Shu Kuge has shifted his art from comics to wood block prints, using the name Tokyo Balcony Garden Press. I love that the name references our Tokyo home. Above are some of the wood blocks he made this winter in Tokyo. Looking forward to spending the rest of spring and summer in Japan together.
In addition to his art work, Shu has also helped my consulting company, Social Models, with comics, personas, and mascots for corporate clients including Hitachi Design Division and Facebook. It’s been an amazing collaboration, with Shu’s comics going viral in my clients’ offices.
My husband Shu Kuge‘s 8 page comic about our Tokyo balcony just got published. I am thrilled that our tiny garden measuring 1 by 5 meters, often featured in this blog, inspired Shu’s story about life in Tokyo today. Shu’s creativity and perspective always amaze me. The inimitable drawer Luis Mendo invited Shu to participate in a special issue of architecture magazine MAS Context devoted to Tokyo and illustrators. It was Luis who suggested using our balcony as the focus of Shu’s story.
You can see the whole comic online. www.mascontext.com/issues/24-tokyo-winter-14/shu-kuge/
Recently I am consulting for one of Japan’s largest real estate companies seeking to attract residents to a waterfront area that many might not have considered before. What makes an apartment or a neighborhood desirable? What architectural and landscape choices are most important? What are the trends today and in the future that drive consumer choice?
As an English speaker in Tokyo, I am also always drawn to the selective English language marketing, often an odd English name for the property. This building advertised in the Sendagaya JR station has a name that has a certain logic, but which also completely fails as an English language name.
Yes, Gro-bel is a shortened form of “Grow Best Life Stage.” It’s also the Japanese pronunciation of the word “global.” What was meant as optimistic, modern and international, instead comes off as bizarre, stilted, and heavy handed. In this context, using English is more decorative than functional or expressive.
After a recent mosquito outbreak, we now have these adorable blue creatures providing a security barrier between us and outdoor pests. I find the creature’s alert expression particularly comforting. Those eyelashes are always wide open.
It must feel like a jungle in this Shinjuku Gyoen-mae apartment balcony. The sheer coverage, in height and width, is impressive. Below is what the balcony looks like in context.