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Posted by Johnny

For the past several years, Japanese botanical artist Makoto Azuma has been experimenting with flowers in a way that delicately balances the natural and unnatural. For his ongoing series “Bloom” he’s launched bouquets of flowers into space and floated them in the middle of the sea. But the artist, whose work often deals with the ephemeral nature of his subject matter, has frozen flowers in blocks of ice and placed them at the center of decommissioned power plants. His latest endeavor was to plunge bouquets and a bonsai into the least explored part of this planet: the bottom of the sea.

Three years of planning – both in building equipment and obtaining government permits – came to fruition this summer when, in late August, Azuma sailed out into the Suruga bay. His team of 15 proceeded to plunge 4 exquisite bouquets of flowers and one bonsai 2000 meters, or a little more than 1 mile, down to the sea floor. Each plant was secured in the center of a steel-infused plastic frame that was also equipped with lights and photographic equipment.

“In contrast to the bright summer daylight at the foot of Mount Fuji, the flowers will be swallowed
slowly into the darkness, where not a single ray of light shines,” said the artist. It’s said that only 5% of the earth’s sea floors have been mapped, and for good reason. The intense water pressure and lack of any light or oxygen makes it one of the most harshest environments on earth.  But that is what makes Azuma’s flowers all the more beautiful as they stand in stark contrast with the depths of the sea and the mysterious sea creatures that have come to observe this alien life form.

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Posted by Johnny

Before department stores and convenient stores became one-stop shopping destinations, a highly fragmented industry of local, family run shops thrived throughout Japan. And to advertise their business, merchants would frequently spend significant sums of money on kanban: signs that would be displayed prominently outside the shop that would convey prestige and reliability to customers.

The front and back of a kanban for a greengrocer (late 19th century). It features large daikon radishes as its primary advertising image

To create what was essentially a form of traditional advertising , merchants would hire skilled craftsman known as kanban-shi who would hand-carve the signs using wood, bamboo, iron, fabric and sometimes even stone. The kanban typically took on an enlarged shape or form of whatever the merchant was dealing in. And the images were often accompanied by elegant calligraphy.

Kanban is currently viewable in the form of an exhibition at the Mingei International Museum in San Diego. And you can see more pictures from the exhibition on Hyperallergic. Kanban was also released in the form of a book – a “176-page hardbound publication by Guest Curator Alan Scott Pate, with 155 illustrations and over 50 kanban represented.” It’s available here for $49.50.

Kanban for Thread Shop (19th century). This kanban depicts an oversize ito waku or skein with seven bands of colored thread to advertise a thread shop.

Kanban for a blade shop (late 19th century). Exceptionally fashioned out of thick paper set in a wooden frame, this kanban presents approximately forty finely painted types of hand tools and blades

Kanban for a geta, or wooden sandal, shop (l19 century). The kanban-shi recreated an oversized geta.

a kanban for a comb shop (19th century)

a kanban for a wig shop (19th century)

from left to right: kanban for a pharmacy, a brush shop and dry goods store with “fair pricing” slogan

a kanban for eyeglass shop (early 20th century)

OTW Guest Post: Henry Jenkins

Sep. 21st, 2017 11:06 am
otw_staff: 'Comms' and 'Claudia' written beneath the OTW Logo (Claudia)
[personal profile] otw_staff posting in [community profile] otw_news
Banner by caitie of an OTW-themed guest access lanyard

“News of the OTW bubbled up from many directions at once, most likely through my associations with Escapade, but also through an academic colleague whose partner at the time was involved. I was so excited to hear about the emergence of this fan advocacy network which brought together fannish lawyers willing to help protect our fair use rights as fans; fan scholars publishing their work through a peer-reviewed journal; fan programmers using their skills in support of the community; and of course, an archive where fans controlled what happened to their own works without the interference of web 2.0 interests.

Each of these things is important on its own terms, but taken together, this organization has been a transformative force, in all senses of the words, for fans and their rights to participate.”

