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This week:
Time-lapse Video of Rice Paddy Art, Making Shocked Skeleton Photos,
Self-Standing Gyro Crawler, Creative+Ecological Packaging in Japan, Giant Newspaper Gag, Akibarduino – The Akihabara-centric Arduino-compatible, “Pimped” Fixed-gears in Japan, Papercraft Houses of the World – Asia Edition, and a Cheap Earbud Amplifier.

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Time-lapse Video of Rice Paddy Art
I posted a blurb about this rice paddy art back in Vol. 21, but here’s a cool stop-motion video of of the whole process of how the rice field went from seedling planting to mature rice-itude. Also interesting to note is that the Japan Airlines advertisement was removed:

This stop-motion video of the 2008 Inakadate rice crop art is composed of still images captured daily from June 1 to July 3, 2008 via the roof webcam at the adjacent town hall. The 3.7-acre work features the images of Daikoku, god of wealth (left), and Ebisu, god of fishers and merchants (right), which were cultivated using five different colors of rice plants. On July 4, just as the crop was beginning to mature, the organizers shut down the webcam when they removed the JAL ad portion of the artwork at the request of the rice paddy owner.


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Making Shocked Skeleton Photos
Following in the trend of bringing things that only happen in cartoons to reality (i.e., last week’s take on how to make smoke come out of your shoes when you run) a valiant blogger at DPZ makes his own life-size skeleton costume and then creates hilarious animated GIFs that quickly flash between skeleton self and regular self. Make a skeleton suit, find a vacant light socket (careful now!) and GIF away!


Self-Standing Gyro Crawler
The power of the gyroscope is fully illustrated here. This two-legged fan powered by two AA batteries stands on its own by hacking a gyro in place of the fan blades, allowing it to go forwards or backwards depending on how far into the body of the fan the balance is attached. [via Make:Japan]

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Creative+Ecological Packaging in Japan

PingMag presents a day’s diary of observations about the modern melding of Japanese design aesthetics and ecological package design. Pictured above is tofu packaged in balloon-like casing.

In Japan, we do indeed care about sustainable packaging! Going eco has become the recent buzz word and companies are using this oh-so-trendy eco-friendliness as a competitive advantage. On the flip-side, PingMag brings you examples that are inspired by ease-of-use, nostalgia and playfulness, rather than by explicit eco-consciousness. In particular, those that have the unique combination of Japanese design with eco-friendly packaging.

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Giant Newspaper Gag
DPZ shows us how to blow up a normal Nippon sports newspaper to about three times its normal size, and deftly documents the reactions of people passing by as they witness this guy casually reading his enormous newspaper.


Akibarduino
Here’s another one to add to the long list of Arduino variations, this one’s cleverly called the “Akibarduino” because it’s made of parts that are all easily available from the famous Akihabara (or “Akiba” as the kids are calling it) electronics district of Tokyo. The plexiglass on the bottom also assures that the soldering job on the bottom of this ‘Duino won’t rip your jeans or anything. The author, YouTube user kimkosmac has several other narrated videos on interfacing the Arduino with various sensors and devices.

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“Pimped” Fixed-gears in Japan
Bike-loving Japan, although traditionally opting for more comfortable mama-charis, is starting to embrace fixed-gear bikes, and it follows that they are getting properly “pimped.” This Japan Times article shares ideas and pictures of the Japanese take on the fixed-gear bike phenomenon.

Not content with getting from A to B in utilitarian fashion, these cyclists are turning the streets into a vast, ongoing spinoff of MTV’s popular car restoration show “Pimp My Ride.” Spend half an hour in Tokyo’s Shibuya, Osaka’s Minami Horie or Sanjo Street in Kyoto and it is hard not to do a double-take on cool kids riding fixed-gear bikes as carefully assembled as their outfits — from glaring all-white to riotous fluoro or black. And the weird and wildly colorful takes on this virtually maintenance-free cycle that are popping up like so many hallucinations are fueling a cottage industry for customizers.

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Papercraft Houses of the World – Asia Edition
A kid-friendly papercraft set by designer Yumiko Miyazaki featuring patterns for building houses from all over Asia. Released in cooperation with the Kanazawa Bureau of International affairs as a means of promoting understanding twoards non-Japanese Asians living in Japan, the set includes houses that open up at the roof to reveal the inner lodgings of families throughout Asia. 2,520 Yen (~$25).


Destroy People With the Sound Waves From Your Earbuds
Well, maybe not quite, but it does seem to project the sound a tad. Here’s a cute way to give your earbuds a little oomph in a pinch. Although I don’t think that replacing the world’s speakers with these improvised paper cones would do much for the world of music appreciation or the environment, it’s a noble thought all the same:

“If you eco, you can save the world.”


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