Winner of the strange Japanese engrish headline of the week:
Fish bukkake—milt is to be used to refine the rare earths that are critical to Japan’s high-tech electronics.
Fish milt used to glean rare earths
The Japan Times May 18, 2013
Japanese researchers…have found a better, cheaper way to smelt rare earth metals by using salmon milt, or sperm.
The rest-of-the-story is that until recently, China was Japan and the rest of the world’s main source of rare earth elements that are critical in the electronics industry. China instituted an export ban on shipments of rare earth oxides to Japan on September 2010. This Chinese export restriction on rare earth elements has caused Japan to go into a tizzy looking for alternative supplies (Wikipedia),
Here’s a real Pacific Rim job—the robot reception at the REMM Hotel in the high-tech, otaku district of Tokyo’s Akihabara…
Greetings from REMM Hotel Akihabara! according to the wonders of goofy Google robo-Translate, which goes not to say that:
With these twin “Gemini” robots, the REEM Hotel is planning many robots visiting the hotel as part of an experiment lasting into the Spring.
The Hankyu-Hanshin-Daiichi Hotel Group further explains:
This new edition to the is based on the idea of better, more comfortable sleep—Come and visit us!!
Check out the hotel’s English website at: REMM Akihabara.
Previous posts about marginally-useful Japanese robots in hotels include:
• Hello Kitty-ROBO (3Yen / 2010 Sept.)
• —The EMIEW2 robot —
Excellent Mobility and Interactive Existence as Workmate 2
(3Yen / 2010 June)
• Bellboy Bots at a Tokyo Disneyland Hotel (3Yen / 2006 Feb.)
• Japan’s robot-run love hotels (3Yen / 2006 Oct. )
The Bizarre Japanese of Call of Duty: Black Ops II’s Newest Map
Kotaku.com | 2013/04/10
The Japanese language and Call of Duty have never gotten along. But in the past, that's been simply due to translation mistakes. That might not be the case here. In the latest downloadable content for Black Ops II, the in-game Japanese is both strange and funny.
Let’s go Postal!
Normally, post offices in Japan are boring affairs like the one shown on the left. However, Japanese Postal Offices function as the second largest banking system in the world and have the largest cash deposits in world*. At the end of a business day, any Japanese post office will have more than 10,000,000 yen ($101,854 USD) cash on hand without any armed guards or major security measures.
So, you can imagine my excitement at the thought following the wisdom of the world-famous bank robber, Willie Sutton in the newest Japanese edition of “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” shown in the screen shot below.
Reporter: Why do you rob banks?
Sutton: Because that is where the money is.†
Behold, a coat…That will hug you…And whisper into your ear. —as described by Kotaku.com.
This coat for Japan’s lonely otaku/geeks is designed to hug you by electronically squeezing while playing recordings behind your head of your imaginary girlfriend saying cute things like, “Guess who?” and “Surprise!”
Lacking anything better to do, JAXA–Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency–is preparing to send the toy KIBO astro-bot to the International Space Station with their astronaut, Koichi Wakata, to help him with “communication.” Ri-i-i-ight.
Specifically, the little andr0id is programmed to recognise Wakata's face and to communicate in Japanese…[as well as]… take photos during the trip. (The Standard / March 11, 2013).
Weightless test …for the KIBO astronaut robot
Learn more at the official KIBO ROBOT PROJECT website at: kibo-robo.jp/en
The all-electric Toyota i-ROAD mades its global debut at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. With a width of only 850 mm and Active Lean© the i-ROAD is perfect for Tokyo’s crowded streets except…
…its “enclosed cabin format designed for a “comfortable, helmet-free driving experience.*” Without air conditioning i-ROAD’s tiny closed cabin would be a sauna in Japan’s nightmarish, nine-month-long summer of 30C/86°F+ heat.
*Courtesy of Toyota’s press release for the i-ROAD.
Learn more about Toyota’s previous attempts to invent the tricycle in the electric car reports on the 3Yen including:
• Toyota’s ginormous dock for your smartphone (3Yen / 2012-10-04/)
• Toyota’s 3-wheeled electric wheelchair ‘car’ (3Yen / 2009-06-28)
• Toyota’s iUnit is proclaimed the coolest ↓ (3Yen / 2005-11-17)
Check out this magic “Modern Girl*” wearing a strap-on hooked into a 300,000 volt Tesla Coil to shower bolts of artificial lightning on the three girls below holding conductor rods.
Embiggen to the full-sized photo, 500×714 pixels.
The “20th Century Weekly” of September 14, 1930 describes photo as depicting a magic performance of the strap-on wearing magician Shokyokusai Tenkatsu† and her Flower Heaven Troupe employing a “high-voltage large-magnet.” The troupe’s repertoire featured, “conducting scientific experiments by passing high-frequency current through humans at 300,000 volts.” Electrifying.
*Modern girl (, modan gaaru or moga) in the 1920s were Japan’s equivalent of America’s flappers (more on Wikipedia).
Pedestrian-mounted Brake Lights and Turn Signals??
At first glace, the upcoming Augmented Human International Conference ‘13 in Stuttgart looks to be an attempt of Japanese researchers to troll the science community with a Chindogu–Japanese “unuseless” invention: Brake lights for your butt.
The Journal of Improbable Research today offered links to a great story: Pedestrian-mounted brake lights: March 8 in Stuttgart (Improbable Research–blog | 2013/02/27).
At the “Augmented Human ‘13″ conference, Japanese researchers, Hiroaki Sasaki, Tsutomu Terada and Masahiko Tsukamoto will present: A System for Visualizing Human Behavior based on Car Metaphors (link). The researchers will, propose a system for visualizing the user context by using information presentation methods based on those found in cars, such as wearing LEDs as brake lights, which can be seen by surrounding people. Ri-i-i-ight.
The Chinese Ramenbot challenges Japan’s superiority in useless humanoid robots* as the 3Yen’s correspondant-at-large, Den4 asks the real question, Why are they using a knockoff of Ultraman?
—Tip sent in by 3Yen correspondant-at-large, Den4
Years ago I reported on Japan’s ramenbot in: Robots to the rescue of ramen (3Yen / 2009-07-04).
Also note that here on the 3Yen and in the regular press (BBC and The Independent), I have railed against Japan’s useless anthropomorphic robots (3Yen / 2010-10-15) and wanking automation (3Yen / 2007-08-01 .
The Japanese clothing chain, United Arrows installed Kinect sensor-equipped robot interactive mannequins mimics the movements of passers-by. These “MarionetteBots” were set up in the show window of United Arrow’s flagship store in Tokyo’s Shibuya Mark City mall last year (JapanTimes.com | 2012Nov12), but inexplicably the Internet exploded with this so-called “news” just this week.
The best quip about the MarionetteBots came from Adweek (2013Feb13)…in America the passers-by would have been touching themselves inappropriately and humping the windows within 10 minutes.
Check out the official MarionetteBot website of the Japanese clothing chain, United Arrows at: http://koisuru.jp/m