Asahi Beer (Factory, Ibaraki)

MJG Guides, Japan 8 Comments

Asahi Beer is the juice that Japan runs on- it fuels the salarymen and the office ladies alike, keeping them lean, mean, and ready to work 18 hour shifts until karoushi (death by over-work) drives them into the ground. Asahi is the beer in a silver can- its most distinguishing feature by far. Kirin and Sapporo in their gold and white cans with cluttered labeling scream respectively- ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ and ‘nothing to see here, move along’. Asahi Super Dry is where it’s at. Asahi Factory Front.

Asahi Flame, Asakusa

MJG Architecture 6 Comments

The Asahi ‘Flame’ building on the Asakusa banks of the Sumida river is infamous in Tokyo for its eponymous ‘flame’, a huge golden piece of art juxtaposed atop the obelisk-like black building; intended to represent the freedom and grace of a good head of foam on a glass of Asahi beer. It has however been dubbed by many the ‘flying golden turd’ or ‘golden tadpole’; another sad instance of too much art-like sensibility and not enough common sense. Asahi ‘Flame’ Building.

Weekly Links

MJG Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Gorilla Artfare– Some great apocalypse art: This same scene is rendered in four ‘seasons’ on the site. Red Bubble– Ruins in the desert, awesome: Tells a story in an image. Or begins a story… Neils Valentin– Digital matte paintings for the movie ‘Strings’- gorgeous. Now I want to see this movie ‘Strings’. I came across all these desert ruins images while Google Image-searching for good art for my story – The Book of All. In the end I settled on something more esoteric. Read the Kanji– Addictive kanji-learning page, with insistent failure-repetition algorithms. Useful.

Ancient Ruins- 100 cliff-tombs of the Jomon period

MJG Catacombs / Caves, Haikyo, Saitama 7 Comments

The Hyaku Ana Cliff Tombs in Saitama are ancient, easily some of the oldest ruins in all of Japan, dating back 1300 years to a time of almost pre-history- such that very little is known about them at all. They were first discovered in 1888 and thought to be aboriginal homes, only being proved to be tombs after a research study in the 1920’s. A second layer of history was added in the Second World War when deep munitions tunnels were carved into the rock; gloomy storage spaces to keep serious weaponry safe from Allied bombing raids. Now the tunnels …

The Book of All

MJG Science Fiction, Stories Leave a Comment

I’m a cripple. Always have been. I was born with one of the latest cerebro-spinal disorders, unpleasant off-shoot of muddled genetic manipulation in vitro. My father was one of the leading scientists in the field at the time. He was also a drunk. My name is Dr. Pario Souder. I’ve been tied to a chair my whole life. My voice is fake, an interpretation through a voice box reader strapped around my neck. My motion is powered by the faint movements of my right hand, the only spinal thread they could preserve as my body warped itself through my early …

Big Sight Anime Fans

MJG Japan, Manga / Anime / Cosplay 18 Comments

Once a year Anime fans from all over the world descend on Tokyo Big Sight in Odaiba for the huge Tokyo International Anime Fair, filled out with cosplayers garbed as their favourite cartoon characters, live banjo shows and coming movie previews, gundam statues, huge parade balloons of anime favourites, stalls selling pillows printed with manga stars, scarcely dressed sword-wielding plastic models, unicorned robots, and a lot of cheerful people spending money, posing, and taking photographs. Full Metal Alchemist

Tokyo Big Sight, Odaiba

MJG Architecture 7 Comments

Tokyo Big Sight in Odaiba is one of the biggest exhibition spaces in Tokyo, featuring two huge halls East and West plus several conference rooms and a 1,100 seater auditorium in the main building- which is curiously shaped out of four upside-down pyramids. Why is it shaped out of four upside-down pyramids? Nobody knows. I suppose this is another case of function being completely unrelated to form, with form taking off on a flight of fancy to Never-Neverland. The last time we saw this was with the Edo-Tokyo museum, which got me ranting about WASTE! and VACUOUS DESIGN! and GOVERNMENT …

Weekly Links

MJG Uncategorized Leave a Comment

The Venus Project– Visionary site with lots of futurist ideas and art, underwater cities and cool designs. Draw Me a Sheep– Cool art/design site, featuring square trees. Rassouli– Great aspirational art, I’ve used two now for story headers- Universal Time and Cullsman #9. It’s ostensibly Christian mythos art, but you wouldn’t know that to look at it.

The hotel one man dug out of solid rock #1 exterior

MJG Catacombs / Caves, Haikyo, Hotels / Resorts, Saitama 9 Comments

The Gan Kutsu Cliff Face Hotel in Saitama is the relic of a dream, one man’s vision to carve out a massive hotel in the sheer rock face, working alone with only a chisel for 21 years until the day he died in 1925. He finished several rooms, a grand staircase, the two main entrances, and several windows including a balcony; the work was completed after his death, with a false facade slapped in white brick over the entrance to make it more appealing. It was closed after about 60 years due to cave-ins, the false facade stripped away, and …

Yoyogi’s Yukinko Akira

MJG Heaven Artists, Japan 11 Comments

Yukinko Akira is a funky beats-master artist, skinny and frantic and one heck of a showman. He performs regularly at the fountains in Yoyogi Park, his own unique brand of frenetic dance moves, dance beat remixes, and exhilarating yawps and whoops, all the while constructing some dystopic work of art which he signs, rolls up into a poster case, and hands out for free to one lucky spectator at the end, with a wry smile and very polite manner. Then he pauses, re-frames, and rocks right out again. What a guy. Yukinko Akira puts a trance on you.