THE BEST Japan

DrainArt Enamel Pins

DrainArt Enamel Pins

Classicbot toy designer Philip Lee and his wife, artist Mary Chang have teamed up to create a beautiful series of enameled metal pins based on the artful manhole covers found throughout Japan. There are 16 designs in all, along with a Ukiyo-e inspired wall scroll for display. Each pin measures 2″ in diameter.

Guess the Product

Guess the Product

Japanese commercials can be so creative, weird, and funny. Start watching this ad spot and see how long it takes you to try and guess what the product is that they’re advertising. If you guess some kind of interactive torture experience, you’d be very wrong.

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Scratching Records But with Barcodes

Scratching Records But with Barcodes

We’ve previously seen how the musicians from Electronicos Fantasticos use laser barcode readers in their performance. In this clip from Maker Faire Tokyo 2020, one of their members shows how to make record scratching sounds using the same technique.

Goshi Exfoliating Shower Towel

Goshi Exfoliating Shower Towel

Made in Japan, the Goshi is a scrubby shower towel woven from a combination of lathering and exfoliating threads. It helps to wash away dirt, oil, and dead skin, keeping you cleaner than you’ve ever felt. It’s made from a long-lasting 100% recyclable nylon. Discounted multi-packs available direct from Goshi.

Children of the Sea (Trailer)

Children of the Sea (Trailer)

Based on the manga by Daisuke Igarashi, Children of the Sea tells the story of a girl who feels drawn to the waters at the aquarium where her dad works. As she meets two other children with similar experiences, they come to find that fish are mysteriously disappearing from oceans around the world. Drops 8.31.20.

Lost & Found: Tokyo Style

Lost & Found: Tokyo Style

If you’ve ever lost an item in a big city in the U.S., there’s a slim chance you’re ever getting it back. Speaking from experience, it’s the opposite if you lose something in Tokyo. Great Big Story takes us inside of the city’s massive and well-organized Lost & Found center for a look at how the Japanese respect other people’s property.

Unexpected Outcome ver.03

Unexpected Outcome ver.03

Daihei Shibata created a series of visual illusions for the Japanese TV program Design Ah!, in which each scene starts off with an ordinary premise, but its outcome is very different than what you might expect. Catch the first two videos here.

Views of Tokyo, 1913-1915

Views of Tokyo, 1913-1915

Video technician Denis Shiryaev of Neural Love took some early 20th century film footage from Tokyo, Japan, and processed it to increase its resolution and frame rate, repair damage, and add colorization. The result is sort of a living postcard of the time and place. The ambient sounds were previously added by Guy Jones.

Ghibli Museum Virtual Tour

Ghibli Museum Virtual Tour

For fans of the work of Studio Ghibli, their museum in Japan is one of the most elusive and desired places to visit. With travel limited these days, they decided to post a series of videos which show off of the museum, including murals, stained glass, drawings, and exhibits of the celebrated animation studio’s history.

iichiko Shōchū Saiten

iichiko Shōchū Saiten

Japan has distilled shōchū for 500 years, with iichiko setting the gold standard, but iichiko Saiten is a new kind of higher proof shōchū made specifically for mixology. Co-created with U.S. bartenders, the clear, pot-distilled spirit is rich in citrus, melon, and pepper notes, derived from two-row barley and fermented koji.

Stay Alert Song

Stay Alert Song

“Be aware to trim your nose hairs, cause they could put up a fight!” Japan’s state of emergency has been lifted after their initial bout with COVID-19. To both cautiously celebrate, and to remind people to be diligent, disinfectant company SMV Japan released this silly animated music video. Japanese version here.

Playing a CRT Guitar

Playing a CRT Guitar

Japanese electro-punk group Electronicos Fantasticos is known for making music with unusual instruments. In this clip, musician Ei Wada shows off an electronic guitar known as the “CRTelecaster” that uses feedback created from the screen of an old CRT television set to produce sounds. More CRT goodness here.

Chase Her

Chase Her

After a beautiful woman drops her handkerchief, mountain bike trials rider Tomomi Nishikubo heads off on a rather circuitous route to find her in this amusing freestyle action video shot around Tokyo. We loved the bits of humor scattered throughout, especially the pit stop scene.

