Not to be confused with cult writer Haruki, Takashi Murakami is more the ‘Jeff Koons of contemporary Japanese art’ type. His feature length debut, Jellyfish Eyes, had its international premiere at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monday, April 9, and featured some interesting animated allusions to real life.
The film is set in a small Japanese town where a young boy, Masashi, befriends a series of bizarre computer-generated creatures after moving to a new town. Haven’t we all. See the LACMA website for more details.**
It’s unclear as to where Japanese performer Nobuyuki Sakuma’s solo project-cum-trio, Jessie Ruins, is basing itself these days but that’s the beauty of a band that inhabits the proverbial ether of post-punk and new wave exploration. With this single, ‘Laura Is Fading’, from their forthcoming album debut A Film, out on Lefse Records, May 21, there are easy comparisons to New York’s Blonde Redhead.
Grown within the glaring light of their heavenly musical projections, haunting vocals add to a firm foundation of a steady drumbeat from Yosuke Tuchida, as Sakuma’s cadenced vocals glide coolly through a synthesised stargaze. **
Sadly, we missed DJ Sprinkles’ performance at this year’s CTM Festival but we did manage to catch her thoughts as Terre Thaemlitz in conversation with Electronic Beats editor Max Dax. And, while she might think music is “a petri dish of all that I hate about society” it hasn’t changed the fact that she still produces it. Adding to the irony is this latest LP release, Where Dancefloors Stood Still, out now on Mule Musiq, coming as a protest against Japan’s controversial new “fuzoku” laws, effectively banning dancing after 1am.
As a Japanese citizen, these troubling changes affect Thaemlitz directly but you wouldn’t guess it from the typically ambient rhythms of these smooth deep house tracks featuring the likes of Ron Trent and Fingers Inc. But music is for rejoicing, not griping and certainly not forbidding. If you know anything about Terre Thaemlitz, you’ll know she has an uneasy relationship with download culture, so we could only find a preview listen of the record at Boomkat here.**
Matthew Allard keeps bringing far-away oriental stories to our little homes, and not only through Al Jazeera’s programs. Thank him for uploading his amazing docs & videos onto sharable communities.
His last project comes directly from Osaka diving into one of those ancient but always amazing professions: Karakuri craftsmanship. What?
Karakuri are those automata toys (self-operated machines) that go back to the Edo period ( 200-300 years) in Japan. Karakuri use nothing more than pulleys and weights to move & perform amazing tasks. Hideki Higashino is one of the few remaining craftsmen who is determined to keep the history and tradition of Japanese Karakuri alive.
A field cameraman master who had the privilege to shoot the entire film with the second production model of Sony’s F3, bringing once again his delicate style to one of those great “frame” stories. All worth a few minutes of your time.
You have cameras, and you then have these other cameras. But they all come from the same place: Japan. Who’s more crazy about photography than Japanese people?
They’re not only the kings of real photography but of toy photography too (or “casual” as they like to call it). And this little Japo brand called Superheadz (and Powershowel behind it which happens to be a record label and book publisher at the same time) is releasing a few of their crazy gadgets for the summer. You may think they’re pointless (why on earth would you buy a cat-camera right?), Japanese think they’re cute, and as a witty gift they’re always useful.
“Clap” is this first model with usb connector included which despite its tiny size it includes a 2MPx camera capable of recording 720×480 videos and with a microSD slot. You can buy it through their Japanese store, so unless you understand their crazy buying store we recommend you go through the ICP store or the UK’s Photographers Gallery shop (goes from around 50£ to 75$).
That first model is our favorite but those of you who love cats they’ve come up with this weird “Necono” model…
Basically a cat-shaped camera where one of the eyes acts as a lens while the other as a LED self-timer. The interesting thing about this Alice in Wonderlanish camera are its 4 magnets under its legs allowing you to place it pretty much everywhere. It looks like it also shoots video (640×480 only though) and has a 3MP sensor.
Now who on earth would buy these things….? Japanese of course. Buyable on the same shops mentioned above, although the cute cat is twice as expensive though.
Just like Americans or French, Japanese are experts in advertising & showing the world the wonders of their society. In fact after watching so much cinema, manga, anime and hen… you seriously don’t need to travel to Japan to get their essence…
If you like Japanese culture to the point of understanding their absurd shows & love for flying underwear then you’ll love WTF Japanseriously, one of those websites you should visit from time to time to review Japan’s latest “out of the box” ridiculous representations of this admirable but sometimes quirky society.