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Visiting Ghibli Museum

At the other end of the technology spectrum to the Digtal Art Musem, the Ghibli Museum is a no-photos shrine to the films of Hayao Miyazaki. Refrehingly low tech and hands on, it brings the films to life and gives you insights into the animation process. Even if you've never seen the films, you'd recognise figures like Totoro and the distinctive animation style. Approaching the building, you are met at a ticket booth staffed by Totoro himself though you have to wander around the corner to a long line to get in. 
The Museum itself has been here since 2001 with a series of permanent exhibitions refreshed by newer displays and a short film usually only seen in the museum's theatre. Ours was Boro the Caterpillar, a 14-minute peek into the birth and early life of a cute critter. There's great walks through the studios that showcase the animation process from pencil sketching, inking, colouring and filming each frame. It's like stepping into the studios right down to th…
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Visiting Tokyo's new Digital Art Museum

As a stunning visual spectacular, Tokyo's Digital Art Museumhas become the must-Instagram experience for visitors to the city. Its full name - Building Digital Art Museum Epsom teamLab Borderles - suggests just how big the collaboration must have been to get this 100,000sqm exhibition space happening. It took the Mori Building Group and Epsom to make it work and nothing about it feels like this was a cheap exercise.

The collaborative art group teamLab are known for works in Singapore and London but with this permanent space they paint across a big canvas. Rendering butterflies, flowers and charging rhinos onto walls, floors, mirrors and a series of cutomised surfaces, the canvas is truly vast and visitors are warned in advance that this is about discovery - non-sequential, likely to get lost and maddening to visitors wanting linear narrative. This means you can jump in anywhere and experience the exhibition any way you want. The Borderless part of the title is about the shifting n…

Get Set for Japan with kids

We're about to take off to Japan with our daughter. Before we went we wanted to get her excited about the trip so here's a few things that worked for us.
Culture vulturingTo get set for our trip we tried to see as much Japanese culture before we left. With kids sometimes being fussy eaters we kicked off a program of Adventurous Eating. This meant trying something new (ideally from Japan) once a week. To make this easier we went to a Japanese restaurant that had a good range. In Japan a lot of places specialise in one type of food (like sushi trains or okonomiyaki) so we looked for a place that offered a good range. Sure our kiddo went with her favoured sushi (avocado with not much else) but with a bit of nudging we got into tempura, plus you can move mountains with the promise of fried ice cream after the mountain has shifted.

Our kid has always enjoyed the films of Hayao Miyazaki, but if you've never seen them they provide a great introduction to a Japan that never was - t…

Passive Packing

People sometimes ask if I have a packing strategy/plan/jedi mind trick for getting ready to go away. In truth I love the end of packing - the feeling that you've essentialised yourself into a bag and that's it for the next little while - but I hate the process. It always seems stressful and full of doubt. Will that be enough undies to get you through? Can I buy obscure brand of toothpaste when I get there or should I stock up? Or worse buy a travel size which won't even get me out of the airport?

So I practice passive packing. About a month or so before I go, I put out a bag in a place that isn't used (spare room, shed or Donald Trump Museum of Sensitivity) and begin to fill it. Without any real urgency. Over the next couple of weeks you just throw things in as you go - if you're getting those undies off the clothesline throw them in. Side thought on undies: pack enough to equal the days you're away plus two. The daily chore of getting the laundry in starts to …

Lightening the load on text-heavy pages

Recently, I've been working with a university who has a lot of very complex information on their website. Their content has to simultaneously speak to a range of audiences including students, prospective students, current staff and more. The problem of many audiences often makes for long pages that are hard to decipher. So how do you keep that content clear for everyone without making content too complicated?
1. Pick the perfect page length. Lots of clients want to know what’s the perfect length for a web page, which is like asking how long is a piece of string. The perfect length depends on what you want the page to do.
On Medium, they define their page length by reading time, with the magic number being a 6-7 minute read (along with a lot of other recommendations for writing a successful Medium article). As Medium puts their average reading speed at 275 words per minute, this gives you a roomy 1650-1975 words.
The reasoning for this is that articles or blog posts on Medium are &quo…