Japan

Why does Japan have so many overhead power lines?

Why does Japan have so many overhead power lines?

Something many visitors to Japan notice is the abundance of overhead power lines. Whether you’re in the suburbs, city center, or even rural communities, it’s rare to look up at the sky or towards the horizon without the view being crisscrossed by thick, black cables.

So why does Japan have so many above-ground power grids when so many other countries have gone subterranean? The easy answer is cost, but there’re also some purported advantages to stringing cables up on poles, and the country hasn’t quite reached a consensus on which is the better option.

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Pirates, pink hair and temporary tattoos: The girls of Tokyo Game Show 2014【Photos】

Pirates, pink hair and temporary tattoos: The girls of Tokyo Game Show  2014【Photos】

Booth babes, show attendants, scantily clad PR persons; call them what you will, these girls are a big part of Tokyo Game Show, and they’re not going anywhere. They man woman the booths handing out flyers, goodies and company-approved advice and info, always dressed in a way that catches the eye, and it’s hard to imagine the event without them.

Those of you who are unable to attend TGS in person, or who are new to the concept of “booth babes” may perhaps be wondering what all the fuss is about. So for you, and for those of you who pretend to disapprove of such saucy shenanigans but secretly want to look anyway, we’d like to present our collection of photos of the girls of Tokyo Game Show 2014. You’re welcome.

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Ao-nyan: Japan’s super-feminine model who’s, yes, actually a guy 【Photos】

Ao-nyan: Japan’s super-feminine model who’s, yes, actually a guy 【Photos】

Earlier this week, we talked about Thailand’s Tom subculture. Stemming from the word “tomboy,” Toms are women who follow the fashion trends and speech patterns of men, oftentimes so completely that they win over the romantic affections of other women.

Today, we’re crossing over to the other side of things with a look at rising Japanese celebrity Ao-nyan, whose feminine looks and girlish style are winning fame and fans, even though the model is a guy.

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We ride the Honey Toast Train to a paradise of massive, decadent desserts

We ride the Honey Toast Train to a paradise of massive, decadent desserts

Spend some time walking around Tokyo, and you’ll soon see that the city is packed with karaoke joints. But with so many competing chains, how do you pick which one to go to?

For those looking for some tasty food as they belt out their favorite tunes, it’s hard to beat Pasela. Aside from their tropically styled rooms, the chain is best known for its extensive menu, with the most popular item being its famous honey toast dessert.

But what if you’ve got a special occasion, and even the whole-loaf-sized ordinary honey toast just doesn’t have enough impact? That’s when you call ahead and order a massive Honey Toast Train, a dessert so massive it’s garnished with other desserts.

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A look around this year’s Tokyo Game Show 【Video and photo dump】

A look around this year’s Tokyo Game Show 【Video and photo dump】

As you’ve no doubt already heard, the annual Tokyo Game Show is currently underway at the Makuhari Messe exhibition centre in Chiba Prefecture (yup, just like Tokyo Disneyland, TGS isn’t actually in Tokyo…).

It’s fair to say this year’s show is a little smaller than in years gone by, but there’s still plenty to see and do. If, however, you’re one of the millions of poor souls who can’t simply hop on a train to check it out, or only ever have a chance to see the show on its much busier public days, we have a little treat for you today: three minutes of video and a whole host of photos taken at Tokyo Game Show by our very own staff.

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Master Japanese chef’s knife skills turn cucumber into edible art in just three minutes

Master Japanese chef’s knife skills turn cucumber into edible art in just three minutes

Artists of different disciplines each have their own unique tools of the trade. A painter has his brushes and canvas, while a sculptor’s skills might call for a chisel and block of marble.

And a Japanese chef? All he needs to make beautiful, edible artwork is a cucumber and a kitchen knife.

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Kid’s video of whirlwind Japan tour reveals otaku paradise, pervy action figures

Kid’s video of whirlwind Japan tour reveals otaku paradise, pervy action figures

Everybody’s got that story. The story of why they decided they wanted to go to Japan in the first place. Unsurprisingly, for a lot of people it’s manga, anime and even J-Pop. For a lot of guys, it’s the girls. For (comparatively fewer) girls, it’s the guys. Some like the food. Some like the “Old Japan” feel of Kyoto and Kamakura. A few even go for the outdoor activities.

