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Do we have time for three hours of classic NES start screens? Yes we do

Do we have time for three hours of classic NES start screens? Yes we do

In the last 15 months, every major video game console maker has released a new piece of hardware. Each has titles with phenomenal, sometimes photo-realistic visuals, and soundtracks that make it seem like there’s a full orchestra hiding behind the TV providing musical accompaniment.

And yet, none of them stir any stronger emotions than the openings to the original games in the Final Fantasy and Legend of Zelda series, exactly as they appeared in their NES/Famicom forms. There’s something perfect about those 8-bit intros, even if they can’t match the technical heights of current games. If anything, the fact that their designers struggled against those restraints, but still managed to create something moving, helps to convey their emotion all the better.

That direct transmission of effort and personal passion, which can never be completely duplicated with more complex titles and the larger staff such endeavors require, is exactly what’s on display in this three-hour compilation of NES start screens.

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Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call could be on its way to the Western world

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call could be on its way to the Western world

Final Fantasy, perhaps the biggest and best Japanese RPG series ever as far as the Western world is concerned, is no stranger to spin-offs and dubious sub-sequels. There have been a handful of gems amongst them, but there are some that even fans of the main series would prefer to imagine never happened. Rhythm action game Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call, however, is one of the few non-core entries in the series that we’re sure gamers would be keen to get their hands on should its makers see fit to release it outside of Japan. And if a patent recently filed in Europe is any indication, they may just get their wish.

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Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate heads west on 3DS in early 2015

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate heads west on 3DS in early 2015

Ryozo Tsujimoto, the producer of the Monster Hunter game series at CAPCOM, announced in a video message on Sunday that Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate will be coming to the West. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (“which is the equivalent of MH4G“) will be available on Nintendo 3DS in early 2015.

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Foreign men share their reasons for divorcing their Japanese wives

Foreign men share their reasons for divorcing their Japanese wives

Earlier this month, we brought you an article about foreign men sounding off on the difficulties of having a Japanese wife. While some of their complaints were understandable and others were just downright silly (you can’t deal with tofu? C’mon!), international relationships in real life don’t always end as happily as in the movie My Darling is a Foreigner.

Continuing the international marriage theme in a more unfortunate direction, we now bring you the voices of some foreign men who have gone through the experience of divorcing Japanese women. You might be surprised to learn that the main catalyst for divorce in each of their scenarios was rarely related directly to cultural differences. Instead, it seems that a combination of other factors played the decisive role.

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From delicate nibbles to edible dinosaurs – It’s chocolate madness at the Salon du Chocolat Tokyo

From delicate nibbles to edible dinosaurs – It’s chocolate madness at the Salon du Chocolat Tokyo

Many of our readers have probably guessed that Japan has a passion for chocolate. But each year in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day, which is when women in Japan customarily give men gifts of chocolate, that passion has a tendency to turn into outright frenzy. Spend time in Japan before Valentine’s Day, and you’ll see countless special chocolate products and dedicated vending areas in every shopping mall and department store. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the Valentine chocolate madness has now officially begun in Japan, and what better place to experience the excitement than Tokyo’s own production of the world’s biggest chocolate festival, the Salon du Chocolat? Join us on a tour of the event and see what all the sweet fuss is about — if you’re a chocolate lover, you just might think you’ve died and gone to chocolate heaven!

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Quiz of the Week: Round 4 (Now with 100% more otter!)

Quiz of the Week: Round 4 (Now with 100% more otter!)

It’s nearly the weekend! Yaaaay! But before you all skip off to join your friends and pretend to be a normal human being, make sure you have all the info you need and are up on the week’s weird news from Asia. After all, how else will you win the respect of your peers? With love and kindness!? Madness. Take our weekly multiple-choice quiz, see how much awesome you have flowing through those veins of yours, and maybe even learn an interesting fact or two.

