Carry your laptop inside your clothes with the new “Packable Parka” from Japan

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RocketNews 24 (by Oona McGee):

Leave your bag at home and fill up the pockets of this denim hoodie with all your tech instead.

These days, cafes around the world are filled with people plugged into the online realm, typing on their laptops and scrolling through pages of information on their mobile phones. While the portability of notebooks and laptops makes it easier than ever to work online outside of the home, there’s been little advancement in the ways to carry our tech goods when heading out around town. In Japan, there’s a group that’s working towards an alternative to the humble bag, and they’ve come up with an innovative parka that has all the room and durability needed to let us say goodbye to PC bags forever!

▼ The “Packable Parka” is designed for laptop storage, with a main zippered section on the front that includes smaller pockets inside to keep all sorts of stationery and equipment firmly in place.

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While the clothing is ready to be worn and filled up to go, the parka can also be folded up into a bag for times when it’s not being worn, allowing users to revert to the traditional bag-style carrying method at any time. To see how the product transforms from bag to parka, check out the short video below:

The Packable Parka design is also being used for a number of other garments designed to hold lighter materials like stationery and notebooks. To see all the designs in the range, check out the group’s campaign page on Japanese crowdfunding site Makuake.

Their idea to combine storage with clothing is proving to be so popular, they’ve already surpassed their funding goal of 500,000 yen (US$4898) with 24 days remaining on their project!

50th anniversary Ultraman sneakers by Converse All Star

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RocketNews 24 (by KK Miller):

After 50 years on air, Ultraman has become an iconic hero of the modern Japanese age. He’s such a staple of Japanese TV that he is being included in a set of themed “working hero” shoes released by Converse All Star.

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Is Ultraman really a normal everyday working hero? Who else is part of this line-up?

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Mechanic, astronaut, hunter, fireman, police officer, Ultraman??? Maybe it’s not that Ultraman is some normal “working hero”, but that the people who do these other jobs are actually working superheroes!

If you are ready to take on the responsibilities of Ultraman, the super flashy red and silver Ultraman R Hi All Star will cost you 9,500 yen (US$88.80). However, that isn’t the only Ultraman star getting a brand new set of shoes. Collectors can also grab a pair of Baltanseijin R Slip Ox for the same price, or some Eleking R Hi for 8,500 yen ($79.45).

Rare hand-colored photos of Japanese samurai in the late 1800s

Mashable (by Alex Q. Arbuckle):

The military-nobility caste known as samurai — roughly meaning “those who serve” — emerged in medieval Japan as provincial warriors, and rose to control the country in the 12th century.

As the enforcement arm of the ruling shogunate, the samurai were elevated to a position of privilege. They followed a code of honor called bushido, informed by Confucianism and Zen Buddhism. Bushido emphasized martial fearlessness, discipline and loyalty, as well as general kindness.

These photos, made in the years after Japan finally opened its ports to international trade, capture samurai in their final days. With the 1868 Meiji Restoration and the end of feudalism, carrying swords was prohibited to all but the new national armed forces.

The samurai class was dissolved, but bushido survived as the national moral code of the new Japan.

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Two samurai in firefighter dress.

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“150 Years of Japanese Uniforms” illustrated encyclopedia

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RocketNews 24 (by Krista Rogers):

These gorgeous illustrations of workers’ uniforms over the past century and a half is sure to charm lovers of seifuku [uniforms] everywhere!

“Know its uniforms, know Japan.” That’s the tagline of the new illustrated encyclopedia 150 Years of Japanese Uniforms [日本の制服150年], which captures Japan from its modernization in the early 20th century up to the present through the garb of its working population.

With over 180 illustrations lovingly drawn by Naoki Watanabe, whose work includes uniform design proposals for uniform manufacturers, the book spans over 70 categories of uniforms from all walks of life, including flight attendants, JR train workers, postal workers, doctors, nurses, Shinto priests, miko [shrine maidens], carpenters, chefs, ama[female pearl divers], and convenience store workers, to name but a few. The softcover book was released on April 4 and is published by Seigensha Art Publishing, Inc., headquartered in Kyoto.

Let’s take a look at some samples from the 192-page guidebook:

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Interested readers can order 150 Years of Japanese Uniforms from Amazon Japan, who does offer international shipping for this item, for 2,484 yen (US$23).

Citizen (Japan) releases special watch in time for Japan’s hanami cherry blossom festival

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RocketNews 24 (by Oona McGee):

Now you can enjoy hanami cherry blossom views at any time of day.

Japanese company Citizen has just released a special watch ahead of the country’s springtime hanami cherry blossom viewing period. Aimed at the female market, the limited-edition timepiece features a pretty pink face, along with an image of falling blossoms and a sakura-shaped cut-out design to show off the mechanical movement within.

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Swarovski crystal embellishments can be seen on both the front and the underside of the watch, and to offer some extra versatility, the timepiece comes with a pink leather band so you can change the look to suit any outfit or occasion. Whether you plan to keep the pretty sakura watch for yourself or give it as a gift, the timepiece comes in a gorgeous box, decorated with pink blossoms.

Like the pretty blooms themselves, these wristwatches won’t be around for long as only 1,500 of them are being produced. Priced at 52,000 yen (US$455.65) plus tax, they can be ordered from Citizen stockists around the country.