There’s a bizarre but very intriguing new app that lets you choose what kind of dreams you’re going to have that night. You can choose from eight different scenarios — flying, becoming rich, having someone you like confess their love for you, etc — the app detects when you’re in REM sleep and plays a soundtrack that seduces your brain into imagining whatever scenario you choose at the right time.
It’s free, and you can get it here — if you’ve tried it, let me know how it worked for you!
Japanese girl fetishists, there’s a new that’ll make you love to keep track of time. It’s called nyotaigoyomi, and it’s a calendar app available on iPhone and Android that shows the date written in kanji on a random body part of a Japanese woman dressed in a kimono, a school girl outfit, a maid costume, or something equally stereotypical and fetishistic.
I spotted this digital vending machine at the Sendai train station. Maybe it’s old news, but I had never seen one before–it seems more practical than putting empty cans on a shelf. I also found it funny that it was sitting beside these super analog coin lockers.
I think this is the most beautiful cell phone commercial ever made! It’s for the Sharp SH-08C handset, which has a wooden frame–keeping with the wood theme, a single wooden ball makes its way down a gorgeous wooden ramp in the middle of the woods, playing a Bach tune with each drop. So awesome.
At Tokyo Hackerspace, they’re making these cool little solar lanterns out of regular jam jars and distributing them all over the Tohoku and Kanto regions in case there’s a blackout. The DIY kit is available for free here.
A Silicon Valley exec recently traveled to Japan for business. He took a Geiger counter with him and measured radiation throughout the trip–including on his flights to and from Asia. Steve Jurvetson posted a graph on his Flickr stream. He writes:
One of his destinations was 50 miles from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. As a precaution, a colleague gave him a Geiger Counter so he could make sure it wasn’t getting dangerous as he approached the plant.
Maybe they assumed he would turn it on when he hit the ground… Instead, he logged the whole trip, and you can see the relative peaks of radioactivity.
In case you missed it last week… a new “nekomimi” product that actually reads your brain waves and emulates your emotions through little cat ear gestures. Pretty soon they’ll be demo-ing these at maid cafes.
Researchers at the University of Electro-Communications in Tokyo are working on a machine that lets you french kiss someone at a remote location using these giant coconut-shaped devices that will mimic your tongue’s movements on the other end. The guy in the video thinks a good marketing strategy for this might be to get a hot celebrity to record her kissing patterns and then sell the device by saying, hey this is *just* like you’re french kissing that actress! My two cents? I think that’s a little bit weird and very counterproductive to the progress of innovation and reproduction–both of which are needed badly in Japan right now.
I still like paper maps, partly because I’m a total road geek and partly because I just think it’s easier to use than my silly iPhone. Offchiz is a good idea that almost makes me reconsider my aversion to virtual maps. Created by Yahoo! Japan’s research arm, it’s an iPad app that lets you cut out relevant parts and draw notes on them with a stylus. You can even sync up your map with your friends’ so that if you circle a rendezvous spot on yours, it’ll show up on theirs, too. Pretty neat.
At the Kinokuniya bookstore the other day, I started flipping through a slightly porny (and in later pages, very much more porny) photography book featuring hot Japanese girls posing amidst lots and lots of gadgets. There’s one more after the jump, of a girl with a fuzzy hat in a room full of vintage game consoles.
Nostalgic for the old mix tape your high school boyfriend made you? The latest random gadget from USB store Thanko is a cassette tape player that plugs into your computer with a USB cable and converts your tracks into MP3s. It’s about $30.
Takara Tomy just released a toy piggy bank that encourages you to save money by talking a lot. Sounds simply annoying, but here’s what makes this product a little bit more interesting: the toy company made two versions, each catering to the distinct caricatures of Japanese men that CNN controversially popularized last summer–herbivores and carnivores. The stereotypical herbivore man is super sensitive, skinny, weak, asexual, and he’s encouraged by his piggy bank (the green one) to save 100 yen at a time in a very gentle, persuading tone. The carnivore bank says stuff like, “I like the heaviness of the 500 yen coin!” and can pocket 5x more money than the herbivore bank.
Nick Bilton over at the NY Times reports on a strange new fashion trend that started in Harajuku: LED lights that you can wear over your teeth. They change colors, flash to beats, and generally just look kinda crazy and cool. There’s also a video of a bunch of women walking down the streets sporting these if you follow the link below.
Are you one of those desk job employees who secretly likes to pretend you’re a ninja on a covert mission? Well, be covert no longer. Flaunt your superpowers with these USB-powered ninja-style handwarmers. $24 is nothing for the opportunity to own up to your ninjahood.
I have no idea why the Japanese consumer products market keeps coming out with new gender-specific gadgets, like this digital weight scale for women slated for release mid-month from Elecom. Its key features: a screen that tucks in so it can double as room decoration; a max weight limit of 120kg; and, of course, the pink facade with a heart in the middle and lacy trim.