Boing Boing 

Japanese arcade recreates gritty walled city of Kowloon


Kawasaki's Warehouse arcade, near Yokohama, is a fantastically detailed, gritty recreation of the old walled city of Kowloon, near Hong Kong. The Tokyo Times photos depict a place that's like a fevered Gibson dream, and note that there's an accompanying, spooky soundscape. This is going on my must-see list for our next Japan trip.

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Cool gallery of vintage Japanese movie posters

Japanese-Movie-Poster--Nagisa-Oshimas-Diary-of-a-Shinjuku-Thief.-Tadanori-Yokoo

Over at 50 Watts, a must-follow tumblr (and everything else), a splendid collection of 30 Japanese movie posters from the 1930s to the 1970s.

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LED watch with a wooden face and bracelet


Tokyoflash's Kisai Night Vision Wood LED Watch builds on their earlier work with beautiful, carved-wood bracelets, adding a wooden face backed with powerful LEDs whose glow can be seen through the smooth vegetable matter. It's a very futuristic look indeed. The watch charges with USB, and comes in sandal or maple, and it has a preprogrammed LED dance it does twice a day as a little show-offy gesture. They're $150 each.

Kisai Night Vision Wood LED Watch

Fondue-slippers: just dip your feet in this molten PVC


Satsuki Ohata's Fondue Slipper takes a page from the liquid latex set, but uses higher-temp, harder-wearing PVC to produce extremely custom-fit slippers. Right now, they're a work of art; soon, apparently, they will be an article of commerce that you can purchase in kit form.

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Domo Arigato Restaurant Roboto!

Chris Arkenberg visits an establishment where pop culture and history merge into a light show of singular magnificence.Read the rest

Makers: the Japanese fan-trans

Haruka Tsubota has undertaken a Japanese fan-translation of my novel Makers. It's available as Epub and Mobi, and licensed CC-BY-NC-SA.

Japanese man arrested for 3D printing and firing guns


Japanese police arrested a 27 year old man called Yoshitomo Imura, alleging that he 3D printed several guns and posted videos to Youtube of himself firing it. They say they seized five guns from Imura's home in Kawasaki City. The videos showed that two of these guns were capable of firing rounds -- what sort isn't specified -- through a stack of ten sheets of plywood, and this caused Japanese police to class them as lethal weapons. A Japanese press account has Imura admitting to printing the guns, but insisting that he "didn't know they were illegal."

As I wrote a year ago when 3D printed guns first appeared on the scene, the regulatory questions raised by them are much more significant than the narrow issue of gun control. But there's a real danger that judges, lawmakers and regulators will be distracted by the inflammatory issue of firearms when considering the wider question of trying to regulate computers.

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Bruno the bear's tragic demise commemorated in sleeping bag form


In 2006, Bruno the bear appeared in Bavaria, the first wild bear spotted in the region for 170. So they hunted him down and killed him.

Artist Eiko Ishizawa has commemorated Bruno's life and death with a sculptural sleeping bag shaped like Bruno's hide and head, which you climb into and zip shut. She's making a limited run, based on commissions. They're $2350 for adult bears and $2050 for kid-sized bears. If you buy one, Ishizawa would like you to photograph yourself in it around the world for a gallery of the wanderings of Bruno's avatars.

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Identify this mysterious animal skeleton


Spotted yesterday at the Cedar Avenue in Hakone, Japan: a mysterious skeleton. What is it?

Zentai: full-body masked spandex subculture from Japan

Zentai (short for "zenshintaitsu," Japanese for "full body suit") is a largely obscure Japanese subculture whose adherents go out wearing full-body patterned spandex suits that cover their faces. In a relatively unsensational article in the Japan Times, Harumi Ozawa talks to a few zentais about their hobby, and learns that for some proponents, being completely covered is a liberating experience. The zentais in the article describe the suit as an anonymizer that frees them from the judging gaze of society, which is a fascinating study in contradictions, since the suits undoubtably attract lots of judgmental looks, but these seem to adhere to the suit without penetrating to the wearer within.

