Graphs and a killer opera soundtrack make these mundane tasks a gripping watch

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Even the most ordinary tasks can be made dramatic with an operatic chorus narrating them.

In this short film for kids aired on Japanese national TV, “Unendurable Line” features seemingly boring things such as pressing down on a spring, or stacking blocks before they fall over.

The video of each task is accompanied by a graph describing the action. But it’s truly made special with the Ex-Novo Chamber Choir singing the highs and lows in time with the video.

Filmmaker Daihei Shibata, who made the short for NHK’s Design A show, said it was aimed at communicating design sensibilities to children with everyday items. Read more…

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Hill of the Buddha

The Hill of the Buddha is a giant Buddha statue located atop a small hill near a cemetery in the Japanese island Hokkaido. The statue was built some 15 years ago, but it was only in December 2015, that the landscape around it was sculpted to highlight the massive figure.

“The aim of this project was to build a prayer hall that would enhance the attractiveness of a stone Buddha sculpted 15 years ago,” explains architect Tadao Ando. “The site is a gently sloping hill on 180 hectares of lush land belonging to a cemetery. The statue is 13.5 meters tall and weighs 1500 tons. It is made of fine, highly selected solid stone. Until now, the Buddha statue has stood alone in the field, giving … Read the rest

Underwater Mailboxes Around The World

Remember the last time you were diving underwater and suddenly remembered an important letter that you had to post that very instant? Yup, it has happened to all of us. Fortunately, these five places has us covered.

Hideaway Island, Vanuatu

UnderwaterPostOfficeVanuatu

The underwater post office off the coast of Hideaway Island in the island nation of Vanuatu is one of the most famous in the world. It was established in 2003 and is located in 3 meters of water. The post office provides special waterproof postcards that tourists can drop into the submerged post box with their own hands, or ask the staff to do so.

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The World’s Quietest Train Stations

Some of the world’s busiest train stations are located in Japan. Indeed, as per statistics that surfaced in 2013, out of the top 51 train stations in the world, all but six are located in this small but suffocatingly dense island nation. The busiest of them all —the Shinjuku Station in Tokyo— handles a staggering 3.6 million passengers every single day, or 1.3 billion riders a year. In contrast, the Shippea Hill station in Cambridgeshire, Britain, has an average of just one passenger per month making it the least-busiest train station, at least in Britain. The station is served by only one train on weekdays, which arrives from Cambridge but stops for passengers only if requested in advance. On most days there are no passengers. On … Read the rest

The Japanese Hotel Staffed By Robots

In the last few weeks, we have been hearing a lot about how robots have been replacing human workers across industries in developed countries. According to a recent study conducted jointly by economists from M.I.T. and Boston University, for every robot that was added to the workforce up to six workers have lost their job, and wages fell by as much as three-fourths of a percent. The study also found that up to 670,000 Americans have lost jobs to industrial robots between 1990 and 2007. Another study made an even more foreboding report —more than 10 million UK workers could be replaced by robots within the next 15 years.

While mechanization in industries is “necessary” to increase efficiency and reduce costs, robots in Japan are more … Read the rest

Edible Chopsticks Are Now a Thing and They Taste Like Furniture

Turns out, chopsticks are still ripe for innovation, even after more than 6,000 continuous years of use in pretty much all of Eastern Asia.

In what will surely go down in the annals of history as an achievement as momentous as the harnessing of electricity, Japan’s Marushige Confectionery company has recently unveiled edible chopsticks that are meant to be both environmentally friendly and to preserve age-old Japanese agricultural practices.

Oh, and they also happen to taste like furniture.

Marushige’s chopsticks are made with igusa (soft rush) reeds, the material traditionally used to make tatami, the floor mats found throughout Japan. RocketNews24 reports that the Nagoya-based company is openly billing the chopsticks as being “tatami-flavored” and that they hope the creation will promote the cultural significance … Read the rest