HondaJet makes its first flight in Japan as it nears full-scale production in the US


RocketNews 24:

After several decades of research, development, and testing, the HondaJet is almost ready for delivery. But even though the business class jet, which the Japanese media has referred to as the “realization of the company founder’s dream,” is nearing certification through test flights in the United States, it hadn’t actually made an appearance in the skies of Japan…until this week!


It was apparently the dream of Soichiro Honda, engineer and founder of Honda, to have his company produce a jet. In fact, it’s been over half a century since the founder proclaimed that the company was entering the aircraft business in 1962. The first significant steps in producing aircraft were taken in 1986, and since then, the company has spent countless hours on research, development, and design in the United States, where the HondaJet has been developed and will be manufactured, partly in conjunction with GE.

Though the jet has not yet finished certification, it has made numerous flights in the United States with potential customers and orders are already being accepted. Despite its airworthiness and the sort of high-tech features you’d expect from Honda, the HondaJet never actually flew in Japan until April 23, when it landed at Haneda Airport in Tokyo.


The jet holds up to seven people and sells for 4.5 million dollars in the United States. It also apparently has 17 percent better fuel efficiency than most other jets in the same class, so just drop that little tidbit, if you’re having trouble justifying the cost to your spouse or board of directors! But you’ll have company if you decide to order now. Honda reports that it’s gotten over 100 orders between North America and Europe and it expects to start making deliveries in the US “soon.”

For those of you in Japan right now, you can catch the HondaJet on display at Sendai Airport, Kobe Airport, Kumamoto Airport, Okanan Airport (in Okayama), and Narita Airport in Tokyo on various dates over the next two weeks. You’ll be able to view the aircraft parked and catch some flight demonstrations as well.

If you’re ready to buy a HondaJet of your own, you can find a list of dealers here. Sadly, they only list North American and European locations, so if you want one in Japan, it looks like you’ll have to import it yourself!

Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo’s sprawling mural will soon welcome travelers at Sendai Airport


RocketNews 24:

Surely any list of Japan’s greatest animators and directors must include Katsuhiro Otomo, the man behind the likes of Akira, Domu, and Steamboy. Otomo’s distinctive mix of neo-futurism, cyberpunk, and dark humor has earned him both a legion of fans and numerous accolades throughout the world.

We mentioned in a previous article that Otomo would be designing a giant mural for Tohoku’s Sendai Airport. Now it looks like the wait is almost over. The 12-ton mural, which depicts a squat, bespectacled boy sitting astride a cybernetic carp flanked by the gods of wind and lightning, will be unveiled on March 12, one day after the fourth anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Working off Otomo’s original illustration, CREARE Atami-Yugawara Studio fired 451 individual clay parts to produce the final product. At 2.8 meters high and 8.7 meters wide, the relief will no doubt make even the busiest traveller stop and marvel at its sheer size and artistry.

▼ A look at the design process

Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 10.49.27 PM

▼ This thing really is quite spectacular

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Fans of Otomo’s work will recognize some of his visual motifs in the form of the cybernetic carp. Equally striking is the expression of defiance on the young rider’s face–a tribute to the people of Miyagi Prefecture, which suffered extensive damage in the 2011 tsunami and earthquake.

Regarding his motivations behind the project, Otomo was recently quoted as saying: “I hope it will spark children’s interest and serve as an opportunity for them to discuss the Great East Japan Earthquake and its aftermath with their parents.”

Travelers within Japan might soon be making a point of passing through Sendai Airport, if only to catch a glimpse of the impressive mural.

First nuclear power plant set to restart in Japan after 2011 meltdown


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Against much public backlash, two reactors at a nuclear power plant in Sendai are scheduled to be restarted. These will be the first to restart operations after all the country’s nuclear plants were shut down indefinitely following the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in 2011.

The Sendai Nuclear Power Plant operated by Kyushu Electric Power is set to be the first of Japan’s inactive nuclear power plants to restart after the local assembly overwhelmingly voted in favor of it being put back into action.

