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

600-yen Chinese buffet opens in Tokyo, Americans rejoice

Although slightly paradoxical, there’s kind of nothing more American than the good ol’ Chinese buffet.

The Chinese buffet is an American fixture that takes an imported cuisine (basically the only thing America really has) and twists it to suit American tastes. Over the years, it’s become a classic staple of the American diet, fortune cookies and all. Also there’s probably something to be said about the American dream – “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses,” and all that – beneath all the MSG and faux duck meat. Whatever.

So American expats, nostalgic for their weekly family fix of spicy staples like General Tso’s chicken and other incongruous Asian fusion dishes, must be rejoicing at the news that there’s now a Chinese buffet in Tokyo serving all-you-can-eat Chinese classics for a measly 600 yen (US$5.50).

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You guys, Donut Selfies are totally the next big thing

If there’s one unwritten, universal rule of the Internet (other than Rule 34), it’s that you can’t purposefully make something “go viral.” As you read this, there is almost certainly a team of marketing people in a boardroom somewhere trying to figure out a way to leverage that crazy “Shibe Doge” into an ad campaign that will almost certainly never succeed.

But one former Microsoft employee apparently thinks she can buck the trend with her new invention, the “Donut Selfie.”

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Attack of the Clones: Finalists in this year’s Miss Korea contest once again looking eerily alike

In perhaps the one case in which broadly dismissing an entire group of exotic-looking people by saying, “Eh, they all look the same to me,” maybe isn’t all that offensive, the 2014 Miss Korea contestant lineup once again looks eerily like a lineup of I, Robot-style doppelgangers.

This year saw around 50 finalists, whom the agency holding the competition saw fit to line up in a photo roster for our viewing pleasure:

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Gorgeous Taiwanese woman recruiting “temporary boyfriends” to fund her China travels

Having trouble finding love? Have a bunch of money you just don’t know what to do with? Are you Chinese, over 1.75 meters tall, under 30, rich and generous?

Then congratulations! You fulfill all the requirements to earn yourself the privilege of spending a fortune for a night together with this Taiwanese girl who is recruiting “temporary boyfriends” to fund her travels across China.

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New first-class bus seats have built-in massage functions, internet access and… dictionary

Starting soon, you’ll be able to make the journey from Fukuoka to Tokyo with about as much style as you can get while riding an excruciatingly long night bus.

The Nisshi Nippon Railroad Co., which confusingly also apparently operates a bus line or two, says it will be installing the new “Premium Seats” on a very small selection of its newest buses. While we’ll admit there’s nothing all that luxurious about a bus seat, no matter how far the seat reclines and how fancy the amenities, this one comes with a pretty extensive list of perks:

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At least a few of these packaging “fails” from around the world had to be intentional

It turns out that when you put a bunch of mostly teens and 20-somethings in a largely unsupervised warehouse setting, then pay them minimum wage or so to engage in mindless physical labor like stuffing things into boxes and cans, you’re going to get the odd bit of mischief. And it turns out this may be a global phenomenon!

Case in point, these packaging “fails” found around the world. Sure, at first glance, some of them seem like bad translations or factory mix-ups, but you can tell at least a few are obviously the result of bored factory workers or store stockers:

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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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