Official ukiyo-e project brings a bit of historical Japan to a galaxy far, far away

Japan is just as crazy about Star Wars as the rest of the world and everyone is eagerly awaiting the new movie, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, on December 18, 2015 (Good news! It’s being released in Japan at the same time as most of the world!). So it’s the perfect opportunity for a number of Star Wars affiliated projects to get under way. One project is striking a chord with our love of Japan and our love of Star Wars as it combines a traditional art form with a very non-traditional universe.

The connections between Japan and Star Wars are well documented and quite amazing. Even visually, just by looking at Darth Vader’s iconic helmet you can see that it was inspired by the headgear helmets worn by the samurai in the way it extends down the neck and features a faceplate. It’s also easy to find Star Wars merchandise with their own Japanese spin on them like lightsaber chop sticks, Star Wars inspired sake cups and Star Wars characters re-imagined in a Japanese style.

This latest project, funded through the Japanese crowd funding site Makuake, puts a traditional stamp on the Star Wars universe. While the characters have been drawn in an ukiyo-e style before, this might be the first time prints have been officially approved by Lucasfilm. Three gorgeous prints combine the epic Star Wars tale with the beauty of Japan by depicting scenes and characters from the movies.

star-wars-3star-wars-2star-wars-4The real gem of the bunch is the close-up okubi-e of Darth Vader. An okubi-e is a Japanese portrait print in the ukiyo-e style showing only the head or the head and upper torso.  Masumi Ishikawa, the designer of these ukiyo-e, wanted to arrange the Death Star like a moon in the background and have Darth Vader standing in the middle of flames of hatred. This print also includes the name “Darth Vader” represented by ateji, kanji that sounds like the name. Usually the characters are chosen for their sound only, but these kanji have a meaning as well. Ishikawa chose the ateji, 堕悪巣俾荼 which can be read as “daasu beida and also has the meaning of a “suffering servant that fell to the webs of evil”.

The other two prints feature a scene from the Battle of Hoth and Queen Amidala posed with R2-D2. Each piece of artwork is intricately crafted in wood and then expertly printed onto paper. You can see some of the work in a behind the scenes video from their Makuake page.

As traditional art and an official Star Wars product, the ukiyo-e prints are not cheap. A single print can be purchased by supporting their Makuake project for 54,000 yen (US$ 438.84), while a lucky few have already purchased the limited run of all three prints for 162,000 yen ($1,316.54).

star-wars-6 star-wars-8If you have the money to spare, this might be the most traditional Japanese way to display your geekiness to the world. The Makuake campaign just started, but each piece is only being printed 100 times and they are going fast. Head on over to their project page if you want to own one of these amazing pieces of art for yourself.

Update: Darth vader and the 3 piece set are sold out for now, while the other two are close to being sold out.

Let us know if you want to own a very unique piece of art, don’t think too long though.


OHTHEGUILT japanese urban fashion

Have you wondered what the young ladies and lads are wearing in Japan? Well the answer to that is…. clothes. We surely wished sometimes that Japan was one big nude society, well with some ground rules, like not below 18 years old and not over 60…but hey, reality can be as pleasant or unpleasant to the eye as our silly daydreams.

Most youngsters here dress up to the nines, be it casual , Lolita, haute couture, or any other colorful style you can bump into on the Japan streets.

All dressed up with comme de garcons


Especially the group aged between 20 and 25, really put their effort in it. The reason that this age group is so specific is due to the fact that japanese junior and senior highs all wear uniforms, then when they become university students they go bonkers, lots of drinking, lots of nanpa (hunting for mates mate with), lots of self exploration and little studying is done.

Yeah keep dreaming
Yeah keep dreaming
And this is how the school uniforms really look like.
And this is how the school uniforms really look like.

When they graduate they have to wear a corporate uniform once they enter a company, whether it’s a suit or a real uniform. So they all put their best effort in it to create a “look”, and they want the best.

Inspired by the fashion and the music of the Beastie Boys…

OH! THE GUILT  started in 1993 with two friends, who both lived in the States and both shared a love for skateboarding, punk and rap…..basically the beastie boys. They traveled to the US and bought sneakers and clothes with the purpose of selling them on flea markets….yes you could make a fortune selling stuff to the bargain hunting Japanese after the economic bubble collapsed.

