At SXSW, YouTube co-founder Steve Chen reveals he accidentally created the third biggest site in the world and that YouTube was initially to be a dating site


Next Shark:

In an alternate universe, there’s probably a version of YouTube designed to match potential couples — sort of like how its founders originally intended it to be: Tinder with video.

Speaking at the South by Southwest conference on Monday, YouTube co-founder Steve Chen revealed that the popular video-sharing site was supposed to be a dating site.

We thought dating would be the obvious choice,” Chen said.

Videos wherein users would describe themselves, their match preferences and other details would serve as personal profiles. Such a service would be similar to the ‘80s-era video-dating services that were popular long before the internet.


The idea failed to materialize in five days of that format, however, as no one uploaded a single video. This is when the founders decided to open the platform to accept all forms of video content, birthing the YouTube that we know today.

Currently, YouTube is the world’s third most-visited website and an infinite source for reaction videos, fake pranks and makeup tutorials.

China’s first all-electric planes to hit the market, for about US$160,000 each


RocketNews 24 (by Meg Murphy):

Global warming is just one of many reasons why we as humans should make more of an effort to reduce our impact on the environment. Much of the technology we use in our daily lives has made things a lot more convenient, and it’s wonderful being able to zoom to the other side of the planet in the space of a single day, but the environmental impact our cars, planes, and the like have had is something we should all be seriously concerned about.

But what if we could make air travel cleaner, and cheaper? Last year at the Shenyang Faku International Flight Convention in China, Shenyang Aerospace University and the Liaoning Universal Aviation Academy revealed China’s first all-electric plane, which it soon plans to begin mass producing for the foreign market.

The aircraft, named RX1E Ruixiang, has a wingspan of 14.5 meters and a body made of carbon fiber. It reportedly runs on a battery which requires only 10 kilowatts to charge, which in mainland China would cost less than US$1. Despite that, the plane can reach speeds up to 160 km per hour (99mph), and fly at an altitude of up to 3,000 meters (9,800 feet).

With a maximum flight duration 90 minutes – allowing it to travel up to 240 km – the RX1E isn’t quite ready to carry passengers and cargo internationally, but its a start. Hopefully the technology can be further developed and electric airplanes more widespread, allowing those of us with the travel bug to scratch that itch in a more environmentally friendly way.

China to build $242bn high-speed Beijing-Moscow rail link

China Railway High-speed

China and Russia’s multi-billion dollar high-speed rail network project

International Business Times:

China is to build a 7,000-kilometre high-speed railway connecting its capital Beijing to Moscow which will reduce the journey time between the two cities to two days from five.

The $242bn (£160bn, €210bn) project was confirmed in a Weibo post published by Beijing’s municipal government. The rail link will go through Kazakhstan and make travel between Asia and Europe easier, according to the post.

China and Russia had signed a memorandum of understanding on the ambitious project in October 2014. The construction of the project is expected to take eight to 10 years.

The huge investment would mostly be made by China, as Russia’s economy has been hurt by the recent oil price plunge and Western sanctions, according to critics of the project.

However, the high-speed rail line can provide many other long-term benefits that could make up for the cost of the investment, according to an earlier post on Sina’s military blog.

The new high-speed rail line can be used to increase the transfer of energy resources and food items, which are scarce in China, according to the blog.

It noted that the rail network can be used to import some of Russia’s fertile soil to China to improve the quality of its overdeveloped land. Further, the rail line could be used by Chinese farmers to migrate to Russia and set up small agricultural villages.

The relationship between China and Russia has been strengthened as the latter is engaged in a political row with the US and Europe over its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

The countries earlier signed a $400bn deal for Russian gas giant Gazprom to build a pipeline and start gas supplies to China. The 30-year contract will enable the company to supply 38 billion cubic metres of gas to China per year.

Have a look at the almost-finished Samsung HQ located in Silicon Valley

Self-healing glasses on sale next year in Japan

RocketNews 24:

Starting on 1 January, 2015 Vision Megane will begin selling their strongest frames to date. Dubbed the Super Taflex, it boasts extreme resistance to bending and stretching and also claims to be able to heal itself from everyday dents and scratches within ten seconds.

