Monster Face Pack series turns Hollywood horror ghouls into skin care tools

Written by: Japan Trends on December 18, 2014 at 8:01 am | In PRODUCT INNOVATION | No Comments

You got the original Kabuki Face Pack. Then you got the Animal Face Pack, the Cats Face Pack, and the Fashion Face Pack. You probably also went and got the Hello Kitty Face Pack.

Well, now how about the Monster Face Pack?

Makers Isshin Do Honpo’s next remarkable skin care tool is a series of four face packs inspired by classic Hollywood horror ghouls. They not only make you look like something straight out of an old movie, they are appropriately made with rosemary, a plant that has traditionally been used in Europe to ward off evil spirits.

monster face pack vampire dracula

First up is the Vampire Face Pack.

The red and white colors are as vibrant as you’d expect from the creators of the Kabuki Face Pack. The details are great, from the bat wings around the eyes to the fangs and the drip of blood on the mouth. Isshin promises that wearing it won’t make you develop an appetite for other people’s blood!

wolfman face pack werewolf

Here’s the Wolfman Face Pack, which transforms you into a werewolf. Feel free to wear the face pack at full moons or any other time of the month for that matter. Don’t worry, it’s not hairy.

monster face pack skeleton beauty mask

The Skeleton Monster Face Pack is, of course, black and white. We love the teeth! Since the one thing skeletons are seriously lacking is skin, we do wonder about the irony of a face pack with this particular undead creature!

monster face pack frankenstein

Lastly, Frankenstein’s Monster Face Pack is inspired by the classic Boris Karloff look of the creature Baron Frankenstein makes, from the green skin to the “stitches”. You don’t have to do a silly walk while wearing the face pack but it might help!

While these are obviously novelty ideas which put the fun back into skin care, they are still nonetheless genuine beauty treatment tools that contain nutrients and ingredients designed to improve the quality and vigor of your face. Such face packs are popular in Japan with women as daily items worn before bed.

kabuki face mask kotobuki make-up theare

Isshin Do Honpo have also issued a new Kabuki Face Pack, the Kabuki Face Pack Kotobuki with two new colorful designs based on Kabuki make-up.

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“Dreamer Nippon Inemuri” music video pays tribute to sleepy commuters

Written by: William on December 17, 2014 at 9:30 am | In LIFESTYLE | No Comments

We’ve all seen them. We’ve all pitied them. We’ve all admired them.

Japanese trains are full of odd sights — but perhaps none so odd as the spectacle of people managing to get some shuteye no matter how crowded or what position they are in, whether standing, sitting, kneeing or (unfortunately for those around them) leaning. No matter how fast the train is going, no matter who is watching — the Japanese are able to sleep anywhere.

Even more impressively, they are more often than not able to wake up in time for their stop. It must be some sort of innate ability taught when salarymen join major corporations.

japan sleep doze train passenger commuter nippon inemuri dreamer tokyo

A new music video called “Dreamer Nippon Inemuri” is proving popular because it pays tribute to these sleepy commuters, featuring a series of shots of people sleeping while riding a train. (“Nippon Inemuri” literally means “Japan dozing”.)

japan sleep doze train passenger commuter nippon inemuri dreamer tokyo

japan sleep doze train passenger commuter nippon inemuri dreamer tokyo

The roughly 50 sleepers were filmed by digital marketing planner Kairi Manabe over two days on public transport. We’re not sure if this counts as infringing on their rights but the results are interesting to watch — not least to admire the tenacity of these train passengers determined to get some sleep no matter what.

The music for the video is by Yusuke Emoto.

japan sleep doze train passenger commuter nippon inemuri dreamer tokyo

japan sleep doze train passenger commuter nippon inemuri dreamer tokyo

The video is actually a Web commercial for Home’s, a real estate portal site which offers a function where you can filter searches based on the commuting time. In other words, it’s encouraging you to move somewhere that’s closer to work! “A long, long way to bed” as the video poignantly says at the end…

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Top Google Search keywords and search trends in Japan in 2014

Written by: William on December 17, 2014 at 8:26 am | In CULTURE, LIFESTYLE | No Comments

Google has shared shared the top search terms in Japan for 2014.

google search keywords top results buzz trend japan 2014

Here are the top search terms, which were of course originally in Japanese and so vary slightly from the translation or English equivalent.

