Global

Want! Seven Weird and Wonderful Smartphone and Tablet-Integrated Toys for Grown Ups

There has arguably never been a more popular big kids’ toy than the smartphone. While models, personal music players, action figures and board games have existed for generations, never has the human race been more enamoured with a single gadget. Smartphones have become such an integral part of our lives that, on the rare occasion that they are separated from their rectangles of plastic and finger-friendly glass, many people experience genuine feelings of anxiety and simply cannot get through their day as they normally would.

With traditional board games and toys already falling to the wayside and smartphones, tablets and laptops now topping kids’ Christmas wish lists, it’s only natural for toy makers to strive to implement the new technology into their own creations. But what happens when old toys meet new tech? As it turns out, the result can sometimes be quite wonderful.

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New Video Game Evoland Turns Technological Advancement into a Game in its Own Right

While it’s true that a number of the world’s best-selling action RPGs – including those that this new video game emulates – hail from Japan, we have to admit that we’re taking the unusual step of reporting on non-Asia specific news with this article; the reason being that it’s simply it’s too awesome not to share.

What you’re about to witness is a short promotional video for Evoland, a new game from Boreaux-based Shiro Games that’s just a few weeks away from release. But this is no ordinary video game. Imagine playing a game that quite literally evolves as you progress; its graphics, sound and gameplay mechanics gradually changing from those of the early 80s to the multi-million dollar standards set by this generation’s sprawling action RPGs.

Taking its cues from industry greats like The Legend of Zelda, Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy, Evoland allows players to experience first-hand both the growth of the genre and the technological advancements that the video game industry has made over the past three decades, meaning that the game you finish will be almost unrecognizably different to that which you originally began.

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The 51 Busiest Train Stations in the World– All but 6 Located in Japan

A couple of days ago this little graph surfaced online displaying some interesting statistics. It’s a bar chart of the busiest train stations in the world, measured by the number of people who pass through them each year.

Perhaps coming as no surprise to those who have experienced its mind-numbingly complex transport complexes, Japan tops the list. What is surprising is the degree to which Japan dominates this list, with all but six stations residing here, and about half of them in the Tokyo area alone.

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The Taste of Luxury in a Can: Japanese Canned Food Worth Your 100 Yen

Consider the following scenario: you’re having a chat with a friend about some of the high quality foods on the market out there. You mention some of the more refined dishes you’ve tried first hand and how, as much as you’d like to eat them day after day, doing so would undoubtedly leave a large hole in your wallet. If your friend responded by saying, “I have a product just for you. It’s got the high class factor, is easy on the finances, and is packed into a small can.”, I’m sure you’d think he’d lost the plot a little.

Inaba and other Japanese food companies beg to differ, and have developed a new set of canned food products that turn the notion that cheap ≠ quality on its head. 

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“No Chairs Allowed” and Other Surprising Meeting Rules from Industry Giants

Business meetings: is there any more frustrating part of cubicle life? Sure, they are a necessity for lots of reasons, but who hasn’t sat through some interminable meeting thinking how much more they could be getting accomplished back at their desk? There’s something about the meeting format that is just ripe for time-wasting, getting off track, arguments and pointless exercises.

Large corporations have to know how to reign that wastefulness in to be successful, so we took a look at how some of the biggest companies in the world keep their meetings fast and efficient. Read on for their rules to meet by. Read More

Measure Asia’s Air Pollution with a Map Based on the Length of Your Nasal Hair!

In recent years along with many other developing Asian nations, China has been increasing its level of industrial manufacturing as it readies itself for remarkable industrial growth. However, neglecting its environment for the sake of industry has brought with it the problem of dense smog pollution, with microscopic smog particles with a diameter of 2.5 micrometres or less having been detected in overwhelming large amounts in China’s air in recent days.

The smog is the same as that found in factory exhausts, car fumes and the like. Measured per cubic meter, at one instance the observed value of pollution in Beijing reached levels 10 times the Chinese government’s recommended safety level. If one were to go by the Wealth Health Organization (WHO)’s recommended value, the figure rises to 40 times greater than normal. When it comes to pollution, it is thought that of the asian nations undergoing remarkable growth, 70% of nations are reaching a critical level. The toxic substances that seep out into the environment cause asthma, pneumonia and even in some cases death.

Of course, those living in highly polluted areas will surely want to know how their air compares, but measuring the levels each time can prove tiresome and expensive. With this in mind, one innovative company called Clean Air Asia has stumbled upon a way determine just how polluted your air is, and has designed an interactive map based on – wait for it – nostil hair.

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New iPad App “The Legend of Momotaro” Brings Japanese Folk Tale to Life

Telling the age-old story of a hero born from a giant peach, Ghost Hand Games’ new app The Legend of Momotaro landed on our iPad last weekend. Promising an inspiring interactive experience while telling the classic Japanese tale, we fired it up right away. A couple of hours of reading, listening and screen-tapping later, we were left with no doubt in our minds: technology really can do great things for an old reading experience.

