Archives For Japan

What do you really need? That’s what Japan’s leading home-organization expert wants you to ask yourself. Actually, it’s even simpler than that. Look around your home, and if you see something that makes you happy, or in her words “sparks joy,” keep it. If not, let it go.

Marie Kondo feels that by following her methods, dubbed the “KonMari method” in Japan, even the biggest packrat can be happy in their home, and reduce their daily time spent tidying to next-to-nothing. For most people, this feels like a tantalizing yet unattainable prospect, so it’s no wonder her book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,” which just came out in the US, is already a sensation in Asia and Europe, according to The New York Times.

It’s a smart-looking and straightforward little book, and Marie’s pared-down writing is refreshing and easy to follow. Beyond her rule about keeping only what sparks joy, her guidelines boil down to two other main concepts: organize by category/type, not by location, i.e., go through all clothes no matter where in your home they are currently located vs. organize the bedroom, and do not purchase any dedicated organizing equipment. Oh, and she says you must follow her methods faithfully, or you will not succeed. Seems simple enough! No wonder she’s become a celebrity in Japan.

In keeping with our new years resolutions, we’re going to give the KonMari tidying method a try. Anything that makes home a more peaceful place to be is a very good thing, and this is the perfect time of year to get started. Below, see examples from The New York Times of Marie at work, and a client’s room before and after.

Source: The New York Times


We love paper arts—especially when they take a turn toward architecture.

This gabled house made of expertly trimmed paper is a standout. The shapes vary slightly, smaller the farther they go so that a small “window” appears at the end. Designed by Japanese architect Kotaro Horiuchi, it’s a wonderful play on the permanence of a building.

Source: Dezeen

It’s no secret that we love little things. But baby bonsai? Too cute, too tiny, too perfect.

Colossal introduced us to a new trend in the Japanese art form known as bonsai—cho-mini bonsai, or ultra-small bonsai. Each cho-mini plant measures less than an inch.

A property with a lot of natural light is definitely a plus for homebuyers, which is why homes with large windows are so popular. But when you live in a city with neighbors on all sides, how do you reap the benefits of the suns rays without sacrificing privacy?

The architects at Suppose Design Office in Hiroshima, Japan created a solution to this problem by designing a home with translucent walls. The rest of the structure is made up of an I-beam frame, concrete ceilings, and timber floors, to create an open, industrial feel.

On the other hand, if privacy is not a concern, you could always go the route of no walls at all. House NA in Tokyo, Japan was designed by Sou Fujimoto Architects to generate the feel of living in a tree, and offers plenty of natural light through walls made entirely of clear glass.

“The intriguing point of a tree is that these places are not hermetically isolated but are connected to one another in its unique relativity,” Fujimoto said. “To hear one’s voice from across and above, hopping over to another branch, a discussion taking place across branches by members from separate branches. These are some of the moments of richness encountered through such spatially dense living.”

Sources: Gizmodo & Architecture Art Designs

Photos: Toshiyuki Yano via Suppose Design Office & Iwan Baan via Sou Fujimoto Architects 


Library House, Shinichi Ogawa & Associates.

Today avant-garde houses are a regular sight in Japan. In a recent article on ArchDaily, Tokyo architect Alastair Townsend explains a little bit about Japan and its famous bizarre residential architecture.

According to Townsend, Japanese homes are mostly designed by young architects and often appear to show that anything is possible, from balconies with no handrails to homes with no windows. As it turns out, Japan is the country with the most registered architects per capita––a possible explanation for why each architect tries harder to stand out from the crowd.

An unconventional home requires an unconventional client, one who is willing to take risks in regards to design aesthetics. Though you might think these bold homes are built primarily for wealthy clients, most of them are actually small middle class homes.

In the US and Europe, deviating from the norm when it comes to residential architecture can jeopardize a home’s value. If you plan to sell in the future, it is risky to build an eccentric home; however, the logic is opposite in Japan as their homes depreciate like consumer goods and they don’t expect to sell.

After 30 years, a typical home in Japan generally loses all of its value and is demolished to build a new home. In fact, despite a shrinking population, home building remains steady; though the population is only one third of that in the US, the number of new homes built each year is comparable.

Since properties don’t hold value and homes are demolished and rebuilt, Japanese clients have the freedom to build homes that are personal expressions of their lifestyle and tastes. Neighbors also have little say in what is built next door, giving architects no risk to designing bizarre homes for their clients.

Check out the slideshow below for more photos of unique Japanese homes:

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Source: ArchDaily