cool

Age-old Activity of Hitomoji Given a 21st Century Facelift by Students’ Human Emoticon

The above photo has been getting a lot of buzz on Twitter recently, possibly because it has a deeper message than even the students who made it intended.

Students spelling out messages en masse with their bodies is nothing new in Japan. Called hitomoji (human letters) it’s long been used in celebration of milestones for businesses and school graduations. This one, however, is just that little bit cooler.

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Domino’s Pizza Japan Teams Up with Hatsune Miku, Releases Fantastic Cringeworthy Video

Domino’s Pizza stepped things up a gear yesterday when it announced that it is partnering with digital pop idol Hatsune Miku for its latest promotional campaign. As well as allowing them to order pizzas without actually having to speak to anyone, the new Domino’s Pizza feat. Hatsune Miku app for iPhone lets customers enjoy private performances from the singing humanoid by pointing the iPhone’s camera at special app-friendly pizza boxes.

Perhaps even better than the campaign itself, though, is the cheesy video that Domino’s launched yesterday to introduce the app, which features company president Scott Oellkers doing his best to look excited about having his photo taken with the teal-haired star. Corporate enthusiasm aplenty after the break.

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Korean Delivery Guy Shows Us His Supernatural Powers 【Video】

Delivering flyers, brochures and leaflets in winter is no fun. It’s cold, windy, you get barked at or chased by dogs and the pay is bad. If only there were a way to cruise by, fling your wares and be off in the blink of an eye, safe in the knowledge that they won’t blow away or sit on the ground waiting to be stepped on or soaked through by the rain and snow…

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Floor Space Oddity: David Bowie Café to Open in Ginza for Month of March

Now that everyone has probably sobered up from last year’s Rolling Stones and Suntory collaboration, a new rock legend is bringing a slightly classier offering to Japan.

For just a few weeks of March, in Ginza, Tokyo you can enjoy the sights, sounds, and tastes of the Thin White Duke – David Bowie.

To promote The Next Day – his first album in 10 years – Sony will be converting part of their building into the David Bowie Café with a special selection of food and décor.

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Tokyo Store Launches Concierge Service to Help Clueless Men Shopping for their Girlfriends

With White Day little over a week away, thousands of men in Japan are currently feeling the heat. Having received gifts from their loved ones on Valentine’s Day, it’s now time to return the favour by buying their sweetheart something that simultaneously says “thank you” while acting as a token of their affections.

But when most men think of the words “great gift”, they often envisage things like video games or iPad-controlled helicopters, and the chances of such items going down well with their wives or girlfriends are slim to none.

Thankfully, help is at hand! Available at Tokyo’s Tokyu Hands department store, the White Day Concierge service is designed to help male shoppers on the hunt for a romantic gift find something that their other half may actually like, rather than just a female Tenga toy with a ribbon tied around it and the promise of a shoulder rub.

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Japanese Super Mario Fans’ Most Wished-For iPhone Accessory

With almost 40 percent of mobile phones in Japan now smart phones, people are constantly striving to find new ways to jazz up their iPhones and Android devices. As we’ve seen over the last few weeks here on RocketNews24, the popularity of character-based earphone jack plugs continues to rise, with even Disney hoping to cash in on the trend. The imaginative video game lovers over at Japan’s Gold Rush, however, have something better in mind.

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Get Your Fruit for Nothing and Your Veg For Free

It’s famously said that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and while that may be true, you can at least get some of the ingredients without laying down a penny. We check out a new website that claims to offer free produce, straight from the farmer to you. Swag!
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Researchers at Osaka University Create Energy-Producing “Solar Paper”

Next stop, paper passenger planes!

In a news story over at Gizmodo Japan, the creative problem solvers at Osaka University announced that they have engineered a new type of “paper” that can actually generate and store energy from sunlight.

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Kutani-ware Porcelian Skulls Remind Us of Our Mortality, Art’s Longevity

Kutaniyaki, or Kutani ware, is a style of porcelain making that dates back to the 17th Century. It’s known for its bold colors and designs, but one company is taking the traditional form in a decidedly modern direction with its new series of Kutaniyaki Skulls. Read More

Forget Water Coolers, Catch up with Coworkers Around the Instant Miso Soup Dispenser

Ladies and gentlemen, the water cooler is dead. From now on whenever they want to get the latest office gossip or slack off for a while, anyone who’s anyone will be drinking hot, individually made miso soup. Presenting: the One Shot Miso Soup dispenser.