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Surf While You Slurp: Anti-Loneliness Ramen Bowl Promises Relief for Singles

Salty tears roll down your cheeks as you spend yet another night alone eating instant ramen. You despondently stare at the ripples formed as you continue to sob into your noodles. The broth takes on a miserable taste you are all too familiar with.

Singles rejoice! Your nights of eating alone will be made a little less lonely thanks to this new invention: the anti-loneliness ramen bowl!

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Japanese Researchers Unravel the Mechanism Behind the Cause of Depression.

A research team from universities in Nagoya, Japan, has come one step further in developing an effective medicine against the debilitating disorder that is depression.

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The Mine Kafun — An Amazing Invention That Could Save Lives And Make the World a Safer Place

We all know that life can be cruel, but few things in this world are crueller than landmines that can indiscriminately maim or kill innocent civilians, young or old, decades after they’ve been planted. If ever you needed proof of human foolishness, you only have to think about the countless hidden landmines still buried in different parts of the world, perhaps long forgotten by the people who planted them, but still as capable as ever of maiming or killing unsuspecting victims.

Sadly, mines continue even today to be very much a real threat. In Afghanistan, it is reported that roughly one million people live within 500 meters (about 1/3 mile) of areas suspected of containing land mines and that more than 40 people each month lose their lives to these concealed but deadly contraptions. The tragic, needless loss of life is truly horrifying to think about. But now, there’s a new device that may make a huge difference in improving the situation. It’s called the Mine Kafun, and don’t let its somewhat futuristic yet simple appearance deceive you — this gadget could be a very effective and inexpensive weapon in mankind’s efforts to rid the world of landmines. Read More

A Shower and Bar on an Airplane?! The Emirates Airbus is More Like a Hotel

Ever wanted to see the inside of a luxury aircraft, but don’t have the dough to make your dream a reality? One of our normally frugal writers decided to splurge and take a business class flight on an Emirates Airbus A380. Surprised by the wide array of perks the flight offered, she documented the best parts of the trip. Take a look at her photographs of the surprising amenities, like an inflight bar lounge and shower, which make this plane seem more like a hotel. It’s not quite the same as boarding the plane yourself, but unlike the flight, reading this article won’t cost you a penny and you’re free to move about the cabin at any time.

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Ipad Users ‘Left in the Cold’ as Changes in Temperature Affect the Unit’s Rechargeable Battery.

Mainland China has recently been having some of the coldest weather on record in the past thirty years. When it comes to protecting yourself from the severity of the winter season, wrapping up in something warm goes without saying. However if someone were to tell you that they treated their electrical appliances in the same way, I’m sure you’d think they need their head examining. At least this was the traditional line of thought up until now.

iPad users from China are reporting that the extreme cold is preventing their unit’s battery from charging. As a quick fix, many are recommending that you treat it like your very own flesh and blood — by wrapping it up in something warm!

Chinese users seem to be adopting several methods to bring their device back to a healthy temperature. Some are making use of halogen heaters; others are using air conditioners. The method attracting the most attention, and dare we say the most endearing of all, is that which involves wrapping your iPad up in a warm garment as though it were a little baby! Some are even going so far as to thrust their device in between their clothes.

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Real Life Gold Skulltula? Yellow Spider with Human Face Spotted in Hong Kong.

Recently a bizarre eight legged creature bearing striking resemblance to gold skultullas — the special from gold-backed spiders from the Legend of Zelda series — has been spotted in Hong Kong.

At first glance,you might be inclined to think that you’ve been playing too much Nintendo, but this spider with a seemingly human face is an actual image taken by an eyewitness.

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CEO of Nidec Says Japan Can’t Compete Without Labor Deregulation, Workers Respond With “F- That!”

During an interview at his Kyoto headquarters this week, Nidec Corporation CEO Shigenobu Nagamori was quoted as saying, “Due to Japan’s strict labor laws, we cannot compete with enterprises in Korea and China.” He intends to lobby the government to relax labor regulations to allow for more flexible working conditions.

He additionally said that the government and the Bank of Japan need to weaken and maintain the yen to around a 90-100 yen to the dollar exchange rate in order for Japanese export companies to compete with booming exports from China and Korea. Read More

The King of Pizzas? We Sample Domino’s Pricey New Luxury Pizza 【Food Review】

Domino’s Pizza, one of the world’s most well-known home delivery pizza services, has recently released a new luxury pizza in Japan– an exclusive to the pizza fast food market.

Priced at 5,800 yen (about US$66), however, you’d be right to think twice before parting with your cash; after all, this is essentially just a circle of baked dough with fancy toppings. Sure, after piling all of your favourite toppings onto a pizza pie, one might hit the 5,000 yen mark, but a large-sized pizza starting at 5,800 yen?!

