Witness Beautiful Japanese Art at Hotel Gajoen Tokyo’s 100 Step Staircase

24.July.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

Those interested in Japanese art should most definitely visit the hotel and museum Hotel Gajoen Tokyo which is now holding the 5th Wa no Akari x Hyakudan Kaidan art exhibition until September 1.

It is taking place at its Hyakudan Kaidan, or ‘100 Steps Staircase’―which was registered by Tokyo Prefecture as a Tangible Cultural Property in 2009 for its exceptional architecture and artistic beauty. This year’s event has been made bigger and better with brand new exhibits.

Visitors will ride the exquisitely decorated elevator and first come to an Aomori Nebuta Festival-style float as pictured above with its bright colours and angry gaze. This piece was created specially for the event. It also gives off an original summery smell too.

As you follow the path deeper into the exhibition―having first taken off your shoes―you will come a line of cloth crafts. You can switch on the lights inside to light up each piece which radiate the natural colours of the material. There are many cloth work pieces on display to enjoy.

This is what it looks like when looking up the 100 Step Staircase from the bottom. You will come to several rooms when ascending the stairs with light displays in them.

This is the first room inside which is a display created by bamboo lighting artist NITTAKE from Nichinan, Miyazaki. The bamboo is beautiful on its own but even more so when the lights are turned on in a dark room as the entire room is turned into artwork itself.

Continuing on you come to the “Nagasaki Lantern Festival.” You can see the lights before you even enter the room and they plunge you into that Japanese festival atmosphere. It’s truly spectacular inside. It’s different from the previous room which was dark with lights hanging from it. It’s even more bright and colourful. It made me want to visit the real Nagasaki Lantern Festival which boasts 1 million visitors every year.

This room contains umbrella art using Japanese umbrellas from Yamaga, Kumamoto. The colours of the umbrellas turn the room into something magical. The room has a relaxing, soothing vibe to it that makes you want to gaze in silence.

Dangling further up the stairs are wind chimes which continue the summer vibes.

There are many unique art pieces too such as these goldfish from Yanai, Yamaguchi. There is artwork from around 40 individuals and groups so there is lots to be discovered. Take your time to admire each and every thing in there.

The stairs actually go up to 99. Once you have seen the final exhibition on the top floor it’s time to return to the bottom where you take your shoes off.

Whether you’re interested in art or Japanese culture, this exciting event is one not to be missed this summer.

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    Mango Full Course: ¥4,400 (Tax Included)


    1st. plate “Terrine”


    2nd. plate “Airy Tart”

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    30.May.2020 | ANIME&GAME

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    Doraemon 50th Anniversary Fair

    Doraemon Volume 1 (Tentoumushi Comics)

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    Doraemon Volume 0 (Tentoumushi Comics)

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    Doraemon Mizuhiki Accessories (Pins, Earrings, Piercings)

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    This is just a peek at some of the celebratory merchandise on offer for the online fair. For the full list, check out the website below.

  • Kyoto City Kyocera Museum of Art Opens New ART LAB KYOTO Shop

    27.May.2020 | FASHION / SPOT

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    Kyoto City Kyocera Museum of Art Collection x Miyawaki Baisen-an

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    Kyoto City Kyocera Museum of Art Collection x Juko Confections

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    REFRESH MENU


    Refresh Soda: ¥600 (Tax Included)

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    REGULAR MENU


    Vegan Waffles w/Drink: ¥800 (Tax Included)

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  • Weathering with You Anime Film’s Official Art Book Limited Edition Bonuses Revealed

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    The official Weathering with You art book is set for release in Japan on May 27, 2020. The book will include a limited edition version, and depending on where you purchase it from you will receive a different bonus item.

     

    KADOKAWA announced the release of the art earlier this month. The hit anime film directed by Makoto Shinkai (Your NameThe Garden of Words) was released in July last year to critical acclaim, earning the title of Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Academy Awards.

     

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    Let’s check out the different stores offering their exclusive bonus items.

     

    Animate

    IC Card/Smartphone/Tablet Stickers (Sticker Set A)

    Books Kinokuniya

    IC Card/Smartphone/Tablet Stickers (Sticker Set B)

    MARUZEN & JUNKUDO

    IC Card/Smartphone/Tablet Stickers (Sticker Set C)

    *Stickers are available at select branches only. Please enquire in-branch for more information.

