Scuba divers ordinarily use hand signals to communicate underwater but thanks to Casio Yamagata’s Logosease, now they can talk to each other almost as if they are walking on dry ground. All you need to do is face towards your fellow diver(s).
The Logosease modulates your voice into ultrasonic waves. You just tap once to start transmitting. Then you speak into the bone conduction microphone and tap to finish your transmission through the water. Your fellow diver then receives the ultrasonic waves and their Logosease unit will demodulate them via the speaker into an audible voice.
Typically if divers want to talk to each other they have to wear special face masks which are heavy and expensive. The Logosease, though, is affordable and easy to wear, and does not cover the whole face. Simply attach the device to your diving mask and you will be able to talk through the air regulator in your mouth.
The Logosease has a range from 50 to 100 meters (164-328 feet) and can function as far as 40 meters (131 feet) underwater. Of course, voice quality is not going to be as good as when speaking regularly on land but Casio still hails this as a world-first for an instrument of its kind.
It has also been approved recently as a distinctive specialty by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) and promises to be an indispensable item for scuba divers around the world.
It’s hard to believe that Sanrio’s most successful creation and Japan’s most famous cat is 40 years old!
It’s true, Hello Kitty turns 40 this year and to celebrate Sanrio is teaming with Bandai to offer a special Chogokin model version of the feline character.
This isn’t just a random collaboration. Popy’s Chogokin models are also 40 this year and while the two series typically attract different kinds of fans, there’s nothing like an innovative pairing like this to inspire a new generation of fans.
Behold the Chogokin Hello Kitty Robot.
Kitty is of course actually meant to be British, which the official video for the toy references at the start. The toy she drops in the pond is from Mazinger Z, the manga and anime which featured the fictitious material chogokin (“super alloy”) and was the genesis for the series of die-cast metal robot and character toys.
The idea is that Kitty updated into a Chogokin Hello Kitty Robot by a fairy as a reward for being honest. The new Kitty can swim underwater (“Dive Mode”), fly in the sky (“Flight Mode”) and even do battle with black cats (“Fight Mode”) with a powerful “Robot Punch”.
While she isn’t an actual robot — sorry, you have to make her move yourself — the attention to detail is impressive, not least all the functions (the aforementioned “Robot Punch” and changing eyes), plus there’s even a mini Kitty who sits inside the head as the “pilot” — just twist Kitty’s ribbon to open up the capsule!
The Chogokin Hello Kitty Robot Model will be released in late June.
Projection mapping has really taken off in Japan.
Recently we have seen Tokyo Station being transformed in a video spectacle, as well as the Yokohama Odyssey event at a historical dockyard, and even Kyary Pamyu Pamyu turn Tokyo Tower into an interactive digital theme park.
Now you can have projection mapping on Tokyo landmarks in your hand with the Hako Vision by Bandai. It uses a special app on your handheld device to conjure up a video spectacle courtesy of Ryotaro Muramatsu (Naked Inc.).
There are two versions: Tokyo Hikari Vision (at Tokyo Station) and Karakuri (at the Tokyo National Museum). Tokyo Hikari Vision is a fairytale spectacle, while Karakuri is a lively trip through time, filled with historical motifs.
But you don’t need all the wizardry and technical know-how of real projection mapping to operate this light show. All you need to do is read the code on the box and then set your device on top, turning the box into a mini theatre on your hand.
But it’s not all just contemporary digital technology. Actually Bandai is making a nice rift here on something quite old. Shokugan are kinds of “small world” toys where you would get a box with a toy and candy in it. These are still popular today and you can find a corner of a supermarket with sets of toys and sweets. Bandai sees the Hako Vision in this vein and as such has included a piece of candy with the box.
And for the anime fans, there are also these two Mobile Suit Gundam versions, available in either RX-78-2 Gundam or MS-06S ZAKU II models, currently set for release in the spring.
The Koppu no Fuchiko (“Fuchiko on the edge of the cup”) by Kitan Club and Katsuki Tanaka was first released in 2012 as a Gashapon capsule toy. In a nutshell, it’s a series of cute figurines of an Office Lady (OL) in various poses.
Doesn’t sound like much to make a fuss about, right? Well, if you think that then you are obviously not a Japanese consumer!
It proved a bit huge hit for Kitan Club, who quickly followed up with other capsule toy series in 2013. And then came the merchandise. Now there are notepads, cups, t-shirts, bags, socks… Fuchiko is everywhere!
Who is buying Fuchiko’s goodies? We thought geeky guys at first but then we came across female consumers in their thirties who were avidly purchasing all the kawaii Fuchiko stuff they could lay their hands on.
Japan has a bit of an obsession with “small” stuff, especially girls.
There is plenty of chibi (“runt”) in manga and anime, and typically means the kind of SD drawings of girls popular in various forms of otaku culture. It has even spawned its own sub-genre of “shrinking girl” erotic manga (ero manga) called Koonago (*NSFW*).
Traditionally one of the archetypes of beauty was the hattoushin bijin, the girl with a head one-eighth the size of her head. This is still used as a compliment for certain fashion models with doll-like proportions.
Spring is not a fun time to be in Japan if you suffer from hay fever, which is normally a summer phenomenon in other countries. Due to a forestation boom after the war, Japan saw a surge in the number of cedar and cypress trees. Unfortunately this has had the unexpected effect of massively increasing the amount of pollen released into the air during the spring months. As a result, pollen allergies and hay fever exploded.
