Alleyways, lanterns, neon signs and merchants are the cinematic backdrops of local Japanese photographer and artist Masashi Wakui. His quite and intimate moments provide the spectator with a view of Japan that is appreciated by those who like to wander the streets and discover cities on their own accord. Continue reading →
In the South China Sea, 15 kilometers off the southwest coast of Nagasaki among the thousands of verdant landmasses that surround Japan, lies a mysterious island. From a distance, Gunkanjima, resembles a battleship with a geometric silhouette with a dark grey hull and hundreds of perforated small windows. The island looks like a Japanese version of Alcatraz. Photographer Marchand Meffre conceived the series during two trips in 2008 and 2012. Continue reading →
Here’s our weekly review rounding up the best stories and ideas in public space from cities around the world. This week we bring you a road made of toilets, kaleidoscopic cities, Japan before and after the quake, and the Jane Jacobs article that started it all.
During my 9 years living in Tokyo, I became quite the pedestrian wanderer. Its densely distributed streets and chaotically-organized approach to urban planning made every walk a unique experience. Tokyo twists and turns, rolling and flattening in every conceivable degree possible.
Much of what is seen in the media in Canada tends to portray Tokyo as a hectic, neon-bombarded metropolis, but the city is far more complex, subtle and intricate than that. Were you to take an overhead Google Maps look at Tokyo, it would indeed appear to be a seething labyrinth of a city. But on the street level, you would find that much of the chaos is subdued by the highly disciplined and rather immaculate organization and mindset of the residents living there. Though the city itself may not appear to have been planned in an efficient, grid-like manner, the way public transit runs, the way residents diligently maintain the cleanliness of their streets, in my opinion, somehow make the city feel much more “straight” and organized then it is from a visual standpoint.