Kyunkun is a girl born in Tokyo who defines herself as a “Robot Fashion creator”. She started making wearable prototypes using arduinos and LEDs and little by little she evolved her style by adding mechanical elements. Her latest model is some kind of bag with arms coming out of the back. For the moment this is just a hobby and to make a living she does temporary work “baitos” バイト.
In the following videos you can see the process followed by Kyunkun to create her “wearable” robot models.
When you find many flowers at the entrance of an office building, hotel, restaurant or store like in the following pictures…
…the most likely reason is that a new business is being inaugurated or and existing one has relocated. Each flower pot is the present of a client or a business partner. If you can read some Japanese you can identify the name of the companies and the persons that sign the flowers. For example these flowers are a present of the president of Kadokawa:
Another curious thing is that you could guess how wealthy or powerful the company sending the flowers is just by spotting the biggest and most sumptuous flowers, which can cost as much as 1,000 EUR / 1,100 USD.
I found these flowers in this website, it is one of the standard models and costs around 250 EUR / 280 USD.
The Japanese love fish, not only from the sea, but also fish (Sakana 魚) from rivers (Kawa, 川). Depending on the area and the season, the types of fish available vary a lot. The most common ones are ayu 鮎 and iwana 岩魚, which you can find almost throughout the country. They are easy to spot in a menu or in street food stalls because they are almost always barbecued and served with skewers.
In trains in Japan it is very usual to see girls putting on their makeup with mirrors and all kinds of “gadgets” as if the train was an extension of their bathroom. However seeing a salary man shaving on the train was something new to me. I can now truly say that trains are like a second home for the people that live in Tokyo…
The restaurant chain Coco Curry Ichibanya 壱番屋 which specializes in Japanese curry has been running a Dragon Ball Z marketing campaign for the last few weeks. It is part of the promotion of the new Dragon Ball Z movie and it will last until May 31st. If you are in Japan and you like curry for each 1,000 yen that you spend in the restaurant you will participate in a contest to get a plate or an original trading card.
This is how a Coco Curry Ichibanya 壱番屋 restaurant looks. In Tokyo you can spot many of them near subway stations.
Last Summer I visited for the first time an area with rice paddy fields in Chiba. I loved the experience. It was not only the place, but the friends I made there that made me return more times to breath the fresh air of the Japanese countryside.
After a while, I was offered to be a member of an association of rice paddy owners. My first reaction was to reject the offer, it seemed like it was just another thing to worry about in my life. But after some days of thinking about it I remembered one of the wisest advice my friend Zordor has given me:
“In life you should invest in stories”
This thing about the rice paddy fields sounded like a great opportunity to “invest in stories”, so I eventually accepted the offer. During some months it was a hassle to read and sign contracts, to do transfers to the bank of the association, to read the rules of how to maintain the rice fields, to speak with other members on the phone… It was like dealing with one of those secret clubs that characters in Haruki Murakami novels bump into.
After investing so much time, finally the harvest of stories began last week. We put together a group of more than twenty friends and we learned how to sow rice. We lost the fear of sinking in the mud, we learned how to walk without falling into the water and we learned how to put our hand in the mud while you feel a frog walking up your arm. We learned how to plant rice sprouts by using only two fingers just as the farmers in Kurosawa movies do. On top of that we were even interviewed by a local radio in Chiba!
Sowing rice following the traditional way made me understand the importance of Japanese agriculture and its influence in the countryside culture. All the members of our group had to coordinate and work collectively so that the plants will grow aligned. It is very important for the community to work in unison and for everybody to collaborate in order to have a good harvest. Not only in you rice paddy field but also in the neighboring ones.
Thank you very much to all of you that came to help. In September we will collect more stories and we will harvest the rice in our field!
This strange restaurant built on top of a tree can be found in Okinawa not far from Naha airport along highway 58.
The tree is a Gajumaru (also known in India as Banyan), which is a species of the genus Ficus. The Gajumaru/Banyan is a tree that you can typically find in Asian tropical areas, and they can also be seen in Hawaii. If you watched Lost you surely saw them many times as they are used by the characters in the series to hide from the smoke monster. Gajumarus are also known because Robinson Crusoe built his house in one.
My ass trying to climb a Gajumaru.
According to the mythology of Okinawa, the Kijimuna (small elf-like creatures) live in Gajumarus. Legend has it that the Kijimuna can only be seen by kids that have a pure heart. If you go to Okinawa you will see signs with Kijimuna images in many places, mostly in forest areas where there are gajumarus. However they are not so abundant as the Shisa.
A video (not mine) in which you can appreciate the size of the trunk of a gajumaru tree.