At one time, nearly all of the 270 households in the village of Shawo would have been engaged in woodcraft, but today just six elderly men know the old techniques. Luckily, a younger generation is taking steps to ensure that the craft does not die out.
Halloween is less than a week away! Do all of you have your costumes ready?
If you’re still looking to add a nifty additional touch, then you can do as these handy DIY-ers on Twitter did and turn inexpensive, 100-yen (US$0.84) water guns into clever, steampunk-ish accessories. All it takes is some paint and a little creativity!
October 31 is quickly approaching and for those of us who don’t have our costumes or decorations ready yet, you’d best hurry. Sure there are plenty of last-minute costumes and decorations you can scrounge up, but don’t be surprised if it doesn’t compare to something meticulously planned out.
A carved pumpkin is one decoration you can complete in a few hours, but if you really want to lure the trick-or-treaters, you have to go the extra mile. Check out this amazing pumpkin that shows us the day in the life of lovable Luigi and his haunted mansion. It would look awesome on your front porch, and even more so with a special little addition.
The land of Internet craft marketplace Etsy is certainly a strange one. Like the decrepit flea market down the road that always smells strangely of boiled cabbage and sawdust, even just dipping your toes into the wonderfully bizarre world of Etsy can reveal both valuable hidden craft gems and creepy paintings possibly made by a serial killer.
You’ll also find no shortage of clever, high quality craft goods that mash together seemingly incongruous themes in interesting ways. Like, hey! How about this cute/sexy cat face lingerie that’s sure to make your significant other conflicted about whether or not they should be aroused.
Handmade goods have a certain appeal that seems to transcend time. As much as we love our precisely designed and machine-crafted products, it’s hard to deny the draw of individually crafted items. Whether its watches or high fashion, knowing something was put together by a dedicated worker just makes it that much better.
So while these cat bags are nothing short of insanely adorable, the fact that they were all individually handmade by one person makes them that much more awesome! Read More
The visual arts are, for a writer like me, akin to magic. I see the finished product and the raw material and I basically have no idea how the artist got from point A to point B — even if I actually watched them work through the entire process! And when it comes to sculptures, all bets are off. You could tell me a wizard conjured the work whole with a wave of a wand, and I’d be hard-pressed to prove you wrong.
Fortunately, the incredibly talented Mio Hashimoto, woodcarver and artist, has written a how-to book explaining some of her methods and showing the detail of some of her adorable animal sculptures. Now, at least, I’ll know exactly how she achieved her results, even if I’ll never have a chance of replicating them myself. And for all you artists out there, aspiring or otherwise, this book will teach you how to make all the pets you’ll ever want!
Origami is one of Japan’s most well-known art forms. At its simplest, even children can enjoy it, and at its most complicated, it can be used for commercial purposes and designs. Now, one company has created special pieces of cloth that will automatically refold into their original origami forms after being stretched out. There doesn’t seem to be any particular, unique benefit to these pieces of fabric, but we sure want some!
Check out the mesmerizing video below!
Small talk is one of the worst concepts of social interaction. Most of the time, neither party has something worthwhile to say, but society requires them to talk to each other because it makes everyone seem like nice, approachable people. Why can’t people just be happy with the sound of silence?
The absolute worst is when you are caught in a situation where you can’t avoid the small talk, like when you are in a taxi or when you are getting your hair cut. You are unfortunately immobile and at the whim of a stranger, because really…how well do you know your barber? Probably not as well as you think, as it turns out a casual bit of small talk revealed this one barber’s unbelievably amazing hobby.
People are often loathe to part with their books, even after they’ve finished reading them. Thick, hardbound editions in particular have a sense of presence that entices literature lovers to hang on to them.
Sure, maybe you’re never going to go back and leaf through that heavy tome again, but doesn’t it look stately as it sits on the shelf? It might, but it would look a lot cooler if you used the pages to make one of these amazing folded paper pieces of art.
There’s an undeniable sense of accomplishment you get from making it to the top of a mountain. Maybe it comes from putting such a long series of steps, each insignificant on its own, to rise to a height where the whole world appears differently.
But perhaps a hike doesn’t figure into your plans for the near future due to your busy schedule, flat-as-a-pancake local geography, or crippling fear of grizzly bears. If you can’t climb a mountain, though, the next best thing is to build one, also one step at a time, with this awesome series of paper craft models of Japanese mountains.
Yamanashi Prefecture is perhaps most famous for its beautiful scenery – which of course includes Mt. Fuji – but the prefecture is also home to a number of traditional crafts. One technique in particular, called “koshu-inden,” has been widely praised. Pioneered by a company established in the 16th century, this leather-working art was once used to decorate samurai armor and is considered by some as emblematic of samurai bravery.
Now, you too can wear accessories bearing this symbolic design and crafted by that legendary company thanks to a collaboration that has produced a number of beautiful bracelets. Check out some of the items below.
