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Posted by Johnny

the re-opened location includes a vegetable/fruit market, the first of its kind for MUJI

MUJI, our favorite Japanese minimal lifestyle retailer, re-opened their global flagship store in Yurakucho, Tokyo today (July 28th) and it’s taking our breath away. If there were such a thing as retail heaven, it would probably look something like this.

all produce is labelled with the name and location of the farm it comes from

With this location, which is set to redefine the format of shopping, MUJI has integrated what they believe to be the 3 pillars of lifestyle: food, housing and clothing. When you enter from the ground floor the first thing you’ll encounter is a vegetable and fruit stand (a first for MUJI stores) that seeks to re-establish the lost connection between consumer and farmer.

City-dwellers “have become far removed from the fields, farms, and fisheries, where the food is produced,” says the company, “ and have come to consume food simply as a commodity.” Working directly with farmers who use little or no chemical pesticides and fertilizers, the marketplace will off only in-season fruits and vegetables.

Another new feature is an actual MUJI Hut that will be on display. Visitors will be able to get up close and personal with what MUJI believes is the answer to city-living.

But not everything is new. With the re-opening MUJI was smart about keeping some of the better things, like the great bookshelf in the back that was designed by Torafu Architects. It spans 2 floors, holds 10,000 books and acts as a wonderful focal point to draw you into the store. The MUJI Café was also relocated from the 2nd floor to the 1st floor, and will serve fresh bread, coffee and soups made from the vegetables they sell.

a model MUJI Hut on display on the 1st floor

the large, sprawling bookshelf designed by Torafu Architects, can be seen in the back

a kids area offers parents a place to rest and entertain their toddlers

Happy SysAdmin Day 2017

Jul. 28th, 2017 11:03 am
otw_staff: 'Comms' and 'Claudia' written beneath the OTW Logo (Claudia)
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It's SysAdminDay and the OTW has a lot of things to thank its systems team for. You can add your voice as well! https://goo.gl/vn8m3c
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Posted by Johnny

The 400-year old Japanese art of creating kokeshi dolls is a time-honored tradition that exemplifies the joy and beauty of handmade craft. These traditional wooden figurines, with an enlarged head and cylindrical body, are made from woodturning solid blocks and carving away at the wood.

On a trip to Japan, Seattle-based designer Michael Kritzer encountered kokeshi dolls and was inspired by the craftsmanship, but also the meaningful connection between object and person. He decided to collaborate with a group of Japanese potters to create a unique line of porcelain cup & bottle sets.

The Ototi Dorinku Dolls are made in Hasami, a town in Nagasaki that’s known for their porcelain, and formed from Japanese slip molding. The bottles come in two styles – rounded and tall – and can be paired with either tea or sake cups, both of which come with island-like bulges in the middle that allow the cups to sit on the neck of the bottles. When stored, the bottle and cup mimics the shape and form of kokeshi dolls.

If you’re interested in purchasing a set or two (the cups and bottles can be mixed and matched) get in touch with ototi. They plan to begin shipping the sets at the end of the year.

Narrow Victory

Jul. 28th, 2017 05:00 am
wendelah1: ("You cannot pass.")
[personal profile] wendelah1
That was a squeaker. John McCain's vote against the so-called "skinny bill" took his party by surprise. But he signaled his opposition three days ago when he gave his speech on the Senate floor.

“We’ve tried to do this by coming up with a proposal behind closed doors in consultation with the administration, then springing it on skeptical members, trying to convince them it’s better than nothing — better than nothing — asking us to swallow our doubts and force it past a unified opposition,” the longtime Arizona senator said. “I don’t think that is going to work in the end. And it probably shouldn’t.”

Here's the full text: John McCain on key Senate healthcare vote.

It is well worth your time, and quite a contrast to our faux president's position on taking healthcare away from millions of Americans.

President Donald Trump called out the three GOP no votes on Twitter, saying, "3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!"

