Japanese Phenomenon “Hikikimori” Is Going GlobalHikikimori is the phenomenon of people having severe social withdrawal. This can usually be seen in adolescents and young adults who decide to stay inside their parent’s homes. These people are unable to go outside for months or years, and may be unable to go to school or work.The Japanese government has estimated that due to their aging population, more people are deciding to be a hikikomori, also known as the modern-day hermits or social recluses. In 2010, the country has been witness to over 700,000 citizens succumbing to the phenomenon. Now, however, this withdrawal is no longer prominent in Japan alone. If we consider certain past events, as well as the rise of more middle-class people steering towards social isolation, then this is not a surprise at all. One study from 2023  even points out that the phenomenon is spreading globally. This isn’t just the introvert thoughts of not wanting to interact with people for the day, no. Interviews and surveys actually show that the hikikomori feel strong levels of distress and angst. The mere idea of stopping this behavior brings these people pain and anguish. While there are a lot of papers that hypothesize and speculate on the possible mental trigger for this phenomenon, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, for now, the consensus is that there is no underlying mental condition that triggers this phenomenon. Learn more about the hikikomori here. Image credit: Pixabay #socialisolation #psychology #sociology #issues #Japan #spread #hikikomori
Have Sweet, Tasty Dreams with the Kit Kat FutonKit Kat chocolate bars originate in Britain in the 1920s, but they’re perhaps even more popular in Japan than in in the UK. Japan has had, at various times, hundreds of different flavors and varieties available, including green tea, soy sauce, sake, red beans, miso soup, and cherry blossoms.In short: Japan loves Kit Kat bars.Sora News 24 reports that Japanese Kit Kat fans have a new option for expressing their devotion. Yes, this is a regular-sized futon that looks like a Kit Kat bar. The retailer Don Quijote is offering to people who enter a contest by purchasing $18.25 USD worth of Kit Kat bars at one visit.#futons #KitKat #Japan
These Noodles Are Completely BlackUdon are thick noodles made from wheat flour. It’s a common Japanese dish with restaurants specializing in making them from scratch and preparing regional varieties. This one, though, is rather novel: kuro-obi or “black belt” udon.​Sora News 24 heard thata restaurant in a town in the center of Honshu is offering them and dispatched reporters to investigate it. For the equivalent of $6.75 USD, you can get a bowl of udon that is blackened with bamboo charcoal which is mixed into the dough. The black noodles are sharply contrasted by the white soy milk broth. The reviewers report that the combination is both tasty and visually appealing.#udon #Japan
Overworked? This Japanese Office Furniture Maker Offers "Nap Boxes"Are you tired? Do you need a nap? Let me tell you, when Neatorama owner Alex Santoso asks that question here at the office, the correct answer is a firm “No, sir!” because he was most definitely asking sincerely. I needed to make that mistake only once.Our office box is a bit different from this one recently produced by the Itoki Corporation in Japan. Yahoo! News reports that this box is designed for napping at the office. One must sleep standing up, so it’s not that comfortable. But it mimics the design of the current popular napping location: toilet stalls in the restrooms. At least the nap box offers some padding that toilet stalls do not.-via Dave Barry | Image: Itoki Corporation#Japan #napping #furniture
Check Out This High Pressure MassageJapanese Twitter user @mk_siro shares this image from a recent massage that he experienced at an osteopathic clinic. Clearly, the masseur needed to apply heavy pressure in order to knock a kink out of mk_siro’s back. In an impressive display of athletic agility, he braces himself against the wall and bears down with a single elbow.Commenters are comparing the masseur to Numakura Koichi, the main character from the manga Send My Regards to Kenshiro. In this story, a young man studies martial arts in order to avenge his father, murdered by the yakuza. He’s unable to use those martial arts in combat, but he does become an extraordinarily talented masseur. This real-life masseur could clearly play Koichi in a live-action adaptation.-via Richard Eisenbeis#Japan #Massage
Japanese Vending Machine Now Offers Canned CreamJapan is famous for its unusual vending machines. You could probably live a complete life even if your only shopping options were objects found within those machines—so as long as you lived in Japan. I mean, you can get diapers, pork, and even miniature toy vending machines inside Japanese vending machines. What more could you need?
