Europe

Ken Akamatsu bemoans Britain’s child pornography sentencing

“The days of quietly drawing whatever you like are already over”

Robul Hoque, a 39-year-old resident of Middlesbrough, England, was recently given a suspended sentence of nine months in prison for possession of child pornography when investigators found “manga” drawings of schoolgirls on his computer. The sentence is suspended so long as Hoque follows the court’s guidelines for two years, but manga artist Ken Akamatsu (Love Hina, Negima! Magister Negi Magi) disapproved of the conviction and reacted to the news on Twitter.

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U.K. man sentenced for prohibited images of ‘manga’ children

The Teesside Crown Court of Middlesbrough, England convicted 39-year-old Robul Hoque of 10 counts of possessing prohibited images of children. However, the children depicted in the images were all drawings. Hoque is believed to be the first man in the country brought to court solely over manga and anime images. The court sentenced him to nine months in prison, but the sentence will be suspended if Hoque maintains good behavior and follows the court’s requirements for two years.

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Awesome fan art reveals Disney characters’ Instagram accounts

We spend a lot of time looking at our favorite Disney characters. With all the attention we shower upon them, we wouldn’t be surprised if, by this point, they’re all absolutely convinced that we want to know what they’re up to every single moment of the day.

So really, we wouldn’t blame Ariel, Alice, and the rest if they all started snapping selfies and sharing them online, like in this fan art that looks at what we could expect if Disney characters had Instagram accounts.

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Crimea’s Natalia Poklonskaya goes brunette, net users ponder the existence of natural blondes

Despite being prosecutor general of a country more than eight thousand miles away and not, in fact, a scantily clad pop star desperately seeking fame, Crimea’s Natalia Poklonskaya has achieved near-celebrity status here in Japan. Since rocketing to fame in March this year, legions of admirers have dedicated hours to studying the young lawyer’s “angel-like” face, creating anime-style drawings of her and day-dreaming about being interrogated by her in a room with no windows.

Late last week, however, the formerly blonde Poklonskaya appeared at a State Council meeting with her hair tied back and noticeably darker. As you might imagine, this minor cosmetic change caused quite a stir here in Japan and quickly resulted in a debate over which look suited Poklonskaya best, with some online commenters seemingly confused not just about which of the two is her natural colour, but whether a natural blonde would ever go darker of their own volition.

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Clever font sneaks pronunciation guide for English speakers into Japanese katakana characters

Written Japanese uses three kinds of script. At the top of the difficulty curve, you’ve got kanji, the complex characters originally imported from China that can require over a dozen brush strokes to write, with each kanji representing a word or concept.

A little less challenging are hiragana, a set of 50 curving phonetic characters, but if English is your native language, odds are you’ll have the least trouble with angular katakana. Like hiragana, katakana is a phonetic system, so each character corresponds to a syllable. Even better, while often one kanji can have three or four possible readings, each katakana has just one possible pronunciation.

Of course, you still have to memorize how to pronounce all 50 katakana (85 if you’re being really technical) in the first place. One group of graphic designers are aiming to make that task a little easier, though, with a font that combines katakana with phonetics written in English.

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Photobook of cats in Japan goes beyond kawaii, beautifully captures many sides of feline life

For those of you who need a little break from Japanese cute culture and pampered internet stars from the animal kingdom, French photographer Alexandre Bonnefoy’s photobook may be just the ticket. Neko Land: Une vie de chat au Japon (A cat’s life in Japan) reveals the many faces of street cats, communally owned cats, pets, and cat café residents found all over Japan, from Okinawa to Hokkaidō.

Read on to view a large sample of the elegant and expressive work that resulted from his two-year stay, which portrays cats from many walks of life in a frank, but no less loving, manner. As Bonnefoy gives equal importance to their unadorned surroundings, let these felines guide you and immerse yourself in the often overlooked nooks and crannies of the varied communities around Japan.

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Japanese flutist keeps her cool, plays beautifully even with a butterfly crawling across her face

Part of my job at RocketNews24 is providing English titles for the videos on our YouTube channel. So my knee-jerk reaction when stumbling across a clip, from a different source, with the title “flute performance butterfly stop the face” is to point out the capitalization and syntax errors.

But you know what? Full points to whoever thought it up anyway. That jumbled cocktail of nouns and verbs just about perfectly captures what would run through any of our heads if we experienced what the woman in the video did: a butterfly crawling around her face in the middle of an important flute performance.

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Norwegian rocker with insane vocal range covers anime songs and more【Videos】

PelleK is a Norwegian rock and metal singer who doesn’t just limit himself to screaming about death and darkness, and uses his amazing vocal talents to cover anime songs and more, uploading them to YouTube for everyone to enjoy. Check out his awesome voice and performances in the videos below.

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Häagen-Dazs creates winter wonderland that’s both gorgeous to look at and sweet to taste!

It seems only a short while ago that we were battling the unrelenting summer heat here in Tokyo, but now that autumn is on its way, apparently it’s already time to start hearing news about Christmas — heavens, it’s hard to keep up with the passing of the seasons!

Well, for those of you who like to start thinking early about the Holiday Season, one of the reporters from our sister site Pouch has a very special Christmas cake to introduce to you. It’s an absolutely gorgeous creation by gourmet ice cream brand Häagen-Dazs — which is more than enough to catch our attention and make our mouths water. And even though they’ll only be available in one shop in France, the cakes look so exquisite that we just had to share the pictures with you!

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Nightmare food – Artist creates shockingly colorful portraits out of junk food

British artist James Ostrer created a series of artwork titled Junk Food Portraits by layering amounts of all of our most familiar junk foods on models. The result is at once stunning yet unnerving. While these surreal images are indeed vidid, we have to admit they made us think: is this really thing kind of thing we ought to be putting into our bodies? No wonder these portraits caught the eye of so many Japanese net users!

