Wednesday, November 19, 2008

In Defense of a Japanese "Obsession"

Shibuya Hotel Lobby Vending Machine

"The Oval" by Tadao Ando

Ramen Love Series - The Finished Product

Boxes: Tokyo fish market

Strange entities outside a restaurant, near Asakusa, Tokyo

Bullet train

I see no reason why my esteemed D+R colleague Mark Frauenfelder should need to apologize for being "obsessed" with Japanese culture; It's perfectly logical, actually.

Remember, D+R's mission statement is to celebrate "authentic, handy, rarefied, disgusting, illuminating, delicious, mysterious, intoxicating, commonplace, historic, intensely personal, entertaining and enlightened objects, both priceless heirlooms and exquisite trash."

Well, that right there is the Japanese consumer experience in a nutshell. What France has done for cuisine, and what America has done for personal mobility, Japan has done for the art of the object. To visit Japan is to realize just how deep that appreciation for objects runs.

The photos above are intended simply to underscore the point, but I'll discuss some of them in more detail in the days ahead.