It's obvious that Trump doesn't care about the millions of people who voted for him, who believed in him, who still believe in him. Who truly believe that he wants to "Make America Great Again."

The only thing Trump cares about is his image and his personal fortune. He didn't give a rat's ass what was in the death bill, as long as it got passed. He wanted "the win." Trust me, as soon as we stop paying attention, these bastards will be back for your healthcare. If they'd passed this bill, the next thing would have been eliminating Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. Paul Ryan wants to take away the entire social safety net. Well, maybe next year.

Here's the "play by play": How the ‘Skinny’ Repeal Bill Was Defeated, Play by Play.

Next on their agenda: putting more money into the pockets of the wealthy Republican donor class, aka "tax reform." They will steal us blind, if we give them the chance. Our resistance must be absolute.
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Posted by Johnny

click images to enlarge

Summer and fireflies go hand-in-hand in Japan. And during the short period of May through June, a select group of photographers venture out at dusk to secretive spots, hoping to capture the magical insects that light up the night. One of those is Hiroki Ishikura, a photographer based in Shimane Prefecture.

Like all photographers who point their lens at fireflies, Ishikura’s photographs are made from composites and are enhanced digitally. But where Ishikura’s photographs stand out from others is his use of his own children within the photos. Although beautiful on their own, the addition of human subjects – and children in particular – add a magical narrative to the photographs that make them even more enticing.

You can follow Ishikura on Twitter and Instagram where he posts his work.

Books Meme + Update

Jul. 26th, 2017 04:35 pm
wendelah1: Fox Mulder reading (reading is fundamental)
[personal profile] wendelah1
Tomorrow my husband has an appointment to see someone who isn't his doctor because his doctor is on vacation. He's feeling worse rather than better. Maybe he needs a different antibiotic. We'll see.

I'm tired and distracted. I'm thinking about defaulting on my kidlit exchange. I can't focus on writing.


Books I finished:

Jane's Warlord by Angela Knight. This is yet another time-travel romance. The time-travel plot is silly but when isn't it? The serial killer plot is even worse but that's not why you're reading this book. The romance is standard fare. Warrior Boy from the future travels back in time to save newspaper girl, they have the best sex like ever, and girl returns with boy to his own time (and planet--did I mention he's not from Earth?) and they live happily ever after. She gets to take her cat, too. Luckily, the universe doesn't break from the strain. If you like your heroes to be hyper-masculine, super-human sex machines and enjoy sex scenes featuring bondage without safe-words between total strangers, this might be just what you're looking for. How do I even rate something like this? One star because it was a quick read, especially since I skimmed the sex scenes.

Time and Again by Jack Finney. It's an illustrated novel from 1970. Spoilers ) I thought the premise of the book was intriguing enough to keep reading but the execution left something to be desired. I solved the big mystery at the center of the novel by the end of the paragraph in which it was introduced. The romance fell flat. The ending was a complete dud. The style was serviceable Two lukewarm stars.

Books I abandoned:

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick. I checked this out because of the Amazon series, which I can't watch. A consolation prize? I know it's a classic but dammit, the book is boring. I didn't care about the characters. The plot seemed inconsequential, which given the premise, is pathetic. Maybe the series is better written. Anyway, after 67 pages, I'm done with it.

The Peppered Moth by Margaret Drabble. You should know that I have read and enjoyed a number of Drabble's books. This was not one of them. It was about genetics and the English class system. I didn't get through an entire chapter of this turkey. Books about unpleasant characters leading unpleasant lives need a hook and she didn't provide one.

Books in the pipeline:

The third and final book in the kid-lit series I'm reviewing for my kid-lit book exchange. Title withheld.
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Posted by Johnny

a stunning animated cover by waneella

The Tokyoiter (previously) continues to impress us with dazzling faux-magazine covers that showcase numerous visions of what makes Tokyo such a fascinating place. Checking their website for new covers has become one of our most enjoyable pastimes. Allow us to present several new ones from some of our favorite Japan-based illustrators.

illustration by Niikura Sachiyo

As we previously explained, The Tokyoiter is the brainchild of Tokyo-based illustrator Andrew Joyce and art director David Robert. Together, they invite illustrators living and working in Japan “to draw their vision of Tokyo.”

