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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Font-inspired eyewear brand Type launches new Din and Futura models

Written by: William on December 9, 2014 at 9:37 am | In PRODUCT INNOVATION | No Comments

When Wieden + Kennedy Tokyo released Type at the start of the year it got a lot of buzz from both eyewear lovers and typeface fans. Japanese typology design is respected around the world and its eyewear brands are very innovative, as we frequently report on this blog.

What Type did that was so awesome was take the Garamond and Helvetica fonts and actually use them as the design motif.

The resulting eyewear range integrated the look of the actual fonts into the design of the spectacles themselves.

There were three weights — light, regular or bold — and three colors (clear, black or tortoise).

Now they have launched two more lines based on a pair of new fonts — Din and Futura.

type font design eyewear japan din futura

The name, Type, is a play on its meaning as “font” but also as in “character”, that is, you are the kind of glasses you wear.

The concept says:

You are a character. You have a voice and a style. You’re straight or you’re odd. You’re classic or complicated or light or clunky or simple. And you are what you are and that’s good. Because that makes your type the type we like.

type font design eyewear japan din futura

Din is a German font from the 1930′s (the name stands for Deutsches Institut für Normung) and can be found on manhole covers in Germany. It is a polished, neutral design that lends itself to a variety of utilities. Futura, on the other hand, featured on German Deutschmark bank notes. The modern-looking font is rounder and is a common sight in brand logos.

din type eyewear glasses japan

futura bold type eyewear glasses japan

Like the previous line-up, the new Type font eyewear is available from Oh My Glasses and also Shibuya Loft.

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Sushi Socks turn feet into raw fish

Written by: Japan Trends on December 8, 2014 at 9:24 am | In PRODUCT INNOVATION | No Comments

Here’s a great Christmas gift idea and it likely doesn’t get more Japanese than this.

Turn your feet into raw fish now with the Sushi Socks.

sushi socks raw fish food footwear

While the tattoo tights street fashion is sadly on the wane and the tattoo armbands never really exploded like we hoped, perhaps it’s time to go back the basics.

And you can’t find a more iconic Japanese food than sushi.

sushi socks raw fish food footwear

sushi socks raw fish food footwear

This colorful leg wear fit almost all sizes and are based on actual popular sushi dishes.

JapanTrendShop is offering a set of six, kind of like when you get a mori-awase platter in a sushi restaurant. They can be folded up to look like pairs of sushi on a plate, the white part of the sock looking like the rice, while the “fish” being the colored patterns.

There’s salmon, tuna, octopus, shrimp, and red caviar in this set, each with the name of the sushi dish written in Japanese on the sock.

sushi socks raw fish food footwear

sushi socks raw fish food footwear

sushi socks raw fish food footwear

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Thanko Thumb Extender for Phone Touchscreens saves you time with large mobile devices

Written by: Japan Trends on December 5, 2014 at 8:27 am | In PRODUCT INNOVATION | 1 Comment

Thanko are our favorite Japanese gadget makers, not least because their approach to the marketing is always so gleefully down-to-earth but also because they deliberately find everyday problems and seek out low-fi, cheap resolutions.

Here’s a case in point.

thanko thumb extender extension finger phone touchscreen

Don’t you just hate it when your fingers can’t get around the screen on your phone fast enough? Or when you need two hands for those recent phones with larger screens?

Enter the Thanko Thumb Extender for Phone Touchscreens.

thanko thumb extender extension finger phone touchscreen

This really is how it sounds — a slip-on “extender” for your thumb.

Our mobile devices have recently being getting bigger and our digital lives busier.

Thanks to the Thumb Extender, the extra few millimeters will leave you other hand free for staying steady during the morning commute.

thanko thumb extender extension finger phone touchscreen

There is a black tab on the underside of the thumb so you can click away on your screen as if the Thumb Extender is a genuine part of your digit.

If you’re worried about getting strange looks from people, don’t worry. The Thumb Extender looks like a real thumb so at a quick glance people may not even notice. Or at least, that’s the idea.

thanko thumb extender extension finger phone touchscreen
Check it out in action.

