Japan

The bunnies! There’s… too many of them! AAARGH!!!

The bunnies! There’s… too many of them! AAARGH!!!

Remember Okunoshima, the tiny Japanese island that’s home to hundreds of freely hopping bunnies? Well one intrepid rabbit lover recently paid the place a visit, not just to see its furry masters with his own eyes, but to film himself being offered up to the rabbits for our viewing pleasure.

It’s like he’s being set upon by a ravenous herd of tiny, fluffy zombies…

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Japan has cornered the market on weird but cute – a look back into history【Photos】

Japan has cornered the market on weird but cute – a look back into history【Photos】

Japan’s history has such a huge influence on its current trends. In fact, what is old is cool in Japan. Samurai, geisha and ninja are all perfect examples of how Japan loves to romanticize their history and how the past continues to play a role in present day culture. It’s surprising that entertainment in Japan isn’t constantly just remaking old stuff into new stuff! (Oh wait, they are?)

One of the most popular things in Japan right now is Yo-Kai Watch, which combines the thrill of Pokemon with monsters of Japanese folklore. But aren’t the monsters of Japan too scary for a children’s Pokémon-like game? If you haven’t figured it out yet…Japanese folklore is a weird and wonderful place.

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Master drummers are lurking in Japanese game centers

Master drummers are lurking in Japanese game centers

Sure, you’ve all heard of Dance Dance Revolution (affectionately called DDR by stomp dancing fans everywhere). But how about Taiko no Tatsujin? Translated as “Drum Master,” this arcade game gives players a faux taiko drum to bang out a predetermined rhythm, doling out points for perfect on-time hits. It’s been around in Japan since 2001, but there seems to be no shortage of amazing drummers turning up in game centers across Japan. The photo above, showing two enthusiastic taiko drummers playing the game with movements that are the equivalent of using that extra bar to launch yourself in the air while playing DDR, surfaced on Twitter just this week…which got us thinking, how many other crazy drummers have been spotted in Japanese game centers?

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【TBT】Who needs a cherry on top? Osaka café crowns its parfaits with cake

【TBT】Who needs a cherry on top? Osaka café crowns its parfaits with cake

Tokyo’s restaurants may have more Michelin stars, but for many Japanese foodies, the real culinary action is in Osaka. Particularly if your tastes run more towards good honest grub than haute cuisine, Japan’s second largest city is the place to be.

The people of Osaka enjoy a good meal so much that they coined the phrase kuidaore, to eat until you collapse. But even with this image firmly entrenched in our minds, the city has found a new way to surprise us with its gastronomic decadence.

On a recent day out in Osaka, our reporter stopped by a café and ordered a truly hard-core parfait. It wasn’t that the parfait was so big, and no, it didn’t contain any shocking ingredients. What blew our minds about this parfait was its topping.

It was a slice of cake, and it was so big it wasn’t even trying to fit into the glass.

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Hello Kitty isn’t a cat!? We called Sanrio to find out!

Hello Kitty isn’t a cat!? We called Sanrio to find out!

By now you’ve probably read the earth-shattering, heart-rending news that Hello Kitty’s own copyright holder Sanrio recently alleged that the world’s most famous bow-sporting feline isn’t actually a cat. If, like me, you’re a huge fan of Japan’s unofficial mascot, you probably already started going through the five stages of grief, too.

I, however, never got past denial. Instead, I picked up the phone and called Sanrio’s PR department in Japan. My findings will bring your suffering heart some relief.

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Sanrio says, “Hello Kitty is not a cat.” Whaaa?

Sanrio says, “Hello Kitty is not a cat.” Whaaa?

Hello Kitty is one of the most iconic Japanese characters, aside from Pikachu. She screams cute, finds herself in a variety of interesting costumes, and has those adorable pointed cat ears. So with a name like “Hello Kitty” and a face that is decidedly that of a feline, it’s only natural to assume she’s a cat…but you could be wrong.

Ladies and gentlemen of the RocketNews nation, get ready to have your mind blown: someone at Sanrio has just revealed that Hello Kitty is actually a human girl.

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Crazy Japanese “doctor” thinks babies live in clouds, choose their mothers from the heavens

Crazy Japanese “doctor” thinks babies live in clouds, choose their mothers from the heavens

When a 4-year-old tells you his favorite hobby is riding dinosaurs with laser guns on their backs, you’d probably tend to laugh it off as the whimsical musings of a person whose brain hasn’t fully developed yet. But apparently one Japanese researcher thought taking the nonsensical ramblings of very young children seriously was an important research project lending insight into the pre-conception brains of recently born people.

