DOCOMO Announces Human-Augmentation Platform for Sharing Taste

NTT DOCOMO, INC., Miyashita Laboratory of the School of Interdisciplinary Mathematical Sciences, Meiji University,1 and H2L Inc. announced today that they have developed a technology that enables taste information to be shared between people via a human-augmentation platform2 developed by DOCOMO. The solution combines DOCOMO's human-augmentation platform with Miyashita Laboratory and H2L's technology for reproducing tastes.

The technology, which DOCOMO believes is the world's first3 of its kind, comprises a sensing device that detects data on a person's perception of taste, a human-augmentation platform that shares the taste by taking into account individual differences in sensitivity, and a "driving" device that reproduces the taste for enjoyment by others.

Specifically, after a specific taste is analyzed and quantified, a proprietary algorithm on the human-augmentation platform estimates how the first person perceived the taste using approximately 25 data points, and then the taste is reproduced using the driving device for sharing with others.

The driving device reproduces the five basic tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami) using 20 types of base liquids. For related tastes, it uses a base solution.4 As a result, tastes that are difficult to convey in words can be shared more clearly with others.

The technology is expected to be used in virtual experiences in the metaverse space, which until now has been a purely visual and auditory world, as well as in combination with film and animation. The inclusion of taste expressions will enable users to enjoy extra-rich content and experiences with an unprecedented sense of presence.

Going forward, DOCOMO, Miyashita Laboratory and H2L will develop solutions for sharing taste perceptions based on their new technology, aiming to create new communication culture and providing new value for enhanced quality of life.

HRC with Japan Post Wins 44th Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Road Race

Honda factory team(1) Team HRC with Japan Post (CBR1000RR-R FIREBLADE SP: Takumi Takahashi / Tetsuta Nagashima / Xavi Vierge) has won the 2023 FIM(2) Endurance World Championship "Coca-Cola" Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Road Race 44th Tournament (Suzuka 8 Hours) held at the Suzuka Circuit in Mie, on Sunday, August 6. This win marks Honda's second consecutive and 29th overall Suzuka 8 Hours victory. For Takahashi, his fifth win ties him with the all-time record for Suzuka 8 Hours victories for a rider. Nagashima has earned his second consecutive Suzuka 8 Hours title, while Vierge has won his debut race at the event.

Team HRC with Japan Post's Tetsuta Nagashima set the fastest lap time of 2 min 5.722s during the two qualifying sessions on August 4 (Fri) and 5 (Sat). The team's average lap time was second overall, allowing the Honda factory team to proceed to the Top 10 Trial. In the Top 10 Trial that began at 4:00 pm on August 5 (Sat), Tetsuta Nagashima and Xavi Vierge represented the team. Nagashima once again set the fastest lap, 2 min 5.329s, giving Honda its second consecutive Suzuka 8 Hours pole position.

The race started at 11:30 am on August 6 (Sun). Although the team's starting rider Takumi Takahashi initially lost the lead, once back on top he gradually extended the gap to the second-place rider. In the following stints, both Tetsuta Nagashima and Xavi Vierge kept consistent, fast paces to extend the lead even further, lapping all other teams. At 7:30 pm, Team HRC with Japan Post crossed the finish line completing 216 laps, giving Honda its second consecutive Suzuka 8 Hours pole-to-win.

Koji Watanabe, President of Honda Racing Corporation

"First, I would like to congratulate the three Team HRC with Japan Post riders, team staff and everyone involved. I am very proud of everyone overcoming the pressure of defending the Suzuka 8 Hours title to win again. I would like to thank Japan Post Co., Ltd. and all our other sponsors who supported our efforts. HRC will continue to meet the expectations of motorsports fans and Honda fans, aiming even higher than before. I look forward to everyone's support."

The Enchanting Chichibu Night Festival - Dec 2023

For over three centuries, the Chichibu Yomatsuri (Night Festival) has illuminated the winter skies of Japan, earning its place among the nation's top-tier float festivals. Joining the ranks of esteemed celebrations like the Kyoto Gion Festival and the Hida Takayama Festival, this event showcases six awe-inspiring floats, two of which are aptly named "Kasaboko," meaning flower parasols.

Rooted in history, the Chichibu Yomatsuri stands as the grand festival of the Chichibu Shrine, drawing crowds to witness the spectacle of ornate floats parading through Chichibu. Within these floats, kabuki performances transport attendees to a bygone era, weaving captivating tales of tradition and artistry. As night falls, the skies ignite with a brilliant display of fireworks, casting a magical glow over the festivities.

In the heart of the Edo period, the festival found its genesis amidst the bustling silk markets that thrived within the shrine's grounds. Today, its enduring charm lies in the vibrant hues of paper-covered lanterns, or "Bonbori," swaying gracefully against the backdrop of a winter fireworks extravaganza.

