cool

Small, fast, and ‘crazy rickety’ – Cambodia’s breakneck bamboo train 【Video】

Shot by a couple during a visit to Cambodia and uploaded to YouTube just last week, the following video treats us to a ride on one of Cambodia’s “bamboo trains” — worryingly shaky, home-made bamboo pallets balanced on a pair of train wheels and fitted with a disconcertingly large engine.

After all, what trip abroad is complete without experiencing some potentially perilous activity that you’d never dream of doing in your own country?

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Going up? One more reason to love Amazon Japan

Sighted in the upper reaches of Amazon Japan’s offices, these elevator doors–designed to resemble the company’s tear-open delivery boxes–were snapped by a Japanese Twitter user and shared online this past weekend. Suffice it to say, they just made our day.

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Tokyo Toy Fair: The only place you’ll see cute girls and Star Wars figures in the same room

We used our journalistic cred to gain access to the Tokyo Toy Fair a few days in advance of the public. Don’t hate us–we did it for you!

Check out our gallery below, and please excuse any blurring. We’re perfectly comfortable interacting with Gundam models, but talking to female models gives us the shakes.

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Ultra-detailed Laputa figurine will make your friends fly into jealous nerdrage

After teasing a release of “something” for a month on their website, Bandai unveiled this painstakingly detailed figure of the iconic robot from Hayao Miyazaki’s Castle in the Sky, to the delighted squeals of Ghibli geeks everywhere.

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Heroic dog in Thailand warms our hearts, makes us feel inadequate by comparison

While travelling in Thailand, I was surprised by the large number of unattended dogs roaming about town. Much like the country’s citizens, though, they’re generally good-natured, and you’ll often see the laid-back pooches sleeping peacefully in plazas, next to temples, and along riverbanks.

Thai society appreciates the value of a good nap, but one canine in the city of Ayutthaya has more than just cultural justification for taking a snooze. Pui the Bangkaew dog has earned himself a little bit of rest and relaxation by saving a baby’s life.

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Nintendo’s two new Smash Bros games have one of the coolest trailers ever

For many fitness enthusiasts, exercising in front of a TV while perched a Nintendo Wii balance board might seem like a bit of a joke, and we’re sure that yoga is the last thing on many gamers’ minds when they power up their machine. So when we first caught sight of the following video from Nintendo we weren’t quite sure what to make of it. As it turns out, though, as well as introducing not one but two new Super Smash Bros games for Wii U and 3DS, with new characters to boot, the video itself is actually quite awesome.

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From cabbages to katanas – five awesome umbrellas from Japan!

Most people prefer to open their curtains in the morning to find bright, clear skies waiting for them, but with the arrival of the rainy season (known as 梅雨 tsuyu, and written with the characters for “plum” and “rain”) here in Japan we‘ve got a long stretch of wet weather ahead. If that has you down, perhaps channeling your inner superhero when you wake up in the morning and stepping out with this ninja sword umbrella will brighten your day. And if fantasizing about slashing enemy combatants isn’t your thing, maybe the romaine lettuce-inspired Vegetabrella from Tokyo Noble is what you need to put a smile on your face.

Take a look at these five rainy day inspirations helping ensure Japan stays dry during drizzling days of June.

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“Oh no, I forgot to pack my Lamborghini!” Not to worry: this Tokyo hotel has got you covered

Among the numerous luxuries the Conrad Tokyo provides guests is the hotel’s extensive list of amenities, such as uniquely-scented soaps, shampoos and rubber duckies to make bath time in your opulent, free-standing tub just that much better.

Of course, these pale in comparison to the perks offered for the traveler who books a room in the hotel’s newest promotional package, which include a 552-horsepower mid-engined supercar.

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Japan’s futuristic underground bicycle parking vaults

Culture Japan’s Danny Choo gives us an inside look at one of Shinagawa’s automated bicycle vaults, proving once and for all that they are not operated by tiny elves working under illegal labour conditions.

Our favourite part is when the official explains that the vaults keep bikes safe from “the weather and pranksters.” Damn those pranksters, stealing our bikes! Not funny this time, you guys.

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Want that new Mac Pro now? Amazon Japan currently offering the next best thing!

Calling all MacHeads! Can’t wait to get your hands on that ever-so-sexy Mac Pro introduced at the WWDC a few days ago? Not to worry, Amazon Japan has you covered, almost. Check out the New TUBELOR (black) from ideaco which can be yours for a mere 3,465 yen (about US$36). Though it doesn’t come with dual GPUs, PCI Express-based flash storage or high-performance Thunderbolt 2, with a little work on your part, this piece of just-as-sexy office hardware could have your co-workers drooling with envy, and, bump you to the top of your office’s cool colleague rankings.

