Japan

The legality of adding free green onions to your ramen

Lots of restaurants offer condiments for customers to use freely, but how “freely” are they actually meant to be used. For example, one ramen shop in Japan had a poster offering to let customers take as much green onion as they want, until someone came in and did just that.

The patron piled on about two bowlfuls of diced scallions per single bowl of soup, because apparently that’s the way he likes it. After a few repeat visits the staff interceded and asked that the customer cool it with the onions.

So, who is in the right? Was the gluttonous customer abusing the kind offer of the restaurant, or should the shop stand by its explicitly written offer? Japanese legal website Bengoshi News called in a lawyer to find out.

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“Would you carry a woman’s purse for her?” Japanese men share their baggage-handling policies

With the prevalence of public transportation in urban Japan, going out on the town means having to lug any belongs you’re taking with you around for the day. This adds a bit of a complication for couples out on a date. Assuming things are going well and the lovebirds are spending several hours together, at some point the woman’s purse is going to start feeling heavy, but how many Japanese guys are willing to step up and shoulder the task of carrying their girl’s bag for her?

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Bizarre “diet-gram” shows which parts of the body store certain foods as fat, but we’re not buying it!

There’s a particularly vindictive little saying that some diet bores like to trot out as a warning to people who like to enjoy food without feeling guilty about it: a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips. But according to this totally bonkers diagram that’s been doing the rounds of the Japanese internets, it turns out that the cookie you munched after lunch might be heading straight for your knees, while the dressing on your salad is about to zoom straight towards your armpits.

Wait, what?!

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Fukushima bottled water wins Gold Quality Award in the internationally coveted Monde Selection

At a press conference on April 8, Fukushima City representatives announced that the bottled tap water produced in the city has won a Gold Quality Award in the 2015 Monde Selection, a prestigious international competition designed to test the quality of various consumer products. By winning this award, the city hopes to dispel negative rumors about lingering radioactive contamination following the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in 2011.

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“How to put a baby to sleep in less than one minute” video goes viral in Japan, around the world

As our seasoned reporter and full-time daddy Steven (of Master Blaster fame) recently reported, getting your cranky toddler to brush her teeth–without throwing a temper tantrum first–is tricky business. Likewise, getting her to go to bed so you can have those precious few hours of R&R at the end of the day can be just as much of a struggle (even when a disgruntled Samuel L. Jackson is called in).

But what if you were to hear that there was an exceedingly simple trick to put your kids down that only requires one tissue to work?

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Kansai International: The airport that’s never lost a passenger’s bag

One of the many things we love about Japan is its amazing customer service, from intelligent packing to omnipresent station attendants who pop out of the walls to help you.

So we weren’t too surprised to hear that an airport in Japan has been judged to be the best airport in the world for baggage handling. And the details of the top-notch service that helped Kansai International Airport clinch the title are really quite impressive. For starters, the Osaka airport hasn’t lost a single item of luggage in over 20 years.

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They just don’t make Japanese food delivery people like they used to

Times always change. New things come and old things fade away. Depending on your age and location you may have some fond memory of milk being delivered by a horse-drawn carriage or going to a so-called “vi-dee-oh store” to rent a moving picture etched onto some weird magnetic tape or disc.

And some Japanese people may reminisce about the Showa period of Japan when food delivery men would ride around on bicycles carrying an absurd amount of food on a single shoulder.

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Japan Bucket List — 8 things you need to do to really understand Japan

Your first trip to Japan is bound to be a whirlwind visit as you try to pack so many things into a short period of time. Do go to Tokyo and see the white-gloved train pushers, the famous Shibuya scramble crossing, and many of the scenes depicted in anime and manga. Do go to Kyoto and see the shrines and temples that are simply amazing.

But as a country that has so much to offer, it can take years to really get to know and understand Japan, even when you live here. So if you want to take your understanding of Japan a step further, we’re here to suggest a few things you’ll want to experience in order to better understand Japanese culture: things that give you insight on what’s behind the Japanese way of thinking.

These experiences will help you understand who the Japanese people are, and why they act the way they do. Get ready to move from tourist to cultural expert after the jump!

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Naruto’s son gets a voice as lead roles cast for Boruto –Naruto the Movie-

Along with throwing shuriken and climbing sheer rock walls, the art of seeming to disappear is an invaluable skill for a ninja. So maybe we shouldn’t be so surprised that even though you’ll no longer find Masashi Kishimoto’s hugely successful Naruto manga in the pages of comic anthology Weekly Shonen Jump, the franchise isn’t really entirely gone.

This summer, the ninja action continues, but previous lead character Naruto has earned a well-deserved rest. Instead, his son Boruto will be in the spotlight in a new theatrical feature. If you’re going to star in an anime movie, you’ll need a voice, and producers have just announced who will play Boruto, while also confirming that the new hero’s ninja father will also make an appearance in the film.

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Momoiro Clover Z dress up as Dragon Ball Z characters in trailer for new track, “Z no Chikai”

On April 13, a trailer video for J-pop group Momoiro Clover Z‘s new track “Z no Chikai” was released. In the video, all five members of the group are made up as characters in the infinitely popular anime Dragon Ball Z. See which ones you can regcognize!

