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

Top-selling guide for picking up women in Hong Kong becomes the target of Change.org petition

Women of Hong Kong are none too happy about a bafflingly best-selling book that purports to teach men tips and tricks for picking up and having promiscuous sex with women in the Chinese autonomous territory. Get Laid in Hong Kong (at least the title is to the point) is a “sex tourism guide” of sorts for visiting western males that the pseudonymous author says is “guaranteed to get you laid.”

The book, perhaps in a sad reflection of the state of humankind, apparently hit No. 1 for Amazon sales in the “Asian Travel” category before it was briefly taken off virtual shelves due to backlash from Hong Kong women and an ongoing change.org petition.

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This cat looks hilariously like a sleeping anime character

There’s a lot of anime shorthand that, while perhaps a little hard for Westerners and non-nerds to decipher (just kidding, we love anime as much as the next guy), actually works really well to convey a scene’s mood once you understand the visual jargon.

One such shortcut we’ve talked about is the random spewing of blood from a character’s nose, which is used to represent lecherousness and lust, especially in male characters; probably because a comical boooiiing! and a sudden pants-ripping erection crowding out the rest of the screen is both a little too obvious, even for Japan.

Another is ubiquitously used to show a character sleeping and we’ll be damned if this real-life Japanese cat doesn’t nail it.

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Be the coolest (and brokest) fan at your next cosplay event with a US$5,000 Fate/stay night kit

Even though your mother would like you to know that it’s a silly, pointless hobby to spend your time trying to dress up like video game characters, and also, would it kill you to bring a girl home once in a while, Mike, instead of staying in your room all day reading those weird Japanese comic books?, cosplay is actually kind of hard work and requires a lot of commitment.

Sometimes that commitment comes in the form diligently researching every detail of a character, up to and including freeze frames from films and anime to get every dent, scratch and imperfection in your costume just right. Sometimes it’s commitment in the form of slaving away over the plastic pieces of your storm trooper outfit to ensure they fit together perfectly and are comfortable to wear and are appropriately badass.

And sometimes, it’s in the form of dropping the equivalent of a used car in cash to just buy a pre-made kit.

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Japanese Netizens share Italian friends’ “most Italian moments”

Throughout the world, the Japanese are known as being a particularly diligent and hardworking people, perhaps even to a fault. They are viewed as being bound by honor to devote their lives to their company and inner circle of closest friends and family.

Italians, on the other hand, are often thought to be, shall we say, extremely laid-back. Insofar as these things can be quantified, Italians work, on average, a bit less than those in many other countries, are quicker than many to hug and show affection, and are generally understood to be considerably less formal (and more, um… amorous) than the Japanese and others in both work and personal life. And with Japan being one of the most homogeneous countries in the world, and also being an island nation, it’s pretty common for the Japanese to exaggerate stereotypes even more than people from the rest of the world, as interaction with foreigners tends to be limited.

Which is why these “OMG, that’s soooo Italian!” Twitter stories Japanese Netizens shared about their encounters with Italian friends and acquaintances are apparently considered the pinnacle of comedy here in Japan. Let’s take a look.

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Jon Bon Jovi singing in Chinese is surreal 【Video】

Despite all of his singing about being “halfway there,” it seems that Jon Bon Jovi is perfectly capable of going the extra mile (even though it doesn’t really matter if he makes it or not, etc.).

The singer of many a rock ballad that your one roommate insists on blaring at ungodly hours, Bon Jovi is currently making bizarre new headlines with a YouTube video of him performing a well-known Chinese love song… entirely in the song’s original Mandarin language.

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Western artist challenges Japanese 2020 Olympic logo designer with new logo proposal

So, a little while back there was a bit of a kerfuffle about the official 2020 Tokyo Olympics logo being at least partially plagiarized by designer Kenjiro Sano.

It appears the logo bears more than a passing resemblance to a Belgian theater’s logo design, with the centerpiece typeface structure of the 2020 Olympics logo definitely looking like it was lifted wholesale from the Belgian firm’s design.

With the fate of Sano’s logo in question, a western designer has submitted his own version for consideration by the Olympic Committee and it is, uh… eccentric.

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Brave, pint-sized warrior almost loses his epic battle with a board

A while back, we introduced you to an adorably terrifying seven year-old karate sensation called Mahiro-chan, who appeared ready to more or less destroy the entire earth with her amazingly quick fists.

