Japan

Kit Kat’s papercraft train set is so cool we almost don’t need the chocolate it comes with

Living in Japan, we’ve been kind of spoiled by all the special Kit Kat flavors the country gets. We love a sweet snack as much as anyone, but when almost every region of Japan has its own version of the chocolate wafers, it takes something a little more unusual than matcha green tea Kit Kats to really grab our attention (not that those don’t taste delicious, of course).

So Nestlé Japan’s latest plan is to give us not just something to munch on, but a cool papercraft kit too, with this special Kit Kat bundle that also lets you build a model train.

Read More

Bros? Kart? Party? Japanese gamers pick their top 5 Mario series

When asked to think of addicting video games, a good chunk of people around the world are likely to recall Nintendo’s iconic Mario series, which is the best-selling game franchise of all time. But the task becomes much more difficult when faced with the dilemma of choosing the best Mario game series within the incredibly varied franchise. How could anyone possibly choose a favorite from the dozens of Mario games and spin-offs spanning all the way back to the NES?

Fortunately, Japanese portal site MyNavi Woman put out a survey in August to ask its readers to choose their favorite Mario games, so you don’t have to make the difficult decision yourself. But you can make a prediction–which five series do you think topped the list?

Read More

They’re not real?! Exploring the detailed, colorful world of Takuto Shibuya’s mushroom bonsai

Have you ever come across a beautifully colored, picture book-worthy mushroom while walking in the woods or the park? I still remember the flashy fungi I happened upon when I was in seventh grade; I was near a mountain biking course in Rhode Island and amid the grass was a cute yellow mushroom with red dots, much like a Mega Mushroom from New Super Mario Bros. I considered picking it but I was pretty sure my fingers would start to rot off upon contact, and it would have shriveled up soon enough anyway. Oh, I wondered, will the days of ornamental mushrooms never come?

Enter Takuto Shibuya, whose life-long love of toadstools compelled him to find a way to marvel at their variegated beauty at home. His book Kinoko (Mushroom) Bonsai, released back in June, includes photos of his work as well as instructions on how to make your own. But wait—this type of bonsai isn’t about replanting your find in a pot. Because mushrooms are difficult to take care of, Shibuya took a hint from the Japanese traditions of bonsai and figurines and decided to preserve their alluring forms by recreating them in clay. Read on to take a closer look at his creations as well as his process!

Read More

New exhibition at Tokyo National Art Museum comes with excavated chocolate souvenirs

There’s so much to love about Japanese customer service. Whether you’re shopping at an expensive department store or perusing the shelves at the local supermarket, you can rest assured that everything has been thought through and tailored to meet your needs and desires.

The same attention to detail will be there for visitors to the upcoming National Treasures of Japan exhibition at the Tokyo National Art Museum in Ueno this month. Clearly aware that visitors will want to dig up a national treasure of their own after viewing the exhibition, the gift shop has some unusual souvenirs for customers to take home – including chocolate artefacts.

Read More

Kimono-clad princesses offer their sincere apologies for roadside construction in Kyoto

The fact that the word kawaii has now been accepted into the Oxford English Dictionary says a lot about Japan’s obsession with all things cute. If there’s a manhole cover or a health and safety pamphlet that needs brightening up somehow, you can pretty much guarantee that someone will design a cutesy character or scene to adorn it. That’s just how Japan rolls.

Never, though, have we come across barricades made to look like kneeling kimono-clad princesses before.

Read More

Zzz…zzz…pika…pika – The Pikachu bed is here!

Back in the summer, we spent a day chasing Pikachus around Yokohama as part of the amazing, multi-day Pokémon event held in the bayside city. The smile it put on our faces still hasn’t completely faded, but that year’s supply of cuteness came with a price. While we were there we got a hug from one of the Pocket Monster ambassadors, and we now know only too well just how fluffy a Pikachu is.

It’s thrown our whole baseline off for what constitutes cozy and comfy. Compared to a soft Pikachu coat, our blankets now feel like burlap, and it’s been keeping us up at night. Thankfully, there might be a solution, in the form of this awesome Pikachu bed.

Read More

New gachapon figures resurrect centuries-old toys for your amusement

No matter how the times change, kids still love toys. Whether it was ancient Egypt or the mid-Edo period, toys have always been a big part of the way children passed their time in play. Even with all our fancy technology today, from 3DSs to Oculus Rifts, kids still make time to run around with their favorite dolls or plastic guns. Of course, Japan is full of figures of all varieties and price tags, but gachapon occupy a position of near invincibility–you can put pretty much anything in those little plastic balls and they’re practically guaranteed to sell.

