Japan

Japan weird news!!

Youkai Watch chosen for McDonald’s calendar, Pokémon fans sob into their fries

If you’ve been living under a rock for the past year or two, you might have missed a significant change taking place in Japanese popular culture. What are we talking about? Why, adorable collectible monster franchise Youkai Watch, of course! The Youkai Watch series, which comprises manga, anime and video games has been steadily and skilfully easing itself onto the comfy throne once monopolized by Pokémon. Kids are going crazy for it, adults are being driven crazy over it, and poor old Pikachu and pals are being seriously left in the dust. Now, Youkai Watch has pulled off another victory over Pokémon by stealing its role as McDonald’s go-to calendar star.

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Five ways to trap your boyfriend into revealing that he’s cheating on you, and why they are dumb

There’s a list of the “five best ways to check if your man is cheating on you” that resurfaces every now and again on Japanese matome and magazine sites. If you’re harbouring doubts about your man’s fidelity, you’re supposed to watch how he responds when you try out one of these five awesome tricks (spoiler alert: like many things in life, they’re not that awesome).

After we’d gotten over our disappointment that none of the suggestions involve hidden cameras or going out undercover in a big coat and fake nose, we started to wonder where these ideas had come from. We did a bit of digging, and it turns out this “top five” first appeared a few years ago on the Japanese variety TV show Honma Dekka!?, in a segment with marketing expert Megumi Ushikubo and clinical psychologist Rie Ueki.

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Anime’s 10 biggest male perverts, as chosen by Japanese fans

With the huge volume of anime that Japan produces, the medium has its own archetypes that each generation of creators adds new entries to. In the cute mascot character category, you’ll find Totoro, Magic Knight Rayearth’s Mokona, and Pokémon’s Pikachu. Looking for giant robots? Let us direct you to the full line of Gundam, Evangelion, and Ingram variants.

But Japanese animation isn’t just cuddly adorableness and cool technology. It’s also filled with raging hormones and irrepressible libidos, as shown in this list of anime’s perviest male characters.

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Three Kyoto sushi shops are sending girls reeling in culinary delight

You’ve probably seen girls (and sometimes guys) taking pictures in restaurants and maybe you read their Twitter or Facebook updates about the good food they eat around Japan. Maybe you’re one of these foodagraphers. I wouldn’t blame you, in fact, I’ve done the same. Japanese food, everything from lunch-boxes to sweets, is often not only delicious looking, but is also often displayed in cute and fashionable ways.

But lately, social media and the restaurant review site Tabelog have been taken by storm by the updates and comments about three Kyoto sushi restaurants, due to their innovative menu and their ability to attract those squealing, cell-phone holding, Japanese women (and men?) by making their food undeniably cute.

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Our Japanese writer shares his tale of the night he was joined by an unwelcome guest

There are probably many of our male readers who have had the experience of sharing a room with a fellow male, maybe as a one-off on holiday or for a long time in dorm, or perhaps you’ve stayed over at a friend’s house after missing the last train after a night of drinking. However, most men probably don’t share a bed when this happens, right? And if your friend suddenly wormed his way into your bed in the middle of the night you’d probably be quite shocked, right?

One of our RocketNews24 Japanese writers recently wrote a column about the time he experienced such a shock himself. Below I’ll give you a translation of his original story, so read on to find out what the heck happened…

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Go to hell: Unzen Hot Springs invites visitors to take an infernal stroll through a field of deadly hell-mouths

Welcome to Unzen, Kyushu, a sulphurous field of geothermal activity so inhospitable to life that its boiling hot springs and gas jets go by the name of jigoku or hells. This Halloween, allow us to be your Virgil and guide you through this strange world where eerie noises drift from hellish craters, clouds of foul-smelling gas confuse the mind and Christian martyrs were once boiled to death!

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A tiny, epic ode to Nintendo: Zelda and Super Mario 64’s worlds recreated as miniature dioramas

We all know that Japan does “small” well. Whether it’s microtechnology, tiny houses or bonsai, the Japanese are known for their dexterity and being attentive to the tiniest detail.

But a hobbyist and Niconico Douga user known simply as “A” takes attention to detail to a whole new level. In a homage to the three-dimensional worlds created by video game giants Nintendo, A has constructed an ultra-detailed diorama based on the first level of Nintendo 64 classic Super Mario 64 and even recreated the entire world map from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time on a scale so small we could barely believe our eyes when we first saw it.

How small are we talking? Find out after the jump!

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Ghibli food brought to life for one week of amazing lunches at elementary school in Japan

Recreating food from our favorite movies and anime is nothing new. We’ve already seen ramen straight out of Naruto and herring and pumpkin pot pie a la Kiki’s Delivery Service. But what is unusual is that this time it’s not die-hard anime fans breathing life into 2-D delicacies, but a cafeteria at one school in Japan. You won’t believe this special school menu featuring a week of delicious looking dishes from some of Hayao Miyazaki’s most famous works.

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Funny ad shows new apple product that’s still prone to bending, compatible with our stomach

We’re still pretty happy with our new iPhone 6, but if we’re being completely honest, just a bit of our euphoria has faded. Sure, we were all giddy smiles on launch day (especially since we were first in line, again), but truth be told, we’re already on the lookout for the next big thing.

So imagine our excitement when we saw a print ad for a new apple product, and yes, that’s apple with a lowercase “a.”

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Attention serious meat lovers: The all-you-can-eat Whoppers from Burger King is back!!

For a country known for its restaurants serving relatively small portions of foods, Japan sure seems to love all-you-can-eat campaigns (although occasionally, things don’t go quite as planned at these events). Well, if you love meat and lots of it, we have good news for you. Burger King Japan’s popular all-you-can eat Whooper campaign is coming back again this year, so get ready to have your fill of big, juicy hamburgers!!

