First Japanese Solar Powered Condo

This condo complex, called the Grandia Solare, is said to be the first of its kind in Japan. Each apartment gets 1530 watts of solar power from the building’s roof. Apparently the solar cells are owned by a third-party, so the upfront cost of the panels was not passed on to the condo’s residents. The condo also has a number …

Loopwing Wind Turbine At Japanese Tradeshow

I first saw the Loopwing wind turbine last year. Lately, the company has been showing it off in trade show across Japan. There’s still no solid data on this turbine, but the design is certain intriguing — I’m keeping my eye on this one. Here’s what the Loopwing website says about the turbine: it’s a low-noise, low-vibration, self-stabilizing device. It …

Furoshiki: Traditional Japanese Cloth Wrapping

A “Furoshiki” is a traditional Japanese cloth used to wrap gifts, clothes, and other goods. Recently this practice has been revived in Japan. The appeal of this form of wrapping is that the cloth is reused for other purposes, and it is an eco-effective technique in this regard. Furoshiki means “bath spread” and it derives from the practice of bundling …

Ceramic Japanese Soaking Tubs

A company called Aquapal imports these authentic tubs from Shigaraki region of Japan. The tubs are hand-made ceramic sculptures. The clay and titanium oxide composition are naturally antibacterial. There are no prices posted on the Aquapal web site, the company says can call for custom pricing.

Very Compact Ofuros (Japanese Baths)

Japanese soaking baths are built small but deep. These compact “ofuro” will fit in just about anywhere — even the smallest apartment. Diamond Spa makes the baths pictured here. We’ve no idea on the price, but the concept is good. If anyone knows where to get this style of tub at a reasonable price please let us know.

Japanese Interiors: Minimalist: Adaptable: Renewable

Traditional Japanese houses are built with bamboo, paper, straw and other kinds of light weight wood, all of which are renewable. The houses are also made with components such as tatami mats, shoji screens and tansu cabinets. The components are fitted together without nails, and are often rearranged. For example, in the bedroom, futons are rolled up and stored away, …

Meta-Efficient: Buckwheat Pillows

The Chinese and Japanese discovered centuries ago that buckwheat hull pillows are light and fully adjustable. The Japanese in particular spent a great deal of time researching pillows, even trying porcelain pillows to achieve a healthy state of body called “Su-Kan-Soku-Netsu” or a balancing of cold and heat. Eventually they decided that pillows made of buckwheat hulls provide just the …