Japanese artist HYdeJII transformed a Roomba into an art-making machine

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The iRobot Roomba has been given a new lease on life thanks to HYdeJII. The Japanese artist has transformed the humble house-cleaning robot into an art-making machine dubbed Mr.Head. Retrofitted with paint bottles and tubes, the design can zoom around a canvas to create its own unique pieces of contemporary art.

15 years old. Started creating works as a robot artist after being recreated a house cleaning robot manufactured by iRobot. Began painting in October 2014. His robot features allow him to paint with a unique and mechanical, geometric touch. “What is a robot’s identity, what is its sense of beauty?” He searches for an answer to these questions through his artwork. His most well-known works include Spring Worm Hole and Spring Starburst.

You can check out the paint-spraying Roomba in action below with behind-the-scenes looks at the creation of two of its most noteworthy creations.

Responding to a public appeal for help, netizens crack deceased Japanese grandfather’s cryptic code

contract

RocketNews 24:

A Japanese net user recently shared a photo of a contract of some sort written in secret code on a piece of notebook paper. The document was discovered amongst a number of articles left behind by their grandfather, who passed away last year from a sudden heart attack. Unable to solve the secret message the poster put out a call to fellow netizens to see if anyone could help decipher the code.

The date of the contract when converted to the Gregorian calendar translates to March 4, 1966, and includes a line which stated that “even in the afterlife, the song will continue.”

There was initial confusion around the scribbled writing, as some people mistakenly believed it said “curse” instead of “song”. The contract then consisted of a series of numbers between the two parties. Perhaps it was a secret will or a love letter of a secret clue to future fortune?

Responding to the appeal for help, netizens weighed in with their opinions and theories. It was thought that the numbers should be read in pairs and that they somehow corresponded to the Japanese alphabet. Given the clue of “song”, many believed that the message consisted of lyrics and offered up a range of suggestions of musical scores and songs – including the Japanese national anthem.

The original poster then added that their grandfather was probably a student at the time of writing of the contract, based on the year he was born. Apparently he had been a student at Sugamo Junior High School – something which net users began to think could be relevant…

Unbelievably the code was eventually deciphered by a sole respondent. They confirmed that the message was indeed a song and, sadly, not a juicy family secret waiting to be told.

code decipher

What was the song? None other than the school song of Sugamo Junior High School where the grandfather had attended school.

school song

Panda Express kicks off food truck tour with “Orange Chicken Waffles” at LA’s Chinatown Summer Nights

Panda-Orange-Chicken-Waffles

FoodBeast (by Peter Pham):

Panda Express is heading on a special cross-country tour in honor of its love for orange chicken. Using a customized food truck, the chain will be traveling to select cities giving away free samples of their original chicken recipe to fans and patrons.

The Chinese-food inspired fast casual chain will also be offering a limited Orange Chicken and Waffles dish. Now that sounds like something we’d follow a truck around over. Make sure to get there early though, because only 200 servings will be available.

The event will kick off on August 22 at LA’s Chinatown Summer Nights which starts at 5pm. Aside from giving away food, Panda will also host a variety of activities and cooking competition for fans to enjoy.

The chain will be sporting the hashtag #OrangeChickenLove for the promotion.

Covry Sunwear makes sunglasses that are made to fit Asian faces

COVRY SUNWEAR

Huffington Post (by Madelyn Chung):

If you’re Asian, you probably know the difficulty of finding a pair of sunglasses that actually fits.

With our high cheekbones and low nose bridges, glasses seem to constantly fall down our faces, only to sit too tightly on our cheeks.

Well, a new sunglasses brand has the answer to all of our problems. Started by high school friends Athina Wang, 25, and Florence Shin, 24, Covry Sunwear goes beyond the standard fit to better complement diverse facial features.

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We were both frustrated with not being able to find sunglasses that fit us,” Shin told Cosmopolitan.com. “We always felt like we had to compromise the style, the fit, or the price.”

Using their backgrounds in fashion design and business, the duo developed a prototype over a year before coming up with the “Elevated Fit,” which features longer nose pads, reduced frame curvature and a narrowed nose bridge. They chose this name over “Asian Fit” because they realized people of all ethnicities also struggle with the same issues.

covry elevated fit

Covry offers three styles: The Castor, Lynx and Vega, all of which are unisex and UV protected with polarized lenses and reduced glares. And the best part? They’re actually stylish, unlike the “Asian Fit” glasses offered by other brands.

