Survival Game: Japanese hobbyists fall in love with shooting each other

Survival Game: Japanese hobbyists fall in love with shooting each other

After a long, frustrating day of work, there’s nothing better than plopping down in front of your computer or TV and shooting the ever-loving poop out of digitized bad guys. This is, obviously, just an opinion, but it is a common opinion–global video game sales for GTA V, Call of Duty, and Battlefield would certainly seem to support this. But, you know, as much fun as video games are, they’re not exactly great exercise, are they?

And that’s fine, of course! Not every single thing we do everyday has to be healthy. But maybe you’re starting to notice a little pudge around your edges (like me) and are trying to think of the least painful way to get some exercise.

Sure, you could go for a jog, I guess. Or you could head down to Tokyo’s newest airsoft field and shoot some of your friends!

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Halloween cosplay at the Pouch/RocketNews24 Japan offices – 2013 edition

Halloween cosplay at the Pouch/RocketNews24 Japan offices – 2013 edition

As Halloween becomes increasingly popular in Japan, people are finding more and more opportunities to show off their costumes. A few years ago your only chance to dress up would be a private party with some friends, but now there are parades and even neighborhoods with trick-or-treating for kids (sadly almost always in the afternoon, but it’s a start).

Last year, our sister site Pouch experimented with the idea of Halloween costumes in the workplace, giving the team a boost in solidarity and energy. Could they repeat that success this year?

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Lawson to be first convenience store to save winter snow…for summer air conditioning?!

Lawson to be first convenience store to save winter snow…for summer air conditioning?!

On November 1, Lawson is opening a new store in chilly Akita Prefecture. Nothing particularly surprising about this–it seems like a new conbini opens nearly every day in Japan. However, this store will have some rather unique features.

In addition to solar panels, improved insulation, and LED light bulbs, this branch will also be testing out some new environmentally friendly features: Saving winter snow for summer air conditioning and using sunlight to heat the store!

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Don’t like to be stared at while you eat? Have a toilet meal!

Don’t like to be stared at while you eat? Have a toilet meal!

What do you do in the toilet? Of course, we don’t mean the obvious “business”, but things that people usually do out of the restroom. Reading, for example. And with media and entertainment made accessible with smartphones and tablets, many of us surf the internet, watch YouTube videos, or play mobile games while on the toilet. A minority of Japanese practice benjo-meshi, literally translated as “toilet meal”.

As the name suggests, it means to have a meal in the bathroom. We always thought benjo-meshi was something unique to Japan, but apparently not! We found evidence of some westerners having meals on their toilets too!

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Anonymous net user floods message board with waves of cute girls

Anonymous net user floods message board with waves of cute girls

In what’s being called an unprecedented cyber-attack, an unnamed individual suddenly began posting an assortment of images of cute Japanese girls on a message board. Productivity screeched to a halt as scores in the IT industry forgot what they were doing for a moment.

No terrorist groups have claimed responsibility for the photo dump but authorities are suspecting it to be the work of an individual who “appears to be really into women.” The following are the images posted in the attack. Be warned they may lead to third-degree procrastination.

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Is Halloween in Japan evolving?

Is Halloween in Japan evolving?

A recent Ameba News Japanese blog post asked a 37-year old American woman her thoughts on Halloween in Japan, and based on her answer you’d think Halloween in Japan was somehow expressly responsible for all the unhappiness in her life.

The woman asked the blog author, “Why do adults in Japan get drunk together and wear costumes on Halloween? Don’t they know it’s a holiday for kids?”

Her response seemed to be dripping with condescension, which inspired us to dig into just what Halloween is about in Japan and how it differs from the US, and if our research is any indicator, the holiday has really come into its own out here over the past few years.

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Twitter user names Japan’s three worst fandoms

Twitter user names Japan’s three worst fandoms

Whenever fans of a particular thing gather, there are bound to be some people who act out and reflect badly on the rest of the group. Usually, these people are the outliers, largely ignored by the majority of the fans. However, some select fandoms seem to attract a disproportionate number of bad-mannered crazies and develop a terrible reputation on the whole. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a comic, anime, movie, musician or a sports team at the source, I’m sure there’s at least one fandom for which you can relate.

