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 fire resistant.

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, while some might refer to a heroic story or myth, encouraging the wearer to be courageous and strong.

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. 


Two fish are playing Street Fighter II and it is surprisingly awesome
Right this minute, Aquarius and Robert the Bruce, two fish, are battling to the death in an epic game of Street Fighter II Turbo. You see, the two fish live in a fish tank wired up to a camera that tracks their movements and doles out the appropriate commands to the video game. It’s like FishPlaysPokemon, but more hardcore. I never thought I’d see one fish KO another fish using the “throw” move. But now I have, and I’m thankful.

Find your perfect zombie movie

Track of the day: New Album ‘No One Is Lost’
Includes ‘From The Night’

Available October 14th
Pre-Order Now smarturl.it/StarsNoOneIsLost

Statistically, since then, Brooklyn has changed for the better: It is safer. It is cleaner. But its bumps and edges, the defining features of those neighborhoods, have been smoothed and polished away into an increasingly continuous, glossy surface known as “Brooklyn.”

– Chris Arnade reflects on the two decades (and a year) he’s spent Brooklyn. For the @awl


My computer screen flashes to life.

“Oh, hi,” says a woman sitting at a desk to my left. I have arrived, it seems, at some sort of office reception area. “Let me get Ankur for you. In the meantime, follow me,” she says. I freeze. She walks off camera, then comes back into the frame and beckons for me.

“Come on,” she says. “Just use the arrows on your keyboard.” In my haste to download and install the conferencing software Ankur suggested for our meeting, I had failed to realize that I would be piloting a telepresence robot. I press the up arrow. “Watch out for the table,” she says in the most nonchalant of tones. I press the left arrow and start sweating, coming dangerously close to grazing the table’s edge. I feel like I’m taking my driver’s test all over again. I make it to the conference room.

My First Meeting As A Robot Went Something Like This