For our anniversary Henry Jenkins talks fan studies, students, fandom changes over the years & why it's worth fighting for: http://goo.gl/fm19m5

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More Disaster Relief Links

Sep. 21st, 2017 07:38 am
wendelah1: words: Always be a little kinder than necessary (Always be a little kinder than necessary)
[personal profile] wendelah1
Because the hits just keep coming. Give what you can, if you can.

Fundraiser by St. John's Rescue: St. John Victims of Hurricane Irma. This is an island-based charity and rescue group.

Harvey HELP is a fundraiser started by educators for their college students who've affected by Hurricane Harvey in order to provide grants to help keep them in school. It hasn't attracted much attention, sadly.

21 US Virgin Island's Relief Fund is the fundraiser organized by former San Antonio Spurs star, Tim Duncan.

Hurricane Irma and Maria Relief for the Caribbean:

Catholic Charities USA

Global Giving

Save the Children


Habitat for Humanity of Puerto Rico was mentioned in an interview on MSNBC by a government official, name unremembered.

This made me remember that Habitat for Humanity helps low income people build houses all over the world, including the USA.

Habit for Humanity of Florida. This site has info for victims, too.

Huston Habitat for Humanity.

From Fortune.com, here is a long list of places to donate for Mexico.
Here’s How You Can Help Mexico Earthquake Victims. It includes the usual suspects as well as some local organizations.

And since I'm an Episcopalian and a "socialist," here is a link for Episcopal Relief and Development.

Links (plus some commentary)

Sep. 22nd, 2017 11:00 am
wendelah1: (A better world is possible)
[personal profile] wendelah1
I wish there was something positive to report. Instead, here's your daily reminder that millions of Americans are still at risk of losing their healthcare.

That's why we need to keep making those Calls to Kill Trumpcare.

The Guardian: Senate aims for healthcare vote next week as Obama condemns repeal effort

The Rachel Maddow blog: On health care, the GOP literally doesn’t know what it’s doing.

Tell me about it.

NYT: Republican Leaders Defy Bipartisan Opposition to Health Law Repeal.

Esquire: The Republicans Aren't Even Pretending This Is About Healthcare Anymore They're too tired to lie. But they're not too tired to vote for this piece of crap masquerading as actual legislation.

Brief healthcare rant )

Other links

The Conversation: Flood Insurance is Broken. Here are some ways to fix it.

NYT: Harvey and Irma Wiped Out Our Kitchens. Still, We Cook.

Lit Hub: Life On the Road and In a Walmart Parking Lot. Review of Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder.

About the same author and book, in the NYT: On the Road With the Casualties of the Great Recession.

Why Are Americans Less Charitable Than They Used to Be? Researchers found that the losses of the Great Recession do not entirely explain why people aren’t giving very much money to charity. Maybe it's because they feel they have to donate to groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and NARAL, which are defending our democracy instead?

On a lighter note, from Lit Hub: 10 Famous Book Hoarders. My husband is a non-famous book hoarder. "No, Dad is an everything hoarder," our son pointed out. He has a point. Sigh.

BBC: The island people with a climate change escape plan. I'm glad to hear that someone has a plan.

That's Not My Age (a style blog for women over 50): Street Style Forever at London Fashion Week. Now I love seeing all the high falutin' old ladies in tennis shoes--it validates my own style-not-quite-choices but I'm having a harder time with the shirtdresses over blue jeans look. I'm trying to keep an open mind.
monanotlisa: (ignoranus)
[personal profile] monanotlisa
Also off my trusty friendslist, here is a dossier on white supremacy in the US -- from a source on the inside who infiltrated key organizations for years.

White Supremacy background and history, plus of course present danger: The International Alternative Right

monanotlisa: Lucca Quinn, centered, looking thoughtful (lucca - the good fight)
[personal profile] monanotlisa
C/p'd from [personal profile] giandujakiss:

The GOP broke off bipartisan talks with Dems to shore up ACA's insurance markets, and now they're trying - again - to unilaterally repeal ACA and take with it a huge chunk of Medicaid (which will, of course, completely destabilize our entire healthcare system, but that's where we are).

You can find more information by googling Graham-Cassidy, but here's one link [on this new attempt to dismantle the ACA].

