Real life giant mecha duel planned between USA and Japan

Otaku USA:

You may remember the 2012 announcement of a real, functioning giant robot prototype called Karatas, by Suidobashi Heavy Industries of Japan. A human pilot can actually sit inside the cockpit, drive it down the streets, manipulate its arms, and deploy its weapons. Intended as an “art piece” and not a military weapon, it comes equipped with a “LOHAS Launcher” designed to fire water-propelled plastic bottle rockets which “from time to time… will hit its target”, and a twin gatling gun which fires airsoft pellets at 6000 rounds per minute whenever the pilot smiles (yes, you read that right).

Much of this has to be seen in the demonstration video to be believed. Despite a top speed of only about 10 miles per hour, it’s pretty impressive to see it cruising through traffic. The heads-up display inside the cockpit looks like something out of an scifi movie, but actually works! Aside from being showcased in a few different art exhibits throughout Japan, the Karatas appeared as an enemy robot in the first episode of Next Generation Patlabor, and in a 2013 Real Escape Game event in Makuhari Messe, Chiba.

Inspired by the Karatas, an American company called Megabots Inc. spent the last few years quietly developing a competitor. They debuted their prototype in a video sent to Suidobashi Heavy Industries earlier this week, challenging the Japanese team to a robot duel planned to happen in one year’s time.

Designed with the concept of robot fighting in mind, the Megabot Mark II fires 3lb paint cannonballs at 100 mph and requires two pilots to operate. One has to question the utility of a paint marker that shatters automobile windows on impact, but hey – it looks really amazing! Unfortunately this capability may not get to be utilized at all anyway, as Suidobashi’s reply accepted the challenge on the condition that the contest take the form of a melee duel.

The major question now is how these mecha designers will manage to solve the problem of pilot safety while pitting these multi-ton monstrosities against eachother at close range. Will Suidobashi back down on the melee fighting concept and opt for a giant robot paintball match, or will both sides show up to the match with clever ideas up their sleeve for non-lethal robot melee weapons?

2015 best Japanese hotels, based on their breakfasts

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RocketNews 24:

Soft beds, nice views, good location; sure, these are all important factors when choosing a hotel, but what really makes a hotel, or even a trip, memorable is the food, more specifically, the breakfast.

Everyone needs a good breakfast to start their day, so why not eat the best of the best? Next time you’re in the area, you should probably check out one of the Japanese hotels with the most delicious breakfasts.

When you think back to the last hotel you stayed at, does your memory automatically cut to what you ate for breakfast there? Do soggy eggs or undercooked bacon ring a bell? Even if it was a pretty good meal that left you with fond memories, prepare yourself, because you may never look at hotel breakfasts again. You may also be finding yourself booking hotels just to try the breakfasts.

The TripAdvisor Japan website compiled the 2014 opinions and scores of hotels (and their breakfasts) posted on the site in order to create this 2015 ranking of “Hotels with Delicious Breakfasts.”

While many of the hotels have managed to hang on to their 2014 spots in the top 20, there are plenty of newcomers on the list too.

1st Place: Hotel Piena Kobe (Kobe City)

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Holding first place for three consecutive years is kind of a big deal, but after hearing about their buffet breakfast spread, you’ll understand how they’ve managed to pull it off.

To start off with, there is the sweets section filled with all-you-can-eat, freshly made pastries, like seasonal fruit tarts and strawberry shortcake. If you’re more of a fan of  savory breakfasts though, there is also a selection of traditional French-style breakfast items and, of course, traditional Japanese breakfast foods. All dishes are made from the freshest and highest quality ingredients you could ask for and being in Kobe, expect some breakfast steak too! To wash it all down, there is a drink bar of coffees and teas from a variety of specialty shops.

Usually, the breakfast itself costs 2,200 yen (US$18.50) per person, you can sometimes find deals for a room and breakfast for under 10,000 yen ($85).

2nd Place: La Vista Hakodate Bay Hotel (Hakodate, Hokkaido)

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Hotel Piena’s closest rival has held their spot at second for another year and they offer some stiff competition. Their breakfast spread offers fish and vegetables grilled before your eyes, a plethora of fresh Hokkaido seafood, and a healthy selection of well-prepared Western-style breakfast options.

3rd Place: Sapporo Grand Hotel (Sapporo, Hokkaido)

hotel 3

These guys have their eyes on the prize, rising 9 spots since last year’s ranking. The Sapporo Grand Hotel offers three different breakfast venues for their morning diners. One location offers a Western-style breakfast with an on-sight bakery and cooked-to-order eggs. At another site, you can choose from three traditional Japanese-style set breakfasts, overflowing with delicious seasonal dishes. Finally, there is the buffet of grilled meat and veggies, as well as their famous creation, “ramen salad.”

