Japan

Filled to bursting point? Rush-hour crush on Tokyo subway leaves train with broken window

The Tokyo metropolitan subway system is notorious for being incredibly crowded at rush hour, with commuters packed into narrow train carriages like sardines in a can. You’re probably familiar with images of white-gloved train conductors literally pushing people onto trains in an attempt to squeeze just one more body on before departure.

It can be very scary being squished into a mass of people like that, and this particularly holds true in case of sudden incidents such as the one that occurred this week when the window of a train literally broke due to the pressure of all of those heaving bodies. Join us after the jump for images of crushed glass and scenes of utter chaos! Okay, it’s actually only a few cracks, but still…

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【TBT】Chocolate-covered squid, corn Kit Kat, and other anomalies of the Japanese snack food scene

Japan is a crowded country, and that goes for just about everything. Even store shelves are crowded. Most people do their shopping on foot, which means supermarkets and convenience stores tend to be on the small size, and shelf space is always at a premium.

As such, companies have to do something to make their products stand out. This is why so many Japanese beverages and snack foods have seasonal flavors that are only available for a limited time. Of course, taste engineers in Japan can only come up with so many normal flavors, and when they run out, the only thing to do is go on to the abnormal flavors.

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Live-action Attack on Titan posters show new characters and weapons, plus one huge absence

It’s a big month for Attack on Titan. Between an art exhibit opening in Tokyo, a crossover with Marvel’s Avengers, and at least one of the naked giants finding a proper job, the biggest anime and manga hit of the last decade is even more in the spotlight than usual these days, which makes it only fitting that we’re getting our first in-costume glimpse of the cast of next summer’s live-action Attack on Titan movies.

Leading trio Eren, Mikasa, and Arumin are all present and accounted for. But while they’ll be joined by several new characters specially crafted for the films, one fan favorite apparently isn’t making the transition to live-action.

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Continue your collection of Kit Kats with a NEW flavor inspired by Japan’s bullet train

A trip to Japan is never complete without sampling the random chocolate and candy the country has to offer — the ultimate treat is trying all the different Kit Kats! But with so many flavors, it’s always hard to choose which ones to bring back as a souvenir. That’s why we suggest buying the newest one, created to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the very first Shinkansen in Japan. (And no, it doesn’t taste like train).

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Legendary DJ Krush performs with traditional Japanese musicians to create music for your dreams

If you’ve ever visited a Shinto shrine, there’s a good chance you’ve heard the ethereal sound of gagaku, or traditional Japanese court music. It’s not exactly something that you’d throw in a club mix after “Turn Down For What,” though at one point it was used to accompany dances at the imperial palace. While Lil Jon may get your body shaking, with gagaku, which literally means “elegant music,” shaking isn’t really the goal.

Still, that didn’t stop DJ Krush, one of Japan’s most famous and respected turntablists, from getting together with a few gagaku musicians to play one of the most beautiful sets you’re ever likely to hear–and at a Tokyo Red Bull Music Academy event, no less!

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Self-defense tip: Dealing with unwanted kabe-don

With the aggressive pick-up tactics of Julien “the most hated man in the world” Blanc all over the news this week, it only makes sense that we here at RocketNews24 do our part in educating readers about self-defense. And being as this is Japan, we thought we should start with a method for dealing with that particularly Japanese act of violence-infused wooing: the kabe-don.

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How long does Kagoshima need to convince us to visit? With this video, just two minutes

A little over a year ago, one of my good friends in Tokyo got a job teaching philosophy at a university in Kagoshima, the prefecture at the southernmost tip of the island of Kyushu. Being that he’s now a seven-hour series of train rides, or a two-and-a-half-hour flight, away, we don’t get together so often anymore, but on the plus side, now I have a reason to take a trip to Kagoshima.

Well, actually, I’ve got about a dozen reasons to take a trip there, if you add in all of the nature trails, hot springs, scenic coastline, and more shown in this video of some of Kagoshima’s most achingly beautiful travel destinations.

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Katakana is cool: Designers take inspiration from Japan’s least popular writing system

Remember the Chinese character phase? Back in the early 2000s you could see Chinese characters everywhere from T-shirts to tattoos. While the trend still continues to some extent today, once people started realizing that you should probably double-check the meaning before going out in public, it has definitely slowed down.

Maybe Chinese symbols have a sort of stigma now, but that is not stopping major designers from branching out into the other styles of Japanese writing, namely katakana. This new trend is being used by brands all over the world, from Adidas to Stussy.

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A truly sweet affair — high fashion meets high dessert at the Tokyo Sweets Collection!

We’d like to think that all things sweet and beautiful have a certain universal appeal, regardless of country and culture. Japan is no exception, and the Japanese public certainly loves sweets in all shapes and sizes, so much so that the word pâtissier, French for “pastry chef,” has become an established part of the Japanese language. From that viewpoint, an event that brings delectable desserts, beautiful fashion and entertainment all together in one package is something of a dream experience, at least for this writer. And just recently, we were fortunate enough to attend exactly such an event — the Tokyo Sweets Collection 2014!

Join us as we take you along on a sweet journey through this unique show in which six renowned pastry chefs serve up heavenly plates of desserts in a fantastical setting complete with lights, music, dancing and models in beautiful clothes, all designed to tantalize not just your taste buds but all of your senses!

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You’re going to flip over these 3-D animated flip books, fantastic enough to elicit cheesy puns

You’d think the art of flip book animation had seen its apex by now. The medium’s emotional limits have already been pushed by the works of Japanese comedian and surprisingly talented artist Tekken, and others have recreated famous anime almost perfectly, but it seems there isn’t much else to do with the medium of flicking pieces of paper to create a moving image.