Apparently, Lindsey Graham - one of the bill's sponsors - got on Breitbart radio (yes, now we're integrating Breitbart into GOP mainstream, fun times ahead) to urge listeners to call in support of the new bill, so it's VERY IMPORTANT that the Senate be flooded with opposition calls.

Here is one script and information resource.

L'shanah tovah!

Sep. 20th, 2017 08:01 am
monanotlisa: (apples how you like dem)
[personal profile] monanotlisa
A little early, but I won't be around later, so: a happy start of the High Holy Days to you, if you celebrate!

My secular Jewish household will mostly eat apples and sweet honey when it comes to action. But both my wife and I will think of the Jewish community, in our different ways as an American Jew and a German Gentile.
[syndicated profile] spoon_tamago_feed

Posted by Johnny

For all their charm and nostalgia, black and white photos do create a certain disconnect between the past and present. Looking at them, it’s easy to forget that we’re connected to that time by what is merely a blink of an eye in the grand scale of history. And so it’s worth colorizing old black and white photos if only for the contemporaneity, with which we use to learn from history.

Woman and children wait for a parade on the streets of Kobe. (1930s, photographer unknown)

The process, however, was painstakingly manual. Even with digital software, colorists have had so colorize the images piece-by-piece; pixel-by-pixel.

But now, a team of Japanese researchers at Waseda University, led by Dr. Ishikawa, has utilized artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning to create a program that automatically colorizes photographs. The task was accomplished through the deep learning and color matching of 2.3 million color photographs.

Dr. Watanabe of the Tokyo Metropolitan University, then built on that technology by adding data from research on the colors of architectural elements of the past. He’s then been posting the photographs to his twitter account with some historical tid-bits. Here, we present a few of our favorites but you can follow him at @hwtnv for more.


Perhaps the oldest photo in the bunch is this one of Gojozaka, Kyoto taken in 1875 (photographer unknown)

Children making chalk drawings on the street photographed by Takeyoshi Tanuma in 1961. I wonder if that’s Hayao Miyazaki with some early test sketches for the cat bus?

Children photographed in post-war Japan (probably around 1950; photographer unknown)

Probably one of our favorites: a boy and a young man enjoying oden from a stand  (1898; photographer unknown)

A farm worker photographed by Elstner Hilton in the 1910s

Kasuga Grand Shrine in Nara around 1880 (photographer unknown). Even back then the deer were bothering people.

An elderly woman carries a baby on her back. Photograph by Arnold Genthe in 1908.

A sumo tournament photographed in the 1930s (photographer unknown). Dr. Watanabe thinks the wrestler in the middle might be Futabayama Sadaji.

Farmers photographed by Elstner Hilton in 1910

Fushimi-Inari Shrine in Kyoto (1880; photographer unknown)

Photograph by Arnold Genthe in 1908. I almost feel like I’ve seen these kids in my neighborhood

photograph by Adolfo Farsari, 1886

“Tagonourabashi” in Shizuoka photographed by Adolfo Farsari in 1886

Two farmers photographed by Elstner Hilton (1910s)


Sep. 20th, 2017 10:27 am
wendelah1: quote: Ezra 10:4 (resistance)
[personal profile] wendelah1
There is so much going on in the news but we can't allow ourselves to forget that the Republican-controlled Senate is poised to take healthcare away from tens of millions of Americans.

Sign up, make calls, attend protests if you are able. Post the INDIVISIBLE website on Facebook. If you live in one of the key states, beg your friends and family to call up their Senators. Make a contribution to INDIVISIBLE or to the resistance group of your choice. DON'T GIVE UP.

Calls to Kill Trumpcare.

We can't let the Senate get away with this. Healthcare represents one sixth of the U.S. economy. If they do this terrible thing, it will only embolden them. They'll keep on doing it, crafting their incoherent, evil legislation in secret, with the end goal being to transfer more and more money into the hands of their donor class: the big multinational corporations--because thanks to our Supreme Court, corporations are people too--and the mega-wealthy one percenters. We must understand this: the Republicans in Congress won't stop until ordinary Americans are completely at the mercy of the ruling class.