A Japanese flea market..
A Japanese flea market..

In 1996, they opened their first store called TFL or time for living from the Beastie Boys song, selling authentic US made products to a growing group of young Japanese embracing the “urban street” style and also its lifestyle….skateboarders, rap music lovers,dj’s, musicians, etc found the style they subconsciously longed for. Strong, high quality, loose fit and fairly priced.

They organized a tribute concert for Adam Yauch..they never forget their roots.

Soon they opened another shop and another, business was  great, but as business grew, so did their clientele, the urban street style was no longer a copy of the US style they came to love…it had evolved into a true homegrown style, brands like Bathing Ape showed how far. They felt they needed to make a new step. Just selling other companies’ products started to become less satisfying because their own desire to create their own unique brand was increasing day by day.

In 2005, they announced the arrival of their own brand; OH!THE GUILT named after a Nirvana song. This brand is a perfect blend of US/UK/French urban style mixed with the street flair of Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya, designed by Japanese and produced by Japanese.


xlarge dot shirt
xlarge dot shirt


OH!THE GUILT fashion is timeless, and while other big brands like BAPE and Evisu drowned in their own popularity, OH!THE GUILT never needed a gimmick like a big sign to show off that a person was wearing a certain brand, they are confident in their quality and design and most of all in their customers, OH!THE GUILT doesn’t need it wearers to show off the clothes, it needs the clothes to show off the wearer.

In 2014 they received the rights to open a  XLARGE in Nagoya city, making them the only shop in the Tokai area selling this brand..and this made the circle round for the two owners.

OH!THE GUILT doesn’t sell outside Japan, making the sole sales point for this brand for overseas customers, we buy and ship it to you for a mere 10% commission of the whole shipment excluding shipping cost. We can keep you informed when new products arrive and where there’s a sale.



Pro: Six idols fighting over you! Con: They’re all super-powered and violent!! Soda ad: Crazy!!!

There’s a pretty common male fantasy in Japan that goes like this: You’re sitting alone in your classroom at lunchtime, when suddenly, a cute female classmate walks up to you. With your heart fluttering and your stomach growling, you find out she’s ready to satisfy both, as she pulls out a bento lunch box filled with homemade goodies and, while smiling sweetly, asks if you’d eat lunch with her.

Now take that same scenario, but expand the cast from one girl to six. Even better, right?

Sure, at least until you find out that all six of your lady suitors have superpowers and violent streaks, like what happens to this unsuspecting guy in the craziest soda ad we’ve seen in quite a while.

Starring in the ad are the ladies of, a six-member idol unit who’re all self-professed otaku.lm-1 has arguably won as many fans for their pretty smiles and sunny personalities as they have for their musical skills, so there are probably plenty of guys who’d be happy to hear them excitedly call out to him with “Senpai (upperclassman)!” Still, these girls seem like they might be just a little too enthusiastic seeing as how they’re climbing in through the classroom window instead of sing the door.

As it turns out, “enthusiastic” doesn’t even begin to do justice to the gusto they show in their race to be the first to reach their collective crush.

But is the ad really as out of control as it seems? Let’s take a look at the lyrics of the song that plas throughout and see if they can provide some sort of context.

You can be anything you wanna!
We want Mets!
We’re the funky spunky younger generation!
We want Mets!
Get the boys! Get the girls!
We want Mets!
We’re the funky spunky younger generation!
We want Mets!
Get the boys! Get the girls!

Nope, not a drop. Still, what the ad lacks in meaning it more than makes up for in energy. All the same, though, we think that if we were in his position, we’d respond to these declarations of love in the exact same way as the guy in the ad.

TRANSFORM! And write while you’re at it, too — with these cool shape-shifting Transformers pens!

Check out these Transformers pens, and yes, they actually change shapes — so Transformers fans, get ready to “transform and roll out” the letters!

The intricately designed pens, made by toy and figure manufacturer Sentinel Co., Ltd., come in three variations — Optimus Prime (or “Convoy”, as he’s known in Japan), Nemesis Prime (or “Black Convoy” in Japan) and a special edition Ultra Magnus.