Japan certainly has its fair share of obsessive fan bases. One Twitter user decided to put together a graphic for the country’s three worst offenders and their reasons why. Now, while we don’t want to over generalize and say that everyone in these fandoms is as rude as described, we can certainly see where they’re coming from…

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Oden best-sellers at Japan’s top convenience stores

Oden best-sellers at Japan’s top convenience stores

As the temperatures gradually sink into a chilly winter, convenience stores all across this great nation start to kick their oden pots into high gear. For those unacquainted with this Japanese dish, oden is basically any type of food soaked and simmered in a flavorful broth. The type of soup used varies by regions but is usually very savory.

Although not the only place to get oden, convenience stores are thought of as the first place to get it. That’s why Japan’s three biggest convenience stores – 7-Eleven, Family Mart, and Lawson – are all competing to find that perfect ingredient to simmer and sell to the hungry masses.

To help kick-off this year’s oden season in Japan, Excite News has released the five most popular oden foods at each of the big three stores. First up is Lawson!

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Hand-made animal-shaped buns a steaming hit among students in China

Hand-made animal-shaped buns a steaming hit among students in China

We have written a handful of articles about cute character-shaped doughnuts and cakes that can be found in Japan. Adorable food is probably something that would sell in any country, but what if such Western snacks are not a common choice among the locals, like in China, for example? The creative canteen ladies at the Northeast Agricultural University in Harbin recently cooked up their own version of animal-shaped snacks, in the form of Chinese steamed buns, and they’re selling like, well, hotcakes.

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Evangelion? Cool. Katana? Cool. Evangelion and katana? Very cool!

Evangelion? Cool. Katana? Cool. Evangelion and katana? Very cool!

Evangelion, known to its fans simply as Eva, has already earned itself a spot in history as one of Japan’s most popular anime ever. The franchise has such wide appeal that its characters have been used to promote everything from lingerie to cheeseburgers.

Now, Eva’s cast of teenage protagonists is helping to drum up interest in something a little more traditional than the high-tech robots they usually pilot with their newest promotional crossover, the Evangelion and Japanese Sword Exhibition.

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Popular Japanese travel guide for East Africa is filled with thrilling tales of danger

Popular Japanese travel guide for East Africa is filled with thrilling tales of danger

Japan is, by almost any criteria, an extremely safe country. You can wander most back alleys of Tokyo in the dead of night without any sense of danger, and calmly carry huge amounts of cash secure in the knowledge that you’re about as likely to come across a mugger in downtown as a man riding a horse.

While this bubble of safety is definitely a plus when you’re inside it, the flipside is that Japanese travelers, unaccustomed to street crime, violent or otherwise, tend to be extremely risk averse when going abroad. Driving this point home is the East Africa edition of a popular series of Japanese guidebooks, which is filled with warnings of danger that seem more like something out of a pulp action novel than a travel reference.

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Lonely or in need of female assistance? Try a rental friend in Tokyo!

Lonely or in need of female assistance? Try a rental friend in Tokyo!

It can be difficult to get along without female friends.

In Japan, work ethic and subsequent exhaustion tends to tie many men to their work places beyond the call of duty, and gender roles can be highly restrictive. If you’re a single man who is not socially confident, how do you get enough positive human interaction? We all need to tell someone about our troubles, and yarn about the day-to-day minutiae that friends and family share.

Maybe you want to go out to a nice restaurant… but how can you go alone? Maybe you have relationship difficulties and want to confide in someone. Maybe you need help with your computer, or organizing your stuff, or careers counselling. Everyone needs a female friend… and in eastern Japan, Client Partners KK is one company which offers a rent-a-friend service. Billed as “women-only odd-jobbers” (josei dake no benriya), the services they offer do not include anything untoward. In the commodification of today’s world, “rental friend” should come as no surprise. What is surprising is just how much this kind of human contact benefits lonely people.

