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

Japan’s censorship of PlayStation 4 horror game Until Dawn is spectacularly bad 【Video】

Considering it’s the same country that gave us movies like Battle Royale, Tokyo Gore Police and Ichi the Killer, Japan’s method of handling violent video game content can be quite perplexing at times.

Despite being able to attack the undead hordes in survival horror beat-em-up Dead Rising with everything from ‘wet floor’ signs to katanas, decapitations were notably absent from the Japanese version of the game when it released back in 2006. More recently, Japanese Metal Gear Solid and Gears of War fans were shocked to see that numerous scenes and animations were cut from the versions released in their homeland, even though the games were clearly marked as “adults only”.

Japan’s video game censors have struck again this week, this time taking their (presumably family-friendly) hatchets to newly released PlayStation 4 horror game Until Dawn—and the method of censoring the scenes deemed too much for Japan is startlingly bad.

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The cosplay of Comiket 88: Sailor Moon, Splatoon, Love Live! and more【Photos】

Comiket 88, the world’s largest dojinshi fair, is now underway at the Tokyo Big Sight exhibition centre. And while thousands of people are already rushing to buy some of the best and rarest anime, manga and video game merch money can buy, others were there for one thing only: cosplay.

Despite the beating sun and intense humidity that comes as standard with Summer Comic Market (you did read our Comiket survival guide, right?), the almost complete lack of shade outdoors did not deter Tokyo’s cosplayers, who stood out for photo after photo, striking their best poses and wowing our reporters with their incredible outfits.

Join us after the jump for a look at some of our favourites!

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Man bursts into wife’s lover’s office, severs penis with garden shears, flushes it down toilet

No, you read that headline right. We’re going to skip past any form of real intro here and get right into it with this one. You may want to start crossing your legs now, fellas…

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“Hang Em Hyrule” takes Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda to the Wild West 【Video】

The Legend of Zelda‘s Link has worn many hats over the years, both literally and figuratively. We’ve seen him as a train driver, a goat herder, sailing the high seas with a bunch of cartoonish pirates, cavorting with fairies in the forest, you name it. Never, though, have we seen him as a gunslinging cowboy.

That is, until now.

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Perfect Disney princess discovered in ice-cube by Japanese Twitter user

Whenever someone claims to have found the face of Jesus in their toast or sees the Virgin Mary in the bark of a tree, cynic that I am, my brain immediately jumps back to my old psychology textbook’s section on pareidolia, or the phenomenon of seeing familiar patterns or objects in unlikely places.

But on this occasion I’m willing to put my cynicism on hold for a moment and just believe. For I have just been shown a perfect, miniature Disney princess in an ice-cube.

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Air conditioner installation in China is for acrobats, not acrophobics 【Video】

If you’re ever had the misfortune of having to lift an air-conditioning unit, you’ll know that they’re actually pretty heavy. After all, they’re essentially big, unwieldy metal boxes filled with even more bits of metal, so you’d probably want someone to help you out if you had to install one in your home.

But not this man in China – no, he’d rather do things his own way. Even if that means shuffling along the outside ledge of an eye-wateringly high apartment building and stepping over the gap while carrying the air-conditioning unit all by himself.

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Taipei mailboxes become local attraction after powerful typhoon bends them out of shape【Video】

Last weekend, Typhoon Soudelor, a powerful storm whose winds were recorded in excess of 230km/h (142mph), tore through the island nation of Taiwan before heading north to batter Southern China. It claimed the lives of at least six people in Taiwan alone, and has left a literal trail of destruction in its wake.

Now that the storm has passed, however, people in the Taiwanese capital of Taipei have been lining up around the block for a unique photo opportunity with a couple of objects which only just survived the powerful winds…

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North Korea establishes its own time zone in order to stick it to “wicked Japanese imperialists”

Were they granted the ability to manipulate time and space, we’re fairly certain that most world leaders would choose to go back in time in order to benefit their own country somehow, replaying disastrous moments in their history and righting wrongs that would later cost them dearly. (One can only imagine a world in which the likes of Katie Hopkins and Donald Trump were never put in front of a camera…)

But today, totalitarian dictatorship North Korea declared that it would be turning the clock back by just 30 minutes, thus establishing “Pyongyang Time”, in order to mark its independence from the “wicked Japanese imperialists” who meddled with their clocks to begin with.

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Girls in Korea and Japan are rocking ‘heart hair’, but all we’re seeing are tiny bottoms

An unusual hair-styling trend known as “haato gata” (heart shape) or “haata appu mori” (heart up-set) has become the talk of the interwebs here in Japan recently.

