Sunday, January 29, 2006

bitter*girls photography

A couple of days ago, I found a great photography post at BLDGBLOG, introducing the work of Olivo Barbieri, who makes aerial photographs of real landscapes that resemble scale models.

It seems like several of the photos featured at the Japanese the bitter*girls blog are made with a similar technique - this picture of the Yurikamome line for instance is absolutely surreal.

N.B. Some of the pictures link to a bigger version at, which is a site I didn't know. It looks quite nice, but uses a bit too much flash for my taste. Still worth checking out though, as there's plenty of great photo gazing to do.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

The Library of Congress' Ukiyo-e exhibition

The Floating World of Ukiyo-E - Shadows, Dreams and Substance is a Library of Congress exhibition with a clean site and ± 400x600px graphics. Worth a visit.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

W32T trickery part 1: adding functionality with bookmarklets

I recently bought Toshiba's W32T keitai, which comes, among other things, with Opera 7.60 (aka PCサイトビューアー) preinstalled. Great browser, decent speed and all that, but it is not capable of copying the text or downloading the images you see on your screen. Luckily, as the Opera browser is JavaScript enabled, bookmarklets come to our rescue - here are the ones I find invaluable (also usable on other PCサイトビューアー enabled keitai, such as W31T, W21CA/W21CAII, etc.):

  1. Plain text popup = allows you to copy any webpage's text:
  2. View the current page in the EZ browser (aka Openwave Mobile Browser 6.2) = gives more content manipulation possibilities, but comes with rather strict size limits:
  3. View all images on 1 page and optionally view each image separately in the EZ browser = images can be saved, as long as they're not too big:
    javascript:(function(){var d=document,a=d.images,i; for(i=0;i<a.length; i++){ d.write('<a href="device:ezweb?url='+a[i].src+'"><img src="'+a[i].src+'"></a>');} d.write('<hr><a href="'+location.href+'">back</a>');d.close();})();
  4. View all images on 1 page and optionally resize each image on the fly = any image can be resized and saved in the EZ browser:
    javascript:(function(){var d=document,a=d.images,i; for(i=0;i<a.length; i++){ d.write('<a href="device:ezweb?url='+a[i].src+'"><img src="'+a[i].src+'"></a>');} d.write('<hr><a

Credit where credit is due: bookmarklet 1 and 4 come almost straight from, while 2 and 3 are variations on the same theme.

Quick explanation how to use the code snippets above: make a new bookmark in your PCサイトビューアー and copy the javascript:... string you find above to the field where you would otherwise put http://www.... Activating the bookmarklets' functionality is easy: navigate to a webpage of choice, and simply select the bookmarklet you want to use.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

POPjisyo's mobile dictionary

Looking around for an online Japanese-English dictionary service that is usable with cell phones, I bumped into the mobile version of Very nice, especially the reverse lookup function, which allows you to find the word you're looking for really fast. Something for your mobile bookmarks.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Tokyo Art Beat search plugins for Firefox

Firefox TAB search plugin I've made two Firefox search plugins that give quick access to the Japanese and English search functionality on Tokyo Art Beat (powered by Google). Add them to the Firefox search bar for instant TAB querying pleasure. Note: I volunteer for Tokyo Art Beat.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Japanese manholes

Talking about manholes (see previous post), there was a nice link list to Japanese manhole pictures on back in October 2002. Some of the links are dead or forgotten, but マンホールのふた and マンホール Best! are worth a look.

There are also a LOT of Japanese manhole pictures on Flickr. A simple search returns more than 150 results, and the "manhole cover" group's Japan section is even completely devoted to the subject - this one's my favorite!

Update: there's a great manhole design gallery over at frangipani.

Free stuff and good food in Tokyo

Today's PingMag comes with a great guide to free stuff in Tokyo. From collecting paper tissues over inspecting manhole cover designs to checking out Tokyo Art Beat's Free Entrance list, it's all there.

And in case you're feeling hungry after all the freeriding,'s new Google Maps powered restaurant guide will come in handy. (link via Jean Snow)

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Imitation - the sincerest form of flattery?

Flickr diver Livedoor diver


Monday, January 09, 2006

BBC documentary: "Inside Nintendo"

There's an interesting one hour BBC documentary about Nintendo up at Google Video. I don't know how long it will last, so better be fast ;-)

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Vintage Tokyo Imagery

Just found Old Tokyo, a site featuring pictures of early 20th century Tokyo. Very fascinating, and completely different from today's Tokyo.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Japanese type foundries with free fonts

In the first half of 2005, the Fontleech blog was offering an almost daily portion of links to and reviews of quality free fonts. Among them, a lot of Japanese ones. Since the Summer however, Fontleech hasn't really been updated anymore, and comment spam is slowly taking over the place. As I'm afraid the site may go offline one day on another, I decided to reproduce its links to Japanese type foundries with free fonts, and added some of my own links too. Here we go, in no particular order:

Note that most "free" fonts listed on the sites above are only free for personal use - commercial use is often only possible under certain conditions (after paying a fee, for instance).

Monday, January 02, 2006

Online National Diet Library materials

The National Diet Library website's NDL Gallery page gives an overview of its "electronic exhibitions," each highlighting a part of the NDL's extensive collection and featuring (quite) high-res images and (mostly) bilingual explanations. I like the "Portraits of Modern Japanese Historical Figures" a lot, but the other exhibitions are also worth a look.

In a different section of the NDL site, you can also find the NDL's Rare Books database - there is not so much content available yet, but trying some Japan related queries, I got a couple of interesting results.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Tilted Osaka map

Another maps related post: a couple of days ago, Google Maps Mania pointed to this Japan made, tilted Google Maps variant - only viewable with Firefox 1.5, and very proof-of-concept, but it's a great trick. Info about how this is done is available on the creator's site.