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Japan

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Shark Tea Bags

Shark Tea Bags

We’re gonna need a bigger cup. Somehow a great white shark has made its way into your kitchen, and is swimming around in your tea. Fortunately, that’s not blood in the water, but just the red from a fragrant hibiscus and rosehip tea blend. Still, sip at your own risk. Sold in sets of three. Also available from CD Japan.

15 Year-old Skateboard Champ

15 Year-old Skateboard Champ

Isamu Yamamoto may be just 15 years old as of this writing, but he’s one of the world’s best freestyle skateboarders, having won the World Round-Up Freestyle Skateboarding Championships in 2017 and 2018. Kuma Films spent a couple of days in Otsu, Japan with the talented kid, where he showed off a few of his sick moves.

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Akira Remix

Akira Remix

(Gore) Eclectic Method pays tribute to one of the greatest anime films of all time, with this funky remix of sound bites from Katsuhiro Otomo’s visionary 1988 cyberpunk classic Akira. We were hoping to see a bit more of Neo-Tokyo though.

Amazon Box Weapons

Amazon Box Weapons

Crafty Transformer takes the cardboard boxes he receives Amazon orders in and converts them into awesome weapons and machines inspired by video games. Among our favorites are the Gundam wrench mace, the Yu-Gi-Oh! duel disk, and the Monster Hunter bowgun.

Japan in 8K

Japan in 8K

While it’s unlikely most of you have a system or display capable of displaying 8K resolution at 60fps, Armadas’ incredibly vibrant and razor-sharp aerial footage captured around Japan looks great in 1080p or 4K as well. Locations include Hakodate, Yokohama, Nagoya, Kyoto, and Tokyo.

What Not to Do in Japan

What Not to Do in Japan

(PG-13: Language) British expat Chris Broad has been living in Japan for a while now, and has some pointers for things you never should do while in the country. It’s a humorous, but very useful look at Japanese manners and decorum. TL;DW: Don’t play with your chopsticks.

Japan’s Best Marching Band

Japan’s Best Marching Band

March along with the Kyoto Tachibana Senior High School Band for an incredibly precise and energetic performance that will have you glued to your screen for the next 27 minutes. Nicknamed the “Orange Devils,” the group has achieved global fame with appearances from Disneyland to the Tournament of Roses Parade.

Godzilla Guitar

Godzilla Guitar

This incredible handmade musical monster has a body sculpted to look just like Godzilla, complete with a pointy spine, scaly skin, sharpened teeth and claws, and purple LED lighting to show it all off. If The Awesomer was a heavy metal band, all of our instruments would be based on Kaiju.

Japanese James Brown

Japanese James Brown

Zainichi Funk’s 2011 track Bakudan Kowai (“Scary Bomb”) showcases what James Brown might sound like in one of those ridiculously oddball alternative universes that turns up on Rick and Morty, in which James Brown is replaced with a diminutive Japanese man.

Toyota GR Supra Drift by HKS

Toyota GR Supra Drift by HKS

The 2020 Toyota GR Supra is pretty sweet car in its own right, and Toyota is really encouraging tuners to make it their own. Check out this awesome shakedown footage of a completely reworked Supra Drift car made by HKS as it gets ready for the Goodwood Festival of Speed. It even packs a classic 2JZ engine.

Shiba Dog 1,000 Yen Products

Shiba Dog 1,000 Yen Products

Illustrator Ponkichi proposed a new currency design for Japan – a 1000 yen note featuring a shiba inu dog. While we doubt the Japanese treasury has a sense of whimsy, you’ll can buy the image on wallets and other accessories from Space Factory or Amazon Japan. The 2,000 yen design ensures cat lovers don’t feel left out.

Tokyo Apocalypse

Tokyo Apocalypse

A brief, but well-executed promo animation for the 2019 Festival International Du Film D’Animation d’Annecy. Students from the Gobelins animation school envision a world filled with guys in kaiju costumes stomping around a tiny Tokyo, slapping each other about in a monster-sized wrestling match.

Samurai Bottle Helmets

Samurai Bottle Helmets

Make liquor bottles extra special with Tadayasu’s fancy bottle toppers. The Samurai Bottle Helmet comes in designs based on the actual helmets worn by some of the country’s most famous feudal warlords.

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Bottle-flipping Robots

Bottle-flipping Robots

During Japan’s RoboCon 2018, high school students presented their designs for single-purpose robots made specifically to toss bottles filled with liquid, and land them perfectly with way more consistency than most humans could. There’s bottle-flipping action here.

One Stroke Dragon

One Stroke Dragon

Artist Keisuke Teshima demonstrates his technique for painting beautiful and dramatic images of dragons using sumi-e brushes. What really makes them special is how he uses a large brush loaded with multiple shades to create their bodies with a single stroke.

