cool

“Insta in my Hand” is the latest smartphone trend among high school students in Japan

The latest social media craze to hit Japan is called “Insta in my Hand,” for which net users share photos which look like they’re holding a transparent version of their Instagram or Twitter homepages in the palm of their hands. The boom was apparently imported from South Korea earlier this month, after Key, a member of K-Pop group SHINee, uploaded his own “Insta in my Hand” picture to his Instagram account. Japanese high school students have since tweaked the trend to include “Twitter in my Hand” shots as well.

Now you too can create your own “Insta in my Hand” images with our handy English guide, right after the jump!

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Nightingale floors: The samurai intruder alarm system Japan’s had for centuries

For centuries, Japan has taken pride in the talents of its craftsmen, carpenters and woodworkers included. Because of that, you might be surprised to find that some Japanese castles have extremely creaky wooden floors that screech and groan with each step.

How could such slipshod construction have been considered acceptable for some of the most powerful figures in Japanese history? The answer is that the sounds weren’t just tolerated, but desired, as the noise-producing floors functioned as Japan’s earliest automated intruder alarm.

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Fetishes as art?! Joint photo exhibit “Ambiguous☆Bishoujo Art Exhibit” opens

TODAYS GALLERY STUDIO (Asakusa) will hold their second free gallery event, “Ambiguous☆Bishoujo Art Exhibit,” for artists from April 29 until May 10. If you’re in Tokyo and into cool, sexy, and unusual art, you won’t want to miss it.

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Cosplay paradise! Haco Stadium Tokyo complex has 33 themed rooms waiting for your photo shoot

Last week, we took a look at the amazingly accurate recreation of a room from popular anime Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun. That’s was only one limited-time room at the awesome Haco Stadium cosplay complex, though.

Haco Stadium actually has 33 permanent cosplay rooms, meaning you can make the cosplaying rounds of a Japanese high school, samurai residence, fantasy castle, and science fiction backdrop, all without ever having to leave the building.

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Japanese craftsmen strike again: Make an old, beaten-up book look as good as new

Maybe it’s just me, but there’s something special about the smell of an old book, and the older and mustier it is, the better. The thing about books though, they’re made of paper, so over the years, the more you use them, the more they tear and get worn down. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could reverse this deterioration?

Actually, you can! Just take your books to this Tokyo-based book repairman who can make even the most decrepit book look like you just pulled it off the shelf at the bookstore. 

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Someone at Studio Ghibli call this student film-maker and give him a job! 【Video】

Lush greenery, magical flying machines and huge, squelching monsters, overlaid with a soaring orchestral soundtrack. This animated short makes no pretence about its strongest influence – it’s a beautiful homage to the works of Hayao Miyazaki.

The film even features a mysterious-looking gentleman who looks suspiciously like Miyazaki himself. But this short, which has been gaining attention online in Japan and abroad, was not made by a team of professional animators, but a young film student in Paris.

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Narita Airport’s new budget terminal has running track floors, mattress-inspired sofas 【Video】

Narita Airport is the Tokyo area’s largest access point for air travelers. This month, the terminal added a new terminal specifically designed for low-cost carriers and budget travelers, but as this sneak peak video shows, affordable can overlap with innovative and stylish, as Terminal 3 is set to prove that you don’t have to spend big to help people travel in ease and comfort.

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Russian illustrator wows with bold, simple art in tribute to Studio Ghibli【Pictures】

The characters and scenery of Studio Ghibli movies inspire all kinds of artwork by fans, from impressively detailed posters to super-minimalist art. Russian artist mr von ungarn has been delighting and perplexing Japanese netizens with his adorable, naive-style depictions of our favourite Ghibli characters. Check them out after the jump/

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I live in Animal Crossing – Get the music from Nintendo’s cutest village sim in your browser

If, like me, you spend the majority of your waking hours sitting in front of a computer screen, you probably have some kind of musical accompaniment to help keep the dark bunnies of insanity at bay. But it can be hard to find music that is both pleasant to listen to and not overly distracting while working, so you may find yourself spending more time choosing an audio track than getting any actual work done.

Thankfully, you can now get the music from Nintendo’s adorable community sim Animal Crossing right in your web browser as a free plugin for Google Chrome. And not only that, the tunes change depending on the time of day–just like in the game!

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Ultraman-themed Kaiju Pub is coming back to Kawasaki, and this time it’s here to stay!

Getting pounded into the turf by a 40-meter (131-foot) tall martial artist who can shoot beams of energy from his hands can’t be an easy lifestyle. So last year when a restaurant opened in Kawasaki to honor the giant monsters and aliens who so often end up on the losing side of the battles in the Ultraman franchise, we thought it was nice they now had a place to relax, enjoy some tasty food, and knock back a few beers between regularly getting pummeled by the good guys.

Of course, we Earthlings were also welcome at the establishment, called the Kaiju Sakaba (“Monster Pub”). We stopped by shortly after the place opened last year, and all of the Ultraman-themed decorations made us feel like we were little kids again (well, at least until our first round of alcoholic drinks arrived, anyway). And then we felt like little kids again as wept in sadness upon hearing the Kaiju Sakaba was closing last March.

But, just like the ending of each installment of the Ultraman saga gives way to the next chapter, the Kaiju Sakaba is coming back to Kawasaki later this month, and this time it’s here to stay!

