cool

Bonkers lifehack products are the perfect combination of brilliant and stupid

Bonkers lifehack products are the perfect combination of brilliant and stupid

“Lifehack” is a word we only just started seeing in the English lexicon, thanks to the mighty power of the Internet to bring out the most brilliant and most stupid parts of humanity.

Many are eager to show their “lifehacking” inventions to the world at large or even sell them as lucrative products in the post-shopping channel age where consumers yearn for goods that will save them time, make their lives easier, and make them look awesome/incredibly ridiculous at parties.

We’ve decided to compile some of the most compelling and utterly ridiculous inventions that fall (sometimes vaguely) into the lifehack category, so you can try your hand at making them yourself:

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With the stuffed characters of the Moomin Café, you’ll never dine alone!

With the stuffed characters of the Moomin Café, you’ll never dine alone!

Theme restaurants can be a lot of fun. Whether you’re munching on Final Fantasy desserts or knocking back a cocktail while surrounded by witches and monsters, a little break with reality can be just the secret ingredient you need for a satisfying meal.

Except, what do you do if you can’t round up a posse to go with you? Playing make-believe in a group can be fun, when everyone is egging each other on and having a good laugh, but most people feel awkward enough eating in a normal restaurant alone, let alone one that’s recreating a fictional world.

Thankfully, the Moomin Café has a solution to the solo-dining dilemma: they’ll seat stuffed versions of the beloved cartoons’ characters at your table to keep you company.

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Professor Mega Man! Legendary game producer Keiji Inafune to lecture at Osaka college

Professor Mega Man! Legendary game producer Keiji Inafune to lecture at Osaka college

Despite working for video game publisher Capcom for over 20 years, Keiji Inafune didn’t really achieve international name-recognition until the tumultuous tail end of his time with the company. Even if they didn’t know his name, though, gamers everywhere were familiar with his work, as Inafune was involved with some of Capcom’s biggest hits, including Mega Man, Resident Evil, Onimusha, Street Fighter, and Dead Rising.

Inafune got his start as a character designer before moving up to a position as a producer. Now, he’s set to add one more title to his resume: college professor.

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Space sakura have returned to Earth with cherry blossom superpowers

Space sakura have returned to Earth with cherry blossom superpowers

Rather than wading into the debate as to whether a tree covered in beautiful cherry blossoms or a piece of cutting edge technology is the more representative symbol of Japan, you could split the difference by awarding the title to one of the sakura cherry trees grown from seeds that were taken into space. Not only do they combine the country’s admiration of both nature and innovation, their seeds’ journey to the stars seems to have imparted some of them with the amazing ability to bloom in just half the time of regular cherry trees.

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Tokyo’s 7 coolest public art pieces

Tokyo’s 7 coolest public art pieces

Last week, we had a round-up of my choices for the seven stupidest art pieces in Tokyo, but lest you think I am just a negative Nelly incapable of appreciating talent and beauty, this week we’re presenting Tokyo’s seven coolest public art pieces.

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Giant Patlabor robot stands tall in Tokyo even as film’s director calls it “useless” 【Photos】

Giant Patlabor robot stands tall in Tokyo even as film’s director calls it “useless” 【Photos】

When surveys are done asking people which neighborhood of Tokyo they’d like to live in, Kichijoji often tops the list. It’s not hard to see why, as it’s filled with fashionable cafes, restaurants, and bars (including one with an airsoft firing range), and nearby Inokashira Park is one of the capital’s best cherry blossom viewing spots.

Safety is also an important concern in choosing a place to live, and at least for a day, Kichijoji had this in spades, as the Ingram, the giant robot used in the Patlabor science-fiction films, showed up last weekend.

Even as the Ingram was standing tall though, the films’ director, Mamoru Oshii was tearing down the dreams if aspiring mecha pilots everywhere by firmly stating his belief that we’ll never see giant bipedal robots in any practical, real-life application.

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Bizarre Tokyo shop sells retro sunglasses by the literal bowlful

Bizarre Tokyo shop sells retro sunglasses by the literal bowlful

Before you jump directly to the comments section to scold me about the proper usage of “literal” and the dangers of hyperbole, just know first off that the long-running Ikebukuro institution Rougan Megane Hakubutsukan (老眼メガネ博物館, or literally, “Aging Glasses Museum”) actually sells bowls full of retro sunglasses. And for just 280 yen (US$2.80) at that.

