gift

Vinyl flower vases are all the rage right now in Japan

You’ve probably never heard of vinyl flower vases before, but what’s not to love about them? They provide a practical, inexpensive alternative to traditional glass vases while still looking stylish at the same time. Even better, you can send them easily within a sealed envelope to a friend.

Japan is currently going nuts for these things. Join us after the jump to find out why.

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Return of the 3-D figure! It’s cheaper and easier than ever before!

Back in 2012, we brought you news about Omote 3D Shashin Kan creating extremely detailed figures of yourself! We brought you the story from the store opening, to our intrepid Mr. Sato’s visit, and the final unveiling of the mini-Sato! For those who were interested in getting their own figure, but didn’t live in Japan, or couldn’t book a reservation in time, or thought it was too expensive, we’ve got some great news for you! And believe us when we say, it might be your wildest dreams come true!

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Japanese company invents “Spring Santa” – We love the concept, but it’s actually a little creepy…

Japanese coffee company, AGF, has just launched what they call a “social gift campaign” where you can send a thank you gift to the Facebook or Twitter friend of your choice, even if you don’t know the recipient’s email address. It’s an endearing concept, encouraging people to give thanks to those who have helped them, but somewhere along the line things took a strange turn. Robotic voice iPhone man and jerky green Santa coming after the jump!

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Tohoku tsunami survivor’s $12K camera: heart-felt gift or PR stunt?

Three years ago, Japan’s northeastern region was devastated by a triple disaster of a Magnitude 9.0 earthquake, an ensuing tsunami that wiped away whole towns and caused the meltdown of a nuclear power plant. Affected deeply by the tragedy, Japan has since rallied together as a country to support those who lost loved ones, livelihoods and homes.

Last week, as a part of remembering the three years that have passed since the disaster, famed German camera maker Leica gave a high-end camera worth 1,200,000 yen (US$12,000) to a high school student whose community was devastated by the tsunami. Initially touched by the show of support, Japanese netizens began a heated conversation online about whether the very generous gift was a heart-felt present or just a PR stunt for the well-known camera maker.

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Krispy Kreme Japan to release special White Day Box just for the ladies

Just as people in Japan have finally recovered from the horror that is Valentine’s Day, with chocolate given purely out of obligation and sweets with an added “personal” ingredient, here comes White Day to stress everyone out again. And as the custom goes, all men who received chocolate from a lady in February must give even more chocolate or other gifts come March 14th.

Luckily, Krispy Kreme Japan seems to be a fountain of White Day gift ideas, starting off with their handy guide to turning a doughnut into a beautiful piece of edible jewelry. The company has also unveiled a limited edition “White Day Box” that comes with two doughnuts. Krispy Kreme has even chosen the most popular flavors amongst women, so even if you don’t know the intended recipient, your gift will most likely be a hit…and come on, who doesn’t like sweet circles of fried dough?

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Gift-giving guide: The double meaning behind everyday items

The act of gift giving is a special sort of science. Between all of the holidays, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and special moments in between, we get a lot of practice with presents, and yet sometimes it’s still so hard to pick out the perfect gift for any certain someone. Still, we’ve all heard horror stories about well-intentioned presents having the complete opposite effect. Now, not to increase your anxiety over gift giving, but did you know that many everyday items carry rude connotations when given as gifts, at least in certain cultures?

You’d like to think that anyone would be happy to receive something useful as a present, but then remember how it feels when your friend offers you a piece of gum. Perhaps it’s their favorite flavor and they just really want to share, but nonetheless you’re left with a nagging worry about how badly your breath must stink. These misunderstandings can happen on a much larger scale when cultural differences come into play. So, to help you all out, here’s a little guide to gift-giving manners.

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Hand-made Pussy Palaces Require a One-Year Wait

It’s too late for this Christmas, but if you want to pamper your pet next December, this might make the perfect gift!

Made from soft inewara rice-straw, these neko chigura (lit. cat cradle) are made by a 30-strong team of weavers in the town of Sekikawa, Niigata prefecture on the northwest coast of Honshu, Japan. The weavers are known simply as the neko chigura kai (cat cradle committee) with each cradle taking around a week to put together.

Demand for the cat beds have exceeded even the creators’ wildest dreams, however, when thousands of orders flew in during recent weeks, creating a 12-month backlog.

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The Perfect Gift for New Parents: 20-Year Birthday Card Box-Set Guaranteed to Jerk a Few Tears

In my native UK, while we’re permitted to drink, smoke, vote and watch (reasonably) naughty movies from the age of 18, our 21st birthday is still recognised as the moment when we become real adults, and are expected, as a result, to stop getting upset when Simba’s dad dies in The Lion King, and to brush our teeth a minimum of twice a day.

In Japan, a seijinshiki (coming of age ceremony) is usually held for a birthday boy or girl on their 20th birthday. They may have long since left school, found a job, started smoking and staying up later than their own parents, but until a person is 20 years old, they are not considered a true adult.

With this in mind, Japanese “Woman Smile Company” Senshukai’s “mama & baby for baby” catalogue has recently listed a new item: a special wooden box-set of 20 birthday cards that a mother (or father!) can pass over to their child upon their “coming of age”.

Already proving to be a big hit with young parents, the box-set has seen a sudden and huge increase in customer orders. Read More

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