After the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami which resulted in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster,  all 48 of Japan’s nuclear plants were shut down indefinitely. Prime Minister Abe’s government has been pushing to bring Japan’s nuclear power generators back online on the grounds that importing fossil fuels to make up for the 30 percent of power that was previously nuclear-generated is having a detrimental effect on the Japanese economy. However, the final say on restarting has been left to local authorities. Satsumasendai, the city where the plant is located, had already voted in favour of restarting the plant and a vote on Friday also resulted in 38 out of 47 of Kagoshima’s prefectural assembly backing the restart.

The governor of Kagoshima Prefecture, Yuichiro Ito, also endorsed the restart, telling press, “I have decided that it is unavoidable to restart the No. 1 and No. 2 Sendai nuclear reactors. I have said that assuring safety is a prerequisite and that the government must ensure safety and publicly explain it thoroughly to residents.

While the plant’s restart has been officially approved, due to further regulatory and safety checks it is predicted that it will not be operational until sometime next year.


Artist Profile: Kazuki Takamatsu’s “Spiral Of Emotions” exhibit at the Corey Helford Gallery (Los Angeles)




On Saturday, June 21, 2014, CHG Circa will present Kazuki Takamatsu’s (featured in Juxtapoz Magazine, May, 2013) “Spiral of Emotions”, including 12 new pieces and giclee prints that will show for the first time in North America. Kazuki’s beautiful depth map paintings read like misty x-rays of anime fantasies. Always on a jet black background, these graphic spiritual essences leap off their surfaces, created in part with a 3D computer program, but painted by hand in a painstakingly detailed layering process. Each graduating spiral that emerges is perhaps a Shinto variant of Dante’s Inferno, the emotional age rings of Kazuki’s adolescent, ethereal figures. The abstract creative forces of nature are integral to Kazuki’s work. Kinetic energy rendered in gouache as hair, sound waves, and pools of water connect his compositions. In this way, Kazuki depicts the young people of Japanese society, who he believes is a generation lost in compliance with its elders.

Each graduation from surface to depth represents distance where there is no light and shadow,” explains Kazuki. “Black and white are metaphors for good and evil, race and religion. I use CG (digital) and painting (analog) to make work in which technology and nature coexist.

The opening reception for Kazuki Takamatsu will be hosted Saturday, June 21, 2014, from 7-10pm at CHG Circa. The reception is open to the public, and the exhibition is on view through July 12, 2014.

Kazuki Takamatsu was born in Sendai, Miyagi in 1978. Influenced by media and subculture growing up, he attended the Department of Oil Painting at Tohoku University of Art & Design and graduated in 2001. Takamatsu’s haunting black and white imagery explores narratives of death and society, through a unique depth-mapping technique that he developed, in which classic mediums such as drawing, airbrush and gouache painting are combined with computer graphics.


Kazuki Takamatsu “Spiral of Emotions”
Corey Helford Gallery, Culver City

June 21st – July 12th, 2014


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Artist Profile: Kazuki Takamatsu’s “Spiral Of Emotions” exhibit at the Corey Helford Gallery

Spiral Something to Believe In


A Bathing Ape 21 YEARS TEE


Image of A Bathing Ape 21 YEARS TEE

A Bathing Ape celebrates its 21st Anniversary with a special-edition set of tees. The celebratory release will include a multicolored ape head tee design made with 21 ape heads and various camo pattern foil printed tees. Both designs are available in a choice of white and black and will release on April 1 at a cost of ¥7,000‎ JPY (approximately $70 USD) each.

Overseas BAPE stores will carry all of the foil tee designs while those in Japan will carry different colors depending on location:

Red: BAPEXCLUSIVE™ in Aoyama and Kyoto, and BAPE STORE® DOVER STREET MARKET in Ginza.

Gold: BAPE STORE® Shibuya, Nagoya, Fukuoka, Matsuyama, Hiroshima, Yokohama.

Silver: BAPE STORE® Shinjuku, Osaka, Maebashi, Sendai, Sapporo, Kanezawa.


