Paying by iPhone

Though the iPhone seem to be more popular than Android phones, there is one reason why some people in Japan still refuse to make the switch: iPhones don’t support osaifu keitai (electronic wallets), a useful and popular function of Androids.

Not one to miss an opportunity, NTT Docomo have finally found a way to give iPhones that function. The Osaifu Keitai Jacket 01 has an inbuilt FeliCa chip that serves as an electronic wallet when used via the dedicated iPhone app.

This means iPhone users can now use electronic cash, collect loyalty points from outlets such as electronics chain Yodobashi Camera, and download boarding passes from ANA. Also, if you get a new phone, the jacket can simply be moved into the new phone’s case.

The Osaifu Keitai Jacket 01 can be used with the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 5c, 5s, iPad Air and iPad mini, and will be released in October. The price is yet to be announced.


The selfie-friendly camera

Jidori — taking “selfies,” a term that has become so popular it made it into the Webster’s dictionary in August — is almost like breathing for younger generations.

It’s so popular that rather than ask someone else to take the photo, we see people using bizarre “selfie sticks” to take better shots.

Nikon Imaging Japan, however, has come up with a more subtle way to take better photos — the Coolpix S6900. Designed with the selfie in mind, this compact camera has a 16-megapixel, 460K dot touchscreen that flips out and can be set at three angles, allowing you to always see your shot. It can also be remote controlled with hand gestures from 0.7 to 2 meters and is Wi-Fi enabled, so that you can upload images to social networking sites.

The Coolpix S6900 comes in white, black or pink, and is priced at around ¥30,000.


Enjoy bathing in the starlight

City life can be exhausting, and we can all use some quiet time to stop and relax, perhaps even do a little stargazing. Unfortunately, with bright city lights and skyscrapers in every direction, the chances of actually seeing anything in the night sky are slim. But you could bring the stars home.

The latest addition to Sega Toys’ Homestar series of home planetariums allows you to bring some starlight into every room of the house, even the bathroom.

Created in collaboration with Takayuki Ohira, the creator of the Guinness World Record-holding Megastar planetarium, this, much more modest Aqua Planetarium is showerproof, making it perfect for a starlight soak. A little different to Homestar’s other planetariums, it also surrounds its users with stars, instead of projecting to a specific spot on the ceiling.

The Homestar Aqua Planetarium is priced ¥3,200 and is available in white, chocolate, rose and turquoise.


Easier ways to get toasty

According to research conducted by cosmetics company SBI ALApromo, roughly 82 percent of women in Japan suffer from hypersensitivity to the cold. But huddling by the heater in the warmest part of the room all day is not a practical solution.

Iris Ohyama’s ceramic heaters, though, are a good compromise. Fitted with a new motion sensor that shuts them down if you get too close, they not only emit warm air within 10 seconds, but are also light and portable — so you can huddle by them anywhere.

There are three types of Iris Ohyama heaters, each a different shape and in a variety of colors, priced at ¥6,458, ¥8,618 and ¥10,584.



Noodling at home

Noodles — ramen, udon, soba — play a huge part in the Japanese diet, but most of the time we eat them at restaurants or cook them from dried or ready-made packages.

Since food is usually best when homemade, Tokyo based electronics manufacturer E-Balance’s Noodle Cooker should appeal to many.

To make fresh noodles, all you need to do is select a cap from four types that can produce thick strands, thin strands, flat strands and even tubular strands of dough. The rest is easy, just add the right amount of water and flour into the machine and press the start button.

The different caps mean that you can make traditional Japanese noodles as well as fettucine, linguine, spaghetti and macaroni.

The Noodle Cooker is priced at ¥24,800.


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