And some go for the pervy action figures.

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Benesse apologizes to customers by giving them 5 bucks, guilts them into donating the money back

Benesse apologizes to customers by giving them 5 bucks, guilts them into donating the money back

Corporations are a lot like people in many ways, we often talk about them as if they act with a single mind and purpose, and they even have legal rights as an individual. Also, like many humans in the world, some corporations seem to lack certain social graces and may deal with other people in awkward ways.

One company who we might describe as “socially special” is education industry titan Benesse. After a major security breach earlier this year nearly 30 million people’s personal information was leaked and sold. To compensate the victims, Benesse is offering a whole 500 yen (US$4.60). That alone might be interpreted as a slap in the face by some people, but it gets worse.

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From plums to panties, the strange and beautiful bento of Keisuke Umeda【Photos】

From plums to panties, the strange and beautiful bento of Keisuke Umeda【Photos】

When you think about the media that artists can work in, ink, paint, stone, metal, wood, and glass all spring readily to mind. We could take an even broader view and include things such as film, sound, and even light. But even then, we’d still be overlooking the creations of Keisuke Umeda, who brings to life scenes of beautiful nature, disturbing juxtaposition, and offbeat humor through the medium of boxed bento lunches.

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Dear Hikers: Stop pooping on Mt. Fuji if you want it to keep its UNESCO status

Dear Hikers: Stop pooping on Mt. Fuji if you want it to keep its UNESCO status

There are a few things people hope to find while hiking to the top of Mt. Fuji. Almost everyone looks forward to the breathtaking vistas. Others hope for the added bonus of comradery with their fellow hikers. Some may even expect to gain some insight into the Japanese spirit or national character by reaching the country’s highest peak.

But you know what no one goes to Mt. Fuji for an eyeful of? Feces. Unfortunately, visitors are becoming more and more likely to run across a pile of poo on the mountain, and that’s not only costing Mt. Fuji some of its cultural luster, it might also mean the end of its UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

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Twitter users report large groups of Chinese buyers in line at Apple Store in Ginza

Twitter users report large groups of Chinese buyers in line at Apple Store in Ginza

With the release date of Apple Inc’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus still unconfirmed in China, buyers from the world’s largest smartphone market have been finding other means of procuring the much anticipated devices. It’s reported that Chinese resellers snatched up pre-order iPhones within hours on Apple’s Hong Kong website, hoping to sell the phones in China for as much as four times the retail price.

According to reports by Twitter users, buyers from China have also made their way to Japan with the goal of smuggling the iPhones back into China for resale. At the Ginza Apple Store, it’s estimated that as much as 90 percent of the more than 400 people waiting in line to buy an iPhone 6 are Chinese.

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Power up with Mega Man E Tank sports drink

Power up with Mega Man E Tank sports drink

Sometimes, everyday tasks can seem like a bigger challenge than a stage in a retro video game. As the day draws on, you get more and more tired, losing the ability and will to go on. Wouldn’t itbe nice to have some sort of item that could instantly refuel all of the energy that you’ve lost throughout the day? Well, fear not, because CAPCOM has decided to bring the E Tank, one of Megaman‘s most useful and iconic items straight from the year 20XX to the current day in the form of a sports and energy drink.

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The ultimate in kawaii cookware — Mickey and friends turn themselves into adorable pots!

The ultimate in kawaii cookware — Mickey and friends turn themselves into adorable pots!

Here in Japan, we love hot pots, or nabe, especially during the cold winter months. Nabe can be cooked using a wide range of ingredients, from delicate seafood like pufferfish (fugu) to succulent wagyu beef, and they’re often served with plenty of vegetables too, so the dishes are filling and relatively healthy as well.

Now, these hot pots are usually all about savoring the various ingredients, but a reporter from our sister site Pouch found some nabe pots that are so adorable that just looking at them is bound to put a smile on your face. Yes, our favorite friends from Disney have turned themselves into pots for our dining and viewing pleasure! Even if you’re not a die-hard Disney fan, these pots are guaranteed to add some extra fun to your meal.

