Wagashi – Japanese Sweets

Here are a couple of videos to help explain all those wonderful candies or wagashi that you see when at the department stores or at other confectionery shops around Japan. Wagashi truly is an art and is generally made from natural ingredients. Wagashi is typically served as part of a Japanese tea ceremony, and is also a very seasonal gift. In fact, serving a proper seasonal wagashi shows one’s educational background.


During the Edo period, the production of sugarcane in Okinawa became highly productive, and low quality brown sugar as well as heavily processed white sugar became widely available. A type of sugar, wasanbon was perfected in this period and is still used exclusively to make wagashi. In those early times, wagashi was a popular gift between samurai.

And wagashi doesn’t have to always be so serious as it does art:


Photo by: merec0

Ocean Warming Causes Jellyfish to Swarm Japan’s Northern Waters

The fishermen leaned into the nets, grunting and grumbling as they tossed the translucent jellyfish back into the bay, giants weighing up to 450 pounds, marine invaders that are putting the men’s livelihoods at risk.

The venom of the Nomura, the world’s largest jellyfish, a creature up to 6 feet in diameter, can ruin a whole day’s catch by tainting or killing fish stung when ensnared with them in the maze of nets here in northwest Japan’s Wakasa Bay.

“Some fishermen have just stopped fishing,” said Taiichiro Hamano, 67. “When you pull in the nets and see jellyfish, you get depressed.”

This year’s jellyfish swarm is one of the worst he has seen, Hamano said. Once considered a rarity occurring every 40 years, they are now an almost annual occurrence along several thousand miles of Japanese coast, and far beyond Japan.

Scientists believe climate change — the warming of oceans — has allowed some of the almost 2,000 jellyfish species to expand their ranges, appear earlier in the year and increase overall numbers, much as warming has helped ticks, bark beetles and other pests to spread to new latitudes.

For more information:
Ocean warming causes jellyfish to swarm northern waters

Source: nydailynews.com

Robot meets iPhone

This video is nifty in every sense of the word. It puts the power of the iPhone with a little bit of ingenuity in perspective like no other video I’ve seen. Plus the fun little animation is super kawaii, I mean creative. – Did I just type that. – Yikes!

Well here’s the story straight from the horse’s mouth…

The other day, I bought an iPhone. I was amazed at its high performance. So I tried to connect it to a robot I use in my job.

This is a “6-axis VS robot”. Very fast.

An ethernet port is standard, so I can easily connect it via Wi-Fi. Maybe I can use it for the iPhone. According to the robot manual, the robot can be controlled via TCP/IP. Transmitting and receiving packet through b-CAP seems to be enough.

Let’s just start with a compile of a sample program made by the manufacturer.

Compile has succeeded. And let’s check the connection on the iPhone. The connection succeeded.

I made a remote monitor by 3D display function of the iPhone. Send the b-CAP packet for the robot, then…

You can monitor the robot in real time. You can also control the 3D display with multi-touch. Within the range of Wi-Fi you can monitor the robot everywhere.


Nice Cup In Bra

Female golfers in Japan can now remove their bras and practise their putting no matter where they are.

Called the “Nice Cup In Bra,” by Triumph International Japan, this “lingerie” consists of a grass-green top that, when removed, conveniently unfurls into a 1.5-meter-long putting mat. When the user sinks a putt into one of the cups, a built-in speaker pumps out a cry of “Nice shot.”


In addition to functioning as a practice mat, the bra incorporates features that can come in handy on the course, such as pockets for storing extra balls and tees, as well as a detachable flag pin that doubles as a score pencil.


The bottom half of the lingerie consists of a detachable pink skirt with the words “Be Quiet” printed in bold letters on the rear. When removed, the extra-short skirt can be used as a flag to encourage onlookers to remain silent.


According to the maker, the Nice Cup In Bra — which is not yet for sale — was created in response to the growing popularity of golf among females in Japan, and is designed to appeal to busy working women looking for a unique and convenient way to practice their putt.