This Sauna Is on a City BusThis is, of course, in Japan—a nation with a firmly well-developed and established bathing culture. The Sabus (sauna bus) is operated by the Shinki Bus company in Himeji City of Hyogo Prefecture. The bus, sadly, does not offer a sauna while you are travelling on it. This bus is decommissioned and permanently parked in a lot. But you can visit, undress in tents, and enjoy a steam from a wood-fired stove.​Sora News 24 dispatched a reporter to investigate the experience. Sadly, the popular Sabus was already booked, so the reporter was unable to gain access to the interior. But he was able to take photos of the inside and outside of the facility.
Japan's Unmanned Autonomous Container Cargo Ship Successfully Sailed its First VoyageIs this the future for sea travel? The Mikage, a seven-year-old Japanese coastal container ship successfully sailed its first voyage without the need for a crew aboard. The voyage was part of a test by the Mitsui group to develop autonomous shipping capabilities. The ship sailed from the Tsuruga port on the Sea of Japan to Sakai port near Osaka, Japan.The 1,870 dwt vessel was equipped with a series of systems, developed by the participating companies in the project, to travel for 161 nautical miles. In order to safely complete the voyage without someone steering the ship, the Mikage followed a formulated route using a system developed by Mitsui E&S Shipbuilding. The system follows accurate location information, various external elements such as wind, tides, and currents. The ship also has specific information on its configuration, maneuverability, and ability to accelerate and decelerate. Furuno Electric created a system that provided details on the ship’s surroundings from radar, camera images, and AIS data. Mooring support technology was also added to the ship, which was developed by  A.L.I. Technologies. The technology used drones to carry the line to the pier to help with the ship’s docking operation. Image credit: Mitsui O.S.K. Lines #autonomous #ship #voyage #Japan #unmannedvessel
The Tsuzuri Project: Canon Captured Japanese Art "The Wind and Thunder Gods" by Tawaraya Sotatsu in 4.2-Gigapixel ImageThe Tsuzuri Project is a joint effort by the Kyoto Culture Association (NPO) and Canon to create and donate a high-resolution copy of the Edo period artwork“The Wind and Thunder Gods” by Tawaraya Sotatsu. The project, also known as the Japanese Cultural Heritage Inheritance Project, produced a 4.2-gigapixel photo that is a visually identical copy of the artwork thanks to the combination of modern and ancient techniques. The original work was first photographed with a Canon EOS R5 multiple times. The massive resolution was the result of combining all the photos taken by the camera. After the high-resolution image was produced, it was then printed onto silk paper. Authentic Nishijin craftsmen, or “leaf” artists then applied gold leaves to the print and shaped it to fully recreate the original artwork. The artwork was then placed on an authentic Japanese sliding door. Image credit: Canon, The Tsuzuri Project #Japan #art #heritage #TsuzuriProject #TawarayaSotatsu #Canon #camera
Genius-Level Child Seat Design in JapanSora News 24 has long informed us of the wonderfully people-friendly designs present in Japan. Most recently, it shared photos of toddler seats found in Terrace Mall Matsudo.In my experiences in the United States, toddler seats in restaurants are usually separate high chairs that are moved to and from dining tables as needed. Seating for young children is essentially an afterthought.Not so at this mall. Toddler seats are set in the middle of the table, often facing the parent, as this photo by Twitter user @hadukichi816 illustrates. This is ergonomically helpful because the parent doesn’t have to twist to the side to feed the child.
