High school students create amazing musical arcade game for their school festival

Autumn is the season of school cultural festivals (bunkasai) in Japan. Students pour hours and hours of their time into creating the best possible attractions, food stands, and performances and proudly display these efforts of love for the surrounding community to enjoy.

There must be something in the water because, starting with the teacups ride we introduced last month, Japanese students seem to be showing some unprecedented creativity this year. Just take this musical arcade game that was built entirely by high schoolers, and which many stunned guests have proclaimed to be “good enough to be in a real game center.”

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Cracked smartphone screens could be a thing of the past far sooner than we thought

Every year, tech giants like Apple, Samsung and HTC give us more features and better, often bigger, displays to look forward to in our smartphones. But so far they still haven’t managed to come up with a way to tackle perhaps the most common problem users have, which is dropping your phone and cracking the screen.

However one research team at Tokyo University is hoping to change that by creating glass that is nearly indestructible. If the team achieves its goal, the glass could be used in everything from buildings to consumer electronics as soon as 2020.

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Are these normal Japanese things weird to you? 10 things that might surprise you when you visit Japan

When traveling to a foreign country for the first time, no matter how well-prepared you are, there’s sure to be a lot you’ll be surprised by! Let’s take a look at 10 things in Japan that might surprise you when you first hop off the plane.

With these in mind, you can enjoy your first trip to Japan even more!

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10 things one Japanese expat is always sure to stock up on when returning to Japan

Any expat, exchange student, or anybody who has otherwise spent a long period of time abroad will tell you that, while the local food is exciting and fun and delicious for a while, eventually you’ll start to experience intense urges for the comfort foods and products of your native land. For some, these urges may be occasional, mild pangs, but for many, the urges are so strong they can’t resist stocking up on boxes and boxes full of their favorite items from home every time they head back.

Recently, a Japanese female expat who has been living in America for years introduced our sister site to the top 10 items that she likes to stock up on when she visits Japan:

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Dhalsim’s “Yoga Rap” isn’t rap, but it is impossible to get out of your head 【Video】

As one of the original Street Fighter II characters, it’s hard not to feel a spot of nostalgic fondness for Dhalsim. Thanks to him I’ve been practicing yoga every day in the hopes that I might one day be able to kick people in the face from 10 yards away. I think that comes on the brink of enlightenment, however, as I still have to get pretty close to people to do any serious damage.

But now my meditation just got a lot easier with the release of the “Yoga Rap” on YouTube. It’s a quick song, but not when you play it on a continuous loop as I have thanks to its infectious chants of “yoga fire” and “yoga flame” over and over and over again.

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“Gangnam Style” to be immortalized with enormous “horsey hands” statue

“Gangnam Style”, the absolute mega-hit of 2012, came pretty much out of nowhere. The song was popular not only in its home country of South Korea, but all over the world, going on to become the most watched video on YouTube ever. Psy, the artist of this masterpiece, traveled all over the world to show the gathering masses his weird, but very iconic “horsey” dance.

And now, to immortalize this historic achievement, South Korea’s Gangnam district is proposing a grand addition: a gigantic monument positioned in the horsey hands pose.

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TV program featuring hot men visiting hot springs to release DVD and photobook this month

Alright ladies, so you’ve spent all day at the office, or out running errands, or cleaning up house and cooking for everyone and taking care of the kids, or maybe even all of the above. Now you want to reward yourself, unwind, and relax in front of the TV or with a good book. Why not let this group of good-looking fellows help you recuperate?

After all, that was the thought behind the creation of the TV show Men’s Onsen, and what could be more rewarding than watching this handsome bunch, clad in nothing but towels, taking a dip in one of Japan’s many hot springs?

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Attack on Titan and Monster Hunter team up so you can take down colossal-sized monsters

Do you like Monster Hunter? Do you like Attack on Titan? Does the idea of combining the two… excite you?

Well then we have good news! Video game behemoth Capcom is teaming up with the creators of Attack on Titan to release a collaboration Monster Hunter smartphone event. Ready to take down some colossal, steaming, monster-titans? Then read on for more!

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500 Type Eva Cafe releases exclusive lineup of Evangelion-themed meals, sweets and drinks

November 7 means two things to Evangelion fans in Japan: the awesome Eva-themed bullet train makes its highly-anticipated inaugural run from Osaka to Fukuoka on the Sanyō Shinkansen line; and the eagerly awaited 500 Type Eva Café opens its doors to customers at JR Hakata Station for the very first time.

To add to all the excitement, Japan Rail West has just released the very first images of the café’s exclusive original menu. From specially marked toast to Eva sweets and an Angel curry, this themed collection of edible goods is the perfect way to celebrate the official launch of the Shinkansen Evangelion Project!

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Tokyo’s host club photo studio will have you looking like the coolest Kabukicho club king

Believe it or not, our crack Japanese-language reporter, Mr. Sato, has been struggling with his self-image recently. In recognition of all his hard work, we decided to spring for a makeover for the poor guy, and not at a pet grooming salon like we did before.

