Japan

Mixed martial artist shoots to fame by combining victory pose and epic gurning skills

Mixed martial artist shoots to fame by combining victory pose and epic gurning skills

The world of martial arts tends to be a serious one. Even though fights are bound by a set of rules, one wrong move can lead to serious injuries. For that reason alone fighters must take a highly disciplined approach to training both their bodies and minds.

Japan’s Pancrase mixed martial arts is one of the stages where these dangerous confrontations unfolds. However, at Pancrase 259 in Tokyo’s Differ Ariake Arena, a fight involving flyweight Takuya Eizumi took a turn for the surreal when his winning pose drew more attention that any fight that took place that evening.

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Cornman spotted cleaning up street outside Ikebukuro Station

Cornman spotted cleaning up street outside Ikebukuro Station

On 17 June a tweet went out reporting a well-dressed man picking up garbage on the street while pulling around a stuffed turtle and scrub brush on leashes. Fans of Kanto area eccentrics should recognize this guy as Cornman or Tawashi Ojisan as he often calls himself.

Although lacking the ear of corn on a leash that we came to know him as having, he certainly still seems to be showing the same level of civic pride and duty as always.

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Natural sounds: Stunning Kyoto-made speakers are made from 30-year-old Japanese cedar

Natural sounds: Stunning Kyoto-made speakers are made from 30-year-old Japanese cedar

If you’re the kind of person who appreciates traditional craftsmanship and doesn’t mind paying a little more to get it, we have a product for you today that you really have to see.

On sale from tomorrow, these stunning mini speakers are made by master craftsmen in Kyoto and use specially grown Japanese cedar, taking an incredible 30 years to go from planting to finished product.

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Here’s that “vagina kayak” Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi made with the help of crowdfunding

Here’s that “vagina kayak” Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi made with the help of crowdfunding

Remember Megumi Igarashi, the Japanese artist who shot to infamy after being arrested for sharing “obscene” 3-D data of her genitals online? Of course you do! Well today as a special treat we thought we’d share some photos of her enjoying the kayak she originally used that self-same data to make.

Well, it’s Friday isn’t it?

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Japan’s kids love game series Yo-Kai Watch, and one fan says it’s because grownups don’t

Japan’s kids love game series Yo-Kai Watch, and one fan says it’s because grownups don’t

As someone who never completely outgrew his love of animation and video games, I try to at least keep up with what’s popular with kids in Japan. I can identify Pikachu, Squirtle, and a handful more of the cute cockfighting stand-ins from Pokémon. If I visit my in-laws and my nieces are watching an episode of PreCure, I know that it’s about a team of friends who fight evil with their magical powers (even if I have no idea how one of the girls got stuck with “The bursting scent of lemons!” as her special ability).

Still, until recently I hadn’t heard a single thing about Yo-Kai Watch, Japan’s current megahit among the elementary school set. At first I thought this was weird, but as it turns out Yo-Kai Watch’s popularity isn’t in spite of people in my age group not knowing about it, but because of it.

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Soccer star Atsuto Uchida lends voice to Pokémon film

Soccer star Atsuto Uchida lends voice to Pokémon film

The latest cinematic addition to the Pokémon franchise is due to come out later this month, only this time it will be bringing along a little extra team spirit with it. One of the things that will make the latest Pokémon movie, Pocket Monster XY: Hakai no Mayu (Pokémon XY : Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction), special is the fact that it will be the first Pokémon movie to feature the voice of a popular athlete.

Soccer star Atsuto Uchida will be playing the part Usshi, a hotel porter, who was based directly off of Uchida himself. On top of their shared physical appearance, the all-star also serves as his character’s namesake, as “Usshi” is actually the nickname that Uchida holds in Germany, where he currently plays for the German association soccer club, FC Schalke 04.

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Aliens scheduled to land in Fukuoka at the end of July!

Aliens scheduled to land in Fukuoka at the end of July!

Aliens. We’ve always speculated on their existence. Do they already live among us or are they waiting in space to make their appearance suddenly and violently known to us? We recently believed that they might be real with their sudden attendance at a baseball game earlier this year, but those aliens were ejected from the stadium and locked away before we could get their story.