Or so we thought, until witnessing a line of flip books by Japanese company Another Laboratory (Mohitotsu no Kenkyujo). These brief but beautiful works not only breathe life into the format but make it superior to film or computer animations through clever use of the book itself as part of the imagery.

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Osaka man imprisoned on rape conviction released in exceptional reversal of charges

An Osaka man convicted of rape three and a half years ago and sentenced to a 12-year prison sentence has been released after new evidence revealed the man’s accuser had provided false testimony.

The man – whom Japanese news outlets are not naming – was accused of raping the same woman in both 2004 and 2008, and sexually assaulting her once again later in 2008. The guilty verdict was apparently based largely on the woman’s testimony and that of at least one eyewitness, but the trial seems to have lacked any physical evidence provided by prosecutors.

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Cozy kitty pullovers are the perfect outfit to snuggle up in for your next catnap

Between their furry coats and ability to stake out the warmest spots in the home, cats seem to be pretty skillful at warding off the cold. But while you can probably squeeze in next to your pets in front of the space heater, you can’t really borrow their coats, can you?

Of course, you won’t need to if you have a cute, cozy kitty pullover of your own.

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Mr. Sato is now a sticker, and we’re giving him away to six lucky readers!

Here at RocketNews24, we’re all about expanding our horizons. That means we’re always on the lookout for new places to visit, new burgers to eat, and most of all, new spheres of craziness for our intrepid Japanese language correspondent Mr. Sato to wade into.

Now, though, we’re ready for our beautiful, ambitious, tenacious, stylish, hygienic, innovative, trend-setting reporter to go someplace he’s never gone before: your home, in the form of charming Mr. Sato stickers that we’re giving away.

Read on to find out how to get your hands on a set.

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Four urine-loving Tokyo men arrested for taking photos of girls who just couldn’t hold it anymore

Just in case you haven’t had a dose of creepy in a while, we bring this to you to keep you sober and careful in the future.

Being an adult female and an avid reader of news, I’ve come to realize over the years that there are a lot of creepy people in this world of ours. Within the past two years in Japan alone, for example, two stories that made headlines involved a man who was arrested for throwing cups of urine on women and another for kidnapping a girl to raise as his “ideal wife.” And now, another similarly creepy case has come to light, with four men being arrested in Tokyo for activities that I would rank pretty high on the creepy scale.

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Japanese gamers share their most memorable Mario Kart moments

Mario Kart. We don’t know a single person who claims not to like it at least a little bit, and with its 22-year history and eight (11 if you count the arcade iterations) distinct outings to date, pretty much everyone has zipped around at least one of Nintendo’s crazy cartoony tracks at some point in their life.

News site MyNavi Woman recently polled gamers all over Japan about their most memorable Mario Kart experiences, 13 of which we’ve listed after the jump for your reading and reminiscing pleasure. Honestly, we don’t think there’s a single one here that didn’t have us nodding in agreement.

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Transform your cat into DJ Scratchalot this holiday season

If the thought of a cat spinning tracks fills your heart with immense joy, then this will be the gift that keeps on giving this holiday season.

With a rotating turntable and a deck covered in trash-talking stickers, even demure felines can try their paw at scratching tracks, thanks to this hilarious cat DJ deck. Now any cat can be the cool cat who makes all the humans smile and all the kittens bounce.

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Cats are ready to burst out of your smartphone with these cool suction-cup stands

If you’re a proud cat owner, odds are you’ve got pictures of your favorite feline on your smartphone. We also know that plenty of people like to keep up on the latest developments on cat-related cuteness by surfing the Internet with said devices.

But if that’s still not enough, now you can keep your electronics upright with an adorable cat coming out of your smartphone.

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Life hack! Make your own “Louis Poulsen” light fitting with nothing but paper plates and bowls

Apartments in Japan are a bit strange. Most don’t come with furnishings, which isn’t all that uncommon, but many also don’t even come with light fixtures. It comes as a bit of a surprise for foreigners in Japan when they walk into their brand new rental and aren’t able to turn on the lights…because there are none.

It’s not so bad when you have been living in Japan your whole life, and thus take the light fixtures with you whenever you move, but often times, it’s an extra cost of moving that you didn’t factor in. Since you own these lights, it seems like a good place to invest in something unique that will stand the test of time and it’s a chance to show some individuality in your own personal space.

For some, that means going the “eco” route and forking out the money for some really expensive, but long-lasting LED lights. For others, it might mean purchasing that stylish but expensive fixture you’ve been seeing in all the home decor magazines. But who says you have to spend a lot to be trendy? Here’s a handy DIY instruction guide for making your own Louis Poulsen PH 5 hanging light!

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New Guess ad campaign features Japan in all her stunning glory

If you’ve ever visited Japan and fallen in love with its beauty and culture, prepare to be swept off your feet again with the latest ad campaign from Guess.

Shot by famed Chinese photographer Chen Man, the photos take us on a journey through cherry blossoms and tea houses, featuring girls with samurai swords and parasols.

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1,200 Japanese workers convert above-ground train to subway line in a matter of hours

On March 15, 2013, the Shibuya Station Toyoko Line above-ground train quietly shut down for good, to be replaced with a new section of subway track connecting Shibuya Station and the nearby Daikanyama Station. Converting the line from above-ground to underground was a massive operation, requiring a grand total of 1,200 engineers and countless man-hours.

But, even if you’d been living in Tokyo at the time, you probably wouldn’t have noticed the construction, because it all occurred during the train line’s off-hours… over the course of one single night.

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