Boing Boing 

High-carbon Japanese whale-shaped chef's knives and pencil-sharpening knives


The Shiroko High Carbon Steel Kurouchi Kujira Whale Utility Chef's Knife is available in four models (the Type B has some clever handle-stuff going on -- and the charming, hand-forged kids' pencil sharpening knives are now available in the US!

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Superhero skincare face masks

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Would you like your skin to look youthful, even though you're pushing 100? A Captain America skincare face mask may be just the ticket. Part of Isshin Do's official Marvel-licensed beauty line.

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WATCH: These gymnastic Japanese breakdancers will leave you breathless

World of Dance just held their World Finals in Los Angeles, and the breakout team in the Youth competition brought insane levels of energy and breakdancing precision to win their division.

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Dog thinks it's an ambulance

Yamato Suzuki's adorable dog is yelping such a perfect imitation of the sound made by a passing ambulance.

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Japanese overdesign fetish: Beetle 3-Way Highlighter

The business end of KOKUYO Beetle Tips highlighter looks a bit like a rhinoceros beetle's horns, hence the name. Three-way refers to the fun you'll have with the highlighter when you make three different kinds of marks with it.

Amazon sells a colorful 5-pack for $8.

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WATCH: Why Japan already embraces our android future

VPRO backlight looks at the current state of androids in Japan, including an interesting segment on geminoids, or robot twins made in the likeness of a human counterpart:

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Crocs for kaiju


After you've tired of croc-a-likes that look like topsiders, Converse, and Vans, you can switch to rubber shoes with monster toes that squeak when you walk (via Gameraboy).

NSA conducted commercial espionage against Japanese government and businesses

New leaked documents published by Wikileaks show that the US spy agency conducted surveillance operations against Japan's top government officials, prioritizing finance and trade ministers, as well as the Japanese central bank and two private-sector energy companies. -

A crayon highlighter that'll never run dry


Staedtler makes a highlighter called the Textsurfer Gel that somehow congeals finicky, dry-out-prone highlighter ink into an everwet, enduring crayon that you'll be handing down to your grandchildren.

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Kitten + Owlet + Coffee equals cute

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Hukulou Coffee in Osaka has several owls, but Fuku the owlet and Marimo the kitten are the star attractions, as they have become very good friends.

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The posts below have some very cute recent videos.

Lots of great fan art on their Twitter feed, too.

Hukulou Coffee (Twitter)

Gorgeous animated pixel-art depicting everyday Japan

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Here's just two of the many beautiful, serene GIF animations depicting life in Japan, by @1041uuu. [via Hacker News & designmadeinjapan]

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Deformed mutant daisies photographed near Fukushima nuclear disaster site in Japan

Photo: @san_kaido


Photo: @san_kaido

These snapshots of “deformed mutant daisies” are making the rounds online this week, four years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.

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WATCH: A Japanese hermit's serene mountain retreat

Take a few minutes to let your stress melt away with this gorgeous film about a Japanese ascetic who pursues awakening via Shugendō in a secluded mountain retreat.

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Japan's population decline creates "housing glut"

japan-population Japan anticipates that falling birth rates and negligible immigration will result in population decline—as much as 1m a year. Millions of homes are already empty, reports Nomura Research, with a million in bad shape.

Financial Times' Robin Harding reports on the phonemenon of rural blight.

It is, on one hand, an unprecedented social problem. Whereas countries such as the UK are suffering a terrible housing shortage, Japan’s government has just passed a new law to tackle the glut of abandoned, decaying houses.

On the other hand, the akiya are an opportunity — and not just a business opportunity, but a chance to reimagine Japan’s postwar culture of disposable housing and suburban sprawl. The akiya are a symbol of decline, yes, but they may also be the path to a better future. …

“Our buyers are people who want a good house at a low price,” says Arai. “Perhaps they’re a first-time buyer in their thirties, living in a rented apartment, and their neighbours complain about the children’s noise. The houses we sell are often cheaper than renting — they cost Y30,000 or Y40,000 a month.”

“We see about 10 houses for each one we buy,” he says. “About half of those we reject [because] we can’t agree on price. For others, it’s because the structure is not sound, or it’s just too far out in the countryside. In some marginal villages the demand is basically zero.”

Photo gallery of people living in tiny rooms in Tokyo

Photographer Won Kim (Instagram) took these photos of people living in a "downscale version" of a Japanese capsule hotel. They are basically sleeping / privacy burrows for urban dwellers. I wonder how much they pay in rent?

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Meet Cinnamon, the cute character who is viciously bullied every day in Japan

“You look like a piece of soap, get diarrhea.”Read the rest

John Henry the samurai racing a tireless killer robot

Yaskawa celebrated its 100th birthday by pitting one of its Motoman-MH24s against a samurai in a sword-swinging contest, proving once and for all that if you need to chop bamboo into small pieces without having to walk around, you need a robot, not a human.

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