Yusaku Maezawa dearMoon Project SpaceX Elon Musk
Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has started the dearMoon Project, opening the application process for eight civilians to join a week-long expedition to fly by the Moon on SpaceX’s Starship in 2023. This trip for the lucky few that are chosen will be funded entirely by Maezawa, who leads this mission based on his curiosity and desire to see and appreciate the Earth from afar. There are only two conditions for the applicants: each person must demonstrate a potential for individual growth from this mission, along with the ability to support the fellow crew members who have the same potential and vision. Read more for the announcement video and additional information.

Super Nintendo World Opening Mario Kart Attraction
Universal Studios Japan has finally lifted the embargo on Super Nintendo World, and to celebrate, we get to see two of its attractions – Yoshi’s Adventure and Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challegen – up close. If you hate spoilers or are planning to head there yourself in the near future, these videos should probably be skipped. It’s not yet open to the public, but Universal Park News Today managed to get access as a press outlet. Read more for two videos and additional information.

Akihabara PS5 Shipment Line
Even though the PlayStation 5 was released on November 12, 2020, it’s still sold out everywhere, so when a new shipment arrives anywhere, chaos ensues. This includes Akihabara’s Yodobashi Camera, and rather than use a lottery system or restrict purchases to the store’s special credit card holders, they offered the 300 consoles as first come, first served, this time around. Let’s just say that things got so rowdy that police needed to be called in. Read more for two videos.

LEAD Architects YEZO Retreat Japan
Photo credit: LEAD
Nestled in Hokkaido’s northern mountain range, the cozy YEZO retreat aims to be both eco-friendly and comfortable at the same time. To accomplish this, it boasts a combination of wood, stone, water, and light in its construction to help visitors have a serene reflective experience during their stay. Whether it be the central concrete chimney or curved roof made from glue-laminated timber beams, its minimalist build earned it the 2020 Golden Pin Design Award. Read more for a video and additional pictures.

JAXA Tin Foil Ryugu Sample
These space rocks may look like small fragments of charcoal, but they’re actually soil samples collected from asteroid Ryugu and returned to Earth by a Japanese spacecraft. The largest piece measures around 1 centimeter (0.4 inches), much larger than the smaller black, sandy granules revealed last week. Hayabusa retrieved two sets of samples last year from two locations on the asteroid Ryugu, which is located over 190 million miles from Earth. They were then dropped onto a target in the Australian Outback before being brought back to Japan in early December. Read more for another picture and additional information.

Universal Studios Japan Super Nintendo World Map
Photo credit: Famitsu
Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan is set to open on February 4, 2021, and today, the theme park released the area’s official map, along with some food / merchandise pictures. As you’ve seen in Shigeru Miyamoto’s tour, guests enter the world through a warp pipe from an entrance plaza accessed from a walkway that branches right next to the WaterWorld sign. This entrance plaza boasts themed lamp posts and Super Nintendo World signs next to the pipe, which leads into Princess Peach’s Castle. Read more for the pictures and additional information.

Inside Look Super Nintendo World Universal Studios Japan
The latest Nintendo Direct stream gave us a first look insider Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan, courtesy of Shigeru Miyamoto. Set to open to the public next February, this incredibly themed area is filled with familiar music from the series and interactive elements, like coin boxes that can be activated with a Power-Up Band with an Amiibo-like NFC chip inside. Simply use it to press its sensor near objects and a new virtual item will appear in a synced Super Nintendo World app on your smartphone. Read more for the 15-minute tour, additional pictures and information.

JAXA Asteroid Ryugu Hayabusa2 Samples
JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) announced today that they have collected more soil and gas samples than originally anticipated. The Hayabusa2 spacecraft used a pan-shaped capsule, measuring roughly 40-centimters in diameter, to collect these samples and later drop them off in the Australian desert on December 6th. Researchers are hoping samples from the asteroid’s subsurface can provide information from billions of years ago that are unaffected by space radiation as well as other environmental factors. Read more for a video and additional pictures.

LEGO Great Wave Off Kanagawa
Brick master Jumpei Mitsui recently unveiled his latest creation, and it’s the famed painting from the Edo-period of Japan, Hokusai’s Ukioy-e print “The Great Wave off Kanagawa”. It took him over 400-hours and 50,000 pieces to recreate this masterpiece. Even before starting the build, Mitsui had to study videos of waves crashing as well as academic papers on the topic. Next, he sketched a detailed model of the LEGO model, complete with boats. Read more for a video, additional pictures and information.

Japan JAXA Hayabusa2 Asteroid Sample
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) celebrated its successful Hayabusa2 mission as a specialized capsule dropped off rare asteroid samples – 100 milligrams to be exact – before moving on to the next part of its extended mission of visiting more space rocks. These samples come from Ryugu, a half-mile-wide asteroid that travels through our solar system up to 131 million miles from the sun. Hayabusa-2 was first launched in 2014 with the aim of collecting the first sample of material from below an asteroid’s surface. Read more for two videos and additional information.