Japan

Disney magic strikes again — Get ready for some serious Frozen sweetness!!

It’s been over seven months since Disney’s Frozen was released here, but love for the hit animated film still seems to be going strong in Japan. Walk into a bookstore around here, and you’re more than likely to find several different Frozen picture or music books, and you can bet that many kids in Japan will be dressing up as Elsa and Anna for Halloween this Friday. Well, it seems the world of pastries here is no exception. Major Japanese confection maker Cozy Corner has announced that they will soon be coming out with lovely offerings inspired by the movie, and yes, we’re thrilled, because these are exactly the kind of goodies we love — delightful to look at and delectably sweet to taste!

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Japan’s latest anti-piracy ad features wacky new mascots Popcorn Otoko and Soda Otoko

Earlier this year, we brought you the news that Japan’s wacky anti-piracy ads have turned into something of a cultural phenomenon, with body-popping mascots Camera Otoko and Patrol Lamp Otoko getting their own range of figurines. Now a new ad has been released, which features extra characters Popcorn Otoko and Soda Otoko. But what role do they have to play in this mini crime drama, besides providing delicious refreshment?

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Would you eat “nuclear soup”? Japanese artists serve broth made with Fukushima-grown vegetables

Would you eat a bowl of soup made mainly with vegetables grown in Fukushima Prefecture? What if the cook swore to you that everything that went into the soup had been tested and was safe for human consumption? Would you be able to push all thoughts of Fukushima Daiichi, contaminated groundwater and Blinky the three-eyed fish out of your mind long enough to risk a spoonful?

A pair of artists from Japan recently gave visitors to the Frieze Art Fair in London just such a decision to make, presenting them with a homemade broth made with Fukushima-grown produce and asking them to give it a try, if they dared.

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Get inspired by these 700-year-old words from a Japanese monk

From creating lavish artwork on exquisitely crafted lattes to mastering the art of gender-bending cosplay, perfecting any skill takes a lot of hard work and time. But a Japanese monk who lived about 700 years ago recently reminded the Internet that another key part of success are the failures and embarrassments along the way.

A Twitter user recently found the ancient writings of this monk and his words seemed to resonate with Japanese netizens who found that words very applicable to their modern lives.

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Fruity wieners spotted in Japan’s Tochigi Prefecture! Available in “lemon” and “strawberry milk” flavors

The heartland of Japan is certainly becoming the envy of the nation with their recent offerings of unusual foods. First the crunchy sweet mushrooms of Chubu region turned heads on Twitter. Now out of Tochigi Prefecture, emerges fruit-flavored hotdogs!

What chemical witchcraft went into making these sticks of pork(?) colored and flavored like lemon and strawberry milk is a mystery, but they do look intriguing, and dare I say delicious?

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One bag of wasabi potato chips, hold the wasabi

It’s hard to think of a more Japanese condiment than wasabi, but even among diners born and raised in Japan, you can find people who order their sushi wasabi nuki, or without wasabi. We can see why, since not everyone who loves the flavor of raw fish also enjoys the sensation of simultaneously having their sinuses cleared and their tongue set on fire.

What’s a little harder to understand, though, is why the makers of wasabi-beef flavored potato chips have decided to offer a wasabi-free version of their salty snacks.

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New Studio Ghibli sunglasses will make anime fans look like fat pigs

Totoro may be Studio Ghibli’s most iconic roly-poly creation, but he’s not the only corpulent character from Hayao Miyazaki’s animation house. 1992’s Porco Rosso stars Porco, a heavyset seaplane aviator in 1920s Italy who happens to have the head (and build) of a pig.

But while Porco may not have typical leading man looks, he exudes a dashing, gallant aura, which extends to his cool old-school cool shades. If you’d like to copy his style without duplicating his physique, you’re in luck, as you can now buy official Porco Rosso sunglasses.

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Pink strawberry milk Pepsi set to return to stores in Japan this winter

We’ve talked before about all the cool Kit Kats Japan gets, but the chocolate-covered wafers aren’t the only sweet indulgence with exclusive-to-Japan versions. Once a year or so, Pepsi releases a special flavor for the Japanese market, too.

This winter the soft drink maker is bringing back a popular hit from a few years ago, with the return of strawberry milk Pepsi.

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The Yakiniku Rules: dating advice from the front line

“When you take a girl out for yakiniku, you have to follow the rules“, says Natsuko. “Too many men these days forget about TPO“, she adds, referring to the importance of the three things – Time, Place, and Occasion – that are supposed to dictate appropriate behaviour in social situations.

We asked one yakiniku-loving Japanese girl to give us her honest opinion on the dating game, and – well, it was pretty brutal.

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11 predictions Japanese people made hundreds of years ago about the future

For a large chunk of Japan’s history, there wasn’t much time to think about the future. Instead, most people’s days were filled with more immediate concerns, like trying to figure out how to survive the civil wars that were all the rage in the country during most of the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries.

