Japan

Responding to the ongoing devastation caused by last Friday’s earthquake, popular Japanese actress/gravure model Asami Tada has updated her blog (NSFW) with an appeal to join her in donating an “Adult’s Thousand Paper Cranes.”

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Convenient Store Prioritizes Food Distribution to Disaster Areas, “In Accordance With Our Mission as a Convenience Store”

Major chain convenience store, Lawson, has stated that it is prioritizing the delivery of food from distributors across over the country to refugee shelters and stores in the earthquake-affected Touhoku region.

The initiative was announced on the Lawson website, stating: “We wish to offer our deepest sympathies to everyone affected by this disaster. We pray that those who lost their lives may find happiness in the next world, and that rescue may reach those who need it as soon as possible. We at Lawson, in accordance with our mission as a convenience store, will be maximizing priority of food distribution to stores in disaster-stricken areas.

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Panic in Shinjuku Area of Tokyo after the Big Shake

・A long queue for a public phone, due to jamming of the mobile network.

・There was no sign of breaking windows.

・Public transportation such as JR commuter trains and subways stopped

・People tried to catch taxis to return home, but there were not enough available.

・Shinjuku Gyoen Park usually charges for entrance, but they opened for free as an evacuation shelter.

・Some people went to their Kobans, which are neighborhood police sub-stations, to gather more infomration.

・Technologies like WiFi worked well, although the mobile phone network became flooded. Some people used their computers on the street to get news or communicate with their families via Skype.

・A crowd tried to get the latest news from a big screen on a building near the Shinjuku South Exit.

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Wanna Try Frog Ramen?

Have you ever eaten frog meat? Frog is a common ingredient in the cuisines of some of the world’s cultures, but would you think of frog meat as a topping for Japanese food such as ramen?

A ramen restaurant in Nagoya does exactly that. The owner loves the taste of frogs so much that he started using fresh frog meat for his main ramen dish. He even changed the same of his restaurant to “Kaeru”, the Japanese word for frog.

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Ah, the peaceful city of Kamakura. Only an hour train ride south of Tokyo, its abundant temples, shrines and other historical landmarks make it a fantastic getaway from the turbulent life of the nearby metropolis.

Near Kamakura Station sits the small crêpe shop Kokuriko, which holds a reputation among the locals for serving the most delicious crêpes in the area. It’s known in particular for its characteristic thin and crispy crêpes; though rather flat without any extra fillings, the combination of savory batter and a medley of rich sauces compensate volume with zest.

Naturally, Kokuriko is popular with many tourists who often eat their crêpes as they stroll toward their next sightseeing destination. Let’s say you order a Whipped Cream and Banana Crêpe (450 yen) and decide to make your way to see the Great Buddha.

And then, tragedy.

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Last year McDonald’s Japan released its wildly popular Big America promotion, which, as the name suggests, was a series of quarter-pound hamburgers based on the Japanese image of the United States. Since it was probably inconvenient to use a hamburger as a topping for hamburgers, McDonald’s Japan instead devised four unique burgers themed on several American locations and their ‘representative’ cuisines: the Texas Burger, New York Burger, California Burger and Hawaiian Burger.

Oh yes.

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As you may know, tempura is a popular Japanese dish of deep-fried seafood or vegetables. While it was originally introduced to Japan by Portuguese missionaries and traders in the 1500s, the Japanese spent centuries perfecting the dish we know and love today. Now, following in their ancestors’ footsteps, a bold group of young Japanese men have truly brought tempura into the 21st century. Read More

On December 1st, Capcom released the popular “Monster Hunter Freedom 3” in Japan for the PlayStation Portable (PSP) system. The game is almost a national icon. People camped-out in front of stores over the night before the release. Read More

When looking at a map, many people may often use their own country as a standard by comparing it with the geographic features and locations of other countries. The Japanese, however, have gone an extra step and created a map that uses their own country as a standard for the world itself. Read More

