Author Archive

Pulsations (11.19.13)

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Here’s a new batch of Pulsations, links to fresh stories and visuals about Japan, shout-outs to fellow bloggers and highly clickable stuff that we think you might enjoy.

In no particular order . . .

This Volkswagen Beetle’s Backseat Has Been Converted Into A Japanese Bathtub (from DesignTaxi): One man’s dream to drive a Beetle packing an open-air bath is coming true.

A Neighborhood Transforms (from Tokyo Art Beat): This post features great photos from Trans Arts Tokyo 2013, which took over multiple locations in the Kanda area.

Pinkly Ever After: Cute and Magical (from japanese streets): “I wanted to become a designer who makes magical clothes for girls,” says Robin JooBin, who is inspired by fairy tales and Japanese magical girl anime.

ryue nishizawa places fukita pavilion amongst the trees (from designboom): What do you think of this unique outdoor space in Kagawa?

How to peel an orange: Is mikan art the new origami? (from RocketNews24): Every time you careless rip off a mikan peel and toss it, you are denying yourself an artistic opportunity. Dragons, bunnies, snails, all spawned from a healthy snack.

Keita Sagaki Covers the USA in Doodles (from Spoon & Tamago): A doodle master unleashes his brand of busy on famous landmarks of the United States.

Video Pulse

The time-traveling cat robot Doraemon claimed the number one spot for the fourth year running in a recent survey on popular characters among children. His boundless popularity makes it no surprise that his debut in 3D is a major event. What do you think of the trailer for “Stand By Me: Doraemon”?

Flip a skirt a month in 2014

Saturday, October 26th, 2013

The original run of Kari Kato‘s “Skirt Flipping Calendar” did so well that it’s back this year in two colors:

two colors

Gray is new for 2014.

While the thrill of most novelty calendars is spurred by anticipating what the next month’s image will be, in this case, every month looks more or less the same…

jan

Weekends and holidays are color-coded.

…which is not to say there’s no thrill here, because when all 12 skirts are flipped — well, you’ll have waited for all year, so let’s not spoil it. If you want to see how 2013 was rung in, check here.

The new sticky notes seem even more fun.

Write and fold.

Write and fold.

Gigazine‘s example cracked me up, but really, I can’t think of a place to stick these that wouldn’t be entertaining.

niku

“There’s nikujaga in the freezer. Zap it and eat up! – Mom” Aww.

The calendars run ¥2,100, while the sticky notes are ¥680 for 20. They’re available through Village Vanguard or directly on Kaori Kato’s site.

It’s amazing how design can take something that would be totally inappropriate in real life and make it not only whimsically cute, but functional. Anyone planning on watching the days go by with one of these pin-up girls?

Pulsations (10.15.13)

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

Here’s a new batch of Pulsations, links to fresh stories and visuals about Japan, shout-outs to fellow bloggers and highly clickable stuff that we think you might enjoy.

In no particular order . . .

The Mystery of Japanese “Sauce” (from Just Hungry): You may know the sweet brown concoction as “tonkatsu sauce” but it’s not only for drizzling on breaded pork. What is it, anyways?

Asleep at the wheel (from Ikimasho!): A short-term foray into taxi driving turned into 15 years.

Feel better fast: Eight home remedies from the little old ladies of Japan (from RocketNews24): Is that a cold coming on? Learn how to say no to germs in the language of Japanese DIY medicine.

Looking for Scary Faces (from Japanese Streets): A regular club event called Heavy Pop had an early Halloween party. Check out this great photo collection!

Koloro wagon teaches little kids to be organized (from Spoon & Tamago): It’s a wagon! No, a shelving unit! No, a bunch of baskets! Actually, the new “storable furniture” designed by Torafu Architects is all of the above.

Exploring the GSC Offices with wooser (Part 1) (from Kahotan’s Blog): If you ever wanted to check out the inside of hobby figure maker Good Smile Company’s office, here is your chance, with a cute character guide.

The Successor to Duck-Lips is Sparrow Face (from Kotaku): Will just smiling for the camera ever be good enough again?