Twice a year, Triumph International Japan unveils a new concept bra that highlights a popular trend or draws attention to social issues.

Source: Pink Tentacle

Japanese Spider-Man!

Are you in Japan and haven’t figured out your costume for Halloween, yet? How about Japanese Spider-Man — Emissary from Hell! — No Really! He has his own robot gundam mechanical thingy and is way cool! Super-Cool!!! Watch out Paro! Maybe they can work that robot gundam into the plot for Spider-Man 4!

Check out the commercial!!! And Watch all of the episodes on Marvel.com! Complete with subtitles!!!

Spider-Man (スパイダーマン, Supaidāman) is a Japanese tokusatsu series produced by Toei Company in 1978, based on Marvel’s superhero of the same name. This version of the famous web-slinging hero was part of a deal that Marvel made with Toei, namely that for a four-year period, Toei could use Marvel’s characters in any way they saw fit. So in 1978, a Spider-Man tokusatsu series was produced for Japanese television by Toei Company Ltd. While Spider-Man’s costume was certainly based on the original, the storyline had nothing to do with the Marvel character.

For More Information:
Watch all of the episodes streamed at the official Marvel site!



Opening of Japanese Spidey

Commercial with Japanese Spidey and his Gundam

Stan Lee on the plot for Spider-Man 4

Gundam – Standing Tall in Odaiba

Almost ready…This giant 35-ton, 18-meter tall, full-scale Gundam is in Shiokaze Park within Odaiba, Tokyo to commemorate 30 years of Mobile Suit Gundam. The Gundam sports a moving head and is able to shoot mist and light from fifty points on its body. Check out the cool video below.

Koichi Wakata

On March 18, astronaut Koichi Wakata arrived at the International Space Station to begin his three-month space sojourn — the longest ever for a Japanese spaceman. Although much of Wakata’s time in space will be devoted to official research and maintenance duties, he plans to set aside a little free time for 16 offbeat experiments proposed by the Japanese public.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) selected the extra experiments from nearly 1,600 proposals they received after asking the public what tests they would like to see performed in space. The 16 experiments are listed here as questions posed to Wakata.

1. Calisthenics: Is it possible to follow an audio-guided workout program in zero gravity?

2. Backflips: On Earth, backflips take a lot of practice and leg strength. How about in zero gravity?

3. Volleying (soccer): Crumple a piece of paper into a ball and try kicking it around. How does the ball behave in zero gravity? Can you volley it?

4. Push-ups: In space, can you do push-ups while facing the ceiling or walls?

5. Cartwheels: In zero gravity, can you rotate yourself continuously like a windmill?

6. Swimming: Try to swim through the air as if you were in water. Can you move forward by swimming? If not, why not?

7. Spin like an ice skater: On Earth, ice skaters can increase their rotation speed by pulling their arms closer in to the body while they spin. Does the same thing happen in zero gravity? If so, what is the reason?

8. Folding clothes: In space, can you fold clothes and put them away as you do on Earth? It seems that the shirt sleeves would be difficult to keep in place. What is the best way to fold clothes in space?

9. Magic carpet: Try to sit on a floating carpet. Magic carpets are a fantasy on Earth, but are they possible in space?

10. Water gun: On Earth, if you squeeze a drink bag, a single stream of liquid shoots out through the straw hole and falls to the ground. How does the liquid behave in zero gravity?

11. Eye drops: On Earth, you have to face upward to put eye drops into your eyes. Is there a better way to do this in zero gravity?

12. Propulsion through space: When floating in zero gravity, how much power do you need in order to propel yourself around? Can you move simply by blowing air from your mouth or by flapping a hand-fan?

The next four activities are to be performed by two people:

13. Arm wrestling
14. Shaking hands
15. Sumo
16. Tug-of-war

JAXA plans to release videos of Wakata’s experiments in July.

Related Links
Koichi Wakata’s Underpants

[Source: JAXA]