     

    The three different sticker sets feature breathtaking background art from Weathering with You, and can be used on IC cards, smartphones, or tablets.

     

    Amazon

    PC Wallpapers (3 Designs/3 Sizes) – these can be used as backgrounds for online calls too

    Smartphone Wallpaper (1 Design)

    If bought on Amazon, you’ll get some PC wallpapers and a smartphone wallpaper.

    *Wallpaper designs subject to change without notice. The wallpapers are exclusive to customers who buy the book by July 31, 2020 at 23:59 (JST). Wallpapers can be downloaded until October 29, 2020 at 23:59 (JST).

     

    ©2019 “Weathering with You” Production Committee

  • Reiko Sudo’s Incredible ‘Japanese Fanfare’ Installation Art Now Viewable Online

    23.May.2020 | FASHION / SPOT

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    Japanese Fanfare by Reiko Sudo, 2020, Fabric Touch and Identity ©Compton Verney, photography Jamie Woodley

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    Tearing down easy assumptions about gender and sexuality

    Compton Verney Art Gallery is a Grade I listed 18th century art gallery located in Compton Verney, England, and is enveloped in an immense stretch of parkland. One of their latest exhibitions, Fabric: Touch and Identity, “explores how clothes and textiles conceal, reveal and seduce through the lenses of art, design, fashion, film and dance” in a playful and provocative manner.

    Liz Rideal《Terme di Diocleziano》2017, Fabric Touch and Identity(c)Compton Verney, photography Jamie Woodley

    Vivienne Westwood《RED SUIT》1992, Fabric Touch and Identity(c)Compton Verney, photography Jamie Woodley

    The exhibition welcomes works by a diverse range of contemporary artists from around the world, and seeks to explore how artists and designers have used fabric to both express and subvert societal expectations, as well as sexuality and identity. The artist line-up includes Reiko Sudo and Noda Suzumi from Japan and British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, just to name a few.

     

    A world of indigo-dyed fans

    Japanese Fanfare by Reiko Sudo, 2020, Fabric Touch and Identity ©Compton Verney, photography Jamie Woodley

    The final art piece to enter the Fabric: Touch and Identity exhibition was Reiko Sudo’s Japanese Fanfare. This art installation was also set up at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. back in 2017 to commemorate the national centre’s 100th anniversary. The installation is made up of 223 individual fans―a type of fan which was invented in Japan during the Heian Period―all of which are dyed in indigo, a colour worn by many Japanese people up until the last century. Both the fan and the colour are therefore synonymous with Japanese identity.

     

    Be sure to check out the piece on Compton Verney Art Gallery’s official website below along with all the other exhibits.

  • Enter Virtual Shibuya: The New Ghost in the Shell Digital Platform

    20.May.2020 | ANIME&GAME / SPOT

    Shibuya 5G Entertainment Project launched its new digital platform “Virtual Shibuya” with an opening event on May 19. The event Virtual Shibuya helped promote release of Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 with talks and performances from SEKAI NO OWARI’s DJ LOVE, virtual YouTuber and member of Nijisanji Ange Katrina, Chinatsu Wakatsuki of Future Design Shibuya, and Naohiro Ukawa of S/U/P/E/R DOMMUNE—all of whom are fans of Ghost in the Shell.

     

    Officially recognised by Shibuya City, Virtual Shibuya comes in response to the effects of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) which has brought tight restrictions to the economy and people’s way of life. It will enable people to continue enjoying entertainment from the comfort of their homes by participating in a whole host of virtual events and activities. The project aims to deliver content from Shibuya with live performances from artists, art exhibitions, talks, and more. The use of 5G and the latest cutting edge technology will connect the real Shibuya to a virtual space, combining the realms of the digital and real world.

     

    The guests joined over 50,000 users for the first event which went down a storm. Chinatsu Wakatsuki said: “I was amazed how much it looked like Shibuya! I can’t go to Shibuya right now, so it felt like I got to visit home again after so long.”

     

    Shibuya was fully recreated a virtual space for people to visit

    Lots of Ghost in the Shell fans gathered in the city

    Everybody in this virtual world jumped into their avatar skins, including the diverse range of guests who probably would never have come together had it not been for the Ghost in the Shell theme, as well as DJ LOVE, Katrina, Chinatsu Wakatsuki, and Naohiro Ukawa.

