Topic: Japan

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Who will get to the top of these slimy stairs first?

In this viral clip from the long-running, biannual Japanese television special All-Star Thanksgiving (オールスター感謝祭), six men compete to get to the top of the stairs where a treasure awaits. The twist: The stairs...

How a kingfisher, an owl, & a penguin helped redesign Japan’s Shinkansen

How is Japan’s Shinkansen, a long-nosed bullet train that travels up to 240–320 km/h (150–200 mph), like a kingfisher? Or an owl? Or an Adélie penguin? In this video from Vox and 99% Invisible, we see how these three ...

Making a rice straw animal sculpture, a time lapse for the Wara Art Festival

A wooden framework and curved plastic pipes provide a solid structure for 'knit' bundles of wara or rice straw, the byproduct of the season's rice harvest. As volunteers work together to tie and wrap the bundles into ...

How Kanazawa gold leaf is made

Far too delicate to touch with fingertips—just one ten-thousandth of a millimeter thick—gold leaf foil is an extremely delicate, almost transparent material. It requires a humid climate, pure water for the manufacturi...

Ballet Rotoscope

A ballerina dances as the joints on her body are traced with a computer-generated rotoscope animation technique, an algorithm that brings a mathematical layer to her natural movements. Ballet Rotoscope (2011) was crea...

A drone with robot arms

This large, six rotor drone with two 5-axis robot arms can grab and carry small items, potentially assisting humans, making deliveries, and assisting in emergency aid missions. It flies up to 60 km/h (37 mph) and tran...

Unendurable line – Design Ah!

Consider this line and its corresponding chorus as they graph and reflect the variables of different objects. It's a visual and aural experiment that can be created for anything... toast in the toaster, the wind in th...

Casdoce (カスドース), a confection made for lords & emperors

Traditional castella sponge cakes, introduced to Japan by Portuguese merchants circa 1550, are cut precisely into bite-sized pieces before they're soaked in bright yellow egg yolks and boiled in a sugar water syrup. T...

Greetings Around the World

When you see friends or acquaintances, do you hug or kiss on the cheek? Do you shake hands or say 'hey' and wave hello before starting a conversation? What greetings are most common where you live? The Cut travels...

The art of carving, Haruya Abe

By carving simple yet elegant patterns into pottery, Japanese ceramicist Haruya Abe has created a beautiful line of handmade dishware and a large instagram following. His account features short videos of his diligent ...

Haruki Nakamura’s surprising paper karakuri animals

Japanese paper crafter Haruki Nakamura designs mechanical paper karakuri-style animals that peek and pop in surprising ways. Karakuri, meaning 'trick' or 'mechanism', are mechanical automata pieces that were first mad...

The most skips over a single rope in one minute by a team

File under practice and team work: Fourteen students from Japan's Fuji Municipal Harada Elementary School in Shizuoka Prefecture have set the "unfathomably fast" Guinness World Record for most skips over a single rope...

A Japanese ‘Pythagoras Switch’ Rube Goldberg Machine for charity

This awesome Pythagora Switch / Pitagora Suitchi clip launches with a table tennis serve and takes off into chain reactions and table top engineering wonders galore. See ping pong balls, tape rolls, marbles, and metal...

A window into ladybug wing origami

Beneath a ladybug's red shell, the spotted elytra that it's known for, the beetle's hind wings are efficiently folded until it wants to take off and fly. When it lands, the wings simply fold back up into a protected p...

It’s different from what you expected – Design Ah! (デザインあ)

A slow-building set up and then a surprising twist: "It’s different from what you expected" is a series of perception-bending short clips by Tokyo-based director Daihei Shibata. They were created for Design Ah! (デザ...

Water powered hammer (Monjolo) – Primitive Technology

For farmers, millers, engineers, and artisans who live near a river or stream, a monjolo or kara-usu—a water powered hammer—can slowly grind grains into flours or soft stones into powders without repetitive human effo...

Yuasa Town: The Birthplace of Soy Sauce

Yuasa, a small coastal town in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan, is a fishing port and the producer of one of Japan’s most well known mandarin oranges, the Arida mikan. But a stroll through the traditional streets, includin...

Japanese manhole covers, a factory tour – ONLY in JAPAN

Whether they're in plain metal or decorated in bright colors, city manhole covers stand out in Japan's bustling streets. Personalized with bold yet intricate illustrations that highlight local sights, symbols, and sto...

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