Everything you ever wanted to know and see about Funassyi in one place? Then head to the Parco Museum at Shibuya Parco Part 1 from April 24th for “Funassyi Fantasy World”, the first exhibition by the insanely popular unofficial Funabashi City mascot.
“Funassyi Fantasy World” promises archive videos, photographs, toys, merchandise and more.
There is an interactive augmented reality booth where you can have fun with the giant yellow fruit, though that might freak some visitors out. Are we the only ones who sometimes find the mad jumping antics a bit scary?
This being a Funnassyi event, the organizers’ eyes are on the coffers, so there are plenty of tie-in products and merchandise for sale too, including Funnassyi gacha gacha vending machines with magnets and badges.
The exhibition is resident at Parco Museum until May 17th, before touring to Sapporo Parco (May 22nd — June 8th).
Entry costs ¥500 for adults but is free for kids of elementary school age or younger.
Self-indulgent geekdom gone mad or an inventive play on an otaku motif?
A little while ago there was some buzz about a “flashing skirt” created by Kamakura-based Kayac Inc’s Kiyoyuki Amano.
The idea behind the Hikaru Skirt was to literally highlight the zettai ryouiki, the “absolute zone” — the area of flesh on a girl’s upper leg between her skirt and her socks. This is a common trope in otaku fantasies and Hikaru Skirt was playing on this by making a skirt that flashes in multicolor, drawing attention to the “zone” in a fun but hopefully not pervy way.
It actually looks much cooler than it sounds and the public response was good.
Or at least, good enough apparently for this one-off project to evolve into a crowdfunding campaign to commercialize the idea. The aim is to get it out as a product by October 2015.
Will they succeed?
Well, only 16 people have sponsored the campaign so far — 7% of the required ¥3.9 million. But there’s still 49 days to go, so let’s not write off Japan’s designer geeks quite yet.
Judging by the official website, the makers have hopes that the Hikaru Skirt could be a game-changer in music idol culture. The flashing lights change automatically according to music and can be adjusted by your smartphone. Just charge up the skirt by USB and then it can go for 3 hours, which is more than enough time for a leisurely walk around Akihabara or Harajuku.
Here is the group Moso Calibration demonstrating the Hikaru Skirt in action.
Be prepared to pay ¥16,000 (about $130) to claim one of the first skirts as your campaign perk. Presumably if it’s a hit, it will be available more widely in the future.
Google Japan has opened YouTube Space Tokyo, a production studio for YouTube users to film, edit and create original videos.
Made in partnership with film studio Toei, the space also features a set that can be altered into four different period settings. Ever wanted to make a YouTube video on a samurai soundstage? Now’s your chance!
Or at least, it is until May 20th.
YouTube Space Tokyo is located on the 29th floor of Roppongi Hills and joins other studios in Los Angeles, London and elsewhere. It offers tutorials on sword-fighting, special effects and filming. Additional shoots can be done at Toei’s Eigamura in Kyoto, a kind of theme park cum film studio.
The soundstage is currently being used by popular YouTubers such as Asahi Sasaki, Chuck Johnson and Rin Rin Doll. You need to have over 5,000 subscribers on your YouTube channel to qualify (the more subscribers you have, the longer you can use the studio). For collaborations between several YouTubers, the studio can be rented for up to six months.
There are also workshops and a “creators’ cafe”, plus other events.
Toei is famed for its samurai dramas (jidaigeki), a genre usually associated with an older demographic. Now YouTube is making its young and funky again. It’s a notable collaboration between the leader of the digital revolution and one of the stalwarts of Japan’s conservative film industry.
Now celebrating its tenth anniversary, YouTube has been heavily promoting local semi-celebrity YouTubers, hoping to harness grassroots support for the platform. Japan is YouTube’s biggest success story in Asia and it wants to build on its achievements with the help of Japanese-language online stars like Bilingirl, Hikakin, and Hajime.
While the samurai studio is only available until May, the YouTube Space Tokyo is not going away, so look out for more interesting tie-ups in the future.
Much mocked it may be, the industry is never less than innovative and evolving.
The Iyashi Octopus Sucker Massager is another great example.
It offers “skin suction” treatment with special suckers, similar to the kind that octopi have on their eight legs. Okay, if that sounds gross, then perhaps this item is not for you!
How does it work? Place your hands or feet inside to get a mini shiatsu-style massage from the suckers, which will “stick” to you and pull on your skin (painlessly, of course).
Or you can inverse it so you can apply the same stimulating treatment to your skin elsewhere on your body, such as your neck, arms, legs — or even your face.
The suckers firmly but harmlessly “pull” on the skin, applying a massage that helps improve blood circulation and the flow of water in the layers of your skin.
The design is actually inspired by the tako-tsubo, a type of earthenware octopus pot fishing trap used in Japan since the Jomon Period. We love the tongue-in-cheek marketing images!
Narita International Airport Terminal Three for budget airlines opens with running track design, Muji furnitureWritten by: William on April 9, 2015 at 8:53 am | In LIFESTYLE | 3 Comments
Narita International Airport’s much-anticipated third terminal opened on April 8th.
Three years in development, Terminal 3 is exclusively for low-cost carriers and short-haul flights.
The design has been handled by Nikken Sekkei, who also designed Tokyo Skytree. The terminal also features furniture by Muji and creative direction by PARTY.
The design concept was “more than 2 into 1″ (sic), a nod to how the terminal has been made with around half the budget ordinarily consigned to a new airport terminal construction project.
The floor of the terminal features blue running tracks (now you really can spring for your flight) and other minimal but striking flourishes. The designers wanted to create a positive impression of “low cost” and so opted for chic simplicity.