Some zentais wear their suits in superhero fashion, and do good deeds in public, while others wear the suits for sexual kicks. They are often mocked in Japanese pop culture. One academic cited in the article believes that the wearers use the suits to hide their appearance in order to force others to deal with their "true" underlying identity.

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Miyazaki beer label


I could (and probably will) write an essay about all the ways in which the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo is amazing and totally different from the usual museum (shortlist: limited capacity managed through waiting lists instead of price-hikes; exhibits that are intended to be handled, even the fragile ones; no cult of personality for founders; emphasis on both wonder and production; modest and beautifully stocked shop; overall non-commercial emphasis; quirkiness that is commensurate with the actual films), but for now, I'll leave you with this: the beautiful Miyazaki-esque beer-labels from the hot-dog and ice-cream stand.

Miyazaki beer label, Ghibli Museum, Tokyo, Japan

Japanese game-show asks celebs to eat household objects that may or may not be chocolates


Celeste writes, "Japanese sokkuri ('look alike') sweets are desserts designed to look like other, everyday things. This Japanese TV show showed contestants a room full of seemingly ordinary objects, and then had them guess which ones were sokkuri sweets by biting into them."

Some important facts about the Tex-Mex nipple-shields for men


Chantilly's Tex-Mex nipple-shields for men are not chili flavored, nor do they taste of tacos. They are for fashion (marathon runners, take note). There are no other flavors.

And now you know.

Tex Mex Nipple Shield for men, Tokyu Hands, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan

Just look at this crinkle-cut banana-slicer


Just look at it.

Crinkle-cut banana slicer ,Tokyu Hands, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan

Spaghetti flavored popsicles

Japan's Gari-Gari Kun ("Crunchy Crunchy Boy") popsicles now come in spaghetti flavor with tomato jelly -- they also do rice cake and bean-paste and corn potage stew.

Oh Goodness, Japan Is Getting Spaghetti Popsicles [Brian Ashcraft/Kotaku]

(via Oh Gizmo)

Cola-flavored soy-milk

Exactly what it sounds like: 46 calories per 200ml.

My head just exploded.

Just look at it. (Sugary sweet J-pop goes death metal) (via Mefi)

Cuddly giant isopod toy!


There's nothing quite so cuddly as a giant isopod plush toy. It has been encutified to make it even more adorable than the real-life version, with big, round, loving eyes. As the product description notes, these are "passionately loved" by some in Japan and are regarded as "mysterious and cute" -- one in Toba Aquarium has (allegedly) eaten no food for over 4 years.

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Parfaitzilla: the dessert that ate Japan


Last year, Mochihead posted this image of a magnificent parfait from an unspecified Japanese restaurant. It leaves me with only one question: What are the rest of you having? (via Pipedreamdragon)

Amazing sushi-roll art


Takayo "Tama-cha" Kiyota is a Japanese chef who specializes in makizushi art: artistic sushi-rolls that use cunningly arranged food to create illustrations in the rolls' cross-sections. Her work is improbably amazing. Here's a great article in Japanese on her methodology, and here's a good English summary.

She's even done a sushi dick pic, complete with pubes [NSFW].

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Gorgeous silver Star Wars rings


Jap does a gorgeous line of Star Wars rings in silver and gold. There's no pricing info and they date from 1999, so I fear they're long gone, which is a pity, as that R2D2 ring is particularly inspired (and there's also a seemingly extinct line of Alien vs Predator and Planet of the Apes rings).

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Homeless recruited to decontaminate Fukishima; paid less than minimum wage


The publicly funded, $35B cleanup of radioactive soil around Fukishima is staffed by homeless men recruited from Tokyo Sendai subway stations. They are preferentially sent to the most radioactive zones, and work for less than minimum wage. Mobbed-up subcontractors confiscate as much as two thirds of their pay in "fees." Everyone involved in sourcing the labor for the cleanup denies responsibility for the illegal practices, blaming sub-subcontractors or cowboy recruiters. The president of one contractor, Aisogo Service, defended the practice of not scrutinizing the labor force or the conditions under which it worked, saying "If you started looking at every single person, the project wouldn't move forward. You wouldn't get a tenth of the people you need."

