Tags Posts tagged with "Japan"

Japan

There are over five and a half million vending machines across Japan which sell a variety of merchandise from soda and cigarettes, to fresh eggs and flowers. These machines are not only scattered within the large city centers of the country, but also are common sights in smaller, more rural towns. The beverage dispensers are functional all night, serving as main a light source in remote areas without prevalent night life or street lamps.

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Based out of a Tokyo candy shop called Ameshin, candy artisan Shinri Tezuka (previously) crafts some of the most unusual lollipops you’re ever likely to eat from wiggling goldfish to statuesque lions or prickly hedgehogs. The translucent candy seems to have more in common with glassmaking than confectionery design, and perhaps it’s no surprise that the process of working with hot sugar even shares similar tools—a traditional Japanese craft called amezaiku. Tezuka recently shared a variety of new lollipop designs on his Instagram account and you can step inside the Ameshin candy shop in a video from DogaTV below.

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Kyoko Bowskill, the founder of Tokyo-based LINK, is working to revive the centuries-old Japanese tradition of carrying objects of all sorts in beautiful reusable squares of fabric: furoshiki. Made from smooth and lightweight cotton fabric and measuring 90cm square (about 35 inches), these furoshiki can be twisted into wine bottle carriers, folded for gift-wrapping, knotted into a quick tote bag, spread out for a picnic, or simply tossed around your shoulders as a scarf.

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In 2005 Kito Fujio quit his job as an office worker and became a freelance photographer. And for the last 12 years he’s been exploring various overlooked pockets of Japan like the rooftops of department stores, which typically have games and rides to entertain children while their parents are shopping. More recently, he’s taken notice of the many interesting cement-molded play equipment that dots playgrounds around Japan.

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Thanks to the Library of Congress, you can browse and download high-resolution copies of more than 2,500 Japanese woodblock prints and drawings from the library’s online collection. The prints, most of which are dated before the 20th-century, were amassed from a large group of collectors, including notable donors such as President William Howard Taft and Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes.

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At the age of only 27, self-taught candy sculptor Shinri Tezuka (previously) may be one of the youngest practitioners of amezaiku, the dwindling art of candy crafting. Even though the craft dates back hundreds of years, there are only two known candy makers in all of Tokyo who roll, sculpt, and paint lollipops in this manner. Great Big Story recently stopped by Tezuka’s workshop for a quick video interview you can see below.

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