Anime: Japan in WWII

I had a little downtime this weekend and watched In This Corner of the World (2016) on ROKU. It’s a beautiful film and a reminder that the victims of war are never the ones rattling the saber. It’s also good to watch films that portray war from the eyes of those you’re fighting (fought). There are two other great films that deal with similar subject matter. The first is The Wind Rises (2013) by Studio Ghibli / Hayao Miyazaki. The Wind Rises is a fictionalized biographical film of Jiro Horikoshi (1903–1982), designer of the Mitsubishi A5M fighter aircraft and its successor, the Mitsubishi A6M Zero¹. The second is Grave of the Fireflies (1988) and it’s the tragic story of two Japanese children orphaned during the war. It’s a difficult film to watch and does a good job chronicling the dangers children face (particularly) at the end of war. All three hopefully inspire you to always encourage those rattling the sabers to exhaust every measure possible to find peaceful resolutions.


The Remains of the Day (1993)

The Orange Ninja (and other links)

I was at NYCC yesterday with my brother and snapped this photo of the orange ninja. It’s his 15th anniversary.

(1) Naruto Manga Sequel Coming in 2015

(1a) Orange Ninja Factoid from Naruto: The Official Fanbook

“According to the neighborhood records, Naruto’s hobby is gardening. A little surprising, but possibly he sees himself as a seed that would be a flower…”

(2) The Beautifully Dressed Skeletons in Japan’s Closet

Weekend 343.0

(1) Tokyo’s abandoned homes (Domain)

(2) A quote from The Heart of our Cities by Victor Gruen:

“A healthy city heart attracts and holds creative people–painters, sculptors, musicians, poets, actors and actresses, dancers, philosophers, architects, writers and planners. It is a haven for those who find in its environment not only a source of income, but inspiration, too. It is a preferred place of residence for those who value intimate contact with urban features and for whom, whether they are wealthy, middle-class or poor, the city is a way of life. The healthy city heart is a place of infinite variety whose buildings and structures form, between them, spaces of differing size and character, narrow or broad, serene or dynamic, modest or monumental, contrasting with each other by virtue of varied treatment of pavement, landscaping and lighting. Sprinkled throughout the core are green areas ranging from tiny landscaped spots to good-sized parks. A healthy urban heart pulsates with life day and night, weekday and Sunday, spring, summer, fall and winter.”

Weekend 309.0

(1) Sturmey Archer “The Planetary Gearset” (YouTube)

(2) Speed Traps For Japan’s Escalators (WSJ – Registration Required)

(3) Shakespeare as a Life Coach (WSJ)

“The world is grown so bad that wrens make pray where eagles dare not perch.” – William Shakespeare, Richard III

(4) ‘A Spy Among Friends’ (WSJ – Registration Required)

(5) A Ferris Wheel Family Rides Coney Island’s Renewal (WSJ – Registration Required)

(6) In Praise of the Mundane Marigold (WSJ)

“The key to using annuals creatively, said Mr. Stufano—respected for transforming Wave Hill Garden, in the Bronx, from a sad mess into an arresting jewel—is to forget fads. Train yourself to just look at the plant’s essential qualities, its texture, form, height and color, without letting the chicness factor (or the taint of that gas-station island) seep into your brain. He often used ordinary plants like marigolds and thistles in unusual ways at Wave Hill.”

(7) Francis Ford Coppola Talks Travel (WSJ)

Weekend 286.0

(1) Brompton aims to boost sales in New York

(2) Why bike sharing benefits everyone (even if you already own a bike)

(3) Masdar: the shifting goalposts of Abu Dhabi’s ambitious eco-city

(4) The Tokyo tourist guide

(5) Playmobil Xplory Stroller: They say that it’s the little things in life that make us happy and I can hand on heart say, that my happiness this weekend came in the form of a small box of Playmobil.

*Illustration from Building Stories by Chris Ware

Weekend 273.0 (Train-spotters)

Southwest Train Approaching Richmond(1) A quote from What We Talk About When We Talk About The Tube (The District Line) by John Lanechester

“When you start researching the Underground, you soon realize there’s a reason why trainspotters are generally regarded as setting the gold standard for nerdy knowledgeability about a subject. In America, train-spotters are known as ‘foamers’, because of their tendency to foam with excitement.”

“If you’ve even been curious about what it’s like to drive an Underground train, get hold of a copy [World of Subways Volume Three: London Underground] and knock yourself out. Maybe best not to mention it on a first date, though.”

(1a) The iconic London Underground typeface turns 100 (Wired)

(2) A quote from Straphanger by Taras Grescoe

“Make no mistake: the Japanese love their trains. On strategic curves in the tracks of major lines, I spotted hordes of trainspotters—here known as densha otaku, train geeks, though they prefer the term tetsudo fan, or rail fans—jostling with their telephoto lenses to get the money shot of a streaking shinkansen or a streamlined limited express.”

(3) Look, No Grid! NYC Reimagined As A Circular Metropolis

Weekend 272.2 (…the Roman Road aslant the eastern border)

Clannad After StoryGoing biking now (must remember sunblock today…my arms look like lobster claws).

(1) A quote from A Good Parcel of English Soil (The Metropolitan Line) by Richard Mabey

“But the spirit of the Metroland — a territory in the mind as much as on the ground, neighbourly, sentimental, oddball, accommodating and forever fraying at the edges, continues to thrive.”

