May 27, 2014

Rainbow Bridge by Night

Walked back across Rainbow Bridge at night.

You can see Tokyo Tower on the right.


 The Harumi area again, with Sky Tree in the far distance.

The Ferris wheel at Kasai Seaside Park.

 The Ferris wheel at Venus Fort.

The Fuji TV office.

The side with views of Tokyo Tower and Sky Tree is much more preferable to the side that shows a bunch of ports and factories.

Rainbow Bridge by Day

A not widely-known fact: there is a path for pedestrians on Rainbow Bridge, the bridge that serves as an entryway to the Odaiba area.

While open year-round, in the winter months the pedestrian route closes at 4pm.

Until recently, it was possible to ride a bike through the bridge, but the current method involves tying on wheels and pushing the bike across.

I'm used to zooming through on the Yurikamome Line, but walking across the bridge takes a surprising amount of time.

The bridge has two stories, and on the lower floor, the train line is sandwiched between two car lanes. The top story is the express route.

Major construction going on at Shijomae Station.

For the most part, the view is fenced in, but strategic sections are not.

 These stairs are not for pedestrians.

 Harumi Passenger Ship Terminal, with the Sky Tree visible in the background.

 The triangle building is called Yokoso, which means, "Welcome!"

The emergency phone box at the halfway point of the bridge.

Cargo on Shibaura Port.

The loop that the Yurikamome Line makes after crossing the bridge. You can see the train in the center of the photo.

May 18, 2014

Design Festa Favorites

My favorite items that I saw at the 39th Design Festa, held May 17-18 at Tokyo Big Sight.

A double-decker rocking chair and a swinging see-saw in the shape of an eye. The two together were called "The London Eye". As I mentioned in my previous post, it's fair to say that too many of the exhibits cashed in on cuteness rather than actual innovation and design, but this was one of the freshest things on display. Check out the artist's page here.

Cutout egg lanterns.

If you want proof that these are actually eggs, here you go.

Selling dyed creatures encased in Plexiglass seemed to be a thing. I saw several stands with similar works.

They were certainly beautiful to look at, though.


Also surprisingly beautiful: a series of handmade craft tools, used in particular for tiny objects.

Shaping small animals out of felt wool has been popular for the last decade or so, but this person had taken it to a hyper-realistic state.

It was a humane take on the taxidermied cat.

One of the few glass works at the festival.

Room slippers that had sizes S to L, but only went up to 25 cm (around a US size 9). Just one of the many things that make you question the "International Art Event" moniker that comes before Design Festa. (Also, I personally went to around 70% of the booth but did not see a single non-Japanese person.)

Another person having fun with the relaxed, anything-goes atmosphere of the festival in the form of a super-friendly, super-furry wolf.

Design Festa 2014

The 39th Design Festa, held at Big Sight on Tokyo Bay. Over two days, close to two thousand exhibitors show off their works. Unlike a lot of other markets, photo-taking is encouraged and the wares on display are also on sale.

It draws an intense crowd every time.

This was my first time, and I noticed that the crowd skewed younger. A large portion of the visitors were women in their early twenties.

It makes sense. There were an abundance of komono (small things) -- tchoctchkes that a high school or university-age girl would buy for herself, but an adult would already have too much of to bother buying more of. (When adults buy komono, they are usually a gift for other people.)

The festival is also famous for bringing out the freaks -- but the lighthearted, non-threatening type. For example, this fox was walking around, but its default mode was extreme shyness. It would cock its head in an embarrassed way and walk gingerly.

A sampling of some other things on display:

There were about a dozen ongoing murals on display.

A woman-child artist.

The writing in black tape reads, "I want to die". There were not a lot of people stopping by this booth.

This piqued my interest: a world map illustrated with indigenous animals. Each animal was painstakingly drawn using CGI.

One of the illustrations, magnified.

Pop-up versions of classic novels.

Loaf-shaped lamps.

A wall collage in progress.

There was a man right behind, animating the alien puppet and talking in a presumable alien voice.

An old Singer machine in use.

Beeswax candles.

As a friend pointed out, there wasn't much actual design or innovation at Design Festa, most of the products were simply cute interpretations of existing things.