cool

From Kyoto: The bicycle you can ride while wearing a kimono

From Kyoto: The bicycle you can ride while wearing a kimono

There are many things to love about the kimono, the elegant traditional robe that just screams “Japan”. But beautiful and steeped in tradition as it is, the kimono is not without its accompanying inconveniences: its long skirt, which stays pencil-straight right down to the floor, provides almost no wiggle-room and prevents the wearer from running…or even walking particularly fast, unless in comically short strides. Riding a bicycle, too, has long been out of the question – until now.

Read More

Ordinarily-looking van gets transformed into amazing Japanese-style living room 【Video】

Ordinarily-looking van gets transformed into amazing Japanese-style living room 【Video】

There are two paradigms you can aim for in designing a car. One is a great vehicle, accelerating, turning, and braking with speed and precision. The other is a great living or hotel room, with stylish interior appointments and spacious seating.

The owner of this van is obviously in the second camp, and has modified his ride so that it doesn’t look anything like a car on the inside, but rather a Japanese inn on wheels.

Read More

Kamikiri, the amazing Japanese art of paper cutting mastered by Akira Nagaya【Photos】

Kamikiri, the amazing Japanese art of paper cutting mastered by Akira Nagaya【Photos】

Earlier this month, we talked about Japanese artist Akira Nagaya. An expert in kamikiri, the art of crafting intricate paper cutouts, Nagaya first caught our eye with his takes on classic anime icons such as Totoro, Son Goku, and Pikachu.

Japanese animation isn’t Nagaya’s only inspiration, as we can see in his other creations that capture the delicate beauty of nature and the changing of the seasons.

Read More

Chibatman called in by police, receives their official approval

Chibatman called in by police, receives their official approval

A few weeks ago, a handful of motorists in Chiba Prefecture witnessed a sight few of us will ever be fortunate enough to see: a man dressed as Batman riding a customized trike, speeding down the expressway. Chibatman, as he soon came to be known, quickly caught the attention of not only comic fans around the world, but also the local police, who recently called the Caped Crusader in for a little chat.

Read More

Scholars confirm first discovery of Japanese sword from master bladesmith Masamune in 150 years

Scholars confirm first discovery of Japanese sword from master bladesmith Masamune in 150 years

Should you visit a history museum in Japan, and, like I do, make an immediate beeline for the collections of samurai armor and weaponry, you might be surprised to notice that Japanese swords are customarily displayed with the stitching removed from the hilt. Visually, it sort of dampens the impact, since the remaining skinny slab of metal is a lot less evocative of it actually being gripped and wielded by one of Japan’s warriors of ages past.

The reason this is done, though, is because many Japanese swordsmiths would “sign” their works by etching their names into the metal of the hilt. Some craftsmen achieved almost legendary status, becoming folk heroes whose names are widely known even today.

The most respected of all, though, was Masamune, whose reluctance to sign his blades has made identifying them difficult. But difficult and impossible are two different things, and for the first time in over a century, a sword has been confirmed by historians as being the creation of the master himself.

Read More

Japanese customer service: So amazing that employees will burst out of the walls to help you

Japanese customer service: So amazing that employees will burst out of the walls to help you

One of the most awesome things about Japan is that you can expect amazing customer service just about anywhere. With exuberant convenience store clerks and burger deliverymen who reimburse you for the phone call you placed your order with, you almost expect employees to come bursting out of the walls in order to serve you…and sometimes they do!

Read More

Long live the Roadster! We attend the world premiere of Mazda’s all-new Miata 【Video】

Long live the Roadster! We attend the world premiere of Mazda’s all-new Miata 【Video】

Mazda’s Roadster, also known as the Miata and MX-5, hit showrooms in 1989 and became an instant hit. In the years since, though, doomsayers have emerged every time a competing automaker releases a would-be rival, with predictions having been made that the BMW Z3, Porsche Boxter, Mercedes-Benz SLK, Toyota MR-S, Honda S2000, Pontiac Solstice, and Saturn Sky were all going to kill Mazda’s lightweight open sports car.

The three German cars are still around, although now at price points so far above the Roadster’s that they’re really not in competition with the Japanese Mazda. As for those other pretenders to the affordable convertible crown? All dead and buried. The Roadster’s even outlasted some of those companies, as Pontiac and Saturn have both shut down entirely.