As you can see, the pens are created in amazing detail to make the transformation from robot into pen possible, and in their robot forms, the figures have fully movable joints, which allows them to carry their blaster weapons in various positions.

▼Here are some pictures of the Optimus Prime pen, in both the robot and pen form, looking quite regal in the bright trademark Optimus colors

pen-optimus-1pen-optimus-2pen-optimus-3 pen-optimus-6 pen-optimus-7pen-optimus-6pen-optimus-7

Well, we have to say, these guys certainly look sleek and stylish! And the fact that you can make them actually transform must be absolutely thrilling to fans of the series. Not surprisingly, the creator of this pen is a passionate fan himself, as he explains by writing in the Sentinel blog, “I love Transformers, and I wanted to work with the concept of having something you can carry around with you that you really like and be able to ‘show it off’, in a way, to people around you. I wanted it to be something practical, and that’s how I came up with the idea of a pen. I also didn’t want to compromise on the form and mobility of the robot; we had to make it look cool, too. In the end, I think we were able to create a product the Sentinel as a company can be proud of. We made sure the pen wasn’t too big, so that it would be easy to write with. It’s a quality pen, and we hope you give it a try!”

The pens are 10.5cm (approx 4 in.) tall in robot form and 14.3cm (5 and 1/2 in.) long as a pen, and all three types are priced at 4,298 yen (US$42). The Optimus Prime pen will come out in September, while the other two pens will be released in October, and apparently, they’ve already started taking pre-orders for the Optimus Prime pen at several online shops. Unfortunately, the pens seem to be sold in Japan only, but we think you’ll still agree that they look pretty darn amazing. Actually, it  makes us wonder what we can we look forward to next — maybe Transformers iPhone cases?pen-nemesis-1 pen-nemesis-4 pen-ultra-3pen-nemesis-4pen-ultra-3sentinel website

Bloodbath: Why Do So Many Anime Characters Have Nosebleeds When They’re Aroused?

Any anime or manga fan will tell you that the sight of characters suffering sudden, sporadic nosebleeds when they’re sexually aroused is not uncommon in Japanese-created works.

A male character catches a glimpse of a girl undressing, a girl has the object of her affection wink seductively at her, a character trips and finds his face inches from a female character’s ample bosom; the result is always the same- a flushed face followed by a gushing nosebleed.

The idea is that sexual arousal causes an increase in blood pressure, which in turn sets off a nosebleed. It’s certainly true that arousal or embarrassment can cause us to flush– I can clearly recall my face bursting into flames when I was 12 years old and the girl in my class whom I was madly in love with was dared to kiss me on the cheek– but could it really cause a nosebleed?

NicoNico News turned to a medical professional to find out whether there’s any truth to the anime phenomenon, or whether it’s just an old wives’ tale…

Dr Kōichiro Kanaya, an ear, nose and throat specialist at the Kaneyama Clinic, Yamaguchi prefecture, is on hand to shed some professional light on the case of the nosebleed-suffering sexually aroused…

“It’s true that blood pressure rises when we’re sexually aroused, and it’s been well documented, but there is no connection between arousal of this kind and nose-bleeds.”

Now that’s the kind of doctor we like- straight to the facts.

Nosebleeds usually start because of damage to the septum, the good doctor tells us, which is why so many little kids who can’t keep their fingers out of there can often be seen in the school nurse’s office with tissue jammed up their nostrils…

“Since the inside of the nose is one of the more fragile parts of the body, I can understand where the theory that increased blood-pressure caused by sexual arousal causes nosebleeds might come from;” Dr Kanayama continues, “but the human body is made from some pretty soft, flexible stuff, so I couldn’t really say that the argument is entirely sound.”

So why on earth would we see this happening in anime and manga so often?

Dr Kanayama has a theory about that:

“In the past, people like pro wrestlers would intentionally give themselves small cuts on their forehead in order to build tension and atmosphere in a match. I can only imagine that the idea of extreme stimulation and an excess of energy was portrayed in the same way with nosebleeds, and it’s come to be the accepted method of representing that feeling.”

