The latest addition to the Archie McPhee Library is a must-have for any Crazy Cat Lady. Entitled Fashion Cats [Buy on Amazon], it was compiled by Japanese photographer Takako Iwasa, “Japan’s #1 Cat Tailor,” who used his own adorable cats, Prin and Koutaro, as kitty supermodels to document fashion trends for fabulous felines.

"Prin and Koutaro are two cats who don’t get out of bed for less than the best catnip and 10,000 American dollars. They aren’t just cute, they are extraordinarily cute and know how to make Haute Cature look as good as it should. Here they don the latest Japanese Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter collections, featuring gorgeous, flowered paw bracelets, lace veils, tuxedo fronts, wool capes with matching caps, and much more.:

It’s 160 pages of nonstop kitty couture that’s guaranteed to brighten the gloomiest day.

[Images via Design Taxi and Design Faves]

Summer is now in full swing which means it’s Tanbo season in Japan. Last year we shared some amazing examples of Tanbo art (田んぼアート) or “rice paddy art”, created by Japanese farmers (aided by lots of volunteers) who work by hand to plant different strains of rice in order to transform their rice paddies into colossal living canvases. No artificial coloring methods are used to create these awesome scenes. Each color is simply a different type of rice.

"While planting, different areas of the rice paddy are roped off, so people know which type of rice to put where—kind of like painting by numbers.

Rice is planted in the spring, and then harvested in the fall. When it gets close to harvest, the color changes to a beautiful hue called “koganeiro” (黄金色), which is often translated as “golden” or “honey-colored”. This means the art changes as the seasons change.”

The rice paddies pictured at the top of this post depict a celestial maiden from the Japanese legend of Hagoromo beside Mount Fuji, which was recently recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Visit Kotaku for additional images.

Behold the delicate beauty and cleverness of this interactive Japanese children’s book by Megumi Kajiwara and Tathuhiko Nijima. Entitled Motion Silhouette, the handmade book features white pop-up silhouettes between each page. Shining a light on either side of the silhouettes cast moving shadows onto the pages that help tell the story. Ghosts appear before frightened a sleeper, a train travels down tracks and across the face of the moon, someone makes a wish on a dandelion head and then blows out birthday candles, butterflies flutter and what appears as a tree on one page turns into lightning flashing above a cityscape on another.

Click here to watch a brief video that offers a closer look at this enchanting book.

Motion Silhouette is a sequel to a previous book by Kajiwara and Nijima entitled Silhouette. These beautiful works of interactive art are handmade to order.Click here for order inquiries.

[via Colossal]

We thought these creepy yet strangely serene ceramic space and biker babies might help make your day a little more awesome. They’re the work of Japanese artist Shigeki Hayashi, who uses traditional ceramic techniques to create decidedly futuristic pieces inspired by science fiction and Manga.

"The somewhat unusual baby motif, as gallerist Aki Nakanishi revealed in an essay about the artist, stems from the 900 AD story “Taketori-Monogatari,” where a woodcutter discovers a baby from the moon in a bamboo tree — perhaps one of the first science fiction narratives in existence.

Hayashi’s works at times resemble dolls or action figures, and intentionally so. The artist toys with the idea of mass production, giving his work a polished, refined look that makes it appear machine-made, though each piece is sculpted from clay using Japanese ceramic techniques that date back to the 13th century.”

Head over to Shigeki Hayashi’s website to check out more of his fascinating ceramic creations.

[via Hi-Fructose and Weezbo]

We aren’t sure if this Giant Isopod iPhone case would deter phone theft or actually encourage it, but either way it’s creepily awesome. You could chat on your isopod phone while snacking on a batch of adorably creepy isopod sausages or actual giant isopods.

Created exclusively for sale in Japan, these limited edition communication crustaceans come in both silver and gold versions, which sell for $80 and $120 respectively. Only 500 were produced, so we’d better buy plane tickets soon if we hope to snag one for ourselves.