With this history of success, it must have been tempting for Mazda to spend all of the Roadster’s 25th anniversary celebration patting itself on the back for a job well done. Instead, the automaker from Hiroshima chose to do fans one better, by unveiling the fourth generation of the world’s best-selling two-seat sports car.

Read More

These Disney princesses are ready to kick ass in their awesome battle gear!【Photos】

These Disney princesses are ready to kick ass in their awesome battle gear!【Photos】

What are some of the common traits of the Disney princesses? They’re young, they’re beautiful, they’re always singing, and quite a handful of their stories revolve around the men they fall in love with. What if, for a change, they weren’t twirling around on the dance floor in poofy gowns but donning armor, wielding weapons and fighting on a battlefield? They would still be young and beautiful, but they would probably look a lot cooler! See them after the jump!

Read More

Awesome Narita Airport beer dispenser gives a perfect pour every time 【Video】

Awesome Narita Airport beer dispenser gives a perfect pour every time 【Video】

Whenever I fly back to L.A., I have a standard ritual I go through. I make sure to get to Narita Airport well ahead of my departure time, check in for my flight, and have a beer or two before take-off. This gets me nice and sleepy, and I usually doze off shortly after we reach our cruising altitude, waking up several hours closer to home.

Since I fly coach, there’s a convenience store inside the terminal where I procure my supplies in canned form. Should I ever find myself with a Qantas business class ticket, though, it’s good to know that the Australian carrier’s business longue not only has draft Asahi, but that it’s perfectly poured by an awesome beer-dispensing machine.

Read More

This Metal Gear REX outfit is so huge it needs a team of helpers to be put on 【Video】

This Metal Gear REX outfit is so huge it needs a team of helpers to be put on 【Video】

On display at last month’s Otakon anime convention, this incredible feat of cosplay blurs the line between outfit and scale model, with the wearer requiring a small team to help them put it on.

Read More

Train-inspired rice cookers for all the railroad lovers out there

Train-inspired rice cookers for all the railroad lovers out there

Last spring, pictures of a series of Japanese train-themed rice cookers surfaced online. Die-hard train fanatics were quick to rejoice, and eagerly awaited the products’ release date. After all, what better way to show a love of your hobby than in the form of a practical, everyday object that feeds you?

There was just one little problem–these awesome appliances are actually only fan-made inventions.

Read More

Awesome Halloween Krispy Kreme donuts will make you a treat-giving hero

Awesome Halloween Krispy Kreme donuts will make you a treat-giving hero

For years, the conventional wisdom was that Japan was only interested in dainty, mild desserts with Japanese roots. That myth was shattered, though, when companies like Krispy Kreme came into the market and found instant success selling sweets that are unabashedly, well, sweet.

There’s more to Krispy Kreme’s popularity in Japan than the universal appeal of a flavorful donut, though. The North Carolina-based donut company has adapted to the local practice of special seasonal treats, and is getting ready for Halloween early with the release this month of its Krispy Skremes lineup.

Read More

Artist creates awesome anime artwork by carefully cutting a single Post-it note 【Photos】

Artist creates awesome anime artwork by carefully cutting a single Post-it note 【Photos】

While origami is Japan’s best known paper craft, its less famous relative, kamikiri, has been around since the 19th century. In contrast to the intricate folding techniques of origami, kamikiri, literally “paper cutting,” involves creating an unbroken cutout from a sheet of paper.

Chiba-born artist Akira Nagaya is a kamikiri master, and many of his designs are inspired by centuries-old imagery such as the phoenix, fuujin wind spirits, or the Seven Gods of Fortune. Occasionally, though, Nagaya turns to more modern muses, as with these amazing kamikiri versions of some of anime’s biggest stars.

Read More

What is this man painting? You may have to wait until the very last second to find out 【Video】

What is this man painting? You may have to wait until the very last second to find out 【Video】

I’ve never been able to see those “magic eye” pictures. No matter how many times people tell me to “unfocus” or “relax” my eyes, I still find myself staring at a mass of dots, demanding to know (because, like a petulant child, I absolutely hate not being in on secrets) what I’m supposed to be looking at. So when I first caught this video, which shows an unnamed artist slapping white paint onto an all-black canvas on a beach in China, I assumed that it was just my noggin letting me down again when I couldn’t make out what the picture was supposed to be.

