Smartphones

Seven cool things set to happen in Japan during 2015

If there’s one thing we know, it’s that you should always wash your hands after going to the bathroom. If there’re two things we know, though, the second is that you’ll never get anywhere in life being fixated on the past. So while 2014 was a pretty good year for us, we’re already looking to the year ahead, which is already promising seven cool happenings for Japan in 2015.

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New Final Fantasy may not have playable female characters, will have almost naked male hero

When video game developer Square Enix gave the largest preview to date of its upcoming role-playing game Final Fantasy XV, it rubbed some fans the wrong way. Just about every installment since the series switched to having set characters has featured female adventurers, but the company announced that the playable cast of Final Fantasy XV is entirely male.

While details are still scarce about the separate but concurrently in-development game Mevius Final Fantasy, newly released screenshots of the smartphone title also feature only a male character. With a Y-chromosome suddenly seeming like a necessary bit of adventuring equipment, does this mean Final Fantasy has consciously decided to turn its back on the many female fans who’ve helped it achieve the success it enjoys today?

Probably not, since while it’s not certain whether or not Mevius Final Fantasy will allow female gamers to create a character in their own likenesses, it’s absolutely certain that the game is planning to provide a generous serving of extra-lean beefcake.

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Smartphone game turns mushrooms into cute anime girls, still gives foreigners wacky accents

There aren’t many foods I hate more than mushrooms. I’ve got issues with both their taste and texture, and, to my eyes, they just look kind of gross, no matter which variety we’re talking about.

But while I don’t think I’ll ever completely come around on the idea of eating fungi, it’s nice to at least have a different visual image for them, thanks to a new smartphone game that’s turned a half-dozen types of mushrooms into cute anime girls.

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All the smartphone accessories you’ll ever need – only 100 yen each!

With the fierce competition in the 100-yen market, it is no wonder that discount chain stores in Japan are leveling up their game with more variety and more attractive products, all for the same cheap price of 100 yen (under US$1). That said, we were still pleasantly surprised when we came across this amazing list of all the accessories you can get for your smartphone for just 100 yen each – even things Apple officially retails at nearly 20 times the price!

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New smartphone game turns car models into anime girls with model-worthy looks

For generations, automobile marketers have relied a tried and true method. Whether it’s an elegantly dressed woman stepping out of a luxury sedan in a TV commercial or a mini-skirted model draped over the hood of a sports coupe at an auto show, a quick way to make a car look appealing is by showing it next to an appealing-looking woman.

The company Autoc One is taking that concept one step further, though. What if, instead of showing a cute girl next to the car, you made the car itself a cute girl? You’d end up with something like Shanago Collection, Autoc One’s smartphone game starring anthropomorphized cars from Mazda, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, and more.

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Give your ears some cute company with these kitty-shaped earphone clips

For some people, earphones are as much about carving out a little privacy as they are listening to music. Pop in a pair, and only the pushiest of individuals will try to engage you in a conversation, meaning you’re largely left alone in a bubble of just you and your favorite tunes.

But no matter how unappealing you may find the prospect of another human being encroaching on your psychological personal space, we think just about anyone would make an exception and be happy to have these cute little cat-shaped earphone clips in close proximity.

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Cats are ready to burst out of your smartphone with these cool suction-cup stands

If you’re a proud cat owner, odds are you’ve got pictures of your favorite feline on your smartphone. We also know that plenty of people like to keep up on the latest developments on cat-related cuteness by surfing the Internet with said devices.

But if that’s still not enough, now you can keep your electronics upright with an adorable cat coming out of your smartphone.

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Funny ad shows new apple product that’s still prone to bending, compatible with our stomach

We’re still pretty happy with our new iPhone 6, but if we’re being completely honest, just a bit of our euphoria has faded. Sure, we were all giddy smiles on launch day (especially since we were first in line, again), but truth be told, we’re already on the lookout for the next big thing.

So imagine our excitement when we saw a print ad for a new apple product, and yes, that’s apple with a lowercase “a.”

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Play Mario Kart on your living room floor (using robots!) with this awesome motion camera system

It’s unlikely Nintendo knew what a hit they had on their hands when releasing the very first Mario Kart title back in 1992. Since then, the series has gone on to be one of the company’s most consistently popular and best-selling properties.

In the 22 years the series has been around, fans have played it on the Super NES, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo 64, DS, 3DS, Wii, and Wii U. And now, Mario Kart is serving as inspiration for a couple of inventors who’re making a similar game that you can play with robots on your living room floor, complete with weapons and power-ups.

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Photos claim to show difference between Chinese and other travelers, somehow show less and more

There’s a collection of photos making its way around the Internet which attempts to point out a huge difference between Chinese and Western travelers in airports. Whereas the latter are content to relax or read a good book, the Chinese can’t seem to take their eyes off their electronic gizmos. Haha! Isn’t China wacky, guys?

Honestly, I like a cheap laugh as much as the next guy, but just like how there’s a certain price point you shouldn’t go below when buying underwear, there’s such a thing as a laugh that’s too cheap. When you really stop and take a look at what’s going on in these photos, trying to draw any sort of broad conclusions about the Chinese character from them makes about as much sense as slipping on a pair of burlap boxer shorts.

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Detached female hand iPhone cases are here to provide…emotional comfort?