The onigiri is the centerpiece of the Japanese lunch. For those not in the know, onigiri are balls of white rice usually wrapped with nori, a specific species of seaweed. Of course, the most iconic form is the rounded, three-corned variation with a single strip of nori wrapped around the bottom; however, given its simple construction, the variety of shapes, sizes and tastes of onigiri are nigh endless. Recently, one enterprising user of Japan’s largest Internet message board, 2channel—often shortened 2ch—has used his ingenuity to compact this traditional finger-food into an even more portable form. Read More

“Something seems very very wrong”, said Mr. S. who had been shopping online frequently for 8 years. He recently found a new online clothing store, but was shocked at what he found they sold there. Read More

Man Challenges Japan’s Largest Mountain of Curry and Rice, Lives to Tell the Tale

Allow me to tell you of the time I went to the restaurant that serves the biggest plate of curry in all of Nippon. It was three years ago…or was it four? No matter. For that mountain of white rice, towering like a snow-capped Everest over a lake of golden curry, is engraved clearly into my mind’s eye.

Surely there is no larger curry to be found in Japan. And if there exists no larger curry in Japan, then I can only assume that no larger curry exists in the world of man.

But I digress.

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In America and abroad we may be facing a job shortage, but if you happen to be in Japan with some spare time on your hands you could make a pretty penny in some fairly strange ways. The diversity of temporary side jobs out there is truly surprising, and today we’d like to introduce nine unusual occupations found via the Internet. Who knows; you may even find your true calling in life! Read More

The Nintendo 3DS is the video game industry’s first handheld that allows users to enjoy games in 3D. While cinema and, more recently, television have already made their foray into 3D, Nintendo’s innovative hardware allows users to enjoy 3D without the need for the trademark glasses other media relies on.

But what happens when you do try to play the 3DS using 3D glasses? Our editors here at RocketNews have tentatively confirmed that wearing 3D glasses when playing the 3DS can provide an improved 3D experience! Read More

Interested in trying a gourmet pasta made with cat food?

Recently my apartment has started becoming a shelter for stray neighborhood cats. Since then the relationship between them and I has grown ever closer. They now allow me to play with them if I bring out a little catnip. However if I try to pet them, they will still run away.

Sigh…

I want to touch them! What is wrong with me? Read More

Japanese Internet shopping mega-site, Rakuten Ichiba, has been garnering some extra publicity thanks to a series of product pictures of models who are “fabulous on so many levels.”

The pictures in question are found on the men’s underwear section of the site, and feature several young men, sporting what can best be described as ‘manties,’ engaging in rather graphic advertising. Having pictures of models in underwear is, in itself, fairly standard practice; however, these models exude libido, exhibiting sensual expressions and lustful poses, undoubtedly provoked by the raw sexual energy of the underwear itself. Read More

Undoubtedly, the most anticipated feature of the Nintendo 3DS is…well, the stereoscopic 3D! No longer oppressed by plastic glasses, the common man is now free to enjoy three-dimensional vision with his naked eye.

Yet, while the 3D may be the main appeal of Nintendo’s new handheld, there is another feature we think should stoke your fire: the Augmented Reality (AR) function. The 3DS includes six specially designed paper cards, five of which bear well-known Nintendo characters. Thanks to the rear-facing cameras and a bit of magic, viewing one of these cards through your 3DS screen causes the respective character to appear in 3D space. Read More

A Tale of Japanese Customer Service

The following is a translation of an article written by one of our Japanese coworkers:

I am crazy about Calbee Lightly Salted Potato Chips. I find their balance of saltiness and crispy texture to be really addictive. Some of my friends are fans of other chip brands, but I have stuck to Calbee’s for quite a long time.

But the other day, I was enjoying a bag of chips when I happened to feel something like a hair in my mouth. I spat it out and saw something that looked like a thread attached to a chip. There was little doubt that what I saw was an accidental artifact of the production process.

It wasn’t a big deal to me at the time, but after a little while I began to wonder what would happen if I called Calbee’s Customer Service number. I was overtaken by simple curiosity and called the number printed on the back of a nearby bag. What happened next, I could never have expected…

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In Japan, the act of sitting in a car’s side window so that the upper body is exposed outside is called “Hakonori”. It’s popular with Japanese vehicle gangs (known as “Bosozuku”). It’s also highly illegal in Japan. Read More

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