The Afternoon at the Tange By Tange Exhibit 

I finally made it to Tange By Tange 1949-1959 exhibit, right before it ended!
Most exhibits I hear about, I end up not going to. It always slips my mind and then it’s over by the time I remember. But I was really drawn to this one on the legendary Japanese architect, Kenzo Tange.
It may be because I think his design of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is brilliant. Or just that I know many of his works, like the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. Though really, most likely because his smile reminds me of a long-ago grade school boyfriend, if you must know. (I know, you didn’t ask..but I decided to over share. Ha.)
Gallery Ma is operated by ToTo Ltd. (the company famous for making those Japanese toilets, bless them). The gallery opened in 1985 as part of the company’s social contribution program, and specializes in architecture and design. This was my first time here but as tiny as it was, the use of both indoor and outdoor space was wonderfully unique.
Displayed were rows of contact sheets of 35-millimeter film images that Tange himself had taken, mostly of his own projects. And as much as I’ve always been into his work and history, I learned a few new things regarding Kenzo Tange.
Such as…
  1. The biggest surprise for me was that Tange had grown up in Imabari City, which is where my parents currently live! I had no idea. This explains why he has so many projects there, such as the Imabari City Hall and Imabari City Assembly. A lot of concrete. I’m going to have to go see for myself next time I go back to my parents place.
  2. It’s a known fact that Tange designed the current Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku, but I actually did not know that he also designed the previous Government Building, too. It was located near Yurakucho Station, where the Tokyo International Forum now stands.
  3. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is my favorite designs by Tange. But I learned that it was his debut project! Wow. Not only that, he designed the entire Peace Park. No wonder I’ve always loved that entire area. He specifically designed the building elevated on pillars so that you could see the Atomic Bomb Dome from the museum. (Side note: Tange went to high school in Hiroshima so he had strong ties to Hiroshima even before he became an architect)

All in all, a very educational and informative exhibit on Tange’s earlier projects. And did I mention it was free? This gallery is definitely on my radar now. If you like architecture or design, this is definitely a great place to visit. You can see a list of their upcoming exhibitions here.
 On my way back home, I called my dad to ask if he knew that Kanzo Tange was from Imabari. He didn’t know either.
Here are some photos:

TOTO Nogizaka Building 3F, 1-24-3 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo JAPAN
東京都港区南青山1-24-3 TOTO乃木坂ビル 3階
TEL: +81 3 3402 1010
HOURS: 11:00am-6:00pm (Closed Mondays and Holidays)

The Teacher with the Same Outfit

(via swissmiss)
Oh gosh, this is fantastic.
PE teacher, Dale Irby, wore the same outfit for every yearbook photo during his 40-years of teaching. I cannot get over how great this is. And yes, I secretly wish I would have thought of that when I was still taking school pictures. I mean, look at it!
In this Dallas News article, he said that it all started out as an accident when he wore the same outfit the in his second year…and his wife dared him to wear it again. And on it went. You can see many of his yearbook pictures on Seriously awesome.
So of course I had to go look for my old school pictures. Unfortunately (or fortunately), I only found the one of me in 7th grade. But it was good enough to have me laughing my head of for a good 10 minutes! Teehee!
Aren’t school pictures the best? 😀
What was going on with my hair?
And how patriotic was I? ;D

The Vertical Horizon in Hong Kong

Isn’t this view amazing?
These photographs are a series called Vertical Horizon by French photographer, Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze. He captures the unbelievably tall buildings in Hong Kong beautifully!
I mean, we have our share of skyscrapers in Japan…but they are nothing compared to Hong Kong, which has even less space to build on. So they grow vertically. And also, they apparently don’t have earthquakes. Which is a very good thing because I saw a lot of buildings in Hong Kong that would never even get past the building permit stage here in Japan.
But they work over there and are amazing to see!

The Morning Rush Hour

I often hear how awful the morning commute on the train is in Tokyo.
And it’s probably true. We have a whole bunch of trains and subways and most of them are super packed during rush hour in the morning. I’ve experienced it first hand. (Although I tend to kind of enjoy the excitement of squeeeeeeezing onto a train and not being able to breathe, while having 10+ people practically piled on top of you as the train moves at an unbelievably slow pace…!)
But we have a saying in Japan that goes “Ue-ni-wa Ue-ga Aru (上には上がある).” Not sure how to translate that in English…but it’s something along the lines of “there’s always a bigger fish” kind of meaning. (Correct me if I’m wrong.)
And I found it in Mexico.
Spanish photographer Héctor Mediavilla took these amazing photos of the morning rush hour in the subways in Mexico. Look at that crowd! I especially like the photo below of the people trying to get off the train and the people trying to stay inside. 
Makes me glad I can walk to work 😀

The Room Portraits

In Japan, apartment leases are usually a two-year contract.
Apparently I’ve been living in my apartment for two years now
and so I went to renew my contract yesterday.
My apartment is super tiny.
I’m not sure about the exact floor space.
I usually explain it as two and a half cartwheels long.
But whatever.
It’s tiny.
And so when I saw these photos by photographer Menno Aden
I sort of felt an instant connection to these photos.
A tiny apartment/room connection.
I love how he captures the room from above as a work of art.
And it makes me wonder what my apartment
looks like from above like this.
I guess I’ve got another two years to figure it out.

(via Inthralld)

The Birds-Eye View

Katrin Korfmann takes the most amazing photographs.
She takes multiple photos from a birds-eye view
and merges them together to make one image.
On her website it says:
Various instants in time are being linked
as if they took place at the same moment,
offering a spatial experience of the progression of time.
There’s something about a birds-eye view that I love.
I always wonder what everyone is thinking
or what they are talking about .
Or in the case of the person laying on the ground
in the very last photo that is being run over by the bulls
…if the person is still alive.
One can only hope.

The Sapporo Snow Festival

(photo by nyarumera)
will be held from February 5th to 11th this year.
Have you every been?
The Japan Ground Self Defense Force starts working on
these huge snow sculptures in January.
(you can see the progress here.)
I haven’t seen the snow festival since junior high
when I lived in Sapporo with my family.
I think I need to plan another trip up north
to go see these snow sculptures one day soon.
Aren’t the details amazing?
(photo by nyarumera)

The Solaryman

So many things about the SOLARYMAN series appeals to me.
And I think it’s the same reason behind the concept that
inspired photographer Yuki Aoyama to do this series.
SORALYMAN is made up of
the word sora (sky) and salaryman.
In Japan salaryman refers to the business men
who wear suits everyday and work in a large corporation.
Back in the day (not sure when exactly)
salarymen were considered to be a powerful force
behind the economic growth of Japan.
These days though, a lot of people think of  salarymen
as over-worked and under-payed.
(which is kind of true.)
And what with this economy,
many of these salarymen are not as upbeat as before.
This is why I love the SOLARYMAN series.
It doesn’t show the tired salarymen squeezed into
a packed train during their morning commute.
It shows these salarymen jumping around
all energetic and full of character!
Which they are.
I should know.
I work with them everyday.
And not being biased or anything
they are the best coworkers!
So, what do you think?

If you like this series
they are displaying poster size photos
from the SOLARYMAN series at
Libro Ikebukuro Honten Bookstore until Jan 27th.