Chinese artist transforms herself into 2-D masterpieces with only the use of makeup【Video】

See the Mona Lisa and another Renaissance-era classics come to life…in vivid 2-D! 

China seems to be producing a number of talented makeup artists in recent years. From my own Chinese students with impeccably fashionable Instagram accounts who dream of someday owning makeup companies in New York City to the internet-based makeup celebrity artist with a penchant for blurring ethnic boundaries by turning herself into Western celebrities, there’s now another artist on our radar who seemingly transcends spacial dimensions.

The 27-year-old artist in question is known as Yuya Mika online. She already had a sizable following on social media platforms such as China’s Sina Weibo, mostly due to her well-crafted celebrity impersonations. On a recent day, one such fan noticed Yuya bore a resemblance to Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece the Mona Lisa (1503-06) and jokingly challenged her to transform into the painting…a request which she then followed through with all too happily. See her incredible artistic process captured in the following video.

▼ Yuya apparently began working at 10 a.m. and finished around 4 p.m. for this recreation of the Mona Lisa.

It’s almost eerie how she managed to so faithfully recreate little details in the painting, including the shadows surrounding her eyes and the small tilt of her mouth. In fact, if we didn’t know that Yuya was a living, breathing human being, we’d be completely spooked to see her eyes glance to the side as they do at the end!

Once she uploaded this video to YouTube, the rest was history. The incredibly positive global reaction prompted her to then upload a second video in which she transforms herself into another earlier da Vinci classic, Lady with an Ermine (1489-90):

We’ve got to hand it to Yuya–Mr. Sato could stand to learn a lot from her in regards to some of his own 2-D character transformations

Sources: YouTube/YUYA MIKA, Sina Weibo/@YUYAMIKA, Weibo (Chinese)
Featured image: YouTube/YUYA MIKA

Rain transforms Tokyo Disneyland into a kaleidoscope of breathtaking lights【Photos】

Don’t let the dreary weather dampen your day–your dreams will definitely still come true.

Everyone’s experienced the gut-wrenching disappointment of rain ruining their long-awaited vacation plans. While it might be easy to write off such a day as a failure, some recent photos snapped at Tokyo Disneyland prove that life always has a silver lining.

Twitter user @kah05disney, who happens to have an annual passport to the Tokyo Disney Resorts, visited Disneyland last week at night and happened to capture some of the most breathtaking scenery we’ve ever seen, all on her trusty Nikon D750.

▼ “Disneyland’s 35th anniversary celebration on a rainy day. The reflections in the puddles at my feet were exceedingly beautiful.”

The reflections of the buildings and lights on the wet ground make for a truly magical combination at the Magic Kingdom. In fact, dare we say that we hope it rains the next time we venture over?

It’s clear that @kah05disney has a penchant for both photography and Disney, as plenty of her photos illustrate:

▼ Both in the day…

▼ …and at night

▼ What a fun effect!

Incidentally, Tokyo Disneyland celebrated its 35th anniversary this year on April 15, which means visitors can enjoy a special anniversary celebration called “Happiest Celebration!” until March 25, 2019. Mark your calendars and don’t worry if the forecast predicts rain–you just might be in for a rare treat instead.

Source: Twitter/@kah05disney via ITmedia Inc.
Featured image: Twitter/@kah05disney

Whimsical Singaporean sushi chain “Maki-san” opening first location in Japan this summer

I mean, wouldn’t you pay it a visit just for the clever “Roll with Maki-san” catchphrase?

Maki-san (“Mr./Ms. Roll”), a Singaporean fast-food makizushi (rolled sushi) chain boasting 17 locations in its home country, is poised to open its first Japanese location in Osaka’s Shinsaibashi district this July.

While there’s something a bit humorous about another country exporting their own concept of sushi to the sushi motherland, maki-san has definitely proven a hit with Singaporean locals for its unique take on the delicacy. In its own words, it offers customizable sushi rolls and salad bowls including “a 60% original Singaporean menu, 20% original Japanese menu, and 20% limited seasonal menu.” A lineup of house specials also exists if you’re not in a creative enough mood to design your own. In a cute touch, sizes are also ordered according to the fun naming scheme of Little-san (“Mr./Ms. Little”) and Mega-san (“Mr./Ms. Mega”).