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Happy Halloween! Time to decorate your persimmon!

As we’ve discussed earlier, Japan has been really getting into the Halloween spirit as the years go on. However, there are still a few Halloween traditions that aren’t easy to carry out. While Japan loves any excuse to cosplay, you still won’t find many, if any, children going door-to-door in their neighborhood begging for candy come October 31. You can, of course, find good ole orange pumpkins in Japan for some Japanese-style Jack o’ lantern carving, but they aren’t available everywhere and can be quite expensive. Japanese pumpkins (kabocha), on the other hand, are too meaty and tough to elegantly cut designs out of. So what’s a Halloween-loving resident of Japan to do? Decorate persimmons, of course!

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Did you know Ayumi Hamasaki released a new single? Apparently neither did anyone else…

Even if you have only the barest passing knowledge of Japanese music, there’s a very good chance you know the name Ayumi Hamasaki. Arguably the queen of Japanese solo pop artists, between 1998 and 2012, she managed to move over 50 million units including both singles and full albums. That’s a number so big, I need all my fingers, toes and a calculator to keep track of everything! She’s even crossed international boundaries with numerous fans around Asia and managed to be a star for over a decade in a country where pop stars come and go like…well, pop stars.

But is her glory finally at its end? While we’d be loath to make any proclamations about the future, the sales for her newest single “Terminal” have been nothing short of dismal, apparently shocking many music industry insiders.

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Butter Crisis ’14: Supermarkets nationwide apologize for empty shelves, cakes threatened

For months now a crisis has been brewing in the dairy industries of Japan. However, like the gooey sweetness of a melting pat of butter penetrating the crevices of a piece of toast, the effects have only recently begun to seep into the general population. We’re still only in the early stages though and things are bound to get worse before they get better.

Some readers who live in Japan may have noticed that the cost of butter has been significantly higher in recent months. In other cases shelves have gone empty and purchases are limited to one per person.

Now the writing is smeared on the wall: Japan is running out of butter… and fast.

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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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Super-cheap yakiniku restaurant sells meat by the mouthful to give you exactly what you want

As tasty as yakiniku is, there’s a bit of a problem with going out to eat the delicious strips of grilled meat. Restaurants normally offer a variety of different cuts, but each order comes with several pieces of the same thing. Going by yourself means not being able to eat much of a variety, and eating with friends and sharing forces you to negotiate and compromise on what to order.

So we were happy when we found a way to enjoy our ideal meal without feeling like a glutton or a jerk , when we discovered a restaurant in Tokyo that lets your order whatever kind of yakiniku you want, one piece at a time.

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Ho ho ho! Merry Krispy Kreme Christmas donuts are here!

Japan has really started embracing Halloween over the past few years, but that doesn’t mean the country has adopted every Western holiday. For example, no one really has American-style Thanksgiving celebrations here, which means there’s no reason to wait until December to get into the Christmas mood.

So as soon as Halloween is over, you can start expecting the signs of Christmas, and along with Christmas lights and Christmas trees, this year you can look forward to some sweet and adorable Christmas donuts from Krispy Kreme.

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Amazing schoolgirl drummer nails anime theme, and her music career is just getting started

Compared to a lot of other anime, the premise of K-On! is decidedly down-to-earth. It’s about a group of high school girls who form an after-school rock/pop band, and none of them are reincarnated princesses or commute to school in a giant transforming robot built by their brilliant but aloof father. They just hang out and play music together.

Still, there’s one big break with reality that comes at the start of each episode, when instruments are obviously played by studio musicians, and not actually a bunch of teenagers, for the theme song. You really can’t fault the producers for this decision, though. After all, where are you supposed to find an actual high school girl to perform the manic drum beats used in the anime’s second opening?

Ah, we see Kawaguchi-san is raising her hand.

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Snack attack! This frozen treat is a little sweet, a little savory, and totally college

Everyone enjoys a good snack when they’re feeling empty, but there is definitely a difference between snacks in Japan and other Western countries. Sure, they share some common factors, like chips and candy, but in general, a snack at a convenience store in Japan would consist of either rice balls or Japanese bread. There is so much variety that you don’t even know where to start looking. But have you ever ventured over to the frozen food section looking for a snack? We don’t mean the freezer where all the ice cream is, but actually the frozen meals section. Hiding in there is a pretty fantastic snack that is hopefully in your local 7-eleven right now!

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In Luffy we trust – Man arrested for selling dollar bills with unlicensed One Piece stickers

Every couple of months, a situation will crop up where the legal rights holder to an anime comes in and quashes some sort of unauthorized derivative work. Fans don’t always let the letter of the law stand in the way of how they express their passion for their favorite shows, though, and defenders often assert that no harm is actually being done, so long as the rights holder wasn’t already producing the same product. There’s no need to shut down an unlicensed T-shirt operation, the argument goes, if the company isn’t actively producing shirts itself.

Maybe that was going through the head of one Nagoya resident when he noticed a glaring oversight in the marketing machine behind hit anime One Piece, and decided to start selling one-dollar bills with copied stickers of the series’ band of pirates.

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Presidential Pokémon have our vote as today’s coolest fan art

Japanese animation and video games have a long-standing tradition of creating cute and/or super powered versions of prominent figures from the country’s history. In the U.S., we don’t really do this as often, and you might jump to the conclusion that the deck is stacked in Japan’s favor, seeing as how so many of their rulers were also katana-carrying samurai.

But dig a little deeper and you’ll find plenty of action protagonist potential among American presidents, from Abraham Lincoln’s wrestling skills to Andrew Jackson’s well-documented love of shooting dudes. And as for making them adorable? Leave that to Utah artist Brandon Dayton, who’s reimagined nine Pokémon as U.S. heads of state.

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