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

Considering a tattoo? Take it for a removable test run with these tattoo sleeves

The whole reason tattoos are so cool is that they literally become a part of you after you get one. They can’t be erased – at least not without some expensive laser surgery. There’s a certain cool factor in being confident enough in your feelings about Professor Farnsworth or the Triforce to get them permanently etched into your skin.

On the flip-side, though, it’s all too common for people to get a tattoo that they later very much regret. Whether it’s the name of a college girlfriend you’ve long since broken up with, the name of that emo band you thought was cool in the early 2000s, or a veritable collage of anime characters from the 80s and 90s, some tattoo choices can come back to haunt you.

That may be a thing of the past, though, now that Japanese companies are offering removable tattoo sleeves!

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Gripping footage of a cat walking backwards on two legs is today’s must-see cat video

In a scene we’re not sure belongs in a Three Ring Circus or a feline-themed sequel to The Exorcist, a Japanese YouTuber managed to film their cat somehow not only walking on two legs – a somewhat rare occurrence compared to dogs – but doing it backwards like it does it all the time.

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Somebody turned a Disney Channel cartoon into an anime and it’s pretty awesome

There are a lot of topsy-turvy world “What if…?” scenarios to ponder. Like, “What if I’d invested the money from my crappy summer job as a kid instead of blowing it all on Fruit by the Foot?,” “What if John Candy had lived to make Cool Runnings 2?,” or even, “What if cats ruled the world?” (oh wait, that one’s true…).

But if you were ever wondering what the world would be like if Disney were run entirely by Japanese people, it looks like a particularly talented animator with a love of anime has taken the time to give you a short glimpse of that scenario with this awesome anime tribute titled, “What if Gravity Falls was an anime?”

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McDonald’s “Build a Burger” experiment expands to Australia… Next, the world?

So, usually when it comes to burgers in Japan, we prefer to let the talented burger artists at famous fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s, Burger King and especially Lotteria do their thing – because it usually results in crazy squid ink burgers, nine-patty monstrosities, and other 6th grade science experiment-esque monstrosities.

But McDonald’s has slowly been unveiling a tech- and customer-savvy new way of dealing burgers with its limited run of “Create a Burger” options at select stores.

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Creepy “Tranquility Chair” may or may not feed on human emotions

Ever felt like you needed a little company or affection but didn’t want to go through the hassle of actually interacting with another human being face-to-face?

You might go for a new pet – a dog, cat, or, in even the creepiest of circumstances, an exotic reptile – or you might head to an online chatroom, some kind of hotline, a mobile app, or maybe even one of those newfangled virtual schoolgirl ogling simulators.

Or, if you’re a misunderstood serial killer, maybe you’d instead go for one of these incredibly disconcerting hugging clown chairs.

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Thai schoolgirl uniforms poised to edge out traditional Japanese ones in Japan?

It looks like Japanese girls can’t get enough of schoolgirl uniforms these days. Once loathed by their wearers as stuffy, boring and a symbol of conformity (pretty much kryptonite to teenagers), Japanese girls have – over the last few decades – come to embrace the schoolgirl uniform as a sexy, fashionable and customizable wardrobe choice in and out of the classroom.

The problem, though: It looks like it isn’t Japanese schoolgirl uniforms that girls really want nowadays. What they really want are Thai schoolgirl uniforms.

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Legendary anime voice actor Iemasu Kayumi passes away at 80

If you’re into anime – like really into anime – you’re almost certainly watching your favorites in their original Japanese rather than dubbed in English. In which case, we have some sad news for you: Legendary voice actor Iemasu Kayumi, responsible for lending the charm and gravitas to many of the most memorable characters both in anime’s 80s and 90s heyday and in more modern works – has passed away at the age of 80.

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Kobe video arcade gets gamers in the fighting spirit with taunting subway posters

Every gamer knows that one of the best ways to get another gamer frustrated and seeking sweet, bloody in-game revenge is a well-placed “your mom” joke or other taunt or insult involving one’s relatives, girl/boyfriend, dog, cat or the size of certain parts of the target’s anatomy.

Which might mean that this Kobe video game arcade – which, remember, are still quite popular in Japan – may have struck marketing gold with this new ad campaign featuring insulting posters plastered all over the subway.

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Thailand’s Incredible Hulk sculpture is made out of nuts and bolts, is… pretty cool

“Incredible,” “Amazing,” “Spectacular,” “Uncanny” – these are all words that have been used to describe various Marvel comics characters and superhero teams over the years. But we were so shocked and awed by this awesome Incredible Hulk sculpture that when we saw it, we could only haltingly stammer, “Pretty… Cool…” before we wet our pants and wept simultaneously in a fit of sheer nerd joy.

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Popular old-school Japanese anime gets its own restaurant for adoring Chinese fans

Despite the increasingly obvious and alarm-inducing deterioration of the political relationship between Japan and China, it appears there’s one Japanese export the Chinese just can’t possibly bring themselves to boycott: Manga and anime.

Even at a time when the Chinese are openly fist-fighting other Chinese in the streets for the crime of choosing a Japanese car, manga and anime – especially, it seems, of the old-school variety – have pervaded Chinese pop culture to the point that it’s not only accepted to read it regularly, some Chinese business owners are going to great lengths to cash in on the popularity of Japan’s biggest pop cultural export.

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Confusion as bizarre mass pants-ripping occurs at Chinese military reserve training

Chinese media is abuzz with serious concerns about the combat effectiveness of China’s military as it was revealed that, at a recent college military reserve training session, over 100 reservists’ camouflage pants simultaneously ripped out of nowhere.

