Planned community: Mejiro Cultural Village 目白文化村 (1922)

Originally posted on the tokyo files: urban design 東京の都市デザイン:
Mejiro Cultural Village 目白文化村 めじろぶんかむら was a luxury residential area (高級住宅街) said to be modeled after Beverly Hills (source). I will provide some of the general details, but if you are interested in the details of this development, I suggest you refer to the following website, which is…

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

The kawaii singularity is near: robots too cute to resist. In February we were exploring an upper floor of 3331 Arts Chiyoda (map), 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…

Ad Balloons on the Ginza: Float, Young Advertisers! (1890-1989)

In 1890, an Englishman named Spencer jumped from a hot air balloon with a parachute in Tokyo’s Ueno park. His exploits would be memorialized by Kikugoro, a famous Kabuki actor. Advertising was a key element of Spencer’s act, and balloons would become used prominently in Japanese advertising throughout the 20th century.

Japan Open-Air Folk House Museum (Kawasaki City)

There’s a wonderful museum in Kawasaki not too far from central Tokyo: Japan Open-Air Folk House Museum / 川崎市立日本民家園 (Kawasaki Municipal Nihon Minka-en) The museum has over 20 historic houses that illustrate traditional Japanese folk architecture. The houses were moved from other parts of Japan to this park in the hills of western Kawasaki. This brochure shows all of the structures,…

Planting rice on the highway: Ohashi Green Junction

This is what happens when you combine a building and a highway: Or this: But it doesn’t have to be this way. Consider the Gate Tower Building ゲートタワービル in Osaka 大阪 , also known as The Beehive「ビーハイブ」/「蜂の巣」 (Google maps). The Gate Tower building is an efficient use of dense urban space, and presumably was the result of a great deal of…