Metal Ramen Commercial

Metal Ramen Commercial

This commercial for one of Nissin’s instant noodle dishes starts out innocently enough, but then the little chicken presents an offering to the devil, and things get very intense, very quickly. Language is no barrier to enjoying this one. Explanation here (in Japanese).

Neo Tokyo Metro

Neo Tokyo Metro

This mirror-image video made from footage along one of Tokyo’s rail lines is more than a little reminiscent of Darwinfish105’s HyperDrive and the Tokyo Sky Drive series, but its slower and more relaxed pace lets us check out more detail of the surrounding environment.

How KitKats Are Made

How KitKats Are Made

Nowhere are KitKat candy bars more popular than they are in Japan. So we can think of no better place to see how the treats are made, then at the Nestlé Japan Kasumigaura factory. After viewing the whole playlist, we wondered if we just watched a Wes Anderson movie.

The Mid Night Club

The Mid Night Club

Drivetribe shares the mythical story of Japan’s most infamous street racing group, the Mid Night Club. Founded in 1987, the club was allegedly composed of rich businessmen and had strict requirements and rules about speed, skill, and safety.

Farming Real Wasabi

Farming Real Wasabi

The Atlantic shares Edwin Lee’s beautiful documentary, Wasabia Japonica. It’s about Shigeo Iida, a 75-year-old who’s an eighth generation wasabi farmer. Most “wasabi” is actually dyed horseradish. Iida’s crop is the real deal, and fetches up to $250/kg.

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Tamiya Centipede Robot

Tamiya Centipede Robot

This robot kit from Japanese toymaker Tamiya lets you build a creepy crawly insect inspired by real-life giant centipedes. This 15″ long critter isn’t quite as indimidating as the real deal thanks to its blue body, but anything with this many legs creeps us out.

A Shoeshine Champion at Work

A Shoeshine Champion at Work

Tokyo-based shoe cleaning and repair shop The Way Things Go claims that its employee Naoki Terashima is “the winner of all Japan shoeshine championship 2019.” Watch him do his thing in this relaxing video. We await his anime biopic.

Backpacker’s Closet

Backpacker’s Closet

Japan has done it again. If you’re looking for a backpack that will easily break your back, check out the Backpacker’s Closet. This bag is so large it’s better to think of it as a beanbag in the form of a backpack. Believe it or not, it’s sold out.

Jump Force

Jump Force

Bandai Namco’s Jump Force is a 3D fighting game that feature’s some of the most famous anime heroes and villains from Weekly Shonen Jump. The characters include Goku, Luffy, Naruto, Gon, Deku, Ichigo, Yusuke and more. It also has a robust character creator.

Drumming with Tape

Drumming with Tape

From pickle tubs to washing machines, there are lots of unusual ways to create percussive sounds. But this clip from Japan’s Open Reel Ensemble is definitely the first time we’ve seen someone using magnetic reel-to-reel tape as a drum kit. More here.

Japanese Spider-Man Honest Trailer

Japanese Spider-Man Honest Trailer

Screen Junkies jumped into the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse hype train in the best way. Presenting Toei’s officially-licensed take on Spider-Man in the 1970’s. He shoots guns, he summons giant robots, he says he’s from hell. Japan has weird spiders.

Conan Goes Kawaii

Conan Goes Kawaii

After renting himself a new family in Japan, Conan O’Brien explored the contents of some of its famed vending machines, then checked out Toyko’s colorful Harajuku neighborhood, where he got himself a flamboyant Kawaii makeover.

Conan Rents a Family in Japan

Conan Rents a Family in Japan

(PG-13: Language) “Oh… hugging, shaking hands, but no kissing. So just like my current marriage.” Conan O’Brien went to an agency that rents out fake families for lonely people. That’s some dark stuff right there. Thankfully, Conan managed to make it awkward instead.

The North Face x Spike Jonze Bags

The North Face x Spike Jonze Bags

Filmmaker Spike Jonze collaborated with The North Face’s Japan-only sub-brand Purple Label to make two wonderful bags – a shuttle roller and The North Face’s classic 3Way Bag. Both bags are made of Italian wool and come in two plaid color schemes.

What Japanese Frozen Meals Are Like

What Japanese Frozen Meals Are Like

Being the land of vending machines, it’s no surprise that Japan loves frozen meals and snacks as well. Life Where I’m From shows us some of the frozen noodles, soups, vegetables, fried rice, pasta, and traditional dishes that you can buy in a Japanese grocery store.

The Great Pyramid of Tokyo

The Great Pyramid of Tokyo

Tokyo has experienced explosive population growth. To help cram more people into limited space, a famed Japanese architecture firm came up with the idea to build an enormous pyramid to house a million residents. Kento Bento explains their unusual idea and its challenges.

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