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Parents who hit their children and other illustrations

» Culture, Illustration

Smack my kids up?

(Here's a link for those who don't understand the reference)

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Zaha Hadid's Olympic Stadium for Tokyo scrapped

» Architecture, Japan, Tokyo
Tokyo-Olympics-Zaha-Hadid
Abe boots the bike helmet.

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To be happier, seek experiences, not things

» Culture, Happy Monday

"Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods. You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences."


Science suggests we should be spending our cash on experiences rather that materials goods to become happier. Read more on Fast Company.



Modular design and education

» Branding, Design, Work

Both my bachelors and masters degrees were based on modules, we've got a modular layout in our office, plus we've unconsciously moved towards a modular design approach for client work. Most of all, we're interested not only in how the modules work together, but how they complement each other.

Many modular designs, from furniture and buildings to electronic goods and educational courses are designed to fit together in blocks, with each block slotting together to create a whole. Without enough modules, for example, my degrees would have been incomplete.

That's fine for a lot of things, but it reduces our choices and binds us to a whole that we might not want. Rather than creating systems where the modules are interdependent, we want to create systems that are much more interconnected and - although it's not a real word - intervaluable.

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Albert - a clock to make maths fun

» Design, Design for a difference, Featured Works

Albert-1-sfte

Albert by Paris-based MNTNT isn't just a lovely looking minimalist clock, but "a digital wall clock that keeps your brain active and helps to improve the mathematical skills of you and your kids in a playful way. Simply by reading the time."

With five levels of difficulty, you have to solve the mathematical problems to tell the time. Brilliant!

Find out more and support the project on the Albert Kickstarter page.



The rainy season in Japan

» Japan, Tokyo

Rainy season in Japan

The rainy season in Japan is known as 梅雨 (tsuyu) - literally 'plum rain'. Being the quick to catch on chap that I am, it's only taken me fifteen years of living here to find out that it's called 'plum rain' because the crappy weather coincides with the plum harvest.

I console myself with the fact that loads of Japanese people don't know that, either. Like the characters used in its name, it comes from China, which I found out while watching the international weather forecast on CNN (it's called baiyu in China, apparently).

The point is, it's the rainy season time in Japan again, and here's what to expect:

1) Rain

No surprise there, but it can be relentless, all day long, miserable, draining rain. It varies between bouncing off the floor downpours to truly aggravating drizzle.

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Simple ways to save time and money on editing

» Editing, Writing

If you're thinking of getting something checked by a professional editor (which I recommend), here are a few things you can do to save some time and money.


1) Get somebody you trust to read it through

Ask somebody whose opinion you trust to read what you've written, even if it's just a few paragraphs for a long piece. See if they think it sounds like you, if it makes sense, if it's interesting, if it flows, etc.

This can give you a chance to redo parts of it to save some back and forth between you and your editor.

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Thought for the weekend

» Inspiration

Expecting extraordinary people to take ordinary jobs is a waste of time.



Connected promotional gifts

» Branding, Marketing

pocket-tissue

Here in Japan you see loads of people handing out pocket tissues and, in summer, plastic fans to advertise their businesses. I used to think it was a great idea because they’re useful and people seem to take them more often than not. I’ll usually take tissues. Fans not so often.

The thing is I’ll almost never look at what they’re advertising. I might notice that they’re advertising houses or a clinic, yet I’ve never checked the name of the company and certainly never acted on the advertisement.

Nothing has ever made me inclined to do so because I very rarely make connections between tissues and things like houses.

Continue reading "Connected promotional gifts" »



It sounds like a good idea, but is it really?

» Work, Zen

Fast Company published an article earlier this year about the one word that's undermining everything else you say and if you haven't read it, you should.

The word is 'but' and I used it in the title on purpose: it both affects how the title is understood and the impact it has. The article had me thinking about how advice is given and received.

Continue reading "It sounds like a good idea, but is it really?" »



Doing one thing at a time

» Work, Zen

Get-things-done

“When walking, walk. When eating, eat.”

~ Zen proverb


As I said in the last post, I’m not big fan of lists. Although I’d love to think I’m a super multitasker, effortlessly juggling design work with consulting and teaching, it’s sadly not true.

Continue reading "Doing one thing at a time" »



Illness and freelancing/self-employment

» Freelance, Health, Work

Branch

Recently I’ve had to take time off work, then take on a much reduced workload. Considering I don’t get paid if I don’t work, it’s made me think quite a bit about coping in times like these.

Although it’s not pleasant, if you run your own business or work as a freelancer, you should think about what would happen if you got sick. Especially if, as in my case, you’ve got a family to care for.

I’m not a big fan of lists, but when things started to go wrong I welcomed all the choices and suggestions I could get.

Continue reading "Illness and freelancing/self-employment" »



Shigeru Ban + VAN: housing for Nepal

» Architecture

Following the devastating earthquake in Nepal, Voluntary Architects' Network (VAN) and Japanese architect Shigeru Ban have teamed up to provide housing for those affected.

Ban, who began creating temporary housing following the Kobe earthquake in 1995, will work with VAN to create housing in three phases: emergency, transitional and permanent.

For more information, and to support the project, visit: http://www.shigerubanarchitects.com/works/2015_nepal_earthquake/

ネパール地震への支援プロジェクト

ボランタリー・アーキテクツ・ネットワーク(VAN)+坂茂建築設計では、4月に発生したネパール地震に対して、被災者に対して住空間の提供を目的とした活動を行います。http://www.shigerubanarchitects.com/works/2015_nepal_earthquake/



Finding value in the useless

» Culture, Sports

Mount-everest

So, climbing, no, it doesn’t do much. And on a day where there’s so much pain in the world, so much loss, so much sadness, and so many material needs, it’s easy to see it as simply worthless. But it’s exactly on days like today that the rewards of climbing are there for all to view — in the selflessness with which climbers on Everest are helping others, in the outpouring of support coming from the outdoor community and industry, in the knowledge that our commitment to Nepal and its people won’t end when the world’s attention turns elsewhere, as it will all too soon. Some people might not think there’s value in that, but I do.

A very good article by Steve Casimiro on Adventure Journal.



Embracing science and design

» Creativity, Design

Design+science

Throughout history, it’s been proven over and again that if you want to be truly innovative, reaching across the divide between the sciences and the arts is the starting point for triggering the boldest ideas.

~ Tim Brown

I never considered myself scientific, nor particularly arty. At school I spent tons of time doodling and thinking about all sorts of stuff, mainly with my head in the clouds. Not many lessons or subjects really engaged me.

Even so I was told to choose between art and science. I reckon most of us are shoved into choosing a side when we're still figuring things out, exploring our options and trying to make sense of stuff. I wanted to study loads of things: English, business, design, history, geography, architecture, law, medicine...  I still do.

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