Japan Re-Invents the Convenience Store

 Japan Re-Invents the Convenience Store

The original Lawson store chain has spawned “Happy Lawson” and “Natural Lawson”

Sony sinks, Toyota tumbles, and the Nikkei stock index plunges to lows not seen for more than a quarter of a century. But the global financial storm can’t rattle Japan’s convenience stores, where sales are up smartly. These hardy and still-multiplying spawn of 7-Eleven now number about 41,700, and they are arguably the most convenient convenience stores on Earth.

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Kowloon Walled City

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSnvqBhWUOc[/youtube]

 Kowloon Walled City

 Sunlight comes only rarely, with a sliver slicing down between the ramshackle towers. The light here is fluorescent and the people packed sardine tight amongst twisting corridors. Some of the lower levels are widely considered uninhabitable due to trash. Up the street (if it can be called that) there’s a drug parlor with an unlicensed “doctor” open for business upstairs. They exist openly: there are no police because there is no law.

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Mahru II – South Korea’s Humanoid Robot

Mahru II - South Korea’s Humanoid Robot 

 Mahru II

The robot masters at KIST (Korea Institute of Science and Technology) have updated their Mahru II robot with the new Mahru Humanoid Robot that is now a dead ringer for Sony’s tiny dancing QRIO robot. Scheduled to make its first major public appearance at Korea’s Robot World conference this week, the main feature of Mahru is its ability to simultaneously move its upper and lower body independently to perform dance moves or human-like actions in the same fashion as Honda’s amazing Asimo robot.

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Studying Japan’s Dark Years to See How the U.S. Might Fare

 Studying Japan’s Dark Decade to See How U.S. Might Fare

In 1990 the Nikkei stock index dropped almost 20%

The sky over Tokyo seemed to fall in September of 1990, when the Nikkei stock index dove almost 20 percent in one month. Real estate prices would plummet and the financial sector would crack, trapping Japan in a “lost decade” of economic growth. Is the United States now set for its own? That prospect may not be as scary as it sounds.

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Female Robot Unicyclist

Female Robot Unicyclist 

 Murato Seiko-chan self-balancing robot unicyclist

Robots have been an integral part of the Japanese society, and there have been many robotic toys that are far more advanced than many devices meant for adults. The Murata Seiko-chan is a self-balancing robot unicyclist that was created in order to meet the demands of many people who were already bowled over by the company’s Murata Boy, a robot bicyclist.

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Japan Space Elevator Association To Draw Up Timetable For Space Elevator

Japan Space Elevator Association To Draw Up Timetable For Space Elevator 

The idea of a space elevator made of ultra-strong carbon nanotubes has been talked about a lot over the past several years, but recently some research groups have begun to investigate the idea as a real possibility. Most recently, scientists from Japan have started an organization called the Japan Space Elevator Association, and they plan to host an international conference in November to draw up a timetable for the machine.

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Japan Utility Ad Forecasts Impending Robot Takeover

Japan Utility Ad Forecasts Impending Robot Takeover

Considering Japan’s reputation for odd erotic animation/manga and advanced robotics, many are waiting to see what kind humanoid robots the country will produce in the not-too-distant future. If commercials are a barometer of local culture, then it looks like we have our answer thanks to the new Tokyo Gas commercial featuring a man who brings an alluring wayward robot into his home to teach him about…gas utilities.

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