This healing ability comes from the frame’s “cross guard coating,” which according to their diagram is like a springy chain link fence which pops back to its original shape seconds after small ebony spheres have hurled towards it. This ability is said to work against any scratch that might occur in daily life as well.

Of course, glasses-wearers are probably more concerned about damage to the lens than the frame, but this is still definitely a step in the right direction. These frames are also forged with a special material known as Ultem, which has been used in spacecraft parts because of its extreme resilience under stress while retaining a light weight.

Super Taflex frames will be available in four styles all priced at 22,800 yen (US$190). So for all you out there working in the small ebony sphere factories across the globe, your prayers will be answered in a mere mater of weeks.

Grace Choi: The Harvard woman Is disrupting the $55 billion beauty industry with DIY 3D-printed makeup

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Grace Choi, inventor of Mink.

Business Insider:

In May, Grace Choi presented a startup at New York technology conference, TechCrunch Disrupt. Her idea seemed too good to be true.

Her product, Mink, promised to help anyone easily 3D print their own makeup from any home computer. All that was required was a colorful image from the Internet, a tool like Photoshop that could lift a hex color code, and a Mink Printer, which hooks up to a computer to print specific ink colors on colorless shadows and creams.

While Choi didn’t win the startup competition, Mink generated a lot of interest from potential users, top makeup companies and investors. She has spent the past few months figuring out how to bring 3D makeup printing to the masses, even if it leaves her broke.

And she’s decided she really doesn’t like venture capitalists.



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Grace Choi applying lipstick she made from her 3D makeup printer.

Business Insider caught up with Choi, who gave us a step-by-step guide on how to 3D print makeup using a home computer and a regular HP printer. She also told us how she came up with an idea that could disrupt the $55 billion beauty industry — and how she used to work at Burger King.

Choi, 30, was raised in Brooklyn, New York. Her parents immigrated from Korea, where her father was an aerospace engineer and her mother was a nurse. In New York, Choi’s father opened a small fruit and vegetable shop. “It was a simple store, but he’s a great entrepreneur, and I learned a lot from him about negotiating and business,” Choi says.

As an undergraduate at Cornell University, Choi majored in hotel administration. But she wasn’t ready to settle on a career, so she tried a “bajillion” internships. She spent a year in finance after she graduated in 2005, decided she hated it, then quit. While perusing a Cornell alumni job board, she stumbled across a listing seeking an assistant to a Cornell professor in New York City. The professor, Dr. Martin Prince, was an established inventor and physician who hired her despite her lack of experience in science and medicine. He quickly became Choi’s mentor, and she worked as his assistant until 2011.

Under Prince’s leadership, Choi was able to work on a number of his inventions, learn from other physicians in his lab, and come up with a few ideas of her own.

In 2010, Choi saw a nationwide casting call from Home Shopping Network for its reality show “Homemade Millionaire,” which features aspiring inventors. Determined to cook up a clever idea, Choi went on HSN’s site and hunted for inspiration. She noticed jewelry was a major category on the site, and that necklaces, earrings and bracelets were the main featured items. Using magnetic clasps, Choi invented a 3-in-1 necklace that could be easily be converted to a bracelet or pair of earrings by disassembling then reconnecting the magnets. Choi’s invention, “Convertible Necklace,” won the fifth episode of the show, and her items were sold online.


convertible jewelry grace choi hsnHSN: Grace Choi (far right) modeling her convertible necklace that won episode 5 of HSN’s Homemade Millionaire reality TV show.


Choi didn’t feel fulfilled as a jewelry inventor though (she says making accessories felt “empty”), so she applied to Harvard Business School, in hopes of increasing her credibility as an inventor and continuing to pursue her own ideas.

While at Harvard, Choi came up with her first beauty product, which was inspired by a popular cosmetic in China, BB cream. BB Cream was a tinted moisturizer that Choi felt could be big in the United States as a blend of lotion and concealer. Choi created her own line of the cream, dubbed it “Grace Choi Porcelain Skin BB Cream” and priced it at $34 per bottle. Choi had long felt Asians were underrepresented in beauty industry marketing, and she’d struggled to find skin care products that catered to her skin tone. She was determined that her line would be different.