Thanko Thumb Extender for Phone Touchscreens is now available from JapanTrendShop.

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Snickers offers free (but crazy) haircuts at Hungry Barber hair salon in Tokyo’s Omotesando

Written by: William on December 4, 2014 at 7:48 am | In LIFESTYLE | No Comments

Want a free haircut? Of course!

But the free cut being offered by Mars Japan Limited for six days at weekends in Omotesando comes at a different sort of price. It’s kind of insane.

While Japan already has its fair dose of odd fashion and beauty trends, many of which manifest themselves as larger-than-life hair styles or wigs, this might be the best hirsute promo we’ve seen in the capital.

snickers hungry barber crazy hair cut style salon omotesando

The Snickers Hungry Barber will be open for customers over December 12th to 14th, and December 19th to 21st. Based as a pop-up at Zerobase Omotesando (5-1-25 Minami-Aoyama, Minato Ward, Tokyo), patrons can choose from one of eight styles, including “techno”, heavy metal, mohican, “omakase” (leave it to you), “half & half”, and “bakuhatsu” (explosion).

Please pick your cut from the menu below.

snickers hungry barber crazy hair cut style salon omotesando

If you want a free mohican, you also have to pose for a photo of your new cut with a bar of Snickers, and then upload it to social media. After all, getting your head buzzed is all about creating marketing buzz.

We should point at that while some of the outlandish haircuts might be home in certain districts of Tokyo, the tony Omotesando neighborhood is usually known for luxury fashion and chic tastes.

snickers hungry barber crazy hair cut style salon omotesando

Hey, at least you can console yourself with the chocolate bar?

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Omotenashi Kimono Experience: Traditional Japan, on the Cheap

Written by: Tokyo Cheapo on December 3, 2014 at 12:05 pm | In CULTURE | No Comments

This article by Katie Reilly first appeared on Tokyo Cheapo.

omotenashi kimono experience japan try traditional clothes tokyo

So you want to get dressed up, do the whole kimono thing while you’re in Tokyo? These timeless outfits are not exactly cheap, but that’s why kimono rentals exist. You can experience wearing one for a short time without having to spend an enormous amount of money. Plus, by renting you have someone there to help you with the tricky business of putting it on.

omotenashi kimono experience japan try traditional clothes tokyo

Kimono are the traditional clothing of Japan. While they are not generally seen on a daily basis today, they are still often worn by women and sometimes men for festivals and special occasions. Traditionally kimono were made of silk, though nowadays there are cheaper ones made with less expensive fabrics. Kimono are wrapped so that the left side covers the right, adjusted for height, and are secured with an obi. These are sashes that keep the fabric in place and are tied in the back. Kimono are a beautiful aspect of Japanese culture and fun to experience.

omotenashi kimono experience japan try traditional clothes tokyo

The Omotenashi Kimono Experience (“omotenashi” loosely translating as hospitality) provided by the Nihonbashi Information Center is a reasonable way to try out kimono. At ¥5,500 it won’t be the cheapest thing you do in Tokyo, but it’s good value for the service it offers.

You start by picking out your favorite pattern and color of kimono from the selection they provide, and match it with an obi of your choice. You then move into a second room where their staff will help you put on the kimono. As it is a rather complicated process to attempt by yourself for the first time, they will take care of it for you. It is recommended that you wear or bring an undershirt, as you may want it for extra coverage since you will only be wearing undergarments beneath your kimono. The whole process of getting into a kimono takes about 20 minutes.

omotenashi kimono experience japan try traditional clothes tokyo

After you get into your kimono, you can take some photographs in the tatami room. There are a couple of Japan-esque parasols that can be used when you pose. Once you have taken all the inside photos you want, you choose your zōri (traditional shoes worn with kimono) which are worn with white tabi (traditional socks that divide your big toe from the rest of your toes) and head out for a stroll. While you are out, you can store your belongings in a bag that the center provides and they will keep it for you until you return.

omotenashi kimono experience japan try traditional clothes tokyo
A prime spot for photos, just behind the Coredo building.

