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Japan

Tamiya Centipede Robot

Tamiya Centipede Robot
$39  Buy Link Comment

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.

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Backpacker’s Closet

Backpacker’s Closet
~$238  Buy Comment

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.

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 North Face x Spike Jonze Bags

The North Face x Spike Jonze Bags
~$330+  Buy Comment

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.

Voltes V and Daitetsujin 17 TinBots

Voltes V and Daitetsujin 17 TinBots
$25 ea  Buy Comment

Hong Kong toy designer Lock Lai creates vintage-style robot toys which will look awesome on your shelf. Their articulated body parts are held on by magnets and can be stored inside of their metal bodies. Find more TinBot designs, including a DIY blank one on Storenvy.

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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).

Making Bonsai Scissors

Making Bonsai Scissors

Great Big Story’s short profile of master blacksmith Yasuhiro Hirakawa, “the only traditional scissor maker left in Japan.” It takes him one week – working 10 hours a day – to make his bonsai scissors, which can sell for as much as $32,000.

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.

Fusion Remote Exosuit

Fusion Remote Exosuit

Developed by engineers from Keio University, this wearable exosuit allows a remote operator to control its arm movements in order to provide guidance to its wearer. The instructor wears a VR headset so they can see the same thing as their student.

English in Japan

English in Japan

When we were in Tokyo, we were fascinated that when we wanted some “vanilla ice cream,” we had to ask for “Baniraaisukurīmu.” Double Yolk looks at how Japan incorporates English words and deeper meanings into their language in some truly wonderful ways.

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.

Yoyoka Plays the Drums

Yoyoka Plays the Drums

Yoyoka Soma may be just 8 years old, but she already knows more about drumming than most musicians three times her age. Listen and enjoy as she rocks out a cover of John Bonham’s rhythms from Led Zeppelin’s Good Times and Bad Times.

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Robot Snake Firefighter

Robot Snake Firefighter

(Loud) Engineers from Japan’s Tohoku University and National Institute of Technology are developing a truly unusual firefighting device. The machine self-balances on its water stream and can snake its way into difficult to reach locations as it sprays water on flames.

Great Japanese Heists

Great Japanese Heists

Kento Bento shares five different robberies in Japan that remain unsolved to this day, including a movie-style caper involving a single perpetrator and on the other end, a massive nationwide heist across 14,000 7-11 ATMs in just 2 hours.

Batman Ninja (Blu-ray & DVD)

Batman Ninja (Blu-ray & DVD)
$13-$18  Buy Link Comment

DC Comics‘ latest Batman animated movie is now available on digital, Blu-ray and DVD. Batman Ninja is a decidedly Japanese and anime-flavored take on the Caped Crusader, featuring various anime styles of imagery and over-the-top action sequences.

PS4 Japan: We Can Do It!

PS4 Japan: We Can Do It!

Created by POOL inc., DENTSU, and Taiyo Kikaku Co. this Japanese commercial for the Sony PlayStation 4 is packed with creativity, with players not just dreaming about their superpowers and abilities from video games, but actually living with them.

The Rise & Fall of Giant Robots

The Rise & Fall of Giant Robots

(PG-13: Language) Despite their heritage, commercial success and inherent coolness, giant robots are not as popular today as they once wer. Gigguk charts the history of the mecha genre, its influence on anime and why it’s not as popular as it used to be.

UNIQLO x Weekly Shonen Jump SS 18

UNIQLO x Weekly Shonen Jump SS 18

UNIQLO is teaming up with Japanese manga magazine Weekly Shonen Jump for a collection of t-shirts. The tees include some of the manga’s big hits, such as Hunter x Hunter and One Piece, as well as classics like Yu Yu Hakusho and Dragon Ball. That Yamcha shirt!

The Outsider (Trailer)

The Outsider (Trailer)

(PG-13: Nudity) Jared Leto stars as an American soldier imprisoned in post-WWII Japan and who ends up serving as a Yakuza enforcer as a way to earn his freedom. Based on a concept by Sons of Anarchy Executive Producer John Linson. Coming to Netflix on 3/9/18.

Hand-cranked Drawing Machine

Hand-cranked Drawing Machine

3DSage got their hands on this nifty mechanical device from Japan – it’s a hand-operated gadget which follows the outlines of a stack of disks to move its arm, which in turn draws a corresponding image. A web-based conversion tool is used to design disk templates.

Retro Tech: SANYO Micro-Pack 35

Retro Tech: SANYO Micro-Pack 35

Techmoan takes a look at another fascinating bit of retro technology, an alternative approach to portable audio tapes that was being developed by Sanyo at the same time that Philips was working on the cassette tape. We love the heft of that old player.

Japan Rocks

Japan Rocks

GBS explores the art of “jinmenseki” in Japan’s Museum of Rocks With Faces, the only museum dedicated entirely to rocks that, well, look like human faces. This unique tribute to igneous things features rocks resembling popular figures, and is a labor of love for its curator.

Omoshiroi Block Memo Pads

Omoshiroi Block Memo Pads

Japanese paper goods company Triad presents a wonderful series of notepads which are sliced in such a way that they reveal intricate sculptures of locations and objects as each layer is peeled away. They’re currently sold out, but it sounds like they’ve got more in the works.

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