“I felt pretty insignificant when there was no Asian Cover Girl model,” she says. “America is supposed to be progressive.”


Grace Choi creamGrace Choi’s BB cream was the first cosmetic product she created.

Choi approached a Harvard mentor with her cream idea and asked for advice: She had a limited amount of money to spend on the product line, but she wanted to offer options for many skin tones. How, she wondered, could she do that efficiently?

The mentor’s response startled her:

Go with the lighter shades,” the mentor told her. “Those people have more money to spend.

That response really hit a nerve with me,” Choi says. She didn’t realize it then, but that comment led to the idea for Mink. With Mink, “the color [variety] question doesn’t have to come up, because the Internet solves that. Every color is free on the Internet,” Choi says.

When she graduated from HBS in 2013, she was recruited by Burger King to work on food innovation for the fast food chain. After three months, though, Choi felt out of place and left the job. She went back to inventing.

Choi says there wasn’t one “aha” moment for her 3D makeup printer.

When I started at business school and was trying to make a cosmetics product I realized, ‘Oh, this is how a cosmetic is made.’ And I thought, ‘It’s so interesting how it’s so inefficient,'” Choi told New York Magazine in June. “I wanted to do something more meaningful and impactful. I decided I wanted to tackle challenges in the beauty industry. The challenges are diversity issues and issues with women’s confidence.”

The makeup industry makes a whole lot of money on a whole lot of bullshit. They charge a huge premium on something that tech provides for free. That one thing is color.
Choi started mulling over a way to bring down makeup prices. She realized what makeup companies primarily charge a premium on — the colors and dyes they use in their formulas — is actually cheap to acquire before it’s mixed into the creams. She wondered if there was a way to use the four computer printer colors (Black, Cyan, Yellow and Magenta) to allow anyone to mix their own makeup colors cheaply from home.

The makeup industry makes a whole lot of money on a whole lot of bullshit,” Choi explained during her TechCrunch Disrupt presentation. “They charge a huge premium on something that tech provides for free. That one thing is color.”

It took Choi one month to go from the idea stage to having a semi-working prototype. That may sound fast, but Choi insists any curious self-starter can pull off something similar.

There are so many learning tools now, like Google, and tons of people you can ask questions of,” she says. “I worked a lot of the prototype for Mink out in my head and thought, ‘What materials would I need to make this work?’ Then I’d do small tests and take a little ink and mix it together with raw materials. I’d go to Staples and Best Buy and look at every single printer and open up the printers to examine the inside.”

Choi says she went through about 20 printers to find one that would print the best results and cover an entire eyeshadow pan, for example.

Choi’s solution prints just a top layer of ink onto a blank (white) shadow, cream or moisturizer. It could be seen as a problem that the ink doesn’t seep all the way through like consumers are used to when they buy makeup. Choi actually thinks it’s a good problem that could save consumers money.

Mink only covers the top layer, but not a lot of people use all the eye shadow they buy,” says Choi. “A girl’s makeup junk drawer is a clear sign that the system of makeup is not working. There’s too much of it you have to buy. So what I tell girls with Mink is, ‘Listen, when you want that neon purple eyeshadow that’s trendy, just print the top layer. When you’re done with that color, scrape it off, and print the next color on the remaining blank eyeshadow.'”

In other words, Mink prints sample sizes, rather than making consumers commit to entire products.

Right now Choi doesn’t have any employees, and she doesn’t have any traditional funding from investors, although she’s taken a lot of meetings. She says she butted heads with a number of venture capitalists and, in some cases, got into yelling matches over the direction she should take Mink.




A Mink-branded makeup printer could be on the way, but Choi says she’d rather teach the world how to build their own printers first.

The venture capitalists, Choi says, wanted her to produce an official Mink printer and start making money immediately. But Choi believes Mink will be best served by teaching the world how to make its own 3D makeup printers from home. She wants to start a beauty revolution first, and a business second.

