Printed circuit board masking tape

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A must-have for the with-it cyberpunk, and it's appropriately hard to get ahold of, being sold only through a Japanese website that uses translation-software-resistant graphics of Japanese text set against an animated background that made mincemeat of all the Japanese-English OCR software I tried it on (I think this is the orders page, but couldn't get more than one word in four out of Google Translate's photo-text converter). Read the rest

Handmade Japanese leather goldfish bags

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Atelier Iwakiri handmakes its nubuck goldfish purses to order, with a two-week to three-month lead time between orders and delivery. Read the rest

Entertaining animated history of Japan

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Bill Wurtz made this fun and informative 9-minute history of Japan. Read the rest

'Low Pixel,' a ceramic art series by Toshiya Masuda

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For his Low Pixel ceramic sculpture series, Japanese artist Toshiya Masuda “pixelates” common objects. Soda cans, flowers, liquor bottles, all are reduced to low rez video game style facsimiles.

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Highball tumblers with tiny Mt Fujis in their base

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They're handmade and the tiny mountains change color based on the color of the drink you serve in them, come in a gorgeous gift box, but they're also a whopping $88 each. Read the rest

Independent economists: TPP will kill 450,000 US jobs; 75,000 Japanese jobs, 58,000 Canadian jobs

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Proponents of the secretly negotiated Trans Pacific Partnership -- which lets companies force governments to get rid of their labor, environmental and safety rules in confidential tribunals -- say it's all worth it because it will deliver growth and jobs to the stagnant economies of the rich world. Read the rest

Impossibly cute paper clips shaped like cats, dogs, and wild animals

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I like to buy these adorable little critter-shaped paperclips from stationary accessories maker Midori of Japan on Amazon. They work just the same as regular paperclips, but they add a lot of sweetness and personality when the design matters, not just the function.

More than 24 designs are available in Midori's super-kawaii D-Clips series, with lots of little animals and birds to choose from: elephant, turtle, squirrels, whales, penguin, and more, on sale for $7-8 per pack of 30 clips at the time of this blog post.

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That ain’t baloney, it’s magic!

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Yasuo Amano, a Tenyo collector, author of the Japanese blog Hey Presto, and all around creative guy recently bought a package of what is known in Japan as “Fan Shaped Sausage.” It appears to be a cross between salami, baloney, or perhaps a luncheon meat as yet undefined.

He took out a few slices, put them on a plate, and saw something that no one else in Japan noticed, which is pretty impressive considering its population of almost 200 million people. Said slabs of meat can be used to do a well-known magic trick (or, more rightly, the optical illusion shown above). But it all looks so innocent on the plate.

Discovered by Joseph Jastrow in 1889, magicians have been performing this for years and calling them “Magic Boomerangs.” Two pieces of identical size and shape, when placed one below the other, produce the uncanny illusion that one is larger and the other smaller. Take another look up at the lead photo: that ain’t no baloney! Both pieces are exactly the same size.

The question of why it looks so amazing can be answered by the first magic set produced in Germany after World War II, in which I discovered said boomerang trick with props that were short and very squat. This produces a much stronger illusion that what magicians have been futzing around with for years.

If you want to do magic tricks with your canapés, then you may attempt to order the “Fan-Shaped Sausage” from its manufacturer.

As an added bonus, since we’re still on Yamano’s fascination with making magic tricks out of edibles, take a look at this video, in which he manages something miraculous with a French fry and the Tenyo trick “Zig Zag Cig” invented by Hiroshi Kondo decades ago. Read the rest

Blue's is a magazine about Japanese construction worker culture

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“There’s no media anywhere about these guys, but they’re so cool!” That's the thought Tomonobu Yanagi had when he decided to make a magazine about "construction culture." Yanagi was a punk musician in the 1970s, and now manages a waterworks construction firm. He teamed up with Japanese “new journalism” writer Gensho Ishimaru (known for writing about his recreational drug trips) to launch Blue's Magazine. With lavish photos, it covers subjects such as the kind of food construction workers favor (salty, greasy food), what it is like to be on a crew rebuilding the Fukushima area, and the influx of construction workers from Africa and America.