Now every year large swaths of the population are forced to endure weeks of pain around their noses and eyes. The solution of sorts is often to wear a surgical face mask, many of which are multi-layered and filled with herbs and other kinds of weaponry to battle hay fever.
Resembling something between a beekeeper’s mask and a hazmat suit, get 99.9% protection from the pores in the air almost as if you are in your own clinical isolation chamber. It also doesn’t mist up since, with the ingenuity almost of a space suit, the Pollen Blocker has its own USB-powered fan on the top, which keeps your own personal atmosphere clear but nonetheless won’t let any nasty pollen inside to irritate your sinuses.
The Pollen Blocker isn’t just an extreme response to hay fever. It still allows you to work and go about your daily life. For example, the visor is large enough to see a computer screen, so you can keep on typing away without the hassle of having to remove the hood.
Here you can compare the Pollen Blocker (on the right) with a regular anti-hay fever get-up of glasses and face mask (on the left). Which one looks more effective?
We love how the Thanko CEO really gets into his company’s products. Here he is explaining about the Pollen Blocker mask. You can’t really hear him when he’s wearing it, though, which we guess proves that is works.
You can get the USB Pollen Blocker from JapanTrendShop.
Ligna, a company which operates a portal site of nightclubs and their employees across Japan, has released Club Diary, a 2014 planner that is specifically designed for nightclub hostesses.
If Japan ever wants to boast about their hospitality to the outside world, they should do so in a manner that is open and fair to the people who work to serve their customers on a daily basis. This is certainly not exclusive to the most visible tourism industry which more or less defines Japan in the eyes of short-term visitors to the country. Of course, what they try to promote as a nation is free hospitality, which is said to be embedded in their DNA somehow, at least according to Christel Takigawa (in her speech to the IOC members) and others who claim that the Japanese are innately generous and kind. But doesn’t it degrade the act of serving people with paid hospitality and which I believe is what Japan is truly best at?
If there is such thing as free hospitality, it could very well be attributed to the arrogance of the served, not necessarily the generosity of the server, as often seen in the “customer-is-god” mentality of Japanese people.
Club Diary is one proof of the reality which reveals just how much we are paying to be treated like god. Unlike regular planners, it helps nightclub hostesses set their goals and keep track of sales — or how much they made per customer — which varies for specific service options, such as accompanying customers to their clubs (dohan), getting asked for by regulars or first-time customers, and the commissions they get for food and drinks ordered by guests.
Even more useful feature is “Karte” where they can write personal information of customers and keep their business cards by inserting them directly in the pockets on each page.
Club Diary is available in three colors and six designs, and is priced from 4,800 yen to 9,800 yen depending on the optional extras such as the above “Karte” or “Visitor sheet.”
Just into our online store, Takara Tomy and Sanrio have got together to give us an amazingly kawaii combo of Licca-chan and Hello Kitty.
There are two versions in this “Daisuki” (Love it!) series. First up is the main Hello Kitty Daisuki Licca-chan Doll.
Licca-chan, Takara Tomy’s now classic dress-up doll first released in the 1960′s, has here got herself a cute Hello Kitty handbag, dress, and even a Kitty ribbon for her hair. As far as we know, this is the first partnership between Hello Kitty and Licca, though in the past she has got together with the likes of fashion guru Issey Miyake.
And then there’s the “room wear” doll, with Licca in some cute fluffy pajamas.
And the serious collectors should get their hands on the full room set.
It comes with a host of goodies, including a make-up desk and chair (complete with a storage space underneath), cup, TV, phone, alarm clock, thermos, lunchbox and more!
The original Oppo Dog Muzzle Quack created a HUGE stir when it was released a while back.
Now our online store has got the follow-up, the Oppo Dog Muzzle Quack Closed. As the name suggests, it has a similar “duck bill” design with the mouth closed off for better protection.
Some people think this kind of thing is another case of “wacky Japan”. While there are some genuinely odd pet trends in Japan (and other places too!), we happen to think the Quack Muzzle, is seriously innovative and fun design intended as a tribute to your pet’s charms. Make your dog stand out and look vibrant with the Quack Closed muzzle.
I mean, why should protecting people from your dog’s chomping nashers be boring?
Since pooches come in all shapes and sizes, there is also a range of different muzzles for different breeds of dogs, plus three different colors. It is also easy to clean and keep clean, since hygiene for your canine friend is also important, right?
There are all kinds of ways to cure stress. A nice cold beer. An hour in the driving range. Going postal.
But here’s a way we never heard of before and trust Thanko to be the ones to come up with it.
The USB Buru-Buru Helmet Head Massager will “vibrate” (buruburu) your head, giving your gray matter a rest and relaxing you from all that stress at work.
Other than Yoshiro Nakamatsu, we don’t know any other source of wacky inventions than Thanko. However, they do all work and serve a real purpose.
With the USB Buru-Buru Helmet Head Massager, the function is to relax you by massaging your head.
We also love how the staff really get into the marketing of the products. The guy in the pictures is the actual Thanko company president.
The gentle shaking functions like the soothing hands of a sympathetic wifely figure. It can be powered via USB or household batteries, making it perfect for using while sitting at your desk in the office. There are even different levels of vibration depending on how stressed you are. This has proved so popular that its first run sold out within days, though it’s currently available on pre-order for January.
The size can be adjusted to fit different scalp and heads, and the inside of the helmet frame is lined with multiple vibration pads for a truly effective massage experience. After relaxing your aching mind with the Buru-Buru Helmet for a while you will be refreshed and eager to get stuck back into work!