It probably won’t fit in your pocket. But if your phone looked this fantastically freaky, would you ever want to put it away? Neither would we.

[via Geekologie]

This awesome video was created by some Japanese students making the most of their after school classroom cleaning duties by turning them into an opportunity for serious shenanigans. Uploaded by YouTuber Daiki Ikeda and entitled “Blackboard War II”, the stop motion animated video depicts an epic battle between one student trying to clean the blackboard and another determined to draw on it.

Their fantastic fight takes place in both the third and second dimensions as they move from battling with chalk drawings to actually becoming drawings themselves. We don’t want to spoil any more of the fun, so you’ll have to watch the video to see how their creative conflict unfolds.

[via RocketNews24]

Behold the awesomeness that is Bandai’s new “Samurai Taisho Darth Vader” action figure. Designed by Takayuki Takeya, this impressive figure was recently unveiled at the International Tokyo Toy Show 2014. Standing 7.8 inches tall, the design seamlessly “fuses the aesthetics of feudal Japan and imperial galaxy far, far away.” Look closely and you’ll noticed that Vader’s samurai armor features the emblem of the Galactic Empire in place of a Japanese family crest or kamon.

Also known as “Movie Realization Samurai General Darth Vader,” this fantastic action figure is set to be released in Japan during winter 2014. All of our fingers and toes are crossed in hope that it’ll be released worldwide later on.

[via Kotaku and RocketNews24]

How good is your posture? In Japan sitting with a hunched back is known as neko-ze, which translates to mean ‘cat’s back.’ Odds are good that many of us are sporting neko-ze right now as we sit in front of our computers. Poor posture is bad for our backs and can lead to other health issues.

That’s why Japanese toymaker Bandai is putting out this awesome set of eight hunchbacked cat figures, in hopes that slouching office workers will place them beside their computers as a friendly reminder to sit up straight. Say hello to weirdly cute toy kitties and goodbye to neko-ze.

As further encouragement, the series of capsule toys will include four secret cats who sit upright with perfect posture. Right now Bandai is only sharing their silhouettes, so we’ll have to wait until the June 24, 2014 release date to get a better look at them.

[via RocketNews24]

It may be hard to believe, but this incredibly lifelike lobster is entirely made of boxwood. Hand-carved and fully articulated, it’s the painstaking work of 25-year-old Japanese sculptor Ryosuke Ohtake and an awesome example of form of uniquely Japanese sculpture known as jizai okimono.

"The craft involves carving realistic animals whose bodies and limbs are all animated through joints just like the real living thing. Some common subjects are birds, fishes, snakes and insects. It’s a craft that originated in the late-Edo period (late 1700s) when metalsmiths and armor makers, faced with a decline in demand for armor, found themselves with plenty of time on their hands. But ever since it’s modest beginnings, the lobster, with its numerous joints and undulating back, has been considered to be the most difficult and challenging subject."

What’s perhaps even more unbelievable about this amazing creature is that it was Ohtake’s very first jizai okimono piece. It was shown as part of a wooden sculpture exhibition which took place at Tokyu Department Store in Tokyo this past April.

Click here to watch a brief video to get a closer look at this truly astonishing wooden crustacean, how it was made, and how realistically every single part of its beautifully articulated body moves.

Then visit Ryosuke Ohtake’s Facebook page to check out more of his amazing sculptures.

[via Colossal]

The Department of Miniature Marvels is thrilled to discover that they can add gardening to their list of work-related hobbies. A recent trend in Japan has people raising itty-bitty bonsai plants less than 3cm in height. Called cho-mini bonsai, or ultra-small bonsai, they’re the perfect green hobby for people who don’t have much gardening space or simply love exquisitely teeny-tiny things. The completely kawaii pots, wee gardening supplies and mini display shelves that are made for cultivating cho-mini bonsai are almost as awesome as the tiny plants and trees themselves.

Visit RocketNews24 for additional images.