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Sony really, really wants you to buy an Xperia smartphone 【Tokyo Game Show】

Sony really, really wants you to buy an Xperia smartphone 【Tokyo Game Show】

Over the last few years, Tokyo Game Show has become increasingly focused on mobile gaming. This year’s show is one of the smallest to date, with noticeably fewer booths and even big-name publishers seeming almost reluctant to make too much of a fuss of their triple-A titles.

But it’s not just Gree et al pushing mobile gaming in Japan. Console maker Sony, too, is getting in on the action by putting the spotlight on its own smartphone line while doing all it can to show that mobile and traditional console gaming needn’t be completely separate entities, with the company setting up two enormous Xperia booths opposite its PlayStation area at Tokyo Game Show 2014.

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【TBT】The Lowdown on Japan’s Cosplay Industry

【TBT】The Lowdown on Japan’s Cosplay Industry

These days, cosplay functions as a 40 billion yen (US$390 million) industry and has a large impact on Japan’s economy. Now, before moving on, please allow me to clarify that ‘cosplay’ to Japan does not only refer to people dressing up as anime and video game characters, but includes all manner of live action, Western, original characters, nurses, maids, and so on. Virtually any costume worn for fun is considered cosplay over here. So what kinds of special services are available to avid cosplayers in Japan? And how are cosplayers themselves making the most out of this bountiful, infinitely tolerant environment? Read More

It’s on like Donkey Kong! Netizens crack up over DK’s fearsome taunt

It’s on like Donkey Kong! Netizens crack up over DK’s fearsome taunt

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS just hit the stores this past week in Japan, and already over a million copies were sold and with so many different characters to choose from, it’s hard to pick a favorite. Maybe it’s not how the character fights but how it ridicules your opponents as they fly off the battlefield. Nintendo always has their staple characters that have appeared in every Smash Bros. game so far, but there’s one whose taunts are more hilarious than the rest: the master of the bongos himself, Donkey Kong!

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Survey reveals chance of marrying your first love in Japan, other romantic probabilities

Survey reveals chance of marrying your first love in Japan, other romantic probabilities

In a lot of ways, romance is a toss of the dice. There’s a long checklist of items you want to be compatible on before making a relationship permanent and tying the knot, but you’ll cross the threshold for the initial spark long before that. The only way to know if the person you’re attracted to is legitimate marriage material is by going on dates and spending time together, and sometimes the potential we see early on doesn’t pan out, which is why so few people end up married to their junior high school sweetheart.

Of course, sometimes luck is on your side when you roll the bones, and for some people their first love is also their true one. A recent survey revealed just how often this happens in Japan, as well as a few other statistics about Japanese chances for love.

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From Kyoto: The bicycle you can ride while wearing a kimono

From Kyoto: The bicycle you can ride while wearing a kimono

There are many things to love about the kimono, the elegant traditional robe that just screams “Japan”. But beautiful and steeped in tradition as it is, the kimono is not without its accompanying inconveniences: its long skirt, which stays pencil-straight right down to the floor, provides almost no wiggle-room and prevents the wearer from running…or even walking particularly fast, unless in comically short strides. Riding a bicycle, too, has long been out of the question – until now.

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Welcome to Tokyo Psycho Break Show 2014! 【Tokyo Game Show】

Welcome to Tokyo Psycho Break Show 2014! 【Tokyo Game Show】

Good morning from Tokyo! We’re here at the Makuhari Messe exhibition centre bright and early to stand in line to play video games all day. Because we love you.

If you happen to be at the show today or are even in the area, be sure to give us a wave if you see us rocking our RocketNews24 press passes. If you’re new to the game show, we should warn you: despite the enormous number of ads for upcoming horror title Psycho Break, there are actually other games due to be exhibited at this year’s TGS…

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Kumamoto Prefecture’s popular mascot can now be found on your floor

Kumamoto Prefecture’s popular mascot can now be found on your floor

If recent reports are to be believed, tatami, the traditional Japanese flooring made of soft rush straw, may soon be a thing of the past as people begin to favor easier-to-clean western style flooring. It’s really a shame because there’s nothing quite like the smell and natural feel of tatami under your toes. We’ve already seen novel attempts at spicing up the traditional mats with LED lights, but we’re hoping they’ll have more success with these cute decorative tatami featuring Kumamoto Prefecture’s official bear mascot, Kumamon.

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