The development of Narita International has been immensely controversial. Ever since the site was first proposed it has been protested at every stage, especially by local farmer residents and left-wing activists. During the 1970’s in particular the demonstrations were violent and several people ultimately died, including police officers.
The new opening of the third terminal may be another small step towards realizing the full original plan of the airport. When it opened in 1978 it was ultimately reduced to a small fraction of its planned size. A second runway was added but a third is still stalled.
The government hopes Narita will become a hub for flights coming in and out of Asia. However, this dream is hampered by Japanese airports’ high landing fees and Japan’s location on the edge of the continent. Moreover, there is also strong competition from other passenger flight and freight hubs in Asia, such as Hong Kong or Incheon, as well as Tokyo’s original airport, Haneda, which also has international flights again.
Narita previously opened the “Kabuki Gate” at Terminal 1, featuring Kabuki costumes and props.
Tokujin Yoshioka is one of Japan’s most famous and popular designers, known for his use of transparent materials.
“Kou-an Glass Tea House” started life as a small-scale model at Glasstress 2011 at the 54th Venice Biennale.
Now a full-scale reproduction of the glass teahouse is on display at a temple in Japan.
Kansai Art Beat has more on the event:
Yoshioka has been interested in the Japanese conception of nature which is characterized by its distinctive spacial perception that involves the sensory realization of the surrounding atmosphere through what may be described as signs of energies or aura. Such a sensual appreciation of nature’s intrinsics and beauty can be recognized in Japanese tea ceremony practice.
Until April 30th, 2016 visitors can experience Yoshioka’s work at Seiryu-den, which is part of Shoren-in Temple.
The tea house has been installed on a platform 220 meters (721 ft) above ground, offering a stunning view of the old capital.
Hello Kitty is no stranger to spin-offs and tie-ups. But this one is pretty innovative.
Sanrio’s iconic cat character has teamed up with Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance Company for an exhibition in central Tokyo featuring Kitty-chan in a series of different cosplay outfits, each representing the area or city where Fukoku has a regional branch.
There are 62 illustrations of Hello Kitty in various regional garb.
This is very much old Japan meets new Japan. There are large noren traditional split curtains hanging over the entrance.
The exhibits themselves hang from the ceiling on plain white panels against a chic white floor with an abstract map of Japan. The space is designed by Naoya Iwama.
Each regional Hello Kitty character features a costume, props or other motifs representative of the respective area or city in Japan.
Here is Hello Kitty Hakodate with its famous squid.
Kagoshima and a black pig
Maebashi and a daruma doll
Nagoya and its castle
North Osaka and takoyaki
Sapporo and skiing
The event is part of a general campaign by Fukoku using Hello Kitty as brand spokesperson. The insurance firm ran a poll contest to see which Hello Kitty regional character was the most popular. Surprisingly, the owl-themed Ikebukuro Hello Kitty came out top from the nearly 150,000 votes.
You can visit the show at the Fukoku Seimei Building (the Fukoku headquarters) at 2-2-2 Uchisaiwaicho, Chiyoda-ku in Tokyo. The exhibition runs until June 30th.
Japan is the land of characters. Every town has a mascot, every brand its own cute figure.
But while there is no shortage of home-grown characters, Japanese consumers also love to lap up foreign creations too.
The “Mr. Men” and “Little Miss” series of books by British writer Roger Hargreaves is not as famous as Charlie Brown and company, but that hasn’t stopped Evian from using the iconic 2D characters for a series of new packaging labels to vamp up its 750ml bottled water product.
Bottled water in Japan is a competitive market, and a growing one. Total revenues were $7,600.2m in 2013, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.1% between 2009 and 2013. In the wake of the Fukushima disaster, the advantages of bottled water came even more to the fore and local consumers starting buying it more.
Water is probably the one natural resource that Japan has reasonably plenty of and so there are lots of domestic companies like Suntory and Kirin dominating the market (Coca-Cola is not far behind). The share in the market for Danone Group’s Evian is only so-so, meaning a stunt like this is a nice way to draw consumers’ eyes to their section of the shelf in the convenience store. After all, the water corner is not usually the most colorful of places and the various brands’ products can merge into one transparent watery image, with the potential consumer often left to scan the prices to discern the differences.
The “Mr. Men” and “Little Miss” rights are now licensed to Sanrio, the creators of Hello Kitty and My Melody. This new packaging tie-up is exclusive to the Japanese market, though it is part of a bigger global Evian-Mr. Men/Little Miss branding campaign launched last year.
The 750ml water with the new packaging designs are available from today (April 6th) across Japan. There are four types of labels, each based on a different Mr. Men or Little Miss character: Mr. Strong, Little Miss Sunshine, Little Miss Chatterbox, and Mr. Glug (a character made especially for Evian by Sanrio as part of the global Evian tie-up).
Eight types of special Evian-Mr Men/Little Miss LINE stamps will also be available free online from April 3rd to September 17th.
Japan has a declining birth rate but the toymakers are still trying hard to find new ways to entertain children in the twenty-first century.
Here’s a brilliant example from Takara-Tomy.
Pick up the digital stamp cubes while touching the black panels on the side. Place these onto your iPad screen to interact with the colorful 2D world.
You can move things around and initiate responses from the cute animations, as well as paint and design vehicles and animals, and more. Combining different types of blocks creates all kinds of new scenarios and effects on the screen.
The blocks/cubes don’t require any batteries but the iPad needs to have the dedicated app.
There are two versions: Living Creatures (featuring animals) or Town (featuring buildings, parks and more).
Here are the four games you can play.
Takara-Tomy promises this is just the first in a series of Joujou futuristic interactive toys for all the family.