Category — Interactive/ Technology
“A salaryman toils away on electronic engineering during the weekend,” writes an anonymous Japanese man behind the website Ugoita (it moved). “Everything that I’ve somehow gotten to move is shown on this page.”
It’s a simple, yet romantic mission statement that embodies a child-like fascination with moving objects. From an umbrella that detects raindrops and converts them into sounds, to an 8bit video game harmonica, each project is more charming than the next.
January 20, 2014 Comments Off
Hatsuhinode (初日の出) in Japanese is the first sunrise of the year. It’s considered an auspicious event so much so that it’s enough to get people out of their warm beds to crazy heights, like the top of Mt. Fuji, for a view of the first sunrise.
But no one had ever traversed as high as Keisuke Iwaya did earlier this month when he sent a balloon-powered camera 30 km (18.6 miles) into space to capture the first sunrise, trumping those suckers at Mt. Fuji’s summit by about 16.3 miles. And he did it all on a shoestring budget – 25,000 yen (about $250) spent at his local hardware shop. This excludes the cost of the Gopro Hero 3, as well as the iPad he used to control his device from the ground. Both survived the rise and fall.
On January 1, 2014 at around 5:30 AM the Hokkaido native set his contraption into the air. The entire flight lasted 110 minutes before the balloon popped (as programmed) 30km above land. The camera fell back to Hokkaido and was retrieved thanks to a GPS device.
January 14, 2014 2 Comments
Visitor’s to Kyoto’s Arashiyama Station were greeted with a bright surprise when the station unveiled its latest facelift. The designer Yasumichi Morita (previously) collaborated with Kyoto’s Kamedatomi Corp. to create yuzen kimono fabric patterns.
The patterns were then placed inside 600 illuminated poles that were strategically lined along pathways of the station, creating a bright kimono forest.
source: Yasumichi Morita
January 9, 2014 1 Comment
Lady Gaga was in Japan earlier this month to promote her new album Artpop. The promotional tour included TV performances, a Yahoo Japan website decked out in Lady Gaga (live through 12/25) and, of course, anatomically correct humanoid dolls of herself.
The state-of-the-art dolls came about from a rare collaboration between a sex toy manufacturer (Orient Industries) and creative agency PARTY. A video created by the team to show how the dolls were made is fantastic. It’s like the trailer for a sadistic horror film.
And now that Gaga has left Japan, the dolls are sitting around doing nothing, just waiting for you to call them up. The website recently added a new “booking” section where you can apply for one of the dolls to come to your “television, magazine, or other event. They can even be displayed at museums or public schools,” says the website.
December 9, 2013 Comments Off
Yesterday in Tokyo former Yokozuna sumo wrestler Akebono lead about 1000 zombies up and around Tokyo Tower. They, of course, weren’t real zombies and the event was staged by Fox International to promote season 4 of the TV show “The Walking Dead.”
Organizers recruited the Hawaiian sumo-wrestler-turned-TV-personality and about 1000 beauty school students, giving them an opportunity to show off their makeup skills.
On a related note, check out our analysis on Japan’s zombie outbreak preparedness.
Reporters who were on the scene to cover the carnage got their brains chewed out.
October 31, 2013 Comments Off
After successfully crowd-funding their campaign on Kickstarter and GreenFunding (a Japanese equivalent), the band SOUR has released their latest music video. With the help of directors Masashi Kawamura and Kota Iguchi, the band filmed 189 spinning CDs as phenakistoscopes to create their entire animated video, “Life is Music.”
The song is about “the circle of life, and how music is its rhythm maker,” says the creators. “We took this concept, and came up with an idea to use the spinning CD disc as a Phenakistoscope.”
Supporters of the project who pledged $70 or more were entitled to receive one of the actual CDs used in the filming. Leftovers are being sold for 3,000 yen (about $30) on the website.
Masashi Kawamura & Co. are responsible for several other highly creative music videos that prove you don’t need million dollar budgets to create a great music video.
October 24, 2013 Comments Off
Make sure you go to the bathroom before watching this new ad for Sony’s image sensors. A creative team of cinematographers, sound engineers and recordists ventured into the riverhead area in Kumamoto, Kyushu, a lush, tranquil location renowned for its high quality of pure natural water. There they recorded both audio and video of over 700 samples of dripping water – everything from droplets falling off of stalactites onto limestone and rainwater dripping off leaves to the underwater sounds of a gurgling brook. They even captured the sound that water makes when a frog hops.
Back in the studio the engineers remixed the 700 samples of audio and 1500 cuts of video to create a “rock version” of Pachelbel’s Canon. “Water Rock” is the work of Morihiro Harano and ad agency Mori Inc., who also brought us the extraordinary Forest Xylophone commercial. “We simply drew upon the natural beauty and scenery that can always be experienced in Kumamoto,” the creators explained. “We wanted viewers to sense the whole cycle of nature.”
October 22, 2013 1 Comment
The Kyoto-based airy, dreamy songstress Cuushe just released the music video for “Airy Me,” an equally dreamy animation of wobbly camerawork and characters that are painstakingly comprised of 3000 hand drawn sketches. Interestingly, the catalyst for the video was illustrator Yoko Kuno who, at the time, was finishing up her art degree. Kuno emailed Cuushe to aske if she could use her music in her graduation thesis. And thus the collaboration was born.
You can read interview with Cuushe over on Dazed, where her video premiered.
July 18, 2013 Comments Off
The streets of Tokyo can be deafeningly silent late at night. “As I walk home at night listening to music I would imagine shapes moving to the sounds,” explains Tao Tajima, who created “Night Stroll.” It’s a mesmerizing short video shot on the late night streets of Tokyo featuring florescent geometric shapes that illuminate the dark pavement. It’s like a secret party that we’ve accidentally stepped into.
“I simply visualized the images I was seeing,” Tajima tells us. “I think anyone who’s walked home at night listening to music has experienced this feeling,” which perhaps explains why it strikes a chord with so many.
Tajima, who works at the Tokyo-based film and visual design studio Tanagram, deliberately chose a drizzly night and shot everything in his own neighborhood. “I like how wet pavement creates a mirroring effect. So I wanted to recreate the images in my head as realistically as possible.”
(all quotes translated from Japanese to English by author)
July 18, 2013 Comments Off
Hydroponics is a subset of gardening in which plants are grown only in water. Terrariums are enclosed ecosystems for raising plants. Elegantly combining the two is “[ 10¹² ] TERRA,” a new shop started by Daisuke Tsumanuma and Kenichi Yamada. “The name of the brand…was inspired by the number of cells produced per day (10¹²). We started this brand to create products that mirror the constant changes of life, full of new discovery.”
The minimal casing allows creates the perfect environment for observing the growth of your plant and its roots – something that conventional terrariums don’t do. And the clever structure lets you easily replace water as soon as it gets murky.
I love this brand movie created by Makoto Yabuki.
Source: Makoto Yabuki
July 16, 2013 Comments Off