The future is up: The next ‘world’s-tallest-building’

Burj Khalifa is a tower in Dubai that stands an awe-inspiring 829.8  meters (2,722 feet) tall. With that height, it is currently the world’s tallest building, as well as being Tom Cruise’s favorite thing to climb.

But all that might change in just six months, if everything goes according to plan for one Chinese company. Well, minus the Tom Cruise part.
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80-year-old Japanese man conquers Everest, 81-year-old Nepalese rival hot on his heels

George Mallroy, one of the first Britons to attempt to conquer Mount Everest back in 1924, famously said of his desire to climb the mountain that he did so “because it’s there.” In the case of two of the mountain’s most recent visitors, “because I can” might be a better mantra.

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We devour a mountain of ramen (toppings)

By far the plainest, most bare-bones name for a guy in Japan is Taro. Look at just about any sample application form in the country, and nine times out of ten the applicant’s name will be listed as “Taro.” When coupled with a girl’s name like Hanako it’s the equivalent of “Dick and Jane,” showing up in children’s stories and textbooks.

Nonetheless,the name Taro is something of a classic, and a common choice for first-born sons. But change the first kanji character Taro is written with and you get “Jiro,” meaning more or less “second son.” Jiro doesn’t have quite the cachet of Taro, as it has a perpetual little brother-like ring to it.

Restaurant chain Ramen Jiro doesn’t play second fiddle to anyone, though, especially with creations like this.
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Japanese band with American singer wants to turn music industry on its ear with free downloads and gigs

There are a couple of standard job categories most foreigners working into Japan fall into. You’ll find plenty of English teachers and IT professionals, along with some financial service providers and executive recruiters. A few of the best-looking even end up as models, actors, or writers for RocketNews24 (thankfully the boss forgot his contacts the day he interviewed me).

But American expat Nelson Babin-Coy is aiming for something a little different: indie rock star. Read More

JSDF’s new helicopter may or may not be fake, a real-life transformer

All this anime is clearly getting to Japanese people’s heads. Japanese media has fallen hook, line and sinker for this seemingly impossible, anime-inspired helicopter design, breathlessly reporting that Ghost in the Shell-style vehicles are being designed by the (Japan Self Defence Force) JSDF right now.

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Pigs fly (in broth form) as ANA serves up in-flight Ippudo ramen

Japan has earned plenty of foodie cred over the last few years. Tokyo has topped multiple lists of the best cities in the world to eat out in, morning talk shows showcase delicious, hole-in-the wall restaurants and bakeries almost every day, and this month even provincial Hiroshima got its own Michelin Guide.

But even with a nation of enthusiastic diners and gastronomic craftsmen ready to serve them, airline food is, for the most part, nothing to get too excited about. Unless you happen to be flying ANA internationally, that is, where you can now get Ippudo ramen. Read More

Japanese iPad artist is the Leonardo da Vinci of digital finger paints 【Video】

In the future, great works of art will need to be located near museum power outlets because, apparently, the iPad is rapidly becoming the next generation canvas.

iPad artists have wowed us before with astonishing works of art, but most of them rely on paintbrush-like styluses. Japanese artist Seiko Yamaoka, however, is cranking out eye-poppingly realistic copies of famous paintings using that most clumsy and smelly of tools: the human fingertip.

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Star Wars Characters Journey to the West as Classical Chinese Warriors

With the next Star Wars movie due for release sometime in 2015, it’s an anxious wait before fans get to see their favourite characters once again. And who knows what will happen to Yoda and the gang now they’re owned by the house that made Mickey? For now, though, you can put those worries aside because we’ve found something to take your mind off things. It’s part Death Star, part Chinese warrior and 100 percent totally awesome. Check out six famous Star Wars characters who look like they’ve stepped back into the Six Dynasties of ancient China!

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Silly Pun Leads to Great Dessert – Special Strawberry Shortcake Available Just Once a Month at Japanese Convenience Store

In almost every company in Japan, payday is on the 25th of the month. While this means every month feels a little like Christmas, it also means that if you’ve been partying a little too hard for the last 30-odd days, around the 22nd, your bank balance might be looking pretty dismal.

But no matter how much you try to cut back, man can’t live on bread alone. Looking to treat yourself to the most meager luxury possible, you might stumble into a branch of the Japanese convenience store Lawson, where there’s a special treat to brighten your day that’s available only on the 22nd of each month. Read More

Hello Kitty Melons Selling for an Exorbitant Price in Japan

Japan seems to have mastered the art of growing cute fruit. Heart lemons, star cucumbers, and even the infamous square watermelons are all testaments to the lengths farmers in Japan will go to in order to provide the masses with adorable fruit. The newest delightfully deformed fruit to hit the market is a musk melon with an image of Hello Kitty etched into the rind. However only a select few who are quick (and rich) enough to snatch them up will be able to enjoy the flavor of Hello Kitty’s melons in their mouth.

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Take a Ride on Japan’s New Amphibious Bus and See the Sites of Tokyo!

Japan’s latest tourism offering looks set to capture the attention of both sightseers and locals seeking a spot of adventure. From the Japanese company that embarked on such enterprises as the open air double-decker bus comes the “land and water bus”. The development of the vehicle is part of a new Tokyo sightseeing strategy undertaken by Japanese automobile company “Hinomaru Bus”. The service, dubbed “Sky Duck Tokyo Splash Tour”, launched on March 2013 and has been fully booked since its first day of operation.

