Once, back in the pre-web days, when I was in Japan, I spent a lot of my time grabbing as many interactive CD-ROMs as I could get my hands on. They were filled with strange and fun interactive candy — even if I couldn’t quite understand what was going on, or what I was supposed to do.
I just stumbled upon Iain Tait’s blog Crackunit, and a cool post from last year: 9 Reasons Japanese Interactive Work Is Awesome. It’s an fascinating list of reasons why, he believes, Japanese interactive is so unusual to a western eye. And he backs it up with some examples of recent work. They’re all advertising-oriented — but worth a look.
Among my favorites: the Honda Edix bug creator/screensaver, the Adidas Hello! Runners Map, and the crazy life-size man and woman websites for the condom promotion Love Distance. I also liked Tokyu Hands Mushi Battle and Gassaku for Intel. Most of these links point to information sites for design competitions, so, actually, you can understand the sites more than if you launched them cold.