▼ The colorful exterior and interior of a typical Maki-san establishment in Singapore

Instagram Photo

Maki-san is popular not only because of its mouth-watering sushi rolls made from the freshest of ingredients, but also because its branding game is on point. Part of its appeal definitely lies in the cute posters and illustrations regularly posted to social media accounts, such as the following:

Instagram Photo

Instagram Photo

Check out this whimsical animation:

Instagram Photo

Even the takeout packaging is incredibly cute:

Instagram Photo

In fact, Maki-san’s official website is also quite peculiar in its own way, with clusters of sushi ingredients flashing and revolving across the screen, all to a catchy background beat which definitely has the potential to get stuck in your head for a lengthy time:

▼ Visitors even have the ability to design their own opening sequence animation, from the images to the music.

With all of these fun perks, we can’t wait for Maki-san’s unique spin on sushi to open in Osaka! Location details can be found below, but in the meantime, have fun creating your own intro animations on the website.

Restaurant information
Name: Maki-san Shinsaibashi branch / Maki-san 心斎橋店
Address: Osaka-fu, Osaka-shi, Chuo-ku, Shinsaibashisuji 2-7-9
Open: 11 am-9 pm

Source: @Press via Kai-You
Featured image: Instagram/@rollwithmakisan 
Insert images: Maki-san official website

The one-year countdown officially begins for the end of the Heisei Era

Japan has just one year left with Emperor Akihito before his son ushers in a new era.

While a modern Japanese era typically ends with the death of the current emperor, it was announced late last year that 84-year-old Emperor Akihito would abdicate the Chrysanthemum Throne on April 30, 2019 due to his advanced age and failing ability to perform ceremonial duties. His son, Crown Prince Naruhito, is slated to ascend to the throne the following day.

Heisei, which can be translated into English as “peace everywhere,” is the name for the current era which began in 1989 following the death of Akihito’s father Hirohito (posthumously known as Emperor Showa). The question of the upcoming era’s name has been on everyone’s minds since rumors of abdication began, and net users have even spawned some humorous propositions.

Japanese Twitter user @fhuohhjk recently created a handy Twitter countdown called “Heisei’s Time Limit” to count down the days left in the Heisei Era. He promises to submit a post each day with the remaining number of days, beginning faithfully on May 1:

Other Twitter users responded to the countdown with a variety of comments–some wistful, and some full of curiosity:

“What will the next era’s name become? To be honest I’m a little nervous.”

“Let’s use this last year to reflect upon the events of the Heisei Era.”

“My eldest son will participate in the last Coming of Age Ceremony of the Heisei Era…how sad.”

“I wonder if people from this era will soon be referred to as ‘Heisei people’ just like we do now with ‘Showa people.’”

“I was born in the last year of Showa/first year of Heisei [1989] and will now witness the start of a new era. I’m looking forward to seeing what it brings.”

You can follow @fhuohhjk on Twitter if you want to count down the remaining days of Heisei together.

Source: Jin
Top image: Wikipedia/Scanyaro

Japan goes crazy for “gaming eggs,” and here’s the super-easy recipe【SoraKitchen】

Here’re the simple secrets behind these mysterious eggs that video game fans and foodies alike have fallen in love with.

Ah, gaming eggs–those delectable, protein-packed ovals that everyone on Japanese Twitter has been buzzing about recently.

…Wait, come again? You say that the term “gaming egg” has your brains scrambled?

If the first thought that came to your mind was some type of item found within a video game (my first reaction was the eggs found in various Pokémon games), then guess again. Perhaps the following recipe by Twitter user @kagecchi79 will help to lessen some of your shell shock:

Gaming eggs

  1. Add eggs to boiling water. Gently roll them around in the water for 6 minutes so that the yolks gravitate towards the center. Cool them for 3 minutes in cold water. 
  2. Mix together and then bring to a boil…150 milliliters [5.1 ounces] of water, 100 milliliters of cooking sake, 4 tablespoons of hondashi [a granulated soup stock derived from bonito flakes], 2 tablespoons of granulated chicken soup base, 200 milliliters of soy sauce, 100 milliliters of mirin [sweet rice wine], 1 tablespoon of sugar, and one dollop of garlic paste. Peel the egg shells off and place the eggs in the marinade once it has cooled.   
  3. Play video games for 15 hours and then they’re finished.”