Overall Searchword Ranking

1. Yahoo
2. YouTube
3. Facebook
4. Weather forecast
5. Rakuen
6. Amazon
7. Pazudora (Puzzle & Dragons)
8. News
9. Yahoo! Auction
10. Twitter

Trending Words

1. World Cup
2. Yo-Kai Watch
3. Sochi Olympic
4. Typhoon
5. “Frozen”
6. Kei Nishokori
7. Yuzuru Hanyu
8. Dengue fever
9. Ken Takakura
10. Mt Ontake

Trending News

1. World Cup
2. Sochi Olympics
3. Typhoon
4. Dengue fever
5. Mt Ontake
6. Ebola virus
7. Nobel prize
8. Earthquake
9. Asia Games
10. iPhone6

Trending Males

1. Kei Nishikori (tennis player)
2. Yuzuru Hanyu (figure skater)
3. Ken Takakura (actor)
4. Ryutaro Nonomura (politician)
5. Takajin Yashiki (singer, TV personality)
6. Mamoru Samuragoch (composer)
7. ASKA (musician)
8. Sota Fukushi (actor)
9. Noriaki Kasai (ski jumper)
10. Robin Willians (actor, comedian)

Trending Females

1. Haruko Obokata (stem cell biologist)
2. Mao Asada (figure skater)
3. Ayaka Shiomura (politician)
4. Zawachin (celebrity impersonator)
5. Kanna Hashimoto (music idol)
6. Nippon Erekiteru Rengou (comedy duo)
7. Seiko Yamamoto (wrestler)
8. Takako Matsu (actor)
9. May J. (singer)
10. Keiko Kitagawa (actor)

Trending Deceased Persons

1. Ken Takakura (actor)
2. Ken Utsui (actor)
3. Eiichi Ohtaki (actor)
4. Takajin Yashiki (singer, TV personality)
5. Robin Williams (actor, comedian)
6. Keiko Awaji (actor)
7. Takako Doi (politician)
8. Junko Ouchi (fashion critic)
9. Yoshiki Sasai (stem cell biologist)
10. Akio Sanpei (writer)

Trending TV Dramas

1. “Hirugao” (Fuji)
2. “Ashita mama ga inai” (NTV)
3. “Hanko to Anne” (NHK)
4. “Gochisousan” (NHK)
5. “Shitsuren Chocolatier” (Fuji)
6. “Massan” (NHK)
7. “First Class” (Fuji)
8. “Roosevelt Game” (TBS)
9. “Kuroda Kanbei” (“Gushi Kanbei”) (NHK)
10. “Gomen ne seishun” (TBS)

Trending Characters

1. Doraemon
2. Jibanyan (from Yo-Kai Watch)
3. Funassyi
4. Pikachu
5. Kumamon

You can also check our round-up of the top trends of 2014 in Japan, as well as the Twitter buzz words.

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Take a Oculus Rift virtual reality test drive into space in a Mitsubishi Outlander Phev

Written by: William on December 16, 2014 at 8:14 am | In PRODUCT INNOVATION | No Comments

Move over Christopher Nolan. Mitsubishi recently offered an interstellar virtual test drive for its Outlander Phev model using the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.

Like the Nissan Leaf, the Outlander Phev is as much a giant battery as a vehicle. The EV can be charged up and store the electricity needed to power a household for a day. This makes it ideal for this kind of marketing gimmick, since you can plug in your computer and Oculus Rift directly into the car.

With the aid of the system, one lucky guy recently drove an Outlander Phev to the stars in a Mitsubishi showroom. He had two computers running in the trunk of the Outlander Phew and was connected to the nine speakers in the car.

mitsubishi outlander phev oculus rift virtual test drive space stars

mitsubishi outlander phev oculus rift virtual test drive space stars

mitsubishi outlander phev oculus rift virtual test drive space stars

mitsubishi outlander phev oculus rift virtual test drive space stars

mitsubishi outlander phev oculus rift virtual test drive space stars

mitsubishi outlander phev oculus rift virtual test drive space stars

mitsubishi outlander phev oculus rift virtual test drive space stars

Slipping on the headset, our intrepid adventurer then drove the vehicle through a virtual city and beyond…

mitsubishi outlander phev oculus rift virtual test drive space stars

mitsubishi outlander phev oculus rift virtual test drive space stars

mitsubishi outlander phev oculus rift virtual test drive space stars

…into space…

mitsubishi outlander phev oculus rift virtual test drive space stars

mitsubishi outlander phev oculus rift virtual test drive space stars

mitsubishi outlander phev oculus rift virtual test drive space stars

The “virtual space drive” graphics for the Oculus test drive were developed by Mitsubishi as part of its Starry Sky Project to encourage interest in astronomy and stargazing in Japan.

Though these images show a preview, the Oculus Outlander Phev car was also available at a booth at the Eco Products 2014 expo last weekend, following earlier tests at other events in October and November.

This isn’t the first VR stunt of its kind. Nissan previously used the Oculus Rift for a similar virtual reality driving experience at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2013.