And, starting soon, you’ll also be able to buy remakes of traditional Japanese toys from the early 18th century. You’ll finally get the opportunity to play like a kid from the Edo Period while waiting for your 3DS to recharge!

Read More

Creepy “Tranquility Chair” may or may not feed on human emotions

Ever felt like you needed a little company or affection but didn’t want to go through the hassle of actually interacting with another human being face-to-face?

You might go for a new pet – a dog, cat, or, in even the creepiest of circumstances, an exotic reptile – or you might head to an online chatroom, some kind of hotline, a mobile app, or maybe even one of those newfangled virtual schoolgirl ogling simulators.

Or, if you’re a misunderstood serial killer, maybe you’d instead go for one of these incredibly disconcerting hugging clown chairs.

Read More

Pokémon’s Ash Ketchum is crazy strong, can easily carry creatures twice his body weight

No one really minds when the creators of movies and TV disregard the laws of the universe a little in the name of producing quality entertainment. Would the space battles in Star Wars have been anywhere near as fun if they had all taken place in complete silence due to the lack of air required to carry sound waves? Not a chance. Does anyone really mind that a lit cigarette doesn’t actually produce enough heat to ignite a puddle of gasoline if it results in those epic, “casually walks away from burning building” shots in action movies? Not in the slightest.

But sometimes such use of artistic licence can slip by entirely unnoticed, and it takes someone to point out a few key facts before the reality of the situation hits home. Case in point: Ash from hit anime series Pokémon seemingly possesses super-human strength, and is able to carry pokémon that weigh vastly more than he does without even breaking a sweat.

Read More

【Post-holiday Kickstart】Cats surround grilled fish in ambush attack

Hi everyone! Did you enjoy Sports Day in Japan?

In case you’re having a hard time getting back into the swing of things after a three-day weekend, we thought we’d share this amusing photo of one manga artist’s four cats stalking a helpless victim–a freshly grilled fish. Note to self: never grill fish when there are hungry cats around!

Read More

Float like Kiki, sting like a bee: Adorable photos from the Mino City Witch Contest

The Warner Brothers Studio Tour London, or as everyone I know stubbornly insists on calling it, “Harry Potter Land”, has one attraction that pulls in even the most cynical visitor. Apart from the butterbeer tent, the place with the longest queue in the studios is the green screen zone, where you can don quidditch robes and take a broomstick ride around Hogwarts and beyond. As I discovered when I visited there last month, after pratting around on a broom for five minutes you are led into the shop selling commemorative DVDs (or USB sticks, or whatever) of your flight. Thankfully, I resisted the urge to part with any more of my hard-earned pounds, and the footage of me waving to legions of adoring quidditch fans will (hopefully) be lost forever.

You might be forgiven, in a world of technological wizardry, for thinking that these shots of broomstick-riding witches had been made in a similar way – with a green screen or even some snazzy Photoshopping. But no. In the photos, taken at a local event in Gifu, Japan, last month, there aren’t even any wires being used! Just happy jumping witches and some clever camera angles.

Read More

Is this 1,300-year-old dish found in Nara actually cursed?

Though the current capital of Japan is Tokyo, many would argue that its traditional capital, Kyoto, is the real heart of Japan–at least culturally speaking. That said, if you you’re looking for the original capital of Japan, you’d probably be better heading south from Kyoto to Nara Prefecture. But while you should definitely stop and see Heijo-kyo in Nara City, you’ll have to keep heading south to Asuka Village to find the “real” original capital of Japan: Asuka-kyo. Of course, in the 1,300 years since the end of the Asuka Period, the capital has essentially been lost to time–all that’s left are stony remnants like those pictured above.

But that’s not the only patch of old ruins to be found in Asuka area–there are so many, they can actually get in the way of building a house! But with the news of the discovery of a piece of “cursed” earthenware, we have to wonder if maybe it’s just time for everyone to pack up and head for a slightly less historically significant area!

Read More

Rare Catbus-esque worm takes its name after Ghibli’s Totoro

Researchers from Lomonosov Moscow State University and the Vietnam-Russia Tropical Centresurprised the scientific community last year when they published their findings regarding a rare velvet worm found only in Vietnam’s Cát Tiên National Park. They named him Eoperipatus totoro.