So, it’s just a way of expressing… other… bodily explosions, huh? I suppose we can live with that. It certainly helps keep anime a little less ‘R’ rated…


The first time I ever saw an anime character suffer a nosebleed, outside of boxing story Hajime no Ippo, anyway, was in the peculiar series Hare no chi Guu. At the time I had no idea what was going on when a young nurse character suddenly started gushing blood while spinning around, and I simply passed it off as yet another bizarre joke, but since then I’ve seen it everywhere.

According to NicoNico News, though, seeing anime and manga characters’ noses explode is nothing to worry about- they’re perfectly healthy. If anything, they’re a little too healthy…

We’ll leave you now with a great little video- and ode to nosebleeds in cheeky anime Baka and Test, otherwise known as Baka to Test to Shōkanjū (Idiots, Tests, an Summoned Breasts).

We hope you like the colour red…

Source: NicoNico News

Become a swimsuit model…without dieting.

Officially called the Deluded Fantasy T-Shirt, the unusual piece of clothing was created by ekoD Works, which bills itself as focused on “humorous art and design.” According to the product description, the Deluded Fantasy T-Shirt was made using the company’s “proprietary deluded fantasy mapping techniques,” which allow it to determine exactly what sorts of uninhibited thoughts are running through people’s heads.

In other words, the shirt looks like it’s giving everyone a peek at an impressive pair of boobs. And not just any boobs, as the shirt is specifically mimicking the chest of gurabia model Mao Harada.

bs-2According to Village Vanguard, that’s Harada’s actual cleavage on the left in the above photo, and her modeling the T-shirt on the right. Since we weren’t there for the photo shoot, we can’t confirm this, but neither can we deny the store’s claim after carefully examining the images seen here for close to an hour.

We suppose there might be some women who would be interested in purchasing the 3,888-yen (US$31) shirt as a way to technically show off a little skin while keeping their own completely covered up, and Village Vanguard does offer it in a women’s medium size. The shirt also comes in “unisex” medium and large sizes, though, so both men and women who need these breasts hanging in their closet can ask us to place an order through the Village Vanguard online store (shipping is scheduled for early July).

Village Vanguard novelty shop

Harada Mao DVD


Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has died

It’s a very sad day for gaming.

This morning, Nintendo released a statement that the company’s much-beloved president and CEO, Satoru Iwata, died in hospital on July 11 due to medical complications arising from a bile duct tumor that had been discovered some time before. Iwata was the first person to assume the role of president at the company who was not immediately related to members of the Yamauchi founding family.

Nintendo had previously released a statement in 2014 that Iwata, 55, would not be present at E3 2015 due to medical reasons; the first indication that Iwata was suffering from something potentially serious.

Iwata entered the video game world immediately after graduating college, joining up with the famed HAL Laboratory and helping to create a number of classic gaming franchises such as Kirby, Earthbound and Balloon Fight – games that surely became the impetus for many a lifelong gamer’s passion for the hobby.

HAL Laboratory and Nintendo had long had a cozy relationship, with the studio frequently working closely with Nintendo on Nintendo-exclusive games, which led to Iwata eventually switching to work full-time for the Kyoto-based behemoth as Head of Corporate Planning in 2000.

After beginning to work at Nintendo, Iwata again proved talented and passionate about games, lending a hand to various iterations of numerous classic Nintendo franchises, including Animal Crossing, Mario and the Legend of Zelda. He was largely credited with championing Nintendo’s shift to more casual, family-friendly gaming endeavors throughout the 2000s. Nintendo released its hugely successful Wii console and Nintendo DS handheld under Iwata’s supervision as CEO.

During his tenure as president at Nintendo, which began in 2002, Iwata was particularly known for his active interaction with fans, appearing in Nintendo Direct presentations and hosting a regular Q&A interview series called Iwata Asks.

Recently, Iwata was credited with helming Nintendo’s controversial move into mobile gaming – a category often conflated with onerous free-to-play shovelware by hardcore gamers – and also with the company’s unorthodox “Quality of Life” program of health monitors and other healthy lifestyle technology, although all indications are that the company planned to continue supporting its core gamer base with new games and consoles under Iwata’s lead.

There is no doubt that Iwata will be sorely missed by Nintendo fans and the gaming community at large.

We are going to dust off our old N64 and have drunk round of Mario 64…..salut dear Satoru !