This article was first featured by our friends at TokyoKinky.com (*NSFW*) but we liked it so much, we decided to reblog it here in a slightly toned-down version.
Tenga is Japan’s most stylish brand of sex toys and masturbation aids. They first exploded domestically when they released the Tenga Egg, followed by a series of “onacups” and then finally hit the big time internationally with the Tenga Flip Hole, possible the most attractive adult toy ever made.
Since then the company has been taken over by Soft on Demand — the Mitsubishi of the Japanese adult world — but has continued innovating, creating the Tenga 3D and other variations on their previous products, as well as branching out with a series of vibrators for both women and couples. Earlier this year they took an interesting step sideways with the Pocket Tenga (*NSFW*), returning to their disposable Tenga Egg roots.
This is a one-use only masturbation aid that looks both unlike a sex toy at first glance (handy!) and also has very nicely designed packaging as well. Being Tenga, there are all sorts of smart extras, such as how the masturbation sleeve’s sachet even has a sticker so that after, ahem, usage, the toy can be popped back in the packaging, sealed up, and then disposed of hygienically and discreetly.
Oh, and the whole thing is so slim it can fit into your pocket (hence the name), so you are never far away from having some private Tenga time.
On top of fantastical product design, though, Tenga also has a good eye for marketing. In the past it has organized Tenga-themed club events and art shows, and even a beach clean-up day this summer (after all, sex toys contribute to waste as well).
And this idea was just brilliant. Tenga employees took their business cards and integrated them into the sachet for the Pocket Tenga, serving both as a giveaway sample to clients and visitors when they meet for the first time, and a regular business card.
As you can see the business card (slightly larger than a normal card) is enclosed in the wrapping for the Pocket Tenga, so on one side it shows the employee’s details and on the other shows the toy and brand.
One lucky visiting journalist was fortunate enough to get his own made by Tenga for him!
When in Rome, as the saying goes. And so when in Kyoto, wear a kimono. There’s nothing pretentious about getting into “costume”, so to speak, and exploring Japan’s old capital in a kimono. It’s fairly common to see both Japanese tourists (men and women) doing it.
But kimonos are not designed for walking fast and are certainly not designed for riding a bicycle — which is a shame, because Kyoto is a city ideal for cycling around, its layout being in the old grid system of Japanese capitals (see Nara).
Enter the KOTO LX-20, a kimono bike — that is, a bicycle designed for riders wearing kimonos.
Its concept might have traditional clothing in mind but the design itself feels retro and pop — not dissimilar to a Brompton — with the bottom bar set very low so your straight and long kimono won’t have issues with the pedals and so on. The chain looks fully covered so getting oil on the kimono also shouldn’t be a problem.
There are current three versions, each in its own wa (Japanese) color: OBOROZUKI (light blue), YUUGAO (white) and KOMURASAKI (purple). Wearing a matching kimono the best effects while cycling around Gion.
The bikes costs ¥48,000 ($440) and come with a snazzy leather saddle and three gears (there are some slopes in Kyoto). The KOTO LX-20 went on sale in April this year in Kyoto — has anyone seen them around the city? — but were recently showcased on Japaan.com and Rocket News 24.
We’re not sure if they are available for rental yet but surely it’s just a matter of time before kimono rental shops and hostels offer them.
Japan is a land full of cyclists, both of the hipster variety, the designer variety, and just the humble mama-chari “granny bike” variety. And so now we have the “traditional” Japanese bike, of sorts.
Here you can see the KOTO LX-20 in action around the old capital.
Japan has its fair share of wacky but fascinating beauty gadgets. There are also lots of inventive cosme items too. For example, we’ve already had the Cats Face Pack, the Kabuki Face Pack, and the Animal Face Pack.
All these face packs were created by Isshin do Honpo and designed based on genuine characters.
Now comes the Fashion Face Pack by Kansai Yamamoto, which features two face packs recreating actual make-up used by the eponymous veteran designer in a London fashion show.
These were in turn inspired by Kabuki kumadori make-up, so this is very much a mixture of avant-garde art from both the past and present.
Isshin do Honpo calls the series the “Japanese Face” brand.
JAPANESE FACE is a cosmetic face pack brand that introduces uniquely Japanese faces to the world.