Perhaps, we will now ascertain the truth! Five cousins of the aliens from Independence Day have crashed their brown, corrugated spaceship in Japan and finally we have the proof we’ve always longed for. More about why they’re here, how long they’ll be staying, and how we can learn more about them after the jump.

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Get a little Harry Potter-esque owl action at a bird cafe in Asakusa

Get a little Harry Potter-esque owl action at a bird cafe in Asakusa

With the highly anticipated Harry Potter attraction at Universal Studios Japan having just opened this week to great fanfare, owls seem to be the hot “animal of the hour” at the moment in Japan. (Plus, we think owls are pretty cool-looking birds to begin with even without the Harry Potter factor!) In that spirit, one of the reporters from our sister site Pouch recently visited a bird cafe in the Asakusa area of Tokyo, where you can interact with numerous species of owls, yes, but also parakeets and even some falcons as well! Since we’d already had such an awesome time at the owl cafe in Tsukishima, we knew we were going to thoroughly enjoy this visit too. And you can’t really blame us for wanting to share our photos of all the cute owls with you, can you? If you’ve ever been fascinated by owls, we think you’ll be impressed at how up-close and personal you can get with the birds once you’ve seen the pictures!

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Personality test-obsessed Japan devises “Frozen” princess personality test for women

Personality test-obsessed Japan devises “Frozen” princess personality test for women

If there’s anybody in the world that loves a good non-scientifically supported personality or psychological measurement, it’s the Japanese. You’ve got the thoroughly debunked blood type indicator, Western-imported horoscopes, the “which way do you fold your arms?” test, the “how you like your meat cooked says a lot about you” test, and, of course, if you have sword-shaped fingernails, you’re a complete and utter psychopath.

Well, given Japan’s propensity for personality indicators as well as Japan’s affinity for adorable Disney princesses, it was only a matter of time before somebody mashed the two together to create a Frozen princess personality test. Jeez, why can’t they take all this superstition and just LET IT GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

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Tiny town in northern Japan creates gorgeous, gigantic artwork out of rice paddies 【Video】

Tiny town in northern Japan creates gorgeous, gigantic artwork out of rice paddies 【Video】

For most of the year, the tiny town of Inakadate in Aomori Prefecture doesn’t get a lot of visitors. With only some 8,000 residents, most of whom make their living through agriculture, there’s not much to do there, unless you feel like staring at the farmers’ fields.

Every summer, though, droves of visitors come to do just that, as Inakadate’s rice paddies transform into gigantic works of art. And this year is no exception.

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See Toyota’s cute and compact i-ROAD in action on Tokyo’s streets

See Toyota’s cute and compact i-ROAD in action on Tokyo’s streets

Toyota Motor Corporation’s sleek and compact vehicle shows off its moves in a new promotional video after successful public trials in Tokyo. Watch these cute and colorful little vehicles whizz past the city’s landmarks and glide around corners while leaning at an incredible angle.

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Fans lined up to get a mouthful of Exile singer’s tasty chocolate banana

Fans lined up to get a mouthful of Exile singer’s tasty chocolate banana

Starting 19 July Fuji TV will be holding the “Odaiba Shintairiku” event featuring live performances from various artists along with other attractions.

Among these attractions is Izakaya Eguzairu, a bar and grill featuring dishes designed by the members of the top pop group Exile. While much of the menu is standard fare such as Hiro’s spaghetti or Aran Shirahama’s chicken and rice, it’s the dish dreamt up by vocalist Takahiro that has everyone saying “I want to eat Takahiro’s banana” online.

We sent our reporter Nakano-san in to get to the bottom of Takahiro’s Chocolate Banana.

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We visit Kyoto’s monk bar for some spiritual spirits

We visit Kyoto’s monk bar for some spiritual spirits

Many visitors to Kyoto find themselves overcome with a sense of tranquility. Even for people who aren’t Buddhists themselves, there’s just something soothing about being around so many temples and their stoic monks.

You know what else a lot of people find relaxing? A nice cold beer! So when we recently found ourselves in Japan’s former capital and looking for a calming presence, we decided to make it a double by going to a bar run by a genuine monk.