The kimono experience can be paired with the guided Best of Japan tour offered by the Nihonbashi Information Center, but if you do the kimono experience separately you are free to wander wherever you want (which we prefer). You have until 6 pm to return the kimono, giving you enough time (if you start at lunchtime) to go sightseeing and take photographs around the city. While they’ll give you a pamphlet on places to see in Nihonbashi, you shouldn’t feel limited to that area. Asakusa is our recommended destination, as there are many shrines and temples there that are good spots for snapping kimono pics.

omotenashi kimono experience japan try traditional clothes tokyo

The kimono experience is only offered on Thursdays and Saturdays from 10:30 am to 3:30 pm (with the 6 pm kimono return), and it’s best to book in advance as they seem to fill up quickly. You can do that online, and you can also schedule a group if you would like to do it with friends or family.

The Omotenashi Kimono Experience can be found in the Kyorakutei Room on the third floor of COREDO Muromachi 3, which is easy to get to from Mitsukoshimae and Nihonbashi Stations. The information center is in the basement floor of the same building, and the staff can give you advice on what can be seen in the area. You can also do a geisha experience (that whole white make-up thing is not part of the regular kimono experience) and tea ceremony for additional fees.

omotenashi kimono experience japan try traditional clothes tokyo

The building where it all happens.

Think you might like to get one of your own? Here’s a cheapo guide to buying kimono.

Read on Tokyo Cheapo.

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Check out these awesome au Unlimited Future Laboratory prototypes

Written by: William on December 2, 2014 at 9:04 am | In PRODUCT INNOVATION | No Comments

The au Unlimited Future Laboratory is phone carrier KDDI’s experimental division for creating what could turn out to be the gadgets we all use in the future (or not, as the case may be).

kddi au unlimited future laboratory prototypes

Here are some of the fruits of their research and development.

kddi au unlimited future laboratory prototypes icrout

kddi au unlimited future laboratory prototypes icrout music instrument

iCrout

The iCrout gives the nimble fingertips of a professional musician. You choose a track online and then install the performance data. Then put on the iCrout gloves and no matter you natural ability, the gadget will let you play to a high level. (It reminds us of the “face stimulation” experiments of Daito Manabe.) Following the logic, will there be any need for such a thing as genuine talent ever again?

kddi au unlimited future laboratory prototypes happy coming

kddi au unlimited future laboratory prototypes happy coming

Happy Coming

This is a kind of eye mask but it doesn’t just shut out light. Happy Coming is supposed to detect brain waves and heart beat frequency, and match these with appropriate music, illumination effects, and even aroma. All of this is designed to induce a better sleep session

Happy Coming gives you around 20 minutes of restful non-REM sleep, before encouraging you to wake up. In other words, an ideal daytime nap.

Not a commercial product yet but boy, do we want it to be one soon! Given the nuance of the English, though, they would have to change the name or there may be guys queuing up to purchase what they hope is a wet dream generator!

kddi au unlimited future laboratory prototypes tsugi-ai

kddi au unlimited future laboratory prototypes tsugi-ai

Tsugi-ai

With Tsugi-ai (Pour for Each Other) you can have a drink with someone who’s not physically there with you using your phone. In Japan it is polite to pour beer into the glass of your drinking partner. So the Tsugi-ai detects when the other person’s beverage runs low and then pours the drink can to give them a fill-up.

kddi au unlimited future laboratory prototypes kokoro yoho mask

Kokoro Yoho Mask

Another mask here, the Kokoro Yoho Mask (Mind Forecast Mask) is an “office communication tool” that helps you read between the lines of what colleagues are saying or how they really feel. It visualizes the wearer’s feelings like weather forecast symbols on the outside of the mask.

kddi au unlimited future laboratory prototypes totsugeki zukyun

Totsugeki Zukyun

The Totsugeki Zukyun lets you show when you fall head over heels with someone passing by. We’ve all walked by the boy or girl who just makes your heart go aflutter. But not all of us are brave enough to say something to them. This device lets you communicate how you feel. The doors pop open and out bursts a “heart”, while at the same time it makes a cute noise and releases a pleasant aroma — and even sends a message from your phone.

Surely this will be a must-have for weddings or group dates.

Check other a.U.F.L. prototypes. That are lots more!

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