We thought it was a fluke the first time we heard about it. Grown adults playing ping-pong? And not while poolside, on vacation? All of our coolest friends were doing it, yet we still had trouble believing ping-pong was hip again.
Then we checked with those uber-trendistas... Japanese teenagers.
Sure enough, the hottest movie rocking Japan right now is an animated feature called "Ping Pong." It's based on the popular comic series of the same name, and with slick computer graphics, techno music and young idols, it's creating a veritable ping-pong fervor in the East.
Always the trendsetters, Japanese teens have found yet another way of communicating.
It doesn't involve hanging up their cell phones, but rather, adding a new "language" to old cellulars - this one based on the cliché of a picture being worth a thousand words.
Known as "Emoji," or tiny pictures, the language uses images to convey words. Companies such as DoCoMo and J-Phone have created hundreds of shorthand icons, from an outstretched palm which says "goodbye," to jugs of beer and animated kisses.
Can the color of your product make or break it?
It may seem preposterous until you consider purple ketchup and pink margarine.
Or Kool-Aid's Magic Twists, the drink mix that changes colors when prepared. Magic Twist's newest entry -- Switchin' Secret -- goes even further. It's an orange powder that turns into a secret color and flavor.
Think you received (or at least heard about) every new gadget and tech toy over the holidays?
A 46-year-old Japanese method for teaching mathematics seems to be taking the U.S. by storm.
The method, which started in Japan and is now taught at more than 24,600 franchises around the world, resembles more boot camp than classroom. Kids are taught math in tiny increments, and are not allowed to proceed to the next lesson until the previous is mastered flawlessly.
When it comes to back to school fashions, many clothing retailers are eager to separate the men from the boys.
Abercrombie & Fitch, the premiere clothing line for young hipsters, began to worry when their regular line developed an outdated, "teeny bopper" image that turned off their college-student target market. Their answer was to roll out Hollister, a new clothing store catering to 14- to 18-year-olds.
There's so much talk about consumers spending increasingly less time cooking. But there's one target group that's actually flocking to the kitchen - Kids.
Credit the cooking channels, of which you will find plenty of pint-sized devotees; or perhaps Generation Swapping - a trend in which adults act like kids and children act like sophisticates.
The latest ploy to garner people's attention is to sicken them to the point of making them want to throw up.
Afterall, vomit (along with the science behind it) is just one of the many things on display at the Grossology exhibit at New Jersey's Liberty Science Center.
You'll also find homages to flatulence, boogers and body odor. There's a climbable "skin" wall covered in wounds, warts and blisters; and a 9-foot-tall nose that drips mucus.
Remember when pita sandwiches were new and different? Then came the wrap. Now some people (i.e. protein dieters) are replacing the tortilla with lettuce to enjoy carb-free lettuce wraps. But, what's really the next new sandwich?
We think it's sushi.
If you can't figure out the title question - "You talking to teens?" - written in teenage shorthand, then you are probably having difficulty communicating with teens in other ways.
British Mom Gabrielle Mandel felt that same frustration when she noticed the seemingly incomprehensible text messages her daughter was sending back and forth to friends via their mobile phones and pagers.