No, this time, Mr. Sato is getting the full-on host bar treatment, complete with a photo session commemorating his transformation into a guy so hot women would pay money just to sit and drink with him.

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Sea to summit: Expat hikers trek from the Japanese coast to the peak of Mt. Fuji in awesome video

Tell someone you climbed Mt. Fuji, and they’ll ask “Where did you start from?”, because there are paved roads that can drop as much as half-way up the mountain. Of course some say you haven’t climbed Fuji unless you started from its base, but even that wasn’t enough of a challenge for these three foreign outdoorsmen, who decided to start their hike from miles away from Fuji at the seashore, then journey from Japan’s lowest point to its highest, making this awesome video along the way.

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We bunk up in “bookstore hotel” Book and Bed Tokyo on opening night

Ever since we heard about the opening of a bookstore-themed hotel with sleeping quarters built into its wooden bookshelves, we’ve been keeping a close eye out for updates, and were actually lucky enough to snap up a reservation to stay at the hotel on opening night!

After emerging from the beautiful space this morning, we can happily say it’s one of the most atmospheric places to stay in Tokyo. Actually, we wouldn’t mind shacking up here permanently! Come with us as we take you through all the gorgeous features and unusual details after the break.

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Love Live!’s popularity continues to soar, anime appears in Qatar Airways in-flight entertainment

Following their conquest of Japan, the high school idols of hit anime Love Live! have their eyes set on the rest of the world, with an international release for their first theatrical feature. But even that might not be a big enough stage for the animated vocalists. They’re now on their way to taking over the skies as well, since you can now watch Love Live! anime on selected flights on, of all carriers, Qatar Airways.

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Through the eyes of a child — Five-year-old girl takes her mother to see local “Martian”

Looking up into the vastness of space, it’s only natural for one to wonder if we’re really all alone here. There are reports of contact with alien life all the time, sometimes even with photographic material to support them. Some of them are undoubtedly hokey, but others make you pause and wonder…

Like this photo, of a martian living on a lone street in a Japanese neighborhood. A young five-year-old had seen the martian many times before she took her mother along to see. The mother then snapped a photo of the encounter and posted it on Twitter for the world to see…

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Nations-as-pretty-boys anime Hetalia’s live-action cast appears in costume 【Photos】

Next month, Hetalia, the anime and manga franchise featuring anthropomorphized nations and a hefty amount of homoerotic subtext, is getting its very own live-action musical adaptation, and the play’s producers have just released the first photos of the cast in costume as their respective nations.

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Adorable prairie dog traffic jam wins the hearts of Japanese Twitter users

Depending on where you grew up, prairie dogs might be nothing more than hated, pesky varmints you just wish would go away. But in Japan, they are adorable little creatures deserving all your squeals of “kawaiiiii” — especially when they end up in a traffic jam!

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First, possibly most ironic, underwater ruins discovered in Japan’s largest lake

On 4 November, Ei Nakayama of The University of Shiga Prefecture made a historic announcement that eight man-made pillars had been found standing upright at the bottom of Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture.

Despite the country’s long history and relatively changeable landscape due to seismic and volcanic activity, this is actually the first time ruins have ever been found underwater in Japan.

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Sync! Illumination lets you watch Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade from home on multiple phones

Tokyo Disneyland is a popular destination at any time of the year, but when the holiday season approaches, the theme park swells with visitors keen to get in on the festive spirit.

One of the highlights of the season is the “Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade Dream Lights”, where a number of well-known Disney characters appear on large floats dressed up in spectacular light displays. Accompanied by music, the scene is also accompanied by huge crowds, eager to receive a wave from the likes of Mickey, Snow White or even Woody from Toy Story.

Now there’s a fun way to avoid the crowds and enjoy the illuminated parade from the comfort of your own home. It’s called the “Sync! Illumination” and it lets you link up with your friends’ cellphone screens to create an awesome interactive show. 

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Shanghai Disneyland to feature Chinese elements and the largest castle ever, opens spring 2016

Disney’s very first amusement park in mainland China, Shanghai Disneyland, is slated to open its doors in spring 2016. With the Chinese government’s recent decision to end its controversial one-child policy and allow citizens to have up to two children per family without facing fines, the world’s most populated country is bound to be teeming with more people than ever in the years to come.

Disney chairman and CEO Robert “Bob” Iger has expressed delight over the government’s change on the one-child ruling, and has revealed some of the company’s plans to incorporate China’s rich culture into the magic of Shanghai Disneyland and satisfy Chinese visitors of all generations.

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Old-school vending machine on Japan’s Sado Island sells bags of rare and local fruit

One of the many things we love about Japan is its impressive variety of vending machines. We’ve seen everything from orange juice that looks like soy sauce to cans of hot, clam-packed miso soup make its way to the hands of customers through the wonders of mechanised distribution.

Recently, we stumbled on a machine we’d never seen before, and one that’s unique even by Japanese standards. Meet the persimmon vending box that delights customers on Sado Island with a rare variety of fruit that’s only grown locally, away from mainland Japan.

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