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Japan

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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.

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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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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)

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.

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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.

Strangely Translated Movie Titles

Strangely Translated Movie Titles

Did you know that Thor: Ragnarok had the awesome title Mighty Thor: Battle Royale in Japan? Abroad in Japan looks at this and 20 other movies which had oddly translated titles, some which worked better than others. We love Phantom Thief Gru and the Moon Theft.

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Indigo Blue

Indigo Blue

While you might think your jeans are dyed indigo, they’re not. The real deal is hard to come by, and much richer than what we’re used to. The fascinating thing isn’t the color, but the natural properties it offers that drove Samurai to wear indigo fabric beneath their armor.

Tiny Record Player

Tiny Record Player

For his latest archeotechnological dig, Techmoan rewinds back to 2004 to show off the Bandai 8-ban – a collectible from Japan which plays tiny 3″ vinyl records. Unfortunately, the one-sided recordings only could hold 4 minutes of lo-fi monophonic sound.

Diggin’ in the Carts Album

Diggin’ in the Carts Album

Enjoy some of the best Japanese video game music from the 1980’s and 1990’s in this 34-track compilation album. A spinoff of the eponymous Red Bull music documentary, the album traverses both synthwave and symphonic music.

Batman Ninja (Trailer)

Batman Ninja (Trailer)

The Dark Knight is somehow transported to 15th century Japan. To his surprise, he finds medieval versions of some of his enemies and allies waiting for him. From Kill la Kill writer Kazuki Nakashima and Afro Samurai creator Takashi Okazaki comes Batman Samurai Ninja.

Japan’s Love for Public Baths

Japan’s Love for Public Baths

Life Where I’m From created a brief history of Japan’s public baths. He also talked about why they remain popular despite bathtubs becoming commonplace, and an overview of onsens and other kinds of public baths that you might want to check out when you visit Japan.

The Rules that Rule Japan

The Rules that Rule Japan

Japan has tons of rules and practices. But like other communities, some of them don’t make sense, and some of them are ignored. Life Where I’m From made this lighthearted guide about modern Japan’s rules. We can’t wait for the hit anime about the mighty safety cone.

Roadside Lights

Roadside Lights

Japan has over 5.5 million vending machines. While typically associated with urban life, many of these machines end up serving remote areas. Photographer Eiji Ohashi shares portraits of these lonely automatons in his photo book, Roadside Lights.

Qoobo Robotic Pillow Pet

Qoobo Robotic Pillow Pet

Yep, it’s from Japan. Yukai Engineering’s Qoobo is a simple robotic pillow that’s meant to provide the comfort of touching a pet animal. Its furry body vibrates when stroked enough times, and its tail will wag from time to time. This is what androids dream of.

City Shrouded in Shadow

City Shrouded in Shadow

City Shrouded in Shadow is an intriguing survival game for the PS4. It has Japanese heroes such as Ultraman and Evangelion, but you play neither them or their foes. Instead, you’re just a normal person trying to escape from the battle-ravaged city.

Ukiyo-e Heroes: Boss Fights

Ukiyo-e Heroes: Boss Fights

Ukiyo-e Heroes has been making geeky art inspired by Japanese woodblock printing for 5 years. Now they’re ready to create prints that are even more complex, both visually and technically. The new batch includes a tetraptych that features Overwatch characters.

Jason Paul Goes Back in Time

Jason Paul Goes Back in Time

Freerunner Jason Paul meets up with fellow parkour athletes Kenichi, Zen, Yakuwa, and Yuutarou in downtown Tokyo, then lands at Edo Wonderland – a picture-perfect theme park that replicates life in the 17th century Edo era, samurais, ninjas and all. BTS footage here.

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