chris.hamby + japan   30

GK Design Group
hallmark Japanese industrial design
industrial  design  japan  history 
june 2012 by Chris.Hamby
research for architectural domain
kyoto  japan  architecture  urbanism  activism 
june 2012 by Chris.Hamby
Japanese culture, food, shopping etc in NYC
japan  nyc  shopping  resources  maps 
may 2012 by Chris.Hamby
Roger Shimomura | Greg Kucera Gallery | Seattle
In this series of paintings, Japanese-American Roger Shimomura combined aspects of his Pop Art and cartoon-based imagery with reminiscences of his family's internment during World War II. An American Diary is based on a personal diary written by his grandmother, Toku Shimomura, while the Shimomura family was interned at Camp Minidoka in Hunt, Idaho. Shimomura has commemorated the experience by combining the Japanese literary tradition with flat comic-book style characters, outlined in black. In earlier works, Shimomura explored artistic idioms of the popular Japanese printmaking genre called Ukiyo-e ("pictures of the floating world") in his imagery and treatment of the picture plane.
art  artist  japan  japaneseamerican  war  internment  popart 
february 2010 by Chris.Hamby
Copper House/ Chocolate House by Terunobu Fujimori
Before we get started with the top posts of 2009, I have one final home I wanted to show you. Remember Terunobu Fujimori’s Takasugi-an Teahouse, which looked more like a tree house not for the faint-hearted than a zen tea house for the calm-hearted? The structure made considerable rounds in the blogosphere back in March (see here, here and here). I had been hearing rumors that his new work, Chocolate House, was near completion and had been trying to track down images. It turns out the name had changed and was originally titled Copper House. So here are some images, collected from different sources, of Mr. Fujimori’s latest tea house located in Kokubunji, Tokyo.

The theme of his latest work is “skin” and is lined with copper plates whose appearance, perhaps, later prompted the name change from copper to chocolate house. And of course it wouldn’t be a Fujimori home without one of his signature floating teahouses.

images courtesy of ModernLiving blog (Japanese)

Images courtesy of Studio Prana blog (Japanese)
Architecture  Japan  Chocolate_House  Copper_House  Japanese  Takasugi-an  tea_house  Terunobu_Fujimori  from google
december 2009 by Chris.Hamby
video • let's get physical
nagi noda: mariko takahashi's fitness video, for being appraised as an "ex-fat girl" slava mogutin + brian kenny: teen werewolf workoutzachary ordonez: resistance - release - recovergetting physical with nagi noda, slava mogutin + brian kenny, and zachary ordonez. thanks to why + wherefore and shane for the is a weekly column by michael bühler-rose that appears each friday on i heart photograph.
video  usa  nagi_noda  zachary_ordonez  brian_kenny  asia  north_america  japan  slava_mogutin  from google
october 2008 by Chris.Hamby
Long, boring
Because I’m behind and want to at least have some rudimentary record of the past week or so, I’m going to do this one a little differently.

Friday, July 4 marked the end of my second week at Bushu Gas. This day was a little different, because rather than go to the company, I met up with the other Ohio interns for some activities sponsored by the Saitama government. It was a little frustrating at first, because my supervisors/caretakers at the company didn’t even think about letting me take the train to Omiya by myself, despite my assertions that I’ve taken the train plenty of times before. But if it makes them feel good, it’s fine with me.

Our first stop was the Saitama Young Career Center, a prefecture-sponsored career search and counseling center. Finding a job is very different in Japan than it is in the US. Traditionally, workers in Japan work at the same company for their entire professional lives, so the job search is a pretty important process. College student spend the end of their junior and much of their senior year (in Japan, the year runs from April to March) going through the process. There are rigid deadlines, remarkably consistent from company to company, and the entire process rests on introductions to companies, often through college or government career centers. In addition to applications and interviews, extensive tests are common. The tests are not necessarily content-based; i.e. applicants to a gas company aren’t expected to have gas experience or knowledge – the tests are thought to evaluate the candidate’s capacity as a lifelong worker.

During lunch, I caught up with the other interns, which was really interesting. Everyone’s experiences have been pretty different. While I’m mostly job shadowing, one student had been selling lunches at the Saitama University co-op, another doing hardcore biology/pharmaceutical research, and the other producing straws and doctors’ masks on a factory floor.

After lunch, we went to the brand new Women’s Career Center, serving a function similar to the office in the morning, but for women of all ages. Many women in Japan stay home with their children, so there’s a big drop off in terms of women’s employment around age 30. The center aims to help women find first jobs, or get back to work.

Next was a tour of Saitama Shin-to-shin, a newly-developed area of the city. It was new and frankly not that interesting, though home to the John Lennon museum (what?) and Saitama Super Arena. Our tour guide was trying to practice his English, which was cute for about three minutes. We walked in circles, and it was hot. Oh well. Also, an NTT showroom that was like an advertisement for services none of us want or need.

Our final stop was interesting, a support center for start-up companies. It was pretty interesting to see how the government is really really trying to get people to start companies, and to help them with advise, business plans, seminars, etc. There were also a couple floors of hotel rooms converted into mini offices at low rent for people just starting out. I’ve thought about starting a business some day; this would be pretty useful. Anyway, it was an interesting, hot, and tiring day.

