Japan

Japan Self-Defense Forces show off their feminine side with 2014 calendar

Japan Self-Defense Forces show off their feminine side with 2014 calendar

Images of the 2014 Japan Self-Defense Forces calendar depicting beautiful women in uniform have been popping up on portal sites around Japan. The calendars were created to raise awareness of the JSDF and to “lift morale.” However, with this year’s choice to use, not actual members of the Japan Self-Defense Forces, but bikini model Azusa Yamamoto, among others, we have a feeling this calendar will be lifting a lot more than morale.

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Cover up out there! 21 dead in Japan from virus spread by mites

Cover up out there! 21 dead in Japan from virus spread by mites

In general, Japan has very few animals that’ll kill you, as most local wildlife falls outside the three danger areas that trained zoologists refer to technically as poisonous, gigantic, and fangy.

However, you only need to kill a man once to show him you mean business. A check mark in any one of those boxes is cause for concern, which is why authorities in Japan are warning people about deadly poisonous mites that’ve been found in the country.

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Five Japanese customs even some Japanese people think are a pain

Five Japanese customs even some Japanese people think are a pain

One of the trickier aspects of adapting to life in Japan is getting the hang of the numerous seasonal customs. While your acquaintances aren’t likely to get that bent out of shape if you miss a day or two, completely adhering to proper etiquette involves managing a year-round schedule of sending gifts and written salutations to friends, family, and business associates.

The sentiment is definitely admirable, but don’t Japanese people don’t find this all to be a huge hassle? Actually, it turns out some of them do, as shown in a poll of the top five seasonal traditions people in Japan would like to do away with.

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Artwork by Japanese fan catches the eye of Russian figure skater Yulia Lipnitskaya

Artwork by Japanese fan catches the eye of Russian figure skater Yulia Lipnitskaya

The Sochi Olympics didn’t quite turn out how Russian figure skater Yulia Lipnitskaya had hoped. After losing out to her Russian teammate and placing 5th overall in the ladies competition, you can bet that this talented 15-year-old will be back with a vengeance for the 2018 Winter Games.

But despite her relative inexperience on the international stage, she has already made quite a name for herself across the world with her fierce determination, signature spin, and blunt remarks. Over the past several weeks she’s also amassed quite the following of Japanese fans. One piece of art made by a Japanese fan even caught the attention of none other than the skater herself! Read on to see the fan drawing that Yulia posted on her personal social networking site.

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Man claiming he thought amphetamines were legal obviously gets arrested

Man claiming he thought amphetamines were legal obviously gets arrested

Police have arrested a Hiroshima man after it became clear that he had injected himself with a drug he claimed to have thought perfectly legal. So assured in his convictions that the drug was legit, the man supposedly approached police of his own accord because he “felt strange” upon taking it and wanted them to determine what was causing it.

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Pizza Hut’s ita-campaign has people lining up around the block

Pizza Hut’s ita-campaign has people lining up around the block

The above picture was the scene outside a Pizza Hut shop in Chiyoda, Tokyo at 11:00 am on 24 February. The line stretches well around the block on the morning of a weekday with people looking to buy some pizza. The chain has certainly done collaborations with popular franchises before but none have generated this level of attention. So, what has Pizza Hut done to generate this kind of buzz? The answer is kind of painful.

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Saitama cafe offers outdoor baths, books, beer, massages, hammocks, and no reason to leave

Saitama cafe offers outdoor baths, books, beer, massages, hammocks, and no reason to leave

The basic idea of going to a cafe is that it’s a place to relax for an hour or so. You can sit down and have a cup of coffee, but eventually you’re going to get hungry, smelly, or sleepy. Sooner or later you’ll need to leave and go somewhere else for a real meal, hot bath, and good night’s sleep.

Unless, of course, you stop by a unique cafe in Saitama Prefecture, which not only has luxurious Japanese-style bathing facilities, but just about everything you need for a comfortable lifestyle.

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How to eat sushi like a sensei 【Video】

How to eat sushi like a sensei 【Video】

Our hungry friends over at Foodbeast have just unleashed a great new how-to video that outlines a number of errors both Japanese and non-Japanese alike often make when eating sushi. Not only that, but it teaches us the correct way to eat the stuff, introducing one piece of dining etiquette in particular that even regular sushi eaters often forget. Be sure to check this one out!

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Attack on Titan bento ingredients revealed

Attack on Titan bento ingredients revealed

Hokka Hokka Tei, a Japanese bento food chain, announced its “Attack on Titan Lunch” collaboration with Attack on Titan to create limited-time lunches. So, what exactly goes into a lunch for giant appetites? The answer is a lot of meat and vegetables.

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More marshmallow girls, but will we be calling them marshmallows for much longer?!

More marshmallow girls, but will we be calling them marshmallows for much longer?!

Recently, in what we might call the ‘marshmallow movement’, we’ve seen chubby girls start to shed some of their stigma in Japan. A chubby Japanese idol group has already arrived on the scene, and now we can also introduce a dedicated plus-size magazine. And as if marshmallows weren’t enough, they’re apparently also pushing for a new, and rather creative, label.

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Let’s toast to our feline friends — Five cute and tasty cat-themed alcoholic drinks

Let’s toast to our feline friends — Five cute and tasty cat-themed alcoholic drinks

Annual Cat Day may be over, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop celebrating all things feline, does it? That’s right, as fond as we are of cats, we don’t really need a reason to express our affection for our feline friends, and in that spirit, some of the lovely reporters at our sister site Pouch decided to get together and come up with a list of the best cat-themed alcoholic drinks around. Cats and alcohol, now that sounds like a dangerously attractive combination!