The curious coiffure, which first sprouted in South Korea, is just what it sounds like: girls carefully style their fringe (or bangs to the rest of you) into the shape of a heart, strike a cute pose and then take a picture.

Sadly, to many of us, that’s not what the finished result it looks like…

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China’s Winter Olympics anthem bears an uncanny resemblance to Frozen’s “Let it Go” 【Video】

Despite their capital city having been chosen to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games just five days ago, the people of China are not currently in the best of moods. Rather than being filled with messages of pride and anticipation, online message boards and micro-blogging sites in China are brimming with anger and negative comments following the release of an official Olympic anthem titled “The Ice and Snow Dance”, written by celebrated pianist Zhao Zhao.

It’s a powerful, stirring piece that elicits the kind of chills you’d expect from a musical tribute to the Winter Olympics. But when you hear the song for yourselves, we think you’ll understand why people are not entirely happy about it.

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Awesome retro faceplate turns your New Nintendo 3DS into an old-school Game & Watch

With its Super Famicom-esque face buttons, the New Nintendo 3DS is already rocking the retro in a big way. But if you’d like your portable console to look even more old-school, this fully functional Game & Watch-themed faceplate from Japanese gadget and accessory maker Colombus Circle is sure to do the trick!

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Video of 10 white globes floating in Osaka sky leaves net users wondering worldwide【Video】

A video showing 10 unidentified flying objects hovering in the sky over the Japanese city of Osaka has been making waves in Japan this week, to the degree that news sites all around the globe have begun talking about it.

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“This will go down in history”: Cat displays unusual, impressive talent 【Video】

If you watch only one cat video today, make sure it’s this one. That might sound like an exaggeration, I know, but when you see what this little guy can do, you’ll thank me.

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The moment a chemical plant in China exploded in a mountain of flames 【Video】

Fire crews are currently battling a blaze at a petrochemical plant in Rizhao City in China’s Shandong Province following a massive explosion which occurred at just after 7:30am local time today.

Onlookers caught the moment the plant exploded on camera, only to then run for their lives as subsequent explosions caused the ground beneath their feet to shake.

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Probably the greatest, weirdest ad for sanitary napkins you’ll ever see【Video】

You have to feel for advertising copywriters sometimes. They have to come up with interesting and convincing ways to sell all manner of products, regardless of how mundane and unappealing they may be. But every so often, an ad comes along that makes us wish we’d been on the team that came up with it, it’s so breathtakingly weird.

After all, it’s not every day that you get to pitch ‘woman with sanitary undies for a head has suspicious red liquid drinking contest with rival sanitary napkins’.

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The more you know Mario: The unusual Japanese names of Nintendo’s Super Mario characters

If, like me, you grew up playing Super Mario Bros. on the NES, then you’re no doubt super excited for the launch of Super Mario Maker this coming September. Exclusive to Wii U, the game allows players to build their own worlds, using every block, enemy and power-up (plus a few new ones) from a whole host of Super Mario games, then share them with players all around the world.

For those of us who never quite gave up on our childhood dream of making games for Nintendo especially, Super Mario Maker is shaping up to be the ultimate celebration of 30 years of Mario, and the thought of throwing all your favourite bad guys into bizarre platforming situations has us positively giddy with excitement.

With that in mind, today we’ve decided to take a quick look at some of the characters we know and love from the Mario franchise. To spice things up, though, we’re going to be introducing you to their original Japanese names and explaining a little about the meanings behind them. Think you know Mario? Let’s find out!

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Studio Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki hard at work on first ever CG short 【Newsflash】

Hayao Miyazaki, the world-famous (supposedly retired) director and face of Studio Ghibli, is currently working on his first ever fully computer-generated movie, it has been revealed.

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Head your way to freedom in curiously titled virtual reality game “Headmaster” 【Video】

Oculus, Sony, Valve, and even Samsung have been heralding virtual reality as the future of gaming and entertainment for what feels like an age now. The few glimpses we’ve seen of the fledgling technology have both impressed and intrigued us, but titles that resemble the kind of games we can expect to play when these companies finally launch their respective headsets are still few and far between.

The unusually named Headmaster, however, is a good example of what we can probably expect to play as the technology finds its feet.

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Super Mario Maker gets an official release date, will be playable at Best Buy soon【E3 2015】

Nintendo has announced that Super Mario Maker, its extensive Mario-themed level creator software for Wii U, will go on sale from September 11 this year. A new Amiibo figure and level designer’s guide book are also scheduled for release.

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Nintendo announces “Star Fox Zero”【E3 2015】

Japanese video game giant Nintendo has announced that Star Fox Zero, a brand new game for Wii U, will be released at the end of this year.

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