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A Bathing Ape 21 YEARS TEE


Image of A Bathing Ape 21 YEARS TEEImage of A Bathing Ape 21 YEARS TEEImage of A Bathing Ape 21 YEARS TEEImage of A Bathing Ape 21 YEARS TEE



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

3D Tokyo in Google Maps


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


This cool freeze-dried food shop lets you customize your own unique miso soup

RocketNews 24: 


At the end of a long, cold winter day, have you ever found yourself craving a bowl of steaming hot miso soup to go? If you live in Tokyo, then you happen to be in luck. There’s a shop selling freeze-dried products that lets you customize your own miso soup, and even down it on site. Furthermore, you can try different varieties of miso soup from around Japan. Read on to learn more about this awesome jewel right outside Tokyo Station.

First of all, just what is freeze-dried food? A freeze-dried food is preserved by being “dried in a vacuum system while being maintained at a temperature below that of its crystallization point.” The food can then be restored to its original state by simply adding water. Supposedly, this method of food preservation retains the taste, flavors, color, and vitamins of the original food better than other preservation methods.

Freeze-dried food specialty shop

Japanese company Amano Foods, which specializes in freeze-dried food items, runs a specialty shop called “Amano Freeze-Dried Station.” It is located a one-minute walk from Tokyo Station. The shop sells five varieties of miso from around Japan, including Hokkaido, Sendai, Haccho (Aichi Prefecture), Setouchi (Okayama Prefecture), and Kyushu variations. Once you’ve selected your miso, you can choose your desired seasonings packet to create the miso soup of your dreams! Each packet comes individually wrapped, so if you come with a friend, you can each try a different flavor. No more fighting with your family and friends about what kind of miso soup to make!

▼Screenshot from Amano Food’s official website showing you the five varieties of misoand the eight varieties of seasonings to choose from:


▼So many flavors to choose from! Indecisive people, beware.


▼A map of Japan showing where each of the five versions of miso originate from


▼Close-up of the miso packets


▼The available seasonings


▼An example of how to create your own unique flavor


Hot water dispensers are available for use at the shop

Of course it’s OK to buy the packets of miso and seasonings and take them home. There’s also a wide selection of foods that would make good o-miyage (souvenirs). But on a cold winter day, wouldn’t you rather have your miso soup as quickly as possible? The staff members completely agree with you, so they always have a ready supply of hot water in the store for people who just want to indulge there.

▼Add hot water, and voilà!


Storefront boasts many limited edition items as well

Products that are preserved through freeze-drying retain their flavor and nutrient content better compared to other instant food items. There’s no harm in trying some out, right? There are many limited items in the store, so next time you’re in the area, be sure to stop by and take a peek!

Shop Information:
Shop name: “Amano Freeze-Dried Station” (『アマノフリーズドライステーション』)
Address: Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Marunouchi 2-7-2, JP Tower B1F, Inside “KITTE GRANCHE”
Hours of operation: Weekdays/Saturdays: 10AM-9PM, Sundays/National holidays: 10AM-8PM

▼Location of the store relative to Tokyo Station (a one-minute walk from the Marunouchi East Exit)


Original article by Yuniman

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This cool freeze-dried food shop lets you customize your own unique miso soup


Designer Tadashi Shoji talks about his spring collection


Though you might not know Tadashi Shoji by name, you have most certainly seen his designs on just about every major red carpet. The Japanese designer has been in the industry for 30 years and counts Florence Welch, Katy Perry, and Octavia Spencer (who practically wears Shoji’s designs exclusively), as fans.

Founder and chief designer of the Tadashi Shoji collection, he was born and raised in Sendai, Japan, he began painting and drawing from a young age and eventually moved to Tokyo, where he studied fine art. His talent was soon recognized and he was recommended for an apprenticeship with Japan’s leading contemporary artist, Jiro Takamatsu, who is credited with paving the way for the modern art movement in Japan during the sixties.

It was during this period that Tadashi became intrigued with New York City and its role in the contemporary art scene. He moved to the United States to attend university in Los Angeles and further his artistic development, when he discovered fashion design and awakened a life-long passion.

Known as one of the few designers who caters to women of all sizes, Shoji always creates ethereal dresses that are both intricate and on budget.

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Designer Tadashi Shoji talks about his spring collection