PM Abe calls on Japanese businesses to learn from Nintendo, netizens skeptical

PM Abe calls on Japanese businesses to learn from Nintendo, netizens skeptical

At a recent budget meeting in the Japanese Diet, a member asked Prime Minister Abe to explain his growth strategy. As you probably know, the prime minister has been focused on improving the Japanese economy, though he’s not having the greatest of luck. As Abenomics–the cheeky name given to Abe’s economic policies–fluctuates in and out of favor, many are wondering if it’s working at all. We’re not sure the Prime Minister’s response is going to assuage anyone’s fears…

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From Frozen to Gandalf, Madrid’s cosplayers find inspiration in unlikely places【Photos】

From Frozen to Gandalf, Madrid’s cosplayers find inspiration in unlikely places【Photos】

The Japan Chibi Weekend, held in February in Madrid, is a relatively small player in the anime convention world. Entry costs just 7 euros (US$10),  and its name even means “mini” in Japanese. That doesn’t stop anime and manga fans having a blast though, with a great mix of Japanese and western characters on show in the cosplay competition and around the convention.

Although the two-day event focuses on manga, anime and Japanese culture, the competitors’ handmade costumes included an impressive line-up of Disney and Dreamworks characters, too! Let’s take a look at what was on offer in the Spanish capital at this year’s event.

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How rich is Asia’s wealthiest man? Forbes says US$32 billion, but it’s probably way more

How rich is Asia’s wealthiest man? Forbes says US$32 billion, but it’s probably way more

Call me materialistic, but one of the biggest desires I’ve had since I was a teen is to be rich. But to be absolutely honest, I’m so horribly bad with numbers, I’m not even sure how many zeroes are there in a billion, much less a trillion. So when Asia’s wealthiest man, Ka-shing Li, said that the media is “underestimating” his net worth at US$32 billion, the only thing on my mind was, “Wait, how many zeroes is that again?”.

So, how much is Ka-shing Li really worth? Take a guess, or not, since you know we’ll tell you anyway.

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Japanese wonder condom gains cult following in China

Japanese wonder condom gains cult following in China

Make love not war. Isn’t that what the T-shirts say? And the new record-breaking condom making waves in China could encourage people to do just that. The Japanese-made world’s thinnest condom has been quite a hit overseas, sparking an underground trade in prophylactics. At just 0.01 millimetres thick, it’s probably the only product where the less you get the happier you are.

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US Ambassador Kennedy’s comment about pork irritates Japanese netizens

US Ambassador Kennedy’s comment about pork irritates Japanese netizens

What’s wrong with a little bacon, you say? Pork is one of the most widely consumed meats around the world. But not all pork is the same, as was brought to light recently in Japan.

On a trip to southern Japan a few days ago for a US-Japan joint satellite launch, United States Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy commented that she would like to try a local pork delicacy famous to Kagoshima Prefecture. However, her comment became a hot issue, prompting many Japanese netizens to take their confused and even angry comments online. Keep reading to find out why this seemingly simple comment became such a big deal in light of recent events.

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Why settle for a radio-controlled car when you can have an RC toilet instead? 【Video】

Why settle for a radio-controlled car when you can have an RC toilet instead? 【Video】

Before moving to Japan, I got to dip my toes in the overseas lifestyle by spending several summers at a U.S. military installation in Yamaguchi Prefecture. The base was a long walk from the nearest train station, making bicycles an attractive way of getting around town. Even if you didn’t want to shell out the money to buy one, you could always get one for the day at the local bike rental shop.

Unfortunately, the rental bikes tended to be old, heavy, and not always in the best state of repair. The locals referred to them as “banjo bombers,” since benjo is a Japanese slang word for “bathroom,” and the rental bikes were pieces of…feces.

Little did I know there was another vehicle even more deserving of the benjo bomber title, a radio-controlled toilet.

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Tokyo luxury hotel offering special Galaxy Express 999 anime guestroom

Tokyo luxury hotel offering special Galaxy Express 999 anime guestroom

While his heyday predates anime’s big break in the English-speaking world, manga artist Leiji Matsumoto is still the creator of some of the medium’s earliest titles to be translated into English, including Space Battleship Yamato (known overseas as Starblazers) and Captain Harlock.

