Tried-and-tested ways to learn Japanese while having fun!

Everyone has their own studying methods, but no matter which one you choose, learning a language boils down to mastering four things; reading, writing, listening and speaking. I know people who study so hard they literally memorize words out of a dictionary. There are also the people who think that the best way to pick up a language is to live in the native country and speak the lingo as much as possible.

I believe in practicing over studying. And by “practicing”, I mostly mean “surfing the internet”. If you’re currently struggling with learning the Japanese language, or if you hate studying but would like to improve your Japanese, read on!

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Were Japanese soccer fans ‘wrong’ to clean up after themselves at the World Cup?

There are a number of one-word phrases in the Japanese language that, try as you might, just can’t be summed up anywhere near as succinctly in English. ‘Atarimae‘ is one of them. Used to describe a situation, behaviour or feeling that is entirely natural and obvious to all concerned, the phrase has been used with tremendous frequency this week by Japanese reacting to news that people the world over were applauding their country’s football fans for cleaning up their section of the stadium after their World Cup game last weekend. “Why wouldn’t you clean up after yourself?” people asked. “It’s atarimae.”

An article published earlier today on Japan’s WirelessWire News, however, suggests that although in Japan it is considered proper to tidy up after oneself, by doing so at the World Cup stadium these fans may in fact be putting Brazilian staff out of a job, prompting netizens to debate whether they ought to follow suit and leave their trash behind or do what comes naturally to them.

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Special exhibits on Studio Ghibli’s art and architecture coming soon to two Tokyo museums

For any serious anime fan making a trip to Tokyo, a visit to the Ghibli Museum should be at the top of their list. Not only is the design of the building bursting with subtle references to the works of esteemed director Hayao Miyazaki and his compatriots, the on-site theater also screens Ghibli shorts you can’t see anywhere else, such as the heart-warming follow-up to My Neighbor Totoro.

This summer, though, two more Tokyo museums are getting in on the act with special exhibits focusing on the architecture of Studio Ghibli plus artwork for the animation house’s newest film.

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Gamers rejoice! 500XP towards laziness level with hands-free snacking device【Video】

Gamers know that gaming is serious business. Whether you are fragging your enemies in Halo or Call of Duty, working on your pro-rated 150 APM in Starcraft II, or slaying internet beasts in World of Warcraft, gamers know that their hands will be occupied. Ultimate pwnage requires a gamer’s full attention but a simple truth of life is, everyone needs to eat and drink!

Plenty of companies already know this. A ton of products are aimed directly at that lucrative gamer demographic, including gamer snacks and gamer energy drinks. The point that everyone seems to miss is that eating and drinking requires your hands, which is a precious commodity for the serious gamer! Beer hats and straws already work wonders for drinks, but what about hands-free food? Some industrious gamers have been working on a solution, and they have a hilarious prototype they want to show off!

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Why do I look normal in my home mirror, but hideous when I catch my reflection in a window?

Have you ever had that experience where you’ve left the house in a good mood, convinced that you look great, until you catch a glimpse of yourself in a shop window or a reflective surface and then your whole day is ruined? You were sure when you left the house that morning that your makeup was done to perfection, and you looked healthy and vibrant, but now it’s like you’re looking at a different person, someone who’s about ten years older and hasn’t slept for a week.

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Robot fools real birds – and us – in flight【Photos & Video】

Flight has long captivated humanity–we’ve built flying contraptions for centuries for a reason. While ornithopters–flying devices that use flapping bird-like wings–certainly seem like a good idea, they rarely seem to work out as well as fixed wing aircraft. However, that hasn’t stopped us from trying to get closer and closer to the flight of birds, inspiring numerous individuals and companies alike.

In fact, robots that mimic bird flight are already commercially available, but one Japanese man decided to take it upon himself to try building his own at home. Basing it off of Festo’s SmartBird, the remote-controlled robot flaps, glides, and banks almost like a real bird. The robot bird even proved life-like enough to actually attract the attention of four actual black kites midair! Check out the birds–robotic and organic–dancing through the sky below!

