Japanese photog’s stunning photo “captures” the Milky Way, as well as over 352,000 likes


“I captured the Milky Way.”

Such was the caption for a stunning photo in a Tweet that has garnered over 352,000 likes at the time of writing.

The contributor is ふぁれん Fahren (@fahrens_photo), a photographer whose photos of starry skies continue to delight followers on Twitter.

Take a look at the image which elicited comments such as “So beautiful…” and “Awesome! I think it’s a very nice composition”:


— ふぁれん (@fahrens_photo) July 6, 2022

Reproduced with permission from ふぁれん Fahren (@fahrens_photo)

It’s a truly beautiful and fantastic sight, as if a part of the starry sky had been cut out.

The location of the photo is the Hoshinomura Observatory in Tamura City, Fukushima Prefecture.

This image was created through 新星景写真 (shin seikei shasin | “new starscape photography”), a technique of image processing and compositing images of the starry sky taken while the camera is fixed on a tripod, etc.

Since the photo was published on July 6th, many people made comments alluding to the Star Festival, which takes place every year on July 7th. For example, one person commented: “I couldn’t see the starry sky in my area, so I’m glad I could enjoy the Milky Way by admiring this wonderful photo.”

There must be something special about the Milky Way that stays with us through time!

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Kyoto-based company develops the world’s first audio metaverse platform, an inclusive digital space for all


With the majority of the world having been put on hold over the last two years, people have found the drive to pursue a more digital existence. This motivation has ultimately led to the launch of a variety of ways to enjoy virtuality, such as with VR technology, cryptocurrencies and the expansion of the metaverse.

Now, I won’t go into too much detail about the metaverse itself, but for those who are reading the word for the first time think of it as a network of interconnected virtual worlds developed for social interaction.
So far, the majority of these metaverse technologies have been focussed on visual elements, which, for a world that revolves around networking and being “accessible to all”, ironically emphasises it’s faults when it comes down to all-around inclusiveness.

In recognition of this issue, Kyoto-based Dokidoki Co., Ltd. – the company behind live streaming audio app Dabel – has stepped up to the task of creating an audio metaverse platform that is intended to break down the boundaries currently felt in the digital realm.
Presently in the beta testing stage, this new audio metaverse platform is called Cubemint.

Dokidoki Co., Ltd. claims that Cubemint came into being thanks to the users of their live streaming audio app Dabel. Through surveying, the company detected that many of these users are visually impaired or sensitive to visual stimuli, and developed an app and basis for a metaverse platform that is not affected by these barriers, instead overcoming them and successfully creating a digital social world that is accessible to all.

CEO and founder Takahito Iguchi explains; “One of the biggest challenges the Metaverse is currently facing is inclusiveness and accessibility. Considering this, we aim to make Cubemint an audio metaverse space that everyone can access, and ultimately eliminate …continue reading


Dramatic images of life-sized Gundam in Japan rising up on a backdrop of dark clouds go viral


Many of those who follow pop culture news from Japan will be familiar with the life-sized Gundam, the first which actually moves, unveiled last year in the Gundam Factory Yokohama complex and reported on grape Japan. The life-sized mecha, known as RX-78F00, is based on the RX-78-2 piloted by Ray Amuro in the Gundam anime series.

The sight of this Gundam in motion is already impressive no matter how you view it, but as you can imagine, under the right weather and light conditions and in the hands of a talented photographer, the famous giant manned robot can appear even more impressive.

Case in point. Stunning new photos of the Gundam taken by the talented Japanese photographer Hiroki Tashiro, who goes by the pseudonym ひろカメラ Hiro Camera (@hiro_cameras), have gone viral, and it’s not hard to see why.

Take a look at these dramatic images which he posted on his Twitter account:


— ひろカメラ (@hiro_cameras) December 28, 2021

Reproduced with permission from ひろカメラ Hiro Camera (@hiro_cameras)

“I was able to take dramatic shots of Gundam.”

Captured together with the Gundam Dock-Tower and Yokohama’s skyscrapers all in the same shot thanks to Tashiro’s wide-angle lens, a kneeling Gundam seems to rise up as if to accept the challenge posed by the foreboding dark clouds. What a dramatic, inspiring image to give us courage in the face of the adversities we face, no matter what they may be.

You can almost hear Ray Amuro saying: “Don’t mess with me!”

Tashiro also took another shot of the Gundam after it had risen up. Here it appears triumphant, ready to face any challenge!

Amusing Japanese Amphibian Discovered for First Time in 89 Years


A Japanese version of the axolotl – an amusing amphibian with a round head and small eyes native to Mexico – has been discovered in Japan for the first time in 89 years.

The discovery was made after painstaking research by Hokkaido University. The little critters went on public display on December 14, 2021.

The amphibian has gills that resemble a mane, enabling it to breathe underwater. Yet, it is unable to live on land in its neotenic state. It is thought that a similar animal existed in Japan until the early Showa era, but then went off the radar due to environmental changes, taking on a phantom-like existence.

Unprecedented Showa Era Boom

The type of axolotl that many people are familiar with is the neotenic Mexican salamander.

In the same way that tadpoles develop into frogs, axolotls lose their gills and become slimmer if they grow normally, and they are ultimately able to live on land.

However, the axolotl that inhabits certain lakes in Mexico is neotenic, meaning it has evolved in a way that the characteristics of the juvenile are retained in the mature adults. About 100 years ago, they were used in medical research, which is believed to have affected their evolution, and ultimately led to the situation there today.

In Japan, the axolotl is referred to as a “wooper looper,” but this is not its official species name.

Yet, as soon as the term “wooper looper” appeared in a 1985 TV commercial for Nissin’s UFO yakisoba, it immediately became popular in Japan. Songs and merchandise in the Showa era (1926-1989) based on the character started to emerge, and the term fully entered the nation’s consciousness.

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