Europe

A Maasai tribesman in Ginza: How Tokyo fashion empowers women a world away in Africa 【Photos】

A Maasai tribesman in Ginza: How Tokyo fashion empowers women a world away in Africa 【Photos】

Glitzy Ginza is a high-end shopping district in Tokyo that attracts luxury brand flagship stores, ladies who lunch, and businesspeople with cash to burn. But if you happen to be there this week, you might spot something very incongruous in this moneyed mecca: a Maasai tribesman selling shoes.

William hails from Kenya, where he is the head of a Maasai tribe, and the shoes he is here to promote are a Spanish brand called Pikolinos. So how did an African tribesman end up in the Japanese capital selling European shoes?

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World’s fastest what now?!

World’s fastest what now?!

Honda UK has attempted to set a new Guinness World Record for speed—but it wasn’t with a car or motorcycle. They have aspired to be the manufacturers of the world’s fastest riding lawn mower!

Last July, the automobile giant announced that they had modified a single model HF2620, which they expected to reach 130 mph (160 km/h). It had also surpassed 100 mph in trial runs, though it’s not official until the Guinness crew is there to verify. On March 6, they met at a test track in Spain to see if it would break the existing record of 87.83 mph, set in May, 2010. And the results were…

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President of Japan’s Yodobashi Camera buys real moon camera for just under a million dollars

President of Japan’s Yodobashi Camera buys real moon camera for just under a million dollars

The only camera to go to the moon and back has recently gone under the hammer at Galerie Westlicht in Vienna and was given to the highest bid of €660,000 (US$910,000) to one Terukazu Fujisawa, the president of Japanese electronics chain Yodobashi Camera.

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Find your Finnish name with the Finn generator

Find your Finnish name with the Finn generator

When it comes to Finland, there’s no shortage of opportunities for getting acquainted in Japan’s capital of Tokyo. From cafes where you can chow down with cute, stuffed Moomin characters created by a famous Swede-Finn, to Finland’s top doughnut chain, Arnold’s, and Karhhu, Finland’s number one beer, it’s easy for Tokyoites to take their taste buds for a dip in Nordic cuisine.

Now, people in Japan have found a new way to get acquainted with Finnish culture with the introduction of a clever little name generator from VisitFinland.com. Simply enter your name and within seconds you’re bestowed with the Finnish version, complete with a full explanation of the meaning behind your new name. We translated some well-known names and found they were connected to the wild nature of Lapland and mysterious tales of forest kings. 

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Admirers express their love for Crimean attorney general in the purest way they can: cute fan art

Admirers express their love for Crimean attorney general in the purest way they can: cute fan art

So there seems to be just a teeny bit of political turmoil in Eastern Europe these days, what with almost every voter in formerly-Soviet Crimea saying they’re happy to cut ties with Ukraine and have the region annexed by Russia. It’s a thorny opening act for the newly-appointed Crimean attorney general, but Natalia Poklonskaya can at least count on the moral support of thousands of Japanese men. Not because they necessarily agree with her political views, though, but because the 33-year-old Poklonskaya looks more like she came from Central Casting than the judicial branch of government.

Of course, where there’s love-struck Japanese men pondering the ideal forms of female beauty, anime artwork can’t be far behind, and there’s a growing batch of Poklonskaya fan art making the rounds on the Internet.

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At long last, new Game Boy (yes, Game Boy) game “Airaki” on sale next month

At long last, new Game Boy (yes, Game Boy) game “Airaki” on sale next month

No, you didn’t just step back into the ’90s; there’s a brand new Game Boy game on the horizon.

It would seem that my decision to doggedly avoid smartphone games and PS Vitas has paid finally off, because a new game just for my favorite console set to be shipped out this coming April. It’s a medieval-themed puzzle game going by the name of Airaki and will work with many of the old Game Boy units. It’s about time!

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Looking to make your PlayStation 4 stylish and unique? This real wood case may be just the thing!

Looking to make your PlayStation 4 stylish and unique? This real wood case may be just the thing!

We’re sure many PlayStation fans in Japan have been happily playing away on their newly acquired consoles since the long-awaited launch of the new PlayStation 4 here last month. But electronic appliances and gadgets can sometimes be awfully difficult to coordinate with the rest of your interior decor, can’t they?

If that’s been a concern for you, here’s something from German wood product manufacturer balolo that not only looks lovely but also may help your PS4 blend more smoothly into the setting of your room — a PlayStation 4 cover made from natural high-quality wood!

