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Alex Kerr spoke recently at a TEDx event in Kyoto, once again on the topic of reviving old architecture, old spaces, to make them livable for the modern age, and attractive, overturning the old idea that “modernity” is built in concrete and in “modern” boondoggles, and suggesting a possible way of reviving old towns. This […]

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There are an absolute multitude of aspects of “Dogs & Demons” I would like to address, but as I fear the tl;dr phenomenon, and believe that blog posts should not approximate the length of term papers, I guess I’ll just stick to addressing things one by one, topic by topic. At the risk of this […]

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As I mentioned several posts ago, Alex Kerr spoke this Monday at Japan Society. Did anyone who attended tonight learn of the lecture as the result of reading it here? I wonder. I apologize if the following is rambling. There’s so much I want to say, so much I want to make sure I get […]

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A folding screen in the home of art collector Alex Kerr. I’m not sure exactly how it’s lit, but notice how the gold shines; it’s easy to imagine how this might have helped brighten a room when only natural light or candles were available. In a recent article in the Nikkei Asia Review, Michael Dunn […]

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A letter from the great Kyoto painter Maruyama Ôkyo to Oku Dôei. Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. The Wahon Literacies workshop at UCLA/UCSB a few weeks ago, to my surprise, did not spend any time on learning or practicing how to read calligraphy. But, we did spend some time thinking about the aesthetic appreciation […]

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The New York Times reports today on efforts to rebuild or repair the seawalls and breakwaters in northern Japan which failed to defend the coastal towns and villages of that region from the March 11 tsunami, and which in fact, the article explains, amplified the size and effect of the tsunami for neighboring towns and […]

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Left: Hanamikoji in Gion. Cobblestone streets, beautiful traditional architecture. Many of these buildings are geisha houses, high-end restaurants, and the like. Note the telephone pole and electric lines ruining the atmosphere and the view, and at the same time looking terribly outdated. This may have given the street a shiny, forward-looking, modern feel in the […]

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Why I have not been doing this all along is a mystery, but I think it’s about time I start porting over some of my blog posts from my personal private blog to here. While I generally try to keep Chaari about art, history, and such, and to avoid talking about my own personal stuff […]

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According to the Yomiuri Shimbun, Kyoto city leaders recently met and put into place plans to further regulate the height of buildings and to limit neon signs, large billboards and the like. The article also refers vaguely to “regulations on color and other design aspects”. This is my first post on the subject since coming […]

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Alex Kerr, author of Lost Japan and Dogs and Demons, an American who has lived in Kyoto & Bangkok for decades and who has his hands in a lot of heritage protection and cultural revival activities, has finally published his latest book, Bangkok Found, which he had been working on for many years. Of course, […]

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