Japan’s cherry blossom season is truly one of the wonders of the world - but it always struck me that it was far too short.
Surely, given today’s technology, it needn't be limited to a single week in April.
It was with this thought in mind that I created SAKURAMAN, a mobile wearable cherry tree contraption that allows me to instantly transform any location into the perfect spot for a hanamai (cherry blossom viewing party).
It features pulley powered adjustable LED cherry trees, retractable beer glasses, fake turf cushions, party poppers, fan cooling system, touch-controlled cherry-blossom themed music & audible warning system for navigating Tokyo's narrow streets.
It was pretty challenging to build - googling 'How to turn yourself into a fake cherry tree' didn't turn up many results. So, as usual it was a case of trial, error, and numerous trips to the amazing Super Via Homes DIY store in Toyosu. The core section is made of two aluminium rucksack frames. The tree-wing sections are made of PVC piping, onto which two layers of pink bubblewrap are attached. The LED trees are sandwiched between those layers, and are made of individual sewable LEDs connected by ultra-thin wire. They are controlled by 4 Arduinos. The whole thing is powered by about 50 batteries of various capacities.
I also created a fake app (it's actually just an animated video played back on an iPhone for the Sakuraman promo video on sakuraman.com), the idea being that you can summon Sakuraman anytime, anywhere.
I was fortunate to have the generous support of a new makers' space near our house - LOWP in Ichigaya.
I'm a public performance artist, wearable tech hacker, video producer, consultant, MC, public speaker and marathon runner.