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Real-life Barbie now survives on light and air, might be turning into a real doll【Photos】

Real-life Barbie now survives on light and air, might be turning into a real doll【Photos】

Does the name Valeria Lukyanova seem to ring a bell? If you’ve been hanging around enough, you might remember our previous posts about the Ukraine-based Russian model who is known as the “real-life Barbie“. We haven’t heard news of her for about a year or so, but she’s back in the spotlight again and this time, it’s not about her already well-known doll-like looks.

Word is, she’s now attempting to survive on only air and light. Holy cow, could she really be turning into a real Barbie doll?!

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Sorry Japan, this Yoshi-themed 3DS XL is just for North America and Europe

Sorry Japan, this Yoshi-themed 3DS XL is just for North America and Europe

Gamers outside of Japan were not doubt disappointed to learn that past limited editions of Nintendo’s popular 3DS portable console were not for sale outside of the company’s homeland, and are likely still sad that they missed out on the Mint White and Pikachu Yellow models that Japanese gamers snapped up in the blink of an eye. But we’re happy to report that for once it’s Japanese gamers who will be turning as green with envy as this Yoshi-emblazoned 3DS XL, as it is heading to North America and Europe only this month alongside the colourful new platformer Yoshi’s New Island.

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From Frozen to Gandalf, Madrid’s cosplayers find inspiration in unlikely places【Photos】

From Frozen to Gandalf, Madrid’s cosplayers find inspiration in unlikely places【Photos】

The Japan Chibi Weekend, held in February in Madrid, is a relatively small player in the anime convention world. Entry costs just 7 euros (US$10),  and its name even means “mini” in Japanese. That doesn’t stop anime and manga fans having a blast though, with a great mix of Japanese and western characters on show in the cosplay competition and around the convention.

Although the two-day event focuses on manga, anime and Japanese culture, the competitors’ handmade costumes included an impressive line-up of Disney and Dreamworks characters, too! Let’s take a look at what was on offer in the Spanish capital at this year’s event.

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Concern as hundreds of copies of The Diary of Anne Frank found defaced in Tokyo public libraries

Concern as hundreds of copies of The Diary of Anne Frank found defaced in Tokyo public libraries

An investigation is currently underway after it became clear that more than 300 copies of The Diary of a Young Girl, the book containing the writings of Holocaust victim Anne Frank, have been torn and severely defaced over what is thought to be the past few weeks across a number of public libraries in Tokyo.

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Cheeky TV ads for ninja booby video game get full marks for honesty and humor【Video】

Cheeky TV ads for ninja booby video game get full marks for honesty and humor【Video】

Even though it was first released way back in 2012 in Japan, the rest of the world is only now getting its first taste of video game Senran Kagura Burst. The Nintendo 3DS game saw a North American release last November, and was finally made available to European gamers just days ago.

But for an 18-month-old title to attract buyers who could be playing with their shiny new PlayStation 4s and Xbox Ones, Senrann Kagura Burst’s European publishers have to be very clear about what the game excels at, which is just what they’ve done with their tongue-in-cheek ads that make no bones about the game’s most distinguishing feature: gigantic bouncing boobs.

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iPhone gets stolen in Spain, Japanese owner gets hit with massive bill for $9,800

iPhone gets stolen in Spain, Japanese owner gets hit with massive bill for $9,800

Recently, we brought you the tale of a man whose iPhone was stolen while he was traveling in Thailand, only to have some of the sting taken out of the unfortunate development when he saw the pictures of the cute girl who was using the pilfered phone.

Now comes the story of another Japanese iPhone user who fell victim to overseas thieves, then received a surprise upon returning home. Unfortunately, his surprise wasn’t photos of a fine-looking female, but instead a massive bill from his cell phone carrier for nearly one million yen (US$9,800).

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Senpai Club, Swedish-made, anime-inspired, Japanese-speaking animation, is back! 【Video】

Senpai Club, Swedish-made, anime-inspired, Japanese-speaking animation, is back! 【Video】

Last month we laughed along with the Swedish animators Olivia Bergstrom and Eric Bradford as we watched the first scenes of their anime-inspired creation Senpai Club. Now the pair, collectively known as makebabi.es, is back for another round of parody featuring dangerously pointy anime chins, ostensibly handsome upperclassmen, and just maybe even more stealthy bilingual gags with Senpai Club Episode 1 Part 2.

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Turkish insurance commercial promises coverage from random acts of Ryu

Turkish insurance commercial promises coverage from random acts of Ryu

By the time Street Fighter II hit the arcades the concept of getting a high score was almost completely obsolete. Still, millions of the game’s fans around the world couldn’t get enough of honing their martial arts skills on that hapless sedan for tons of meaningless points.

