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Welcome to the Instagram blog! See how Instagrammers are capturing and sharing the world's moments through photo and video features, user spotlights, tips and news from Instagram HQ.

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Photography, Art, Crafts, Artists on Tumblr, User Feature, Tokyo, Japan, felt doll, Instagram,

Inside @fujitasanpuru’s Tiny World of Chimchiminey, the Chimney Sweep

For more photos and videos of Chimchiminey and its friends, follow @fujitasanpuru on Instagram.

“The concept of my work is a dreamy, cute world that people might believe could exist somewhere,” says a Tokyo doll maker who goes by the pseudonym Fujita Sanpuru (@fujitasanpuru). Through his photos, he tells the story of the chimney sweep Chimchiminey and his devoted helper Heso-guma (“belly button bear”).

Fujita Sanpuru uses felt and embroidery threads to create these pint-sized figurines, focusing on bringing the right balance of detail and simplicity to the handicraft. He then arranges the characters on table tops, in gardens or in their small and colorful dollhouses to create scenes like the pages from a children’s picture book.

The tiny felted figures actually originated when he first started using Instagram and made a prop for his first photo. Soon after sharing the Chimchiminey series, he began receiving numerous offers to sell and display his work. He reflects on his experience, “I never thought the dolls would take off like this when I started Instagram, but I’m just happy if people find them delightful.”

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Photography, lol, street style, bicycles, Tokyo, Japan, User Feature, Instagram, portrait,

On the Wheel’s Edge with @mamotoraman

For more photos and videos of Mamoru’s bicycle portraits, browse the #乗るオヤジ hashtag and follow @mamotoraman on Instagram.

“I’ve always been good with riding bicycles, and I thought it’d be fun to start a photo series of me riding them in creative ways,” says Tokyo Instagrammer Mamoru Kanai (@mamotoraman), who shares his “Riding Pop” series on Instagram.

He ventures out to various neighborhoods with a skilled photographer friend who captures Mamoru performing one-wheeled bicycle stunts such as “wheelies” (standing on the hind wheel) and “stoppies” (standing on the front wheel). The stunts are mostly captured in one shot, as Mamoru tries to hold the position as long as he can in the busy streets. He even adds an extra bit of challenge and humor by performing the tricks while seated as if normally riding a bicycle. He clarifies, “You’ll see it if you tilt the photo and make the bicycle straight.”

Instead of using a technical bike, however, Mamoru rides a mamachari (“mom’s bike”)—the most generic type of bicycle in Japan that often comes equipped with a basket or a child seat (or both). “The most significant point about these portraits,” he explains, “is the irony of performing stunts on ordinary bicycles that are made for moms with kids.”

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Architecture, design, Tokyo, Japan, photography, User Feature, Instagram,

Appreciating Architecture with @yukomouton

For more of Yuko’s collection of architecture, follow @yukomouton on Instagram.

“I can’t quite describe my fascination with architecture in words, but I think I am intrigued by the idea of creating space,” says Tokyo Instagrammer Yuko Kawauchi (@yukomouton). While architectural photography is mainly a personal interest for Yuko, it also becomes a source of inspiration for her work as a fashion designer. “Geometric shapes found in buildings,” she explains, “do shine through in my pattern sketches and cuttings.”

Yuko’s initial appreciation for architecture developed after she went to an old building to take photos for Instagram. “I had thought that architecture and fashion were two completely different fields until then, but they actually do share certain terminologies and that got me further interested.”

Now, Yuko’s Instagram photos have become a collection of uniquely shaped structures found all over Tokyo—as well as from other cities around the world—including museums, churches, libraries and apartment buildings. “I don’t consider my photos to be a work of art,” she says. “I share these photos hoping to inform people about these locations and spark their curiosity about visiting them.”

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art, aquarium, Art Thursday, Japan, Instagram, goldfish, photography, edo period, hidetomo kimura, Tokyo,

Tradition Meets Technology at the 2014 Eco Edo Nihonbashi Art Aquarium

For more photos and videos from the exhibition, explore the COREDO室町 (Coredo Muromachi) and アートアクアリウム2014 (Art Aquarium 2014) location pages and browse the #アートアクアリウム (art aquarium) hashtag.

The Eco Edo Nihonbashi Art Aquarium 2014 opened last Friday at the Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall in Tokyo, Japan. This exhibition features 17 fish tank installations designed by “art aquarist” Hidetomo Kimura, whose work brings more than 5,000 goldfish on display in 70 aquariums.

These extraordinary aquatic installations are decked with LED lights, projection mapping, music and even scents. While the technology involved is quite advanced, the aquarium designs are inspired by Japan’s Edo Period (1603–1868) and incorporate traditional motifs such as classic glass fish bowls, folding screens and lanterns.

Hidetomo’s works will be on view at the Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall until September 23, 2014.

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spotlight, User Feature, Tokyo, Japan,

Spotlight: Tokyo

Spotlight Since launching, we’ve seen Instagram spread from our headquarters in the Bay Area to every corner of the globe. In this series we highlight top users from countries and cities with thriving Instagram communities.

As the largest metropolitan area in the world, Tokyo offers many places for Instagrammers to explore. From the crowds at the world-famous Shibuya Crossing to the city’s spectacular skyscrapers, there’s no shortage of scenes to capture and share in Japan’s capital. If you time your visit right, you can even catch a sumo tournament at Ryōgoku Kokugikan or cherry blossoms in bloom.

Tokyo is also home to a thriving Instagram community with frequent InstaMeets and photo walks. Here are just a few Instagrammers sharing their city with the world:

  • Tomoyasu Koyanagi, serene photos from in and around the city — @10_ya
  • @mamotoraman, colorful photos and bicycle tricks — @mamotoraman
  • Kohji Matsubayashi, a father capturing moments with his young daughter — @kohji405mi16
  • Azuma Suguru, minimalist photos that play with light and shadows — @airnude

By the way, we’re hiring in Tokyo! Join the Instagram community team — check out the job description and apply.

Anti-Nuclear Protests in Tokyo

current events, photo feature, japan, tokyo, nuclear power, protest,

Want to see more? Check out more photos from the protest tagged at 首相官邸 / 内閣総理大臣官邸 (the Prime Minister’s residence.)

Thousands of protesters gathered in front of the Japanese prime minister’s house on Friday to protest the government’s decision to reopen a nuclear power plant in western Japan.

Protests are uncommon in Japan, but the decision to reactivate the Ohi power station 16 months after the tsunami that caused a meltdown at the Fukushima power plant has set of a series of demonstrations across the country.

The Ohi reactor is scheduled to be reactivated on Sunday.