Bedtime Bunnies at PiQ

[English Edition] (12)
COOL JAPAN from New Yorkers’ Viewpoints
Dual Language Program
in New York City School
Bedtime Bunnies at PiQ
Toy Figures by Peter Kato
PiQ, a designer toy and gift
store, is located on the busy
Vanderbilt Avenue side of Grand
Central Terminal. For this Easter
season, PiQ is featuring bunny
rabbit figures by Peter Kato,
showcasing his Bedtime Bunnies
in the front display.
Born to Japanese parents in
New York, Kato loves Japanese
animation and comics. As a student, he made his debut as a comic
artist with his comic titled “Apollo
Smile.” Struggling to make a living as a comic artist, he ended up
working for Toy Tokyo. The turning point of his career was meeting Dave Cortes, a well-known
figure artist. Cortes said to him,
“You are able to create threedimensional objects just like you
draw a picture.” This advice
encouraged Kato to explore the
world of figure creation. After
establishing his own studio in
Brooklyn about three years ago,
he started online sales of his original figures and handmade robots.
He later decided to create figures based on the themes of fantasy and fairies and came up with
the idea of a bunny wearing slippers. Combining the concept of
bedtime, Bedtime Bunnies with
sleepy faces were finally born.
When Kato released the
Bedtime Bunnies, the first 30
pieces immediately sold out.
in the Lower East Side, noticed
the popularity of the bunnies and
asked him to create a limited edition for the store. When PiQ started to sell the bunnies, the
responses from customers were so
great that an idea for an exhibition
came about.
As the Bedtime Bunnies continue to sell well, orders are coming in from stores everywhere,
including Colorado and the West
Coast. Kato received an offer to
exhibit at London’s ToyCon UK
in April. This October’s New
York Comic Con has also asked
for Kato’s participation. He has
even received a proposal from a
branding company offering to
manage his business.
Kato is overwhelmed from
the unexpected boom in his products. He has been hard at work
creating more varieties of the
sleeping bunnies, some with
heart-shaped eyes for Valentine’s
Day. Kato plans to publish a pic-
ture book of the bunnies in the
near future. “Bedtime Bunnies
has expanded my possibilities. I
am very lucky,” he said with a
(Yukishige Takesue/Translated by
Etsuko Noda)
On Jan. 14, the first Japanese
Dual Language Program in a
New York City public school was
approved. PS147 in Brooklyn
Principal: Sandra Noyola) will
begin a Japanese Bilingual
Program in its kindergarten class
this September.
Carmen Fariña, New York City
schools chancellor, announced
the 40 schools that will start new
dual language programs this
September, and Japanese was
chosen for the program for the
first time. The New York City
Department of Education will
subsidize $25,000 for each
school, totaling $1,000,000.
In each class, half of the students will be native English
speakers and the other half will
be target language speakers who
need to study English. Both languages will be used in class. The
program aims for students to
master two languages at the same
time while learning about other
cultures to widen their perspectives.
Those who wish to enroll in
the Japanese program need to
indicate PS147 as the school of
their choice in the application,
which closes on Feb. 13. Upon
receiving the acceptance letter,
students will be interviewed to
test their English skills before
being admitted to the program
officially. For more information
about PS147 Japanese Bilingual
Program, visit
(Sonoko Kawahara/Translated by
Makiko Kinoto)
35 Years of Northern Snow Scenes
Exhibition at WAH Center in Brooklyn
Mototaka Takano’s oil painting exhibition,“Painting Northern
Snow Scenes for 35 Years” ,
opened on March 21 at
Williamsburg Art and Historical
Center, located at 135 Broadway
in Brooklyn. Sponsored by the
Consulate General of Japan in
New York and New York
Seikatsu Press, the show features
northern snow scenes including
landscapes of fishing villages and
markets in Tohoku and
The painting style of Mr.
Takano is dynamic, evoking the
works of Maurice de Vlaminck,
who was a well-known painter of
early 20th century French
Fauvism. Takano’s paintings portray the harsh and somber reality
of winter in the northern regions.
Inspired by Sayuri Ishikawa’s
song “
Tsugaru Kaikyo
Fuyugeshiki,” Takano went on a
trip 35 years ago to Tohoku during the winter. Amazed by the
scenery, he painted red flag
stands on a stormy seashore, a
freight train nestled deep in the
track and the coat of a woman
rushing home. A light of hope
brightens the gloomy palate of
one painting where he used a red
pigment that he bought in
Norway for the finishing highlights. Twenty-three large works
are on display in the exhibition.
The founder of WAH Center,
Yuko Nii commented, “I have
worked on joint exhibitions since
the center was founded nineteen
years ago. This is the first time I
hosted a solo exhibition and I
think visitors can feel Mr.
Takano’ s view of the world
through the exhibition.” The
exhibition runs through April 19,
2015. Admission to the exhibition
is free. Gallery hours are Friday
to Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.
For more information, visit
(Ryoichi Miura/Translated by
Mai Moore)
NY COOL JAPAN is the English Edition of SHUKAN NY SEIKATSU
NEW YORK SEIKATSU PRESS, INC., 71 W 47 St, Suite 307 New York NY 10036 USA
Editor in chief: Ryoichi Miura, Associate Editor: Travis Suzaka, Kaoru Komi
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