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And it looks like tapping into this underrepresented market has paid off — Covry’s Kickstarter campaign has surpassed their goal of $18,500 and their stretch goal of $25,000. Now, customers can sign up at www.covrysunwear.com to be notified as soon as they’re available to shop. They’ll retail for $95 each.

We’re hoping that this solves sunglasses shopping, an experience that isn’t inclusive of everyone,” Wang told Mashable.

We say, it’s about damn time.

Adrianne Ho of “Sweat The Style” talks about her collaboration with PacSun


Hypebeast:

Adrianne Ho is a model, healthy lifestyle advocate and founder of the website Sweat The StyleShe has developed a massive following based on her natural beauty, modeling prowess and ability to self-style incredible streetwear looks. Ho also has a line of activewear called Sweat x Sweat the Style and has recently announced a new collaboration with PacSun dubbed “Sweat Crew by Adrianne Ho.”

Consisting of mesh jerseys, bombers, hoodies and baseball shirts, the affordable collection is the personification of Ho’s self-made brand. In the interview below, she talks about working with PacSun and the current state of activewear, along with basic Instagram etiquette and the importance of living a clean and healthy life.

How’d this PacSun collaboration happen?
They just approached and wanted to create a brand together. It was a great opportunity because there was nothing out there that really spoke to me, so this is it.

What has PacSun has given you in terms of resources, and creative freedom that you haven’t been able to get from other outlets?
This collection is my collection; they were an amazing partner to come up with this brand. It’s going to be really exciting to see in stores. I think they have around 600 stores across the country. Being able to have that reach is great—a girl who might not necessarily buy something or even know what this brand is can actually discover it on her own, love it, and wear it.

Is there a specific woman in mind when you think of who’s wearing these clothes?
This is for everybody. Everything in this collection you could mix and match and it would look good. Red goes with camouflage, goes well with gray, goes well with black. Pinstripe looks good with camouflage. You can seriously get dressed in the morning with this collection blindfolded and you will come out looking good.

The big buzzword right now is “athleisure,” do you worry that people will try to categorize this collection under that?
This is sportswear. People can throw it into that category if they want because it’s a buzzword, but to me I would call it sportswear.

I don’t have anything against the word “athleisure”, because people need to have an aim to describe this movement and I think now everything is becoming so popular and people are getting more into health and fitness and style is reflecting on that. It’s a category of something that already exists.

People like something they can make into a hashtag.
Yeah, and for me this movement going to be here to stay. I think once you start living this lifestyle, you can’t really go back.

Health and wellness and fitness is a new status symbol. Everybody’s doing it, even Russell Simmons is on the yoga tip. How does that reflect what society values now and what the aspirations are?
I think nowadays people are really savvy and aware about their health and the way they want to live their life. Style and culture is only going to reflect how people live. I think that’s the driving force. I mean, everybody wants to look good, and the only way to do it is to take care of yourself. Eat well, exercise and put out the best version of you.

Female athletes like Ronda Rousey and Serena Williams, legends in their own right, are starting to become noticed by the fashion world. Why do you think female athletes have yet to be embraced in the fashion world the same way that male athletes are?
I think it’s only a matter of time. I personally love Serena, she was just in Vogue recently, and I think that female athletes are going to get more and more of the spotlight beyond their respective sport as time goes on. Growing up, girls are now going to have heroes to look up to, I think definitely female athletes are people that everyone—women especially, can aspire to.

Do you think it’s about time that Serena has her name on a sneaker?
Oh yeah, that would be awesome. She has a great sense of style. She’s very much her own person which I love about her. Tennis seems like a very conservative sport, so I love watching documentaries and seeing her and her sister come out with their attitude and their swag, making people do a double take.

Speaking of sneakers, what’s your current rotation looking like these days?
Huaraches—I have a pair with me right now. I got these on right now, they’re being released on Saturday, the NikeLab Free Inneva. I love these. Flyknits are always a fave of mine.

What do you think of the rumored Supreme Jordans? Would you rock them?
To be honest, I don’t have any Jordans. I didn’t really grow up wearing Jordans or playing basketball..

Air Maxes are seem more your lane.
Air Max, Flyknits, I really like an active sneaker that you can work out in or do exercise, not just basketball.

Do you have the Yeezy Boost 350s?
I have the grey ones.

What do you think of them?
They’re pretty comfortable, I wouldn’t go for a run in them. I think they’re cool.