From Ignition:

Before BLUE’S, no “culture magazine” had ever written profiles of the men who work at construction sites. Because of that, though, there are really no fixed rules or formulas for how to make such a magazine. Every issue’s layout, Ishimaru says, presents a fresh challenge, and forces the pair to reinvent the rules from zero. The best example of this may be the magazine’s cover design, which features photos of construction artist Hironari Kubota in a loincloth

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Giant inflatable duck hates drinking water in Japan

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In this Japanese TV commercial we learn that anyone who tries to prevent college students from enjoying any beverage other than water will face the wrath of a giant inflatable duck.

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Walk through the incredible installation inside the Japan pavillion at Venice Biennale

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Last spring, we went to Venice to celebrate my wife's birthday and took a boat to the Biennale, which was pretty disappointing, with one notable exception: 'The Key in the Hand,' Chiharu Shiota's installation at the Japan pavilion, which took our breath away.

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This line from a Rage Against The Machine song sounds like something funny in Japanese

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“Rage Against the Machine's Killing in the Name lyrics "and now you do what they told ya" sounds like 'break the chicken nuggets, daddy' in Japanese,” says Redditor seasalty_. “A television show made a video about it.” Read the rest

Steiff Japan's centaur teddybears

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The Teddytaur is an actual, $400 product, made from alpaca-wool, sold by high-end toymaker Steiff in its Japanese store. (Thanks, Fipi Lele!) Read the rest

Book and Bed: Tokyo's coffin hotel/bookstore

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If you're in Ikebukuro and need a cozy, bookish bed for the night, try Book and Bed, a "designed hostel" that hides coffin-hotel-style bunks among bookshelves lined with handsome volumes and rolling ladders. The books aren't for sale, but you're welcome to read them in your bunk. Read the rest

Fully poseable, articulated Michaelangelo's David action-figure

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It's been nearly a decade since a single thumbnail image of Michaelangelo's David's willie caused a censorware company founded by a registered sex-offender to block Boing Boing for all its clients as a "nudity" site. This post will probably blow their minds. Read the rest

Umbrella reveals Mickey Mouse when it rains

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Got a spare 12 bucks? If you’re a fan of the Mouse and you live someplace other than California, Nevada, and Arizona, then you might have fun with this collapsible umbrella that appears to be normal — a solid color — when you open it. When the heavens open and the raindrops fall, they bring out a silhouette of Walt Disney’s best pal on the fabric. Fun, but not in the sun... and it looks like this: Read the rest

Halloween Magic at Tokyo Disneyland

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My friend Yasuo Amano, who lives in the town of Shizuoka about an hour outside Tokyo, runs a Japanese blog called Hey Presto. It is mostly concerned with the unique magic tricks produced a Japanese toy company named Tenyo, about which I’ve just written an enormous set of books that will be released in early November.

The Tenyo Company has been in business since 1931, and sells its magic tricks to regular folks at its “Magic Corners” in department stores across Japan. Even though the tricks they devise are easy to do, they also appeal to magicians because of their creativity.

And then there is Tokyo Disneyland, which is turned into a most mysterious and magical place at Halloween. Amano’s latest blog video combines a recent visit to Tokyo Disneyland’s seasonal Halloween event with a performance of some of Tenyo’s newest tricks.

I know … Halloween is still weeks away, but for purposes of commerce Halloween now commences in early September at Disney parks around the world, and even at your local supermarket and drugstore where the candy and greeting cards now appear before summer has officially ended.

In the latest and most annoying development, yesterday at Rite-Aid I saw Christmas cookies already out in the Halloween aisle. Don’t make me punch you in the face, Santa. Read the rest

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