As part of efforts by Kobe City to prevent suicides, a number of huge posters (each measuring 2.1 by 1.35 metres), have been set up on local subway platforms at Sannomiya Station, in Kobe’s Central Ward. While some have commended the effort, it seems that the crowds of commuters aren’t all on board with the somewhat depressing content, as the move has been generating a lot of criticism from the public.
All Stories by Oona McGee
If you have an eye for detail, you might just recognize the place in the image above. It’s an awesome rendering of Tokyo’s Akihabara. And it’s from the skilled hand of a former quantum physics researcher turned picture jockey.
John Hathway (pseudonym), the Japanese artist who created the picture, is known as a picture jockey (PJ) because he builds images the same way a disc jockey mixes tracks; by improvising with new patterns and arrangements and blending backgrounds to create totally unique and exciting works of art.
Now he’s teamed up with Tokyo Otaku Mode, a popular site for all things otaku, to celebrate their 10 million-plus likes on Facebook. They thanked fans in a unique way, with the release of this gorgeous image, and a rare picture jockey performance.
Hot on the heels of our incredibly successful cola transformation test, we couldn’t resist another weird and wonderful drink challenge. This time, we decided to try a drink called Nanchatte Orange (literally fake orange). It’s an orange juice sold by “Cheerio Japan” but with one catch: it looks exactly like soy sauce.
Saying it looks like soy sauce doesn’t really do justice to how much this looks like real soy sauce. This is practically identical to the real thing; in fact, the reason we came across this drink was because we walked by the drinks fridge at the convenience store and it caught our eye. Our first thought was, “What is soy sauce doing in the drinks fridge? And why is it sitting next to the apple juice?”
Needless to say, we were on it in a flash and out the door, taking it back to the office with salty thoughts and expectations. So what would black orange juice from a soy sauce bottle taste like? Well, allow us to introduce you to this very unique drink…
In Japan’s Twitter world, this bird is causing quite a flurry. The Java sparrow in these photos is so adorable and righteously perched that at first glance, it looks real. But alas, no real sparrow would pose for photos so sweetly and demurely. At least that’s what twitter user “Bado” found when he tried to take photos of his real pet sparrow on top of his smartphone.
Surely, this has to be one of the most unique boiled eggs in the world. In case you can’t make it out properly, we ought to explain that this is a duck egg. With a duck embryo inside. And that strip of black there is indeed baby duck fur. It’s an image so frightful to some that eating it became a featured challenge on TV shows like Survivor and Fear Factor. To others, however, this is simply a delicious Filipino street delicacy.
Keeping an open mind, we plucked up the courage to try one of these babies (pun very much intended) while on a recent trip to the Philippines with one of our Filipino friends. But what did it taste like? And what does a whole baby duck feel like inside your mouth? We give you everything you need to know, complete with mouth-watering photos.
Meet Little Witch Academia, the newest anime to pick up fans at lightning speed, both abroad and in Japan. Released on the Internet only a few days ago, on Friday, April 19, this 26-minute gem has already stacked up thousands of views and received an enormous amount of praise, particularly from fans outside Japan. The storyline is captivating (it’s about the school-life of a group of young witches-“magic girls”-studying at the Little Witch Academy), and the characters are so likeable that fans are already calling out for merchandise.
We’re predicting big things for the animation studio behind this work, so get on board before all the cool kids do and check out the entire clip, complete with English subtitles, after the jump.
Starbucks is well-known for taking up residence in some unusual places. They’ve had a pop-up store in Tokyo and they even have a historical western-style house house in Kobe. But in the beautiful mountain village of Ubud, Bali, there’s a more subdued Starbucks. Set up in an old storehouse, and blending perfectly with the environment, you wouldn’t instantly think this was part of a global coffee franchise.
We went to check out this unique coffeehouse and found it to be incredibly beautiful and serene. Out of all the Starbucks stores we’ve visited across the world, this is by far the one we recommend the most. With an exceptionally unique atmosphere, we bring you four reasons why this may very well be the best Starbucks in the world.
April 24 is a special day for Evangelion fans, with the DVD and Blu-ray release of the 2012 movie Evangelion 3.0. To commemorate this exciting event, popular burger chain Lotteria is offering up a nine-level monster cheeseburger that cleverly plays on the “Q “ in the Japanese part of the home release title: Evangelion: New Movie Edition Q (Q sounds like kyuu, which is nine in Japanese) and the English part of the home release title: Evangelion 3.33 (3+3+3=9). Cheeky puns with buns! While the burger looks like something only Mr. Sato would eat nine of, the free present with purchase and the chance to win a 158cm-tall Rei doll has us very excited.
In Japan, husbands often hand over their pay packets to their wives, who are the chief financial controllers for the household. Husbands then receive a fraction of their pay in the form of a monthly allowance, which has to cover costs such as cell phone charges, lunches and all-important networking and relations-building nomikai, or work drinking parties.
According to a survey by Shinsei Bank, the average office worker receives an allowance of 39,600 yen (US$398) a month. But when the average cost for attending a drinking party is 2,860 yen ($28.75), and one lunch is an average of 510 yen ($5.13) a day, many workers are now choosing to skip out on after work drinks. What they don’t realise is that this attempt to save some yen is actually jeopardising their careers.