This Is a Water Bug-Flavored Wine CoolerOr is it a beer? I’m not sure. But let’s put aside, for the moment, the precise means in which this drink will leave you intoxicated. We’ll begin with your decision to drink a substance deliberately designed to taste like a particular species of Taiwanese water bug.How do they know what this water bug tastes like? Sora News 24 explains that this insect is known in much of East Asia has having a sweet flavor similar to that of shrimp. A vinter/brewer/distiller in Japan now offers that delicious water bug flavor as a drink that translates into “Insect Sour.” It has 5% alcohol, so you’ll need to knock back a few to feel the bug-like effects.-via Dave Barry | Image: PR Times#Japan #insects #alcohol
The Icoma Tatamel is a Foldable Electric Motorbike That Fits Underneath Your DeskIf you live or have lived in Japan, you know how problematic it is to find a legal parking space. That's why the streets in Japan are always so clean: they have strict parking policies in the country. With that in mind, you should think carefully about buying vehicles.Enter the Icoma Tatamel Bike. In its unpacked form, the electric motorbike looks ordinary. But when you see it packed, you wouldn't be able to guess that it was a motorbike in the first place because of its size. It's so tiny it fits under a desk!The estimated performance figures for the Icoma Tatamel Bike are a top speed of 40 km/h (25 mph) and a maximum range of about 50 km.The bike is legally classified in Japan as a moped, so if you are from the country planning to buy one, make sure to get a standard driver's license to use the vehicle.(All Images: Icoma)#moped #ElectricVehicles #Icoma #Japan #eBike
Steak and Coffee Flavored Potato Chips is What Science Comes up with by Analyzing our Taste BudsThis is a full meal in one crunchy bite. How did the manufacturer manage to squeeze two different food items in one? Well, this unusual packet of chips at a Japanese 7-Eleven store successfully did so, with science!The “Oishisa no Kagaku” (“Science of Deliciousness“) combines steak and coffee as chip seasoning, which is both scary and interesting at first glance. According to Yamayoshi Seika, the maker of the chips, the flavors will provide a ‘well-balanced taste sensation.’SoraNews24’s Oona McGee taste tested the unique snack and described the taste as ‘beef consommé with a coffee finish, but the more noticeable aspect was the well-rounded flavour in the snack. Acidity, bitterness, umami and saltiness greets you in every bite, which makes the snacking so much more satisfying!” But where did the steak and coffee combination come from? Seika studied the combination of actual steak and coffee to determine their deliciousness before applying them as flavoring. Image credit: SoraNews24 #SteakAndCoffeChips #OishisaNoKagaku #ScienceOfDeliciousness #WeirdChipFlavors #Japan #Food #Snacks #Chips 
Smile Business Card: Clever Japanese Business Card Shows What You Look Like Without the MaskMasks, while being essential items, have made it difficult for us to recognize each other, so a company in Nagoya, Japan, developed “smile business cards” to deliver a unique business experience in the middle of the pandemic.The Nagaya printing company, founded in 1919, noticed that their sales of flyers and catalogs dropped by 30% due to the pandemic. In an effort to boost business, they came up with the idea to print the lower half of a person’s face on a business card which made the card into “smile business cards” a face covered in a mask.Companies that purchased them said that the cards were “interesting” and “have a strong impact and will be remembered by the recipient”. A representative said that while it hasn’t directly contributed to the business’s bottom line yet, they were happy that people were interested in their idea, which no other company had.#Japan #Nagoya #Facemask #Business #BusinessCardImage Credit:Nagaya printing company
Watermelon-themed Gas Tank in Japan Dismantled Using Apple Peeling Demolition MethodIn order to demolish a 33.8 meter diameter and 37 meter high watermelon-like gas tank in Tokyo, two workers were suspended above the platform as they “peel away” the shell using the “apple peeling demolition” technique.The gas tank was used to promote the city, which is known for its watermelon, but eventually was rendered useless because gas distribution directly to homes is now possible in the area.“With residents saddened by the dismantling, the Tomisato Municipal Government sent a letter of thanks to the gas tank via Tokyo Gas in September 2020 for "being loved for many years as a symbol of Tomisato and for promoting Tomisato as a place abundant with watermelon produce."Image Credit: Mainichi/Tadakazu Nakamura#demolition #applepeeling #watermelon #tokyo #japan
