26 Oct
"Drainspotting" compiles the art of this unique Japanese tradition

The ability to legally add color and design to locations underfoot throughout their urban areas is just one of the ways the Japanese culture has outdone us (where are their graffiti police?). The book Drainspotting is a collection of photographs taken of custom painted manhole covers found throughout the country, a reflection of the fact that nearly 95% of all manhole covers in Japan are now covered with at times beautiful artwork. The covers are all unique, and are relevant to the neighborhoods they’re found in. Most are designed after traditional folk tales and children stories that citizens grew up with, such as the dragon Doramu found on the manhole cover in the city of Chiba. There Doramu is said to protect Lake Inba where he inhabits, and bring the locals good luck. You can also stumble across Little Red Riding Hood, found by a local children’s theater where kids perform tales of the Brothers Grimm. Doing all the leg work, Drainspotting walks you through the covers you wouldn’t be able to see, even if you wandered the streets for months. And all for only $13.

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