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London-based makeup artist wows us with her eye-popping lip art! 【Photos】

We’ve previously witnessed the gender-bending, face-changing prowess of makeup on several occasions. With some technique, even a man can transform into a glamorous chick. Taking makeup to a whole new transformation level, London-based makeup artist Laura Jenkinson takes on a slightly different approach with her technique, using her skills not to cover imperfections, nor to turn monolids into double eyelids. With vivid colors and artistic flicks of her makeup brush, she transforms her lips into lively, adorable characters! How many of these can you recognize?

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Become an anime babe with amazing DIY jeans from Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

Have you seen Nisha the Lawbringer? She’s tall and lean and rocks an awesome pair of skinny jeans. Only problem is, she lives in an alternate reality called Borderlands and spends most of her days fighting on the moon.

Your chances of meeting the animated babe just got exponentially better, as one dedicated cosplayer has revealed a technique to replicate the character’s trademark jeans. That’s right – the jeans above might look illustrated, but they’re absolutely real. Take a look at how they’re made after the jump.

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Table tennis greats serve up incredible 41-shot rally at Commonwealth Games

The 2014 Commonwealth Games were held in Glasgow from July 23 to August 3 with 71 nations competing in 18 different sports, table tennis among them. If you’ve never watched table tennis before, then you might be forgiven for thinking that it’s not particularly exciting. Think again.

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New Japanese restaurant named はな毛 (nose hair), sighted in Germany, actually has a Japanese owner!

If you’re located outside of Japan, think of some Japanese restaurants around you and chances are their names contain easily recognizable, if uninspired, nouns like “sakura,” “Tokyo,” or “Fuji.” For instance, near me are eateries like Umi, Kaze, Samurai Boston, and countless Teriyaki House’s. One even contains my name, requiring me once in a while to explain that no, I’m not related.

Now, imagine the surprise of one Japanese Twitterer who stumbled upon an okonomiyaki restaurant in Berlin, Germany called “Hanage (はな毛)”, or nasal hair. Mmm, scrumptious!

At first glance, you’d think that this is simply another case of unfortunate word choices by a non-native speaker, like some kanji tattoos or English directions on Asian food packages. Almost as surprising as the bodily reference, however, is the fact that this restaurant was opened by a Japanese woman! To quote one Twitter commenter, “Why? Why? Why?”

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Real-life Barbie swears she’s all-natural, reveals childhood photos as proof【Photos】

To be honest, we’ve lost count of the number of real-life Barbies this website has seen, and the fact that we can barely tell them apart under all that makeup doesn’t make things any easier. Well, that probably goes to imply that they’ve done a great job at achieving their motives of looking like a mass-produced plastic doll.

Long hair, dainty pointy noses, big eyes, full lips, exaggerated body proportions and porcelain-like skin are a couple of things that these girls have in common, which often brings netizens to the conclusion that they’re “fake” or “plastic”. However, one of these living Barbies, Alina Kovalevskaya from Ukraine, has been claiming that she’s all-natural, and to prove that, she has posted childhood photos of herself online. Could she be the real deal? We’ve got the photos for your scrutiny after the break!

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London’s Sumo Run has Japanese confused, kind of offended

This week the annual charity event known as the Sumo Run took place in London’s Battersea Park. To raise money for education in sub-Saharan Africa, participants don inflatable sumo suits and run the 5km course around the park, no doubt delighting passersby in the country that gave us Monty Python.

But when media outlets in Japan reported on the event, the audience here was not universally pleased, with some people calling it racist cultural appropriation.

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Basement Jaxx’s bizarre Japan-based music video freaks us out, makes us want to dance

Sometimes it seems like whenever a Western creator wants to get away with something really over the top and crazy, they just set it in Japan to take advantage of that “those Japanese are sooooo weird” stereotype while simultaneously distancing themselves from criticism.

The latest creators to do this are British electronic dance band Basement Jaxx, who have come up with something really, uh… special.

Before we let you watch, we’ll give you a heads-up that it’s somewhat NSFW-ish, mainly on account of it involving robotic butts twerking. We told you it was bizarre.

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Artist paints Totoro, classic Japanese artwork, and more, all on pregnant women’s stomachs

In Japan, there’s a long, proud tradition of drunken men drawing faces on their bellies, then contorting in order to make them appear to talk or sing. Wait, did we say proud? We mean embarrassing.

This doesn’t mean all abdominal art is automatically silly and repulsive however, as one artist is helping enhance the radiance of pregnancy by painting beautiful works of art on the stomachs of mothers-to-be.

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Why was Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 flying over Ukraine? NHK explains

The recent tragedy of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 has capture the attention and sympathy of people across the world, leaving many wondering how such a horrible accident could have occurred. While fingers are being pointed and world leaders are looking for someone to blame, many in Japan are also wondering why a flight from Amsterdam to Malaysia was going through Ukrainian airspace in the first place.

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German team hero Mario Gotze wins World Cup, later loses dignity thanks to gross pic

As they say, it’s all fun and games in soccer until someone resurfaces an old picture of a soccer star’s gross public boner.

Mario Gotze, the newly-crowned hero of the German soccer team who shot the World Cup-winning score against Argentina will now, thanks to the magic of the Internet, forever be known as “that guy who got a boner in public while wearing a Speedo,” because FIFA – with its draconian control over all soccer content shared on YouTube – has ensured that Twitter-shared boner pics will circulate forever and ever and ever, but actual video of the game-winning goal will be nearly impossible to find.

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