Designated as Important Intangible Folk Cultural Assets, the Chichibu Festival floats and Kagura (a Shinto theatrical dance) stand as living testaments to Japan's rich cultural heritage.

A Journey to Chichibu: Where Tradition Meets Modernity

Nestled just 90 minutes from central Tokyo, the Chichibu Night Festival graces the town of Chichibu every year on December 2 and 3. While both days hold significance, the main festivities crescendo on December 3. Considered one of Japan's eminent float festivals, it stands shoulder to shoulder with the illustrious Gion Matsuri of Kyoto and the resplendent Takayama Matsuri.

Each float is a testament to artistry, adorned with lanterns, tapestries, and intricately carved woodwork, accompanied by the rhythmic beat of drums and the mellifluous notes of flutes.

However, the festival's pièce de résistance is undoubtedly its two-and-a-half-hour fireworks display, offering a rare opportunity to bask in the ethereal glow of Japanese pyrotechnics against the winter night. As the evening chill sets in, the streets come alive with stalls offering delectable festival fare and amazake, a sweet rice wine designed to warm the soul.

A Glimpse into the Festival's Heartbeat

On December 3, the Chichibu Festival comes to life. Afternoon and early evening witness the floats on display in their respective neighborhoods and at the hallowed grounds of the Chichibu Shrine. As dusk descends, the floats embark on their procession through Chichibu's enchanting streets, commencing around 19:00.

The climax unfolds on the plaza before the city hall, where each float ascends the slope, forming a breathtaking tableau. From 19:30 to 22:00, a sprawling fireworks display paints the sky, visible from myriad vantage points throughout the town. As the clock nears 22:00, the festival reaches its zenith, allowing revelers to catch the final trains back to Tokyo.

Planning Your Journey

Given the festival's popularity, expect crowds to converge along the parade route and the plaza in front of the city hall. For prime viewing spots, arrive early, secure reserved seating, or opt for the big screen spectacle near Seibu Chichibu Station.

For those unable to attend in person, the Chichibu Festival Hall, adjacent to Chichibu Shrine, offers a tantalizing glimpse into the Night Festival and other cherished traditions of the Chichibu region.

Navigating Your Way

Central Chichibu, just outside Chichibu and Seibu-Chichibu Stations, sets the stage for this enchanting festival. Additional trains run on December 3 courtesy of Seibu Railway and Chichibu Railway. As the festivities conclude, all trains back to Tokyo are reserved limited express trains by Seibu Railway.

Japan Mobility Show 2023 Oct - Nov

TOYOTA will be exhibiting at the JAPAN MOBILITY SHOW 2023, to be held from Thursday, October 26 to Sunday, November 5, with a booth themed "Let's Change the Future of Cars―Find Your Future."

In this second announcement of models to be exhibited at the booth, Toyota unveils the KAYOIBAKO, a concept model that embodies a mobility future with the freedom to lead the life you want, anywhere, anytime. Toyota's booth will showcase how the KAYOIBAKO can cater to customer needs, from business to pleasure.

Exhibit model, KAYOIBAKO, Main features

The word kayoibako refers to configurable shipping containers for safely and efficiently transporting parts and products between facilities, sized to eliminate waste and able to meet diverse needs with changeable inserts. Adopting this approach, the KAYOIBAKO is a new compact space concept that represents the future of mobility.

Toyota sought to create a "quality base unit" of mobility through a commitment to interior/exterior packaging and affordability. With an "ultra-expandable" design that allows tailoring to suit different roles, this battery electric vehicle (BEV) can support a diverse range of applications.

As a BEV with both hardware and software customizable to specific roles, the KAYOIBAKO will function as part of smart grids and other intelligent social systems.

For business applications, the KAYOIBAKO will offer solutions to various issues as part of the social infrastructure. In last-mile logistics, for example, the vehicle can contribute to smart distribution systems by allowing customization for efficient low-volume transportation. The KAYOIBAKO can also be customized to meet the needs of local communities, such as by installing product display shelves to create a mobile shop or additional seating to serve as a shuttle bus.

For private use, the vehicle can be customized according to individual tastes and preferences, evolving into a one-of-a-kind mobility. As well as catering to diverse personal uses and lifestyles, the KAYOIBAKO will also contribute to providing "Mobility for All" by, for example, enabling designs that offer easier access for wheelchair users.


Ever since its founding, Toyota has sought to contribute to a more prosperous society through the manufacture of automobiles, operating its business with a focus on vehicle production and sales.

Toyota Global Vision

Toyota will lead the future mobility society, enriching lives around the world with the safest and most responsible ways of moving people. Through our commitment to quality, ceaseless innovation, and respect for the planet, we strive to exceed expectations and be rewarded with a smile. We will meet challenging goals by engaging the talent and passion of people who believe there is always a better way.