Sunday, 19 June 2022

8x8

crisis on terra prime: US president Biden invokes emergency powers to boost solar energy production

midsommar: ten ways to celebrate the June Solstice—via Strange Company  

madagascator projection: another look at mapping and bias—see previously  

unai no tomo: an early twentieth century catalogue of Japanese toys  

imago and eclosion: good pictures of a newly emerged swallowtail  

controlled burn: astronauts have lit thousands of little fires in microgravity to understand its strange behaviour  

you spin right round, baby, right round: the only way to play Weezer’s new singles is to become one’s own turn table—via Waxy  

perovskites: research into making cheap but brittle photovoltaic technology sturdier to rival modern solar cells

Wednesday, 15 June 2022

ไธŠใ‚’ๅ‘ใ„ใฆๆญฉใ“ใ†

Starting a three-week run at the top of US singles charts on this day in 1963—as well as attaining an impressive standing in the UK and Australia, Kyu Sakamoto’s “Sukiyaki” (ๅ‚ๆœฌ ไน with “Ue o Muite Arukล”) was his breakout hit after leaving a pop-group called the Drifters for a solo career. Translated as “I look up when I walk” (so that the tears in his eyes don’t fall—ostensibly a forlorn lovers’ song but originally inspired out of songwriter Ei Rokusuke’s feelings of dejection over the US-Japan Security Treaty and permanent American presence), it was the first Japanese language song to excel in this way in Western markets and became overall one of the best-selling singles in history. The alternative title is a more familiar menu item to Anglophone ears and does not occur in the actual lyrics and has been compared with re-titling “Moon River” as “Beef Stew.” The Taste of Honey’s 1980 version has the same rhythm and cadence but completely different lyrics which attempt to preserve the spirit of the song.

Sunday, 12 June 2022

good wine needs no bush

A shared image of a Japanese supermarket’s libations section seems at first to illicit a mangled, machined translation or poor command of English whereas this example is no case of Engrish to be  ridiculed but rather a pretty apt quotation from William Shakespeare in, recursively, the epilogue to As you Like It. With the term bush denoting the sprigs of a grapevine that symbolised a vintner’s shingle, the phrase meant that quality speaks for itself and does not need to be advertised—with the reference all but lost to English-speakers: delivered by Rosalind, “If it be true, that good wine needs no bush, ’tis true, that a good play needes no Epilogue.” The French equivalent, still in common-parlance, is ร  bon vin point d’enseigne or the German—not beating around the bush—gute Ware lobt sich selbst.

Thursday, 2 June 2022

7x7

phillumeny: venerable Japanese matchbox manufacturer shuttering after almost a century 

fpoty: Pink Lady’s finalist gallery of superlative food photographs in its annual competition—via Everlasting Blรถrt  

posidonia australis: researchers determine that a giant patch of ribbon weed in Shark Bay Australia a

singular, ancient and expansive plant 

shadow gradient: expanding hole optical illusion is a touch trypophobic—via Boing Boing  

metamorphosis: late fifteenth century ecologist and artist Maria Sibylla Merian who was among the first naturalist to closely observe insects and understand their life cycles 

 casein chipping: more on cheese heists and ways to stop them 

 philately: a travelogue of postage stamps of imaginary places—see also

Sunday, 1 May 2022

7x7

chairportrait: thirty iconic designer styles of seating depicted minimally by Federico Babina  

der pate technos: a celebration of the career and legacy of Klaus Schulze (RIP)  

recursive: vending machine gachapon—see previously  

the wretched, bloody and usurping boar: architecture and monumental authoritarianism in places like the Battersea Power Station—via Things Magazine with more on the property 

reverspective: the illusory paintings of Patrick Hughes   

eye-chart: JWST is now fully-focussed and calibrated and primed for new discoveries (previously)  

lookbook: a collection of sculptural furnishings that match their residence

Thursday, 28 April 2022

7x7

elizabeth tower: a tour inside of Big Ben—see previously  

the nine octave harp of the universe: outside scientist Walter Russell—for whom Nikola Telsa said the world was unprepared  

weblog: a nodal map of some of the blogosphere—via Things Magazine  

quilting bee: everyday signage as fabric mosaics by Jeffrey Sincich  

the panic office: fantasy arcade game casings

๐Ÿฃ: a gallery of of beautiful 1920s Japanese postcards   

dangerous intersection: decades of traffic collisions and other corner happenings captured by a young photographer (see also)

