Kakunodate, a small town in northern Akita prefecture is famous for two things – their cherry tree lined river bank and their well preserved samurai houses, bukeyashiki. There’s quite a few surviving samurai houses spread around the country but nowhere is there so many as here in Kakunodate. Most of them are still privately owned by the old samurai families but several have been opened to the public or serve as cafes, restaurants or shops. It’s a great chance to see how the warriors of Japan lived in private. It’s easy to get to the city since it’s a stop on the Akita shinkansen line, right between Morioka in Iwate Prefecture and Akita City.
The other day, walking around the backstreets of Omotesando I noticed the many vacant lots and alleyways in the city, and I suddenly saw all manner of things filling up the space left by the buildings that once stood there, the gaps in-between. I think this could be an interesting subject for a photo book about Tokyo, Gaps. Vacant lots. Spaces. Buldings peeking through other buildings or the ghosts of other buildings long gone. Tokyo Gaps. Now if only I could find 6-7 extra hours to attach to each day and I’d be ready to search the city!
At last weeks Tokyo Design Week event, I saw this interesting project by students at Kyushu Sangyo University (九州産業大学). It’s a structure that has been maximized to be used as a musical instrument with all walls and ceilings covered in various pieces of wood, metal and paper. When you entered you got a pair of drumsticks and as you proceed through the tunnel you are presented with a lot of options for making noise. I think a determined trio of explorers could make and drum and bass band envious! It was a lot of fun to go through, and the little girl in front of me had even more fun!