Good news for busy, urban anglers: Japanese toymaker Tomy will release an augmented reality fishing rod allowing users to feel a bite and reel in a heavy fish regardless of their location. "Virtual Masters Real" -- a palm-sized rod with an antenna-like tip equipped with a reeling handle and small screen -- will go on sale in Japan in July for 6,279 yen ($76), Tomy said on Tuesday.
Interested in a part-time job that pays 2.5 million yen ($30,500) per hour for delivering a pizza to a remote island by plane? Too good to be true? Yes and no. While the job offer was right on the money, it was only a one-time deal, or rather, a one-pizza delivery. Job security was clearly not on the menu. But no one cared about the downside, and thousands applied for the job. And that was the point--the campaign generated massive publicity for the pizza company.
Everything old is new again for one Japanese manufacturer, which has unveiled an electronic version of a rickshaw. The "Meguru" is a three-wheeled, three-seat compact vehicle whose single lithium-ion battery allows for a maximum speed and range of 40 kilometers (25 miles) per hour, although the number of batteries could be increased for a longer ride.
Method Man might have helped make gold fronts famous, but it looks like Japanese schoolgirls could be the driving force behind a new era of fashionable accessories for your teeth. Instead of gold, however, these "fronts" contain bright multicolored glowing LED lights. The new fashion accessories were originally created as an experiment by two Japanese designers and are now being used in a commercial advertising a winter sale at a Japanese clothing store, Laforet Harajuku.
Last year saw many changes for Japanese Internet users as people began to shift from Japanese social networks to international ones, and from regular cellphones to smart phones. The international influence was felt in other web-based areas too. So what can we expect for 2011?
Disney took an unusual direction in Japan with word it was launching its own smartphone using Android. The phone will be a rebadging of the Sharp Galapagos 003SH and will focus mostly on its inclusion of glasses-free 3D on the 3.8-inch display. Owners will get their own Disney e-mail address, exclusive content and the option of six custom cases themed loosely around Disney characters.
Moving through a bustling JR East station, one can't help but notice the ubiquitous digital information swirling about. Heading toward the Konan exit in Tokyo's Shinagawa Station, pedestrians can be overwhelmed by the 44 65-inch displays running digital ads. Even inside trains, small monitors above the doors stream digital content almost nonstop.
The first decade of this century started with the so-called dot-com bubble. When it burst, central banks moved aggressively to ease monetary policy in order to prevent a prolonged period of Japanese-style slow growth. But the prolonged period of low interest rates that followed the 2001 recession instead contributed to the emergence of another bubble, this time in real estate and credit.
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Psychological research suggests the new look was designed with an eye on China--and beyond. Was last week's redesign of the Starbucks logo an unmitigated disaster (cf. Gap, Tropicana), or a surprisingly canny move? There's always the hue and cry of the blogosphere to gauge a quick reaction, but for a more measured approach, we have something called science.
More male consumers this winter are buying clothes and food that help them stay warm. While women in general are considered more vulnerable to cold weather, many men have become less tolerant, pundits say, leading to increased sales of such items as "haramaki," or belly warmers, and food products that use ginger and chili pepper.