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American boxer/pornstar/yakuza enforcer caught terrorizing office worker【TomoNews Video】

A Tokyo office worker says former champion boxer Christian Eugenio-Gomez threatened him, saying “pay up or cut off your finger.” More details after the break!

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American newscaster can’t stop laughing at crazy Japanese mascot

Japan has more than its fair share of ridiculous mascots, ranging from the absurdly muscled pot sticker, Chaozu-kun, to the snarky Yoshida-kun representing the country’s least popular prefecture.

But of all the crazy characters, our most favorite mascot to ever represent Japan has got to be Funnashi, the jiggly yellow pear. Just one look at his rotund head and undulating belly, coupled with his somewhat creepy high-pitched voice, and you’ve got something so hilariously bizarre, even a professional newscaster for CNN couldn’t keep it together on live TV.

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Millennia of martial arts wisdom distilled in one video: 100 Ways to Attack the Groin

YouTube has really established itself as an invaluable resource for the information age. Through a simple search you can learn how to play the solos from Freebird, tie a windsor knot, get infinite 1-ups in Super Mario, and so much more.

Of course there are plenty of clips that teach us how to fight as well. But even with the convenience of streaming videos, learning a martial art takes patience and training. Actually it did until now. A new video by Ameri-Do-Te Master Ken has consolidated everything you need to know to win a fight in one video: 100 Ways to Attack the Groin.

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Want your cooking to taste like world-famous chef Nobu’s? Here’s the seasoning you need

One of the few Japanese restaurateurs to gain international fame and popularity is Nobuyuki Matsuhisa. Better known by his professional moniker Nobu, the Saitama-born chef began his culinary career in Tokyo, before leaving Japan to open restaurants in Peru, Argentina, and the U.S.

Being so far away from the birthplace of Japanese cuisine, though, meant Nobu had to come up with new recipes and flavors that would suit the palates of his non-Japanese clientele. This often meant finding roles for locally available ingredients, but in one case, Nobu took things a step further by developing one of his own: miso powder.

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When giant blueberry monsters attack: Ao Oni meets Attack on Titan【Video】

So-called MAD movies are Japanese fan-made videos spliced together from clips from anime and video games. Posted on sites like YouTube and Niconico Douga, they are similar – although not identical – to YouTube poops, in that they see fans mashup footage and distorted sound to make beautiful, and bizarre videos. Truly, the internet is a wonderful place.

Today we bring you a MAD movie that throws together a Japanese pop culture David and Goliath in the form of puzzle-horror game Ao Oni (“Blue Demon”), and anime and manga publishing sensation Attack on Titan. Join us after the jump for some surreal animated mashup fun!

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Rainy season blues, go away! Bring us summer (and beer) right away!

The rainy season has cometh! Spring was but a brief reprieve from the stinging cold of winter, and now Japan cowers beneath its umbrellas trying to escape the rain, knowing all too well that the humidity, however, cannot be escaped from.

It seems like the best way to chase away these rainy season blues is with a nice crisp beer, and RocketNews24 has a found a great place where you can do just that. It’s really close to our main offices in Tokyo, so sit back and plan your next happy hour, at Vector Beer!

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Chinese flight attendants wear team Brazil jerseys and mini-skirts to celebrate World Cup

Team Japan’s female fans have already shown us how to wear the mighty Samurai Blue jersey the cutest way, but if online reaction is anything to go by, these Chinese flight attendants get a hat trick in style. Their special World Cup in-flight service has been pleasing passengers and netizens alike.

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First new Japanese Apple Store opened in eight years, Apple fans celebrate best way they know how

On 13 June, the Omotesando Apple Store opened in Tokyo. It was a rare occasion, being the first of its kind to open in Japan since the Sapporo Apple store in 2006. Although no new product was released, an estimated 1,000 Apple fans came out to show their support in true Apple fashion by making a huge line.

We sent our local Apple line-up correspondent Mr. Sato to report from the frontline.