Someone at Turkish insurance company Anadolu Sigorta certainly felt that way too. So they took a moment to remind prospective clients that their cars are always in jeopardy – even from world warriors.

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Japanese zipper maker and British artist team up to create futuristic headwear/terror

Japanese zipper maker and British artist team up to create futuristic headwear/terror

On the surface, Japanese zipper manufacturer YKK occupies an enviable position. The company’s global market share is estimated at as high as 90 percent, and until technology finally makes good on Back to the Future II’s promise of self-attaching apparel, future demand for the company’s products is likely to remain strong.

That said, zippers aren’t the most glamorous field to work in. As with any manufactured good, there’s obviously a tremendous amount of engineering and logistics talent at YKK, but it’s not hard to imagine the company wanting a moment in the limelight, something that demands a little more attention.

Well, YKK’s collaboration with British designer Ava Rajcevic is sure to get plenty of attention, at least for as long as people can look at it without the horror warping their minds.

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Angry Manchester United fans’ “Moyes Out” song lands in Japan, surprises football fans

Angry Manchester United fans’ “Moyes Out” song lands in Japan, surprises football fans

Although more hardcore Japanophiles might prefer to think that people in Japan watch sumo every other day and practice kendo or karate on the weekends, without a shadow of a doubt Japan’s most popular spectator sports are football and baseball. With the former becoming increasingly popular since the ’90s, football (or “sakkaa“) fans are as numerous as they are vocal, and yet with football considered a much more family oriented spectator sport in Japan than in some Western countries, entire families with small kids or groups of pretty twenty-something girls are just as common sights at matches as grown men with painted faces holding cups of beer.

This week, fans of the sport have taken to online message boards to express their surprise and amusement at the level of vitriol and anger behind a parody video that appeared on YouTube in December last year calling for David Moyes, the current manager of England’s Manchester United, to resign.

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Angry Korean fans not satisfied by apology from British skater who cost their country a gold medal

Angry Korean fans not satisfied by apology from British skater who cost their country a gold medal

While the primary goal of the Olympics is to bring athletes from various nations together for a friendly demonstration of the greatness that can be achieved by the human body, the Games are also a contest to answer the question of just who is the best in the world in its events. The dedication and hard work necessary to even qualify as an Olympic athlete doesn’t come without an extremely strong desire to win, and the competitive juices naturally flow all the stronger for events that don’t get a lot of attention outside of this once every four years opportunity to shine.

But the glory of victory is coupled to the agony of defeat, and Olympic athletes represent entire nations of sports enthusiasts, who sometimes take the defeat of their countries’ athletes with even more bitterness than the competitors themselves. Such is the aftermath surrounding the speed skating collision involving British Elise Christie and Korean Park Seung Hi.

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We order awesome Baguette Bag from Ukraine! Now we can have French bread anytime, anywhere

We order awesome Baguette Bag from Ukraine! Now we can have French bread anytime, anywhere

Do you like French bread? We certainly do! Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, they’re great for making sandwiches or tasty canapé-type appetizers like bruschettas. But have you ever felt that the long distinctive shape of French bread sometimes makes it hard to carry around? Well, if you have, we’ve found the perfect item to solve that problem. It’s a bag made specifically for French bread, and it’s called the Baguette Bag!

When we saw a picture of this unique bag, we knew we just had to have one, but after we did a bit of searching, we found out that the bag was a product of Ukraine. Hmm… was it really wise trying to purchase an item from a country that was so far away and the language was completely foreign? We’ll just have to try and find out, won’t we?

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Bon appétit! We try conveyor-belt French food in Paris

Bon appétit! We try conveyor-belt French food in Paris

Kaiten-zushi, or conveyor-belt sushi, has got to be one of the most fun styles of restaurant anywhere in the world. Who doesn’t love watching delectable, bite-size portions of sushi that are all yours for the taking spin around right in front of their eyes? Many tourists make it a point to stop by a kaiten-zushi place when they visit Japan. The fact that you can fill up on delicious sushi without breaking your wallet makes the experience even better.

While these kinds of restaurants can be found outside of their original home, the quality of Japan’s kaiten-zushi is so good that, whether right or wrong, many foreigners claim that any place outside of Japan is a fake. However, what if you took the concept of the conveyor-belt serving style and applied it to a different national cuisine? Well, that’s just what one restaurant in France decided to do. Now you can enjoy quality conveyor-belt French cuisine at a restaurant in Paris!

We were so intrigued that we recently send one of our Japanese reporters to check it out. 

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