Until, that is, I reached the very end of the video and all suddenly became clear.

Read More

Genius dishes can be molded freely to hold whatever you want

Genius dishes can be molded freely to hold whatever you want

I’m not really the most organized person around; my desk looks like someone who hates me with a dark passion sneaks in every night just to sweep papers around and knock stuff over. So I’ve never really had much interest in or need for one of those little random odds-and-ends plates to hold trinkets (the floor does a pretty good job of that, for me).

But, if you are an organized person, have a lot of trinkets or just like having cool stuff around to decorate with, you’re probably going to love these awesome dishes that can be molded into any shape your heart desires and returned to their original state over and over again.

Read More

Terrifyingly terrific haunted house’s puzzles are so tough it has a continue system

Terrifyingly terrific haunted house’s puzzles are so tough it has a continue system

A few months ago, we heard about a terrifying haunted house in Honancho, a neighborhood in western Tokyo. Unfortunately, our backlog of terror entertainment was a little jammed up, and we weren’t able to get to it right away, but this week we finally went to check out Obaken.

In addition to the horror movie-inspired creepy sights and sounds you’d expect from any decent haunted house, Obaken also takes a page from video games, with multiple levels, customizable settings, and even a continue system.

Read More

Wearable futon: Excuse to keep workers in office all night, or smart disaster preparedness?

Wearable futon: Excuse to keep workers in office all night, or smart disaster preparedness?

At my first job in Japan, there was no janitorial staff, so we all had to pitch in with cleaning the office. One day, I punched in, grabbed the vacuum, and started doing the floors. Everything was going fine until I got to the back room, where I opened the door to find my coworker lying flat on her back, fast asleep on the floor.

I’m not sure if she’d shown up incredibly early and tired herself out, or just never made it home the night before, but it turns out sleeping at the office in Japan isn’t quite as unusual as you’d think (or hope). Thankfully, if you do get stuck, at least you can be still be warm and cozy, thanks to this crazy wearable futon.

Read More

Coca-Cola’s new vending machines don’t need electricity during the day to keep drinks cold

Coca-Cola’s new vending machines don’t need electricity during the day to keep drinks cold

In some ways, the huge amount of vending machines in Japan seems like a win-win situation. In a country that gets incredibly hot and sticky in the summer, it’s nice to never be more than a few minutes’ walk from a cold drink, and for beverage companies like Coca-Cola, the machines are a huge source of income.

That said, all of those vending machines are essentially coin-operated refrigerators, collectively sucking up a huge amount of electricity. In an effort to cut down on their energy consumption, Coca-Cola has developed a new type of unit that spends as much as 16 hours a day not using any electricity at all to keep its products nice and cool.

Read More

Textbook gives Chinese otaku Japanese lessons with a side of anime girls and dialogue

Textbook gives Chinese otaku Japanese lessons with a side of anime girls and dialogue

There’s an odd paradox in learning a foreign language, in that often the phrases most satisfying to use in real life are the least exciting to study. For example, take the phrase, “Nama wo ippai kudasai.”

It means “One draft beer, please.” Utter the sentence at a restaurant in Tokyo on a hot afternoon, where it actually produces a cold glass of beer, and for that one moment, you feel like you’re the linguistic king of the world. In a classroom or self-study setting, though there’s nothing particularly colorful or fun about it, making it less likely to leave an impression in your mind and pretty easy to forget.

Trying to combat this is a Japanese text-book, which we found on a recent trip to China, that spices things up by teaching phrases taken not from everyday life, but from Japan’s biggest cultural ambassador, anime.

Read More

Batman spotted cruising the Japanese expressways as he trades Gotham City for Chiba Prefecture

Batman spotted cruising the Japanese expressways as he trades Gotham City for Chiba Prefecture

As a car-loving foreigner living in Japan, for me, any cruise around Tokyo can suddenly turn into an automotive photo safari. Japan has tons of cool domestic cars which were never exported to the U.S., and whenever I come across one in the wild, I feel the need to whip out my camera for a few photos.

But while I’m happy my photo collection includes snapshots of Mazda AZ-1s and Subaru 22B Imprezas, motorists in Chiba Prefecture recently spotted something even rarer, in the form of a street-legal trike being ridden by none other than Batman!

Read More

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. ...
  9. 31
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 15,647 other followers