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Around the World in 80 Days: Day 44, The Cute Stuff

This one’s for you Rosalie!  Japan has an obsession with cute.  Like… really really has an obsession with cute.  In Japanese the word for cute is “kawaii” and there’s a massive culture built around it.  I’m getting a little sucked in to the madness with anything that is a black cat, and of course, Gudetama.  Let’s look at some pics.


Around the World in 80 Days: Day 41, The Watanabes

Meet the Watanabes.  They are adorable.  Actually they are the epitome of adorable Japanese people.  I describe them as a 70 year old couple placed (not trapped) in late 20’s/early 30’s bodies.  They are super sweet and talented people and they are very active in the community.  I wish I could have had more time with them.  They know some English but usually I use my translator app to communicate.  I love when their faces light up as we understand something together.  Here’s their website.  (It’s in Japanese so see if you can run it through google translate.)


Around the World in 80 Days: Day 40, The Weird Stuff 4

Things are coming to a close here and I have very mixed feelings about it.  Ryder is finally here so I’m really happy.  I have two and a half days left in Onishi so I’m sad.  That means there’s 7 days left of the Japanese leg of the trip.  I’m on day 40 of 80 and I feel like things are moving too fast now, especially the last days here in Onishi.  This is a big art weekend at the brewery (it’s a big complex that once was a sake brewery but is now where all things art takes place) and we have lots of activities scheduled.  I may actually take some video!  I’ll be busy packing and cleaning and saying goodbye which stresses me out a little.  Need to write a light post today.  Anyway… just airing some thoughts.  Let’s look at some weird and cool stuff.


Guest Blogger: Ryder Richards on Masks and Airplane Etiquette

My wife forced me to come to Japan. The first day was, like, 27 hours of waiting surrounded by people. I woke up at 3:30 AM on Sunday and then traveled a bunch so I could fall asleep at 8 PM Monday in Tokyo. And then wake up at 3 AM. I told my stupid body to sleep 12 hours, but it can only count to 7.


Around the World in 80 Days: Day 37, Sumi-Ugh

Ok, ok.  I’ll show you the sumi-e work I’ve been doing… but prepare to be underwhelmed.  I’m going to contrast it with the work of my instructor, Sanae Aiba, so you can see why I’m embarrassed.


Around the World in 80 Days: Day 35, An Art Show

Holy crap.  Here it is.  A little info about the work: My initial idea was to make sculptures of everyday objects that have cameras on them, such as bumpers, phones, video game consoles etc. and exaggerate the camera portion by putting a surveillance camera “growth” on the spot in which the camera appears on the object.  I tinkered with a raspberry pi for weeks before I left the country with plans to have it power an actual camera and put it inside of the sculpture.  It would be attached to a monitor which would show you looking at the piece and the piece looking at you.  Well… the raspberry pi made me want to murder people in the face.  I never solved the issues I was having no matter how many youtube videos I watched and tutorials I read.  I still love the idea so I may revisit it when I get home if I can get a living, breathing tutor to help me figure it out.


Around the World in 80 Days: Day 33, The Residency

The house I’m staying in is crazy.  There may be some pictures on the Shiro Oni website, but not as detailed as what I’m going to give you.  The residency itself can house 10 people and guests if need be.  There are 3 floors here and roof access.  Let’s look at some pictures!


Around the World in 80 Days: Day 31, The 7-11

Before I came to Japan I kept hearing stories about how amazing the 7-11s are out here.  For example:  A Japanese girl has come to America and she’s being driven around by a friend of hers.  She needs to go to the bathroom and asks her friend to just pull over at the 7-11.  Are you sure,” he asks?  She’s sure.  She completes her transaction and returns to the car, displeased.


Around the world in 80 Days: Day 29, Japanese Sweets 2

Welp, Japan continues to make sweets for me to sample despite my pleas for them to stop all production so I can become a lean, dangerous, exercise machine.  I haven’t put myself on a scale since I’ve been here but my clothes still fit me, so there’s that.  And the Saitama challenge?  A memory.  Distant.  A gentle whisper on the breeze drowned out by Taiko drums on Saturday nights.


Around the World in 80 Days: Day 26, The Soy Factory

I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time!!  A few of us made a short bike ride to the other side of the river to the soy factory for a soy sauce and tofu making workshop.  This place does lots of things with soybeans – soy sauce, miso, soy milk, tofu, soy cheese, baked soy goods, and even soy donuts and ice cream!  I am really enjoying being a part of this culture.  Let’s go!


Around the World in 80 Days: Day 24, Art Update

Just so you know… in addition to participating with the community, eating, sleeping, pooping regularly, riding a bike as my means of transportation (including riding 2 miles every other day to get groceries or supplies… no it’s not far, but it takes a big chunk of time out of my day), and writing about all of it daily, I’m making art each day as well.  I don’t have anything too exciting to show for it yet but I figured I’d fill you guys in.


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