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10 everyday English words that were originally Japanese

10 everyday English words that were originally Japanese

While Japan’s bank of English loan words has grown to the point where “context” and even “paradigm” can be understood by most people, there seems to be only a handful of Japanese words that have been sprinkled into the modern English vocabulary. Of course, there’s things like “manga”, “sushi,” and “karate,” which English speakers can instantly recognize as comics, a Japanese food, and a way to kick ass (in that respective order), but there are also some sleeper agent Japanese words traipsing about our English conversations. Let’s take a look at Japanese words, like “honcho” (as in “head honcho”) and “tycoon” (as in “oil tycoon”), that we use in English.

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Limited Hayao Miyazaki figurines created for Tsunami Relief

Limited Hayao Miyazaki figurines created for Tsunami Relief

Martin Hsu and Bigshot Toyworks have teamed up to create a limited run of “Miya-san” figures modeled after acclaimed director Hayao Miyazaki.

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Polar vortex solves #1 cat dilemma: Inside or out?

Polar vortex solves #1 cat dilemma: Inside or out?

This winter has seen some astonishingly low temps and heavy snow even in places that normally enjoy mild winter weather. In fact, the chilly weather has even stopped one finicky feline from pursuing her favorite pursuit: meowing to be let out and then meowing to be let back in.

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Talented artist imagines what Game of Thrones would look like in feudal Japan

Talented artist imagines what Game of Thrones would look like in feudal Japan

Having learned the hard way that some TV series exist simply to keep viewers hanging for years (yes, Lost, I am looking at you), I have to admit that I gave the TV adaptation of Game of Thrones a wide berth for quite some time after it first aired. A few months and the contraction of a very nasty cold later, I found myself in bed with a heap of medication, a DVD box-set and little else to do. By the time I was back on my feet, I was a huge fan of the series (and may have run “Game of Thrones blonde girl” through Google a couple of times) and swallowed, along with the last of the medicine, my usual stubborn pride by telling friends that I was ready to join in their nerdy conversations and even read the books that they had all finished with years ago.

Little did I know, though, that the TV show could be made all the more awesome by recreating some of its more memorable scenes in the style of Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints, with all of my favourite characters looking like they reside in feudal Japan rather than Westeros.

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Hacker group “Anonymous” takes down Japanese prefecture’s website to protest dolphin killing

Hacker group “Anonymous” takes down Japanese prefecture’s website to protest dolphin killing

International hacking group “Anonymous” has stated that it breached and shut down the official Wakayama Prefecture website earlier today as a taste of what may come should local fishermen continue to hunt dolphins. The prefecture is home to Taiji, the coastal town that shot to infamy in 2010 following an exposé in the film The Cove, which documented the mass slaughter of thousands of dolphins that takes place in the area each year.

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“I think I love you…”: Romantic confessions from around the world

“I think I love you…”: Romantic confessions from around the world

Declaring your love, or even just your like, for a boy or a girl in Japan can be a pretty big deal. While we don’t think most people’s stories are quite as dramatic as in anime, with characters struggling for seasons just to admit their fond feelings for another, it’s certainly true that many Japanese people are pretty shy about asking each other out.

While it’s kind of cute and kind of frustrating if you’re used to a more forward culture, is it really that different from other countries?

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Japanese experts and expats react to parenting norms from around the world

Japanese experts and expats react to parenting norms from around the world

I was on the subway one morning during one of my very first trips to Tokyo when I spotted two unaccompanied elementary school-age girls riding through downtown together. How could two kids who weren’t old enough to drink even a sip of coffee without freaking out be traversing the country’s densest urban center all by themselves?

In Japan, though, very young kids commuting to school without any kind of adult supervision isn’t anything unusual, and as such no one paid the two unaccompanied tykes any mind.

Likewise, sometimes things that seem like the most natural way of raising kids to parents overseas might seem totally bizarre to Japanese adults, as this collection of reactions to parenting around the world by Japanese experts and expats shows.

