Japan’s Disposable Homes

Found this interesting, after seeing Muji’s beautiful prefab homes, and all the eccentric residential architecture that comes out of Japan.

“IN THE UNITED STATES, people buy homes as an investment. […] Not so in Japan […]

Since few Japanese homeowners plan to sell the home and flip it for profit, there’s little incentive to maintain the house. “This whole DIY concept that’s super popular here [in the U.S.]—you have TV shows devoted to it, you have Home Depot and Lowe’s and all these things that are devoted to building equity in your home—none of that exists in Japan,””

Link: Pacific Standard

“It turns out that half of all homes in Japan are demolished within 38 years — compared to 100 years in the U.S. There is virtually no market for pre-owned homes in Japan, and 60 percent of all homes were built after 1980. In Yoshida’s estimation, while land continues to hold value, physical homes become worthless within 30 years. Other studies have shown this to happen in as little as 15 years.”

Link: Freakonomics

Innovating Chips

The enormous amount of energy, analysis, and investment that goes into such a mundane experience. What I find interesting is the role of the chef – that there is, behind all the artifice, an ideal image, a “real” referent: the ultimate buffalo wing or loaded potato skin. That there is some archetypal “gold standard” established/constructed at all.

Makes me wonder, did Baudrillard write anything about food and simulation / simulacra?


Pynchon’s Blue Shadow

From the NY Review of Books, a review of Inherent Vice vis-a-vis the film adaptation, written by Geoffrey O’Brien. Never finished Gravity’s Rainbow, but inspired to give it another go. Or at least add this to my Netflix queue.


From the start—framing its opening exchanges in close-ups as if in the middle of a scene—the film has an intimate, off-kilter tone that manages to coexist with all the extravagant comedy and visual grotesquerie. It is not a question of shifting moods but of the bizarre fusion of seemingly contradictory moods into some not quite identifiable state of mind, a condition quite compatible with the wrenching extremes of attitude and comportment that might be commonly encountered in California in 1970. Anderson was in fact born that year, but he channels its atmosphere—its sense that everything has just been freshly reinvented and is already starting to fall apart—with the same mediumistic certitude he brought to other eras in Boogie Nights and There Will Be Blood and The Master. Inherent Vice takes its place in what is emerging as an inner history of California and by extension of America.