From YouTube to the art galleries of New York

Daito Manabe came up with the "face visualizer" idea in his Tokyo kitchen. Webcam on, he wired his face up to a series of electrodes, put on some music, and let his facial muscles move to the rhythm. He then posted the face dance on YouTube. A few months and over a million hits later, and Daito is an international star. Read more and see the video...


French thieves make headlines in Japan

A trio of French youths have given their country some bad press this week. Splashed all over Japanese TV, the tale of their stealing spree in a videogame store has caused something of a stir. Read more...

Tokyo metro goers told to "do it at home"

You're not at home on the metro! And in Tokyo, the transport authorities have decided to let passengers know it. A lecture in life in pictures, with some interesting lessons to be learnt... Read more.

Scandal in China: soldiers work for butchery

To publicise his donkey meat, a butcher from Hunan sent fake Japanese soldiers marching through the streets on asses. For once, the Japanese and Chinese agree on something - that the stunt was anything but funny. Read more...

Sentenced for a virtual crime

Two Dutch youths were sentenced for stealing virtual goods last week, while a Japanese piano player was jailed for killing her virtual ex-husband. Real punishment for imaginary crimes? One of our Observers who exists on Second Life says so should be it. Read more...


The vending machine that fights crime

A new generation of vending machines is out in Japan. Fitted with a direct line to the police and CCTV, the flash machines don't just serve coke, but combat crime at the same time. Not such a good idea, according to one of our Observers in the country. Read more...


British press picks up 'junk from the blogosphere' about robots

The online version of British publication The Telegraph reported on Wednesday that an elderly-caring, human-like robot had been unveiled in Japan and was set to be flying off the assembly line "within days". Yet one of the scientists who worked on "robogirl" tells us that it was "unveiled" six years ago, and has no chance of being mass produced for the next ten years. Read more....

Nike evicting tramps from Tokyo park

Nike Japan has bought a run down park in central Tokyo and renamed it the Nike Park. The multinational supplier plans to build a skate park and cafe, introduce an entrance fee, and kick out a group of homeless dwellers who live there in shacks. Read more...

An original remedy for the socially excluded

Millions of young men live their lives entirely on the Internet, unable to leave the house in fear of human contact. In response to this troubled niche, an entertainment company has come up with a possible cure. Videos of girls that stare into the camera.... and occasionally saying good morning... Read more and see the videos.