Philip Kendall

Editor

Hailing from Liverpool in the UK, Philip Kendall made Japan his second home in the summer of 2006 after dolefully abandoning his childhood dream of becoming a ghost buster. Setting up camp in beautiful Fukushima prefecture, he brought joy to literally hundreds of junior high school children as ‘that tall, handsome teacher’ or more often ‘the one with the big nose,’ before relocating to Tokyo at the end of 2011.

Writer, foodie, gamer and eternal student of the Japanese language, Philip now works as a freelance writer and translator, submitting to Tokyo Weekender magazine and website and Learn Japanese Pod, as well as co-running Suds, Grub & Joe- a website dedicated to all things beer, food and coffee-related in Tokyo. Follow his ramblings on his personal blog or on twitter.

All Stories by Philip Kendall

Women armed with pee-filled spray gun exacts revenge on bank

Women armed with pee-filled spray gun exacts revenge on bank

A woman in China’s Zhejiang Province has been arrested after she entered an ATM vestibule and splashed urine over the machines following the bank’s refusal to process her money transfer, Chinese media has reported.

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Noodle-tossing bunny is the most random, hypnotic Vine you’ll see today

Noodle-tossing bunny is the most random, hypnotic Vine you’ll see today

While she may not be quite so well-known abroad, My Melody, one of cute factory Sanrio’s many mascots, is kind of a big deal here in Japan. Over at the Sanrio Puroland theme park, throngs of kids and women old enough to know better flip out and squeal with delight at the very sight of the hood-wearing bunny, and Sanrio makes a small fortune each year from My Melody-themed merchandise.

But none of that really explains this video recently released by Sanrio Puroland, which plays an endless loop of My Melody aggressively tossing noodles in a sieve. In total silence.

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Niconico Video user crafts miniature violin-playing Darth Vader out of paper just because he can

Niconico Video user crafts miniature violin-playing Darth Vader out of paper just because he can

Fandom often inspires people to invest vast sums of money in the object of their obsession. Often when you visit a real enthusiast’s home, you’ll see so much merchandise that you start to wonder whether they also thought to invest in insurance to protect them if any of it was lost or stolen since the goods’ combined value can in some cases amount to thousands, even tens of thousands, of dollars.

In many ways, the amount of merch a person owns can act as an indicator of how big a fan they are, but what’s even more impressive than dropping exorbitant amounts of cash on a hobby is investing time and energy. Take, for example, this Niconico Video user from Japan who, rather than simply visiting a store or online shop to purchase a swanky new Darth Vader figurine, decided to make one out of little more than a pile of craft paper, and the end result is simply stunning.

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PlayStation 3 gets a price cut in Japan, still costs more than it probably ought to

PlayStation 3 gets a price cut in Japan, still costs more than it probably ought to

Sony Japan has announced that its ultra-slim, “charcoal black” PlayStation 3 console will become that little bit cheaper at the end of this month, following the arrival of a new SKU.

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Hideo Kojima’s Silent Hills might just be the horror game we’ve been waiting for【Videos】

Hideo Kojima’s Silent Hills might just be the horror game we’ve been waiting for【Videos】

Those who owned an original grey PlayStation back in the day will no doubt be familiar with Silent Hill, the survival horror series that went on to spawn a host of sequels as well as a questionable feature film of the same name. The series has had its ups and downs over the years, and many feel that it has lost much of what made it so great to begin with, but it looks like the newest instalment is set to bring back what gamers loved about the originals: the kind of tense, tortuous, genuinely horrible horror that makes you consider keeping the lights on at bedtime.

Don’t believe us? Check out these reaction videos from makers Konami.

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From the mouths of babes – Kids share their thoughts on love, war and everything in between

From the mouths of babes – Kids share their thoughts on love, war and everything in between

Last week, we shared a rather unusual ad from Ryugin, an Okinawa-based bank whose approach to selling loans involves robots, doe-eyed anime girls and more pink hearts than you can shake a stick at. As it turns out, this same banking corporation has quite the eye for attention-grabbing ads, as we’ve just discovered an older TV spot from the same company, titled Children and Philosophy, which poses a series of mostly abstract questions to a group of elementary school kids.

Responding to questions about everything from love and war to what it means to be free, the kids’ answers are at once refreshing, thought-provoking, and painfully sweet, to the point that we’re starting to wonder if they’re the ones who ought to be in charge of the world. Full video after the jump.

