Satoko Kitahara, Maria of Ants Town 蟻の町のマリア

(1) Ants Villa and Mary of Ants Town This post is about a name and a place. The name is Satoko Kitahara 北原怜子  a.k.a. “Mary of Ants Town” (1929-1958). The place is 蟻の街, Ari-no-machi, meaning “Ants Villa”, “Ants Town”, “City of Ants”, etc. Ants Town was formed in the wake of World War 2 as a legal cooperative to house and…

Japan recycles EVERYTHING! 1001 ways to put out the trash

I. Reduce Recycling has interested me ever since it was introduced to my hometown dump in the mind 1980s. The idea that waste can be reused is as intuitively appealing as a perpetual motion machine. Once I learned about recycling, the idea of NOT recycling became anathema, and people who didn’t recycle were scorned by my 8-year old brain,…

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…

Call me Tokyo

Tokyo scenes: Shibuya crossing, the Big Buddha in Kamakura, a hotel overlooking Tokyo Tower, and a classic Tokyo neon night (perhaps Shinjuku): Tokyo scenes in Carly Rae Jepsen video, but you'd hardly know it if not familiar w/the city https://t.co/8pS3Vu7Fs8 pic.twitter.com/uvJzalB4Jf — the tokyo files (@thetokyofiles) September 5, 2015

How to interpret Japan’s Animal Quarantine Guide

A few things cross my mind when I look at the Animal Quarantine Guide in the hallways of Narita Airport. 1. Why is the illustration different between the English and the Japanese version? 2. Which version was drawn first?  (Presumably the Japanese.) 3. Was it the same artist? The artistic style looks a bit different,…