Read More

South Korean design company turns subway maps into beautiful artwork you can hang on your wall

The first time I went to Tokyo alone, I got lost within the first five minutes of arriving at Shinjuku Station, unable to comprehend why there were so many transfers to different lines going in different directions. Without mobile data on my phone, I was basically one of the ‘internet-less lost gaijin’ crippled by the lack of Google Maps who ended up befriending the station master at every transfer station because, without them, I would probably have had to spend the night hanging out with the buskers on the streets.

The maps in Japanese subway stations are not only confusing, they also look like multi-colored spaghetti or weird roller coasters, and I can clearly recall thinking how nice it would be to have a better-looking representation of the city’s train lines. Thankfully, it looks like South Korean design company Zero per Zero has fulfilled my wish with their subway map designs, which are becoming a hot topic on Reddit.

Read More

Obama appears in small Kyushu town, possibly seeking treatment for aggressive skin disease

You really never know who you are going to meet when traveling. That’s one of the things that makes it so enjoyable. But imagine our surprise when we ran into the leader of the free world in an isolated hot spring town in Kyushu! It might have something to do with the name of the place though…

Read More

Hacka Doll: “Otaku” news beamed right to your phone like anime magic! 【Review】

Say you’re a Japanese otaku who loves the new Destiny game, light novels, and giant robot anime. But how would you keep up with the latest news for each one of them? Obviously, you’d have a few of your favorite sites bookmarked and you’d visit them a few times a day–if you were living in the Stone Age! Even if you’ve evolved enough to create your own RSS feed, you’d still only be in the 20th century–and far behind the times. For shame!

Now, if you were are a real 21st century geek, you’d get all your nerdy news through one “AI-enabled” app complete with adorable moe mascots and personalized news recommendations. Obviously.

Read More

Tokyo court rules that hotels must pay NHK fees according to the number of rooms with TVs

Last year, we brought you news of a court ruling in Yokohama which stipulated that anyone who owns a device capable of receiving a TV signal, regardless of whether they’ve entered into a contract with NHK (Japan’s public broadcasting station) or not, is legally obligated to pay the NHK licensing fee. An important point to note is that the fees are only paid once per household, and not according to the number of TV sets or devices capable of receiving a signal in the house.

However, a recent court decision seems to be taking the issue of NHK licensing fees in a whole new direction. On October 9, Tokyo District Court ruled in a first-of-its-kind lawsuit that the management company behind three Tokyo hotels must first enter into a contract with the public broadcaster. Furthermore, the hotels, all three of which had refused to enter into contracts despite repeated requests from NHK, must also pay their overdue licensing fees in proportion to the number of hotel rooms with TVs.

Just wait til you read how much money that all comes out to be…

Read More

Is the New Nintendo 3DS worth the purchase? Early adopters in Japan share their thoughts

As its super-cutesy ad foretold, Nintendo launched its new and improved version of the 3DS here in Japan on October 11. Boasting features like a bigger, improved 3-D screen and extra buttons, yet retaining much its predecessor’s form factor, the portable appears to be more of an evolution than a revolution, but that didn’t mean people weren’t excited and looking forward to getting their hands on the new hardware.

As owners of the existing models of 3DS and 3DSLL, we aren’t really in the market for the new system quite yet, but were curious to hear what new adopters thought of the upgraded portable. Join us after the jump to find out whether the New Nintendo 3DS will be worth picking up when it launches in your country.

Read More

Want to change your look? Try this unique hairband that lets you grow instant bangs

Okay, let’s admit it, hair can be a big deal for girls. How long or short should our hair be? Should we wear it up or down? And another seriously important question is, “Should we have bangs or not?” Yes, that can be a biggie, since it can change your look considerably, and once you cut your hair to get bangs, it can take a long time for it to grow back again. Well, if you’re having a hard time deciding about your bangs, then this could be an item you may want to try. It’s a hairband … with built-in bangs!

Read More

Thai schoolgirl uniforms poised to edge out traditional Japanese ones in Japan?

It looks like Japanese girls can’t get enough of schoolgirl uniforms these days. Once loathed by their wearers as stuffy, boring and a symbol of conformity (pretty much kryptonite to teenagers), Japanese girls have – over the last few decades – come to embrace the schoolgirl uniform as a sexy, fashionable and customizable wardrobe choice in and out of the classroom.

The problem, though: It looks like it isn’t Japanese schoolgirl uniforms that girls really want nowadays. What they really want are Thai schoolgirl uniforms.

Read More

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. 10
  11. ...
  12. 360
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 16,250 other followers