September 30, 2009

The Invisible Dog (見えない犬)

Last Sunday I saw invisible dogs! At first I thought it was a joke by the individuals. Later on I saw these invisible dogs everywhere around my neighborhood Brooklyn Heights and Dumbo, I knew it must be some sort of art project.

Yesterday I found out it was another mission of Improv Everywhere, they passed out over 2,000 invisible dog leashes and had everyone go for a nice Sunday walk in Brooklyn. It's said the invisible dog toy was invented in the 1970s in a Brooklyn factory. Don't know why I never seen it until now. If I had a dog, I would like to be able to see my dog. But it's a good thing to have a invisible dog on a rainy day like last Sunday, so then I don't have to clean it after the rainy walk!

Improv Everywhere is a group created in August of 2001 by Charlie Todd in New York City. Improv Everywhere causes scenes of chaos and joy in public places, and has executed over 85 missions involving thousands of undercover agents. The other two I remembered and liked are Frozen Grand Central and No Pants! Subway Rides. If you are interested, click the links to watch the videos yourself, it's really fun!

September 22, 2009

Crayon Shin-chan (クレヨンしんちゃん)

The body of Yoshito Usui (臼井儀人), the author of the hugely popular manga and anime called Crayon Shin-chan (クレヨンしんちゃん), was found dead at the bottom of a cliff in Gunma Prefecture (群馬) on Saturday. According to news, the last image captured on his digital camera was the bottom of the cliff from the top. Authorities have determined the death was due to the injuries relating to the fall from the cliff in an accident.

I didn't want to post this news on my blog cause it's a sad news, it didn't fit my "Little Happy Things" spirit at all. But I love his Crayon Shin-chan (クレヨンしんちゃん) very much, it used to make me laugh so hard. Crayon Shin-chan (クレヨンしんちゃん) is an adorable little goofy 5-year-old boy whose dialogue and obsession with pretty girls are reminiscent of a dirty old man. It started as a manga(漫画) in 1990 and became an anime(アニメ) in 1992. Mr. Usui had still been creating new segments every month and his last 2 submissions will see his manga to end at November 09.

Crayon Shin-chan (クレヨンしんちゃん) was translated and dubbed in multiple languages around the world, it is a hit among all age groups. Even though I don't watch it on TV nor read comic books like I used to, I still watch it on You Tube from time to time, especially when I feel a little bit down and Shin-chan can always cheer me up. Shin-chan is definitely a Little Happy Thing!

Rest in peace, Mr. Usui.

September 21, 2009

Design Barcode (デザインバーコード)

{Images via Design Barcodes}

Design Barcode (デザインバーコード) is a Japanese design firm famous for the unique barcodes they design. Many people get the impression that this company only designs barcodes and nothing else. This is not true.

Design Barcode is a creative agency founded by Minoru Yoshida (吉田稔), together with his old team mates from the previous advertising agency they worked for, in 2004. Their revolutionary idea of designing barcodes, by which they turn the minor part of the package barcodes into "a picture worth watching", brought them to the spotlight and won them the 2005 Good Design Award, 2006 Type Directors Club Award, and the 2006 Cannes Lions International Advertising Titanium Award!

Because they are so famous for their barcode design, most people misunderstand them as special barcode designers. In fact, Design Barcode's core business is not designing barcodes but selling ideas! In an interview with the founder/creative director Minoru Yoshida (吉田稔), it says his goal is to pursue a new form of communication with consumers. He wants to make "advertisements so good that people are willing to pay to see it". Based on Design Barcode's achievements, people are waiting to see the next product which will feature the unique barcode on their packaging. And once the new product is out, thanks to publicity from blogs, people will dash to a nearby store to buy it. In other words, "to pay money to see the ads".

{Images via Design Barcodes}

Design Barcode's latest challenge was called "TOKYO LEFTEOUS PROJECT ON 13TH AUGUST". And this project really reflects their style. The event is not about commercials, posters nor special merchandise. What they did was simply to ask restaurants to place the chopsticks to the left hand side instead of right hand side on August 13th. It doesn't seem to be a big deal, but it can cause enough discomfort. On the back of the chopstick bag it was written " Feel frustrated? That's how left-handers feel everyday." (イライラしましたか?実は左利きの人は毎日そんな気分なのです。) The reason they pick August 13th was because The United Kingdom Left-Handers Club made August 13th "left-handers day".

Unfortunately I couldn't find more info from their website. It seems they haven't updated their website for a while. But they did have current list for the restaurants which participated this year's LEFTEOUS PROJECT.

September 15, 2009

Miroslav Sasek (ミロスラフ・サセック)

{images from This is M. Sasek, the most comprehensive website on Miroslav Sasek.}

Recently I have been collecting books for my 9-month-old niece. I have a particular fondness for children's books, especially the works by Miroslav Sasek (ミロスラフ・サセック).

A Czech author and illustrator, Miroslav is most well known for his This Is… series: a collection of city guides for children. Each book takes the reader on an amusing tour throughout the city, and highlights both the landmarks and uniqueness of each location. It's fascinating to see each city from a 1960s perspective. It's the illustrations that get to me most of the time. They tend to be executed beautifully with very little words involved. They speak to you visually and keep you animated until you're left wanting more....

In the past few years, more than half of the This Is... series has been reissued. There are 18 books in the This Is... series, four of these books were adapted into movies. What a shame that there isn't This is Japan, This is Tokyo, nor This is Kyoto. It would be interesting to see my country from his eyes at 1960s perspective. If you get a chance to check out these beautiful illustrated books, please do!



September 14, 2009

Tea Party! (お茶いかが?)

{DemocraTea, image from donkey products}

{RoyalTea, image from donkey products}

{StripTea, image from donkey products}

A hot bath, just you and Barack Obama? A dream which comes true at last. Relax with a cup of tea in the bosom of the leading politicians, England’s royal family, or, of 5 sexy strippers! This will definitely be an unforgettable tea party.

These cute tea bags are designed by Donkey Products based in Hamburg Germany. They develop and design many original, humorous products which will make you smile.

The tea? Hope it doesn't taste like bath water...

September 3, 2009

Kate's Paperie

{Gift Box from Kate's Paperie}

I don't know why I missed this before.

I like Kate's Paperie, it's an incredible resource for all your paper needs. This is not new, paper lovers all know kate's. They are the reason people still use quaintly elegant stationery to write letters and notes, a lovely tradition which is becoming almost obsolete in our internet- based world. I go into Kate's everytime I see one. Whenever I go, I get inspired. But I didn't notice this box until I found it online recently.

Anyway, I am glad I have it now. I also like the name: You mean the world! A lovely gift box about 2.25″ × 3.25″ × 1.25″ deep, features a world map and a circular gift tag that reads, “you mean the world to me.” Don't know what to put inside yet. I just like boxes. Maybe I can put some chocolates, cookies, a love note, a dinner invitation, or some Japanese Washi Stickers I made and voila it's a perfect gift!

September 1, 2009

Cute kitten! (かわいい子猫ちゃん!)

{image via Agent M Loves Tacos}

Well, I don't know anything about this cute kitten. I found it on Agent M Loves Tacos. It's just so cute I want to share with you.