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One Piece’s Chopper stars in 5-minute stop-motion “Cry Heart” short

One Piece’s Chopper stars in 5-minute stop-motion “Cry Heart” short

Some diligent animators took Banpresto‘s “One Piece Cry heart ~Fuyujima ni Furu Sakura~) (One Piece Cry heart ~The Cherry Blossoms That Fall on Winter Island~) line of crane game prize figures and created a five-minute stop-motion short last month. The “One Piece: Cry heart~” short recreates the famous “Hiluluk’s Cherry Blossoms” scene from Eiichiro Oda‘s manga and anime:

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Catch a movie in bed…at the theater! Four awesome theaters from around the world with beds for seats

Catch a movie in bed…at the theater! Four awesome theaters from around the world with beds for seats

We love movies. That’s not really a surprise or a secret, but it certainly is true! Whether it’s some kung-fu cop action or the latest from Ghibli, we would be hard-pressed to decline a trip to the theater. But even we have to admit that not all theater seating was created equally. Sure most of it isn’t bad, but sometimes we just wish we could bring the projector and screen home so we could lie in bed in our jammies with a bowl of popcorn and really relax. Too bad we can’t bring our beds to the theater…

Or can we??

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The weird and wonderful Quiz of the Week: Round 3

The weird and wonderful Quiz of the Week: Round 3

Welcome to round three of our weekly multiple-choice quiz!

It’s been another fun week, with plenty of weird, wow and “WTF?” news stories from Asia, so it’s time to recap and, as well as see who’s been paying attention, give you a chance to discover some of the best stories that have emerged over the past seven days. Plus, if you can get 10 out of 10, Mr. Sato promises to lose the loincloth, or at least cover his nipples.

Mongoose taunting, chocolate massage and nostril flaring all after the jump.

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Hypnobirthing: A way to give birth without fear or pain that is gaining popularity in Japan

Hypnobirthing: A way to give birth without fear or pain that is gaining popularity in Japan

Have you ever heard of the term “hypnobirthing“? And no, it doesn’t involve hypnosis in the traditional use of the word. It’s a trend that has recently been catching on with mothers-to-be in Japan. Read on to learn more about this technique which aids women in having a more comfortable childbirth, as well as some comments from Japanese women who have tried hypnobirthing for themselves.

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The adorably worst hide-and-seek players ever, a photo journey

The adorably worst hide-and-seek players ever, a photo journey

All over the world, Hide and Seek is a staple of childhood play teaching kids the valuable skills needed for a job in either the bounty hunting or escaped convict fields. Also, being one of the earliest games children can play, it begins to show them that not everyone possess the same inherent skill-set. Knowing this, it’s not so bad to say that some kids just plain suck at hiding.

The following twenty images show such concealmentally-challenged children in action. Don’t worry about feeling bad laughing at these kids either, as it’s possible to lead a rich life without the ability to hide in a house. In fact, we can statistically assume that at least 20 percent of world leaders were hopelessly stuck being “it” as children.

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Think you know your weird news from Japan and Asia? Take our weekly quiz and find out!

Think you know your weird news from Japan and Asia? Take our weekly quiz and find out!

Welcome to the weekend, boys and girls! Feels good to be here, doesn’t it? But before you run off startling donkeys and eating moon pies, we have to check that you’ve been paying attention and swatting up on our weird and wonderful news from Japan and Asia.

Suspicious dogs, kindly couples, adultery and the afterlife all feature in this week’s multiple choice quiz based on our favourite bits from the last seven days’ stories. So click the link and let’s find out just how much you went outside this week.

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Japan’s unfaithful women share tips on how to cheat without getting caught

Japan’s unfaithful women share tips on how to cheat without getting caught

Here’s a shocking fact: Despite decades of gender stereotypes insisting that men are disgusting pigs that would gladly hump anything without too much back hair even if they’re already in a relationship, recent studies suggest women are cheating about as much as men (presumably also provided there’s not too much back hair).

One reason for the persistent stereotype may be that women are just a bit smarter and better at hiding their affairs than men are. While a cheating man is liable to show up to his SO’s house with a pair of panties on his head, cheating women are apparently much more discreet, a Japanese survey of 50 unfaithful women reveals. The Niconico News survey also offers a few tips for girls who are currently cheating or who may be considering a little love on the side in the future:

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