The Routing of the Tengu is a charming 1934 Japanese cartoon about a Neko (cat) fighting the mythic tengu, a group of imps trying to kidnap a geisha. Betty Boop was an obvious influence.
The convenience stores in Japan are wonderful. They are clean, have seating, the prepared food is very tasty, and they are everywhere you look. The 7-Elevens are one of the few places (besides post offices) with ATMs that dispense cash for US travelers with debit cards. This video takes a look at Japanese convenience stores, called konbini (コンビニ).
Japan's Mt. Tateyama in the Hida Mountains is considered one of the snowiest spots on the planet. More than 125 feet of snow can fall on the region in a single year. Route 6 runs right through the Mt. Tateyama but just before you enter the tunnel, there's a 1/4 mile piece of highway called yuki-no-otani, or in English, Snow Canyon. The Toyama Prefectural Road Public Corporation is responsible for plowing the road after winter. It takes about a month. From Atlas Obscura:
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At the Snow Canyon, the non-human star of the show is the HTR608, a rotary snow blower made by the Nichijo company—the 608 refers to the 608-horsepower engine. The HTR608 can plow through snow up to six feet high. The rotating bar helps pull snow into the machine, and a powerful propeller ejects it out of an aerodynamic pipe that can spray the snow nearly 50 feet high and half a football field to the side. But before this monster can even begin its job on the Snow Canyon, a series of prior snow-clearing events must take place.
Mt. Tateyama receives too much snow and is too remote to receive continual snow plow treatment, thus for much of the winter snow is allowed to bury the pass. Sometime in early March, a bulldozer specially equipped with both a GPS and a mobile satellite phone is sent up the mountain and over the Snow Canyon. The GPS and sat phone work in tandem to provide the driver a detailed video screen image of the dozer’s location in relation to the center of the snow-buried highway.
Snow Brand Milk will celebrate its 55th birthday by releasing "spreadable coffee" intended to be eaten on toast; it's a followup to an earlier "Edible coffee" product that appears to be basically coffee pudding. Read the rest
NHK's children's show Pythagora Switch features fiendishly clever, astoundingly amusing interstitial segments with beautiful little Rube Goldberg machines, possessed of a Miyazakiesque whimsy and a Mujiesque minimalism. These are wonderful -- and at 30 seconds each, you can watch a whole ton of 'em. Read the rest
This is dekotora (デコトラ), the Japanese maker culture that started in the 1970s of tricking out large trucks with garish lights, Gundam-inspired chrome mods, and eyeball-spanking paint jobs.
After his awkward endorsement of pedophilia disqualified Milo Yiannopoulos to be the hard right's token gay pal, CPAC needed a new speaker to fill his slot their conference, and the guy they chose was Jikido 'Jay' Aeba, a member of the notorious Japanese "Happy Science" cult, who helped the religion extrude a tendril into the political realm by founding the Happiness Realization Party. Read the rest
After a day of engaging in the most irresponsible activity a president can undertake (according to Donald Trump, anyway), President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe went to the Mar A Lago dining room with Steve Bannon and Michael Flynn, when Trump got a phone call about North Korea's missile tests. Read the rest
"The reason why Otonamaki was invented was because some people were worried about babies struggling or feeling claustrophobic while being wrapped up," says Orie Matsuo of Kyoko Proportion, one of several companies that offer Otonamaki to its customers. "We thought if adults were rolled up like them, they could experience how good it feels." And if customer feedback is anything to go by, Otonamaki is certainly proving successful.
The psychological dimensions speak for themselves, whispering from within their calm white cocoon.Read the rest