I was met at Kawagoe Station by Sekine-san, my host, who took me to a nearby isakaya (bar/restaurant/pub?) where his section was having a get together. It was a lot of fun to get to know some of the office workers a little better. They had me try a lot of different bar food and drinks, which is always fun. I got pretty relaxed, and had some good moments. Someone asked me “what’s your favorite part of Japan?” and I replied, “well, that’s hard. There’s a lot I like. But I’m going to have to go with the natural gas.” (Ironically, by far most of Japan’s natural gas is imported from overseas). Anyway, drank plenty, wasn’t nearly as drunk as most of the other people there, and had a pretty good time. Pretty packed day.

After sleeping in on Saturday, July 5 we ate breakfast next door (remember, my single male host in the company apartments doesn’t cook, so we did our meals next door, with an awesome couple). We headed in to Tokyo, led by Junko, the wife of the couple next door. She took us to Tsukiji, famous for the fish market. I didn’t get to see the famous tuna auctions (they happen really early in the morning, and I don’t think they’re actually open to the public anymore) but there is a great market area, full of all sorts of sea-based products. Markets are great, no matter where, and I had never really seen one like this in Japan before. Cool.

After eating lunch (I had some really tasty poached fish), we went to Shibuya, known as one of the hot spots for young people in Tokyo. It was definitely full of people, and lots of crazy, silly fashion. We walked around for a while, then wen to Tokyu Hands, probably the most fun department store in the world. I don’t even know how to begin to describe it, so I’ll just link you to Wikipedia. Later, we went to the Toden (Tokyo Denki = the huge Tokyo electric company) museum/showroom. It was partially research; Junko is one of the women who leads the gas vs. induction heating cooking demo at Bushu Gas. And, of course, Toden is all about IH cooking, and the aru-denka (all-electic home, another bane of gas companies worldwide).

We headed back (on the newest Tokyo subway line, from Shibuya direct to Kawagoe-shi), went shopping, and had yakiniku/okonomiyaki for dinner. Yum!

On Sunday, July 6, I went to Tokyo Disneyland.

If you know me, you may know that I don’t really care for Disney. I’ve never really gotten in to the movies, and, I don’t know, the whole thing is just too cutesy and commercial. But when, on Saturday, Sekine-san says to me, “how would you feel about going to Disneyland tomorrow, with a couple girls?” I of course say, “yeah, that would be awesome!”

And actually, it was a pretty good time. The night before, Sekine-san surprised me with a gift: a yukata to wear the next day. Apparently, it was some sort of theme event, where everyone was encouraged to wear a yukata. So, we did. It was very comfortable, and fun to dress up a little. Interestingly, but not surprisingly, there were tons of girls dressed up, but very few guys.

Disneyland is pretty much the same wherever and whenever you go, so I’ll spare you the details. I rode Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain, the Jungle Cruise, the canoes, the “It’s a Small World” ride, and Space Mountain. I also got 10 out of ten shots at the Western shooting game, and got a badge. Neat. Anyway, it was a pretty fun day.

On Monday, July 7, I was with the safety group. I learned about a lot of preventative things the company does, including replacing old iron pipes (in the ground and in customer’s walls) with new polyethylene pipes (more on these later), and checking customers’ appliances every three years (required by law). I ended up talking to the manager of the section about completely unrelated things for about an hour, though. For example: the best place from which to view Mt. Fuji and what kind of ingredients make the best soba.

He asked what I usually do for lunch, and after explaining that I usually eat the bento provided by the company, he said “well, want to get soba today instead?” So after going with another worker to look at a recent gas pipe replacement, the three of us went to get udon (there wasn’t a good soba place nearby). It was great, but they ordered me a large and it was gigantic (a huge platter with 700g of udon). One of the other guys ate a full large, and some of my leftovers, crazy.

The afternoon was with the emergency response section, and after learning about how they solve these sorts of problems I went out to a work site for an hour or so to watch. Water had gotten into a gas pipe, so workers were dispatched to dig it up and find the problem. There was a lot of groundwater, and the whole thing was really interesting to watch.

The most interesting part of the day was later on, at my host department’s 歓送迎会 (Kan-so-ge-kai, a welcome and farewell party for employees). Two new workers joined the department a few days earlier, and another left. Also, me. And because my department is the 社長室 (literally, “President’s Room”), guess who came! Yes, the company President, and his father the Chairman.

The party was held at the fancy Prince Hotel’s Chinese restaurant, and it was probably one of the most fascinating events I’ve ever attended. It was an embodiment of everything I’ve ever read about Japanese business parties, with the heavy drinking, pouring for each other, speeches, toasts, and so on. I didn’t really know what to do, and trusted people to tell me when to do what (they did). The chairman loves 日本酒 (=sake), so it was flowing freely. I got to know a few people from the office a little better, including the President, and that was really nice. I also learned about closing a party with a haishaku, a tradition I’m definitely bringing back to Oberlin.

One funny/akward thing about the evening was how the Chairman kept talking and talking (he was drunk) about how I used to have a beard. The picture I had originally sent to the program, and forwarded to the company was from a couple months ago, and I had a beard for most of last semester. Facial hair of any kind is a no-no at the company (it’s actually on the appearance checklist), and apparently they were worried I was some kind of hippy. Which, when it really comes down to it, might not be as far from the truth as I’ve led them to believe at this point. While it’s a little frustrating to have been so visibly prejudged, but I’m glad I’ve been able to do a good job in my role as an intern to make it something everyone can laugh about.

On Tuesday, July 8, I was with the Planning group in the morning, and the systems group in the afternoon. The planning group does a little of everything, from thinking about long-range pipeline development to… [more]
Saitama  bushu_gas  japan  onsen  too_long  from google
july 2008 by Chris.Hamby

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