Japan

Up-and-coming band combines traditional Japanese instruments with pop metal and awesomeness

Up-and-coming band combines traditional Japanese instruments with pop metal and awesomeness

These tattooed badasses are not, in fact, extras from that bafflingly misguided 47 Ronin movie. They’re the members of the newly-signed Wagakki Band, which combines the chunky guitar chords and shredding of pop metal with traditional Japanese instruments for a totally awesome sound.

While the name Wagakki Band (Literally, “Traditional Japanese Instrument Band”) isn’t going to win any awards for creativity, the group’s head banging videos are a spectacle to behold; Sure to please fans of J-Pop, metal and old-timey Japanese imagery at once.

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Cosplay fever spreads to Hokkaido, students leave pants at home

Cosplay fever spreads to Hokkaido, students leave pants at home

Twitter user higedi (Ryūta Kitamura) racked up more than 10,000 retweets with this picture of incoming students who were refused entry to Hokkaido University’s entrance ceremony. The students are generally expected to wear formal clothes for the ceremony, so naturally they got out their best cardboard, body paint, and fundoshi (traditional Japanese underwear). That’s just one more way Ronald McDonald is unsettling.

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Japan’s Nikkan Sports under fire again for unfortunate photo placement

Japan’s Nikkan Sports under fire again for unfortunate photo placement

Scientist Haruko Obokata has landed herself in the news not for her accomplishments, but for her “phony research.” At a press conference on Wednesday, a tearful Obokata addressed members of the press, admitting that she had falsified portions of her STAP cell research, claiming to have discovered a way to reprogram adult cells to become stem cells.

As you might expect, newspapers across Japan reported on Ms. Obokata’s confession, many of which harshly criticized her lack of integrity. But it was Nikkan Sports that dealt possibly the most humiliating blow by publishing a half-page close-up photo of Ms. Obokata’s pleading face. What’s more, the photo was placed on the front page, leading to some very unfortunate scenes in the trains and newspaper stands of Japan.

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Student taken to hospital after submitting sample from pet dog in urine test

Student taken to hospital after submitting sample from pet dog in urine test

This week, the latest in a new mini-series here at RocketNews24 which we’ll tentatively call “People Doing Stupid Things They Really Should Have Guessed Would Backfire Badly”, we bring you a student who is claiming to have been quarantined after submitting a sample of his dog’s urine for a school medical.

The anonymous post on Japanese forum 2channel is titled “What happened when I put my dog’s pee in for the school urine test”. Let’s take a look at how the saga panned out!

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60-meter Attack on Titan monster comes to Kawasaki, so we do too 【Photos】

60-meter Attack on Titan monster comes to Kawasaki, so we do too 【Photos】

In the eight years since it opened, the Lazona shopping center in Kawasaki has become the city’s highest-profile entertainment hub. Conveniently attached to Kawasaki Station, Lazona makes a great place to grab a bite to eat or shop for the latest fashions or electronics.

But like many of the visitors who made the trip to Lazona on April 10, we weren’t there for dining or bargain hunting. We came to see the projection-mapped 60-meter Colossal Titan from hit anime Attack on Titan.

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Japan’s public broadcaster goes thug-style, tags the house of man who refuses to pay fees

Japan’s public broadcaster goes thug-style, tags the house of man who refuses to pay fees

We’ve talked before about the oddities of how Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK, goes about collecting its fees from ordinary citizens. Rather than sending you an official bill in the mail, collectors will come to your door and ask you for a stack of cash to cover the 13,600 yen (US$133) Japanese residents are technically supposed to pay.

However, many people refuse to pony up the money, since there’s no official penalty for nonpayment, and many feel that NHK’s programming is sub-par and rarely watch it. However, should you make one particular NHK collector walk away empty-handed, he just might mark your house for all to see, as he apparently did to one person we talked to.

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“Skippers”, “Ghosts” and “Idol Time”: The secret language of Japanese hotel staff

“Skippers”, “Ghosts” and “Idol Time”: The secret language of Japanese hotel staff

During my high school years, I worked in a supermarket, where an announcement over the loudspeaker system for “Code 19″ always meant it was time to head to the staffroom for a cup of tea. Just like my clever supervisor, many service industry workers have developed their own set of code words that they use to communicate without letting the customers know too much about what’s really going on.

