Actual Japanese Workwear
Check out these absolutely stunning Japanese firemen coats. Known as Hanten coats, these were worn by Japanese firefighters in the 19th century. At the time, the technology to spray water at a high-enough pressure hadn’t been invented yet, so Japanese men had to fight fires by creating firebreaks downwind. Doing so, however, put them in danger of catching on fire themselves, as hot embers can travel up to a mile. To prevent that, they were continually doused with water, so that the thick and heavy coats would be more protective.
The symbols and designs you see are for several things. Some are just for decoration, of course, while some signal the fire crew that the wearer belonged to. Others are lucky symbols or refer to a heroic story, giving the wearer encouragement to be strong and courageous.
You can see these coats in person (along with many other awesome things) at Shibui, a shop in New York City for Japanese antiques and collectibles. They’re moving at the end of September and are having a sale right now to lighten their load. Select items are discounted by up to 50%, including lots of boro fabrics, which is a kind of heavily patched and mended Japanese textile. You can see examples of boro here.
For those of us outside of NYC, Shibui has a Google+ page you can admire (they’ll take phone orders, if you’re interested). There’s also a book titled Haten and Happi, which is all about traditional Japanese work coats.
Fun things on my uni studio wall last week
Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, known for his large-scale installations employing elemental materials like light, water, earth, and even atmosphere, transformed an entire wing of Denmark’s Louisiana Museum of Modern Art into a riverbed for his first solo exhibition. The work, which uses rocks, soil, and running water to precisely emulate a natural landscape, stands in stark contrast to the white walls of one of Denmark’s most important Modernist buildings. Originally designed in 1958 by architects Jørgen Bo and Wilhlem Wohlert, the Louisiana’s staggered, irregularly sized portals create an experience that highlights movement through space. By filling the Louisiana with a landscape its galleries might have replaced, Eliasson heightens the haptic qualities of this experience and points to the reality of the museum as an institution and a physical locality. The work raises the question of how natural and built environments might intersect, though it is up to the viewer to decide whether this tension is constructive or destructive.
Eugène Atget (French, 1857-1927)
Fete du Trone, 1925
I don’t generally like to post images that don’t have credits, but I found this interesting.
I think the image may come from the original poster of this.
This #FeaturedCreature is a real stunner! The clear wings of the Glasswinged Butterfly make it difficult for predatory birds to track it in flight. Find out more: http://to.pbs.org/1Bl1jfA
Is it my Body?
Fossil Friday Shark teeth from our postcard series. This one is back when we were named the Field Columbian Museum of Chicago.
© The Field Museum, PCGEO159.
Fossil shark’s teeth.
Volker Bradke, 1966
Sunburn GSP #142
so glad to be surprised by a series of these tucked in a side room at Yossi Milo
Uplands Cancels Production of Rush Creek Reserve Due To Regulatory Uncertainty
If you’ve been wondering what impact recent FDA actions might have on American artisan cheesemaking, this morning brings some news that illustrates it in stark, and unfortunate, terms. The following letter was sent to cheesemongers and distributors by Andy Hatch, co-owner and head cheesemaker at Uplands Cheese Co., announcing that they will be canceling this season’s production of their incredibly popular, and awarding winning, bark-wrapped, Vacherin-style cheese, Rush Creek Reserve:
From: Uplands Cheese
I’m writing to let you know that we will not be making any Rush Creek Reserve this year. It’s disappointing news, I know, and we hope that it’s not permanent. Food safety officials have been unpredictable, at best, in their recent treatment of soft, raw-milk cheeses, and until our industry is given clear and consistent guidance, we are forced to stop making these cheeses.
I’m sorry if this throws a wrench into your plans for the holidays - it certainly does on our end. It’s not a decision we came to easily. Hopefully, our government officials will soon agree on how to treat traditional cheesemaking, and we can all return to the cheeses that are so important to us.
This will be a loss for mongers in the winter/holiday season, as the Rush Creek was always a cheese counter and wholesale favorite, but it also shows just what kind of impact the FDA’s often hostile — and perhaps worse, unclear and shifting — regulatory approach to cheesemakers can have. Uplands Cheese, while small compared to the big cheese companies, is nonetheless a well-established, award-winning, commercially successful operation, and yet they don’t feel they can keep making this particular cheese, in the present regulatory environment. Smaller and newer cheesemakers will have a hard time continuing their own cheeses that might fall afoul of the FDA’s latest enforcement focus.
There will probably be other domestically-produced, Vacherin-style cheeses this winter (and hopefully imports of actual Vacherin and Mont d’Or won’t be impacted, although given recent FDA holds on imports from France and Italy, I wouldn’t assume it), but this is a big loss, and a potential sign of things to come. Stay tuned.
Update 08/15: I emailed with Andy Hatch, and he confirmed that this decision had not come in response to any FDA visit or letter, and that they’d never had problems during routine inspections, but “was a decision made slowly as I’ve watched the regulatory climate get more unpredictable over the year or so, with soft, raw-milk, farmstead cheese as the FDA’s worst-case scenario.”
He also added some advice for fellow cheesemakers: “all of us selling cheese these days - raw or not - should be testing every batch and tightening up our environmental control and monitoring. Each small problem just adds another arrow to the FDA’s quiver.”
(Emails quoted with permission from Uplands Cheese Co.)