4th: Hotel Keihan Sapporo (Sapporo, Hokkaido)
[2014: 3rd]

hotel 4

5th: Hakodate Kokusai Hotel (Hakodate, Hokkaido)
[2014: 5th]

hotel 5

6th: Century Royal Hotel (Sapporo, Hokkaido)
[2014: Not Ranked]

hotel 6

7th: Hotel Shiroyama (Kagoshima City)
[2014: 9th]

hotel 7

8th: Hotel Rocore Naha (Naha, Okinawa)
[2014: 16th]

hotel 8

9th: Hotel Nikko Alivila (Yomitan, Okinawa)
[2014: 4th]

hotel 9

10th: Asahikawa Grand Hotel (Asahikawa, Hokkaido)
[2014: Not Ranked]

hotel 10

11th: Mitsui Garden Hotel Okayama (Okayama City)
[2014: Not Ranked]

hotel 11

12th: Rihga Royal Hotel Osaka (Osaka)
[2014: 8th]

hotel 12

13th: Richmond Hotel Yamagata Station (Yamagata City)
[2014: 20th]

hotel 13

14th: Hotel Nikko Kanazawa (Kanazawa City)
[2014: 13th]

hotel 14

15th: Sheraton Grand Tokyo Bay (Urayasu, Chiba)
[2014: 6th]

hotel 15

16th: Hotel Okura Tokyo Bay (Urayasu, Chiba)
[2014: Not Ranked]

hotel 16

17th: Daiwa Roynet Hotel Naha Kokusaidori (Naha, Okinawa)
[2014: Not Ranked]

hotel 17

18th: JR Tower Hotel Sapporo (Sapporo, Hokkaido)
[2014: 11th]

hotel 18

19th: Laguna Garden Hotel (Ginowan, Okinawa)
[2014: Not Ranked]

hotel 19

20th: Dormy Inn Premium Otaru (Otaru, Hokkaido)
[2014: Not Ranked]

hotel 20

Apparently, Hokkaido hotels are proving that they are not a force to be reckoned with, as they settled into nearly half of all spots in the top 20 and took six of the top ten spots! It must be all of that fresh seafood and dairy! On the other side of the country, Okinawa held its own this year too with four on the list. While it’s easy for us to give Honshu hotels a hard time, since they are few and far between in the rankings, we can’t forget that Hotel Piena Kobe has won three years in a row! That food must be out of this world!

Police stop Chiba, Japan’s Batman (“Chibatman”) from taking part in marathon

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RocketNews 24:

It seems that regardless of the place, age, or circumstance, vigilantes will always be met with some sort of resistance from the officials. That was the case this week when the Chiba Prefectural Police Department announced that they would not be allowing the mysterious masked citizen, known as “Chibatman,” to participate in next year’s Chiba Kenmin Marathon.

Chibatman, who had originally been approved by the marathon’s event committee to be a pacer for one half of the race astride his custom-built Batpod, was notified that his participation as a local superhero might be too reckless. Representatives of the police force explained their reasoning by saying that while they do think that citizens and residents would be delighted to see Chibatman participate, there is the possibility that spectators might get too excited and move or jump out on to the road in response, causing an obstruction or accident to occur.

 

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Despite this, permission has been granted for the use of Chibatman’s 3-wheeled homemade Batpod, as there is already a precedent for similar vehicles inperformanceand demonstrations such as parades where riders will wave to spectators in the audience. Hopefully this allowance will make the case for Chibatman’s previously planned appearance.

 

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Chibatman, who can usually be seen riding around the streets of the Chiba Prefecture aboard his Batpod in full costume has been an active part of the community, and has been featured in news reports both locally and abroad. According to several interviews with him, his sole motivation is that he wants to make the people of his prefecture smile.

Chibatman’s inspirational stride through Chiba has been going on for approximately three years now.

Artist Profile: The dark, erotic world of Akino Kondoh

Juxtapoz:

 

Born in Chiba, Japan, Akino Kondoh is an artist whose work spans various media from animation to manga to painting. Her work has been exhibited internationally and she has been living in New York for the past six years.

Kondoh’s illustrations have an otherworldly feel to them, and the subtle erotic undercurrents are handled with a unique and somber touch.

 

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Video

Vossen Wheels World Tour 2014 Makes Its First Stop in Japan

Wheel specialist Vossen Wheels recently kicked off the 2014 edition of its World Tour with a first stop in Japan. Taking to the streets of historical cities including Tokyo, Hamamatsu, Yokohama and Chiba, Vossen appeared at both the Tokyo Auto Salon as well as a slew of smaller outdoor gatherings with local Vossen owners and fans.

Creative director Anthony Anderson shared his thoughts on the trip: “It’s always amazing to see so many people united by their love for automotive culture. Despite the obvious language barrier, everyone remained connected by a common bond.”

To catch some scenes from the visit, check out the video above as well as get the full rundown at VossenWheels.com.