With illustrated sheet masks and carefully selected moisturizing lotions, consumers have fun wearing the masks and then enjoy the benefits of beautiful skin afterwards.
It is a new kind of Japanese souvenir that introduces the great Japanese culture to people around the world and here in Japan, as well.
The Fashion Face Pack by Kansai Yamamoto is available worldwide from JapanTrendShop. It officially goes on sale in select stores in Japan on September 21st, which is actually the same day that Japan’s first ever fashion show was held at Mitsukoshi in 1927.
We can’t wait to see what Japanese Face is next! Tengu, perhaps?
Korg, although respected as a premier electronic musical instrument and accessories maker, still likes to have fun every now and then.
That’s why in the past it has released such items as Hello Kitty Guitar Tuner in collaboration with Sanrio.
And now it has created the Korg Miku Stomp Effect for Hatsune Miku, the virtual character originally created for the Yamaha Vocaoloid system that has since become a mini industry in its own right.
Korg’s contribution is the rather snazzy-looking Korg Miku Stomp Effect. Korg is obviously at home with Hatsune Miku, who was born out of electronic music. This new Korg Miku Stomp Effect, to be released in October in Japan, allows you to have a guitar duet with Miku, singing in her unique Yamaha eVocaloid style.
Here’s a trailer hinting at the kinds of sounds you can create.
Korg says the aluminum diecast body on the effects unit is decorated with a specially commissioned original illustration.
There are 11 different lyric patterns and you can also input and customize your own lyrics. Korg are being a bit coy about how this will work. Apparently there is going to be a dedicated iPhone app but complete details are not yet available, plus they do not promise it can work with “English” but do say it can work with up to 6,000 characters in either Hiragana, Katakana or Romaji — but the latter is essentially writing Japanese in the Roman alphabet so it should in theory be possible to program Hatsune Miku to sing what you want to the tune of “Senbonzakura”.
This will have to confirmed in late October when the Miku Stomp Effect goes on release here. We can’t wait to see what Hatsune Miku fans create with their new musical toy.
Check out further details and specs on JapanTrendShop.
It was supposed to be Sony’s big advert for the Project Morpheus HMD system at the Tokyo Game Show (public days on September 20th-21st).
Instead, Sony Computer Entertainment just canceled the “Summer Lesson” demo.
Officially Sony says it has made the decision because it received so many inquiries about it after they announced the virtual reality demo on September 1st that it fearer it would not be able to cope with the anticipated demo from the media and the general public at TGS.
Our guess is that the backlash was so strong they wanted to have a re-think.
As soon as it was announced there was a strong intake of breath. Sony had chosen to go with a demo made by the team behind Tekken that showcased the virtual reality headset’s technology in a way that could be described at best as, well, creepy.
There were many at home and abroad quick to apply other adjectives. The “Summer Lesson” demo features a loosely dressed schoolgirl at home that the player can, to be blunt, ogle up close.
It certainly lives up to the stereotype of Japanese male gamers being perverts and is bound to be a big hit with a specific demographic. But the TGS is the most important event in the industry and this was Sony’s chance to fight back after being in the economic doldrums (billion dollar losses for fiscal 2013).
Rather than going mainstream, it went with a divisive and (to many people) sexist demo.
Officially Sony is saying that it is considering a new date and venue to showcase its demo, though we have our suspicions that “Summer Lesson” may not see the full light of day in its current state.
Sega have created an interactive sandpit for kids. The Eederu Sunaba (translating literally as “Wow, appears! Sandbox”) uses projectors and special non-sticky sand so that kids can have fun playing god by re-modeling the landscape in any way they fancy. As they make hills, lakes and rivers with the sand, the projection mapping changes in realtime to match the shifting topography.
Sega plans to install the system in arcade game centers in Japan from this autumn, reports Nikkei Technology, and also in playroom facilities at showrooms for cars and houses, to keep the kids occupied while the grown-ups sort out the important purchase.
The system above the sandbox has a senor that measures distance so it can detect the changing height of the sound and generate imagery according to the shapes. If, say, it detects a hole it will create a river or lake image, complete with swimming fish. When the player piles some sand into a mound the projection will make a mountain.
