Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I was riding my bike last week when I rode past a large temple complex in the middle of urban Tokyo, this happens quite often. I decided to lock up my bike on the side of the road and explore a bit. The temple was only a few minutes ride from my apartment. It had an amazing garden, with everything in it made entirely out of bamboo and maybe a bit of string, it seems. Bamboo is ubiquitous in Japan, it can do everything. It's extremely abundant, and it is untreated- it can be disassembled at the end of its usefulness and disposed of painlessly, and replaced equally as easily. It is flexible yet strong, and obviously locally grown. Pretty inspiring!

 Support for growing tree!

Well cover!


Friday, February 18, 2011

Updates! Finally!

So much has happened in the past month! First off, I am now living in Tokyo! I am here to do a few things: I will be interning with two industrial design firms over the course of the next few months. I have already gotten started at one last week, by the name of Nosigner (http://www.nosigner.com/). My advisor from Takumi Juku back in Takayama has retired from the school and will also relocate to Tokyo soon. He has a new job repairing furniture at the Meiji Shrine, which is the most famous shrine in Tokyo. I will be spending some time there with him. I will also be visiting the studios and workshops of many designers in and around the city.

I found an apartment in Shinjuku, right in the heart of the city! I am living in a cozy (tiny) 15 square meter place, with a balcony!


Louis Rigano
Palazetto Waseda 303
Shinjuku-ku, 96-2 Bentencho

The apartment on the top (3rd) floor, all the way to the left, is mine! It's a corner apartment!

Same for my last place, my trusty string lights drastically help with the lighting situation... I could't find a table that was the right size/price, so I made one really quick with my woodworking tools (remember those?) and materials from a hardware store close by! This clearly does not fall under the category of design work for my Fulbright project...

Here's the view from my balcony, the second picture from a blizzard that happened a few days ago! I thought I left the snow behind in Takayama, but no! If you noticed, there is an amazing grave yard that surrounds the perimeter of my building! There is one particularly large and elaborate grave marker in the back, which belongs to a famous Japanese writer. Or so I am told. To go fittingly with the graveyard, there a bunch of cats that constantly roam around my neighborhood, they are always hanging out on the roof of the building across the street, or behind the wall of mailboxes on the ground floor. If I ever have my camera ready, expect some photos of these guys soon!

The new neighborhood is great! I am in walking distance to Shinjuku Station, which is the busiest train station in the world! Though the closest station to my place, with the laughably long name of "Ushigomeyanagicho", is only 2 minutes from my door. The are a bunch of huge grocery stores, restaurants, and cafes close by! I can also, given enough time, ride my bike to almost anywhere in the city!

Speaking of which, the first day I got into town, I bought a new bike! It's a compact folding bike, though I haven't found a realistic reason or situation to fold it up yet...

More recent news: three days ago I sent in to Fulbright my fifth monthly report, which marks five months since arriving in Japan. This is officially the longest I have been away from home, surpassing the five months I was in Rome two years ago. I can't believe it! It is an interesting feeling- It kind of feels like I just got here! And it especially doesn't feel that long, compared to the 7 remaining months that I have left to go! Despite the previous photo, the weather is actually beautiful here, slightly chilly, but feeling like Spring! I'm excited to be starting this new phase of my year in Japan!

Also, I fully intend to start diligently keeping up with my blog again! I missed it! So stay tuned!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Final Bowl Series

Curves and Imperfection.
This was the last of my work at Koito Pottery. Off to Tokyo! (More updates soon!)