Japan aid, based on that post I started a few days after the quake, as well as the follow-up I did in last month’s edition of my “On Design” column for The Japan Times. For his part of the presentation, Ian will cover the projects he worked on to help raise awareness and collect donations.

The event should be amazing — I mean, you can’t really beat that view — and you’ll also be contributing to reconstruction efforts, so I urge you all to come and support us. Also, if you’d like to help spread the word, feel free to get and use Inspire Japan banners and ads that Ian created, as well as a very cool (and workable) QR code that SET Japan designed for us.

Categories
Events

PechaKucha Night in Tokyo Vol. 80

Hey, tomorrow night (Wednesday, February 23) not only marks the momentous Vol. 80 for PechaKucha Night, but this week (and February 20 specifically) also marks PechaKucha’s 8th anniversary. The evening’s presenters will also feature a few friends, including the New York Times‘ Hiroko Tabuchi, Tokyo-based artist Rob Judges, and Edward Harrison (Idle Idol, Fuzz & Fur). Come one, come all, it all happens at SuperDeluxe, with presentations start from 20:20.