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Toyota to exhibit build-it-yourself concept car at Tokyo Toy Show 2013

Japan’s Toyota Motors has announced that it will display its Camatte 57s concept car at the Tokyo Toy Show 2013, which begins tomorrow. The family oriented three seater is designed to be so simple that “even a child could drive it”, and features a body that is fully customizable by the owner, with 57 individual panels that can be attached and removed entirely by hand.

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Unexpected performance by string quartet brings cheer to passengers suffering flight delay

Last week Beijing Capital International Airport experienced a number of flight cancellations in addition to delays lasting more than three hours due to inclement weather. In the past this has caused rage and destructive acts of violence from grounded passengers. This time, however, a small miracle occurred. Within the cabin of one of many flights stuck in runway limbo, members of one of America’s acclaimed orchestras put on an impromptu performance to sooth their stir-crazy cabin mates. By the end of the five-minute piece everyone on board was all smiles, clapping and cheering for the string quartet. Keep reading for a special YouTube clip of this musical magic.

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Acclaimed action figure animator turns his hand to Zelda 【Video】

The man brought us the jaw-dropping stop motion videos of battles between iconic Dragon Ball and Street Fighter characters has done it again! This time, he’s brought The Legend of Zelda‘s sword-wielding hero Link to play, and he’s got a sexy gun-toting pal with him…

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To live and dine in L.A.: we find marshmallow ramen in the City of Angels

Among the extensive pantheon of ramen varieties is tsukemen, in which the noodles are served on a dish with a bowl of dipping sauce on the side. My first experience with the dish was in college, when a buddy took me to a tsukemen place that had opened up near our campus in Tokyo that was famous for their sauce made with fish stock. At the time it seemed like a wildly exotic concoction, but little did I know that years later my hometown of Los Angeles would produce an even more outlandish version of the dish: marshmallow ramen.

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Are you man enough for Family Mart’s line of masculine sweets?

So here’s a tricky question: do desserts count as masculine or feminine food? On the one hand, a slice of chocolate cake is just as bold a statement of your culinary decadence as a nice fried pork cutlet. In either case, it’s at least a little wild and macho to eat something with such shaky nutritional value yet unquestionable deliciousness, similar to how I rationalize eating a pack of ham out of the fridge when I’m too lazy to go buy bread for a sandwich as being a natural result of my raging testosterone.

On the other hand, sweets are, well, sweet. Truly red-blooded males can’t even bring themselves to utter the word “sweet” unless they add “taste of revenge” after it while clenching a fist and glaring at the horizon.

Thankfully, Japanese convenience store chain Family Mart is here to help end this confusion with a line of desserts tailor-made for everybody born with a Y chromosome.

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Crafty crochet turns tortoise into evil King Koopa

While it’s easy to get swept up in all the talk of new technology and the future of home entertainment, it’s sometimes nice to take a moment to focus on the more leisurely pursuits that one can enjoy. As we’ve seen before, the kinds of arts and crafts that have been popular hobbies for generations can still manage to impress us, and this piece is no exception– transforming a regular pet into the evil lizard king Bowser from the Super Mario Bros. games.

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Onsen Ramen – Why go to the hot spring when the hot spring can come to you?

If there’s one thing Japan loves, it’s ramen, and if there’s a second thing, it’s hot springs (or onsen in Japanese).

We recently found a place in Tokyo’s Suginami Ward that combines both.

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Kiefer Sutherland confirmed as lead voice actor in newest Metal Gear Solid game

As soon as the teaser trailer for Hideo Kojima’s upcoming video game Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was released earlier this year, gaming news websites and message boards exploded, partly because it was clear that David Hayter, the voice actor who had played the character of Solid Snake since 1998, had been replaced, but mostly because the new voice in the video sounded an awful lot like that of world-famous actor Kiefer Sutherland. Earlier today, those rumours were finally confirmed: Jack Bauer is Snake!

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Figurines, Wii U consoles and free vacations – Grab a sweet prize in 7-Eleven’s ‘Jump Heroes’ campaign

Convenience store giant 7-Eleven certainly knows its way to customers’ hearts. The store’s current Jump Heroes campaign–a collaboration with Shonen Jump Comics–is giving customers the chance to bag some pretty impressive prizes, with things like games consoles, tablet computers and even free hotel accommodation up for grabs.

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Taiwan introduces the future of cartography: nationwide school uniform maps

Despite being a made famous by thousands of Japanese TV shows and comics, cute “sailor suit” uniforms and their ilk are not limited to schools in Japan alone. As we’ve seen before, high schools all across Asia kit their female students out with a variety of stylish getups, with the girls themselves often making their own modifications, usually quite aware that they are wearing outfits that millions of people across the world think are cute or just plain sexy.

But it appears that Japan’s reign as the school uniform capital of the world may soon be over. Bringing fashion and cartography together at last, a specially designed map of Taiwan which provides photos of the school uniforms the girls in each particular area are rocking has become a big hit online this week.

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