Cool

Japanese Yosakoi Group Wows with Amazing Traditional Dance and Garments

2018-04-20 05:03

When thinking of popular dances in Japan, the perfectly synchronized robotic dances of WORLD ORDER and other country-sweeping viral dances may come to mind, so it can be easy to forget that some of the best dances in Japan originate from traditional performances. One such dance is the Yosakoi, which blends traditional Japanese dance movements (such as Awa Odori) into an energetic performance, sometimes matched with modern music. Yosakoi are performed at summer and school sports festivals, and typically are used to liven up audiences. Dazaifu, located in Fukuoka, is home to a large festival where yosakoi performance teams compete in elaborate and impressively choreographed dances. At this year’s 14th…


Cowboy Bebop Themed Cafe is Opening Up in Japan, Complete with Anime Inspired Decor and Menu

2018-04-12 05:13

Cowboy Bebop is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a Cowboy Bebop-themed cafe in Tokyo and Osaka next month! As fans of mega-popular anime series Cowboy Bebop await a U.S. live action television series with cautious optimism, they’ve been able to tide themselves over with a Blade Runner 2049 short helmed by series director Shinichiro Watanabe, and perhaps re-listening to Yoko Kanno’s celebrated soundtrack. As soon as May 15th, however, fans will be able to literally whet their appetite as they can join in on a celebration of Cowboy Bebop’s 20th anniversary with an official Cowboy Bebop Cafe opening in Tokyo and Osaka. Animate Cafe (an anime store cafe with character…


An AI Candidate Is Running For Mayor In Tokyo, Promising Impartial Politics

2018-04-11 11:04

An “AI candidate” for mayor in Tokyo is promising fair and balanced politics in a news story out of a science fiction novel. Whether it’s samurai robots, a hotel staffed by robots, or AI girlfriends, it seems that it safe to say that one should keep their eye on Japan when it comes to developments in the field of artificial intelligence. So while it seemed a foregone conclusion that AI would eventually break into the world of politics, the way we’re seeing it do so in one city in Japan is a bit surprising. The mayoral election of Tama City in Tokyo is featuring its first “AI candidate”. このポスターを見ると松田みちひとという男性が不慮の事故で生死の縁をさまよう中、大企業の極秘プロジェクトの被検体に選ばれ意識をデータ化。プロジェクトの真の目的を知った彼は意識を女性型ロボットにインストールしラボから逃げ出した……って妄想が捗る。 pic.twitter.com/gSwOJMC9Rm…


This Moving LEGO Escalator is a Stairway to Creative Heaven

2018-04-09 12:56

You can always count on everyone’s favorite creative engineering block, LEGO, to bring out the childhood imagination in all of us. In the past we’ve seen people use Lego bricks to build wonders such as Studio Ghibli’s Castle in the Sky music box and a marvelous pop-up book model of Japan’s famous Himeji Castle. Japanese LEGO enthusiast and wizard Takanori Hashimoto, however, has been turning heads with his moving LEGO creations, such as this fully functioning LEGO escalator! The device caught a lot of attention at Japan’s Wonder Festival, a convention that showcases some of the brightest artists and cosplayers in Japan, but has recently blown up on Twitter and…


Kei Mieno’s Incredibly Detailed Oil Paintings Convey A Beautiful World Beyond Language

2018-04-03 06:05

We have recently had the opportunity to introduce the art of some remarkable painters currently working in Japan, thanks to a recent hashtag on Twitter which contributed to a sudden increase in the visibility of artists online. From the anthropomorphic animals of Tobihachi to the bijinga-like maidens of Nadesico Rin, and let’s not forget the kimono-clad beauties of Kato Miki whose art adorns our top page, many talented painters are participating in this trend. We also introduced the remarkably photorealistic portraits of women by Yasutomo Oka. In comparison with Oka, the oil paintings of Kei Mieno may appear at first glance to be of a similar genre since they seem…