That’s right–gaming eggs weren’t inspired by any particular game. Rather, their key feature is that they are perfected while playing 15 straight hours of video games!

@Kagecchi79 went on to share some further gaming eggs cooking tips after his original post went viral (translations below):

“If it’s too much work or you don’t have the confidence, then just use men-tsuyu [Japanese sauce/broth for noodles]. I recommend the ‘Somi no Tsuyu’ brand. When marinating in the fridge, use an airtight container and place paper towels over the top.”

“If you don’t mind a light flavor, then eight hours is long enough. They’re really good on top of rice after waiting for 15 hours.”

“By the way, if you do marinate them for a long time, the outside of the eggs will become quite salty. In that case they’re better if you lightly boil them before eating, which is  good way to spend the minute between rank matching and the start of the actual match.”

Other Twitter users egg-citedly tried the recipe for themselves, and the finished product looks quite scrumptuous.

In fact, I was curious to see if gaming eggs lived up to the hype, so I decided to try making them myself with a few minor adjustments.

First, I assembled all of the ingredients together. Even if you don’t live in Japan, the soy sauce, cooking sake, mirin, and hondashi should be relatively easy to find at any Asian grocery store. Unbelievably, I realized I had run out of the easy-to-use granulated hondashi and only had actual bonito flakes on hand, so I improvised by making my own dashi stock from scratch (I’d like to think that my Japanese friends would do a facepalm yet be mildly impressed). I also didn’t have any garlic paste readily available so I minced some myself. By the way, I recommend using Ajinomoto’s “Maru Tori Gara Soup,” sold in a red packet, for the granulated chicken soup base if you can find it.

▼ Note: Ingredients are not measured to proportion. From left to right, clockwise: soy sauce, cooking sake, mirin, sugar, bonito flakes, granulated chicken soup base, garlic, and water

▼ For reference: What a box of hondashi typically looks like

Next, I combined all of the ingredients for the marinade together and then brought the mixture to a boil:

While that was cooling, I then boiled the eggs for six minutes while stirring constantly until they were soft-boiled.

▼ Subsequently cooling the eggs in cold water for 3 minutes

Then it was time to peel the shells off the eggs and let them begin soaking up the marinade in the fridge:

▼ Good night, eggs! Enjoy your bath and see you in 15 hours.

At this point, I have a confession to make: I didn’t follow the instructions egg-actly. Instead of hunkering down to game for 15 hours, I promptly jumped into bed and fell asleep because of an annoying thing called work in the morning. Oops…hopefully that didn’t affect their taste as gaming eggs…

After returning home the following day, I opened the container to find that the eggs had soaked up the marinade egg-traordinarily well and were ready for consumption.

▼ They were egg-cellent on their own or thrown into another dish. A bit salty, but packed with flavor.

Hopefully you aren’t completely egg-asperated by all of the egg puns at this point. If anyone has the resources to make a batch of gaming eggs while actually gaming for 15 hours straight, let us know how they turn out below!

Source: Twitter/@kagecchi79 (1, 2, 3, 4) via Jin
Hondashi box image: Amazon Japan/Ajinomoto
All other images ©SoraNews24

Travel back in time to this timeless Japanese hot spring inn from the Taisho period【Photos】

You can practically taste the nostalgia permeating this Taisho-era ryokan in Kagoshima Prefecture.

We’ll never get tired of visiting ryokan, or traditional Japanese inns. An overnight stay at a ryokan can be not only one of the most rewarding experiences of your trip to Japan, but of your entire life. The inns typically come with attached hot springs, traditional futon-style bedding, some of the most amazing hospitality imaginable, and luxurious multi-course meals utilizing only the freshest and most seasonal of ingredients.

Ryokan come in all shapes and sizes, and many pride themselves on a signature quality or service. For one particular ryokan in southern Kagoshima Prefecture called Ichihino Onsen Midoriya, that special trait happens to be its remarkable architecture and furnishings from the short-lived Taisho period (1912-1926), a period characterized by a unique mix of traditional Japanese and newly introduced western aesthetics following the opening of Japan to foreign countries after the Meiji Restoration of 1868. In fact, the Taisho influence is so strong at Midoriya that travelers may feel they have been spirited away to a different age and place immediately upon entering the building, as shown in these photos by recent guest @goshuinchou.