One of Matsumoto’s most enduring hits is Galaxy Express 999 (pronounced “three nine”). It’s been entertaining fans for decades, and now true devotes of the epic sci-fi odyssey can further their ambitions to eat, sleep, and breathe 999 by spending the night in a special anime-themed room at a luxury hotel in the middle of Tokyo Bay.

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Concern as hundreds of copies of The Diary of Anne Frank found defaced in Tokyo public libraries

Concern as hundreds of copies of The Diary of Anne Frank found defaced in Tokyo public libraries

An investigation is currently underway after it became clear that more than 300 copies of The Diary of a Young Girl, the book containing the writings of Holocaust victim Anne Frank, have been torn and severely defaced over what is thought to be the past few weeks across a number of public libraries in Tokyo.

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We don’t care about the calories, just give us our Gundam donuts!

We don’t care about the calories, just give us our Gundam donuts!

Despite the traditional image of anime fans as couch potatoes whose consumption of junk food is only rivaled by their consumption of panty-flashing animation sequences, it’s only recently that gastronomy and Japanese animation have officially combined forces. Recently we heard about the giant, 10-patty Attack on Titan burger, but what if your tastes run less towards towering monsters and meat and more in the direction of giant robots and sweets?

If that’s the case, maybe you’d prefer a Gundam donut.

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North Korea launches missiles into Japan Sea because it’s just that time again

North Korea launches missiles into Japan Sea because it’s just that time again

We’re used to seeing a lot of unbelievable-sounding coverage concerning the Cobra-style antics of North Korea’s totalitarian dictatorship. But the country’s tightly-closed borders make many reports difficult to verify, so a lot of patently false stories end up circulating through legitimate outlets. This means that, sadly, what you’ve read about North Korea putting a man on the sun and finding a unicorn lair are less than legit.

Some stories, however, are frighteningly real: Like the one about Pyongyang launching a series of Scud missiles over the Japan Sea recently as a show of military might.

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Taste the mad flavas of DJ Misoshiru & MC Gohan’s recipe raps 【Videos】

Taste the mad flavas of DJ Misoshiru & MC Gohan’s recipe raps 【Videos】

Recipes are invaluable resources for daily life that with just the right focus can empower even the most kitchenphobic person to slap together semi-decent meal. However, recipe books can be unwieldy and weak to the heat and fluids flying around the cooking space. The advent of the internet has helped, but we’re still left nervously trying to swipe at a touch screen with flour-and-egg-caked fingers.

This is where DJ Misoshiru & MC Gohan (DJ Miso Soup & MC Rice) come in. Their unique brand of recipe rap takes up only the space in your ears and with their nostalgic old-school beats those instructions will be hard to get out of your head afterwards. Come, join us on this Japanese hip-hop gourmet journey.

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How to fail at hide-and-seek: A cat’s guide

How to fail at hide-and-seek: A cat’s guide

It’s a well-known fact that cats think they’re cleverer than us. Even when it comes to playing one of our popular childhood games, hide-and-seek, cats think they’ve got us beat. This collection of hilarious photos shows that cats should really come down off their proverbial high horses and take a lesson or two from the human world because when it comes to hiding, these kitty cats really have no idea. Ten points for trying, especially with their creative and body-defying efforts, but no points for hiding because when it comes to hiding, peek-a-boo we see you!

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Our impressions from the live-action Kiki’s Delivery Service film

Our impressions from the live-action Kiki’s Delivery Service film

At the same time that director Hayao Miyazaki’s drectorial swan-song, The Wind Rises, opened in wide release in North America, the live-action version of Kiki’s Delivery Service was released in Japan. The coming of age story of a young witch in training is best known internationally for the 1989 Studio Ghibli animated film of the same name, but how does the new version, from production company Toei, compare with the anime classic?

Eager to see if Kiki was better left in two dimensions, we checked the film out for ourselves.

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Want!!! Nintendo Famicom-themed earphones with in-line “controller” microphone unit coming soon

Want!!! Nintendo Famicom-themed earphones with in-line “controller” microphone unit coming soon

Heads up, gamers and fans of all things old-school! Video game accessory maker Datel Japan has announced a new pair of earphones modelled on none other than Nintendo’s classic Famicom (the NES in its native form) games console, complete with cable extender and an in-line mic designed to look exactly like the 8-bit console’s controller.

