Robot dance class elderly Japanese

The kawaii singularity: learning to love our (adorable) robot overlords

The kawaii singularity is near: robots too cute to refuse. In February we were exploring an upper floor of 3331 Arts Chiyoda, a creative space in the old Rensei Junior High. The halls were silent, well-insulated from the first-floor crowd. We almost returned downstairs when we noticed activity in one of the classrooms. It looked like an adult-education class: men and women of various ages filling…

old timey school

Class dismissed: the ghost schools of Yokoze and Hanno, Saitama

I’ve never been a Japanese school-child, nor have I ever attended school in the early 20th century, yet I feel nostalgic for old-fashioned Japanese schoolhouses. This may have started while watching movies like The Rickshaw Man 無法松の一生 (1958) or Carmen Comes Home カルメン故郷に帰る (1951). Scenes from: The Rickshaw Man and Carmen Comes Home My love was cemented when I…

popcorn-on-the-ginza-reporter-kimono-girls

“You in Tokyo” – THE NEW YORKER, 1946

The November 23, 1946 issue of The New Yorker ran an article by Helen Mears in their “Our far-flung correspondents” section. Titled “You in Tokyo“, the piece was named after a pamphlet given to new American arrivals that explained things like protocols, customs and recreational activities. Excerpt from You in Tokyo pamphlet, published by SCAP GHQ for civilian employees of…