Star Wars at Nebuta festival

The promotion of the new Star Wars in Japan is taking really interesting initiatives. Last weekend Star Wars characters participated at the Nebuta matsuri (traditional festival). It is one of the most important festivals in Japan and it is celebrated every summer in Aomori.

“Nebuta” are the illuminated warriors that cross the streets riding chariots surrounded by locals dancing. The dancers follow the rhythm of the traditional music calle rasserā.

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Sharing A Drink With Your Virtual Girlfriend Using Oculus Rift

An otaku nicknamed Negipoyoshi has coded a simulator that you can use to share a drink with Hatsune Miku, a Japanese virtual idol that will pretend to be your “real” girlfriend.

To achieve this feat, Negipoyoshi has used version 2 of the Oculus Rift Development Kit. This is just another example of how the real and the virtual world are starting to converge. It is difficult to explain with words, better see the images and watch the video below.

hatsune

Oculus Rift girlfriend

Source: Rocket news

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The Otaku Shrine – Kanda Myojin

At five minutes walking distance from Akihabara, Tokyo’s geekest neighborhood, you can find the Shintoist shrine Kanda Myōjin (Google Maps). At first glance it might appear that it’s just a normal temple but if we go inside…

The Otaku Shrine

The Otaku Shrine

In the area where omamori お守り (Protectors) are sold I found this special omamori for the workers of the IT industry. One of its powers is to protect your computer against virus attacks. Omamoris that are usually sold in Shintoist temples are meant to protect you against illness, to avoid traffic accidents or bring good luck in your exams. The IT omamori is special and can only be found in Kanda Myōjin.

Kanda
Special IT Omamori of Kanda Myōjin. It’s design is inspired by chipsets.

In the part of the shrine where the ema (絵馬) are hanged you can also see the influence of the neighbors of Akihabara. In wooden ema you normally write a wish and hang it in the temple. Here I found that almost all ema had also a drawing of an anime, manga or videogame character next to the wish. Some of the drawings were really exceptional!

Kanda Myojin the Otaku Temple

Kanda Myojin the Otaku Temple

Kanda Myojin the Otaku Temple

Kanda Myojin the Otaku Temple

Kanda Myojin the Otaku Temple

Kanda Myojin the Otaku Temple

Kanda Myojin the Otaku Temple

Kanda Myojin

Kanda Myojin

Kanda Myojin

Kanda Myojin

Kanda Myojin

Kanda Myojin

Kanda Myojin

Kanda Myojin

Kanda Myojin

Kanda Myojin

Kanda Myojin

Kanda Myojin

Kanda Myojin

Kanda Myojin

I talked more about Kanda Myojin in a TV program of NHK World that you can watch here (three minute video).

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Otaku Camera by Tokyo Otaku Mode

Tomohide Kamei, one of my ex-colleagues, is now the CEO of Tokyo Otaku Mode. He has managed to build one of the most active otaku communities nowadays. Besides publishing otaku content on their Facebook page, where they already have 10 million “likes”, they are also starting to create their own apps using the same brand.

One of the apps they have developed and that I am currently using is Otaku Camera (iTunes App Store, free). It’s an app that turns your photos into manga! It is not the only app that can do it, but it’s free and it allows you to choose which photos you have taken you want to turn into manga. Other similar apps have many more limitations.

These are some of my first results. If you have tried the app you can link the photos you have taken in the comments.

Otaku Camera

Otaku Camera

Otaku Camera

Otaku Camera

Otaku Camera

Otaku Camera

Otaku Camera

Otaku Camera

Otaku Camera

Otaku Camera

The other day I visited the offices of Tokyo Otaku Mode and Kamei-san promised me some time for an interview. As soon as I can I will publish here his answers and some of his secrets that he used to have millions of Facebook followers in a matter of months!

Otaku Camera
Visiting Tokyo Otaku Mode offices with Kamei-san.

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Ita-charis and Ita-bikes

Itasha subculture fans not only do they decorate their cars with their favorite anime show decorations, but they also decorate their bicycles (Ita-charis) and motorbikes (Ita-bikes). Maybe it’s just because can’t afford to buy a car!

Itachari

Itachari

Itachari

Itachari

Itachari

Itachari

Itachari

Itachari

Itachari

Itachari

Photos via Tokyo Otaku Mode

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