But thanks to this list of the secret keywords used by hotel staff in Japan, next time you’re in a Japanese hotel you can prick up your ears and listen out for any exciting gossip going on amongst the employees! Just for fun, have a look at this list first and see if you can guess what they mean. What would obake, nō-shō, aidoru taimu, chirashi, donden, and sukippā mean in a hotel context? 

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Ten-year-old illustrator getting national attention for his unique style of portraits

Ten-year-old illustrator getting national attention for his unique style of portraits

Up-and-coming artist Mondo draws with a somewhat skewed sense of proportion very much like any other 10-year-old boy. However, from beneath the superficiality of his sometimes jarring contours, the unmistakable sense of his subject can be felt.

The impact his images create has been earning him a lot of respect around his hometown of Fukuoka and recently a growing fan-base around Japan. In addition to his public appearances where he draws visitors’ portraits, he has a blog on which he posts a daily illustration displaying his ever-growing talents. Check out his work after the jump.

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What men and women are REALLY saying, according to Japanese Twitter users

What men and women are REALLY saying, according to Japanese Twitter users

Men and women. Even when we’re all speaking the same language, it seems like we’re saying completely different things. If you’ve ever grumbled to a friend about not understanding what women and/or men really want, then you will definitely be able to sympathize with this one. Here are 10 tweets from Japanese Twitter users explaining what they think the differences between what women and men mean…even when they’re saying the exact same things! After reading this, you’ll probably have a better idea of why it often seems like the sexes just can’t understand each other. You’ll also probably be no closer to figuring out what they’re telling you…

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Eat like the judges and lawyers of Japan at this theme restaurant in Kumamoto

Eat like the judges and lawyers of Japan at this theme restaurant in Kumamoto

Eating out at a restaurant is as common as being asked “can you use chopsticks?” But with so many restaurants vying for your patronage, how does each restaurant separate itself from the rest?

We’ve brought you stories about them before, from the pop culture themed, Gundam Cafe, AKB48 Cafe, Square Enix Cafe, and Resident Evil restaurant, to the ubiquitous maid cafes, Lock Up restaurant, robot restaurant and ninja restaurant. Theme restaurants don’t just rely on popular culture to bring in the customers though. RocketNews24 has written about the restaurant that serves you the food that prisoners eat. Click on through to find out about another unique restaurant giving you a glimpse of how somebody else eats.

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Japanese company invents “Spring Santa” – We love the concept, but it’s actually a little creepy…

Japanese company invents “Spring Santa” – We love the concept, but it’s actually a little creepy…

Japanese coffee company, AGF, has just launched what they call a “social gift campaign” where you can send a thank you gift to the Facebook or Twitter friend of your choice, even if you don’t know the recipient’s email address. It’s an endearing concept, encouraging people to give thanks to those who have helped them, but somewhere along the line things took a strange turn. Robotic voice iPhone man and jerky green Santa coming after the jump!

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Cast photos released from live-action Lupin III movie

Cast photos released from live-action Lupin III movie

Recently the upcoming live-action Attack on Titan movie made waves by landing a lead actor and filming location, but the giant-fighting tale isn’t the only anime set to leap to the movie screen with a human cast. We’re just four months away from the release of the live-action Lupin III film, and producers have released the first stills of its cast of roughish outlaws.

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Gotta eat ‘em all with this awesome new Poké Ball bento box

Gotta eat ‘em all with this awesome new Poké Ball bento box

While in America the stereotypical school kid lunch of a sandwich, apple, and some crackers can easily be tossed in a paper sack, things are a bit trickier in Japan. Japanese parents packing a lunch for their child usually include rice and a number of side dishes, which all need to be placed in sturdy containers so they don’t get crushed or spill during the trip to school, all of which then get placed inside a single, larger container called a bento box.

But why settle for a bento box when you could have a bento ball, especially a Pokémon bento ball?

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Japanese company creates iPhone case using a dead marine isopod

Japanese company creates iPhone case using a dead marine isopod

For some reason, giant marine isopods are always popping up in the news in Japan. Earlier this year we learned of the death of the lovingly named “Isopod No.1″ at Toba Aquarium, which passed away after going five years without eating. Back in March, lucky diners had a chance to crunch down on the tiny exoskeletons of moderately sized isopods in what was surely a dinner from some twisted aquarium worker’s nightmare.