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It’s Dangerous to Go Alone! Take this! 3-D Printing Zelda Equipment

Becoming obsessed with The Legend of Zelda after getting it as a birthday present at the age of six, one fan has found a way to bring items from the game into the real world.

How, you ask with images of magical blacksmiths dancing in your head. Simple: 3-D printing!

This fan, who documents the creations at the incredible blog Hyrule Founder, recreated the 8-bit items as 3-D, digital models and printed them with a high-quality 3-D printer. Read More

‘He Ain’t Ugly, He’s My Robot’ – Creative Use of Garbage in China Results in One Man’s Robo Pal

“Johnny Five… is alive!” Despite both betraying my age and likely alienating half of my audience by using a quote from an obscure 80s robot movie, I can’t help but think that if this young man’s robot could speak, he’d immediately thank his lucky stars that his master breathed life into what was once little more than a pile of junk. You see, the two-metre-tall robot standing with his arm around ingenious inventor Tao Xiangli here was built at home using nothing more than parts salvaged from scrap.

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Toys for Grown-Ups – Tokyo Marui Comes to Play with ‘Gun-Sound’ Replica Sniper Rifles, Pistols and Grenade Launchers

Despite being a country where firearms are incredibly rare and licences to own them notoriously difficult to obtain, there nevertheless remain thousands of gun nuts in Japan. Thankfully, the majority of firearm fans here are content to spend hours poring over photos and technical diagrams of weapons, occasionally visiting shooting ranges or watching videos of pretty girls squeezing off a few rounds while dressed as French maids.

For those who prefer to have something to play with at home, there are airsoft guns from makers such as Tokyo Marui, which feature a shockingly high level of detail and come with all manner of bells and whistles in an attempt to recreate the experience of firing the real thing without the risk of death, serious injury or being arrested. But as aesthetically pleasing as these firing replicas are, one key element was always missing: sound.

Enter: Bakuon Gun-Sound replicas.

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Art That *STICKS* In Your Mind! Sculptures by Ryo Sehata

Most famous artists, no matter how original, tend to work in established mediums. Even Picasso and Dali, who flaunted the rules of perspective like biker gangs buzzing cabbies, are known mostly for their paintings. But every now and then, someone comes along and blows our minds with utterly gorgeous work in an extraordinarily unique medium.

Today, that mind-blower is Ryo Sehata. And just what is his medium? Why, none other than regular, shop-bought cellophane tape.

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We Use Lotteria’s Ramen Burger to Make a Bowl of Ramen Noodles, Restore the Natural Balance of the Universe

On May 17, Japanese hamburger chain Lotteria’s ramen burger went on sale in the Tokyo area. Comprised of a slab of seasoned pork and a handful of noodles sandwiched inside a bun, with a cup of broth on the side, the sandwich is a collaboration between Lotteria and the popular ramen restaurant chain Musashi.

Representing the convergence of two of fast food’s all-stars, the ramen burger has been a hit, with lines stretching out the door when it went on sale. But our stomachs are fickle masters, and we decided to tear the two star-crossed lovers apart once again by using the ramen burger to make a bowl of ramen noodles. Read More

Japanese Electronics Company Releases Camera Glasses for Under US$100

With the general release of Google Glass still several months away, Tokyo-based electronics maker Thanko is already offering gadget lovers something that shares one function with Google’s wearable computer for a fraction of the price.

On April 11 Thanko released its mita manma megane, or “just what you see glasses” video camera, designed like a pair of eyeglasses. Read More

Are You Jealous of Raf’s Perfect Girlfriend?

On the coast, overlooking the gently rolling sea, it’s the perfect place for a romantic date with your loving girlfriend… Read More

Simple Arts and Crafts Kit Produces Beautiful, Shiny Balls of Mud

Some things just don’t quite translate culturally. For example, in most parts of the West, horses aren’t really considered food, while some Japanese consider horse meat a delicacy, particularly if you don’t mar the flavor by cooking it before eating. But whether it’s a hamburger or a stallion skewer, at the end of the day they’re both ways of satisfying a meat lover’s cravings.

Likewise, kids in Japan might reach for some dango dumplings instead of a slice of cake, but they’re both just treats for someone with a sweet tooth. Which brings us to another fundamental human condition: children love to make things out of mud, and while Japanese kids don’t make mud cakes, they make mud dango.

Now, writing supply maker Shachihata is putting a new, shiny spin on mud dango. Read More

Kanagawa Junior High School Friends Set Out on an 80-Kilometer Adventure to Hakone by Skateboard 【Video】

Located in Kanagawa Prefecture, the city of Hakone is a popular weekend travel destination for people living in the Tokyo area. The town’s numerous open-air hot springs and traditional inns, several with spectacular views of Mt. Fuji, attract visitors both young and old.

Most people headed to Hakone take the train, although the mountain passes that wind through and around the town make it a popular destination for drifters, too (the kind with cars, not the kind with bindles). One group of recent Kanagawa junior high graduates thought it would be more fun to bypass motorized transportation and headed out for Hakone by skateboard, taking their video camera with them. Read More

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