Yes, an artist designed an ice hotel in Hokkaido, Japan

Inigo del Castillo Contributor

By Inigo del Castillo in Cool Travel on Thursday 27 February 2014

We’ve heard of pop-up shops before, but pop-up ice hotels? In Hokkaido, Japan, there exists a hotel that will last only as long as the temperature allows it. ‘Ice Hills Hotel’ was the brainchild of local real estate company, ‘Creative Hokkaido’, as part of their initiative to help promote the creative culture of their snowy island.

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Japanese man becomes a turkey using only a sweater

Inigo del Castillo Contributor

By Inigo del Castillo in New Fashion on Thursday 27 February 2014

Turns out you can use a single sweater in protecting your entire body from the freezing cold. It also turns out that you can use that sweater to instantly shape-shift into a turkey, as demonstrated by one Japanese blogger. Sebuyama, a resident writer at Japanese comedy site, Omocoro, didn’t have enough money to buy himself some appropriate winter clothes this year. So he took the only piece of clothing he had, a sweater, and wrapped that around his entire body. And ta-da! Instant human turkey, fresh from wacky world of Japan.

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Rabbit Island in Japan is either a dream come true or your worst nightmare

Rachel Oakley Contributor

By Rachel Oakley in Cool Travel on Saturday 22 February 2014

Yeah. I’m not so sure I’d be ok with hundreds of rabbits leaping their way behind me. But the girl in this video is! The tiny island of Okunoshima, is sometimes known as Rabbit Island, and there are a few theories as to why there are so many bunnies around. One theory is that there […]

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Finally! Chopsticks that don’t get lost from each other

Inigo del Castillo Contributor

By Inigo del Castillo in New Design on Thursday 20 February 2014

Oki Sato of Japanese design firm, Nendo, has come up with a solution to our number one chopstick problem that has lasted for thousands of years: storage. Though scooping up rice comes in a close second.

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Ice glasses by Baku Maida

Inigo del Castillo Contributor

By Inigo del Castillo in New Products on Tuesday 18 February 2014

Practical? No. Cool? Definitely. Sapporo-based illustrator Baku Maida created these very chill pair of glasses encased in a block of ice. It’s seasonally appropriate, considering the freeze that’s been enveloping much of the US in the past few weeks. Better make the most out of them though, because once the sun comes out, the trendy […]

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Japanese colour Woodcuts by Kitagawa Utamaro

Inigo del Castillo Contributor

By Inigo del Castillo in New Art on Wednesday 12 February 2014

‘Ukiyo-e’, translated as ‘pictures of the floating world’, are prints and paintings that recorded everyday scenes during the Tokugawa Shogunate of the Edo period (1614-1868) in Japan. Usually, the subjects would range from celebrated courtesans of the Yoshiwara district, Kabuki theatre actors, sumo wrestlers, and average people doing their everyday activities. So it’s much like […]

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Japanese precision walking competition

Inigo del Castillo Contributor

By Inigo del Castillo in New Events on Tuesday 4 February 2014

Of course synchronized team precision walking is in Japan, where else could such a not-so-normal sport be found? ‘Shuudan Koudou’, which means ‘collective action’, is a competition where teams of men and women outperform each other in a series of complex and unbelievable synchronized walking routines – similar to those of military movement exercises. The […]

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Japanese cats that look like Yakuza members

Low Lai Chow Contributor

By Low Lai Chow in New Trends on Sunday 2 February 2014

Some bright spark realized just how much in common cats have in common with the ‘yakuza’ (or Japanese gangsters). Must be their terror-inducing character attributes, spine-tingling sneers and evil expressions. Cats and the mafia: there must be some truth in the matter. Hell, even Don Vito Corleone had a cat, you know.

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Long exposure photos reveal beautiful world of fireflies

Inigo del Castillo Contributor

By Inigo del Castillo in New Photography on Thursday 30 January 2014

The yellow dots are attacking from the dark forests! Kidding. These photos are actually of fireflies lighting up at night. Okayama-based photographer Tsuneaki Hiramitsu has taken shots of fireflies for years, often going out of the city and into dark, wooded areas where the fireflies reside.

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Bizarre but true: Japanese scrolls from the 1600s depict farting competitions

Inigo del Castillo Contributor

By Inigo del Castillo in New Art on Monday 27 January 2014

Well at least we know people back in the past enjoyed farting like we do now. The following images are from ancient Japanese scrolls that dates way back to the Edo period (1603-1868). The documents depict what they call ‘he-gassen’ or ‘farting competition’. Yes, we’re looking at valuable documents with historical significance, and it’s about people farting.

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Chibi Pocket, the cutest toy robots you’ll ever see

Inigo del Castillo Contributor

By Inigo del Castillo in New Design on Saturday 18 January 2014

‘Chibi’ is a Japanese term for ‘short person’ or ‘small child’. In popular culture, chibi has mostly referred to characters with oversized heads and small bodies – similar to babies – to emphasize cuteness and child-like spirit. Graphic designer Junichi Tsuneoka has taken the concept of chibi to a whole new level by transforming terrifying […]

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Octopus balls? Eggplant? These toothpastes in Japan are nothing but avant-garde

Low Lai Chow Contributor

By Low Lai Chow in New Products on Tuesday 14 January 2014

Invention Spot has compiled a list of strange toothpastes that can be found in Japan. Either there really is a market out there for toothpaste scented with ‘takoyaki’ (a popular Japanese street food also known as, erm, octopus balls)… or we don’t really understand this world at all.

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Watch makes you solve puzzles first before knowing the time

Inigo del Castillo Contributor

By Inigo del Castillo in Tech on Monday 13 January 2014

TokyoFlash, Japanese maker of limited-edition LED and LCD watches, is known for its long line of mind-boggling and arcane concept watches that may or may not give you brain damage (I’m leaning towards the former). Their latest creation, the Kisai Spider Acetate, is no exception.

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Disney princess-inspired lingerie collection from Japan

Inigo del Castillo Contributor

By Inigo del Castillo in New Fashion on Wednesday 8 January 2014

Can you feel the love tonight? With these Disney princess-inspired lingerie, you’ll definitely bring your man to a whole new world. Japan has done it again! This time, they succeeded in turning our childhood heroines into sexy beasts. Japanese retailer Bellemaison is offering a magical lingerie collection inspired by the dresses of Aurora, Belle, Cinderella, and Rapunzel.

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In Japan, a phone-answering competition actually exists

Low Lai Chow Contributor

By Low Lai Chow in Cool Travel on Thursday 26 December 2013

Yes, you heard us right: a formal phone-answering competition takes place annually with thousands of office workers across Japan competing for the top honors for providing the most polite, pleasant and efficient service. What’s even more surprising: this year, in 2013, will be the 52nd year the competition is being staged. Wow. Then again, with […]

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