I’m definitely not meeting with anyone who has ‘VC’ in their title ever again,” Choi says. “I think they’re a little too rushed. Mink could disrupt an entire market, and with that kind of opportunity, it’s best to take your time. The way for me to kill Mink would be for me to come out with a printer that’s sucky….The whole model for entrepreneurs is like, ‘I’m going to make a billion dollars then donate a chunk of my money to charity.’ Not to judge other people, but just throwing money at stuff doesn’t add value. I think sharing the journey of building the business adds value.”



grace choi mink

Grace Choi showing how to hack together your own 3D makeup printer from a regular HP printer at a hackathon.

Down the line, Choi agrees that a Mink-branded printer could make sense. But she also thinks that if she teaches the world to print its own makeup and turns every young girl into her own L’Oreal shop, business opportunities will arise naturally. Choi envisions a world where celebrities have iTunes-like pages for makeup, where a girl can log on and print Kim Kardashian’s exact lipstick shade to wear. And if DIY makeup becomes popular, consumers will need easily-accessible FDA-approved inks, which could be Mink branded, or raw makeup materials like white creams and lipsticks to print on top of, which Mink could also sell.

One person alone can’t disrupt this entire beauty market,” Choi says. “Together, as a community, we can disrupt it. I’m willing to take a hit financially because my number one motivation is for change. This is a very important social mission for me. I think of Mink as an educational tool for kids, and one that can get girls interested in technology. I don’t need to be on some billionaires list. I’m aggressive and I’m going to make this happen. Before I die, this [beauty revolution] will happen.”



Japanese tradition and technology combine to beat the heat with USB uchiwa


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RocketNews 24:


One of the essential items for getting through Japan’s hot and humid summer is an uchiwa, or paper fan. With its large surface area and long handle, you can work up more of a breeze with an uchiwa than a dainty folding fan.

Unfortunately, you might work up a bit of a sweat as you furiously fan yourself, which kind of negates the whole purpose of using a fan to begin with. Thankfully, there’s now a way to get around all that manual labor with a USB-powered uchiwa.

The fan itself in manufacturer Thanko’s USB uchiwa kit is nothing special. What justifies its 3,980-yen (US$39) price tag, though, is the apparatus it’s attached to.


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Simply plug the contraption into your USB port, and sit back to enjoy a nice, relaxing breeze.

There are two speed settings, with the stronger capable of producing some pretty impressive gusts. The range of the fanning motion can also be adjusted, as can the height the fan stands at.

There are a couple downsides to this technological luxury, though. First, while we’re sure the wind it produces feels soothing to your skin and soul, when the machine is in motion, it’s a little on the loud side.


▼ This woman must be one heavy sleeper.

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Second, the kit doesn’t come pre-assembled.

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This isn’t such a big problem, though, as the manufacturer has posted an instructional video that walks you through the steps.

As long as those two sticking points don’t bother you, you can place your pre-order for the USB uchiwa kit right here. It’s the perfect gift for anyone who wants a touch of traditional Japanese culture, doesn’t like the chilled air spat out by air conditioning units, or just wants to remind the machines that they’re still subservient to their human masters.


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Check out this link:

Japanese tradition and technology combine to beat the heat with USB uchiwa


30 common characteristics of people who fall in love with Japan



RocketNews 24:


Chances are since you’re visiting our site, you probably already have an interest in Japan or other Asian countries. But have you ever had a friend who knows next to nothing about Japan, but you just have a feeling that they would come to love the island country given the right incentive?

If so, you may recognize some characteristic qualities of that friend in the following list written by Japanese blogger and all-around-life expert Madame Riri. This time, she’s come up with some common traits of foreigners who grow to love Japan based on her own observations from time spent abroad.

Do you find yourself conforming to any of the following patterns?


In English, we’ve got a lot of terms for lovers of Japan. We’re sure you’re all familiar with at least one Japanophile, whose deep interest in Japanese culture leads him or her to study Japanese and visit the country several times. Maybe you also know a “weeaboo/Wapanese,” who tries a little too hard to sound like he knows what he’s talking about and borders on the slightly obsessive side with his huge anime DVD collection. The term otaku has even made its way into the English lexicon, despite its negative connotations in Japanese. But before those people had any connection to or knowledge about Japan whatsoever, was there some kind of hint that would predict their later infatuation with the Land of the Rising Sun?

