Japan

The cosplay of Tokyo Game Show 2014 【Photos】

The cosplay of Tokyo Game Show 2014 【Photos】

The Tokyo Game Show opened up to the general public this Saturday, and we were right there in the midst of the crowds of attendees from all over the world.

With the event spread across the huge Makuhari Messe exhibition centre it was quite a workout getting from one end to the other while navigating meandering queues of gamers waiting for a chance to play exclusive demos, but somehow we managed it and lived to tell the tale.

While there were plenty of gorgeous booth babes around inside, I headed out to the cosplay area where amateur enthusiasts show off their home-made outfits, and often plenty of skin too.

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Japanese illustrator imagines girls as birds, creates new stereotype genre – “Bird Type Girls”

Japanese illustrator imagines girls as birds, creates new stereotype genre – “Bird Type Girls”

We haven’t got the slightest clue why anyone would categorize girls as different types of birds, but if there’s anyone who likes categorizing humans according to the most random things around, it has got to be the Japanese. We’re not even talking about blood types or fingernail shapes here.

We’ve heard of cat and dog type girls, cabbage roll guys, marshmallow girls, sausage bread guys… and now to join the ever-expanding lineup of categories are bird type girls. Not to mention, they’re not just talking about birds in general, there’s even a breakdown into different bird species. Whaaaaat?

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Man vs. Beast! Competitive eater Kobayashi takes on hamster in hot dog-eating contest 【Video】

Man vs. Beast! Competitive eater Kobayashi takes on hamster in hot dog-eating contest 【Video】

I didn’t watch a lot of TV during college, and before you think I’m saying that to try and come off as some high-minded intellectual, I’ll quickly admit that I filled that spare time playing video games and watching anime DVDs. One program I do remember catching, though, was a Fox special in which humans went against animals in a series of contests.

In one event, Takeru Kobayashi, Japan’s champion competitive eater, was pitted against a bear to see who could eat more hot dogs. The bear won with ease, because, well, it’s a bear for God’s sake.

Now, though, Kobayashi’s back for a rematch with the animal kingdom, but this time with a smaller opponent: an adorable hamster.

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Mr. Sato gives his first ever autograph, gets a broken heart in return

Mr. Sato gives his first ever autograph, gets a broken heart in return

Last year, our intrepid Japanese correspondent, Mr. Sato, basked in the limelight as he became the first person in Japan to buy a Docomo iPhone 5S. Now, with the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus going on sale, he’s determined to capture another five minutes of fame, so he’s been camping out in front of the Docomo store in Tokyo’s downtown Marunouchi district since four days ago.

Lining up so early meant a lot of lonely downtime, but recently Mr. Sato’s day was brightened when a young lady asked him for his autograph! At least, it was brightened for a moment, before he learned the sobering secret behind her request.

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Tokyo Disney Sea adds pitch-black sausage, other spooky treats for Halloween

Tokyo Disney Sea adds pitch-black sausage, other spooky treats for Halloween

Japan has gotten into Halloween in a big way in the last few years. By mid-September, stores start putting up decorations and offering seasonal treats, even if the practice of trick-or-treating hasn’t really caught on here yet.

So it’s only natural that Halloween gets special treatment from another popular import, Tokyo’s Disney theme parks, as Disney Sea is offering up some spooky Halloween menu items, including a pitch black sausage.

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School kids in Japan build incredible working tea cup rides for school festivals

School kids in Japan build incredible working tea cup rides for school festivals

From preschool all the way to university, Japan has a very proud tradition of schools festivals. Every year, the students and teachers work together to transform their school into an array of art, entertainment and food their goal to make the school as fun as possible for everyone who attends. High schools and colleges especially go the extra mile to show that their school is number one by having various cafes, haunted houses, cosplay photography, and performances.

But there’s an event idea that has gone viral because of the amazing efforts of one high school: a manually operated tea cup ride.

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KFC Japan unveils even more amazing, ridiculous fried chicken merch

KFC Japan unveils even more amazing, ridiculous fried chicken merch

Previously, we wrote about KFC Japan’s deep-fried celebration of “Colonel Day,” involving a variety of absurd, yet incredible, chicken-shaped computer accessories, like a drumstick mouse, a keyboard with chicken keys, and a chicken USB memory stick. The company even trotted out a pair of stylish fried chicken earrings.