Link

Google rolls out 3D maps for Tokyo and other Japanese urban hubs

3D Tokyo in Google Maps

Engadget:

As ubiquitous as 3D city maps might be these days, they typically don’t cover Tokyo — quite possibly due to the massive size of Japan‘s megalopolis. Google, however, has just taken on that daunting task. Fire up Google Maps or Google Earth and you’ll now see 3D imagery for the greater Tokyo area, including landmarks like the Tokyo Sky Tree (that giant tower you see above).

The expansion also brings 3D to the major population centers of Chiba, Kanagawa and Sendai. We’d advise against exploring the entirety of Google’s enhanced Tokyo map unless you have a couple of hours to kill, but you can at least take a quick tour at the source link.

Check out this link:

Google rolls out 3D maps for Tokyo and other Japanese urban hubs

Link

2013 Ranking: The Places In Japan That Made an Impact on Foreign Visitors

chugoku325

Every year, seven to eight million foreigners make the trip to Japan. But where do they go sightseeing? And, more importantly, do these places come up to scratch? A list of the most impressive sightseeing spots for the year to date, as ranked by foreign tourists, has been released by the popular travel site TripAdvisor. And while you’d think the top spot might go to a beloved and well-known destination like Kyoto or Tokyo, it actually goes to a simple-looking, modern building in the south-west of the country, in Hiroshima Prefecture.

The number one place that foreigners say they’re glad they visited is … The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.

Located near the infamous Atomic Bomb Dome, it might not be the most traditional nor the most picturesque place in Japan, but it’s definitely unique as the site of one of the most unfathomable events in human history. The exhibits displayed at the museum and the emotions felt as visitors go back to that place in time make a profound mark on people. Despite the tragedy and sadness, or maybe because of it, visitors ranked this as a place that met and exceeded their expectations.

Here are what some foreign visitors had to say about the museum:

“I’ve been three times, and every time I go it makes a big impact on me” (Spain)

“There are no heroes in war. I got the feeling that everybody is a victim. This is the most awesome museum in the world” (Australia)

“To visit Japan without stopping by this museum would be a mistake” (India)

“The displays are shocking but at the same time very significant” (Australia)

“This is a museum worth visiting. You can feel the fear and terror of the sufferers. The exhibits make you wish for peace and hope that this never happens again” (China)

“The exhibits deal with a very sensitive issue but people of all ages should see them. It will make them think profoundly” (Switzerland)

While the number one ranking might be surprising, the other places on the list are a little more in line with most Japanese itineraries. Get to know Japan again with the latest list of satisfying destinations below!

Check out this link:

2013 Ranking: The Places In Japan That Made an Impact on Foreign Visitors

▼ #2: Fushimi Inari Shrine (Kyoto)

02

▼ #3: Tōdaiji Temple (Nara)

03

▼ #4: Itsukushima Shrine (Hiroshima)

04

▼ #5: The Temple of the Golden Pavilion (Kyoto)

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▼ #6: Kiyomizu-dera (Kyoto)

06

▼ #7: Jigokudani Monkey Park (Nagano)

07

▼ #8: Shinjuku Gyoen (Tokyo)

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▼ #9: Naritasan Shinsho-ji Temple (Chiba)

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▼ #10: Tsukiji Outdoor market (Tokyo)

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The Top 30 Destinations:

1. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Atomic Bomb Dome (Hiroshima)

2. Fushimi Inari Shrine (Kyoto)

3. Tōdaiji Temple (Nara)

4. Itsukushima Shrine (Hiroshima)

5.The Temple of the Golden Pavilion (Kyoto)

6. Kiyomizu-dera (Kyoto)

7. Jigokudani Monkey Park (Nagano)

8. Shinjuku Gyoen (Tokyo)

9. Naritasan Shinsho-ji Temple (Chiba)

10.Tsukiji outdoor market (Tokyo)

11. Hakone Open-Air Museum (Kanagawa)

12. Sensō-ji Temple (Tokyo)

13. Nara Park (Nara)

14. Kurokawa Onsen (Kumamoto)

15.  Sannenzaka Ninenzaka(Kyoto)

16.  Nikkō Tōshō-gū (Tochigi)

17.  Mount Fuji (Shizuoka, Yamanashi Prefecture)

18.  Kenrokuen (Ishikawa)

19.  Eikando (Kyoto)

20. Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium (Okinawa)

21.  Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum (Nagasaki)

22.  Hase-dera (Kanagawa)

23.  Sankei-en (Kanagawa)

24.  Meiji Shrine (Tokyo)

25.  Okuno approach (Wakayama Prefecture)

26.  Matsumoto Castle (Nagano)

27.  Kotoku-Great Buddha of Kamakura (Kanagawa)

28.  Chidorigafuchi (Tokyo)

29.  Yanaka (Tokyo)

30.  Sanjusangendo (Kyoto)

Images: Hatena Fotolife Ogura Sansou Ken Box