The following list by Madame Riri tries to answer just that. As you’re reading, remember that the list refers to people who don’t know much about Japanese culture yet, but if you were to, say, introduce them to some cultural aspect or bring them to Japan just once, then BAM!–the spark of love towards Nippon will grow by leaps and bounds.

Madame Riri also stresses that these items are to be taken with a grain of salt. This list is not meant to imply that every Japanese person shares these common features, nor that people who have these commonalities are guaranteed to fall in love with Japan. They’re just personal observations that she has noticed in many people who fit a general trend.

Enjoy her list!


1. They like one or more of the following: manga, anime, or video games.

Yep, let’s just get this one out of the way nice and early.

2. They are vegetarian. Or, they’re health conscious and take great care in what they eat.

We think what she’s trying to say here is that these people place a high value on fresh, seasonal food and take great pains with presentation.


▼A traditional Japanese breakfast



3. They think that a society with men in charge is for the better. 

Despite slow progress, Japan remains a male-dominated society, with women largely expected to quit working once they start a family.


4. They think characters like Hello Kitty are adorable.

Along with that, they have ridiculously large collections of character goods, like one 29-year-old Brit Natasha Goldsworth:




5. They harbor good feelings toward unassuming people,  even if their own list of career achievements is impressive.

Maintaining a sense of modesty is emphasized, as in Japanese culture.


6. They like polite people, and are personally always thanking people with a smile. 

Tied in with Japan’s culture of extreme hospitality, or omotenashi.


7. They would choose fish over meat, given the choice.

But that’s not to say they don’t go wild for yakiniku, either!




8. They somehow feel at ease when they see shy people, or people who can’t express themselves well. 


9. They get irritated when others aren’t punctual or can’t keep promises. 

In other words, they’ll probably get along well with people from the country where station staff have mastered the seven-minute-art of cleaning the bullet train:




10. They aren’t religious, but believe there’s a god out there somewhere. 

If asked, most Japanese people would say that they have no religious affiliation, though they do regularly participate in several Buddhist and Shinto (arguably more of a spirituality than a religion) practices.

On the other hand, Japan does have a comic about young Jesus and Buddha living together as roommates in modern Tokyo


11. They think that couples will do better if the women walks a little behind the man (metaphorically speaking). 

See #3 above.


12. They dislike parties that last for a long time. They’d rather go home early. 

Perhaps along the lines of Japanese work-related drinking culture (see nomikai), which is a necessary but usually time-restricted aspect of Japanese work culture.


▼A typical nomikai



13. They often feel like shouting, “Don’t just talk about yourself but listen to others, too!” 

Group harmony is valued over individualism, perhaps?


14. They have slightly unconventional hobbies. They are probably seeking approval from somewhere. 


15. They live by a sense of the changing of the seasons–appropriate flowers are displayed during each month, only vegetables in-season are consumed, etc.


▼Extra points if they love cherry blossoms!



16. They constantly check up on the latest technology.


17. They can’t not go to the latest popular travel spots.


Case in point: What happened to Mt. Fuji after becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site last year:



18. They don’t get along with people who tend to think that America and Europe are the center of the world. 


19. They have a weak stomach. They often get stomachaches.

We’re not quite sure what she means by this one…


20. They enjoy taking baths–it’s the height of relaxation.




21. They are skilled at working with their hands, such as when wrapping Christmas presents. 

Furoshiki add a nice touch to any present, don’t you think? 


22. They are often told that they are too serious.

The key word here is majime, which suggest a strong sense of earnest diligence.


23. They think people should be praised for working hard and long. 


24. They don’t like to smell sweaty, but they don’t like to use perfumes, either. Unscented is the best. However, they do enjoy sniffing a waft of fragrant shampoo.


▼We recommend Shiseido’s popular Tsubaki Shampoo, made with oil from the camellia flower.



25. They often find themselves saying, “I’m busy,” or, “I don’t have time.”


26. They tend to be on the soft-spoken/taciturn side. 

Madame Riri is definitely referencing Japanese adults here, and not the crowds of squealing high school girls ubiquitous in Japan.


27. They are often called “kind” by others.

A bit vague…


28. They always wash their hands before eating when eating out. Or they kill germs with hand sanitizer.

Japanese people are very fond of cleanliness before eating. If you’ve ever been to Japan or to an authentic Japanese restaurant, you’ve probably noticed that the server provides you with a hot, wet towel (oshibori) to wipe your hands with before dining.