This had better be something very special…

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Father Attempts to Solve his Son’s Online Addiction by Hiring a ‘Hunter’ to Shoot his Boy Down

Co-operative online gaming is defined by the sense of mutual indispensability it brings; regardless of the age, nationality or sex of the player you are teaming up with, taking on a particular role as a team is what makes it so fascinating — and addicting. If you suddenly pull out, your allied team mate is left to settle the dilemma first hand. Vise versa, if you’re left to tackle the enemy yourself, you feel equally betrayed. It is this unspoken agreement of “I’ll watch your back if you watch mine” that compounds the feeling of seeing the game through to the end.

On this is note, let me introduce an episode involving a twenty-three year old social recluse’s online gaming antics that has recently been making the news in China. The father of this twenty-three year old gamer grew concerned that his son was becoming too obsessed with the gaming world; not having any interest in finding a job or placing his efforts into anything but gaming, the son’s father resorted to a rather unique measure in attempt to stop his son in his tracks.

Most fathers, when confronted with a similar problem, would tell their son to get his act together or even go so far as to confiscate his gaming equipment. What this father did however was hire an ‘online hunter’ or, in other words, a ‘gaming pro’, to shoot down his son inside the game itself and thus destroys his son’s ‘online gaming morale’.

Some will undoubtedly be exclaiming “that’s pure ingenuity” others, “isn’t that going a little bit too far?!”

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Japanese Debate Program Wants Your Opinion on Major Issues, Participate Now on Facebook

NHK has been running a series of panel debate shows called WISDOM which covers globally relevant issues by holding a discussion among experts from around the world.  Since 2010, they have covered a range of topics from economic crises, to Arab Spring, to bullying.

However, as of this year, they are planning on making an ambitious new addition to the program: YOU, if you’re willing.

Starting from their next episode titled “What Next for the Global Economy?” they are inviting everyone in the world to submit their opinions and suggestions for a truly global perspective on matters that affect all of us.

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Man Tries his Attempts at Evading Excess Luggage Charges at the Airport by Wearing Over 60 Layers of Clothing!

As with many trips abroad, the purchasing of souvenirs for your friends and family and admittedly, the occasional gift for yourself is a routine common to most. The time and effort invested in making sure you have something for everyone can take its toll not only mentally, but also on the weight of your luggage upon arrival at the airport. “Just how can I get all this stuff through without being charged a fortune?” is I’m sure a fear that goes through the minds of many. When it comes to airport excess luggage costs, the excess cost itself can sometimes even exceed the actual value of the goods being brought back. Whatever is the case, nobody wants be charged excessively for something they’ve already paid for. Whether it be disposing of the gift’s packaging and then diligently placing it in your hand luggage, or if it happen to be a fashion accessory or item of clothing, wearing it as if it were your own, having some form of strategy is arguably better than being completely defenseless against the wrath that is the custom and excise department.

The other day, a man passing though China’s Kantan airport took this idea of ‘wearing your luggage’ to the extreme. Admittedly wrapping yourself in a couple of extra layers isn’t really any reason to warrant criticism and I’m sure it’s something many of us have considered at some point. What we’re talking about here is the act of piling on countless number of layers of clothing at once! Without question, such outrageousness cannot help but raise the suspicion of the airport staff.

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Einstein or Marilyn Monroe? Take a Good Look at These Astounding Optical Illusions

Take a look at this picture.  Who do you see?  If you see Marilyn Monroe, you may be shortsighted.

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Sony Warns Not to Put Your Gaming Console in the Microwave, Leaves Online Community Dumbfounded

Sony’s recent publicly-announced warning not to put your gaming console in the microwave, has left most of the online community completely lost for words. If you happen to be the owner of a Sony gaming console, placing it in the microwave only to fry the hell of it is surely the last thing on your agenda. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that such reports have recently been doing the rounds on the net. Frying your treasured gaming console obviously defies all forms of common sense and I’m sure most of you will be racking your brains as to whom and under what circumstances would do such a thing.

So just why would Sony issue such a bizarre warning? In short, Sony appears only to be going by the facts, or should we say the evidence that remains resident on the game console after being submitted for repair:

“Of the defective products received by Sony, we have detected on some rate occasions evident changes in the shape of the unit and even burn marks that can only be assumed to have been brought about by the use of an electrical appliance such as a hairdryer or microwave”.

Sony adds, “Heating up your game console leads not only to a defective unit but also creates the risk of a fire or even serious injury”.

Whilst there is much speculation and even theories out there as to why game users would resort to such an act, hard evidence is much lacking.

So just what are some of these theories?

Forget about sending your broken game console to Sony: if you have a hairdryer at hand, repair it yourself the D.I.Y way! – Or so the ‘hairdryer method’ would have you believe!

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