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South Korean netizens fume over president’s footwear faux pas

South Korean netizens fume over president’s footwear faux pas

South Korean netizens are apparently up in arms over their president’s choice of shoes that she wore when throwing the opening pitch of the third game of the Korean Series baseball tournament in Seoul on October 27. Her fashion crime? President Park Guen Hye had the “audacity” to show up wearing a Japanese brand of sneakers!

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Eight fun fall origami designs!

Eight fun fall origami designs!

Fall is in full swing and that means we’re all able to enjoy what this chilly season has to offer. Red and golden leaves, chestnuts, apples…all the things that remind us of autumn! For those with a little patience and some artistic ability, you can even create origami versions of these seasonal favorites. Take a look at the following eight origami designs and learn how to make them yourself!

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Six incredibly interesting items inspired by origami

Six incredibly interesting items inspired by origami

The art of origami is one of Japan’s most widely recognized cultural contributions to the international world. Although the practice of paper-folding has many possible roots, the Japanese approach to sculpting three-dimensional shapes from flat squares has had a large impact on many people’s approach to not just art, but also packaging and product design. Here are six very special items, designed both in and out of Japan, which claim inspiration from the practice of origami.

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Visiting Alcázar of Segovia, the real Disney castle

Visiting Alcázar of Segovia, the real Disney castle

As you may have heard, Disney’s movies and theme parks are incredibly popular in Japan. While Hello Kitty is the reigning queen of cute, she can never rest easy knowing that Minnie is just one step behind, ready to take the throne. And with the immense popularity of Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea, it’s hardly any wonder that one of the most popular destinations for Japanese folks traveling abroad is Alcázar of Segovia, a Spanish castle which served as the inspiration for the nearly universally-known Cinderella castle.

And when you see the pictures we’ve found of the castle, you’ll want to visit it too!

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Rising J-POP star is talented, good-looking and certainly not your typical Japanese musician!

Rising J-POP star is talented, good-looking and certainly not your typical Japanese musician!

I just happened to be watching TV the other day when a young man’s singing performance suddenly and utterly grabbed my attention. Having been a member of the Glee Club during junior high and high school (an experience which, by the way, was no where near as crazy as the TV series), I have to say that hearing talented people sing is a huge source of pleasure for me, and a pleasure it was indeed to listen to this man perform a well-known Japanese pop song, his voice ringing clear and true.

I soon found out that the man I saw performing on TV had just released his debut single from a major Japanese music label a few months ago. His star seems to have been rising quickly, which wasn’t surprising considering his amazing voice and striking looks. Plus, there was also something else that made him stand out in the Japanese music scene. Ladies and gentlemen, meet 21-year-old Nicholas Edwards, the blond J-POP singer from Oregon, U.S.A.

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We’re not sure whether to laugh or cry at this soul-crushing English textbook segment

We’re not sure whether to laugh or cry at this soul-crushing English textbook segment

The doctor-patient exchange has always been a crucial segment in basic language textbooks, because it’s one of those situations you’ll want to know how to navigate if you plan on going to a foreign country for an extended period of time.

This Japanese English textbook goes the extra mile by also reminding you that doctors don’t have time for your namby pamby psychological problems like, um, seemingly legitimate depression and loneliness…

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The happiest airline story ever: Man and smartphone reunited by awesome customer service

The happiest airline story ever: Man and smartphone reunited by awesome customer service

Airports and airlines frequently get a bad rap. The internet alone has more complaints about air travel than and episode of Evening at the Improv. However, buried deep among the stories of security gropings, crushed luggage and delayed flights lie some uplifting stories to restore your faith in humanity.

A while back we reported on JAL’s kind move to provide specialized guitar cases free of charge. That’s swell, but this story about what happened to our reporter Kuzo on his return flight on ANA after eating some dancing squid will brighten your day and remind you what customer service is all about.

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What’s the excuse for China’s bizarre painted-on apartment windows?

What’s the excuse for China’s bizarre painted-on apartment windows?

There’s something to be said for keeping up appearances and making good impressions, but what underlying defect is this string of apartment buildings trying to hide by painting on pretend windows?! These high-rise housing complexes in China’s Shandong Province aren’t fooling any prospective tenants with their fake windows, so really, what’s the point?

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