Mini Me, Mini You

Hat tip to hustler of culture for this news from Harajuku. Leave it to the Japanese to make 3D printing so tidy and kawaii. These portraits are much less creepy than the fetal ultrasound version. Or are they…

The 3D portraits are the creation of Omote 3D, as reported by Spoon & Tamago. Lucky, well-prepared visitors to the luxury shopping mecca, GYRE will be able to purchase 3D portraits in 3 different sizes, perfect for elaborate train sets, wedding cake toppers, or just general self-representation. Go shopping on Cat Street for a nice new outfit, get your 3D portrait taken, and end up with a pocket-sized you that you can do all kinds of weird things with for Instagram photos.

Reservations are booked solid at their pop-up shop, according to their website, but there may be future opportunities for a portrait session for a figure.

In the meantime, you can always try to commission a figure from Dehara Yukinori, or you can try to make your own portrait at home on your very own 3D printer. Or do it Giant Robot style and have a Sculpey Kids kind of day. Creating things is good no matter how it’s done.

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Japanese Dolls Returned After 70 Years

Japanese dolls returned after “safekeeping” while the owner was in a WWII Internment Camp. Aside from the greatness of getting the heirloom dolls back, it’s amazing to see the greatness of these dolls. The details are amazing. The story is about the reuniting of two childhood friends after 70 years and it’s a nice read. (Sacbee – Friends) Photos by Paul Kitagaki Jr.

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CNN Tips on Japanese Subways

The Japan travel tips continue. Is it peak travel time to Japan? The yen is still high and the simple travel tips are helpful but in the end, it’ll save you a few dollars out of the hundreds you’ll be spending just to get around. This tip by CNN is about the subway system. It won’t help you really get anywhere, but it’ll explain how things can work. You can also buy a PASMO card instead of the SUICA card. (CNN – Tokyo subway)

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The Japanese Gardener

They are a dying breed. This is a story in the LA Times about the trade, how it got going, and where it’s going. We featured a Japanese American gardener in a past issue of Giant Robot. He’s a rare example of a “younger gardener” Brian Yamasaki. (LA Times – Japanese Gardeners)

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Visit China?

Japanese folks, maybe it’s not a good time to go to China. (LA Times – Japanese in China)

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50,000 Japanese Over 100 Years of Age

Japan has 51,376 centenarians – over 100 years of age. 87% are women. The average age keeps going up. (WSJ – Japanese)

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NPR: Manju is Not Candy

C’mon NPR, manju is not candy and fresh manju doesn’t last for days. This covers a new shop in Seattle called Umai-do that’s been open only a year which is remarkable. Most manju shops have been around for decades. This is the key point in the story which should be the focus. These shops may one day disappear.

(NPR – manju)

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Anime Expo Cosplay Photo Set 2 – Oscar Rios


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Meet Satoshi – The Last Salaryman – This Saturday


Video link.

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Vincent Chin 30 Years Later

When it was nearly okay to kill an Asian American just 30 years ago, Vincent Chin was murdered by non Asians who mistakened him for a Japanese person. Detroit being an auto town was being pressured by Japanese automakers who were making cheaper and more efficient cars. Did they get life sentences? No. They got a small fine and that was it. (Detroitnews – Vincent Chin)

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Ancient Galaxy Discovered

13 billion + light years away… a galaxy is found. What will we do with the information? It’s great that a Japanese team in Hawaii found this, but what happens? It’s perfectly timed news during the Prometheus craze that’s around. (Guardian UK – Galaxy)

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14 of the World’s Tallest Peaks Climbed

Hirotaka Takeuchi climbed 14 of the tallest, and will continue. All 14 are in the Himilayas and this feat took 17 years. (Washington Post – Hirotaka Takeuchi)

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Hilarious Japanese Kung Fu Gum Commercial


Japanese Martial Arts commercial for gum. The ending is the best. “Shacho” means “company president”. Thanks Nao Harada for the link.



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Ready for J Kid Pop?

This isn’t the most exciting thing in the world but the girl on the left is a huge star in Japan. Her name is Mana Ashida and as a child of 7 years, she’s a hit. If K Pop is going to reign with sexy girls, then why not combat it with a new genre of J Kid Pop? With an older demographic and aging population, this is odd and something that’ll be studied.

“Most impressively, respected Japanese advertising agency Dentsu named Ashida the sixth best Japanese “product” of 2011—placing her in front of hybrid cars and emergency supplies.” (The Atlantic – Mana Ashida)


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73 Year Old Japanese Woman Summits Everest

Tamae Watanabe makes it to the top. She held the previous record at 63 years of age. The oldest is a 76 year old Nepalese man who did it in 2008. Congrats.

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Scientists Make Bald Mouse Grow Hair


Japanese scientists have transplanted hair onto a mouse and the follicle cells actually bound to nerves and tissue, sprouting from 74% of the follicles implanted. They even used human hair on the mouse and it worked. Scary thought and ideas starting to happen here. The new tattoo might be hair transplants in odd places. (WSJ – Mouse)

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Naked Man Lives Alone on an Island

76 year old Japanese man, Masafumi Nagasaki lives on an island alone and naked. The island is 1000 meters across and he bakes in the sun. The island has no drinking water, yet this is where he chooses to call home. He gets a bit of money from his family and that’s about it. A short documentary sounds like a great plan. (Reuters – Naked Hermit)

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The Yiddish – Japanese Dictionary

Sporting a funny haircut and looking a bit interesting, Kazuo Ueda spent much of his life making a Yiddish – Japanese dictionary. Is it useful? Not really, but that’s how academia works. It’s a lot of effort on one small topic no matter how narrow and useful. But it’s done! Ueda now is showing signs of Parkinson’s and it’s attributed perhaps to his hard work. That said, a dictionary will cost $700 which is a steal of the fan of both languages. Are there any aside from him?

Either way, we’d say congrats on the 28,000 words and the effort. (NPR – Yiddish Japanese Dictionary)


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Save the UCLA Hannah Carter Japanese Garden

Save the UCLA Hannah Carter Japanese Garden. It’s a good looking garden that might get sold to a stranger. It’s in an extremely high rent area and the land is worth more than the value of the garden. The original family, the Carter’s didn’t want this to get sold and a protest is underway. There’s much more info at the link. (LAist – Japanese Garden)


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Fujiya Market – a rare place to close

Fujiya Market which has always looked out of place on Virgil was once in an area of Japanese Americans called J-Flats. No. I’ve never heard of that, and this market at 80 years is still there. The proprietors aren’t the originals, but the space looks classic and great. I made a comment recently about Granada Market on Sawtelle which shares a similar type vibe. It’s old, classic, strange and you hope it won’t close, but it probably will. No kid wants to take over an old market as much as they’d want to own a taco truck. For spots like these, I’d wish there were grants, rent subsidies and so on just to keep them open as historical locations. They do matter in the history of a city. (LA Weekly – Fujiya Market) For more photos, take a look at this flickr page by Guzzleandnosh.