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What were Japan’s biggest trends in 2014?

Written by: William on December 15, 2014 at 11:04 am | In CULTURE, LIFESTYLE | No Comments

Following last year’s top trends and major buzzwords and memes, we are going to take a look back at the big trends and topics for 2014 in Japan. We already examined some of the main Twitter buzz of the year, but what about the overall trends?

japan volcano eruption mountain mt ontake hikers climbers flee escape

Natural Disasters

Sadly there is rarely a year in Japan without natural disasters. Mudslides in Hiroshima in August killed over 70.

Even more dramatically, Mt Ontake suddenly erupted, killing over 50 hikers. Nikon provided one of the most heartwarming stories of the year, however, when they restored a digital camera of one of the deceased and returned the data to his family.

Tax

While Abenomics continued to falter, the nation was hit by a comprehensive price hike when the sales tax, for years a very modest 5%, was bumped up to 8% in the spring. One day everything changed, since shops and restaurants started advertising prices without tax included in an effort to persuade consumers that their items were still cheap, only to frustrate and confuse at the register when the actual price is revealed.

While sales tax in Japan remains far lower than most industrial nations, it was a big shock for a population whose wages had no increased in real terms for decades. It ended up becoming the Kanji of the Year.

japan sales tax hike 2014

Self-Immolation and Politics

As the Shinzo Abe government continued to push forward with controversial changes to the Constitution after the introduction of a worrying state secrets law last year, there were two shocking acts of protest. One man attempted to kill himself by self-immolation in the heart of Shinjuku one Sunday, while another succeeded one evening in November in Hibiya Park.

The government’s newly introduced “right to collective self-defense” then became one of the “words of the year”, though for all the wrong reasons. Members of the Abe government were also accused of having ties to ultra-nationalists and race hate groups.

Abe apparently made a gesture of reconciliation with China when he met with Xi Jinping at the APEC Summit in November, though the lack of enthusiasm on both parties’ faces showed how they really felt about each other. Was this the world’s most awkward head-of-states handshake ever?

shinzo abe xi jinping handshake apec summit

Wails and Whales

In late March, the International Court of Justice ruled that Japan’s “scientific whaling research” was illegal, though it has not yet halted the nation’s disputed annual hunt.

Meanwhile, Hyogo politician Ryutaro Nonomura became a global sensation for his incredible, tearful apology at a press conference as he attempts to explain his suspicious expenses to the public.

Ghostwriters and Liars

The year also saw a “modern-day Beethoven” exposed as a fraud who had a ghostwriter composing his music for years. Oh, and he wasn’t even really deaf.

Even more seriously, the female scientist at Riken who claimed to have discovered STAP cells was found to have doctored part of her paper. It was later withdrawn and Haruko Obokata was made a scapegoat, vilified by the media who had so hyped her up in the first place. Riken also backpedalled over its support for its young “star” and her supervisor eventually committed suicide.

Tennis

Japan’s biggest sporting success is an easy one: Kei Nishikori went on to become World No. 5 and secured a place in the finals of the US Open, the first male Asian ever to reach the last match of a Grand Slam tournament. “There’s no one left I can’t beat,” declared the confident Nishikori at one point (though he was ultimately beaten by Croatian player Marin Cilic).

gu kabe-don event ginza store

Kabe-don

A fun one to end with. The word seemed to come out of nowhere and now it is being used for marketing events by GU and Morinaga. Originally a phrase for describing how you might “pound the wall” when your neighbor is being loud, now it seems to mean when a guy traps a girl against a wall and leans in for a smooch.

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Top Twitter hashtags and trends for Japan in 2014

Written by: William on December 11, 2014 at 10:00 am | In LIFESTYLE | 1 Comment

Twitter Japan has announced the top ten hashtags and top ten trends for Japan in 2014.

Anime-related hashtags accounted for four of the top ten, while number 8 was taken by a hashtag for Gravure idol selfies. The top hashtag was #nhk24.

top twitter trends hashtags japan 2014
 
Top trending themes include receipts showing the increase in sales tax on products, as well as plenty of sport like Sochi, Formula 1, and tennis star Kei Nishikori. Less positive moments of the year included the STAP cells scandal and natural disasters such as the Hiroshima landslides and Mt Ontake eruption.

top twitter accounts japan 2014

Trending celebrity Twitter accounts included right-wing politician Toshio Tamogami, comedian Daisuke Muramoto, and Satoshi Fukase from the band Sekai no Owari and (ironically, his girlfriend), Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.