The explosive rippage was apparently triggered when around 4,500 reservists – both men and women – were commanded by a drill instructor to sit down. We can only assume the drill instructor was the Chinese equivalent of R. Lee Ermy, as some of the reservists apparently took his command so seriously that they sat down with enough force to utterly destroy the stitching in their standard issue pants.

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Not sure if zombie outbreak affecting only cute college girls or found weird niche fetish site

Here’s something to make “Not Sure if…” Fry’s head explode out of sheer confusion. It looks like there may or may not be a zombie epidemic spreading throughout Tokyo which affects only young, college-aged girls.

…Or it could be a strange, niche soft porn site for lonely Japanese lovers of horror and very cute girls.

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Of course Japan wants you to use the Oculus Rift to look up girls’ skirts

Today in the most unsurprising non-news possibly ever: Yes, Japan is working on yet another creepy, borderline pedophilic virtual reality “game” where you interact in new, sleazy ways with a possibly underage girl.

This time, the new program in question is an Oculus Rift (the newer DK2, of course) game where the goal is to blow into a microphone and upturn virtual reality hottie Hatsune Miku’s skirt with your comically powerful virtual breath.

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Teen job hunter learns: Do not screw around at an interview with McDonald’s Japan

Most of us have probably heard of the weird questions people get at top-paying tech companies like Google, Apple, Facebook and, whatever, Chia Pet or something. You know what we’re talking about: “How many toilets do you think are in San Francisco?,” “If you were a pizza delivery man, how would you benefit from scissors?,” “Why is a tennis ball fuzzy?,” and, of course, “Why did you sleep with my sister and did you really think you’d get away with it?” (Just me?)

But we bet the last place you’d probably expect to get one of these abstract, no-right-answer kind of logic puzzle questions would be, say, an interview for a part-time job flipping burgers at McDonald’s, right?

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Tokyo Disney Resorts to introduce plethora of new attractions for 2015

Supposedly 2014 was the “Year of Universal Studios Japan,” as the park introduced radical changes and saw a substantial spike in attendance. This must have made Mickey Mouse and Co. a little nervous, as Tokyo Disney Resorts is introducing an almost comical number of new events and attractions for 2015 in what could be a scramble to maintain their long reign as king, or perhaps magical princess, of the theme parks.

At the moment there’s not a lot of information about the new attractions, but it seems that many of them are aiming to bring a little more traditional Japanese culture to The Happiest Place in Japan. In no particular order, here are the new planned events and attractions for Tokyo Disney Resorts in 2015:

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Fans take love of a certain anime character to creepy heights with real life birthday cakes, etc.

I remember one time I had a pet frog (I named it Cyrax because Mortal Kombat was big at the time. Also, robots are cool), and I went to great lengths to pamper it even though I knew, even in my tiny child brain, that my frog was a barely sentient creature that was only vaguely aware at best of some otherworldly giant hand reaching out to annoy it from time to time.

I’m able to relate this story to people without shame because a) I was a kid, and b) the frog was at least a real, tangible creature of some measurable amount of intelligence.

These super committed anime geeks, however, have no such excuse.

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Universal Studios Japan has a “Horror Night,” and it’s apparently pretty horrific

In recent years, Japan seems to have been catching on to the whole Halloween thing in a big way. Halloween celebrations and festivals grow and grow year after year and they’re starting earlier in the year than ever before.

Case in point: Universal Studios Japan’s “Horror Night” program starts over a month before Halloween, which is earlier than even some of my more overzealous Halloween buff friends in America were asking for costume ideas on Facebook. Of course, getting started early on the Halloween spirit is never a bad thing; everybody loves the family-friendly adrenaline kick you get from being “soft scared” by horror events you know are just pretend.

The problem, apparently, is that Universal Studios – according to Japanese media – might be taking things a little too far.

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Sad 3DS user wants Gamecube peripheral for Smash Brothers, genius tinkerer provides

There are few things in life more competitive than Super Smash Brothers (and, like, hot dog eating contests with hamsters). So, even though you can now Smash Brothers on the go with the new 3DS version, truly competitive players don’t want to settle for the 3DS’s inferior, cramped D-pad and button layout.

A clever Japanese Twitter user recently openly dreamed of a better way to Smash Brothers on his 3DS by connecting an old-school Gamecube controller to the portable handheld and, shockingly, another even more genius Twitter user responded with a real-life prototype he made with plentiful engineering skills, his own two hands, and what appears to be a bunch of fresh spaghetti.

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Oh Boy, That’s Pretty Racist (Part Two): Japanese woman explains why Taiwanese girls suck

Earlier in our thankfully extremely sporadic series, “Oh Boy, That’s Pretty Racist,” we covered a Japanese “comedian” (I use this term loosely) who posted Vine videos as a poorly acclimated Indian guy living in Japan, complete with racist accent and affinity for curry, of course.

For our second installment, we have a Japanese woman living in Taiwan explaining the reasons people should choose Japanese women over Taiwanese women using broad cultural stereotypes that at best unfairly pigeonhole Taiwanese ladies, and at worst are outright false. Let’s take a look:

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Chinese man cleans up after his countrymen, single-handedly repairs Japan-China relations

If you’re an Apple fanboy living in Japan, you may have noticed – while waiting in a ridiculously long line for your latest gadget – that there was a huge number of Chinese nationals waiting in line along with you.

That’s because, for the last couple of years, heading out to other countries to buy up the latest Apple products and sell them for a profit back in China has become a popular pastime for China’s more enterprising scalpers.

But this year, when Apple stores unexpectedly sold out of the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 + before lines could dissipate, things got a little out of hand with the remaining Chinese customers, who reportedly stormed at least one Tokyo-based Apple store and wrecked the place – in addition to leaving piles of garbage out on the streets. Which would not have gone down well had it not been for the actions of one man.

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