German toy-maker Steiff is launching a $340 limited edition stuffed Pikachu doll

German premium toy-makers Steiff are launching a limited edition stuffed Pikachu doll that measures at 11 inches tall and is made with the finest natural mohair for an added luxe touch.

The adorably plush Pokémon will be priced at $340 USD with a limited Japan-only release of only 1000 units.

Preorders are available via GoodSmile right now, with a February shipping date.

BEAMS (Japan) x Pokémon x New Era Pikachu fitted cap collection

Japanese hobbyist Satoshi Araki’s incredibly detailed and lifelike dioramas

My Modern Met:

Japanese hobbyist Satoshi Araki creates painstakingly-detailed dioramas at an incredible 1/32 and 1/35 scale. And, what’s even more impressive is that he does all of this work at night, after he’s done with his day job. Araki constructs and paints objects that fit in the palm of your hand, and he builds complex scenes that fit on a tabletop. Miniaturized motorcycles, monsters, and tanks look deceptively enormous once photographed up close.

When viewed at the right angle, Arakis’ dioramas produce the illusion that they’re scenes from real life. His world often seems run-down or even post-apocalyptic – piles of trash, soggy boxes, and dilapidated buildings line the street.

 

Satoshi Araki Facebook page

Japanese character toast… All you need is aluminum foil!

RocketNews 24:

The Japanese have long since proved themselves adept at crafting adorable characters from globs of rice.

Now it seems they’ve chosen bread as their next canvas for cute, using a method much more accessible to those who don’t have the time to cut up and arrange hundreds of tiny piece of seaweed—all you need is aluminum foil, a utility knife and a toaster!

 

As you can see in the pictures above, the process is as easy as, well, making toast:

1. Cut a square of aluminum foil to fit the shape of a slice of bread.
2. Draw the design of you choice on the aluminum foil with a pen.
3. Cut the parts you want to darken while toasting.
4. Lay the aluminum foil over the bread.
5. Toast in the toaster oven and enjoy!

We’ve posted a series of example images from several Japanese blogs for your viewing pleasure below.

If you want to try making your own bread designs, one of the Japanese bloggers who shared several of the images suggests adding an extra layer of aluminium foil around the edges midway through toasting as the perimeter tends to darken faster than the center. If you have trouble getting the aluminium foil to stick to the bread, you can also apply a thin layer of mayonnaise or butter to help it stick.

 

Emojis as a new art medium

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RocketNews 24:

If you’re as addicted to your phone as we are, there’s a good chance you can draw 95 percent of the emoji you know with your eyes closed. Much to the chagrin of high school English teachers everywhere, it can sometimes seem that half of our communication is taken up by the colorful little faces. And it’s understandable–they can express quite a bit!

But thanks to a new site, anyone can freely combine emoji for a hundred times more expressiveness. That’s exactly what Kazuki Takakura, art director for a Tokyo theatre company, did–and the results are nothing short of spectacular! And slightly nightmarish.

▼Forget your paint palette, we have emoji!

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With the evocative URL emoji.ink, the website presents users with every emoji available, as you can see above. After selecting an emoji, the user is presented with a blank canvas, upon which your chosen emoji can be placed. Clicking and dragging will paste a string of the images, like a paint brush. You can quickly select other emoji by pressing any key on the keyboard or change their size. With a bit of practice, you can get something like this!

 

emojink

Or, if you happen to be a real artist, unlike us, you can create something a bit more impressive.

But as impressive as the hip-hop art above is, things can always get…weirder. Especially when Kazuki Takakura, art director for Tokyo theatre company Hanchu-yuei, decides to get involved. While we’re sure that not all theater company art directors create bizarre works of emoji art, Kazuki has certainly gone a long way towards scarring us for life with stuff like Creepy Pikachu.

▼When you turn the lights off tonight, just remember: It’s under your bed.

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▼The only explanation offered for this was “Robo.”

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▼Sure, this might be a rooster. Or it might be the Devourer of Souls.

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▼Are those eyes…or tentacles? Or both?!

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▼This just reminds us of the Hifana “Wamono” video.

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 ▼This is supposed to be Pokémon’s Venusaur (Fushigibana in Japanese).

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▼Annnd…this non-edible version of Baymax is actually pretty cool!

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Disney’s Baymax appears in curry, hot pots, and more, thanks to cheesy food-based pun

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RocketNews 24:

You might not guess it, given the country’s well-known acceptance of stoicism as an admirable virtue, but Japan absolutely loves puns. In fact, the characteristics of the Japanese language, such as multiple potential pronunciations for the same kanji character, make it a veritable pun-producing machine.

