Japan

Sith lord or samurai lord? Darth Vader becomes decorative doll for Boys’ Day in Japan

A long, long time ago, in a country far, far away (from English-speaking territories, anyway), Yoshitoku Taiko made its first doll. Founded in 1711, the company’s history goes back to a time when Japan was ruled by a shogun, and the country sealed off from the rest of the world.

More than three centuries later, Yoshitoku Taiko is still in business, but Japan is now part of the global community. That’s why the company’s latest offerings are two exquisitely crafted dolls of Darth Vader in samurai armor.

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I can’t believe it’s not cake! Bakery’s newest creation looks just like tuna-sashimi bowl

Is it just me, or are cakes these days starting to look less and less… cakey? With all sorts of techniques, tools, and ingredients at their fingertips, it seems like bakers can now turn cake into pretty much anything, as we’ve seen before from this cake shop in Shinjuku, that sells cakes disguised as Chinese food (you can even learn to make a bowl-of-ramen cake yourself here).

Now, that same shop, called Maplies, has come out with yet another tricky treat that looks exactly like maguro-don, a rice bowl with slices of tuna sashimi on top!

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Hestia anime ribbon being given away for free in Akihabara, fostering international friendship

Anime series Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, also known by its Japanese nickname Danmachi, looks like the breakout hit of this TV season. What’s the secret to its success? Well, it could be the way it fuses video game conventions onto its fantasy setting, or the popularity pump-priming light novels and manga that preceded the animated adaptation.

Or it could be the outfit of female lead Hestia, which is inventive even by the already outlandishly sexy standards of anime costume design with its boob-lifting ribbon that’s become known as rei no himo, or “The String” among fans in Japan.

It’s already making inroads into the cosplay world, with anime shops selling replicas, or sometimes handing them out for free. So strong is The String’s appeal that it’s also serving as muse for talented otaku costume crafters, and even helping foster international friendship on the streets of Tokyo.

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R-rated movie “Chappie” gets severely nerfed for Japan release, director knew nothing about it

Chappie, an R-rated science-fiction film directed by Neill Blomkamp (of District 9 and Elysium fame), has been out in U.S. theaters for over a month now, but it still hasn’t been released in Japan due to the time it takes to be translated and dubbed.

During that time a storm has been brewing over the film, starting a few days ago when Sony Pictures Japan released a controversial statement: the movie will be censored and edited down to a PG-12 rating.

Japanese netizens who were looking forward to the film are upset over the watered-down version they will be getting, and even though Sony claims to have the support of the director, Neill Blomkamp himself insists he knew nothing about any such cuts.

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Fetishes as art?! Joint photo exhibit “Ambiguous☆Bishoujo Art Exhibit” opens

TODAYS GALLERY STUDIO (Asakusa) will hold their second free gallery event, “Ambiguous☆Bishoujo Art Exhibit,” for artists from April 29 until May 10. If you’re in Tokyo and into cool, sexy, and unusual art, you won’t want to miss it.

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Mochi hot cakes: The Japanese pancakes you don’t even need a rice cooker to make!

There’s a reason we say “selling like hotcakes”, and that reason is that hotcakes are awesome. These fluffy, light little circles of joy were sent to make snack time delightful and fill the world with rainbows and sunshine.

But if you’ve ever looked down at your little pancakes and thought “hey, this just isn’t Japanese enough for me!” then we have the answer for you. Mochi, Japan’s favourite rice cake, is said to make hot cakes even fluffier and even more awesome. But how do you add a solid, square block of mochi to a bowl of pancake mix anyway?

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Is this the coolest kindergarten in the world? Probably 【Pics & Video】

Does the architecture of a building have an effect on the lives of the people inside of it? One famous Japanese architect thinks so and we’re pretty convinced now too.

Takaharu Tezuka, a Tokyo-based architect, designed a revolutionary kindergarten building that not only lets the kids run free, but also teaches them about life.

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Japanese Twitter user attempts British cuisine, ends up with monstrous fish dish from hell

As a British person living overseas, you get to hear a lot of negative stereotypes about your country’s cuisine. Generally, people think that we eat nothing but fish and chips, washed down by copious amounts of tea, and that the rest of our food is bland, unappetizing and poorly presented. But this couldn’t be further from the truth – British people are actually crazy about food and cooking, we’re obsessed with celebrity chefs and cooking shows, and Britain has plenty of Michelin-starred restaurants to be proud of.

Still, there’s certain aspects of British cuisine that are hard to defend, like the disgusting fish dish known as Stargazy Pie, which one Japanese Twitter user recently attempted, to horrifying results and plenty of ridicule…

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Ultra-Sushi-Go-Round is a thrilling, mouth-watering VR tour of the Tokyo skyline

As the development of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset continues, software developers are experimenting with ways to utilize the new piece of video gaming hardware. Given Japan’s well-known accepting attitude towards dating simulators and other, more adult forms of electronic entertainment, it wasn’t such a huge shock that the country is already hard at work on Oculus Rift games that allow you to date, peep at, at straight-up paw anime-style virtual girlfriends.

But how about a VR application that feels incredibly Japanese without simultaneously being incredibly pervy? In that case, perhaps this simulated roller coaster ride on a revolving sushi conveyor belt through the Tokyo skyline is more your style.

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The adorable cuteness of sea squirts is too much for us to handle!

As we all know, the internet is basically powered by pictures of cute and adorable animals. Whether it’s yawning otters, play-fighting pandas, or big, fuzzy kitties, none of us can resist the allure of a good dose of cute.

