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Pulsations (11.19.13)

November 19th, 2013 by

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”?

J-blip: Tsutaya launches one-stop ‘lifestyle’ bookshop

November 18th, 2013 by

Tsutaya's new book store meets all your lifestyle needs

Tsutaya’s new book store meets all your lifestyle needs

Following on the success of Daikanyama T-Site, an upmarket complex targeted at an older demographic of book lovers and one that included satellite boutiques for cameras, bikes and pets,  bookselling behemoth Tsutaya has opened  a new similar envelope-pushing book store in Honjō-Waseda, Saitama.

By offering objects for sale related to a particular hobby or interest, the concept of the new store, which opened its doors on Nov. 2, is to sell not only books, but also a new lifestyle and, of course, to maximize profits.

Make no mistake, though. The lifestyle being hawked here is a far cry from the tony Daikanyama T-Site. Catering to a more suburban and middle-class set, the store is divided into seven zones: cookery, interior decorating, beauty, kids, business, the arts and travel. In the cookery zone, cooking utensils and tableware are laid out next to cookbooks and in-store cookery demonstrations should further whet consumer’s appetite for purchasing more than just a recipe book.

As more entertainment content — be it books, DVDs or games — becomes digitized and downloadable, could this mark the final chapter of the bookstores? The writing is on the brick-and-mortar wall.

Autumn crop of pumpkin, purple potato and pear products

October 30th, 2013 by

JT's new pear juice contains pulp with the distinctive flavour of Japanese pear

JT’s new juice contains pulp with the distinctive texture of Japanese pear

This autumn sees the shelves of convenience stores throughout Japan groaning under the weight of a bumper harvest of new flavor sensations. Here’s our round-up of this year’s crop:

Pumpkin is of course a classic autumnal flavor and true to form, this year Nestle has released a limited edition pumpkin-flavored Kit Kat for Halloween. Häagen-Dazs, too, has jumped aboard the pumpkin bandwagon by releasing pumpkin-flavored ice cream earlier this month along with a murasaki imo (purple potato) flavor. Purple potato has also popped up in Kinoko no Yama’s roster of seasonal flavors this year, along with maple and roasted chestnut.

According to Mainichi, crunchy Japanese pears (nashi), as opposed to the differently shaped and softer-textured European pears, are quite literally the flavor of the autumn months this year. Last month Japanese pear-flavored Fanta went on sale for a limited time only and beverage maker JT also brought out a pear juice with a pulpy texture that’s distinctive to the Japanese pear. In addition, Gari-Gari Kun’s pear-flavored ice pops have also proved so popular since their initial release in 2010 that this year they’re being sold in packs of seven.

As surely as the trees will soon be bare of leaves, many of the limited-edition items mentioned about will be sold out by the end of autumn, so those who don’t want to miss out on these novel nibbles and drinks ought to hurry.

Tokyo Designers Week 2013

October 28th, 2013 by

This year’s Tokyo Designers Week’s main event at Meiji Jingu-Gaien has had a bit of a makeover. As “Creative Fes,” it now includes a music venue, various food stalls and a market of hand-crafted goods. But, of course, the main focus remains design, and the event’s new Asia Awards, which includes categories for design schools, young creators and professionals, pulled in plenty of entries.

From architectural constructions to jewelry, we took a look at what the students and pros had to offer, as well as perused our old favorite — Designboom Mart. This year, we also found an extra favorite spot: the TAPAS Spanish Design for Food exhibition, which not only made us hungry for more, but proved that design can have a great sense of humor.

Flip a skirt a month in 2014

October 26th, 2013 by

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?

Isetan Mitsukoshi Design Week

October 24th, 2013 by

Today, the Isetan Department in Shinjuku launches its Designers Week product fair “Hand Made By For Me,” featuring numerous lifestyle brands across various floors of the Isetan main building. The fair runs till Nov. 5 and with all items also available to purchase, it could be a good opportunity to get a little Christmas shopping in early.

We took a sneak peak last night and selected some of our favorite Japanese designs.

J-blip: Pipo-kun’s new song and dance

October 22nd, 2013 by

The Pepo-kun song on the website of the metropolitan police

Pepo-kun, as seen on the metro police’s website

Japanese netizens are apparently all in a lather regarding the question of whether virtual pop star Hatsune Miku is the new voice of police mascot Pipo-kun. The “Pipo-kun Song” video, made to celebrate the fact that the Tokyo Metropolitan Police’s counter crime initiative Twitter account now has more than 60,000 followers, is a collaboration between a synthetic voice and the police headquarters’ orchestra.

However, the consensus on the web seems to be that there is no mistaking that Pipo has Hatsune’s distinctive saccharine sweet voice. When asked by J-Cast if this was a correct assumption, the police replied, “The identity of the singer hasn’t been announced.” One wonders why they’re being so reticent as Hatsune’s “dulcet” tones are now commonplace, having been widely used in the many commercials and TV show theme songs.

Pulsations (10.15.13)

October 15th, 2013 by

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!

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