And, besides enabling writers like me to use the phrase “literal bowlful” in relation to something that isn’t a food item, Rougan Megane Hakubutsukan defies expectations in a lot of other ways, too.

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Who needs a ship in a bottle when you can have a kitchen in a bottle!

Who needs a ship in a bottle when you can have a kitchen in a bottle!

That’s right, you read that title correctly. While some people enjoy constructing ships inside bottles, it seems that popular beverage company Kirin has taken up a new hobby- building unbelievably tiny kitchens inside of plastic bottles! In a new advertisement for a line of soft drinks, Kirin showcases some incredible craftsmanship at a minuscule level. You’ll be blown away by the minute details of these models!

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Star Wars “Cos-Me” hangers now on sale in Japan – Turn your coat into Vader’s cloak!

Star Wars “Cos-Me” hangers now on sale in Japan – Turn your coat into Vader’s cloak!

A few weeks ago, online shopping site Run@Town began selling a series of special edition Star Wars themed notebooks. Although they were basically just a standard-issue school notebooks with jackets featuring images from the original three films, they sold out in the blink of an eye, and there are people still waiting for new stock to arrive. This week, the same online store announced another Star Wars tie-in, this time offering wooden hangers featuring busts of Yoda, C-3PO, a Stormtrooper, and smokes-20-a-day villain Darth Vader.

The best part is, by slipping them over the hanger, you can have the cast of characters wear your clothes, allowing you to create all kinds of weird mash-ups. And would you believe some of them actually look pretty cool? We have a feeling these are going to be Run@Town’s next sell-out item.

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Nankai Railways and Gundam combine their love of mobility to create the Gundam train

Nankai Railways and Gundam combine their love of mobility to create the Gundam train

In a way, it’s slightly ironic that Gundam, Japan’s most venerated giant robot, is honored with a huge statue that stands in the Odaiba district of Tokyo. The original series in the franchise was titled Mobile Suit Gundam, but that 18-meter (59-foot) isn’t going anywhere since not only is it incapable of walking, Odaiba is an island and we’re pretty sure it can’t swim, either.

Coming soon, though, is a more logical wat to pay homage to the franchise: a Gundam train.

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That scene from “Frozen” and 10 other fascinating jobs that have gone extinct

That scene from “Frozen” and 10 other fascinating jobs that have gone extinct

Long before we had color television, microwave ovens, mobile phones and the all-mighty Internet, many things had to be done manually and took more time and effort to accomplish. While you may be reading RocketNews24 on your computer or mobile gadget now, the latest news and information used to be only available on handwritten sheets many moons ago.

In many cases, improvement and changes to traditional methods bring greater convenience to the masses, but gone with the olden ways of things are fascinating jobs that once existed to make life easier for the people of their era. How do you think people woke up on time for work before alarm clocks were invented?

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Up-and-coming band combines traditional Japanese instruments with pop metal and awesomeness

Up-and-coming band combines traditional Japanese instruments with pop metal and awesomeness

These tattooed badasses are not, in fact, extras from that bafflingly misguided 47 Ronin movie. They’re the members of the newly-signed Wagakki Band, which combines the chunky guitar chords and shredding of pop metal with traditional Japanese instruments for a totally awesome sound.

While the name Wagakki Band (Literally, “Traditional Japanese Instrument Band”) isn’t going to win any awards for creativity, the group’s head banging videos are a spectacle to behold; Sure to please fans of J-Pop, metal and old-timey Japanese imagery at once.

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60-meter Attack on Titan monster comes to Kawasaki, so we do too 【Photos】

60-meter Attack on Titan monster comes to Kawasaki, so we do too 【Photos】

In the eight years since it opened, the Lazona shopping center in Kawasaki has become the city’s highest-profile entertainment hub. Conveniently attached to Kawasaki Station, Lazona makes a great place to grab a bite to eat or shop for the latest fashions or electronics.

But like many of the visitors who made the trip to Lazona on April 10, we weren’t there for dining or bargain hunting. We came to see the projection-mapped 60-meter Colossal Titan from hit anime Attack on Titan.