We do not live in a democracy. I know, it's hard to accept. It goes against everything I was taught, everything I want to believe about my country. But the very fact that the Republicans in Congress are going ahead with their nefarious plans despite knowing full well that the overwhelming majority of Americans want the Affordable Care Act fixed, not repealed, confirms that. These senators want to serve their rich masters, not their constituents, and if we don't stop them somehow, they will.

And if wanting my fellow Americans to have decent healthcare makes me a socialist, Senator Lindsey Graham, well, fine then. I'M A SOCIALIST.

Please note that under Senator Graham's bill, his state will actually gain funding. Could this plan be more cynical, more devious, or more venal?


I know I'm sounding like a broken record (wow, there's a metaphor about to lose its relevance) but September is National Disaster Preparedness Month for a reason. I beg of you--if you don't have your supplies laid in and your plan in place, it is never too soon--or too late--to start working on it.

If it seems like I'm obsessed with disaster planning, well, you're right. I am. Maybe it's because unlike hurricanes, which give people time to panic, sit in lines at the gas station, and debate whether or not to evacuate, California's earthquakes give us no warning. Waiting for the storm of the century to hit makes people feel helpless because by the time they get home from work, the bottled water is gone from the grocery shelves, and so are the flashlights, and the kind of baby formula that doesn't need refrigeration.

Earthquakes. Just. Happen. We never know when or where the next one will hit. People who live in earthquake country should all be making preparations well in advance. If we don't, we're taking a huge risk. (And dammit I hate risk.) And we're due, FUCK IT, we're overdue for a bad one in California. Or two. Look at what just happened in Mexico: two catastrophic quakes in two weeks! Hundreds of dead, dozens of collapsed buildings, including two schools full of children, thousands upon thousands of homes lying in rubble.

The Mexico City quake struck on the 32th anniversary of the 1985 quake that destroyed the city, mere hours after their yearly commemorative earthquake drill. I have no words.

Meanwhile, Puerto Rico just took a direct hit from Hurricane Maria.


It's overwhelming, I know it is. But we have to keep making those calls.
[syndicated profile] spoon_tamago_feed

Posted by Johnny

With a mohawk and thick black beard, Akira doesn’t immediately come off as a proponent of the Kimono – the traditional Japanese garment worn for over a 1000 years. Then again, the 37-year old stylist isn’t exactly a purist either. Entirely self-taught, Akira blends elements of photography, graphic design, kitsuke, styling and make-up to create radical, neo-pop imagery, which he’s been posting online since 2008.

Using the moniker “Akira Times,” the artist is bent on reviving the kimono, which he says is being suffocated by the “Kyoto sickness” that emphasizes conservative formality. And his images manifest in the form of magazine covers, which take on different titles depending on the subject. The images began to gain traction online and “people began to look for the real magazine, but there is only the cover that he makes and posts online,” explains Sheila Cliffe, in her book The Social Life of Kimono. “He liked the idea that the internet can bring into reality something that did not exist before.”

Akira insists on working with normal people, instead of models, who travel from all over Japan to his studio in Yamagata in the Northeast part of the country. And now, for the first time, over 120 old and new images are being compiled into Kimono Times, a definitive collection that represents the best of Akira’s 10 years of work. The bilingual 144-page book is being released in October of 2017 and will retail for 5500 yen.


Yeah. I'm not panicked at all.

Sep. 19th, 2017 07:54 am
wendelah1: Letter H is for Holy Crap (H is for Holy Crap)
[personal profile] wendelah1
From USA TODAY: UNITED NATIONS – In a bracing speech to the United Nations, President Trump threatened Tuesday to "destroy" North Korea if it does not give up its nuclear weapons program.

Is he trying to start a war? For real?

A "bracing speech"? WTF, USA TODAY.

We cannot let ourselves get derailed by the shitstorm the Trump administration calls their foreign policy. We still have to make those phone calls to stop Trumpcare.


ziparumpazoo: Tree covered in pink frost (Default)

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