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New Juon/The Grudge horror film announced with Nozomi Sasaki

New Juon/The Grudge horror film announced with Nozomi Sasaki

A Wednesday press conference at Tokyo’s Akagi Shrine announced that Masayuki Ochiai (Parasite Eve, Shutter, live-action TV The Girl Who Leapt Through Time) will write and direct a new Juon/The Grudge horror filmJuon: Owari no Hajimari (The Grudge: Beginning of the End) will begin shooting on Tuesday and will open in Japanese theaters on June 28.

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Japan’s curious obsession with blood type and personality illustrated in one photo

Japan’s curious obsession with blood type and personality illustrated in one photo

In a number of East Asian countries, but perhaps most strongly in Japan, it is believed that one’s blood type, or ketsuekigata (血液型), determines a lot about one’s character and how we relate to others and the world around us. Although comparatively few Westerners who have never donated blood or had the misfortune of being seriously ill know their blood type, it is rare to meet a Japanese person who does not know theirs, and it’s considered perfectly normal for people to try to guess someone’s blood type when first getting to know them or working together closely.

It’s easy for non-Japanese to forget the character traits that blood types supposedly denote, however, so here’s a handy image – which is currently doing the rounds online in Japan and being suitably nodded at and chuckled over –  to save on your computer or smartphone for the next time someone says, “Oh, that’s typical A-gata behaviour!” when you fold up your napkin or straighten a crooked picture frame.

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Life-size Attack on Titan monster to appear in projection-mapped form in Kawasaki

Life-size Attack on Titan monster to appear in projection-mapped form in Kawasaki

For such an ordinarily listless bunch, hit anime Attack on Titan’s titular monsters sure have been busy lately, collaborating with hamburger chain Lotteria, appearing in their first smartphone game, and even helping one fan get a job.

But now comes literally the biggest Attack on Titan promotion yet, as a life-size recreation of the 60-meter Colossal Titan is set to menace Japan in projection-mapped form at a shopping center in Kawasaki.

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New Disney Princess Lego on sale in Japan from March 7

New Disney Princess Lego on sale in Japan from March 7

From fierce legends to masculine superheroes, a lot has been said about Lego and its gendered marketing to boys. Now it seems the heroes on the more feminine side of the scale are finally getting a look-in, with the new Disney Princess line set to hit stores in Japan from March 7. We take a look at Cinderella, Rapunzel, Ariel and Merida in impressive Lego form and check out their adorable homes and accessories. These goodies will have your inner child squealing with delight!

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(Just a few of) the craziest things seen on Japanese trains

(Just a few of) the craziest things seen on Japanese trains

Train transportation is both a blessing and a curse. Train networks make getting around extraordinarily easy, and much cheaper than owning a car. Compared to buses – which are well-known haunts of swindlers, witchcraft users and the very smelly – trains are also safe, clean and convenient.

But sometimes they present a problem, especially for those that don’t own private means of transport. Cosplayers, for instance, may have to get from A to B in costume – which, even on Halloween in Japan, can attract stares and scoffs. Or what if you want to hang out with your giant bird friends at the pub but your giant bird heads won’t fit into the car door? Circus performers, extremely drunk salarymen, movie monster extras and more have all faced this dilemma.

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Anthropomorphized characters amaze, frighten us, leave us wanting more

Anthropomorphized characters amaze, frighten us, leave us wanting more

Anthropomorphized characters are both incredibly popular and prevalent in Japan, as you’re probably already very aware. From battleships to Japanese companies and municipalities, there’s seemingly nothing that can’t be made human–and probably cute as well! And, perhaps as a challenge to what we assume must be Rule 38 of the Internet–anything can be anthropomorphized and if it hasn’t been anthropomorphized yet, someone will do it–one Japanese Internet user took to 2Chan to request, simply enough, “Images of anthropomorphization, please.”

And the Internet gave him exactly what he wanted, with everything from Lipton Ice tea and Doraemon in sexy/creepy human form to an anthropomorphized version of Monday itself. Click below to see what was on display! (Note: Not all of these images are entirely safe for work.)

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