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【TBT】It’s the little things: One more reason why we love Japan

【TBT】It’s the little things: One more reason why we love Japan

After a long week at the office, our Japanese writer Yoshio was in dire need of a pick-me-up. After stretching and clicking his back, he stood up at his desk, tucked his wallet into his back pocket and announced in unusually glum tones that he was popping out to the convenience store to grab a few things.

A few minutes later, Yoshio walked back into office and placed his little white plastic bag down on his desk with a tired sigh. But then he stopped. Looking down at his purchases inside the bag, he suddenly began beaming with a level of happiness that we hadn’t seen in quite some time.

“Oo! Sugoi!” (“Oh! That’s awesome!”) he softly exclaimed.

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Stylish web anime from Yamaha reminds us of an important truth: motorcycles are cool

Stylish web anime from Yamaha reminds us of an important truth: motorcycles are cool

In the beginning, motorized vehicles were designed to be the prefect horse. They’d get you from A to B while allowing you to bypass the bowleggedness and poop shoveling that were inherent parts of equestrian transportation. With time, though, things changed. Cars got bigger and comfier. Plush, roomy interiors designed to isolate passengers from outside sounds and elements moved the design target from the perfect horse to the perfect living room.

So how do you communicate the appeal of a motorcycle to younger people who’ve grown up in these conditions? How do you get them excited about something that sacrifices all of those creature comforts and doesn’t insolate the connection between you, the machine, and the road, but enhances it?

If you’re Yamaha, you create a stylish anime series, and put it on YouTube for all to see.

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Now trending in Japan: Duct-taped hug pillows

Now trending in Japan: Duct-taped hug pillows

Back in my teaching days, some of my more hormonally afflicted students would take great pleasure in asking me whatever inappropriate or perverted questions popped into their heads, often wrongly assuming that I wouldn’t understand what they were saying. Sometimes they’d even break out some crude English with questions like (pointing to my crotch) “Sensei, are you long boy?”, “Do you play sex?”, or “How about Japanese adult video?”

One question that came up curiously often, though, was whether I was “esu” or “emu“, or in English: “Are you a sadist or a masochist?”

I’ve never really thought of myself as either, but chats with a few of my Japanese coworkers soon led me to believe that a surprising number of people here consider themselves to be one or the other. Can you guess which group the owners of these gagged dakimakura belong to?

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Unleash your Super Saiyan with motion-activated Dragon Ball Z toys

Unleash your Super Saiyan with motion-activated Dragon Ball Z toys

Bandai updated its line of Dragon Ball Z goods with motion-activated toys for every aspiring Z Fighter. The company is streaming a video demonstrating how to best use its new wrist toy to perform Goku, Vegeta, and Piccolo’s iconic attacks. Just look how excited the kid in the video gets to mimic some of his favorite heros!

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Amazing highschool ninja ad has nothing to do with the product, everything to do with awesomeness

Amazing highschool ninja ad has nothing to do with the product, everything to do with awesomeness

We’ve no doubt all experienced that feeling of frustration when, right when things are getting good, our favorite TV show is interrupted by an ad break. We kick ourselves for getting suckered in, knowing full well that both the show’s makers and the networks that host it put the ads in where they did for good reason – to keep us glued to our sets that little bit longer.

But there are times when even the ads are so well made that they’re as entertaining as the shows we were watching. This new commercial for a Japanese soft drink, for example, is so cleverly shot that for the first few seconds we genuinely thought it was footage taken by a couple of high school girls tooling around in their classroom. Until, of course, they started back-flipping off buildings, sprinting across roofs and pulling every trick in the ninja book.

Sure, it has almost nothing to do with the product, but we think you’ll agree this is one of the coolest ads around.

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World’s first One Piece theme park teased for 2015

World’s first One Piece theme park teased for 2015

Anime fan? Disneyland to sickly sweet for you? Then you may want to plan a trip to Tokyo early next year…

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Talented and beautiful singer covers Western pop hits in Japanese

Talented and beautiful singer covers Western pop hits in Japanese

Japanese audiences love to hear their favourite foreign tunes in their own language, as evidenced by the huge popularity of the Japanese version of Let It Go. But it’s not only Disney songs that are getting Japan-ized. One up-and-c0ming singer has been gaining popularity on YouTube thanks to her self-penned interpretations of English pop hits from the likes of Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, and more.

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