Japan

Miyazaki wanted to make “Parasyte” the next animated Studio Ghibli production

Parasyte, the creepy science fiction horror manga series about a boy with a sentient alien parasite living inside his arm, was almost the newest Studio Ghibli animated venture, it has been learned. Studio Ghibli’s former president Toshio Suzuki last week sensationally revealed the news that Hayao Miyazaki had intended to bid for the rights to the series, which eventually went to film studio Toho.

So, what is Parasyte and what, if anything, have we missed out on here?

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This bananas Japanese commercial series is concentrated visual madness

If you were to listen only to the ramblings of Internet users, you might think that Japanese TV is a nonstop procession of bonkers commercials, ridiculous pornographic game shows and people in little windows reacting to other people reacting to delicious food.

Of course, that’s not entirely true. There are actually a fair few TV shows that cover serious subject matter, there are perfectly normal commercials that don’t induce madness and/or seizures, and sometimes there are actually shows not related at all to food (actually, that last bit may be a lie).

So where does Japan’s reputation for crazy television entertainment come from? Why, from the rare but totally bananas stuff that somehow actually finds its way on air from time to time, like this ludicrous television commercial series that makes absolutely no sense at all.

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Timeless beauty: Color video of 1930s Kyoto shows how women of the day got their hair done

There’s something almost magical about old videos. They’re like looking through a magic mirror with bad reception into the past. It kind of makes you wonder what people in a few hundred years will have to say about our Vine videos.

But even better than old videos, are old color videos! They’re probably as close to time travel as we’ll ever come. Take this lovely video of Kyoto from 1934 for example. Though it’s not the oldest color video in existence, this video still manages to captivate us with its depiction of mageyui, the process of putting one’s hair up into one of the traditional mage hair styles.

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Pikachu outbreak to happen again in Yokohama this summer, this time with dance fever!

Half-way through April, all of the cherry blossoms are gone from the Tokyo area, and while it’s good to know that they’ll be back in 12 months’ time, it’s always kind of a bummer to see them go.

Thankfully, though, there’s plenty to look forward to as the weather starts to heat up. For example, traditional festivals and amazing fireworks displays take place all across Japan during July and August. Plus, it looks like there’s a new annual summer event now, as the city of Yokohama is going to once again be overrun by Pikachus this year, and this time it sounds like all 1,000-plus of the unbearably cute Pocket Monsters have come down with dance fever!

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Hide your name, hide your face – Death Note TV drama set to air this summer!

There has been a successful anime, a trio of movies, various games and even a musical, but one form of media the Death Note series has been noticeably missing is a TV drama.

But just like an entry into the infamous Death Note itself, a one-line news report revealed that a live-action drama was finally in the works. And we’ll be seeing it a lot sooner than you think!

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Hit anime Hana Yori Dango getting stage musical starring…maybe you?!?

You’d be hard-pressed to find a girls’ manga with a broader or more international fanbase than Hana Yori Dango. Also known as Boys Over Flowers, Hana Yori Dango ran as a serialized comic for more than a decade in addition to having a popular anime version that aired in the late 1990s. That was just the beginning of its multimedia franchise, though, as the series was later remade as a live-action TV and film series in Japan, with separate, locally produced versions for Taiwan and Korea as well.

One place Hana Yori Dango hasn’t gone yet, though, is the stage. That’s changing next year, though, with a Hana Yori Dango musical that’s holding open auditions to cast its female lead.

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Just how fast is Japan’s new maglev train? See for yourself【Video】

It may not be due to begin ferrying passengers between Tokyo and Osaka for another 10+ years yet, but Japan’s magnetic levitation (maglev) train is already zipping up and down a special section of test track in Yamanashi Prefecture, and it’s nothing short of spectacular.

Check out our video of this thing in motion – oh, and try not to blink because you really might miss it.

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Naruto’s son speaks in new teaser for Boruto –Naruto the Movie- anime film 【Video】

With less than four months to go until the film’s premiere, more and more information is trickling out about Boruto –Naruto the Movie-. Just last week, the voice cast was announced for the latest installment in the smash hit manga/anime ninja saga, and it turns out we didn’t have to wait long for lead performer Yuko Sanpei show her skills, as the newest teaser for the movie lets us hear the voice of Naruto’s son.

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【Monday Kickstart】Maru is the epitome of feline grace【Video】

What better way to start the week than with a dose of everyone’s favourite rotund cat, Maru? Check out the video below to kickstart your Monday with a show of incredible feline poise and grace.

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Shiba inu way too proud of its new pee pad

A Twitter user recently reported their pet dog as being overly pleased about its acquisition of a new pee pad. The shiba inu was reportedly swaggering around the toilet-device and looking “a little too full of itself” according to witnesses.

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Disney Pixar’s new movie attracts criticism again in Japan

Other than a brief trial separation, Disney and Pixar have been working hard together to make some of the best family-friendly movies over the past two decades. Their success has been practically unrivaled in the industry. Huge movies like Toy Story 3 and Monsters University always attract big audiences and with sequels to The Incredibles in the works and Finding Dory on the way, fans can’t wait for the next Pixar movie to come out.

But when the trailer for Inside Out hit Japan, millions of people were wondering, “Didn’t we see this already somewhere else?

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We spend a morning with an expert wagashi chef creating no-bake traditional Japanese sweets!