But did you ever stop to think about all of that cuteness that’s just lurking beneath the surface of the ocean? This week, we learned that sea squirts are pretty adorable, and they even have tiny faces that look like they’re smiling or in the middle of a sing-song!

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Star Ocean 5 announced for PlayStation 3 and 4 as developer tri-Ace remains in the console arena

In the video game industry, tri-Ace occupies an unusual place in that quite a lot of gamers have never heard of it. On the other hand, out of those that do recognize the name of the developer, many are intensely loyal fans, largely thanks to the strengths of tri-Ace’s Star Ocean and Valkyrie Profile franchises, in particular the games’ detailed worlds and combat systems that innovatively mix action and strategy.

So when tri-Ace was acquired earlier this year by mobile game developer Nepro Japan, many feared that the team’s talents for intricate craftsmanship would be wasted as it shifted to simplified smartphone titles. That doesn’t seem to be the case yet, though, as tri-Ace has just announced its newest project, Star Ocean 5, for PlayStation 3 and 4.

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Eat like a supermodel with Rola’s Apple and Avocado Dishes 【Recipe】

One of Japanese most popular TV personalities is Rola, a fashion model of mixed Bengali, Japanese, and Russian descent. If you live in Japan you’ve undoubtedly seen her on TV or billboard advertisements numerous times. But who knew she was also harboring delicious and easy recipes?

Not only are they stylish looking but Rola’s Apple Fried in Coconut Oil and Avocado Scrambled Egg Toast and surprisingly simple to make…so we did. But can we really trust a model when it comes to delectable home cooking?

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Kamen Rider defends Japanese city from drunk drivers 【Pics & Video】

You’ve probably heard that RocketNews24 got a special exclusive interview with Chibatman recently. It’s kind of a big deal, but you know, he’s not the only superhero roaming the streets of Japan. Cut to Kitakyushu in Fukuoka Prefecture where you can frequently spot iconic Japanese superhero Kamen Rider cruising the streets and laying down the law.

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World’s most patient pet owner strolls Tokyo with his huge tortoise

Turtles have a lot of upsides as pets, such as being quiet and low-maintenance. Of course, they’re not perfect animal companions. For example, just think of how much fun dog-owners have taking their pooches for a walk. You can’t do that with a turtle, can you?

Sure you can, as long as you’re not in a hurry, like this resident of Tokyo out for a stroll with his gigantic pet turtle.

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Perfect Mother’s Day gift: My Neighbor Totoro-inspired “corn gift set”

Moms are awesome, there’s no denying it. Not only did they bring us into this world, for most of us, they made sure we were clothed and fed, bought us all sorts of unnecessary junk that we wanted just to make us happy, put up with all of our whining, cleaned up after us when we got sick, and lost countless amounts of money, hair, sleep, and probably even their sanity to make sure we led a happy life. That’s why there’s Mother’s Day (May 10 in Japan and the US), to celebrate all the great mums out there – be they birth mothers, adoptive mothers, or any other mother-figure in your life.

Hoping to find something a little different this year than the usual bouquet of flowers or fancy chocolates? We’ve found just the thing- a “toumorokoshi (corn)” gift set inspired by the Ghibli film My Neighbor Totoro. It’s too cute to pass up!

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Samurai and swimsuit models? New TV show offers both in one sexily convenient place 【Photos】

When I first told people I was moving to Japan, many of them immediately said, “Ah, you’re moving there because you like Japanese girls, aren’t you?” And while it’s true that after arriving in the country I did meet, start dating, and am now married to one of the locals, my attraction to Japanese culture and history played a bigger part in my moving across the Pacific.

Of course, there’s no law that says your loves of history and beautiful women have to be mutually exclusive, which is why a new TV series is set to premier that features sexy models stripping off samurai armor to reveal their swimsuit-clothed bodies.

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Japan Airlines attendants dance to Hatsune Miku

The flight attendants of Japan Airlines (JAL) put on their best idol costumes to dance to Hatsune Miku’s “39” (San-kyuu, or ‘Thank You’) song to promote the company’s participation at the Niconico Chokaigi 2015 event this month.

The video shows the dancers in various spots within the JAL Sky Museum in Tokyo. In the background you can see how the attendant’s uniforms have changed throughout time.

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Consoles, franchises, mascots and memories! The top 10 years in video gaming history

What are some of the most important years in your own, personal gaming career? For me, the most important was probably 1992, when I got a Sega Mega Drive (Genesis) for Christmas and played my first-ever videogame (it was Sonic 2). Oh, but 1996 was a great year, too, because Resident Evil came out and I got my first, unforgettable taste of digitized fear and found out that I have a deep love of zombies.

While we all probably have certain years that are notable for the particular gaming memories they hold, it’s undeniable that video games in general have made certain leaps and bounds in the last couple of decades, and some years in particular have had slightly more leaps and a few extra bounds compared to others. Just check out this video of the Top 10 Years in Gaming History to see what we mean…

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Something in the DNA? Japanese cat loves rice cooker

Look at that face. Just look at it. OK, now for the story.

This cutie is Pakuchi (Cilantro), a kitten adopted from Tokyo Cat Guardian by a foreign resident who noticed her Japanese cat had a very Japanese fondness for rice.

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Yogurt-flavored water?!? We try Suntory’s new beverage straight, mix it with booze 【Taste test】

Recently, it seems like Japanese beverage makers are all about helping us with our multitasking. First there was the sakura beer that let you enjoy a cold one and contemplate the cherry blossoms at the same time, and earlier this week it was time for a taste test of alcoholic matcha green tea.

Now, it’s time for another double-dose of drinkables, with Suntory’s just-released bottled water with the flavor of…yogurt?!?

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