    The real world and the world of Ghost in the Shell collide

    The four performers, who were coming face to face with each other for the first time, talked to guests about what they love about Ghost in the Shell while strolling around Virtual Shibuya and having fun with fans on equal terms.

     

    Comments from the performers

    ・Chinatsu Wakatsuki (Future Design Shibuya)
    “I was amazed how much it looked like Shibuya! Shibuya is a place I hold near and dear to my heart. There were a lot of ‘firsts’ for me, like my first time using an avatar, and meeting new people for the first time, so I thought it was going to be difficult at first, but I found myself not nervous at all and had fun with everyone in there using this futuristic entertainment. Looking forward, au 5G will grow and the number of things we can do will as well. I hope to challenge myself as a tarento and a mum in many different things and have fun with this Virtual Shibuya!”

     

    ・“DJ LOVE” (SEKAI NO OWARI)
    “It felt like I had dived right into the world of Ghost in the Shell, my favourite series. It was a wonderfully fun event which expanded on my dreams. I’m looking forward to seeing it evolve and I hope to perform live there at some point. I want to make stuff that people who haven’t been physically able to go to venues up to now can enjoy. I think it would be fun to communicate with people who participated.”

     

    ・Ange Katrina
    “The streets of Shibuya I know were completely transformed into the world of Ghost in the Shell, and my favourite Tachikoma made an appearance too. For a Ghost in the Shell fan like myself it was a whale of a time! Right now we have to battle with staying indoors. Me having disappeared has caused a bit of trouble, but the thrill of this virtual event has lifted my nerves. I had a lot of fun.”

     

    You can check out footage from the event in the video below which was posted on Shibuya 5G Entertainment Project’s official YouTube channel.

    The world of Ghost in the ShellVirtual Shibuya in can be experienced until May 31, 2020, so sign up while you still can.

  • Shibuya 5G Entertainment Project to Launch Virtual Shibuya Platform

    17.May.2020 | SPOT

    Shibuya 5G Entertainment Project is set to launch its new digital platform “Virtual Shibuya” on May 19, 2020. The platform is officially recognised by Shibuya City.

     

    Virtual Shibuya comes in response to the effects of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) which has brought tight restrictions to the economy and people’s way of life. It will enable people to continue enjoying entertainment from the comfort of their homes by participating in a whole host of virtual events and activities.

    The project aims to deliver content from Shibuya with live performances from artists, art exhibitions, talks, and more. The use of 5G and the latest cutting edge technology will connect the real Shibuya to a virtual space, combining the realms of the digital and real world.

     

    1: Online Events

    A variety of online events will be held inside the virtual event space. People tune into Virtual Shibuya while at home by connecting with their smartphones, PCs or VR devices. They will have their own avatar and be able to traverse the area together with other people who are connected while participating in different interactive online events. The events will also be streamed on video streaming services.

     

    2: XR Art

    Experience XR (cross reality) content which will connect both Virtual Shibuya to the real Shibuya. Those in either Shibuya will be able to experience the same content and entertainment.

    The opening event for the grand opening of Virtual Shibuya will promote the release of Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 with talks and performances from SEKAI NO OWARI’s DJ LOVE, who is a fan of Ghost in the Shell, as well as virtual YouTuber and member of Nijisanji Ange Katrina, Chinatsu Wakatsuki of Future Design Shibuya, and Naohiro Ukawa of S/U/P/E/R DOMMUNE.

  • Mori Art Museum Encourages People to Stay Creative at Home With Free Online Art Content

    17.May.2020 | SPOT

    Like many institutions around the world now, Mori Art Museum is temporarily closed as a result of COVID-19. But that hasn’t stopped the museum spreading creativity as it recently launched a new page on its website titled “Mori Art Museum Digital.”

     

    The page comes as part of a new agenda by Mori Art Museum which it is calling “MAM @ HOME” which encourages people to “Stay Home, Stay Creative.” The project aims for the museum to stay connected with people even while the building itself is closed by offering a host of free art-related content.

     

    This includes the “Future and the Arts 3D Walkthrough” which had to end in response to the museum’s closure, an online sneak preview of the postponed “MAM Screen 013: Mounira Al Solh,” the “ARTISTS COOKBOOK” which features recipes, photos and stories from artists around the world, and more.