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Sip coffee inside a giant vintage camera at family-run Dreamy Camera Cafe

Sip coffee inside a giant vintage camera at family-run Dreamy Camera Cafe

Your eye might have gone directly to the giant red building in the photo, but behind that odd architecture is a happy family living their dream. Army aviation pilot, Park Sung-Hwan and his wife (who also happens to be a recently retired army aviation pilot) took their love of photography and coffee to the extreme, creating a one-of-a-kind cafe that resembles a Rolleiflex camera. It sits right next to their modest home, a juxtaposition of tradition and whimsy, and is nothing short of a scene out of a storybook.

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Gotta eat ‘em all with this awesome new Poké Ball bento box

Gotta eat ‘em all with this awesome new Poké Ball bento box

While in America the stereotypical school kid lunch of a sandwich, apple, and some crackers can easily be tossed in a paper sack, things are a bit trickier in Japan. Japanese parents packing a lunch for their child usually include rice and a number of side dishes, which all need to be placed in sturdy containers so they don’t get crushed or spill during the trip to school, all of which then get placed inside a single, larger container called a bento box.

But why settle for a bento box when you could have a bento ball, especially a Pokémon bento ball?

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Keep in touch with all your Scout Corps friends with this Attack on Titan iPhone case

Keep in touch with all your Scout Corps friends with this Attack on Titan iPhone case

In creating the monstrous villains smash-hit manga and anime Attack on Titan, author Hajime Isoyama said that one of the feelings he wanted to convey was the terror of facing an adversary you have no way of communicating with. He hit the mark perfectly, as the Titans’ inability to speak or even meaningfully change their expressions makes them uniquely unnerving foes.

But no matter how big a fan of the series you may be, we human beings, on the other hand, need to be able to talk to one another, which is where this awesome iPhone case, modeled after the swords wielded by Attack on Titans heroes, come into the picture.

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These aren’t colored pencils.

These aren’t colored pencils.

Every artist has their tool of choice. Some choose the subtle opaque of watercolors, others the bold burst of pastels. Many go old school and create with colored pencils; the humble pencil and its colored cousin are widely used all over the world and are the first choice of many budding artists. But what you see above aren’t colored pencils. They were actually created using an entirely different medium.

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Simon Boulsson’s “Tokyo Reverse” is backwards, gorgeous 【Video】

Simon Boulsson’s “Tokyo Reverse” is backwards, gorgeous 【Video】

In the age of affordable digital cameras and programs that can make even photos and footage taken by a team of cavorting chimps look artistic and cool, footage of popular destinations like Tokyo are ten-a-penny online. But this video from Simon Boulsson is not just noteworthy by stop-and-gawp-worthy.

Titled “TOKYO REVERSE”, the video is set to a pumping soundtrack and takes us on a brief tour of some of the capital city’s most famous spots. The views are of course stunning, but as its title suggests there’s even more to the video than that.

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Beautiful woman doing things: Unsettling art created by unexpected artist

Beautiful woman doing things: Unsettling art created by unexpected artist

Some of the best-yet-unsettling art in the world has often been created by male artists: be it Hemingway’s subtly disturbing short story, “For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn,” the dark and surreal yarns of Cormac McCarthy (We hear reading Blood Meridian automatically qualifies you as suffering from PTSD), or the insidiously impossible physics of Dalí paintings, whenever we view somewhat disturbing artistic works, we tend to assume the author is a man.

So, you’d be forgiven for thinking the drawing below comes from a male artist with a particularly tormented past:

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“Realistic” Kuroko’s Basketball characters look just as cool, if not cooler【Pictures】

“Realistic” Kuroko’s Basketball characters look just as cool, if not cooler【Pictures】

As an avid anime fan, I sometimes wish my favorite characters were real humans, but the logical fangirl in me warns that if anime characters existed in real life, they probably wouldn’t be as awesome as they were in the original works. Just take Kuroko’s Basketball as an example, it would be impossible for Kuroko’s unbelievable skill, “Misdirection Overflow”, to happen in real life.

In such situations, I’m glad there are talented artists who create realistic looking fan art of anime characters, such as these amazing portraits!

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