The Eerie Ruins of 11 Abandoned Hotels

Tourism is a funny thing. Sometimes hot spots are hot, prompting opportunistic developers to build. And sometimes they're not. (The outbreak of a civil war is a great way to shut down a tourist destination.) Photographer Dietmar Eckell has spent the past several years visiting the hotels and resorts that got left… » 1/22/15 9:02am 1/22/15 9:02am

It Took 2.1 Years For Fukushima's Radioactive Plume to Reach Us

Cesium 134 and cesium 137: The two isotopes that were released into the Pacific Ocean when an earthquake ruined the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on the eastern coast of Japan in 2011. The panic over the leakage was instantaneous in the US—but a new study shows how long it really took. » 1/01/15 5:00pm 1/01/15 5:00pm

Japan's rocket launch site looks like a Bond villain's secret lair

Someone mentioned in Twitter that Japan's Yoshinobu Launch Complex at the Tanegashima Space Center looks like the lair of a Bond villain. And indeed it does: Check out the photo I found while searching for information about Hayabusa 2, JAXA's second mission to retrieve asteroid material. » 12/03/14 8:34pm 12/03/14 8:34pm

Subway Etiquette Posters From 1970s Japan Are Just as Relevant Today

Don't smoke in the train station. Don't spit your gum on the floor. And please, god, don't splay your legs out like no one else is around you. These sound like basic rules of today's public transit, but they're actually messages that graced the walls of Tokyo's subway forty years ago. » 11/27/14 9:00am 11/27/14 9:00am

The meticulous process of making a Japanese wooden doll is impressive

I'm not exaggerating the tiniest bit when I say I want to fly to Japan right now and park myself right in front of this man's hand made wooden doll shop in Japan and just watch him work. Imagine the earnest smell of the woodworking, the sound of the lathe spinning and the beauty of his concentration in making art. » 10/28/14 10:47pm 10/28/14 10:47pm

Inside Muji's Beautiful, Affordable Prefab Houses

The Japanese retailer Muji has built a cult following by offering nearly any object you could want in your home for not much money and proportionately great design. Now, the company is offering one more item to its line of 7,500 housewares: Actual houses. And there's a very good economic reason for the ambitious new… » 10/28/14 9:20am 10/28/14 9:20am

Watch the biggest firework ever explode into a 2,624-foot ball of fire

You are looking at the biggest firework ever fired, weighing a total of 1,014 pounds (460 kilograms)—a new world record. According to NHK, it exploded over the city of Konosu—in the island of Honshu, Japan—into a breathtaking rosette about 2,624 feet (800 meters) in diameter. » 10/23/14 11:45pm 10/23/14 11:45pm

Realistic Japanese doll dispenses drinks when you squeeze her breasts

Check out the latest hit at Japanese parties: $5,000 latex dolls that pour drinks from their nipples when you squeeze their boobs. It looks disturbing. What's going to be next, Japan? Male and female android fountains wandering around parties serving drinks from their lower naughty bits? But of course. » 10/14/14 12:32am 10/14/14 12:32am

Don't Call It Sony: This Is VAIO's New Prototype Tablet PC

Remember when Sony decided to sell off its entire PC business in one fell swoop? It looks like that wasn't the end of the company's iconic VAIO designs. Today at Adobe's MAX design conference, the new VAIO Corporation showed off a brand new tablet computer aimed directly at pros. It's a beefy machine with a 12.3-inch… » 10/06/14 8:17pm 10/06/14 8:17pm

Watching a master chef make noodles by hand is absolutely mesmerizing

I'm not sure if this is considered just cooking or if it can be classified as high art or even a musical performance but whatever it is, it's an absolute joy to watch. What you're seeing is soba master Tatsuru Rai, owner and chef of Sobatei Rakuichi in Niseko, Hokkaido, making his soba noodles in complete silence. » 9/09/14 1:27am 9/09/14 1:27am

Japan's Spending $5 Billion to Fast Track Maglev Trains in the US

Come on guys. It's just 40 miles. We'll even go halfsies with you. Except, in this case, "halfsies" still amounts to $5 billion. Japan, in an effort to help DC build a maglev train that would cut travel time to Baltimore down to 15 minutes, is offering up half the cash to do it. The question is: Does that make the… » 9/08/14 5:44pm 9/08/14 5:44pm