Judging from the videos, the system seems very fast and intuitive, and the colors are great. There are lots of cool gimmicks like the shadows of aircraft flying over the scenery and the seasons change too. It seems to have no trouble interacting with multiple players at once.
It also detects movement. It projects animal characters and when the player touches these, they respond as they move around the landscape. Current examples of the creatures are ladybugs and beetles, though surely the possibilities are nearly endless here. (Future ideas could be tie-ups with Disney, Sanrio or other character-driven franchises.)
There are two modes. “Suna Asobi” (sand play) is for playing around freely in the box while “Dekirukana” (I can do it) mode allows players to draw pictures according to various themes, which are shown on a display for the kids to imitate.
It’s not necessarily the first sand pit of its kind; there have been Kinect sandpits and augmented reality sandboxes before. However, this may well be the first fully commercial example of a system like this.
Japan is a nation obsessed with food and also, so people say, childishness. And so it is only natural that the two things would be combined at some point. The result is cooking toys, which Takara Tomy in particular has been really pushing over the past three years.
The latest is the Okashina Tamago Mawashite Purin Egg Flan Maker, which allows you to cook egg flan just by moving a lever back and forth for two minutes.
Part a game, part a genuine way to make a dessert, the video promoting the product is frankly remarkable.
This cooking toy trend has been rolling out over the last couple of years now.
Takara Tomy started it off in 2012 with the Takara Tomy Gurefuru Chuchu, a kind of mini-blender attachment to make orange juice inside the fruit itself.
Just watch this video and you will see the instant appeal of the product!
Invariably the products are all marketed with a suitable silly video, usually with an annoyingly catchy song and music. And sometimes dancing too.
Another recent example is the Maracas de Popcorn, which combines making popcorn with a musical instrument (yes, these are also maracas).
No surprise that there is also a funny video.
Besides the tone of the marketing, something common to most of the cooking toys is also that they do not require batteries or electricity for the most part, instead relying on a bit of elbow grease and the enthusiasm of kids. They are also actually very simple technologically but rely on the fun pop design, and the accompanying “action” (or even dance) to appeal to kids and parents.
teamLab has got together with Gucci to create “Infinity of Flowers”, an interactive digital installation at the Gucci Shinjuku store from September 13th.
Visitors will be able to “touch” the flowers on the screen and see them bloom, scatter, grow and wither. The installation using a computer program to “paint” the flowers in realtime on the screen. The imagery on the display is created spontaneously by the system. We look forward to the video that will surely be made.
There will also be a teamLab work in display in the 8-meter window that faces Shinjuku-dori.
teamLab is an award-winning group of “ultra-technologists” working with digital experiential media. Its previous projects include a remarkable high school musical, an amazing digital mural of Tokyo at the Skytree, smart clothes hangers in a department store in Shibuya, and many more. This Shadow Dance and Shadowgraph video from early 2011 was a hit, not least because it seemed to adhere to everything we love about Japan — samurai swords and technology!
teamLab already has a florally-themed installation, “Time-blossoming Flowers”, at the new KITTE department store in Marunouchi.
“Infinity of Flowers” will run from September 13th to September 28th at the third-floor event space at Gucci Shinjuku. Entry is free.
Was this inevitable? The fashion doll series Blythe and otaku idol character Hatsune Miku have got together.
While Blythe is now licensed by Hasbro and originally American, the dolls with oversized heads are popular in Japan. The doll starred in a TV commercial for the department store Parco in 2000 and Takara made new editions of the dolls in 2001.
The new Hatsune Miku Meets Blythe: Eclectic Super Idol doll was put on pre-order on Junie Moon, a shop on the Rakuten platform, from 12pm on September 5th and immediately sold out. They then went on pre-order on the Takara Tomy online store yesterday and not surprisingly also sold out.
The limited edition doll is priced ¥20,000 (nearly $200) plus tax and if you are lucky enough to get your hands on one, expect it to shop in early February 2015.
The Hatsune Miku Meets Blythe: Eclectic Super Idol doll features a tie, ribbons, a skirt and boots, and Miku’s trademark turquoise hair.
What do you think? Cute? Weird? Or both?
It’s far from the first time that the idol has become a physical doll, though. Pullip Dolls previously created a 12-inch doll of the Vocaloid star.