These videos of a golden retriever eating vegetables are strangely comforting

This golden retriever's YouTube channel is a wonderful internet thing. More strangely comforting videos of Coco-chan below.

Read the rest

Facial-exercising pink fright mask


Worried about sagging facial skin? The "Facewaver Exercise Mask/Beauty skin sag face stretcher" ($60) is an elasticated pink fright mask/balaclava within whose confines you bind your face and then "stretch and tighten" your phiz, thus "kneading out wrinkles, lines and sag," through repetitive facial movements The manufacturer also claims additional circulation, which is useful if your face doesn't have enough blood it in. (Thanks, Alice!)

Kokuyo Roll Table: Roll of drawing paper wrapped around a cube


The Kokuyo Roll Table is a clever alternative from Kobe Ishou Sourenjo is a very clever way to package and dispense rolls of kids' drawing paper. It seems like it would be tedious to re-fill, though -- but if you're game for it, it should be simple to make your own for your playroom with four pieces of MDF (or pine, if you're fancy!) and some screws.

Read the rest

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.

Read the rest

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.

Read the rest

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.

Read the rest

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. Cory 1

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.

Read the rest

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.

Read the rest

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.

Read the rest

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