Monday, 18 April 2022

ident and interlude

We thoroughly enjoyed this introduction to the authentically analogue off-set animation, printmakingtechnique called risography (ใƒชใ‚ฝใ‚ฐใƒฉใƒ•)—a form of mechanical-duplication for high volume reproduction using soy-based inks and toners—through the rejection of digital media and the phenomenon of reimporting the tried and true mimeograph technology as embodied in the introduction for the news programme Hลdล Station as animated, frame by frame, by artist Hiromu Oka for TV Asahi. Longer and more involved than the pause for station identification were the montages—now discontinued—for sign-ons and sign-offs (see also) at the beginning and end of the broadcasting day called Hato no Kyลซjitsu (้ณฉใฎไผ‘ๆ—ฅ—that is, “Dove’s Day Off”).  More about the technique and graphic designer at It’s Nice That at the link above.

ใ‚ฌใƒใƒฃใƒใƒณ

Via Card House, we find a curated gallery of gachapon (previously) but some resources to find collections for any fandom or franchise. We did especially like Juice Mascot and Bread Buddies and this series of King Kong figurines: on a rampage, on a drunken rampage, as a Good Listener, Tense and once again Drunk.

Tuesday, 12 April 2022

7x7

mutually intelligible: interlocutors with no common language gravely overestimate the success of their getting the message across 

let’s have church: mystery artist of gospel album covers—via Nag on the Lake  

partygate: Prime Minister and cabinet members fined for violating lockdown protocols 

toto, i have a feeling we’re not in kansas anymore: watch an Iowa television station transition from monochrome to living colour  

coin-op: a comprehensive look at Gachapon (ใ‚ฌใƒใƒฃใƒใƒณ) across Japan  

1-bit: summon demons with this slightly racy tarot reading  

light verb variation: why some people make decisions and others take them

Sunday, 10 April 2022

facial recognition

Via Super Punch, we learn that one unique gashapon in Tokyo’s busy Shinjuku station is proving quite popular with commuters for vending capsules with the ID photos of strangers (though ostensibly fellow passengers) over the chance to connect on whatever social level with the crowd, unmasked. Those behind the concept are poised to launch the next series with people submitting their pictures to be added to the anonymous mix.

Monday, 4 April 2022

substation

Via our fellow internet peripatetic, we learn that there are police boxes (obviously dimensionally transcend chariots with functional chameleon drives) distributed throughout Japan called kลban (ไบค็•ช). Diverse in styles and suited to match the architecture of their surroundings, these small structures are staffed by uniformed officers and act as a base for community policing activities, supplementing the work of main stations. Aside from emergency services, kลban also provide directions, concierge referrals and act as a lost and found.

Wednesday, 23 March 2022

8x8

many years later, as he faced the firing squad, colonel aureliano buendia was to remember that weird folgers commercial where it implied the brother and sister were hooking up: first drafts of the greatest first lines in literature 

stories and studies of strange things: the life and legacy of Lafcadio Hearn (ฮ ฮฑฯ„ฯฮฏฮบฮนฮฟฯ‚ ฮ›ฮตฯ…ฮบฮฌฮดฮนฮฟฯ‚ ฮงฮตฯฮฝ / ๅฐๆณ‰ ๅ…ซ้›ฒ) itinerant author and journalist who introduced the Western world to Japan 

censored: people in Russia are frantically downloading Wikipedia in the wake of the threat of Roskomnadzor to ban it 

haunted art: an exhibition of the lingering possession in US museum collections 

the rites of spring: an arboreal celebration  

frozen chosen: unusual Antarctic ergot 

uncanny valley: AI rendered stories read by humans  

no set back: great authors on rejection

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

8x8

situation of opportunity: a giant soft pillow urban intervention on the streets of Amsterdam—via Messy Nessy Chic 

floor plan: highly detailed drawings of Japanese hotel rooms  

you can’t take it with you: the coffin tradition of the Ga people of Ghana  

photogenic: Tom Hegen captures the symmetries of solar farms  

hobbiton-across-the-water: maps and paintings of Middle Earth curated on-line—see previously  

this is a test—this is only a test: a look at the history of the US emergency broadcast system—see previously  