▼ “The inn I’m staying at tonight is the best. It’s a building from the Taisho period.”

In a fun connection to the ongoing societal changes of the Taisho period, Midoriya has another unique claim to fame–Akiko Yosano, one of the most prominent (and controversial) authors, poets, and feminists of the time, once rested within its walls.

▼ “Apparently Akiko Yosano stayed in my room. Just as I was thinking that it would be nice to have a mysterious space called a ‘hiroen’ [veranda] by the window, I was ecstatic to find that there was one already independently built-in.”

The Twitter user also expressed gratitude for the inn’s timeless Taisho aesthetic coupled with its modern conveniences:

▼ “The place is called Ichihino Onsen Midoriya in Kagoshima’s Satsumasendai City. The three-story inn from the Taisho period has been preserved through continued maintenance. It’s a hot-spring inn which boasts a history of Akiko Yosano staying there in Year 4 of the Showa period [1929]. The food was also delicious. Even with Taisho era-architecture, it’s great that you can also use wi-fi.”

Here are a couple more snapshots taken by other Midoriya guests:

According to this former guest, the inn’s staff will even present you with some hot spring water on your departure!

If history is your hobby and you’d enjoy the feeling of being transported to another age, then you should definitely soak in the atmosphere at Midoriya on your next travels around Japan. Might we also suggest that you pack one of these “Taisho Roman” ensembles to enhance your experience?

Inn information
Ichihino Onsen Midori-ya / 市比野温泉 みどり屋
Address: 895-1202 Kagoshima Prefecture, Satsumasendai, Hiwakicho Ichihino 2582
895-1202 鹿児島県薩摩川内市樋脇町市比野2582
Telephone: 0996-38-0002

Source, featured image: Twitter/@goshuinchou

Anime film Your Name’s director Makoto Shinkai is immortalized in an asteroid’s name

Makoto Shinkai can add one more special achievement to his resume that is quite literally out of this world. 

45-year-old director Makoto Shinkai, best known for his animated films bursting with lush visuals, had an asteroid named in his honor earlier this month.

If your immediate reaction is that naming a hunk of rock and metal after someone is not so much of a compliment, then recall the pivotal role that a comet, another type of celestial body, played in Shinkai’s 2016 worldwide hit Your Name. In that sense, the newly christened “55222 Makotoshinkai” asteroid pays homage to both the film and its director.  

▼ The comet is even a prominent focus in promotional images for Your Name.

55522 Makotoshinkai was actually discovered back in 2001 by astronomer Roy A. Tucker at the Goodricke-Piggott Observatory in Arizona, USA. The discoverer of an asteroid has the right to propose a name for it, which must then undergo a lengthy approval process following strict protocol by the International Astronomical Union. Certainly not all proposed names make the final cut, so Tucker must have been incredibly pleased that this one passed the test. Check out his celebratory announcement over Twitter earlier this month:

Shinkai’s asteroid is recorded as being 7.25 kilometers in diameter and is located in the outer main asteroid between Mars and Jupiter. More information about its physical properties and orbital path can be found at NASA’s JET Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology.

Your Name and Shinkai fans took to the net to share their excitement about the asteroid: 

“Not every naming is approved. I’m happy that this one was allowed!”
“Your Name strikes again! Its influence is everywhere…”c“Let’s pray that it won’t come crashing down to Earth like the comet in that story.”
“Before I knew it an anime director was immortalized in space.”
“Why hasn’t someone named an asteroid ‘Namek’ or ‘Vegeta’ yet?”

By the way, this isn’t the first time that Tucker has named an asteroid after a famous Japanese cultural figure. He even appears to be an anime/manga fan himself, as evidenced by this tweet:

The same day that he made the 55222 Makotoshinkai announcement, he also tweeted news about other recently approved asteroid names including ones named after  Godzilla films composer Akira Ifukube, anime and video game  composer Yasuhara Takanashi, author Yukito Ayatsuji,  manga artist Lynn Okamoto, and author Kinoko Nasu.

Source: Yurukuyaru
Featured image: NASA/JET Propulsion Laboratory