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Deco Latte Coffee Art Sheets: Latte art made even easier

Written by: Japan Trends on December 11, 2014 at 9:00 am | In PRODUCT INNOVATION | No Comments

Can’t afford to go to those expensive Tokyo cafes where they serve up latte art? Haven’t yet got your hands on the 3D Latte Art Maker Awa Taccino?

Then try the Deco Latte Coffee Art Sheets.

deco latte coffee decoration art sheet strip snoopy rilakkuma

These are literally how they sound. You place the flavorless edible sheets on the top of your coffee drink. After two minutes they will sort of melt into the drink so the person being served won’t know that you didn’t create the image out of foam.

Ideal for giving a guest a special extra treat with their drink, there are three sets of 10 sheets in this all-in-one pack: the regular strips with a variety of images messages in Japanese and English, plus Snoopy and Rilakkuma versions.

deco latte coffee decoration art sheet strip snoopy rilakkuma

deco latte coffee decoration art sheet strip snoopy rilakkuma

As always, there is the prerequisite slightly wacky TV commercial.

This is how it works.

And when all else fails, you can also make your own 3D latte art with the Awa Taccino.

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Abeno Tennoji Illuminage in Osaka’s Tennoji Park brings Warring States history to light

Written by: William on December 10, 2014 at 9:05 am | In CULTURE | 1 Comment

Every year in Japan there are illumination and light displays at malls and other venues around the country. Many are elaborate. Most are expensive. But some are just out of this world.

The Abeno Tennoji Illuminage in Tennoji Park in Osaka promises to be a popular attraction for the boys — illuminations are stereotypically spots for young couples on dates — because it promises to take you back in time to the Warring States Period, when Osaka was at the fulcrum of Japanese history.

abeno tennoji illuminage illumination light show sengoku warring states period sanada yukimura tennoji park osaka

abeno tennoji illuminage illumination light show sengoku warring states period sanada yukimura tennoji park osaka

You can see Japanese warrior hero Yukimura Sanada in light, as well as a breathtaking castle entrance and blazing arch of flames. There is even a depiction of a Atakebune warship, ninjas, and a battle scene all rendered in lights. For less martial tastes, there are white cranes too.

abeno tennoji illuminage illumination light show sengoku warring states period sanada yukimura tennoji park osaka

abeno tennoji illuminage illumination light show sengoku warring states period sanada yukimura tennoji park osaka

abeno tennoji illuminage illumination light show sengoku warring states period sanada yukimura tennoji park osaka

abeno tennoji illuminage illumination light show sengoku warring states period sanada yukimura tennoji park osaka

Now running until February 1st next year, tickets cost ¥1,000.

Tennoji Park has previously hosted light spectacles but not one themed around history like this. Last year the show featured a rainbow promenade and other seasonal light attractions. Osaka Castle, the actual site of so much important stuff during the Warring States Period, itself has hosted illuminations in the past from the same organizers.

Images: Guide Travel

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GU holds “Kabe-don” event at Ginza branch, hot guys trap female customers against wall

Written by: William on December 9, 2014 at 9:13 pm | In LIFESTYLE | 5 Comments

UNIQLO spin-off GU recently held a kabe-don event at its Ginza branch as a promo for a holiday season sale.

Does the idea of having a hot guy leaning up against you inside a clothes store, slapping his hand against the wall to trap you in his intimate embrace, inspire you to purchase some fast fashion?

Well, on December 5th GU had a pair of attractive Japanese guys offering just this “service” at its Ginza store.

gu kabe-don event ginza store

gu kabe-don event ginza store

All you had to do was head to the GU outlet in Ginza, pick one of the special holiday season items in the promo, and then ask the men if the clothes suited you. One of the hotties would then tell you how good you looked while doing a kabe-don on you.

Judging by the pictures and official video, the women were apparently pleased to have guys leaning in on them, perhaps because ordinarily they would have to drag their unenthused partners around on a clothes shopping spree. The idea of a guy taking the time to go around with them in a store — and even compliment and try to get romantic between the aisles — is seemingly a fantasy for some female consumers.

gu kabe-don event ginza store

gu kabe-don event ginza store

Kabe-don has been one of the trends of the year, with the Morinaga “Kabe-don” Cafe in Harajuku creating headlines for its sheer audacity (it used an artificial waiter), as well pictures of apparent kabe-don poses spreading on social media.

Kabe-don refers to a certain position where a man places his hand against a wall, keeping his female partner there so he can lean in for a smooch. The kabe part means “wall” while don is the sound of the hand hitting the surface.

gu kabe-don event ginza store

At the GU event some lucky girls got both guys doing a double kabe-don on them. And this wasn’t a sexist event either, since male customers were also treated to the same experience.

gu kabe-don event ginza store

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