Now, Japan’s fascination with the giant isopod continues in the form of yet another iPhone case. But this one is just a little more realistic (and a whole lot creepier) because it was made using the carcass of isopod No.1 as a model.

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“Dr. Fruit” or “How Japan Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Peel”

“Dr. Fruit” or “How Japan Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Peel”

On more than one occasion, when the family would settle down for a nice bowl of grapes, I would do as usual and pop one in my mouth. Almost assuredly my wife’s face would contort into a grimace that would make you think I just licked a dog’s butt. This would soon be followed by a lecture on how the pesticides used on it seep into the skin and cannot be washed off along with pleas to stop this barbaric act.

However, I figured if I haven’t died or gotten so much as a tummy ache thus far, it’s probably okay. Nevertheless, every once and a while my wife would try to slip me a peeled grape to convert me, only to have my face contort into the shape of having licked a dogs butt.

The whole point of all this dog-butt talk is that my wife is not at all alone among Japanese people who refuse to eat the skins of certain fruits. However, in recent years, this trend has been changing according to a survey by Tropicana Japan and Dr. “Fruit” Motohashi.
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Notes from the Evangelion payroll department – How much does Shinji earn?

Notes from the Evangelion payroll department – How much does Shinji earn?

Many critics and fans credit the success of hit anime Evangelion to the way in which the franchise realistically examines the psychological effects of one of Japanese animation’s standard plot setups, in which a teenage boy must pilot a giant robot to save the world from alien attackers. To its credit, Evangelion does a fine job of answering how the mind of Shinji, its young protagonist, would react to the fear of putting his life on the line, the pressure of acting as humanity’s savior, and the sexual frustration of having the hots for almost every one of the few women he’s had a conversation with, but there’s one question the show’s never dealt with.

How much does Shinji earn?

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Tokyo’s 7 stupidest public art pieces

Tokyo’s 7 stupidest public art pieces

Any city with aspirations to be a vibrant international metropolis should invest in interesting, challenging and useful public art, and Tokyo has certainly done so. There are some absolutely amazing artworks scattered around our fair city, but there are also some complete abominations lurking as well.

While acknowledging that art is subjective and one person’s favorite piece is another person’s piece of crap, here are what I consider the seven stupidest public artworks in Tokyo.

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Japanese fashion mag’s bust augmenting technique: button your shirt wrong

Japanese fashion mag’s bust augmenting technique: button your shirt wrong

It’s often said that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, which in many ways is true. However, society generally frowns upon the practice of unattached women wandering around town carrying trays of delicious steak in order to attract a mate. When steak isn’t available, though, breasts make a handy substitute for catching a guy’s attention.

Now, a women’s fashion magazine in Japan claims it’s discovered a technique to instantly visually enhance any woman’s bust size, and all it requires is a button-up shirt.

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Advice for new employees in Japan: Never take your temperature

Advice for new employees in Japan: Never take your temperature

My very first job in Japan was with an established, well-known company that’s one of the top enterprises in its field. The company’s nationwide scale and decades of operations seemed to mark it as sophisticated and experienced enough to appreciate the value of a good employee support system, so I was a little surprised during the training session for new employees when we were told, “If you’re going to take a sick day, you have to tell your manager at least 24 hours in advance.”

The problem is, coming down with the flu isn’t like getting free shipping from Amazon, in that it usually doesn’t take more than a day. Unfortunately, my old employer never taught us how to know we’d be sick two days ahead of time, but another Japanese company has an effective way of sidestepping the issue entirely: never check to see if you have a fever.

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Keep in touch with all your Scout Corps friends with this Attack on Titan iPhone case

Keep in touch with all your Scout Corps friends with this Attack on Titan iPhone case

In creating the monstrous villains smash-hit manga and anime Attack on Titan, author Hajime Isoyama said that one of the feelings he wanted to convey was the terror of facing an adversary you have no way of communicating with. He hit the mark perfectly, as the Titans’ inability to speak or even meaningfully change their expressions makes them uniquely unnerving foes.

But no matter how big a fan of the series you may be, we human beings, on the other hand, need to be able to talk to one another, which is where this awesome iPhone case, modeled after the swords wielded by Attack on Titans heroes, come into the picture.

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