Ita (痛), meaning pain, is the latest buzzword doing the rounds in cool Japan. It’s used to describe something emblazoned with an anime or manga design, so bright and out-there that it’s painful to the eye. A suit with a cute anime girl pattern inside? That would be the itasuit. A car completely covered in graffiti-style tags and wide-eyed characters? The itasha. And what about nails with different character designs on each nail? That’s itanail. And according to a recent online survey, itanail is becoming more and more popular by the day.
There were rumours recently about a live action version of Ghibli’s Kiki’s Delivery Service. What’s more, these reports claimed that Takashi Shimizu, the horror film director who brought us nightmare-inducing classics like The Grudge, would be sitting at the helm of the project. A horror take on the story of a cute 13-year-old witch? It seemed too good to be true! Well, it was a sad day when Studio Ghibli released an official statement quashing the salacious rumours, saying, “We have no involvement in the matter.”
But live action versions of Ghibli films aren’t just the stuff of dreams; Princess Mononoke has a stage version that just premiered in London and is coming to Japan in a matter of days! What we would give to meet just one of our favourite Ghibli heroines in person! Inspired by all this talk of adaptations, we took a look at some of the Ghibli films we thought deserved to exist in the real world.
One Piece is the hugely successful comic book and animation series about a team of friends who go in search of the famous treasure of the same name. When the writer and illustrator, Eichiro Oda, recently revealed that many of the One Piece characters are based on real-life public figures and celebrities, he created a different type of treasure hunt for his legions of fans. Who was which character? Where did he draw inspiration from? After what must’ve been hours of research, one fan came up with this concise gallery.
But some of these pictures show way more than a passing resemblance. It’s almost as if he sketched every detail of the real-life figure into his One-Piece character, from their pose to their jewellery and accessories. The inspiration for Paulie is even wearing an identical shirt and jacket! Twitter users are now arguing over the fine line between homage and rip-off. What do you think? Check out the characters in more detail below… Read More
Have you ever opened a pre-packaged snack and then, before realising it, found you devoured the whole thing?
This was the question put to 906 readers of an online news site in Japan. Out of the 906 people in the survey, 618 said they had unwittingly scoffed the lot. But what are Japan’s most irresistible snacks? And what makes them so impossible to resist? Take a look at some of the comments from respondents as we bring you an inside look at the top five…
When we heard that Mister Donut was teaming up with Hello Kitty to celebrate the opening of a new Hello Kitty cupcake ride at Universal Studios Japan, we knew there would be a sweet surprise. The result? An insanely cute doughnut range featuring Ms Kitty’s signature bow and a few unique mini cupcake-inspired creations. Plus, a Hello Kitty ribbon headphone jack charm for purchases over 600 yen (US$6)!
But what would a Hello Kitty-approved doughnut taste like? We were seduced by the cute kitten and headed down to our local store to try out her wares. Join us as we take you through the range, bite by delicious bite…
China seems to be a country filled to the brim with absolutely everything. From girls living in bubbles to electric pink drinking water to foot-wide walking trails on the side of cliffs. Chances are, if you can think of it, China probably has it. And everything in between. When we were in this land of possibility, we came across an ordinary looking girl on a sunny street. But when we got closer we could see that this girl had a unique special skill: the skill to disappear in an instant. And how does she do it? With a simple but ingenious cloth bag.
It’s not an easy question to answer, but of all the strong, cute and mysterious ladies from Studio Ghibli’s beautiful animated feature films, who is your favourite? This was the question put to 230 men aged 20-40 in a recent on-line poll.
With so many Ghibli girls to choose from, there had to be at least one that tugged on the hearts of men. So who came out on top? We bring you the top five below:
Have you ever seen a capybara? Originally from South America, and immensely popular in Japan, capybaras are actually the world’s largest rodents. They can weigh as much as a person, can run as fast as a young horse, and they can bark and purr. But that’s not all. These cute little animals love to bathe in Japanese-style hot springs. And when they do, they do it with such blissful expressions that you can’t help but smile.
On April 25, Takara Tomy A.R.T.S will release the “Sonic Hour”, the latest addition to their “Beer Hour” series of foaming products. Hour is a play on the Japanese word awa, meaning foam, or head of beer, and that’s exactly what this gadget delivers to the top of your glass. Retailing for 3,990 yen (US$40), this little portable device creates superfine bubbles in any type of beer, guaranteeing a smooth, creamy head every time. Even if the Japanese do prefer their beer with an enormous amount of head sometimes…
The secret to the sonic foam is ultrasonic oscillation. Simply put your glass of beer on the tray, press the button and the ultrasonic vibrations disperse evenly at the bottom of the beer glass, creating a gush of bubbles that rise and form the perfect head in an instant. And if that’s not entertaining enough, it also comes equipped with an eight-colour LED light-up display. To see it in action, check out the video after the jump.
Kaitenzushi, or conveyor belt sushi restaurants, are one of Japan’s most famous contributions to the dining world. The concept is simple: customers sit around a revolving conveyor belt packed with different sushi dishes, and take the plates they like as they roll by. But now in Japan there’s a new trend that’s threatening to put the brakes on the traditional conveyor belt system. It seems that Japanese customers no longer want to take any dishes off the conveyor belt, instead opting to use it as a giant, revolving display case. Customers are now pointing at the perfectly edible sushi as if they are plastic sushi replicas and ordering them with the wait staff.
Have you ever had a bowl of rice and wondered what to eat with it? Have you ever had two slices of plain bread and wished for a new and exciting sandwich idea? Well, yearn no longer, folks! We have a quick and tasty 2-in-1 Japanese recipe that will see you through dinner and leave you with a delicious, packed sandwich lunch the next day!