“Doctor” Akira Ikegawa – who is crazy and is possibly also hoping to defraud at least a few people – says his research in prenatal care has revealed that babies sit up in clouds looking down on the world picking and choosing which mother they prefer to be born to before spiriting themselves into those mothers’ wombs to be carried to term.

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Fox’s Animation Domination HD pays tribute to Ghibli with new video

Fox’s Animation Domination HD pays tribute to Ghibli with new video

While Fox’s Animation Domination High-Def has a long history of skewering anime properties and tropes, like this battle between Naruto and Sasuke, the ultimate anime hero, and super-powered schoolgirls, it’s all out of love. And now, in response to Studio Ghibli‘s announcement that it may dismantle its production department, ADHD has posted a tribute video called “Goodbye, Ghibli.”

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A skeptic’s guide to anime – Five series to ease you into Japan’s most popular export

A skeptic’s guide to anime – Five series to ease you into Japan’s most popular export

Viewed from afar, Japanese animation may appear to be populated entirely by giant-eyed, squeaky-voice schoolgirls and young men who suffer from frequent nosebleeds. Their plots, too, can seem awfully convoluted at first glance, and so anyone who didn’t grow up with anime or have the chance to catch popular series when they were just getting started may feel completely out of their depth when trying to get into it.

If you’re the kind of person who, like me, despite being into Japan and Asia, never really understood what all the fuss was about anime, or who would like to give this strange medium a chance but doesn’t know where to start, then we have a special treat for you today: no fewer than five anime recommendations from members of our very own writing staff, guaranteed to be easy for even anime-skeptics to get into. Who knows, these might just be the gateway shows you’ve been looking for!

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Blown all your cash on anime? New restaurant in Akihabara has pasta for less than two bucks

Blown all your cash on anime? New restaurant in Akihabara has pasta for less than two bucks

With the highest concentration of anime and video game specialty stores on the planet, it’s pretty easy to go over-budget spending a day in Akihabara. But while some otaku might claim that Japanese animation is their lifeblood, eventually everyone needs to eat something.

So for everyone with a crying wallet and a grumbling stomach, a new restaurant has just arrived in the neighborhood, serving pasta to-go, starting at just 190 yen (US$1.88).

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Hello Kitty as we’ve never seen her before: Drawn by Osamu Tezuka, The God of Manga

Hello Kitty as we’ve never seen her before: Drawn by Osamu Tezuka, The God of Manga

Revered as “The God of Manga,” the late Osamu Tezuka is simultaneously Japan’s most revered and prolific comic artist. More than 700 manga series sprang from the mind of the tireless Tezuka, but even with that busy schedule, he still found time to draw his version of Japan’s most famous cat, Hello Kitty, combining her with one of his most-used characters.

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Make a map of Japan in your oven with these intricate cookie cutters

Make a map of Japan in your oven with these intricate cookie cutters

Think you can identify all the prefectures of Japan? Yeah, neither can we. But that’s okay because now with the help of this impressively accurate cookie cutter set, you can study and eat a map of Japan at the same time. Mmmm, knowledge.

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Anime mega-store lets fans handcuff themselves to hunky 2-D swimmer for photos

Anime mega-store lets fans handcuff themselves to hunky 2-D swimmer for photos

Being the biggest anime retailer in Japan means having to please all of the many different subgroups that Japanese animation aficionados fall into. So while one day mega-store Animate might cater to old-school fans by letting them slap 90s basketball saga Slam Dunk’s coach in the neck, they also have to do something for fans of more modern series too.

Stepping up to the challenge is Animate’s Yokohama branch, where lovers of high school swimming story Free! can now photograph themselves handcuffed to  shark-toothed pretty-boy Rin.

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We check out the new Rose of Versailles comic — the first one to come out in forty years!

We check out the new Rose of Versailles comic — the first one to come out in forty years!

Earlier this month, we reported to you about how a new volume of the popular girls’ manga The Rose of Versailles was coming out, after more than 40 years since the last volume was published in May of 1974. Now, that’s certainly a long time to wait for a comic, and just as promised at the end of our previous article, we were at the front of the line to get our hands on the new volume when it was released this Monday. We didn’t want to be kept waiting any longer than necessary, after all, to take a look at the newest addition to the series. And how was the new volume? See our impressions and pictures below to find out. Oh, and we’ll also take a look at a collaboration between the manga and a fashion magazine as well!