What do you think of Supreme’s Fall collection?
Everything looks incredible.

Any favorite pieces that you saw and you were just like: “I need that?”
I have to take another look. Some of their jackets, like the one with the diamonds, looked really cool. It was a really strong overall collection.

Your social media following is huge and you get a lot of comments, and not all of them are the nicest. Is there a way you deal with thirsty comments on Instagram or did you develop a way to ignore that?
If there’s a mean comment I don’t think about it too much, I try not to. Positivity is my thing, if there’s one comment that’s a diss everyone’s going to stop and be like “What?” Overall, everyone that follows me and knows me has been super nice and supportive.

What’s a good guideline for a guy who wants to leave a complimentary comment without sounding like a creep?
I would say a good guideline would be asking yourself: “Would my mother approve?” Like, would you be embarrassed if someone else in your family read this comment? Then you probably shouldn’t put it up.

What’s been your biggest adjustment in moving from New York to LA? Do you have preference between the cities yet?
I think they’re both really important places. I think L.A.  is a little easier to keep your head down and work work work. When you go to New York you can mingle and interact and get inspiration and put everything out. For me it’s been important to have that balance.

What’s up with the Roots collab hinted at in your piece on The Coveteur, is that happening soon?
Maybe. You have to wait and find out.

Is there any advice you would pass on to a young person who wants to create her or his own brand some day?
Make sure your inspiration comes from within—something to do with your lifestyle, your history, your background, your personality, your story. Have a clear vision of when it comes out so it doesn’t end up falling into trends, which is something I hate doing. With this collection, I don’t see anything like this in a woman’s lane that’s similar at all. Maybe a couple seasons from now. Always be forward. That way if someone’s looking, following or getting inspiration from this, we’ll be on to the next thing, which is fine. You know when it’s from within your history, your background and everything. You have your clear vision and you can stick to it. Whether that’s sportswear or fashion. Know your lane.

Head to sweatthestyle.com to keep up with Adrianne’s projects.

What it looks like when you order 100 slices of pork in your ramen bowl

100-Chashu-Slices

FoodBeast/RocketNews 24 (by Peter Pham):

P.K. from RocketNews24 is our hero. The reporter decided he wanted to tackle 100 slices of chashu in a single bowl of ramen, so that’s exactly what he ordered. Chashu, a fatty pork belly that’s braised until tender and served in slices, is a common topping for ramen.

Ramen chain Ishiyaki Ramen Kazan was holding a promotion where 30 slices of chashu could be added to your ramen. Typically, a regular ramen bowl only boasts 2-3 slices. Thirty slices of pork, however, wasn’t going to cut it for P.K.

The writer asked the restaurant to add an unheard of 100 slices.

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It cost about $85, Mashable reports.

BBC Magazine: Three Western myths about Japan

Geisha eats a sushi roll

BBC- Magazine (by Dr. Christopher Harding):

National and racial stereotypes are often hard to dispel, but in the case of Japan, argues Dr Chris Harding of Edinburgh University, people in the West seem particularly determined to cling on to a set of long-established myths.

Landing in Japan for the first time 10 years ago, I couldn’t wait to get out of Narita Airport‘s dull beige arrivals area and into the real Japan.

Pretty soon, I felt sure, I would be lost in the intense verdant greens of paddy fields and forests, the steaming waters of natural hot springs. A sip of green tea would set me up for an afternoon of meditation in some old Buddhist temple tucked in among fragrant cedars. And then as night fell, a bullet train would zoom me into central Tokyo for a joyously baffled embrace of its Blade Runner futurism and crazy entertainments.

None of these fantasies survived a three-hour gridlocked bus ride into Tokyo, the motorway’s faceless concrete sidings occasionally dipping to allow views out across faceless concrete high-rises.

Rush-hour traffic in Tokyo

I drank sugary milk marketed as “ice coffee” with the Japanese acquaintance who’d come to meet me. We established that though his family was “technically Buddhist” he had no idea what that meant and he associated temples with school trips and dead people.

As we lapsed into silence, I considered asking Japan’s tourist board for my money back. I had been mis-sold Japan!

Later I realised they were just doing their job, generating tourist dollars with the material available to them – one extremely gullible young man, plus a century and a half of Western misrepresentations of Japan.

Here are three of the best misrepresentations – or worst, depending on your point of view.