Each illustration is then laid out in what most will immediately recognize as being an tribute to The New Yorker. Since launching in early 2016 with just 3 covers, the archive has now grown to 30. The project was even showcased last month in an exhibition that was held in Tokyo.

Illustration by Julien Mercier

Illustration by Justine Wong (one of our favorite illustrators of food)

Illustration by Ryoko Ichikawa

Illustration by Mateusz Urbanowicz

Illustration by Shinji Tsuchimochi (who created 100 Views of Tokyo)

otw_staff: 'Comms' and 'Janita' written beneath the OTW logo (Janita)
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OTW contested election banner

OTW Elections voting instructions have been e-mailed to all members. Find out what to do if you didn't get yours: https://goo.gl/QFV8iv
monanotlisa: Dutch pulls Johnny's ear to check for a tech implant (dutch & johnny - killjoys)
[personal profile] monanotlisa
[personal profile] mirabile, I received your Get Well Soon flowers -- thank you so much! They cheered me up a lot today on my last day of recuperating at home, and will continue to do so at night.

(Feel free to click the thumbnail.)

Also, y'all, I love this show, especially this season: Killjoys up to & including 3x04 ''The Lion, The Witch, and the Warlords'' )

The New Good Design Store in Tokyo

Jul. 25th, 2017 09:59 pm
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Posted by Johnny

Japan’s Good Design Awards have defined the aforementioned subject as “design which enriches life and society.” And the organization has been highlighting good design for almost 60 years since it was founded in 1957, resulting in an astounding 44,000 recognitions. Now – or rather, finally – the Good Design Awards have a physical location in Tokyo where visitors can see some of the nominees, together in a beautiful space.

The Good Design Store Tokyo opened in April of 2017 and is located just steps from Tokyo Station within the Kitte shopping complex. But don’t expect to find all 44,000 products. Instead, the shop is a concise and cohesively curated collection of recent award winners and oldies-but-goodies.

The inviting space was designed by Jasper Morrison and almost feels as though you are walking into the home of some avid collector. Tables, shelves and book cases all act as display for eye candy. The shop itself is curated by Yu Yamada and identity and logos by Masaaki Hiromura help unite the space. If you’re in need of souvenirs looking for good design or maybe just inspiration, this shop won’t disappoint.

In fact, Kitte itself is one of our go-to destinations if you’re in the Marunouchi area. It has a great selection of shops, good restaurants (there is a kaiten-zushi shop that always has a long but quick-moving line) and the roof deck offers some great views of Tokyo Station.

monanotlisa: AtS's Fred, reading a book, in olive-green soft coloring (fred - ats)
[personal profile] monanotlisa
Because my wife purchased it after watching the movie trailer, I too read the book, mostly in waiting rooms: A Wrinkle In Time )

I may pass on the follow-up books of the quartet (the ones I haven't read already), but I'm definitely looking forward to the movie, which looks visually stunning and well-cast.
saathi1013: starbuck's mandala (Default)
[personal profile] saathi1013
So.  I'm thinking of using this site more often.  Then again, 'more often' than zero is a very low bar for commitment, so I don't know what the end result will look like.  No promises either way.

This is what I want: Read more... )

Change of Plans

Jul. 23rd, 2017 12:56 pm
wendelah1: (The End)
[personal profile] wendelah1
We're leaving this afternoon for Fontana, no one's favorite vacation destination. Kyle's surgery is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. tomorrow and he has to be at the surgery center an hour ahead. Rather than getting up at the crack of dawn, we're spending the night at the Hilton Garden Inn Fontana. He should be released before noon so we'll be back home by afternoon.