Workers are also recruited from publicly funded homeless shelters. One man worked for a month for a total payout of $10. After this fact was verified and made public, the man disappeared. Workers are charged exorbitant rates for lodgings and food, and are docked pay for being too ill to work. As a result, some workers are in debt to their employers, a debt that deepens the longer they stay employed.

The decontamination project is two to three years behind schedule.

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Sperm Journey

An educational video for you, from Japan. [Video Link. Thanks, Heather!]

Mecha-inspired casemod is a diorama depicting a gritty, gorgeous battlescene


Hiroto Ikeuchi is a Japanese casemodder who builds spectacular dioramas into PC towers, turning them into dystopian, futuristic military battlescenes. The Raku-Taro Tumblr has some flat-out gorgeous photos of an Ikeuchi project that's on display at the Ars Electronica center in Vienna Linz.

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Whale-shaped, hand-forged, kid-friendly pencil-sharpening knives


These whale-shaped Kujira knives were created by Japanese blacksmith Toru Yamashita, who was asked to make a knife for children to sharpen pencils with. The result is a slightly blunt, kid-friendly tool that's whimsical, hand-forged and gorgeous. And as Core77's Kat Bauman points out, US residents can get this shipped in time for Christmas from Hand Eye Supply if they order by noon today (Dec 21).

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Tiki Transformer


Mike "Nemo" Mendez created "TikiTPrime Warrior" for today's Transformer Show at Toy Tokyo. This is definitely a case of two great tastes that taste great together.

Custom-Feature: TikiTPrime Warrior by Nemo (via Neatorama)

Kisai Console Wood watch: futuristic LED face and sandalwood bracelet

TokyoFlash's new Kisai Console Wood watch has a gorgeous sandalwood bracelet and a groovy LED-lit display that nestles directly in the sweet-spot between functional and ornamental. It comes with your choice of blue or green LEDs and red or dark sandalwood, and charges over USB. I'm partial (very, very partial) to the dark wood. Wow.

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Scriptura Vitae: surreal, caligraphic, Butoh dance video

Souris writes, "Scriptura Vitae is the directorial debut of New York-based artist, designer and filmmaker Aerosyn-lex Mestrovic. Having collaborated with the likes of Kanye West and KENZO, Mestrovic's latest venture is an ambitious three-part journey into the unknown that showcases Lex's haunting ritualistic calligraphy, alongside stunningly choreographed Japanese Butoh performances set to a score which features original music by the Grammy Nominated DIPLO. The film stars famed Japanese actress Miho Nikaido, best known for her role in the cult-classic and previously banned film Tokyo Decadence which was written and directed by lauded novelist Ryu Murakami. The effects in the film are visually striking, combining modern compositing with in-camera painting to devise something wholly unique."

◢ SCRIPTURA VITAE † A FILM BY AEROSYN-LEX MESTROVIC ◣ (Thanks, Souris!)

A visit to a 7th century Japanese hot spring

Danny Choo visited the Ikaho Hot Springs in Japan and took lots of photos (as he always does whenever he posts something to his entertaining website). As I scrolled through the photos, I was worried that Danny forgot to bring his dolls with him, but I was relieved to see that he didn't.

Founded in the 7th century, Ikaho Onsen [伊香保温泉] (Ikaho Hot Springs) is one of Japan's most popular hot spring resort areas located in the Gunma Prefecture [群馬県].

The hot springs are concentrated around Ishidan [石段] - a 365 flight of stone steps which are also lined with traditional inns and shops.

Wifey and I managed to spend a day at Ikaho filming for a wee bit - today we take a look at the hot spring area and the traditional inn that we stayed at.

Places to visit in Japan: Ikaho Onsen

Hot ginger ale in Japanese vending machines


Today, Coca-Cola Japan puts a new kind of hot Canada Dry ginger-ale for sale in its vending machines. The drink is meant to appeal to people who enjoy traditional Japanese hot ginger drinks, and is mixed with apple and cinnamon.

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