They’ve unveiled a couple more items since then, including this oversized fried chickendrumstick iPhone 5s case (even the Colonel is laughing, asking, “Why is it so big?”).

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Leg-based marketing campaign at Tokyo Game Show catches eyes, leaves attendees scratching their heads

Leg-based marketing campaign at Tokyo Game Show catches eyes, leaves attendees scratching their heads

On our visit to the Tokyo Game Show, it seemed like just about every flat surface outside and around Makuhari Messe, the event’s venue, was plastered with ads for upcoming horror title Psycho Break. Inside nearby Keihin Makuhari Station, though, there was a different advertising blitz going on.

Adorning the train station’s walls was a series of posters showing nothing but legs. We’re sure they caught the eyes of plenty of male attendees, but just what the heck are they advertising?

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Mr. Sato shows up in costume, is the first to purchase an iPhone 6 Plus, meets Ken Watanabe AGAIN

Mr. Sato shows up in costume, is the first to purchase an iPhone 6 Plus, meets Ken Watanabe AGAIN

With the goal of being the first in line to purchase an iPhone 6 Plus, Mr. Sato, our most outlandish reporter, parked himself in front of the Marunouchi Docomo store on September 15. After several nights living on the streets, finally the day had come! On the morning of September 19 at 8am, Mr. Sato, blue slime costume and all, purchased his coveted Apple gadget, but not before meeting famous actors and taking center stage in an interview. Here is his story.

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Taking indoor shoes out: Elementary student style now trending among women in Japan

Taking indoor shoes out: Elementary student style now trending among women in Japan

As many of you know, Japan maintains a strong sense of uchi and soto, or inside/in-group and outside/out-group. As part of that culture, all people, young and old, are made to change their shoes upon entering most buildings and homes. Students, especially elementary school students, get a special pair of indoor shoes called uwabaki, often called “hallway slippers,” for use while inside the school building. Much like the trendiness of Japanese elementary school backpacksuwabaki are being seen out on the streets on the feet of fashion-forward women. But are elementary school indoor shoes really that fashionable? You’d be surprised!

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Stay dry with official Bleach umbrella swords

Stay dry with official Bleach umbrella swords

The characters of Bleach have some pretty enviable blades, but as cool as they are, fans just can’t go swinging them around a convention center. Now, thanks to a collaboration with knife and sword manufacturer Pacific Solution Marketing and Viz Media, fans can own replicas of their favorite characters’ swords, including the umbrella swords, in safe, convention center-friendly foam.

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Why does Japan have so many overhead power lines?

Why does Japan have so many overhead power lines?

Something many visitors to Japan notice is the abundance of overhead power lines. Whether you’re in the suburbs, city center, or even rural communities, it’s rare to look up at the sky or towards the horizon without the view being crisscrossed by thick, black cables.

So why does Japan have so many above-ground power grids when so many other countries have gone subterranean? The easy answer is cost, but there’re also some purported advantages to stringing cables up on poles, and the country hasn’t quite reached a consensus on which is the better option.

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Pirates, pink hair and temporary tattoos: The girls of Tokyo Game Show 2014【Photos】

Pirates, pink hair and temporary tattoos: The girls of Tokyo Game Show  2014【Photos】

Booth babes, show attendants, scantily clad PR persons; call them what you will, these girls are a big part of Tokyo Game Show, and they’re not going anywhere. They man woman the booths handing out flyers, goodies and company-approved advice and info, always dressed in a way that catches the eye, and it’s hard to imagine the event without them.

Those of you who are unable to attend TGS in person, or who are new to the concept of “booth babes” may perhaps be wondering what all the fuss is about. So for you, and for those of you who pretend to disapprove of such saucy shenanigans but secretly want to look anyway, we’d like to present our collection of photos of the girls of Tokyo Game Show 2014. You’re welcome.