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Lingo mambo! Spanish YouTuber teaches us 14 Taiwanese pet phrases【Video】

One of the best things about living overseas is the opportunity to learn the local lingo. By learning to communicate with the locals, it’s easier to get by day-to-day, and you’ll be able to unravel much more about the country’s culture. A Spanish YouTuber living in Taiwan shared a list of must-know pet phrases that he picked up by observing the locals. If you’re learning the Chinese language, starting a new phase in life in Taiwan, or even just imagining taking a trip to the lovely country, hit the “read more” button!

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Hugging, “borrowing” Wi-Fi and 8 other things that can get you arrested in Singapore

Singapore may have a reputation for being an extremely safe and clean country, but there is a good reason for that—very strict laws. The infamous gum ban is just one of the many rules in Singapore designed to keep the city-state tidy and well-behaved. So if you are planning a trip to Singapore (besides perfecting your race-walking skills) you might want to check out some other local laws that are surprisingly stricter compared to other developed countries. Click below to read about 10 laws in Singapore that you should probably follow unless you plan on taking an up close and personal tour of a Singapore jail!

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Another sensible purchase: Replica Mega Man arm cannon can be yours for just $80!

“Eat solar bullets, evil robots!”

You’re never too old for awesome toys, and the folks over at ThinkGeek are working on your next nerdy purchase as we speak: a perfect replica of platform shooter hero Mega Man’s arm cannon. Guaranteed to make you feel temporarily invincible, frighten your cat and annoy your partner!

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The Marathon Monks of Mt. Hiei: Better than Olympic Athletes? 【Part I】

Mt. Hiei, which straddles Kyoto and Shiga prefectures, is home to a huge temple complex called Enryakuji. The foothills of Mt. Hiei border Kyoto City’s northeast. This group of Buddhist temples is home to an eclectic group of Tendai-shu monks, dubbed the “marathon monks” for their amazing physical feats. Not all Enryakuji monks take part, mind you, as one must get special permission to engage in what is called one of the most rigorous athletic and spiritual challenges on the planet.

During the sennichi kaihogyo, or Thousand Day Challenge, the monks venerate Fudo-myo-o, the god at the center of worship in the Tendai sect. Over a seven-year training period, the monk, called a gyoja, makes a pilgrimage to over 250 sites on Mt. Hiei, one of the top three sacred spots in Japan. At the end of the challenge, he will have walked far enough to have circled the globe once. As if this were not enough to please their god, he also takes part in a fast for nine days in which he can not eat, drink or sleep. So arduous is the sennichi kaihogyo that just over 5o monks have accomplished the challenge since records started being kept back in 1585. Indeed, many monks have died en route to this ultimate quest for enlightenment.

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7-year-old turns cash into “art”, parents decidedly unamused

How did you first learn about the value of money as a child? Did you save up your allowance in a piggy bank until there was enough to buy a cool new toy? Or how about taking care of the neighbor’s cat for a small reward?

Or maybe you were never actually taught how to spend your cash wisely, and to this day keep a tall stack of credit card bills around in case you need to blow your nose.

Speaking of money going down the drain, that’s pretty much what one Japanese 7-year-old was found guilty of the other day. He was given a 1,000-yen note, worth roughly US$9.80, and told to “use it however you want.” While most other kids would have jumped for joy and rushed to the nearest toy store, this kid had a much more…creative idea.

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Cheerful, cherubic cat chillin’ on a chair 【Video】

When my nephew was still a baby, I clearly remember the whole family gathering to watch as he rolled over for the first time. It was an exciting moment, and we were all impressed by his accomplishment.

On the other hand, I can’t remember the last time anyone gave me a round of applause for rolling over, even if I’ve had so much beer that my motor skills have regressed to infant-level. The fact is that whether an action is compelling to watch has as much to do with the natural charisma of the performer as it does with what they’re doing.

For example, most of us couldn’t entertain a group of strangers by just sitting in a chair, but that’s only because we aren’t this incredibly cute, eminently relaxed cat.

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