The Amazing and Hypnotic Sounds of the Chopstick Piano

2018-04-03 12:36

If you look outside the realm of “common” instruments, you might just find yourself floored by what seems like out-of-this world sounds, as can be observed with Yukiko Koshimoto “spacedrum” and a curious drum inspired by a inspired by a Japanese musical garden ornament. If anything defines a departure from the common instrument, it might just be Sami Elu’s Chopstick Piano. The Tokyo-based musician and performer’s 29-string homemade instrument uses disposable chopsticks to create music that’ll put you in a trance. The Chopstick Piano uses disposable chopsticks, or waribashi, to hit piano strings as Sami uses his other hand to individually pluck away with a pick while his feet are…


Japanese Trend of Smoothing Foil Balls Into Perfect Spheres Is Beautifully Satisfying

2018-04-02 01:33

You could kill a lot of time browsing through cost-effective DIY arts and crafts projects on Japanese social media, with resorts varying between therapeutic and mind-blowing with creations such as functioning steampunk wristwatches and $3 rusty knives turned into high quality Japanese blades. A Tweet by Japanese jewelery and accessory maker @puchuco709, however, has put the spotlight on a recent trend of turning otherwise boring aluminum foil balls into shiny spheres of treasure in a process that just watching is enough to relieve some stress. アルミホイル(16m)を丸めて叩いて、球にしました。 pic.twitter.com/XA9nbWsacH — アトリエpuchuco (@puchuco709) 2018年3月1日 After some curious responses, @puchuco709 explained that they crafted the glossy orb by taking a 16 meter (52 feet)…


Pepsi Releases All New Formula “J-Cola” Targeting Japan

2018-03-28 11:56

When traveling abroad, it’s always a good idea to sample as much of what you can’t get back in your home country, particularly when it comes to food and drink. In Japan, that can sometimes mean taking in worldwide brands with a slight twist, such as alcoholic Coca-Cola or the world’s first Ruby chocolate Kit Kat. Pepsi in Japan is no different, having released limited edition flavors such as sakura, Christmas Cake, and event salted watermelon in the past. Now Suntory is releasing a new Pepsi with a remade formula specifically targeting the Japanese market. Source: Suntory Called “Pepsi J-Cola”, the newly released version of Pepsi was put together after…


The Way These Japanese Airline Baggage Handlers Unload a Plane is Surprising a Lot of People

2018-03-27 04:12

Although sometimes overstated, Japanese omotenashi, a concept of prioritizing kindness and hospitality towards guests and customers, is often cited as a reason for the near-universal praise of the country’s service industry. Many of the small everyday conveniences and considerations made for guests can be subtle and go underappreciated, while others, such as apologetic letters for one minute internet stoppages and emergency toilet paper supplies have a tendency to be a little jarring to those from outside of Japan. While many have probably become accustomed to not having their luggage extended the same level of courtesy as it is unloaded from an airline, it can always be a bit concerning to…


Artist Celebrates Japanese Art and Culture With Strong and Beautiful Women Illustrations

2018-03-26 04:53

In recent years, an abundance of talented Japanese artists have begun to share their work on Twitter, to the appreciation of many. Whether it’s mind-blowing 3D art, dark and deep thought-provoking illustrations, or animals transformed with fantasy-inspired anthropomorphism, there seems to be no end of new styles and artwork to discover. イラストボードやキャンバスにアクリルとガッシュで描いてます。美しいカワイイを伝えるのが目標。5月に個展やりますのでお願いだから来て#私の作品もっと沢山の人に広がれ祭り pic.twitter.com/og4orqm8Ez — 撫子凛 (@nadeshicorin) 2018年3月10日 Born in Chiba prefecture, illustrator and graphic designer Nadesico Rin’s style focuses on more traditional aspects of Japanese art and culture. On her official website, she cites a love for Japanese art and culture, the aesthetic of which has raised her and led her to the focus of her artwork. The primary focus…


