Tokyo Iconic Modern Micros to be Demolished

Nakagin Capsule Tower - Photo by Jergen SpechtOh man, Kisho Kurokawa’s timeless (in my opinion) 140 unit capsule apartment complex in the Ginza of  Tokyo is going to be knocked down and replaced with a new 14 story building. This is sad day in modern architecture if you ask me. The towers were very innovative back in 1972 and still are. The building has a core utility and access towers and the apartment capsules plug into them like cords on a power strip. Kurokawa came up with a clever renovation solution:

"For his part, Kurokawa has pleaded to let the Capsule Tower express one of its original design qualities: flexibility. He suggested “unplugging” each box and replacing it with an updated unit, letting the base towers —which he calls “timeless”—remain untouched. Japan’s four major architectural organizations, including the Japan Institute of Architects, support this scheme. But the building’s management remained unconvinced and raised concerns regarding the towers’ ability to withstand earthquakes, as well as its inefficient use of valuable land. The new building will increase floor area by 60 percent."

Now I regret even more that fact that I was not able to visit this historic building on my trip to Japan. However, if the owners of the capsules are looking into cashing in on the amazingly high land prices in Tokyo there is little to stop them. I hope that the modules can be removed and relocated to different places, maybe even to museums so the design can be enjoyed but the masses of the world.

[via inhabitat]
Icon of Modern Prefab to be Demolished

Memories of Japan

Japan 2002 Flickr photo set After years of thinking about it I have decided that it is high time that I post my Japan 2002 trip photos to Flickr. I had all of them on my old gallery page on TeamDroid but after this last move I have decided not to install the software again. It breaks every time I have to move my files and that has been quite a bit lately.
Getting everything right in Flickr is very time consuming. Each photo has key information that I need to enter into the meta data fields. Things like title and description are somewhat simple. Just a basic name of the subject of the photo and some thought about the image. The tags are a bit harder as I am attempting to use Japanese text on some of them. Things like ‘??‘ (Japan) and "??" (Tokyo) are easy but it’s a little harder with ‘???‘ (vending machine). I still have to add the images to groups but that will be much later. I’m not looking forward to that part of the project.
In reviewing these photos I’m amazed at just how poorly my Nikon 950 did while I was there. I think it’s mostly the 180 degree fish eye lens that I used on a lot of my images. I love the effect but the edge focus and fringing goes to hell if the aperture isn’t stopped way down. Oh well, I still got some pretty good photos. I’m looking forward to my next trip where I can use newer equipment and get a chance to take some film cameras with me (actually I did have one film camera on this trip. I had my stereo Realist format camera with me but the shutter broke on the second day)
Not all of these are ‘award winners’ by any stretch of the word. These are just vacation snaps, memories of fantastic journey.
So, once this lengthy process is finished my Japan 2002 set will be done. Then it will be time for my trips to Oregon, Fargo, South Dakota, and a bunch of other places.

Japan 2002 set

PET Creatures Made From Recycled Plastic Water Bottles

PET creaturesBy working plastic water bottles made of PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) with heat guns, soldering irons, and knives artist Miwa Kozumi transforms trash into beautiful works of art. I expect that any day now there will be new forms of these creatures popping up from other creators. Maybe someone will post a tutorial on how to build them. It’s not like there is any shortage of working material, I mean from my desk I can see at least six empties waiting to be disposed of. Humm… I could do with a nice jellyfish PET pet next to my PC.

PET project – plastic water bottles

Japanese Manga Onomatopoeias

Image from http://www.imageandnarrative.be/narratology/cegliavaleri.htmThe Japanese comic style known as ‘Manga‘(wiki) uses all sorts of sound effects that go far beyond the old ‘POW’, ‘BANG’, and ‘BAM’ that most westerners grew up with . They have a rich textual symbology of onomatopoeias that when translated can cause some confusion. I can see how ‘fwahaha’ would mean an evil laugh but I’m at a loss as how ‘zuzu’ is the sound that drinking through a straw makes.
If you are a reader of manga than you should find this list helpful.

Japanese Sound effects and what they mean

The Sharp eMobile EM-ONE, Super Phone from Japan

Sharp EM-ONE eMobile PhoneGahh! I wish the data network here in America were as advanced as the ones in Japan. 3.6mb/s? That’s better than what I get on my cable modem at my home.

March 31st is going to bring some major changes when eMobile brings it’s unlimited high-speed (3.6mbps HSPDA) service for a flat monthly rate of ¥4980 ($43). The current mobile data leader Willcom offers a flat-rate service of 128kbps for ¥9000 ($77). As Gerhard points out, eMobiles service is 30 times the speed at half the price. Below is an exclusive look at eMobile’s EM-ONE PDA which will work with the new data service and has wi-fi, digital tv, a 4.1 inch Sharp display, a camera, and Windows Mobile 5.0.

YOu have to check the full article out, this is one hell of a phone.

Trends in Japan – Tokyo Blog » A look at eMobile, the EM-ONE, and the coming upheaval in Japan