Saturday, February 28, 2009

New design-ey!

I took this photo on an Architecture class field trip to Nara at the Nigatsudo, which is up the hill from the Daibutsuden. It was only when I came home that I discovered my calendar of Kawase Hasui woodblocks had a similar image. Totally a coincidence!!!
The old design was also based on an image of a woodblock, one by Ando Hiroshige.

The Office (Japan Style)

Omg my friend sent me this a while ago, I want to share. It makes me laugh until I cry.
The Office - Japan Style (on Hulu)


Well, I took a trip to the great state of Florida for about a week. It was spectacular. Photos are on the Facebook.
While I was there, I finally got the chance to finish a really great book about Japan's social ills, called Japan Unbound by John Nathan. He is especially known for his work w/ Mishima, but this text, I thought, expertly detailed the ins & outs of modern political and social problems in Japan. There are two chapters near the end of the book, one about Shintaro Ishihara and another about Yasuo Tanaka. The stark contrasting characteristics of each figure played very well off of one another in this one-after-the-other chapter format, creating a really great sense of the political polarization that exists in Japan. I would have liked to have read about people who are capable, but do not participate, in Japan's political system. Disenfranchised? No. Unwilling? Disinterested? Yeah, probably.
I'm back in PA now, just waiting to take care of some other extraneous items. It's hard to believe that I leave so soon!
In the meantime, I'll probably be changing up the design of this place. I already got rid of the domain name (update your links!).

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Oh what a lovely visit to the golden coast! Update soon! I promise!

Monday, February 2, 2009

thoughts on Japan + environment

Living in a Japanese home made me all too aware of the conservation that occurs in everyday life. I quickly came to learn that due to a severe lack of natural resources, including natural gas, oil and land, there is a consistent and constant effort made by most people (at least where I was living), to conserve. There are separate collection days for recyclable and non-recyclable wastes. Monday, paper and food wastes, Tuesday, PET bottles and metal cans/items, Wednesday, a sound truck rattles through the neighborhood and picks up old appliances. Recycling bins are on every street corner, next to every vending machine, and in every train station. Even the Keihan Railway, which runs between Osaka and Kyoto, has its ticket stubs recycled into toilet paper that is used in all of the Keihan station restroom facilities.
Use of bicycles and public transportation are the norm rather than the exception in the densely populated suburbs. Combined with the rising cost of gas, the equivalent of roughly seven to eight dollars a gallon (while I was living there), and the obscenely expensive fees associated with obtaining a drivers license as well as owning and maintaining a vehicle, members from all levels of society use the highly convenient and wide network of passenger railways. In addition, stringent carbon dioxide emissions restrictions have made Japan one of the world’s leaders in the development of low-emission vehicles with high fuel economies. Being a signatory and the host of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, Japan has made giant steps under its treaty obligations to reduce climate change.
As a culturally and historically significant country, Japan will persist in being influential in the global political realm and economy. It is my belief that a deep-seeded appreciation and attitude toward nature that exists in traditional art, religion and culture has given Japan a backdrop for making such radical and progressive changes in environmental protection and conservation in recent years. This cultural influence has significantly attributed to the country’s progressive environmental legislation and great leaps in the development of environmentally friendly technologies in its private industries. Japan, because of its lack of natural resources and technological and innovative wealth, will not only be seen as a country on the forefront of drastically altering the way the world uses valuable natural resources, but also as a more sustainable and environmentally friendly nation.
Or. Maybe this whole big thing I just wrote is just a whole big piece of crap that came from propaganda I've read/been influenced by?

Oh, and if you haven't heard about the Steelers... well... even if you aren't a huge football fan (and maybe I'm just biased because I'm from Pittsburgh) the super bowl was truly an incredible thing to watch.