To get their hands on some of the fun and tasty cat-themed drinks out there, our reporters used the services of major Japanese online liquor distributor Kakuyasu. Let’s see what their top five pics were.

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Ghibli’s The Wind Rises earns US$306,000 on opening weekend

Ghibli’s The Wind Rises earns US$306,000 on opening weekend

The Box Office Mojo website reports that Hayao Miyazaki‘s final film, The Wind Rises opened in limited release this weekend in 21 theaters with an estimated US$306,000. Those box office receipts gave the film a per-screen average of US$14,571, the second highest among all films in the United States this weekend (after Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me‘s US$15,000 average on two screens).

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Okami cosplay: It’s for the dogs!

Okami cosplay: It’s for the dogs!

Dogs are some of the best pets you can have. They’ll play with you when you’re bored, they’ll snuggle with you when you’re sad, and they’ll be just plain adorable whether you want them to or not. And, if you’re really lucky, you can even get them to play dress up with you!

But just what character would you want your dog to cosplay as? There aren’t too many options, but here’s the one that should be obvious: Amaterasu’s wolf form from Ōkami!

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When Ladybeard meets “Sailor Suit Old Man”, it’s an explosion of manly cuteness【Photos】

When Ladybeard meets “Sailor Suit Old Man”, it’s an explosion of manly cuteness【Photos】

Perhaps you remember Ladybeard from our previous post a couple of weeks ago introducing the cross-dressing bearded pro-wrestler, performer, heavy metal singer and party rocker. Well, it would seem that Ladybeard recently met up with another iconic cross-dresser in Japan, the “Sailor Suit Old Man”.

A hairy burly man and a balding old man in schoolgirl uniforms may sound like an absolute turn off, but they looked so happy, we couldn’t help but think they actually look somewhat cute. Here’s the most epic schoolgirl combi in history!

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Jesus joins Japanese and African distance runners in Tokyo Marathon

Jesus joins Japanese and African distance runners in Tokyo Marathon

Last Sunday, the eighth iteration of the Tokyo Marathon was held, with Kenyan Dickson Chumba and Ethiopian Tirfi Tsegaye setting new men’s and women’s course records, respectively. In fact, the two African nations dominated the race, with citizens accounting for the top seven male finishers as well as the first five women to cross the finish line.

However, somewhere farther back in the pack plenty of attention was given to a Japanese runner dressed as one of history’s most famous natives of the Middle East: Jesus.

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Why do Japanese people wear surgical masks? Part 2: Men’s edition

Why do Japanese people wear surgical masks? Part 2: Men’s edition

We recently ran down a number of reasons why so many people in Japan will strap on a surgical mask even if they aren’t feeling sick. One of the most common reasons is that for women, slipping on a mask is less of a hassle then carefully applying makeup, but the cultural phenomena of perfectly healthy Japanese wearing masks isn’t strictly a female thing.

Today, we present the testosterone-packed follow-up to our previous report, as we explore why healthy Japanese men wear masks.

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Kodansha’s 1st sales jump in 18 years credited to Attack on Titan

Kodansha’s 1st sales jump in 18 years credited to Attack on Titan

Japanese publisher Kodansha reported its financial results for the 2013 fiscal year (December 2012 to November 2013) on Thursday. The company garnered 120.272 billion yen (about US$1.173-billion) in revenue, a 2.0% increase from the previous fiscal year. The publisher’s profits increased by 107.3% to 3.214 billion yen (US$31.346 million). This is Kodansha’s first revenue increase in 18 years and its first increase in both revenue and profit in 19 years.

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Osaka man caught after teaching junior high for 15 years without a license

Osaka man caught after teaching junior high for 15 years without a license

Back when I was applying for my first Japanese work visa, there was a thick stack of paperwork I had to submit. Most of the items made sense, but one that struck me as weird, though, was my college diploma. I knew that Japanese law required a college education for the visa I was applying for, but wouldn’t sealed, authenticated transcripts make more sense than a personal diploma, which could be easily forged for 20 bucks at any print shop, or even with a high quality home-use printer?

Nope, I was informed, it had to be the diploma. That’s the paperwork they give you when you graduate, right? After all, from the standpoint of honest and by-the-book Japanese society, who would be so dishonest as to provide false educational credentials?

How about a man in Osaka, who taught junior high school for 15 years without ever obtaining his teaching credential.

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Girl who lost father in last year’s deadly Hokkaido blizzard pens heart-wrenching thank-you letter

Girl who lost father in last year’s deadly Hokkaido blizzard pens heart-wrenching thank-you letter

While Tokyo’s recent blizzard showed us the lighter side of natural disasters with amusing snow sculptures and insane images of overly panicked urbanites, these kind of storms have the potential to be very deadly and serious if you are caught outside. Last March, a violent storm hit the northeast part of Hokkaido and took the lives of nine people.

One of the most tragic stories to come out of this storm was a young girl who lost her father after he used his own body to protect her from the freezing temperatures and strong winds. On the one-year anniversary of the tragedy, the girl asked one of Japan’s biggest newspapers, the Yomiuri Shimbun, to publish a heart-breaking letter thanking the country for the huge outpouring of support over the past year.

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Take notes in the name of the moon with new line of Sailor Moon pens

Take notes in the name of the moon with new line of Sailor Moon pens

As fans the world over continue to wait for the upcoming newest installment of the Sailor Moon franchise, merchandising giant Bandai has been releasing a steady stream of goodies from the hit anime. Recently, we’ve seen compact mirrors and even lingerie inspired by the twin-tailed magical girl and her cohorts, and now comes a line of Sailor Moon pens.

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