Things finally settled down in the early 1600s, though, and ordinary Japanese citizens entered into a long period of internal stability. Finally having enough time to muse about things to come, they came up with a list of predictions about Japan’s future, some of which are nowhere near how reality has turned out, and some of which were spot on.

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Panasonic may change the world with upcoming product…SAND!

When you think of the multinational electronics producer Panasonic, “sand” probably doesn’t immediately come to mind. However, if a new product they are looking to release meets its full potential, this new kind of sand may completely change the face of the Earth as we know it.

The picture above is not Panasonic sand, but you wouldn’t be able to tell just by looking at it anyways. Actually even if you examine their grains of soil under a microscope you wouldn’t see a difference. So let’s start by looking at what makes this dirt so special and how it could help everyone in one way or another.

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What’s cuter than a cat? A cat with a cat-mask on

Twitter user @kyoxxxxx, aka Kyou, recently posted this picture of a cat with a cat-mask on its forehead that’s weird and extremely cute at the same time.

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Rice-flavored ice cream: You knew it had to be in Japan somewhere

You probably know from reading this site that people in Japan love ice cream. And it goes without saying that they love rice! So I guess we shouldn’t be surprised to find that rice-flavored ice cream is a thing.

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Oh, crepe! We discover a pastry vending machine at the airport

You might think there’s no reason to fly to Fukuoka. After all, the Shinkansen line now stretches all the way to the biggest city on the island of Kyushu, and those spiffy new first-class long-haul bus seats are about ready to make their debut. Why bother taking to the skies when you’ve got two perfectly good terrestrial travel options?

Simple: so you can get a crepe from a vending machine at Fukuoka Airport.

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Japan’s Kizuro Village is a hidden natural beauty and feng shui power spot

On the border between Wakayama and Mie prefectures, nature has created a fantastical terrain. The secluded Kizuro Village is encircled by a river and pebble beaches, turning it into a half-island paradise that’s also abundant in good qi.

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Add some spice to your morning routine with wasabi toothpaste

It looks like wasabi, feels like wasabi, and tastes like wasabi, but this small green tube is actually filled with toothpaste. Wasabi flavored toothpaste. Yes, the popular Japanese condiment that accompanies sushi can now be enjoyed while brushing your teeth – as long as you don’t mind a few extra tears in the morning.

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Japanese ad for new PlayStation 4 function “Share Play” is surprisingly touching

There’s a stereotype about women and games. We can’t aim, we have no attention span, we only like cutesy games, we have to get our brothers/boyfriends/guy friends to clear the hard missions for us.

Well, this incredible advert for PlayStation 4’s Share Play - a new feature which allows PS4 owners to hop in and out of their friends’ games and even take full control without having to own a copy of the game – is set to smash those misconceptions like the proverbial glass ceiling! Watch as this Japanese girl gamer goes from zero to hero on her path to becoming the Goddess of Aiming!

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Some fans love Pharrell’s “It Girl” video, others call him a pedophile【Video】

Last summer the international pop-star Pharrell Williams rocked Japan with his single, “Happy,” which launched countless fan-made remakes across the country. Joining in with the “happy” Japanese people, he has since collaborated with renowned artist Takashi Murakami to make a remix of virtual star Hatsune Miku’s video “Last Night, Good Night (Re:Dialed).” This time around, however, Pharrell is trying to bring fun Japanese culture to the rest of the world.

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I Won’t Let You Down: new music video from OK Go wows us with Honda drones and unicycles

OK Go, the alternative rock band who blew us away with their unique treadmill choreography in the music video for their 2006 hit Here It Goes Again, have come out with an even more impressive video, this time featuring dozens of Japanese girls, a drone and a motorised unicycle from Honda.

Filmed in Japan and inspired by the group’s trip to the Robot Restaurant in Tokyo, this latest music video was released on October 27 and has already reached close to two million views on YouTube. Check out the video after the break to see just how awesome these boys can be when they team up with a leading director and choreographer from Japan.

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Take a tour of video game history and violin majesty with Teppei Okada

The Super Mario Bros. theme song has got to be among the most covered melodies online. From guitars to ancient Chinese shengs, it’s hard for anyone to not want to knock out those opening notes: d-do do d-do DO do.

So with all the videos of people playing the song online, it’s hard to stand out. Hard unless you’re Teppei Okada (a.k.a. Teppei Sensei) of Fukuoka Prefecture. This guy not only does a subtly beautiful rendition of the classic platformer’s background music, but he recreates the sound effects of the game such as collecting coins and breaking blocks.

And Mario is only the tip of the video game iceberg for Teppei Sensei. His skills reach out to a variety of titles on generations of Nintendo consoles and beyond.

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