Awesome Functioning Steampunk Wrist Watches and Other Creations by Japanese DIY Artist

2018-03-16 04:25

Japanese social media channels can be an adventurous source for DIY projects, whether it be revealing a $3 rusty knife to be a high quality piece of Japanese cutlery or turning Thomas the Tank Engine into a Mad Max-esque apocalyptic death machine. Japanese Twitter user and DIY tinkerer @FRISK_P, however, stands out for not only crafting their gear with an incredibly cool and detailed steampunk aesthetic, but also complete functionality! While FRISK_P creates a variety of marvelous contraptions bring the world of science fiction and steampunk to life, it’s the artist’s take on out-of-this-world working wrist watches that is turning heads everywhere. #私の作品もっと沢山の人に広がれ祭り 他の人が作らないような腕時計を作ったりします。 pic.twitter.com/yb3qyMhmMa — フリスクP (@FRISK_P) 2018年3月9日 With…


Japanese Illustrator’s Amazing Anthro-Animal Series Gives Them Fantastical Styles From Around The World

2018-03-15 06:25

There might not be a friendlier subject to artists than animals. With their adorable charm and fascinating quirks, they can provide a creative inspiration for everything from giant creatures that console people in trying times, to super-realistic and creepy masks. Japanese illustrator Tobihachi (@tonbippo08), however, seems to find the expressive nature and striking aesthetic of animals as a point of interest, specializing in giving them human characteristics and even nationalities in an ongoing series of brilliant artwork. Source: @tonbippo08 As an illustrator, Tobihachi focuses on animals and anthropomorphism. It’s a little different from the gijinka we have looked at before (where Japanese Kit Kat flavors were turned into handsome anime…


Japanese Artist’s Tricky 3D Anime Character Illustrations Are Too Good To Believe

2018-03-13 06:56

We’ve had the pleasure of enjoying and introducing quite a few talented Japanese Twitter artists, including Avogado6, whose dark and twisted illustrations are guaranteed to leave you thinking, as well as Kubota, who draws gigantic animals comforting humans in their most trying times. Artist and anime fan Minadori Naya (@mina_naya), however, is impressing many on Twitter not with themes, but technique. Namely, these fantastic illustrations of characters from Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica and Kantai Collection that appear to be 3D…but actually aren’t! Source: @mina_naya Source: @mina_naya Source: @mina_naya Source: @mina_naya Optical illusions and tricky 3D techniques aren’t exactly new when it comes to art, but the combination of Naya’s high…


Commute In Style To Cherry Blossom Viewing Parties With Tokyo’s New Sakura Train

2018-03-13 02:02

Whenever Japan gears up for hanami, or cherry blossom viewing, during the spring, you can be sure that an inexorable wave of sakura-themed goods are on their way. While these usually come in the form of consumables, like Sakura Strawberry Pink Mochi Frappuccinos and beautifully labeled Coca-Cola bottles, sometimes the country’s lauded transportation system gets in the cherry-blossom-loving mood. To celebrate the upcoming (and in some places, ongoing) sakura season, Tokyo Metro will be running a special limited edition “Sakura Train” in the form of a spruced up Ginza Line. From March 12th to April 8th, carriages of a select Ginza Line 1000 series will decorate their windows to make…


New Oregon Tourism Promotion Channels Beautiful Studio Ghibli Movies

2018-03-13 10:58

Just recently, we saw a tourism promotion effort led by Destination Canada tap into the aesthetic appeal of anime to show off the splendor of the country, using a beautifully animated short by CoMix Wave, the team behind Makoto Shinkai’s insanely popular anime hit Your Name. Now it appears the U.S. is taking a shot at it, with a new tourism advertisement from Travel Oregon that will spirit you away to your favorite Studio Ghibli films. Appropriately titled “Only Slightly Exaggerated”, the ad is charmingly animated by Psyop & Sun Creatures Studio, and features a nostalgic score by Oregon Symphony. The video explores the gem of the Pacific Northwest with…


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