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Bad Sounds

Bad Sounds

Sushi Ramen Rick is a tough guy, like it really rough guy. At least that’s what we got out of his goofy cover version of Billie Eilish’s hit that he made primarily using sounds produced by smacking himself about, and a weird musical instrument that looks like something from a Blue Man Group x Dr. Seuss collaboration.

KitKat Variety Pack

KitKat Variety Pack

Japan loves their KitKat bars. They make them in all kinds of flavors, like green tea, melon/mascarpone, strawberry, and many more. Now taste some of these unusual variants here in the states with this pack of 21 mini bars, all imported from Japan. Amazon also has all kinds of other flavors if you’re feeling adventurous.

Making Senko Hanabi Fireworks

Making Senko Hanabi Fireworks

Senko Hanabi fireworks are a traditional Japanese form of pyrotechnics that uses only a tiny bit of combustible powder to get started, then transforms through various stages to produce a sparkler effect. NightHawkInLight scored a rare lesson on how to make them at the Tsutsui Tokimasa fireworks company. Money shot at 14:18.

First Tracks in Japan

First Tracks in Japan

MTB master Brandon Semenuk takes us on a thrilling ride through the woods of Hakuba Valley, Japan in this clip from Red Bull and Revel Co.’s Light Speed. Watch in awe as Semenuk pulls some epic powerslides, flips, and tricks, as the beautiful and exotic scenery rushes by.

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.

Toyota Woven City

Toyota Woven City

Automotive and mobility company Toyota plans on establishing a 175-acre site at the foot of Japan’s Mt. Fuji to build a prototype city of the future. The location, known as “Woven City” will serve as a real world testbed for tech including autonomy, robotics, personal mobility, smart homes, alternative energy, and AI, among others.

Stroke Cargo Trike

Stroke Cargo Trike

This pedal-assisted electric three-wheeler from japanese company Envision is perfect for jobs where you need to carry lots of gear. Its mid-section storage area provides a balanced ride, and its front independent suspension leans into turns. It can carry up to 60 kg (~132 lb) of cargo, and has a range up to 150km (~93 mi) in its Eco mode.

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Westworld IRL

Westworld IRL

Explorer Legend of Micah takes a trip to one of the creepier locations we’ve seen in a while – an abandoned Wild West theme park in Japan. The place is littered with relics of a fake western town, an old 1980s arcade, and even has a disturbing animatronic cowboy, straight out of the original Westworld.

World Order: Exodus

World Order: Exodus

The members of Japan’s electro-pop band and dance crew World Order may have changed over the years, but they’ve still got amazing choreography, as is proven by their latest video, which includes some new moves, along with their crowd favorite robotic walk.

Heavensake Sake

Heavensake Sake

Heavensake sake is a Franco-Japanese marriage made in heaven. Award-winning sparkling wine maker Régis Camus teamed with Japanese brew-masters to artfully blend sake for Western palates with three elegant expressions: Junmai Daiginjo, Junmai Ginjo, and Junmai 12. Like delicious revenge, they’re best served cold.

Osaka Power

Osaka Power

Filmmaker Christoph Gelep takes us on a exhilarating visit to the city of Osaka, a vibrant place that at once is at once living in a neon-lit, cyberpunk present, while still embracing Japanese traditions. The juxtaposition of frenetic hyperlapse footage and close shots of of its residents is a perfect reflection of its culture.

Robot Sword Fight

Robot Sword Fight

While the goal of American robot fighting is total annihilation, Japan prefers to stick with something a little more gentlemanly in its ROBO-ONE duels. Watch as bipedal bots Bluethunder and Metallic Fighter do battle in thoughtful close combat. We’re impressed that they’re able to stand themselves back up after a knock-down.

Life-size Godzilla

Life-size Godzilla

This permanent “life-sized” replica of Godzilla is coming to Japan’s Nijigen no Mori anime theme park on Awaji Island in 2020. A massive lizard measuring 65′ x 82′ x 180′ will dominate Godzilla Interception Operation, which will feature several “missions” including a shooting game and a zipline that rides into the monster’s mouth.

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