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Someone at Studio Ghibli call this student film-maker and give him a job! 【Video】

Lush greenery, magical flying machines and huge, squelching monsters, overlaid with a soaring orchestral soundtrack. This animated short makes no pretence about its strongest influence – it’s a beautiful homage to the works of Hayao Miyazaki.

The film even features a mysterious-looking gentleman who looks suspiciously like Miyazaki himself. But this short, which has been gaining attention online in Japan and abroad, was not made by a team of professional animators, but a young film student in Paris.

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People in Japan are growing concerned that another major earthquake might hit soon

We don’t think we have to tell you that when some lunatic wearing a sandwich board starts telling you that the earth will open up and swallow humanity whole if you don’t do seven Hail Marys, constantly chant “Yahweh,” and transfer a small donation exceeding 10 dollars to his PayPal account right now, you can probably take that prediction with a grain of salt.

But, when it comes to earthquakes, there are actually some pretty solid, observable predictors that one may be coming soon. And, holy crap you guys, there are a bunch of those happening right now in Japan and I for one am starting to get worried.

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Anime movie The Boy and the Beast gets two trailers and a voice cast 【Videos】

There’s no theatrical feature coming from Studio Ghibli this summer (or possibly ever again), but that doesn’t mean the Japanese movie landscape is going to be completely devoid of lovingly made, family-friendly animated fare. Anime fans around the globe were excited to hear that Mamoru Hosoda, director of Summer Wars and Wolf Children, has a new film set to premiere this July, and now The Boy and the Beast has not only a vocal cast, but two brand-new trailers!

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Monday Kickstart: Naughty hamster chews its way through a stuffed animal, into our hearts

Another Monday, another few thousand spins around the old hamster wheel, right? While that sounds terrible, it’s actually pretty cute. At least if you happen to be a real hamster.

What with their plump buttstiny food portions, and under-sized houses, hamsters are easily some of the most adorable animals on the planet, right next to cats and puppies. And thanks to their tiny size, they make great pets too, though you do need to pay special attention to their teeth, ensuring that they don’t grow too long. But while teeth that continuously grow might be a chore to us humans, they’re one of the hamster’s greatest tools, allowing them to chew right through whatever their little hearts desire! Like your favorite stuffed animals…

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Hear the Evangelion theme song as you drive over Hakone’s Ashinoko Skyline “musical road”

A “musical road“? What the heck is that?

The Ashinoko Skyline is a private toll road in Hakone which boasts panoramic views of Lake Ashinoko and bordering Mt. Fuji. Just in time for Golden Week in Japan, a stretch of the Skyline will be converted into a musical road which plays the theme song from anime Neon Genesis Evangelion, “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis,” when driven over by a car. Nothing like a catchy melody to enhance your scenic tour!

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Guy supposedly finds himself sneaking a smoke at work on Google Street View

The fact that cameras are just about everywhere these days has all but guaranteed that you’ll get caught doing anything even remotely socially unacceptable unless you do it in the privacy of your own home (and even then you better make sure you close the curtains).

Gone are the days of anonymously ringing the crazy cat lady’s doorbell and running away, or sneaking in to your local Masonic Temple to uncover their nefarious, cult-ish deeds (true story!). You can pretty much forget about doing anything in an elevator.

Oh, and, better be sure to tell your supervisor before you take that smoke break, or the ever watchful, judging gaze of the Google Street View car might out you to your employer, as a Japanese Netizen apparently found out recently.

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Can a simple ribbon give magical anime-style boob uplift? Girls of Japanese Twitter investigate!

One of the hardest things about cosplaying an anime character has to be the challenge of making cartoon facial and body features look as striking, interesting and attractive in real life as they do in the animated world.

Twitter in Japan has been buzzing with just that dilemma this week after the launch of the anime adaptation of light novel series Danmachi, known in English as Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?  Why? Because one particularly well-endowed female character, Hestia, has a blue ribbon enhancing her cleavage, and Twitter users across Japan decided to try it out in real life. While some fans were disappointed, others seemed to feel they might just be on to something with this ribbon thing!

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Over 150 whales found beached in Ibaraki, same thing happened before 2011 Tohoku earthquake

A little over four years ago, a week before the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, 50 melon-headed whales were found beached in Ibaraki Prefecture, only about 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the earthquake’s epicenter.

Now the same omen of bad things to come has happened again. On April 9, about 150 melon-headed whales were found beached in Ibaraki Prefecture. As emergency teams race to save the whales, one thought is sitting in the back of their minds: is this foreshadowing another giant earthquake?

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Get your geek on! Artwork for the Momoiro Clover Z/Dragon Ball CDs revealed

While Momoiro Clover Z’s transformation into Frieza clones earlier this month simply turned out to be an April Fool’s Day joke, their collaboration with Dragon Ball Z is the real deal! In fact, the group is responsible for the theme song for the new movie, Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F. Which is pretty cool, and if you’re a fan of Momoiro Clover Z and Dragon Ball Z you’ll probably also love the covers for the movie’s maxi singles being released on April 29.

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Alcoholic tea ceremony? We try Suntory’s new matcha green tea liquor 【Taste test】

Every now and then, after a nice, satisfying dinner, I’ll find myself with both a thirst and a quandary. Do I feel like capping the meal with a relaxing cup of tea, or something stronger?

Thanks to a new drink that just hit stores in Japan, though, I don’t necessarily have to choose one or the other, because this alcoholic beverage is made with matcha green tea powder.

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