Female Macaque at the Japanese Nature Reserve Became the First Alpha Female in 70 YearsFor the first time in the 70-year history of the Takasakiyama Natural Zoological Garden in the Japanese island of Kyushu, a female macaque had risen to be the alpha female of a 677-strong troop of macaque monkeys.Yakei, a 9-year-old macaque, got her start when she beat up her own mother in April. Two months later, she overthrew the reigning alpha male, a 31-year old male macaque named Sanchu who had been leader of the macaque troop for five years.The surprised wardens at the nature reserve decided to confirm Yakei’s rise to power by conducting a “peanut test”. They put out peanuts for the macaque troop to eat and watched who ate first. Sanchu yielded to Yakei, giving her the first dibs on the treats thus confirming her alpha female status.In an interview with The Guardian, nature reserve guide Satoshi Kimoto said:“Since then, Yakei has been climbing trees and shaking them, which is an expression of power and a very rare behaviour in females … She has been walking around with her tail up, which is also very unusual for a female.”Male macaque monkeys tend to be more aggressive, thus explaining why they tended to dominate the competition to become alpha. Eye contact signals a challenge, so visitors to the reserve are advised not to stare at the monkeys.Takasakiyama was established as a home to 1,500 macaques in 1952. The forested mountain in the center of the reserve gave them freedom to roam and climb. Today, there are more than 100,000 wild macaques in Japan, spread across the islands of Kyushu, Honshu, and Shikoku.Image credit: Takasakiyama Natural Zoological Garden#macaque #monkey #alphamale #alphafemale #Kyushu #Yakei #Japan #Takasakiyama
Origami Mask by Yuriko WadaFace masks have become an essential part of life. It doesn’t matter if you’re going outside to buy supplies for your home, or if you’re going outside for a special occasion; you need to wear a mask for both scenarios. But because special occasions call for special attires, Yuriko Wada designed a unique face mask for such events.The origami mask combines two traditional elements familiar to Japanese people: origami and washi paper. The washi paper, in which the mask is made of, gives the mask excellent breathability and soft texture. The origami aspect of the mask, meanwhile, gives it great flexibility.What a cool concept!(Image Credit: Paper Parade Inc.)#origami #facemask #fashion #washi #Japan
Japanese Parents are Sending Their Loved Ones Rice in Celebration of Their Newborn Children The pandemic has halted face-to-face interactions for most, if not all of us. People may only see each other virtually and celebrations must be done remotely. This has been hard for a lot of people, especially in cultures that value special occasions and hold festive celebrations—such as the Japanese when it comes to childbirth and newborn babies.In lieu of warm hugs and in-person celebrations, Japanese parents have started sending bags of rice to their relatives who are unable to visit due to the pandemic. The bags weigh the same as the newborn’s weight and they come in a variety of styles. Some are designed like a newborn wrapped in a blanket with the baby’s face attached to the front. This allows the relatives to feel as though they are holding and hugging the baby themselves.According to the owner of Kome no Zoto Yoshimiya rice shop, Naruo Ono, “I first had the idea about 14 years ago when my own son was born and I was thinking about what I could do for relatives who lived far away and couldn’t come and see him. So we decided to make bags of rice that were the same weight and shape as the baby, so relatives could hold them and feel the cuteness.” 
Syuto's Sushi Plastic Model Kit Has 364 Individual Grains of Rice. Here's What It's Like to Build It.Japanese-language reporter Ayaka Idate was greeted by old-school takeout boxes used by restaurants in Japan. Inside these weren't edible sushi, but plastic (tuna and salmon) sushi models waiting for her to put up.
Horrifying Land Slide Sent Mud and Debris Racing Down a Hill in Shizuoka, JapanRecord amount of seasonal rain in the Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan, has caused this devastating landslide that resulted in two known deaths so far, with twenty people still missing and unaccounted for.The Atami City landslide shown in the clip above happened after the region received 321 millimeters (12 inch) of rain overnight - more than the average rainfall for the entire month of July.#landslide #japan #naturaldisaster #mudslide
Earliest Known Shark Attack Victim with 790 Injuries Killed 3,000 Years AgoOxford researchers were investigating a skeletal remains of a prehistoric hunter gatherer at Kyoto University, Japan, when they noticed that the man was riddled with hundreds of traumatic injuries."We were initially flummoxed by what could have caused at least 790 deep, serrated injuries to this man. There were so many injuries and yet he was buried in the community burial ground ... the injuries were mainly confined to the arms, legs, and front of the chest and abdomen," stated researchers J. Alyssa White and Rick Schulting.The researchers ruled out manmade weapons as well as predators and animal scavengers as the cause of the injuries, and concluded that the man died from a shark attack.From Sky News:Since archaeological cases of shark reports are extremely rare, they turned to forensic shark attack cases for clues and worked with expert George Burgess of the Florida Program for Shark Research.The team concluded the man, known as No 24, died between 1370 to 1010 BC.The distribution of wounds strongly suggest the victim was alive at the time of attack; his left hand was sheared off, possibly a defence wound.Image: Laboratory of Physical Anthropology, Kyoto University#shark #skeleton #archaeology #Japan