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Are Women-Only train cars illegal in Japan?

Are Women-Only train cars illegal in Japan?

File this one under things we hope don’t fall into the wrong hands: Those Women Only train cars in Japan aren’t actually enforceable under the law.

All foreign men in Japan can recount their first harrowing experience of obliviously stepping onto a train, only to find that literally every single other passenger was a woman. There’s a moment of confusion and, if you’re lucky, a good Samaritan politely explaining that wieners don’t belong here, followed by the terrible realization that you’ve broken not only an official rule set forth by the train company but also an unwritten social rule, which is kind of almost worse. But, from here on out, you can rest assured that even though you’re committing a social taboo, you’re not breaking any laws!

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“You’re so messed up!” Complaints come after broadcaster edits infamous Evangelion scene

“You’re so messed up!” Complaints come after broadcaster edits infamous Evangelion scene

The 1997 anime movie The End of Evangelion was in many ways an unprecedented exercise in creative freedom for animation studio Gainax. The franchise-starting TV series had wrapped up a year earlier, with Gainax’s coffers drained and a highly metaphorical, sparsely animated finale. End of Eva would be a reimagining of the ground-breaking anime’s final act, and its theatrical release format meant a bigger budget and no more pesky broadcast content restrictions.

As a result, the film is graphic and jarring in its raw depictions of both violent urges and sexual desire. But while none of that was a problem in theatres, it was a different story when End of Eva was recently shown on TV in Japan, which necessitated some fan-angering cuts, including the movie’s most infamously shocking scene.

Heads-up, gainfully employed readers! While you won’t see any offensive pictures below, the subject matter might not be the sort of thing you’ll want your coworkers to see you reading at work.

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New research suggests even low-level radiation in Fukushima negatively impacting wildlife

New research suggests even low-level radiation in Fukushima negatively impacting wildlife

Dr. Timothy Mousseau, professor of Biological Sciences at the University of South Carolina and researcher for the Chernobyl and Fukushima Research Initiative, presented new findings to the International Ornithological Congress in Tokyo last week that suggest radiation contamination around Fukushima Daiichi, even at low levels, is negatively impacting biodiversity and wildlife populations.

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Nintendo announces Pokkén Tournament for arcades in 2015

Nintendo announces Pokkén Tournament for arcades in 2015

Nintendo announced during the “Monthly Famitsu feat. Pokémon Special” live-streamed program that an action/fighting game titled Pokkén Tournament (Pokkén being a pun on the words Pokémon and ‘fist’) will be released for Japanese arcades in 2015. Bandai Namco Games is collaborating on the development of the project.

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Going Bananas for Bananart on Banana Day! Students create a “bananamation” movie【Video】

Going Bananas for Bananart on Banana Day! Students create a “bananamation” movie【Video】

We know what you are thinking: “Really? There’s a Banana Day?” In Japan there is! It comes from the date “August 7″ and the way you can pronounce “8” (ba) and “7” (nana) in Japanese. The two of them read together become Banana Day, an informal holiday where the amazing powers of bananas are reviewed and admired, which is mostly achieved through nutritional campaigns that teach you fun facts like “bananas are high in potassium” and “they are good for giving you a quick boost of energy”.

In fact, an elementary school in Kanagawa Prefecture took advantage of Banana Day to squeeze in a nutrition class and, surprisingly, the kids didn’t go bananas because they had to go to school during summer vacation. Instead, the students took the day to its most artistic and clever form yet by creating a stunning video that all banana lovers should watch.

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Coca-Cola’s new vending machines don’t need electricity during the day to keep drinks cold

Coca-Cola’s new vending machines don’t need electricity during the day to keep drinks cold

In some ways, the huge amount of vending machines in Japan seems like a win-win situation. In a country that gets incredibly hot and sticky in the summer, it’s nice to never be more than a few minutes’ walk from a cold drink, and for beverage companies like Coca-Cola, the machines are a huge source of income.

That said, all of those vending machines are essentially coin-operated refrigerators, collectively sucking up a huge amount of electricity. In an effort to cut down on their energy consumption, Coca-Cola has developed a new type of unit that spends as much as 16 hours a day not using any electricity at all to keep its products nice and cool.

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