long life to the lord of men: jade burial suits from the Han dynasty  

anchors in the afterlife: a collection of non-human resting-places

Wednesday, 9 March 2022

8x8

catwalk: the home of architect of Vittorio Garatti in Milan—via Messy Nessy Chic  

inktrap: a Japanese typeface design book from 1957—via Present /&/ Correct  

operation danube: the Soviet invasion of Prague (see previously) in pictures—via Everlasting Blรถrt  

east-enders: a retrospective look at women protesting for peace in the 1980s in London  

river antban country club: blindly, an AI tries naming golfing ranges (see previously

carrousel: Logan’s Run plus spin-offs—see previously

bones mccoy: a compilation of Deforest Kelley pronouncing  

not chav: a fresh perspective on London’s council houses

Tuesday, 8 March 2022

7x7

hopeful seals: the Cinderella stamp art of Nina Dzulkska 

rock, paper, scissors: the colour-coded courtship of male side-blotched lizards  

unrest: the harp jazz of Brandee Younger  

sessho-seki: a volcanic rock on Mount Nasu said to contain a malevolent spirit has split open  

heardle: a Name That Tune style game—via Kottke’s Quick Links 

ten times incalculable: The Atlantic correspondent Ed Yong speaks to our collective numbing to the news  

potemkin stairs: the Odessa Opera in 1942 and today

Tuesday, 22 February 2022

i like crunchy, i like meaty, tender centres satisfy completely

Observed on this day in Japan (8 August in Canada and the UK and 1 March in Russia) due to the date’s resemblance to the feline vocalisation nyan, nyan, nyan, National Cat Day is celebrated to raise public awareness for the welfare of cats and promote cat adoption, and kept since 1978, traditions include posting pictures of cats with their humans and restaurants serving cat-themed cuisine.

Wednesday, 16 February 2022

ultimate shลgi

Via the always serendipitous Futility Closet we are introduced to traditional Japanese chessplay through the rediscovery of a sixteenth-century variant gambolled on a thirty-six by thirty-square board—populated by over eight hundred pieces—for a pitched-battled of several sessions of many hours. Likely a bespoke set created for a monastery and not widely played, the rules of engagement are unclear but generally pieces move according to their axises (+ or ×), promotable and achieving checkmate with one’s opponents multiple kings and princes was the objective. Playable characters (yes—do tag yourself) include Queen or Free Dream-Eater (ๅฅ”็Ž‹), Earth Dragon (ๅœฐ้พ), Treacherous Fox (้š ็‹), Free Bear (ๅฅ”็†Š), Running Pup (่ตฐ็‹—), Fragrant Elephant (่ฑก็Ž‹) and Vertical Tiger (็ซช่™Ž) just to name a few. Much more at the link above.

Monday, 24 January 2022

zanryลซ nipponhei

Incredibly SGT Shลichi Yokoi (ๆจชไบ• ๅบ„ไธ€, 1915-1997), among the last holdout soldiers found decades after the end of hostilities in the Second World War, was discovered by two individuals checking shrimp traps at the edge of a small river leading into the jungles of Guam on this day in 1972. When American forces took the island in 1944, Yokoi and others went into hiding, taking up isolated outposts in the wilderness. Though later admitting that he knew of the outcome of the war since 1952, he considered it a grave disgrace to surrender or be captured alive, Yokoi remained in hiding for twenty-eight years, making clothes out of plants and surviving off a diet of mango, papaya, snails and frogs. After his repatriation to Japan, Yokoi became a media sensation and advocate for simple living. Passing away, aged 82, Yokoi was interred at a cemetery in Nagoya in a plot with a headstone originally installed by his family in 1955 when the missing soldier was officially declared dead.

Friday, 7 January 2022

tetsudล-eki

Via ibฤซdem, we are directed towards a really engaging visualisation of the precision feat of civil engineering behind the transit systems of Tokyo and environs (see also)—animated in realtime (so activity may vary throughout the day) with schedules, further information and street-cams to complement the blocky trains and buildings.

Monday, 20 December 2021

6x6

kentucky christmas: the origins of KFC for festive dinners in Japan traced to the Osaka World Expo  

you sure have a way with people—well, they’re my species: Harold and Maude at fifty, with soundtrack by Yusuf (Cat) Stevens  

lake toilet-brush: the toponymic curse of IKEA product names 

 ๐Ÿ’Š: a round-up of the Resurrections premier  

build back better: US president Joe Biden’s legislative agenda derailed  

die hard’s a christmas movie: Eyes Wide Shut (1999) re-evaluated