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Last night, a fast food delivery guy gave me 10 yen and it made my day

Last night, a fast food delivery guy gave me 10 yen and it made my day

After living here for any decent length of time, it’s easy to grow tired of the seemingly endless slew of blogs either singing Japan’s praises or celebrating its weirdness. But the thing is, there’s a reason so many of them exist. While many of the claims bloggers in Japan make are somewhat exaggerated or simply rehashes of the same experiences foreigners arriving in the country decades earlier had, there are nevertheless times when living in Japan can make you realise that the country is actually quite special.

Just last night, for example, I found myself the recipient of a tiny but powerful gesture that made me feel – after more than eight years of living here – that Japan is pretty damn cool sometimes.

Last night, dear reader, a fast food company gave me 10 yen. That’s about US$0.09.

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5 awesome Japanese ice creams that are perfect for summer 【Video】

5 awesome Japanese ice creams that are perfect for summer 【Video】

It’s the middle of August, and while the days we’ve been having recently aren’t quite as face-meltingly hot as those a couple of weeks ago, it is nevertheless still pretty toasty out there. Thankfully, just like when suffering with a cold or sore throat, the summer heat does afford us one very tasty luxury: a genuine excuse to gorge on delicious ice cream!

If you’re feeling the heat this summer, or are just curious about some of Japan’s go-to ice cream treats, join us after the jump for a special video featuring five of our frozen favourites.

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Singing, ticking timebombs – 5 facts about the special significance of cicadas in Japan

Singing, ticking timebombs – 5 facts about the special significance of cicadas in Japan

Coming from the UK where the largest insect you’re likely to encounter is a slightly overweight bumblebee, I was quite taken aback the first time I saw a semi, or cicada in English, in Japan. Having arrived in the middle of summer, at first the ear-piercing racket coming from the tree outside my window drove me to distraction, but over the years I came to enjoy the sound these little bugs made, even if their appearance still gives me the creeps.

As it happens, I’m not the only one who appreciates these little bugs’ songs. Cicadas hold special significance here in Japan, and are considered to be almost synonymous with summer, so join us after the jump for five quick-fire facts about Japan’s summer bug.

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Cristiano Ronaldo is endorsing one of Japan’s weirdest ever beauty products 【Video】

Cristiano Ronaldo is endorsing one of Japan’s weirdest ever beauty products 【Video】

Japan is no stranger to celebrity-endorsed products. Stars who ordinarily wouldn’t be seen dead in a commercial in their home country practically flock to Japan where, rather than being seen as a black mark on one’s resume, appearing in an ad can be a sign of having made it big, with companies prepared to pay top dollar to get a celebrity’s face alongside their product.

World-famous soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo, though, was the last person we expected to see endorsing a face-toning exercise product that makes the user look like they’re devouring a frantically flapping seagull head-first…

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Social experiment in India reveals smokers’ true feelings about their lethal habit

Social experiment in India reveals smokers’ true feelings about their lethal habit

Cigarettes. They’re awful, stinking things that do nothing but make you want more and give you cancer. Yet millions of people continue to smoke, putting their lives even more at risk every time they light up.

But as this video from Indian youth entertainment channel YTV Network shows, when a kid approaches and asks for a cheeky cig, pretty much every smoker will refuse to give them one and immediately starts lecturing them about the dangers of smoking.

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“Mom’s 1st Birthday” – Try to get through this video without tearing up【Video】

“Mom’s 1st Birthday” – Try to get through this video without tearing up【Video】

This short video from Pampers Japan takes a moment to celebrate not just baby’s, but mother’s first birthday. It sounds a little bit cheesy, and yes, it was ultimately made by a multinational company promoting their brand of nappies (or diapers in non-British parlance), but it is nevertheless insanely moving, and we challenge you not to cry, or at least tear up, while watching it.

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What’s this little green dinosaur’s name? If you said “Yoshi” we’ve got news for you…

What’s this little green dinosaur’s name? If you said “Yoshi” we’ve got news for you…

Nicknames can be confusing things, especially when they’re the only name by which you’ve ever known someone. I can clearly remember the moment when my friend’s Japanese wife looked at me with a mixture of surprise and betrayal, for example, when she found out that Phil (or “Firu” as it’s awkwardly pronounced in Japanese) is in fact short for Philip.

But after learning that the same green dinosaur that I’ve traversed hundreds of levels, raced go-karts and carried baby Mario back to his parents with since I was about 10 years old isn’t actually called Yoshi, I can kind of understand why she was so shocked.