Video Pulse

Design Taxi tipped us off to this cool navigation app that is more fun than a map. Can’t find the Sunshine Aquarium? Just follow the penguins!

Rent a dude for ¥1,000: an interview with Takanobu Nishimoto of Ossan Rental

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

“In Japan, old guys get a fair amount of ridicule, basically bad-mouthing. That had been kinda ticking me off, so I was thinking if we could create a bunch of good — not looks-wise, but lifestyle-wise — fun, older guys, then maybe the value of older guys would be seen.”

Meet professional ossan Takanobu Nishimoto

Meet professional ossan Takanobu Nishimoto (Emily Balistrieri photo)

That seed grew in the mind of Takanobu Nishimoto, a 46-year-old jack of all trades, and blossomed into what is now known as Ossan Rental (“Old Guy Rental”). Thanks to the unusual brand name, the experiment attracted customers early on, and later, the attention of social media and web watchers on sites like NariNari and Kotaku.

So who rents themselves out for ¥1,000 an hour? How did Nishimoto find time between his college and vocational school lectures, fashion consulting, modeling and everything else? As I learned more about him, my curiosity was definitely piqued. And part of me wanted to confirm that he is simply a guy doing something interesting . . . and not a creep, as some people might assume.

I requested an interview and got an enthusiastic “yes.” When I asked him to choose a cafe where we could relax and chat, as if I were renting him, he suggested one on a fifth floor overlooking Shibuya.

His introduction was as casual as his button-down shirt and jeans. “Hello, I’m Ossan Rental,” he says, half laughing, perhaps realizing how goofy that sounded. We order tea and coffee and get right into it.

“Outside of work there’s a distance between older guys and young people.  I think it’d be cool if we could connect more. I’m 46. There aren’t many opportunities to talk to people in their 20s in our private lives. I thought it would be neat if I could set up opportunities to make that happen.

“I would go to Tsutaya or some rental shop and think, ‘If older guys were lined up on the shelves, that would be something.’ But how would you order them? Well, putting them in a cart would work. And then you could return them by mail. Well, ‘returning by mail’ would be parting ways at the mailbox, but . . . (laughs).”

This past February he turned his crazy Ossan Rental vision into a reality.

Continue reading about ossan rental →

Pulsations (09.11.13)

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Here’s a new batch of Pulsations, links to fresh stories and visuals about Japan, shout-outs to fellow bloggers and highly clickable stuff that we think you might enjoy.

In no particular order…

Japan’s Real-Life Kick-Ass Is Very Helpful (from Kotaku): A friendly guy helps locals carry strollers or luggage at a station where this is no elevator or escalator. Oh, and he’s dressed as a Power Ranger.

An ‘Origami’ Chair Folded From A Single Wooden Strip (from DesignTaxi): This chair concept was inspired by Japanese paper-folding techniques.

The Notorious MSG’s Unlikely Formula For Success (from Buzzfeed): Get your facts straight on that delicious taste, umami, including how University of Tokyo chemist Kikunae Ikeda discovered the man-made version.

Kiritoshi House by Sugawaradaisuke (from Dezeen): Looking at these pictures, it feels like this must be something much more than a two-bedroom house in Chiba, and yet . . . it’s a two-bedroom house in Chiba.

Famed Photog Yasumasa Yonehara Wants Kids to Tack Back Fashion for Themselves (from MTV81): “The culture informs their choice of clothing – but these outfits aren’t exactly practical. I want cosplay kids to stay true to themselves after removing their outfits.”

The old-timey treat that’s back in style thanks to Hayao Miyazaki (from RocketNews24): Everyone’s curious to try the “Siberia” cake featured in “The Wind Rises” and luckily, you can!

Control Bear Store Tokyo — Beyond Character Goods (from Tokyo Telephone): As mentioned in this month’s On Fashion in The Japan Times, Control Bear now has its own shop in Harajuku. This post goes in-depth!

Video pulse

“The Light Shooter” is a first-person shooter with a peripheral you’ve never seen before — a real, stringed bow, no arrows necessary.