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Ao-nyan: Japan’s super-feminine model who’s, yes, actually a guy 【Photos】

Ao-nyan: Japan’s super-feminine model who’s, yes, actually a guy 【Photos】

Earlier this week, we talked about Thailand’s Tom subculture. Stemming from the word “tomboy,” Toms are women who follow the fashion trends and speech patterns of men, oftentimes so completely that they win over the romantic affections of other women.

Today, we’re crossing over to the other side of things with a look at rising Japanese celebrity Ao-nyan, whose feminine looks and girlish style are winning fame and fans, even though the model is a guy.

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We ride the Honey Toast Train to a paradise of massive, decadent desserts

We ride the Honey Toast Train to a paradise of massive, decadent desserts

Spend some time walking around Tokyo, and you’ll soon see that the city is packed with karaoke joints. But with so many competing chains, how do you pick which one to go to?

For those looking for some tasty food as they belt out their favorite tunes, it’s hard to beat Pasela. Aside from their tropically styled rooms, the chain is best known for its extensive menu, with the most popular item being its famous honey toast dessert.

But what if you’ve got a special occasion, and even the whole-loaf-sized ordinary honey toast just doesn’t have enough impact? That’s when you call ahead and order a massive Honey Toast Train, a dessert so massive it’s garnished with other desserts.

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A look around this year’s Tokyo Game Show 【Video and photo dump】

A look around this year’s Tokyo Game Show 【Video and photo dump】

As you’ve no doubt already heard, the annual Tokyo Game Show is currently underway at the Makuhari Messe exhibition centre in Chiba Prefecture (yup, just like Tokyo Disneyland, TGS isn’t actually in Tokyo…).

It’s fair to say this year’s show is a little smaller than in years gone by, but there’s still plenty to see and do. If, however, you’re one of the millions of poor souls who can’t simply hop on a train to check it out, or only ever have a chance to see the show on its much busier public days, we have a little treat for you today: three minutes of video and a whole host of photos taken at Tokyo Game Show by our very own staff.

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Master Japanese chef’s knife skills turn cucumber into edible art in just three minutes

Master Japanese chef’s knife skills turn cucumber into edible art in just three minutes

Artists of different disciplines each have their own unique tools of the trade. A painter has his brushes and canvas, while a sculptor’s skills might call for a chisel and block of marble.

And a Japanese chef? All he needs to make beautiful, edible artwork is a cucumber and a kitchen knife.

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Kid’s video of whirlwind Japan tour reveals otaku paradise, pervy action figures

Kid’s video of whirlwind Japan tour reveals otaku paradise, pervy action figures

Everybody’s got that story. The story of why they decided they wanted to go to Japan in the first place. Unsurprisingly, for a lot of people it’s manga, anime and even J-Pop. For a lot of guys, it’s the girls. For (comparatively fewer) girls, it’s the guys. Some like the food. Some like the “Old Japan” feel of Kyoto and Kamakura. A few even go for the outdoor activities.

And some go for the pervy action figures.

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Benesse apologizes to customers by giving them 5 bucks, guilts them into donating the money back

Benesse apologizes to customers by giving them 5 bucks, guilts them into donating the money back

Corporations are a lot like people in many ways, we often talk about them as if they act with a single mind and purpose, and they even have legal rights as an individual. Also, like many humans in the world, some corporations seem to lack certain social graces and may deal with other people in awkward ways.

One company who we might describe as “socially special” is education industry titan Benesse. After a major security breach earlier this year nearly 30 million people’s personal information was leaked and sold. To compensate the victims, Benesse is offering a whole 500 yen (US$4.60). That alone might be interpreted as a slap in the face by some people, but it gets worse.

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From plums to panties, the strange and beautiful bento of Keisuke Umeda【Photos】

From plums to panties, the strange and beautiful bento of Keisuke Umeda【Photos】

When you think about the media that artists can work in, ink, paint, stone, metal, wood, and glass all spring readily to mind. We could take an even broader view and include things such as film, sound, and even light. But even then, we’d still be overlooking the creations of Keisuke Umeda, who brings to life scenes of beautiful nature, disturbing juxtaposition, and offbeat humor through the medium of boxed bento lunches.

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