There is absolutely nothing to do in Fontana. There is not a decent sit-down restaurant in the entire city. Their highly rated Mexican hole-in-the-wall doesn't hold a candle to the one in my neighborhood. There is a pool at the hotel. There's a movie theater right down the street so we might go see the latest Spiderman reboot. (Good grief. How many more times will they reboot that movie franchise?) Or maybe we should see Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets instead. Basic cable is basic. I'll bring my computer but WiFi is spotty.

I didn't get a chance to finish, let alone post this before it turned into old news.

My husband just aspirated again. The hotel is cancelled. The surgery center doesn't open until 7:00 a.m. tomorrow so informing them will have to wait.

I see a trip to Urgent Care in the near future, as soon as I can talk him into it. He's really scared. This could be bad, like our last December vacation in Hawaii kind of bad. At least this time we're at home.

OTW Guest Post: UsedKarma

Jul. 23rd, 2017 10:09 am
otw_staff: Sarah Loch OTW Communications Staffer (Sarah Loch OTW Communications Staffer)
[personal profile] otw_staff posting in [community profile] otw_news
Banner by caitie of an OTW-themed guest access lanyard

Fan artist/writer Usedkarma tells us about her fandom history, the Darcyland network, & what sets it apart https://goo.gl/NUqCir

Wynonna Earp 2x07

Jul. 23rd, 2017 12:15 am
monanotlisa: (dolls & wynonna - wynonna earp)
[personal profile] monanotlisa
As everybody reading this knows, the most curative thing during recovery is binge-watching a television show. Recall my earlier brief notes on iZombie Season Three? One down; four to go: The 100 (still on Netflix, I hope); Orphan Black; Killjoys; and Wynonna Earp.

I looked at the latter two and chose Wynonna Earp. Why? Guess I was feeling Western rather than Westerly, feeling like two sisters as the leads rather than two brothers.

Just three bulletpoints on Wynonna Earp, up to & including 2x07 ''Everybody Knows'' )
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Posted by Johnny

Wrapped in a cool monotone facade and balanced out by natural touches of wood is a new boutique hotel that recently emerged in the heart of Tokyo’s Shibuya district. For those looking to take in the local culture of Shibuya, TRUNK (HOTEL) is the ideal location: slightly removed from the raucousness of Shibuya Station but well encompassed by everything the neighborhood has to offer.

TRUNK (HOTEL) opened in May of this year and takes after designer hotels like the Ace Hotel of New York. With 4 floors and just 15 rooms, the hotel is geared towards travelers looking for more than just a room and a bed. The single rooms (priced at around 32,000 yen or $300 usd per night) are fairly basic but take on the feel of a small design studio. A slightly upgraded room will include a balcony or loft. On the higher end is the living suite (around 111, 000 yen or $1000 usd) and a single terrace suite (around 689,000 yen or $6000).

The hotel does all it can to connect guests to local culture. Room snacks like dried fruit and coffee are sourced from local shops Shibuya Nishimura and DoubleTallCafe. Sandwiches sold in the lobby are from the well-known local specialty shop Potasta. Hotel food can be notoriously overpriced but if you’re thinking to grab a bite or drink at TRUNK you’ll certainly notice that this isn’t the case. The bar and kushiyaki restaurant in particular have been intentionally priced to invite locals as well as hotel guests, creating a type of socializing not found in other hotels.

a standard room

the living suite

the dining suite

the terrace suite


Take that, reproductive system.

Jul. 20th, 2017 12:28 am
monanotlisa: (scrubs! - duh)
[personal profile] monanotlisa
Surgery itself went well...though complications then kept me in the hospital for not the planned 2-3 hours but for about 12 -- and it's all a bit ongoing, shall we say. I'll post more, but despite my three-hour nap after we came home, I'm beat. And my brain still isn't working properly.

Shout-out to the folks working at UCSF Mt. Zion -- they've all been both both friendly and competent medical professionals (the super-enthusiastic residents were THE BEST. One of them bounced little on his feet, holding the clipboard for consent signing out to me).