Well, if Mahiro-chan is the embodiment of cold, destructive toddler efficiency, this little tot is, uh…kind of maybe the opposite of that. Let’s watch as he valiantly takes on this incredibly thin sheet of balsa wood and almost loses.

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Chinese woman’s insane post-breakup tantrum goes viral 【Video】

There are a handful of accepted stages people go through when dealing with heartbreak. First, there is denial. Then, bargaining. Then, relapse. Anger. Acceptance. Then, finally, hope, as the subject of the breakup looks to the future and finally finds something worth looking forward to.

Or, if you’re this Chinese woman traveling in Hong Kong, you just lie down on the ground and shout at anyone and everyone who will listen until the police carry you away.

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The aftermath of that huge fuel explosion in China looks like a post-apocalyptic video game

If you don’t live in China or an adjacent country where you could presumably still hear the blast, or have been otherwise living under a rock, you may not have heard about the insanely huge explosion that rocked the city of Tianjin on Wednesday and briefly caused the city to look like the set of a conspicuously over-budgeted natural disaster movie.

Unfortunately, this disaster was very real and, tragically, has so far cost at least 50 people their lives, with many more still in critical condition. But, with the threat of further explosions unlikely, news cameras have started picking their way through the wreckage and devastation of the explosion, which occurred at a hazardous chemicals warehouse site, and the fallout looks just like a scene from a post-apocalyptic video game.

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Prepare for a “poopoopoo” picnic with Nintendo’s Kirby at Kiddyland this month

It’s hard to believe that our beloved, voracious powderpuff Kirby is over 20 years old now! “Born” in 1992 on the Nintendo Game Boy, the adorable little guy is actually a fully grown adult now, possibly with a driver’s license and, like, maybe even a family we don’t know about. We picture him holding down a boring office job somewhere in Tokyo, willing himself not to snap at his irritating boss and hoover him up (thus gaining his incredible powers of bureaucracy and micromanagement).

But, even though everybody’s favorite non-Jigglypuff pink ball creature is all grown up now, that doesn’t stop him from enjoying a good picnic!

A Poopoopoo picnic, to be exact.

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Ramen ice cream topped with freeze-dried beef cubes now available in Japan! (*barf*)

You hear a lot of news about the weird foods coming out of Japan. It’s almost as if, once a year or so at one food retailer or another, the guys in the marketing department have a meeting to determine the next delicious flavor to serve up to the masses, only for the director to suffer a minor brain aneurysm and start shouting a bunch of random gibberish about soil-flavored bananas or something.

And that, friends, is probably how we ended up with beef-topped ramen ice cream.

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Japan’s obesity rates to rise thanks to new portable “WalkCar” anti-walking device 【Video】

A Japanese engineer has unveiled a tiny, portable skateboard-type device which makes walking to just about any destination essentially unnecessary. At about the size of a bulky laptop, the “WalkCar” is slim and portable. It’s also powered by lithium batteries and likely the harbinger of the human race’s inevitable de-evolution into a legless, slug-like race of lard creatures…

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The Maasai people teach us how to kill a lion, demonstrate on our writer

Sure, you may have killed, like, 230 lions in Skyrim and traded in their pelts for a sweet dagger and maybe a cool tricorn hat, but it’s safe to say that, in real life, you probably wouldn’t fare so well against one of nature’s most efficient predators. First, where are you going to get a sweet set of gold armor and a giant warhammer? Secondly, humankind’s fight or flight response being what it is, you’re probably far more likely to projectile urinate onto your attacker while fleeing at top speed like the damn Roadrunner or something.

No, outside of Skyrim, there is only really one group of people (that don’t routinely use high-powered, modern weapons like they’re hunting the Predator) that can actually boast of taking on lions and walking away not only alive but victorious. Lucky for us, we’re tight with these folks – the Maasai people of Kenya and Tanzania – and they graciously taught us their technique, using one of our most unfortunate Japanese writing staff to demonstrate.

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You might think the job of high school textbook editor might just be one of the most mind-numbingly mundane around, but it turns out such a career can be risky business indeed. There’s constant updating required, plus you have to keep a keen eye out for the occasional bonkers writer that might try to slip in some historical revisionism now and again, plus test questions and whatnot need to be challenging without being overwhelming, etc.

And now, it looks like you can add “making sure no one secretly slipped an image of a Japanese porn star into the review questions section” to the list of high-stakes tasks facing the humble textbook editor.