(1a) A related quote from Straphanger by Taras Grescoe

“In Mejiro, sinuous streets wind past closely spaced multimillion-dollar mansions of poured concrete, older wooden homes, small fishmongers, and hole-in-the-wall beauty parlors and shops selling used household goods. Elderly women sweep the paths of ingeniously arranged pocket parks; homeowners green the roadsides with bonsai pines and potted plants; the branches of trees are hung with wooden signs indicating their Japanese and Latin names. A sense of custodianship, of a neighborhood enlivened by tiny aesthetic flourishes, prevails. In Mejiro, there is no need for European-style traffic-calming measures: the few cars that appear pick their way gingerly through streets as narrow as alleys. The neighborhood is a paradise for cyclists and cats.

Mejiro is just one of the many such districts. This is the great secret of Japanese cities: away from the main arteries, the streets tend to be remarkably peaceful, and much more intimate and walkable than those in cities built around freeways and cars.”

(2) A quote from City Pendants: Early Sunday Morning and Nighthawks by Carter E. Foster

“The streamlined simplicity of the Nighthawks diner, with its curved form, expanses of glass, and lack of ornament, relates to the Art Deco and machine-age aesthetics that flowered in New York in the 1920s and 1930s, and which were widely expressed in the architecture of the 1939 World’s Fair.”

(3) SC Featured: Gone Fishin’: SC Featured recounts how a fishing trip by former Phillies owner Ruly Carpenter prevented the National League from adopting the designated hitter rule. (ESPN)

(4) Tidying up loose ends…

(a) Weekend 223.1 (filaments and figments)

(b) Mickey Mouse in Tokyo Go (YouTube)

(c) An die Musik (Wikipedia)

Image from Clannad After Story

Weekend 215.0 (Inventors Edition)

Brompton Rear Tyre(1) The Nucleus of the Digital Age: In pursuit of hydrogen bombs, a math genius and a brilliant tinkerer in Princeton developed the modern computer (WSJ)

(2) A related quote from Breaking Ground by Daniel Libeskind

“Nobody has captured that awakening as exquisitely as Marcel Proust in Time Regained, when the narrator trips against ‘the uneven paving-stones in front of the coach house.’ Until that fateful moment, for almost 3,500 pages, the narrator of Remembrance of Things Past has grown increasingly full of despair, and is convinced that he cannot, and should not, write. Then, suddenly, ‘when, recovering my balance, I put my foot on a stone which was slightly lower than its neighbor, all my discouragement vanished.’ And in that instant of intense sensory memory, ‘as if by magic,’ he recalls the sensation of standing on two uneven stones in the baptistery of St. Mark’s in Venice. He realizes that he is experiencing the same particular sensation he experienced years before, when the taste of a madeleine brought back memories of his childhood. This moment, in which Proust realizes he is going to write his book, is for me profoundly architectural. A whole world of sensations, ‘all of which had been waiting in their places,’ was waiting for the inherent meaning and structure—or architecture—to be revealed. The shaping of space is important because it engages the body and the mind, emotion and intellect, memory and imagination.”

(3) A quote from Brompton Bicycle by David Henshaw

“Using his considerable influence, Moulton persuaded Dunlop to develop improved high pressure bicycle tyres, and although he might not have realized it at the time, by choosing the existing 16″ x 13/8″ (ISO 37-349mm tyre, Moulton had set the pattern for the futre of development of the folding bike…Dr. Moulton went on to develop an even better 17-inch (ETRTO 369mm) tyre in cooperation with Dunlap, based on a pre-existing tubular racing tyre, but this size remained something of a oddity, used only on Moulton bikes. It is for his work in proving and developing the 37-349mm tyre that Dr. Moulton will be remembered in the folding bicycle world.”

(3a) More quotes from Brompton Bicycle by David Henshaw

“Quite when the Brompton name evolved is unclear, but Ritchie chose it because his flat was situated in the Brompton district of West London, with an eagle’s eyrie view up and down the Cromwell Road and across the Brompton Oratory. A mile or two east or west and the machine could have become the Kensington, the Belgravia or even the Pimlico. Brompton – bu pure chance – was an inspired choice. It had a timeless British ring to it, but without the implied snobbery of other West London addresses. It was smart, yet workaday. Ideal for a folding bike that was designed to appeal to everyday users.”

“‘My heart sank in 1979 after the ICFC failure.’, said Ritchie, ‘but it was one of the best things that could have happened to Brompton. If I had gotten an institutional investor behind me and proceeded with an ill-though through product, it would have sunk without trace.’ In the event, those few crucial extra months of design work had made all the difference. Barring a few design changes, the Brompton was now equipped with all the innovations that would make it such a unique, practical, and long-lived commercial success.”

“And so it was, quite by chance, that Elliott Automation not only gave Andrew Ritchie a grounding in computers, but some essential ‘hands on’ mechanical skills. He could never have guessed it at the time, but these apparently unconnected multi-layered skills – engineering design, computer design, and practical metal bashing – were to serve him well in later years.”

(4) Made Better in Japan (Wall Street Journal Magazine)

(5) Akatsuki Katoh: Moulton & Brompton