business

Are You Adult Enough for this Pepsi?

Summer is a competitive time for beverage companies, who duke it out to get those thirsty, hot customers. Actually, manufacturers (as well as regular people) are still contending this year with a lean, electricity-short summer, a season when the demand for power understandably goes up. Amid all these circumstances, those of you who yearn for an unsweet soft drink should have a crack at ‘Pepsi Black’, coming mid-June.

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Designer Sushi Seaweed – An Interview with its Creator

Design NORI, squares of seaweed (nori in Japanese) carefully crafted into intricate and beautiful designs, have been gaining attention both in Japan and overseas. Currently featured in KATAGAMI STYLE, a 19th century Japanese stencil artwork exhibition being held at the Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum in Tokyo until May 27, they’re going for 840 yen (10 USD) a piece and are currently sold out, the museum unable to keep up with a flood of inquiries.

How did this ‘designer seaweed’ come into being? We visited the Umino Seaweed Shop in Ibaraki Prefecture and spoke with creator Umino Hiroyuki (32) to find out.

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A New Convenience Store (Just Probably Not Convenient For You)

The Japanese convenience store chain Poplar has announced its newest store opening in none other than Tachikawa Detention Center. As in the clink, the joint, the hoosegow: jail. Read More

The Japanese version of the popular travel information site Trip Adviser recently published a list of the best factory tours in Japan. Perhaps unsurprisingly, one of the nation’s most popular exports makes it to number one. Read More

KDDI Releases First Iridium Satellite Phone with GPS Capability

On April 13, KDDI will begin selling “Extreme,” the newest Iridium satellite phone model and the first equipped with a GPS function.

With the GPS function, Extreme users can periodically update people in their address book on their location via email. In case of emergency, they can push the SOS Button on top of the unit to send an automatic message containing their GPS position.

At 10% thinner and 7% lighter than 9555, the previous model, it is now the thinnest, lightest Iridium satphone, and it also features better resistance to water and dust. Read More

Newspaper Companies Rally Against Inevitable Demise by Giving a Few Free Copies Away with the Purchase of an Egg McMuffin

McDonald’s may not be the best place to get nourishment for your body, but for one week at selected branches you could get some food for thought, in the form of a free newspaper.

That’s right, McDonald’s restaurants and the Japan Newspaper association have collaborated to bring you Spring Newspaper Week (April 6 to 12), which many are lauding as a glorious waste of time.

The purpose of Spring Newspaper Week is to combat the growing trend of young people not using newspapers.  Strangely, more and more younger people prefer reading their news on phones that fit in the palm of their hands rather than cumbersome sheets of paper that make their fingers black.

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IT Company’s Recruitment Ad Offers Sexual Healing to Unemployment

Anyone who’s ever clicked through corporate recruitment pages is well accustomed to the stock photo montages of multicultural, gender neutral, in colorful-but-not-too-colorful blue shirt business people shaking hands with unrealistically large smiles on their faces.

They’re so bland and innocuous that they become the visual equivalent to white noise.  That’s why when a company tries something different, they stand out big time, and the reason why I now know who Telecom Support Inc. of Tokyo is.

Their recent recruitment ad posted on a website for job hunters, displays an employee seemingly reaching the height of sexual ecstasy over how awesome his job is.  Intrigued? Me too.

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Panasonic Developing 24-Fingered Hair-Washing Robot


If Panasonic has its way, the next human task we entrust to Japanese robots will be hair-washing. The electronics manufacturing giant is developing a hair-washing robot and hopes to put it into actual service in beauty salons before the end of the year.

First, the robot moves its mechanical fingertips around the customer’s head, measuring it with sensors. Once it has an idea of the unique shape of the customer’s head, it applies hot water and shampoo and uses its 24 digits to wash the customer’s hair. Read More

Yay ‘merica! Bacon Shake! But How’s It Taste?

Well, that’s what we’re here for.

So, Americans love bacon. Bacon with eggs. Bacon with burgers. Bacon with waffles, even. We’ve even seen bacon with chocolate and other sweets. Read More

Amazon Buys Robot Company for $755M Reducing Warehouse Staff’s Duties to Standing Still and Pushing Pretty Red Buttons

Kiva Systems is a company that found some success selling their warehouse robots to many major retailers looking to keep up with the juggernaut that is Amazon.com notable clients of their included the GAP and Toys “R” Us.

However, just recently Amazon responded with a big capitalistic FU to their competitors by buying Kiva Systems. This means that Amazon now kind of owns the distribution systems of many of their rivals.  The price of $755 million doesn’t sound too crazy now, does it?

But as we shall see, the real loser in this deal is the human race.  This is because along with this acquisition, Amazon is now the proud father of Kiva’s army of tiny orange warehouse robots.  Kiva’s promotion video gives us a bleak view of how the world will look when the robots take over.

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Car Horns on Steroids in India. They Will (Luxuriously) F* You Up

To say that the streets in India are congested is an understatement. If you’re used to driving in Europe or the U.S., basically you’d need to prepare to enter a completely different world, like in Running Man but with 10,000 other contestants.

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Put the Tokyo Subway in Your Mouth!

Among both train nerds and the general public, the bright red 300-series cars that originally ran on the Marunouchi subway line in Tokyo are much beloved. This year, that line celebrates the 50th anniversary of the completion of its full length, and someone has fittingly made it a cake. Literally.

The cakes, called Marunouchi Line 300-Series 3D Cake, are being sold for a limited time at the price of 7980 yen (about $97).
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Kirin Releasing Fat-Busting Cola

This month, beverage maker Kirin announced that it will be releasing the first ever health food cola on April 24th. The drink will be called Kirin Mets Cola. No connection to the MLB team, although fans will find the font suspiciously familiar.

According to the company, the drink contains an indigestible form dextrin sometimes used as a fiber supplement, which restricts the body’s ability to absorb fat while eating. It contains no sweeteners and has strong carbonation for a refreshing feel. They also claim that blood tests performed in house after consuming the beverage prove the drink keeps levels of neutral fats low after eating.
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