Radioactive Earth

These food storage jars were made of radioactive earth from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster area in Japan. They were designed by Royal College of Art graduate student Hilda Hellström who contacted the last person still living inside the evacuation zone, Naoto Matsumura, and collected soil from his rice fields that can’t be farmed due to contamination.

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Shiny Mud Balls

At elementary schools, kindergartens, and preschools all across Japan, kids are losing themselves making hikaru dorodango, or balls of mud that shine. Behind this boom is Professor Fumio Kayo of the Kyoto University of Education. Kayo is a psychologist who researches children’s play, and he first came across these glistening dorodango at a nursery school in Kyoto two years ago. He was impressed and devised a method of making dorodango that could be followed even by children. Once Kayo teaches children how to make these mud balls, they become absorbed in forming a sphere, and they put all their energy into polishing the ball until it sparkles. The dorodango soon becomes the child’s greatest treasure. Kayo sees in this phenomenon the essence of children’s play, and he has written academic papers on the subject. The mud balls could also offer fresh insights into how play aids children’s growth.

Adobe Repository for Buddha Statue

The Adobe Repository for Buddha Statue was designed by Kengo Kuma and Associates in 2001-2002 in Toyoura-Gun, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan. It is designed to accommodate and exhibit the wood carved statue of Timber Amida (Amidabha) Tathabata. The periphery walls of the site are constructed in hanchiku, or rammed earth, Kuma decided to further utilize this technique in the architecture by using what appears to be compressed earth block, even though it is called out as adobe (mud brick).