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: Read the rest

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). Read the rest

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. Read the rest

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. Read the rest

Kitten + Owlet + Coffee equals cute


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.

The posts below have some very cute recent videos.

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

Hukulou Coffee (Twitter) Read the rest

Gorgeous animated pixel-art depicting everyday Japan


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
Just when you'd forgotten about all that leaked radiation.

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. Read the rest

Japan's population decline creates "housing glut"


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.

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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? Read the rest

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

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

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. Read the rest

Japan closes famous hot spring due to orgies


Fudo no Yu, a famous hot spring (or, onsen) was closed after it was discovered that patrons were "indulging in group sex acts, filming adult footage and taking voyeuristic photographs of other unsuspecting bathers." The Tokyo Reporter identified the key participants as "14 or 15 middle-aged males and several young women" who made regular weekend visits to the hot springs.

Over the past year, regular complaints were lodged with the management of the Fudo no Yu hot springs and a local tourism organization about bathers repeatedly engaging in a number of lewd acts, some of which were filmed.

Fudo no Yu included an open-air bathing area that afforded an impressive view of a wooded near the Hoki River. On a typical weekend, up to 60 hot springs enthusiasts arrived to enjoy the baths.

Top Image: "It's getting steamy at the onsen" Shutterstock

Bottom Image: Sean Michael Ragan Read the rest

Tokyo Roar: 3:47 compressed summary that tells its tale

Some cities are just high-resolution in ways that defy rational description: possessed of a level of detail and complexity that defines them as that city and that city only, not one of those unroofed shopping-mall no-places that seem to be a metastasized airport terminal. Read the rest

Watch a woman eat over 6 pounds of cup noodles


Famed YouTube trencherman Yuka Kinoshita is no fan of low carb diets.

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Video escape: Lantern-floating ceremony to honor the dead, Honolulu, Hawaii

A beautiful way to honor loved ones who have died.

1860s photos of the last Samurai


Felice Beato photographed Samurai in the 1860s and hand-colored the prints. According to Getty, he "made hundreds of ethnographic portraits and genre scenes in Japan. He eventually opened a furniture and curio business in Burma." You can download high-resolution copies of his work at Paul Gallagher of Dangerous Minds wrote about Beato and included several of his remarkable photos of Japan in a time of transition.

Among his first photographs were the portraits of the Satsuma samurais, who happily posed for him. In one group portrait, four samurais symbolically show their strength and ambition by presenting themselves with one standing samurai holding a red book of English literature and one seated with an unsheathed knife—highlighting their hold on western knowledge and their strength in Japanese tradition. As travel became restricted because of the civil war, Beato opened a studio back in Yokohama, where he photographed many samurai warriors and their courtesans.

A selection of Felice Beato’s rare hand-colored photographs will be on display at the London Photographic Fair 23rd-24th May.

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