If you watch a lot of samurai movies or TV shows, you might have noticed that a toothpick is about as common a costume accessory as a set of paired swords. The reason isn’t because samurai were particularly fastidious about dental hygiene, though. Many fictional samurai stories re set in the Edo period, when the end of Japan’s centuries of civil war caused the warrior class’ power and prestige to begin slowly but surely eroding.
The samurai were a prideful bunch, though, and were loath to admit the new societal reality that swordsman had suddenly become a far less lucrative profession. So even if they couldn’t afford to regularly fill their stomachs, many would still lodge a toothpick between their teeth to give the impression that they’d just polished off a lavish meal fit for a man of high rank.
Of course, it takes more than just a toothpick to transform yourself into a samurai. You’ll also need to talk the talk, which is why these traditionally made Japanese toothpicks come individually wrapped with period-correct samurai phrases, and even helpful English translations and pronunciation guides.
About a year ago, we took a look at the 3Doodler, an amazing crafting tool developed by U.S.-based WobbleWorks. Described as a 3-D printing pen, the 3Doodler uses plastic filament to let you draw in mid-air, creating physical objects instead of flat images.
Now we know what you’re all thinking: Where are those 3-D printed Mr. Sato statues we talked about making in our previous article? Well, it turns out we don’t actually have the artistic skills to properly capture the likeness of the head of RocketNews24’s Vice-President of Craziness. Oh, and also we’re cheap.
Thankfully, it looks like there’s a way to solve both of those problems. The updated 3Doodler 2.0 is easier to handle and less expensive than the original model, and there’s even a series of upcoming workshops in Tokyo that’ll teach you how to get started drawing three-dimensional works of art.
Origami is known worldwide as the art of paper-folding, and while most people associate it with Japanese culture, it also has history in China and Europe as well. We’re not sure what it is, but there is something strangely satisfying about turning a flat piece of paper into a three-dimensional model resembling anything from flowers to animals to vehicles.
One particularly fun shape to make are ninja throwing-stars, like the ones you see above. If you’re in the mood for some crafts and would like to give it a try, follow us after the jump to get started!
Daruma are a kind of roly-poly wishing doll in Japanese Buddhism. You draw one eye in while making a wish, and then fill in the other when your wish comes true. Given their sweet purpose and blob-like shape, traditional daruma are already pretty charming, but a woodcarving shop in Kagawa Prefecture has found a pop makeover makes them even more attractive, so much so that there is a 3-year waiting list to get one!
Do you like figures? Do you ever wish you could make your own? Well, we can’t help you actually make a figure, but we can show you how one skilled amateur figure crafter turned the Genesis of Aquarion Zessica Wong figure above into a female pilgrim from Dragon Quest.
Check out his explanation, complete with photos, below.
We recently took a look at some Star Wars-themed gogatsu ningyo, the decorative dolls families with young sons place in their homes on May 5. But what if you don’t have kids? Is there still a way to combine your love of Star Wars with some high-end Japanese traditional craftwork?
There sure is, in the form of traditional Japanese gold coins bearing the mark of the Imperial Military and the silhouette of its most famous commander, Darth Vader himself.
Ramen joints and other cheap restaurants in Japan often just leave a container of chopsticks out on the table for customers to grab a pair from. Classier dining establishments, however, set the table with a pair of chopsticks for each guest tucked inside of a paper chopstick sheath, called a hashibukuro in Japanese.
But what do you do once you’ve pulled your chopsticks out of the cover? You could leave the empty sheath lying on the table, or, seeing as how you’re sitting in a Japanese restaurant with a piece of paper, you could use it to make some cool origami art.
Watches are, oddly enough, a timeless accessory. Kids wear them, adults do too, and grandparents hand them down as family heirlooms. This has been going on for centuries, and even nowadays people go nuts for cute watches, fancy watches, and now, smart watches.
With the recent announcement of the Apple Watch people are preparing their wrists and their wallets for the new meeting of fashion and technology. Even tech whiz kids, dare we say “Smart Kids,” want in on the action, but some people, like artist Hiné Mizushima, don’t really see the need for kids to have real Apple Watches, so she created a clever and adorable felt alternative.
The tricky thing about social media is that announcing your passions to the world, by its nature, means you’re also announcing them to relatives and acquaintances you’d maybe rather keep in the dark regarding some of your more unusual pastimes. That’s why Twitter user Shitaraki Kongo set up his account and does his tweeting in a way that he hopes will obscure his true identity.
Nevertheless, his mom eventually managed to tie her son to the account, and his secret was revealed. That Kongo is an anime fan isn’t such a big deal, and given the current trends in the industry, the fact that he’s enjoying high school idol series Love Live! probably wasn’t a huge shock either.
Kongo is on the fringe of even otaku culture, though, as he’s also really into collecting posable dolls and dressing them up like the Love Live! cast. Odds are he was feeling pretty awkward when his mother discovered all this, but instead of disowning him out of embarrassment, dear old Mom instead grabbed a needle and made some new threads for her son’s anime crushes.