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Can you guess what this amazing Super Mario Bros art is made from?

Given Mario’s reign as the king – or at least, like, Hand of the King or maybe Master of Coin – of the current pop culture nostalgia craze, it’s no wonder that we’ve seen a lot of Super Mario Bros. fan art over the years.

Most of it’s pretty great stuff, but few works of Mario fan art have required quite as much thankless dedication and time commitment as this recreation of the original Super Mario Bros. start screen recreated in an unusual medium. Can you guess what that medium is?

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Stunning video of Tokyo shows the charm of how it mixes the traditional with the modern

As if you need more reasons to love Japan, 100 Tokyo, an online “curated cultural guide,” recently supported a beautiful video that highlights the perfect blend of traditional culture and modern technology of Tokyo, which makes it one of the most unique and charming big cities out there.

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Awesome new electric motorcycle looks like something out of “Akira”‘s Neo Tokyo

Despite working a boring office job and having lived in Tokyo for long enough that not even schoolgirl uniforms, random cosplayers or the neon wash of Kabukicho really give me pause anymore, there are still moments when I look around at all the futuristic bizarreness and think, Is this real life? Or am I living in the dystopian anime world of Akira?

Maybe it’s the abnormally tall buildings, the dingy arcades that look like they’re right out of that early Akira scene. Maybe it’s the male hosts with their impeccable dress and gravity-defying hair, or the life-size, moving Gundam of Odaiba. Or maybe it’s because every once in a while a vehicle like this new electric motorcycle will come roaring down the street like its giving chase to an escaped Replicant or something.

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Everything looks better in anime, even correspondence courses 【Video】

Comedian Dave Chappelle once said that “Everything looks better in slow motion,” since time seems to slow down during the coolest moments of music videos. But you could make the same statement about Japanese animation.

Don’t believe us? Here’s an animated short that somehow manages to make taking a correspondence course in high school math feel beautiful and dramatic, proving that everything looks better in anime.

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Stop-motion video made with action figures is the epic battle of our childhood【Video】

Everyone who ever had action figure toys as a kid will no doubt fondly recall the heroic battles that were fought using their imaginations in their bedrooms. It doesn’t matter which toys you had, they would amass together to fight the war to end all wars and save the universe! And who wouldn’t want to step back into their childhood and have one more epic battle? Whatever you can imagine is probably not as cool as this stop-motion movie using a couple of Dragon Ball Z figures and a heck of a lot of patience and creativity.

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Teen whose Frozen chalkboard art went viral gets an art commission before a high school diploma

A while back, we took a look at an amazing piece of artwork by student and Twitter user Rena Rena. Almost finished with her last year of high school, Rena realized her opportunities to indulge in youthful abandon were about to become that much scarcer, so she grabbed a piece of chalk and drew an amazing scene of Frozen’s Elsa standing on a snowy mountaintop.

Two months later, it looks like Rena’s life has indeed become so busy that she has no time for such ambitious amateur chalkboard art projects. On the bright side, that’s because she’s now doing professional chalkboard art, having been commissioned to create the cover to the newest book from one of Japan’s most celebrated fantasy authors.

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Spiral escalators may be even more stylish than clothes at Japanese department store in Shanghai

There’s definitely an elegance to a spiral staircase, and you could argue that an opulent shopping palace is just the place to install one, letting your customers feel stylish and sophisticated even as they move from one floor to the next. However, they won’t feel so glamorous if they’re panting for breath after walking to the top of an eight-story building.

That’s why for its new Shanghai branch, this Japanese department store decided to install spiral escalators, which it’s claiming are the longest of their type in the world.

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More than just cartoons, here are five anime that predicted and inspired the future [Video]

The future doesn’t seem all that far away anymore, especially with tablets, 3D TVs and the advent of hoverboards, as predicted in Back to the Future Part II. But it’s not just Hollywood movies that gave us a glimpse of what was to come. If we take a step back and review certain classic anime, we see some hints and foreshadowing of things that we either have todayor soon will.

The guys over at nerdy-cool fandom website Dorkly, compiled a video list of 5 Times Anime Predicted the Future, doing a great job of picking out some startlingly accurate predictions and possible inspirations. It could have been premonition, it could have been that vital element that inspired today’s scientists. Either way, it’s pretty cool, if not creepy at times.

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Clever glasses stand lets you keep your eyes on your schedule and your specs on your anime crush

Quite often, anime characters are designed to radiate an aura of perfection, with absolutely unblemished skin and perennially perfectly styled hair. But myopia is one shortcoming that fans have proven to be widely accepting of, and many have a soft sport for anime characters who wear glasses.

But what if you feel like adding glasses to one who’s already got 20-20 vision? In that case, you’ll want this clever glasses stand/calendar that puts your specs on one of seven different anime characters.

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Pro tennis player Kei Nishikori looks a Nintendo star in video with effects from Mario Tennis

Japan is internationally known for the value it places on education and fine arts. Like any country, though, Japan also loves its sports heroes, especially those who shine on the global stage.

The media’s most recent athletic darling is professional tennis player Kei Nishikori. Currently the number-five singles player in the world according to ATP rankings, Nishikori’s earning fame and fans outside of Japan as well, so perhaps its fitting that this video combines his biggest tennis victory to date with music and visual effects from another international superstar who originated in Japan, Nintendo’s Mario.

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