 

10 charming things believed by little kids in Japan

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

bug photo

Great great grandma?

Certainly everyone has some embarrassing things they thought were true as a kid. Me, I thought that chipmunks were baby squirrels. A recent 2ch forum thread (later rounded up and commented on at Itashin!) took up this at times awkward topic and we selected 10 particularly cute ones. Note that our highlights are mostly skewed toward things that seemed unique or particularly Japanese (e.g. not Santa, although he came up). Please remember that since it was just a forum conversation, these are not necessarily widespread beliefs.

When I was little I thought (paraphrased from Japanese) 

. . . that there was a city in the United States called Downtown.

. . . that when you got married kids would just show up from somewhere.

. . . that all TV was live and how amazing it was that the actors in the commercials could do exactly the same thing every time.

. . . that there was only one ambulance in the world (and how amazing that was).

. . . that during Obon our ancestors came back as bugs.

. . . that if I told a lie I would be forced to eat 1,000 needles.

. . . that the bamboo shoots in ramen were pull-apart chopsticks soaked in soy sauce.

. . . that you went from: kindergarten —> elementary school —> middle school —> high school —> college —> Tokyo University (I thought Tokyo University was where you went after college).

How about you? What sorts of things did you believe when you were a kid?

Pulsations (08.23.13)

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

Here are the latest Pulsations, links to fresh stories and visuals about Japan, shout-outs to fellow bloggers, and highly clickable stuff that we think you might enjoy.

In no particular order, they are . . .

Clever naming has New York diners raving about Japanese-style cod roe and pigs’ feet (from Rocket News 24): How you market your food may have as much to do with success as how you cook it.

Japanese Banana Art Is So Damn Appealing (from Kotaku): One artist unpeeled a banana and saw potential.

Tokyo Disneyland’s Halloween Vinylmations are revealed (from Tomopop): Sio designed spooky versions of Minnie and Donald that glow in the dark.

shinobu koizumi’s useful snow-like objects won’t melt away (from designboom): Salt crystals can mimic the frosty white stuff quite convincingly.

LT Josai – A new shared living space in Nagoya (from Spoon & Tamago): You’ll want to move in when you see these pictures.

 

Video pulse

Earlier this month, six Japanese cigar box jugglers traveled to Canada to meet one of the world’s greatest, Eric Bates. From the video they ended up with it looks like they had an awesome time, and of course you can see lots of impressive cigar box juggling.

Pulsations (8.18.13)

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

Here are the latest Pulsations, links to fresh stories and visuals about Japan, shout-outs to fellow bloggers, and highly clickable stuff that we think you might enjoy.

In no particular order, they are . . .

Bon odori: dancing for the spirits of the ancestors (from Tokyo Food File): This simple post appreciates traditional dancing at a summer festival on the beach.

Tama — the station master cat who raised over $10 million and helped save a train line (from Spoon & Tamago): This profile of the real-life maneki-neko features plenty of photos.

Wild Japan (from Noel’s Garden Blog): A visit to Japan yielded some great flora pictures.

Top five things to do at the Hakodate morning fish market in Hokkaido (from Texan in Tokyo): A guide to a fish market that is, at least going from this account, quite different from Tokyo’s Tsukiji.

Mark Smith’s 1/144th Scale Gem Collection (from Aviation of Japan): Model hobbyists like the ones who wrote this detailed post were interested in the work of Jiro Horikoshi way before the latest Hayao Miyazaki film.

So, How’s That Japanese Manga on Steve Jobs? (from Kotaku):  Take a look inside the comic based on Walter Isaacson’s biography of the Apple co-founder.

 

Video Pulse

This year’s World Hiphop Dance Championship took place in Las Vegas Aug. 7. Three Japanese teams made it to the junior finals after battling through a prelim featuring 34 teams from around the globe. Two were penalized for noncompliant clothing or overusing props, but JB Star Jr. (4th place) managed to jam out to “Gangnam Style” among other tunes in their mix free of point deduction.

 

RSS

Recent Posts