If you’re someone who enjoys making treats like cakes and pastries, then perhaps you have first hand knowledge of how baking can sometimes be a tricky affair. Well, in Japan, we have a whole category of wagashi, or traditional Japanese sweets, that aren’t baked at all, called namagashi (literally, “raw confectionaries”). Namagashi are typically made from various colorful bean pastes and often crafted into delicate seasonal-themed shapes.

Earlier this month, we participated in a seminar to experience what namagashi-making is like. Join us as we see how a master chef creates beautiful flowers from bean paste, and then try our not-so-expert hand at creating our own confections!

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Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ opens – We attended screening with voice actors, Momoiro Clover Z

Okay, folks! Remember what day this past April 18 was? Well, here in Japan, April 18 may be Invention Day, but this year, it was also the opening day of the movie Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’! Since we’d already reported a fair bit of information about the new Dragon Ball movie, we thought it was only appropriate that we go see it on opening day and give you our impressions.

This time, fortunately, we didn’t have to wait 17 years for a new Dragon Ball movie like we did for the previous film, Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods. What’s more, we managed to get a ticket to a screening with special appearances by voice actors and idol group Momoiro Clover Z! Join us for our take on the movie and a report on all the excitement on opening day.

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Introducing the new PikaChu! Amusing character mash-ups bring the Japanese internet to giggles

Ever wondered what Pikachu would look like fused with other familiar characters from manga, anime, and video games?

Neither have we, to be honest, but now we can see what the love-children of those amalgamations would look like thanks to Japanese company Mountain Graphics, a maker of t-shirts and other apparel. “Cardcaptor Zakura,” “Wapire-chan”…their series of character mash-ups are sure to tickle your funny bone!

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New anti-chikan cellphone stickers let you mark train gropers with sign of shame

As you probably know, Japan is infamous for chikanpeople who grope others in crowded areas, like crowded trains and buses. As you also probably know, Japan has a long history of doing things in bizarre and not-very-effective ways.

So what do we get when the two come together? Ridiculous anti-chikan stickers for cell phones put out by the Saitama Prefecture Police department. And these aren’t just stickers you’re supposed to use to keep potential chikan away, these are stickers you’re meant to use offensively! Ka-pow!

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Japanese Netizens think that European Central Bank protester looks like an anime character

Although the protester that managed to infiltrate the European Central Bank’s monthly press conference recently got plenty of media attention with her clever deployment of a so-called “Glitter Bomb” – that is, she scattered the notoriously-difficult-to-remove, fabulous substance everywhere – her protest method of choice came a few months too late.

Everyone knows, of course, that the disruptive substance du jour now is the dial-a-bag of dongs. Glitter is just so yesterday. But, our intrepid protester is still getting her due time in the spotlight in Japan because of her resemblance to a certain anime character.

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Nine tips for surviving Japan’s hellishly crowded trains

If you have ever ridden a train during rush hour in Japan, you know it takes a certain amount of fortitude to survive it. If you are just visiting the country, sometimes you can avoid those super stuffed trains, buy if you live or spend an extended length of time in any big city in Japan you just can’t avoid taking a packed train. Whether it’s rush hour in the morning, rush hour at night, or the last few trains home, you will often find yourself in a position where you have to give up the luxury of personal space in exchange for a ride home.

It takes a certain amount of skill to stay upright as well as a bit of creative ingenuity to pass the time and avoid feeling claustrophobic in order to survive the crowded train. We’ve collated nine of the best tips to help you get through a hell-like train ride.

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McDonald’s Japan faces largest deficit ever, closing 190 stores and retiring 100 HQ staff

We have said it many times: 2014 was not a good year for McDonald’s in Japan. Ever since being involved in an expired chicken scandal last summer, the Japanese public at large has held a grudge so deep against the restaurant you’d think Ronald himself left a flaming bag of dog poop on everyone’s doorstep and keyed their cars on his way off the premises.

Now as the new fiscal year in Japan begins we can see that this anger wasn’t limited to mere online whining either. Japanese people seem to have united and hit McDonald’s where it hurts most: the bottom line.

In an announcement on 16 April, McDonald’s Holdings Company Japan President Sarah Casanova announced that the company currently sits on the largest deficit ever at a super-sized 38 billion yen (US$319M).

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Compared to the U.S., Japan has different cultural standards about revealing female fashions. That’s not to say women in Japan show more or less skin than their American counterparts, just that they show it in different places.

So while you’re likely to see more cleavage in L.A. or New York, a stroll through Tokyo or Osaka will turn up more women in very short shorts. Honestly, after spending enough time in Japan, its easy to become desensitized to hot pants, until something comes along that pushes the envelope by offering less coverage from some angles than a pair of panties.

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Apple would rather you not blow up teen couples on your iPhone, asks developer to edit video game

In a lot of ways, digital distribution of video games is a great thing, as it allows developers to easily add new content to a title after its release. It’s a double-edged sword, though, and that same streamlined pathway from programmer to player can also be used to quickly make changes that take things away.

A few weeks ago, we took a look at a smartphone game whose lonely, jaded protagonist and his mystical, jaded companion use their powers to make affectionate couples meet with a host of calamities, including straight blowing them up. Apple, however, is not cool with this sort of vengeful fantasy, and so the iOS version of the game is being toned down and given a new name since the original title, Explode, Real Types! no longer describes the game’s contents.

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