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Second Unbelievable Piece of Architecture Found Right Next to Namba Parks

Previously we reported on the global reaction regarding a beautiful piece of architecture in Osaka, the shopping center Namba Parks (pictured above), which looks especially stunning when viewed from a high place.

However, another amazing photo surfaced on 9GAG a while back. Taken from a high angle it revealed an even more shockingly designed building that’s arguably even more impressive than Namba Parks.

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Tohoku Emotion: Japan’s Newest Tourism Incentive Where the Journey is the Star

Unveiled earlier this week, the “Tohoku Emotion” is a train unlike anything ever seen before in Japan.

Combining “food, art and scenery”, on board this train the journey itself takes the main role and passengers are able to cruise through Northeastern Japan’s beautiful countryside while sampling food freshly prepared before their very eyes.

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It’s the Little Things: One More Reason Why We Love Japan

After a long week at the office, our Japanese writer Yoshio was in dire need of a pick-me-up. After stretching and clicking his back, he stood up at his desk, tucked his wallet into his back pocket and announced in unusually glum tones that he was popping out to the convenience store to grab a few things.

A few minutes later, Yoshio walked back into office and placed his little white plastic bag down on his desk with a tired sigh. But then he stopped. Looking down at his purchases inside the bag, he suddenly began beaming with a level of happiness that we hadn’t seen in quite some time.

“Oo! Sugoi!” (“Oh! That’s awesome!”) he softly exclaimed.

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Waves Frozen in Place on Lake Kizaki, Nagano Prefecture

Winter. It’s cold and miserable most days, but every so often the freezing winds produce something magical that is awesome enough to take your mind off of your frozen toes. This is one of those things.

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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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Fact: CDs and Candles Produce Stunning Effects When Microwaved (Don’t Try This at Home)

Man, I wish someone told me this in the days of free AOL trial CDs.

It seems that putting an ordinary Compact Disc into your average microwave creates freaky lightning and a dramatic fiery demise.

Although you might expect them simply to burn up like an iPhone does, these data storage discs actually provide a kick-ass light show first.

This little known scientific gem was beautifully photographed and uploaded to Twitter, which then led to the discovery of a YouTube video documenting microwaved CDs.  So please don’t kill your microwave or yourself trying this – just check out these videos and pictures instead.

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Sony Unveils New Walkman for Swimmers– Light, Sturdy and on Sale for Under $170 this February

If you’re of the sporty persuasion and wish that you could take your tunes to the pool without having a funny-looking contraption strapped to your goggles or having your earphones fall out every other stroke, Sony’s newest addition to the Walkman series will definitely be of interest.

Scheduled for a February 16 release in Japan, the new NWD-W270 series features a compact, lightweight design and boasts 4GB of onboard storage space. Plenty of delicious images and details after the break.

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Lotteria x Evangelion Fukubukuro! What Anime Surprises Await Inside!?

Fukubukuro, lit. “lucky bag”, are a wonderful way for stores to shift merchandise at the start of the year, not unlike western stores’ New Year’s sales but with far more mystery and intrigue involved. Shoppers take a gamble when they purchase these gift bags as they are completely sealed and their contents unlisted, and they don’t always contain products that we desperately need, but fukubukuro usually contain items whose cash value far exceeds the bag’s asking price.

So when our reporter Kuzo heard that the fast food chain and home of 30-patty cheeseburgers Lotteria was offering up special collaborative Evangelion bags for just 2,000 yen each, he powered down his Wii U, stepped out into the sunlight and sprinted – well, sort of jogged while wheezing quietly – to his nearest store to grab one for himself.

Was it worth the US$22 purchase, or was Kuzo lumbered with a cooking-oil-scented bag of tat? Find out after the jump.

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This Coffee Ring Portrait Will Blow Your Mind 【Video】

Being both a huge coffee addict and a minor clean freak, I can’t stand spilling even a drop of my precious black liquid. Drops of tea of coffee in a saucer annoy me so much that I’ve been known to decant my drink into a fresh cup and start over. Similarly, if I’m in a restaurant and the condensation from my glass leaves wet marks on the table I’m forever cleaning them up with paper napkins.

Not this artist. Where most of us see annoying table-cloth-ruining stains and wet patches to soak our sleeves, Malaysian artist Hong Yi, also known simply as Red, sees a tool to paint with. By spilling a little coffee into a saucer, dipping her cup into it and pressing it down onto a canvas over and over again, she has created this portrait.

The entire mesmerizing process in video format after the jump!

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