office workers

Tanuki finds double-takes, rejection, and friendly souls outside Shibaura House

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.@ShibauraHouse の辺りでは、タヌキがいつもとちがう反応を受けました。

A few people did a double take when they spotted tanuki taking a nap in the small wild space in front of Shibaura House. Tanuki shows how his 4 meter scrotal shade can quickly be turned into a blanket for anytime napping.

Below he approaches a glass office tower, but there’s no response. Nearby office workers avoided eye contact, but delivery men and laborers were happy to accept an umaibo salty snack and chat with tanuki.

More photos coming from the film developer soon. Many thanks to A Small Lab‘s Chris and everyone at Shibaura House.  IMG_2058 IMG_2048

Thanks Shibaura House for hosting Making Friends with Tanuki

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芝浦ハウスに感謝いたします。昨日の「タヌキと友達を作ろう」イベントでは、タヌキさんがサラリーマンに日陰を提供したり、働いている人にウマイボーをあげたり、子供たちにあいさつをしたりしました。何だろうと思った人は、遠くから見ていました。写真は芝浦ハウスのフィイスブックからです。

On a hot day, tanuki offered shade to office workers, shared salty snacks with laborers, and interacted with children. Tanuki brought surprise and wonder. Many people, including elementary school students, kept a safe distance from this foreign element. Photo above from Shibaura House’s Facebook.

How to entice tanuki “racoon dogs” to return to Tokyo

最近、東京ローカルフルーツのジェス(@jessmantell) とクリス(@a_small_lab) とタヌキが東京に来るタヌキの研究をしています。動物建築というコンテストに提案を送って、もうすぐ記事がオンライン出ます。この新しい研究所の名前は、「the Studio for Creative Revitalization of Tanuki Urban Manifestations, or S.C.R.O.T.U.M.」です。

渋谷で写真撮影をしました。タヌキが渋谷川から東京に入ってきます。東急グループの新しいヒカリエを訪れて、渋谷駅のDean & Delucca でコーヒーを飲みます。そして、サラリーマンに健康的な息抜きと逃避の方法を教えています。

Tanukis are real and mythic animals that once inhabited Tokyo, and are now primarily found as large ceramic statues outside local bars and restaurants. Tanukis are shape shifters, with a special superpower emanating from their floor-scraping scrotums.

My Tokyo Local Fruit co-instigators, Chris Berthelsen (of A Small Lab) and Jess Mantell (of Edoble), and I have been thinking about this subject through a contest submission for Animal Architecture and related articles to be published online soon. We’re calling our new research effort, the Studio for Creative Revitalization of Tanuki Urban Manifestations, or S.C.R.O.T.U.M.

We would like to encourage more urban human/non-human cohabitation, and are inspired by what a tanuki-friendly Tokyo would look and feel like. Here are some images from a recent photo shoot in Shibuya. Jess will add to the images to suggest new scenarios of interaction and play.

You could imagine tanuki entering the big city by river, and then interacting with the human inhabitants.

Tanuki visits Tokyu Corporation’s new Hikarie shopping complex, has a coffee at the Dean and Delucca outside Shibuya station, and encourages office workers to find healthier ways to relax and escape.

Corporate ecology

Pasona o2, LED lights

In Japan, all corporations have “Corporate Social Responsibility” groups, and most of them focus on the environment. Some corporations have grant-making foundations (such as Coca Cola Japan), and others have green businesses (Japan’s largest car company Toyota and largest beverage company Suntory both have green roof subsidiaries).

Starting on April 1, 2008, nineteen large companies formed the Japan Business Initiative for Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity (JBIB). Members include major electronics, construction, housing, insurance, food and telecommunication companies. I am hoping to learn more about this group, and its efforts to become corporate leaders in advocating for biodiversity.

Shortly before it closed for renovations, I visited an unusual basement farm set up by one of Japan’s largest staffing agency Pasona. Named Pasona o2 (a summary in English here), this underground farm aims to raise popular awareness of agriculture, provide relaxation for nearby office workers, and attract media attention:
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