1: Japan is inherently strange

“To find oneself suddenly in a world where everything is upon a smaller and daintier scale than with us – a world of lesser and seemingly kindlier beings, all smiling at you as if to wish you well – a world where all movement is slow and soft, and voices are hushed… this is surely the realisation, for imaginations nourished with English folklore, of the old dream of a World of Elves.”

That was the writer Lafcadio Hearn, 125 years ago. Across the century that followed, countless Westerners visited and worked in Japan. Japanese culture became readily available to us in literature and film. And yet despite all this, the keynote of the brilliant 1980s travelogue Clive James in Japan was a drily comic bewilderment at everything.

When he buys a snack on a bullet train, thinking that it might be a ham sandwich (while also noting that it looks like a pair of tights) it turns out to be a powerful-smelling dried squid – “dried and ironed” he speculates. Revolted, James stuffs the snack into the seat pocket and heads off for his next misadventure with the carriage’s on-board telephone.

Maybe I shouldn’t gripe. This was light entertainment, after all. But whereas most travel documentaries try to offer a portrait of a place, helping viewers or listeners get to know it, when it came to the Japanese the underlying message was: “It can’t be done! They’re completely inscrutable!”

Why? One reason may be that in a world where true strangeness and surprise have become rare and precious commodities, we have to find them somewhere. Financial Times journalist David Pilling quotes a friend who said Japan was the most alien place she’d been that had good plumbing.

At the same time, Japan offers us a mirror in which to look at ourselves. We say “Japan is…“, but we’re really asking a question: “Are we…?” The Japanese are dainty, kindly, soft – are we coarse and hard-hearted? Japan is hobbled by a group mentality that trumps individualism – how free are we…?

2. The Japanese are dangerous

1942: Japanese soldiers celebrate after capturing an American gun emplacement in the Bataan province of the Philippines

Atrocities committed during World War Two gave the Japanese military a powerful reputation for cruelty. But a notion has long bubbled away in the West that the Japanese as a people are inherently unpredictable and dangerous – the famous gentility masking something menacing. This goes back at least as far as the 1850s, when British travellers and diplomats saw Japanese tolerance of their presence in the country morph into sporadic attacks against Westerners and their Japanese assistants. They linked the violence to the particular outlook of the samurai class, and the association stuck.

Some of these early ideas about the samurai were in part Japanese creations – fantasies concocted for a Western readership willing to pay good money for exotic tales of violence and sex. World War Two gave the legend another twist: the chivalrous, highly ethical elements of this samurai fantasy were lost, and what remained was the unthinking loyalty, the refusal to surrender, the indifference towards death – and others’ lives.

You can hear the results of all this in Alan Whicker’s nervous postwar musings on karate.

3. Japanese women are submissive

Japan has been seen as the land that feminism forgot. Both Japanese and Western commentators have tended to see the geisha girl as the ideal of Japanese womanhood – attractive and subtle, subservient to men, but clever enough to be good company. Then there was the influential American anthropologist of the 1940s, Ruth Benedict, who heard that Japanese girls were given just enough education so they could put their husbands’ books back the right way up once they’d finished dusting them. By the 1960s, for Western men unsure what to make of the rise of women’s liberation movements, all of this appeared deeply attractive.

Japanese women even received the ultimate British seal of approval in 1967, as Mie Hama became Bond-girl “Kissy Suzuki” in You Only Live Twice. Given the low-down on domestic arrangements in Japan by his male host – women are inferior to men, they’re happy with that, and they live to serve – Bond gives his blessing: “I think I’ll retire here…”

And if you think that nothing of this sort could possibly go on in the early 21st Century, then you haven’t been paying attention to Japanese pop culture, and the success of Japanese pop behemoth AKB-48.

Japanese all girl band AKB-48 arrive at the 22nd Golden Melody Awards in Taipei on June 18, 2011

Yes, 48 young girls (in the original line-up, though the group has since expanded), forbidden from having boyfriends and content instead to smile and dance around in bikinis or mock military uniforms or really whatever a paying public of – critics would argue – socially inadequate young and middle-aged men want to see.

All in all, this particular myth about Japan is simply worth too much to too many people – Western men mourning the passing of the patriarchy, Western feminists looking for sisters to save in Asia, corporate Japan chasing the under-deodorised male dollar (or Yen) – for it to be revised any time soon. It’s the perfect example of how diverse interests come together over time to create misrepresentations with a surprisingly long shelf life.