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Taiwan pulls ahead of Japan in moe race, plasters subway cars with doe-eyed girls

You wouldn’t be alone in thinking that the whole “moe” phenomenon – you know, that chibi, super cute anime girl style of animation and illustration that’s all over Tokyo’s infamous Akihabara district – is a Japan-only thing. But in reality, moe has spread throughout Asia and even beyond. It seems a lot of fans are captivated by the adorable schoolgirl outfits, exaggerated mannerisms and impossibly huge eyes of these distinct animated girls.

One such region in which moe has really taken hold is Taiwan, which is so obsessed with the animation style that it’s kind of doubled down on the moe-ness, pulling ahead of even Japan’s moe obsession by plastering its subways with moe characters.

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Microsoft’s Windows 10 ads inadvertently ruffle feathers in Korea with… a bad choice of font?

American tech giant Microsoft apparently has some explaining to do to Korean Windows users.

That’s because a television commercial announcing the recent release of Microsoft Windows 10, the latest and blessedly less-infuriating edition of the company’s flagship operating system, apparently commits an unwritten faux pas by way of a text font displayed in the ad.

And if you’re as baffled as we initially were about how a simple, commonly used font could be so offensive, well, let us tell you a little story about Japan-Korea relations…

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New Toyota ad showcases safety tech, reminds us the world is horrifying and dangerous 【Video】

There’s a new Toyota commercial making the rounds on the Japanese Interwebs – with over 2 million views on YouTube – which showcases not only some mind-boggling new safety tech on Toyota cars, but also reminds viewers that the world is a dangerous place in which something terrifying, embarrassing or graphically injurious could happen to you at any time.

Join us after the jump for the feel-good video of the year!

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Hey ladies, have any cup size you want with this deceptively simple “air bra”

Not that we would know, considering we’ve never even seen a female breast in real life, let alone come close enough to a woman to have a conversation about it, but we hear that a lot of women are somewhat, let’s say, self-conscious about their breast size.

Modern standards of beauty being what they are, it’s common for women to show a little bit of breast cleavage to signal confidence and sexiness (but heaven forbid a man display a little bit of his God-given testicle cleavage, amirite guys?),  but what if you’re one of the many ladies just a little too shy of material to work with? Sure, there’s the cartoon standard of stuffing watermelons into your shirt, but who’s got the time to hunt down two watermelons of the exact same size, anyway?

Luckily for small-chested ladies everywhere, Japanese beauty product manufacturer CosMedic has taken the guesswork and produce out of non-surgical breast augmentation with this deceptively simple air bra!

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Dragon Quest XI’s main protagonist’s outfit may reveal a spoilery secret origin

Common knowledge to basically anyone conceivably reading this website, Japan is responsible for two of the world’s biggest, longest-running and most well-known console RPG seriesFinal Fantasy and Dragon Quest. While both have historically featured similar gameplay (random enemy encounters, turn-based battles and the like), the two series are distinct enough that many JRPG fans prefer either one or the other series.

While Dragon Quest has evolved into a kind of cutesy, anime-inspired, all-ages RPG series, for example, Final Fantasy has always taken a more adult tack. And while each game in the Final Fantasy series takes place in a totally distinct universe from other entries, the games of the Dragon Quest series are at least loosely related to one another, making some interesting and sometimes dark game-to-game connections evident to observant players.

And one such dark connection may be hiding in plain sight in the upcoming Dragon Quest XI’s promotional materials.

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Ads for JR’s “Seishun 18” rail pass celebrate the isolated beauty of Japan’s most far-flung stations

It seems so easy to plan an entire Japan vacation around a single tour of the Tokyo metropolitan area. The mega city has just about everything a tourist could possibly want to see, from Akihabara’s blinding neon to the breathtaking skyline of Yokohama, to the quiet, old-world charm (and weird poop sculpture) of Asakusa.

But to not venture away from Tokyo, to Japan’s more far-flung and lesser-known destinations is to rob yourself of the grander Japan experience, and Japan Rail (JR) has long sought to encourage visitors, both domestic and foreign, to wander off the beaten path with the Seishun 18 unlimited rail pass. And, if the idea of unlimited access to JR’s vast and far-reaching network of tracks isn’t enough to inspire your sense of adventure on your next Japan visit, perhaps these ads for the Seishun 18 rail pass, which depict the isolated beauty of some of Japan’s most remote train stations, will be.

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