     

    Program #1: Online Sneak Preview of MAM Screen 013: Mounira Al Solh

    Mounira Al Solh – Rawane’s Song (2006)

    Mounira Al Solh – As If I Don’t Fit There (2006)

    Since “MAM Screen 013: Mounira Al Aolh” has been postponed as a measure against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Mori Art Museum is introducing two works online prior to the official screening: Rawane’s Song (2006) and As If I Don’t Fit There (2006).

     

    Mounira Al Solh works internationally and is based in her home country Lebonan and in Europe. Her work offers humorous takes on everyday events and stories, as well as episodes based on the lives of women from a contemporary society where political and religious conflicts as well as issues surrounding refugees occurs.

     

    Program #2: Future and the Arts 3D Walkthrough

    Due to the museum’s closure, “Future and the Arts: AI, Robotics, Cities, Life – How Humanity Will Live Tomorrow” was forced to end earlier than scheduled. Since then, the museum has been able to share walkthroughs of the exhibition via Instagram Live, as well as photos. Now people can enjoy the exhibition in a more immersive way as the museum introduces a virtual, 3D walkthrough, which they were able to capture thanks to the galleries being empty. It’s a complete recreation of the exhibition for people to enjoy at home.

    Special #1: ARTISTS COOKBOOK by MAM

    As a special project during Mori Art Museum’s closure, the museum has introduced “ARTISTS COOKCOOK by MAM,” a collection of recipes, stories, and photographs that artists from around the world have shared with them. The first recipe showcased is the “Kusama Lotus” by Kataoka Mami, the Director of Mori Art Museum. She describes lotus roots as reminiscent of polka dots and white nets, and that it’s a dish we could keep eating forever. She calls it a “dish for infinity.”

     

    More recipes can be found on the museum’s official social media pages, so be sure to check them out.

     

    Learning Online: Enjoy, Play, Learn Art @ HOME

    Mori Art Museum hosts various programs and events where people can deepen their knowledge about contemporary art from around the world. The museum has posted an archived list of videos from some of their programs which people can tune in to from the comfort of their homes.

  • Weathering with You’s Official Art Book to Feature Over 240 Breathtaking Background Pieces

    10.May.2020 | ANIME&GAME / MOVIE

    KADOKAWA has announced that it is releasing an official art book for Weathering with You on May 27, 2020. The hit anime film directed by Makoto Shinkai (Your NameThe Garden of Words) was released in July last year to critical acclaim, earning the title of Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Academy Awards.

    Art Book Sleeve

    The art book is to feature over 240 gorgeous pieces of background art which of course includes image of Tokyo’s sky changed by the weather in the film. It will also include an interview with the director Makoto Shinkai, comments by the art director Hiroshi Takiguchi, and plenty more for a detailed, behind-the-scenes look into the movie.

    Front Cover

    Background Imagery

    The book is split into 14 chapters such as “Clear Sky Tokyo,” “Rainy Tokyo,” “Abandoned Warehouse,” “Hina’s Apartment,” and more. Each chapter is coupled with comments from the art staff who give their thoughts on the gorgeous backgrounds and how they change during the movie when the weather changes.

     

    14 Chapters

    To Tokyo / Shopping District / Abandoned Warehouse / Clear Sky Tokyo / Rainy Tokyo / Suga Office / Hina’s Apartment / Shitamachi Private Houses / Shrine / Backstreets / Parks / Escape / Clouds & Sky / The World Years Later

    *Chapter names translated from Japanese

     

    Interview

    The book will feature an interview with the film’s director Makoto Shinkai on the film’s layout, storyboarding, and more. It will also include talks with the art director Hiroshi Takiguchi as well as Nizou Yamamoto (who was the art director for Studio Ghibli’s Laputa: Castle in the Sky) who worked on the film’s shrine and ceiling art, and other staff.

     

    Background Art Pre-Production

    Comments by art director Hiroshi Takiguchi along with visuals will show the four stages of pre-production for the background art including storyboarding, colouring, rough sketches, and 3D models.

     

    Step into the breathtaking world of Weathering with You once more by picking up a copy of the official art book, out May 27, 2020 in Japan.

     

    ©2019 “Weathering with You” Production Committee

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