For example, the character for “rice,” 米, is usually read as kome. When it’s combined with other characters, though, it’s read as mai or bei, with the latter being pronounced like the English word “bay.”

Of course, that also means bei is pronounced like the first half of Baymax, the loveable caretaker/combat robot from Disney’s Big Hero 6. And now that Japanese fans of the film have figured out how to put a little rice into Baymax, they’re also coming up with ways to put a little Baymax into their meals by making Baymax curry rice, rice balls, and nabe hot pots.

You can thank pop idol Haruna Kojima for kicking off the culinary trend. Earlier this month, the AKB48 member found herself with some extra time on her hands, so rather than make a plain old plate of curry rice, she decided to shape the fluffy white grains into a likeness of Baymax, adding two small, connected circles of dried seaweed to recreate his simple facial expression.

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Identifying her creation as Baymax, but written with the kanji for rice, Kojima posted the above photo to her Instagram account, where it put smiles on the faces and rumbles in the stomachs of all who gazed upon its appetite-stimulating cuteness. Even better, in contrast to the difficulty in trying to craft an edible version of Pokémon’s Pikachu or Yo-Kai Watch’s Jibanyan, Baymax’s soft, simple form and almost entirely white color scheme means that just about everyone can manage this cooking project, as proven by the steady stream of Rice-max photos that have been popping up since.

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View image on Twitter

Even six weeks after its release, Big Hero 6 is still going strong in Japan, wherepositive word of mouth about the films variety of action, comedy, and heartfelt emotion made it the highest-grossing movie in the country last weekend, just like it was for the three weekends before that. It’s a testament to the film’s broad appeal that stretches beyond just the kiddie demographic, and includes fans old enough to enjoy a little alcoholic refreshment with their Baymax curry.
View image on Twitter

Of course, Japan has a lot more ways to eat rice than just covering it with curry roux. How about a Baymax oyako-don, a rice bowl with chicken, egg, and the cuddly robot?

View image on Twitter

If you’re after even lighter fare, you can combine rice and miso soup, which is also a great way to make use of leftovers of the two Japanese staples.

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It’s also worth bearing in mind that the rice/bei/Baymax pun still holds up even if you’re not using plain white rice. For example, mochi (rice cakes) are just as appropriate for adding a dash of Disney to your hot pot.

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New Happy Meal in Japan lets you play with your food — and comes with a Pokémon toy to boot!

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RocketNews 24:

Sure, we know we’re not supposed to play with your food, but the temptation can be great when there are gadgets around like the Direct Food Printer that lets you draw and write as you choose directly onto food. But now, for a limited time starting this week, McDonald’s Japan will be offering a new menu item that allows you to draw directly on your food using … chocolate sauce!

It’s the “Oekaki Happy Hotcake” (Draw and Happy Hotcakes) set, and if you think drawing on hotcakes with chocolate sounds like fun, we completely agree! What’s even better,  the set can be ordered as part of a Happy Meal that comes with a Pokémon toy — now, what kid can resist that?

The Oekaki Happy Hotcake set comes with a brown and pink “chocolate pen”. The set on its own, which includes two pancakes, the two chocolate pens and syrup, will cost 314 yen (US$3), but it can also be ordered as a Happy Meal as shown in the picture below, with either a cup of corn or french fries and a drink, which will be priced at 530 yen ($5.25).

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And in a joint promotion that’s sure to delight kids, there will also be a special Pokémon Happy Meal option available, which will come with one of eight Pokémon toys that feature some of the usual Pokémon characters as well as those from the new feature-length Pokémon film, Pokémon the Movie: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction, which will be premiering in Japan on July 19.

▼These four toys featuring Pikachu, Froakie (Keromatsu in Japanese), Deddene and Yveltal will be available as part of the Pokémon Happy Meal from July 11.happy 2 Pokemon 7-11

▼And these four featuring Fennekin (Fokko in Japanese), Chespin (Harimaron in Japanese), Diancie and Xerneas will be available starting July 18.happy 3 pokemon 7-18

▼The Pokémon Happy Meal will come in a special edition box which has pop up features that can be used like a frame or picture stand. The cute Pokémon illustrations are sure to catch children’s hearts!happy 4 Pokemon box

Actually, all of this looks fun even if you’re not a kid, especially decorating the hotcakes with chocolate ink! It looks like there’ll be another reason for children to ask their parents to take them to McDonald’s this summer. Both the Oekaki Happy Hotcake Set and Pokémon Happy Meal will be launched on July 11, and the Pokémon Happy Meal will be available for about one month, while the Hotcake Set is scheduled to be served until mid-August.

And yes, we admit we’re wishing we can get a Hotcake Set now and do some serious chocolate doodling … but we guess we’ll have to make do with crayons and paper until July 11!