Mike

With nothing better to do in his native Ohio, Mike took a leave of absence from all responsibilities in life and came to Japan for the first time in 2006. After several years of what amounted to an extended vacation with occasional Japanese lessons, circumstances led Mike to finally settle down in Tokyo and get serious about life in 2009. He’s worked at magazines, a Japanese ad agency, and currently works in the entertainment industry. He also co-founded and writes for the humorous Japan news website Tokyodesu.com.

All Stories by Mike

Japanese diorama artist makes models smaller than an actual thumbnail【Photos】

Shunichi Matsuba, a self-proclaimed diorama artist, creates extraordinarily detailed miniature scenes of Japanese life past and present — often using models smaller than a fingertip.

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Japanese gamers hard at work on amazing Dragon Quest Builders structures

The spin-off building-cum-adventuring game debuted just over a week ago, but Japanese gamers are already showing off their most brilliant and wacky creations.

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Universal Studios Japan to (probably) get Nintendo-themed attractions

Nintendo and Universal Studios Japan (USJ) recently signed a basic business agreement that could pave the way for future USJ attractions featuring Nintendo characters and game worlds.

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These convenience stores really, really want you to buy their ehomaki Setsubun rolls

Ehomaki “lucky sushi rolls” are a big part of Setsubun—the changing of the seasons festival. So big, in fact, that some convenience stores appear to be losing their minds in an effort to sell more rolls than the competition.

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We visit the Suntory Yamazaki Distillery, the newly-renovated, boozy paradise

The whisky distiller, famous for upstaging Scottish standbys to be crowned “Best Whisky in the World” in 2014, recently renovated their open-to-the-public facilities. We figured it was as good an excuse as any for a tour and tasting!

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Danbo goes to war with these cute/intimidating “Zero” fighter plane-inspired designs

Toy maker Kaiyodo, famous for their ultra-detailed figures, recently released two new designs of their popular Danbo character which recall the WWII-era “Zero” Japanese fighter plane.

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Japan’s trendy eringi mushroom pasta recipe: As eye-catching as it is labor-intensive 【Photos】

The recipe calls for meticulously sticking dry noodles into numerous mushroom stalks. Uppercutting the entire dish into the atmosphere out of sheer frustration at the difficulty of that step is, we presume, optional.

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“Flappy Bird” creator teams with Japanese publisher for coming release of a “ninja game”

The creator of Flappy Bird is apparently working with Japanese studio Obakaidem to produce several titles, including a “ninja game.”

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Fire Emblem Fates’ controversial “gay conversion therapy” scene to be cut for western release

Nintendo says a scene contained in the Japanese release of Fire Emblem Fates, which could be construed as advocating “gay conversion therapy,” will not appear in the English release.

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We try new yakisoba noodles with chocolate sauce (Spoiler: it’s awful)

Food manufacturer Myojo recently released a special version of their popular Ippei-chan instant yakisoba noodles that includes a chocolate sauce topping. We tried it… so you don’t have to.

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Make your own Castle in the Sky, have an excuse to play with your food with this simple trick

A magically floating Castle in the Sky – of Studio Ghibli fame – made from yakisoba and a whole head of broccoli is making the Japanese Twitter rounds. And you can make one, too!

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Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke goes Art Nouveau in amazing fan art treatment

Studio Ghibli fan and Part-time artist Hannah Alexander created this dazzling Art Nouveau version of Princess Mononoke from Hayao Miyazaki’s classic animated film.

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New wearable device reads your pet’s mind (to remind you they’re probably annoyed at you)

The pet wearables venture company, Anicall, promises a new device and accompanying smartphone app that can read your pet’s emotions.

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Japanese household’s hilarious “family meeting notes” seem straight out of a sitcom

A Japanese couple and their kids have a “family meeting” every month and take detailed notes with monthly goals and results. In true sitcom fashion, they end up surreal and hilarious.

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Five Japanese misconceptions about foreign male/Japanese female couples

Japanese blogger and internationalist Madame Riri explores five prejudices and misconceptions foreign male-Japanese female couples experience in Japan.

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New series gives Tomica toy cars a Feudal makeover with samurai-inspired designs

Takara Tomy will introduce several neat new models in their spectacularly popular Tomica toy car line later this month, each based on Feudal-Era warriors and generals.

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Women in China apparently competing in bikini contests to become flight attendants

The People’s Daily reports that graduates from a Quingdao-area school are encouraged to compete in a runway competition to net jobs as flight attendants or models.

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We bought one million yen worth of scratch lottery tickets to test the chances of winning big

We dropped 1 million yen (approximately US$8,300) on 5,000 Japan National Lottery scratch-off tickets to see if buying in bulk translates to bigger wins.

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Clever ad publicly shames commuters in real-time for “smartphone walking” in train station【Video】

A metro operator set up a monitoring device and announcement system to single out individual commuters caught using their smartphones while walking near escalators or passing trains.

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Decorative animal toys with massive chins now a thing in Japan for some reason

Toy manufacturer Takara Tomy A.R.T.S continues its line of bizarre “gacha” capsule toys with cute (?) animals that have developed enormous underbites.

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