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Sony’s summer PlayStation Vita ads are all about growing up【Video】

Sony’s summer PlayStation Vita ads are all about growing up【Video】

We’re already well into the school summer holidays here in Japan, and Sony is taking the opportunity to entice younger gamers over to its decidedly more grown-up portable console, the PlayStation Vita. Join us after the jump for a closer look at these cheeky ads from Sony’s summer campaign.

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Pretty money – Poll reveals Japan’s “coolest” cash

Pretty money – Poll reveals Japan’s “coolest” cash

When it comes to cash, we all no doubt have our favourites. I, for one, have a huge soft spot for those nice, big 500 yen coins since every time I hold one I feel like I’m either shopping in a medieval market town or about to plonk it down on a bar counter to cover the cost of my beer, bath and bed for the night. Those flimsy little one yen coins, however, have a habit of seeking me out, and I always find myself trying to palm them off on convenience store clerks, devastated when I’m a single coin short of the nine yen they’re asking for.

In a recent poll, 477 My Navi Woman readers were asked which of Japan’s coins and notes boasts the “coolest” design. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the number-one spot went to the 10,000 yen note – the largest denomination available and worth roughly US$100 – but there were some surprises in the list too. Join us after the jump for a closer look at some of Japan’s cash.

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These new “wet swimsuit” and “men’s bra” t-shirts will help you find your inner baka this summer

These new “wet swimsuit” and “men’s bra” t-shirts will help you find your inner baka this summer

Japan’s hot and sticky summer days may mean that people are wearing slightly less than usual, but unless you’re some kind of magma demon impervious to the 34-degree heat we’ve been having recently, it also means you’ll be throwing sweat-soaked t-shirts and underwear into the washing machine with depressing frequency, making every other day laundry day.

Fortunately, book and cutesy crap emporium Village Vanguard has a couple of new t-shirts that are perfect for summer – and one of them already looks drenched before you even put it on!

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Dead or Alive 5 achieves new level of creepiness with “Bath and Bedtime” costumes

Dead or Alive 5 achieves new level of creepiness with “Bath and Bedtime” costumes

It should come as no surprise to learn that the fighting game series that spawned a bikini-packed beach volleyball spin-off and whose developers included the option to change how much female fighters’ breasts jiggle likes to get sexy. Dead or Alive has always been about scantily clad females, enormous boobs and gratuitous close-ups and poses; it’s not especially tasteful, but to each their own.

But the latest round of downloadable costumes for Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate, called the “Bath and Bedtime” series, seems to be confusing “sexy” with “creepy”, as it pits female martial artists against each other while wearing naught but their jammies and bath towels.

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Not as easy as it looks! The making of viral video “Mario Jumps into Battle”

Not as easy as it looks! The making of viral video “Mario Jumps into Battle”

Just under a week ago, a fan-made video featuring Nintendo’s Super Mario appeared online. Titled “Smash Bros. Mario Jumps Into Battle”, it showed the portly plumber doing a bit of shopping in a real-life Tokyo store before realising that he was late for his appointment in Nintendo’s upcoming brawler, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS, and dashing across the capital city.

Due to its incredible animation and clever blending of real and computer-generated images, the video was quickly picked up by a number of gaming news sites (and shared on our own Facebook page) and scored thousands of hits in the blink of an eye. But even short videos like this don’t just pop out of question-mark blocks; they take weeks of hard work…

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It’s time for lazy calisthenics! Half-hearted exercises for those with blood type B 【Video】

It’s time for lazy calisthenics! Half-hearted exercises for those with blood type B 【Video】

As you may already have heard, blood type is kind of a big deal here in Japan. As well as being asked about your age, hobbies and family, it’s not in the least bit unusual to be probed about your blood type during welcome parties, dates or mixers. This isn’t because any of the attendees are sick and hoping to leech your life-giving fluid, but because there is a set of commonly held beliefs that blood type determines personality, and knowing whether someone is blood type A, B, AB or O can act as a shortcut to getting to know them. Or at least that’s the theory.

Today, we bring you a morning exercise routine devised especially for those who are blood type B. In case you hadn’t already guessed from the above GIF, the moves you’ll be performing here are made for those people who give up on things quickly, absolutely hate being told what to do and who aren’t afraid to show it.

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This Pikachu x Miffy figurine is far too cute for its own good

This Pikachu x Miffy figurine is far too cute for its own good

There are some pairings that are so right we couldn’t imagine the world without them. Fish and chips; Simon and Garfunkel; S&M — these combinations and more are here to stay, and it would feel wrong to have one without the other.

But when you cross something as cute as Pikachu with adorable Dutch rabbit Miffy, you’re just asking for trouble.

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