▼But the real question is, can any of you fold an oshibori bunny??



29. They are economical and hate wasting things. 

There is also a very specific Japanese word for this trait–mottainai.


30. They think that small details are very important regarding business matters. They believe that the success or failure of something depends on what extent they have emphasized the particulars.  

So–have we got anyone humming “I think I’m turning Japanese yet? Your friends may need just a little nudge, and soon you’ll have all the enthusiastic travel companions you could ever want on your next trip to Japan!


Check out this link:

30 common characteristics of people who fall in love with Japan


Wearable art physically exposes you when you share data

In the digital realm, we are naked all the time,” flashes the text in the promotional video for x.pose, a project by Xuedi Chen and Pedro Oliveira. The sculpture is composed of several layers, one of which is a reactive display that, using bluetooth, alternates between transparent and opaque depending on the amount of personal data the wearer is transmitting through their smartphone.

The 3D-printed garment comments on our willingness to expose ourselves through the information constantly emanating from our mobile devices.


Chen and Oliveira explain:

“These displays are divided up into patches that represent neighborhoods and change in opacity depending on the wearer’s current location. If she is in the NYU neighborhood, that area will be the most active, pulsing, revealing her current location, revealing the fact that her data is being collected and at the same time exposing her skin. As her data emissions are collected, the more transparent and exposed she will become.”


Much like Anouk Wipprecht’s Intimacy 2.0, Chen and Oliveira have created a piece that’s political, technologically impressive and aesthetically pleasing. It’s not hard to imagine an art world celebrity actually wearing this out: Despite our knowledge of rapidly decreasing privacy in the face of big data, we still revel in the attention our broadcast provides.

Chen has previously combined 3D-printing and fashion when she designed parasitic accessories. She is a student at NYU’s ITP grad program. (Images: Xuedi Chen and Pedro Oliveira)


Japan’s real and anime world technological icons combine with this Shinkansen (Bullet Train) transforming robot


SR 1

RocketNews 24:


You could argue that the Shinkansen is the greatest engineering marvel Japan has ever put together. Amazingly fast, the bullet train is also bulletproof in its reliability and punctuality, with almost no delays and not a single accident since the high speed rail service was opened in 1964.

To find a much cooler piece of Japanese technology, you have to go into the world of science fiction and anime robots. Now, some clever designers have put two and two together and created a transforming mecha character based on Japan’s fastest train.

The annual International Tokyo Toy Show is going on right now, and we stopped by to check out some of the 35,000 items being displayed by the 157 exhibiting companies. While there, we came across the booth for jeki, a promotional subsidiary of Japan Railways East.

The team at jeki struck gold with its previous creation, the Suica Penguin who serves as the primary mascot for JR East. You can find the loveable aquatic bird on prepaid JR cards and posters, not to mention in the display case of cake shops on occasion.


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But while the Suica Penguin is undeniably cute, he’s not exactly cool. Stepping up to claim that adjective is the new character created under jeki’s Project E5.


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The robot is modeled after the E5 Series Shinkansen, which went into use in 2011 on the Tohoku Shinkansen line that connects Tokyo and Shin Aomori Stations. Aside from its sleek lines, the robot checks off two important boxes. First, it transforms.


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And second, it looks awesome posing.


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The company hasn’t given away much in details about the character’s backstory, so we don’t know yet whether or not the powerful looking machine occasionally has to change into combat mode and fight off alien invaders, all the while continuing to carry its load of business and pleasure travelers. Moreover, the giant-sized model shown here is still just a preliminary concept, although if you ask us, it looks good enough that jeki’s artists can call it a day.


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The jeki representative we spoke with said the long-term plan is to produce and sell figures of the character, so if you’re a model train or mecha toy collector, you might want to start clearing off some shelf space. In the meantime, the concept statue will be on display as part of the Tokyo Toy Show at Big Sight on Odaiba from now until June 16.


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Check out this link:

 Japan’s real and anime world technological icons combine with this Shinkansen (Bullet Train) transforming robot