As awesome as smartphones are, do they really help us to better communicate with one another? Sure, it’s nice to be able to instantly talk with anyone, regardless of whether you’re at home or out and about, but there are certain things we lose by doing it with the help of technology. Even as mobile phones’ audio and video capabilities continue to improve, they’re still not perfect. Without talking face-to-face, you can’t pick up on every facial expression, hear each subtle change in inflection, or reach out and hold someone’s hand should the conversation turn emotional or romantic.

Unless you’re using this iPhone case that’s an eerily detailed replica of a human hand.

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New smartphone game turns your photos of real-world cats into in-game warriors

When designing a role-playing video game, there’s a tricky balance designers have to maintain. Many of today’s gamers aren’t interested in scouring the world map and non-essential dungeons to recruit new party members, but giving the player too few characters to play with makes the game feel dull and lacking in scale.

So the question is, how do you make the process of searching for new companions fun? If you’re mobile developer GeePlus, you let them take photos of cats on their smartphones, then turn those cute snapshots into in-game warriors.

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Awesome iPhone cases made with traditional Hakata textiles give your device a timeless look

Aside from some of the best tonkotsu (pork stock) ramen in Japan, Fukuoka is famous for Hakata ori textiles. The merchant Mitsuda Yazaemon returned from his travels to China in 1235 with the techniques he would put to use in making the woven patterns, which proved to be so prized that they were even given as tribute to the shogun.

Hakata ori is still popular today, and it can often be seen in the sashes Fukuoka residents use to tie their kimono. If you’re looking for a more modern use, though, you can now order elegant Hakata ori covers for your iPhone, iPad, or Kindle.

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Just bought an iPhone 6? Keep it safe and stylish with a Sailor Moon case

Last month, Japan was part of the first round of the iPhone 6 release, and we were as psyched as anyone. However, now that the excitement has died down, a sobering problem is sinking in for early adopters around the world: Their iPhone 5 cases are suddenly obsolete.

So if you’re on the lookout for a way to keep your iPhone 6 safe, why not hand the task off to a team that’s been protecting the earth for the last 23 years with a Sailor Moon case.

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Sailor Moon, Outer Senshi are ready to watch over your phone with earphone jack accessories

While Sailor Moon’s first four companions, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, and Venus, get most of the attention, the lunar heroine also picked up a few more allies in her 200 anime episodes. The Sailor Moon B-team has been getting a lot of love from merchandiser Bandai recently, including their own sets of lingerie.

Now, for everyone who wants to show your love for the Outer Sailor Senshi without showing off their undies, Bandai is releasing a five-piece set of smartphone earphone jack accessories, including accessories used by Sailors Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.

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Sony really, really wants you to buy an Xperia smartphone 【Tokyo Game Show】

Over the last few years, Tokyo Game Show has become increasingly focused on mobile gaming. This year’s show is one of the smallest to date, with noticeably fewer booths and even big-name publishers seeming almost reluctant to make too much of a fuss of their triple-A titles.

But it’s not just Gree et al pushing mobile gaming in Japan. Console maker Sony, too, is getting in on the action by putting the spotlight on its own smartphone line while doing all it can to show that mobile and traditional console gaming needn’t be completely separate entities, with the company setting up two enormous Xperia booths opposite its PlayStation area at Tokyo Game Show 2014.

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In many ways, Japan’s love hotels are a brilliant concept, offering a room with discreet staff, simple amenities, and large beds for couples looking for a place to physically and nakedly express their feelings for one another. There is one sticky point to utilizing them, however.

People generally find themselves in need of a love hotel when overcome by a spontaneous wave of passion, so they don’t usually book ahead. And while a hand-in-hand dash to the love hotel district can be a bit of heady fun, finding a place to do the deed is sort of a time-sensitive objective. Spending too much time walking around searching for a hotel with a vacancy can put a damper on the mood and/or contribute to your sobering up and realizing that maybe it isn’t a good idea to sleep with your boss’ nubile 23-year-old daughter, no matter how willing she says she is.

Such problems may soon come to be a thing of the past, though, with a new smartphone app that can help you find and book a love hotel in as little as 10 seconds, plus, right now, even help you out with the bill.

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Lovers of Love Live will love this lovely anime smartphone case

Last month a set of futons for smartphones caught our eyes. Considering all the handy gadgets do for us, we agreed it’s only fair we help them get the rest they need. After all, don’t you enjoy a good’s night sleep at the end of a busy day?

Still, you don’t want your smartphone loafing about all day. Sooner or later it’s got to get up and get to work, just like you. Of course, unless you’re a work-from-home nude model, you can’t be running around without any clothes on. Once again, it’s only fair that you apply the same standards and extend the same consideration to your phone by giving it a proper set of clothes, like this school uniform from the hit anime Love Live.

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Nagoya woman beaten and robbed in own home, LINE “friend” chief suspect

Police in Mizuho Ward, Nagoya are searching for two men in connection with a robbery/assault that took place on 16 June. The victim, a woman in her 30s, allowed the robbers into her home because she had been expecting a visit from a man she meet on the popular text messaging service LINE.

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Why are smartphones making people chew less gum?

Part of the reason smartphones have become so popular is the way in which they combine the functions of so many other devices people used to lug around instead. With the ability to browse the Internet, listen to music, play games, and take high-quality photos, it’s becoming increasingly harder to convince people they need to shell out the cash for a dedicated camera, handheld video game system, or music player.

But why is it that as more people buy smartphones, fewer of them are buying chewing gum?

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