Patlabor AV-98 Ingram anime mecha arrives in Niigata, residents welcome their giant robo-cop

For anyone who lives in Niigata or is planning on heading there in the next couple of days, please be sure to obey all the laws and regulations of the prefecture. It’s not that they have odd rules that are going to catch you off guard, it’s the fact that there is a gigantic, police labor robot, or Patlabor, that has arrived in the prefecture. Its appearance has caused a bit of a commotion and the robot is, potentially, fully prepared to take out any criminals while it’s stationed there.

Oh, and if you think you might be able to commit some sort of crime out of sight of a robotic police presence, the human officers have a very speedy patrol car in the area as well.

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Anime voice actress arrested for suspected cocaine possession, has name scrubbed from series cast

When it comes to celebrities and drug-use, Japan doesn’t have the same forgiving attitude that many other societies do. Last year, for example, when pop singer Aska was arrested on drug charges, the Studio Ghibli-animated video for the vocalist’s song “On Your Mark” was removed from an upcoming boxed set of Hayao Miyazaki animation.

Now there’s been another intersection of anime, music, and illegal narcotics, as idol singer and voice actress Ai Takabe has been arrested for drug possession, and the anime she most recently performed in has been pulled from online streaming as producers scrub her name from the cast.

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Group of exercisers in China are loving it on all fours, doctor approves (Video)

In any park in China you’re bound to see people exercising, whether it’s by jogging, dancing, tai chi, or downing unmanned aircraft. But just when you think you’ve seen it all, a whole new way of working out gets born. The basic philosophy is “Why walk on only two legs, when you have two perfectly good arms as well?”

And so, recreational crawling was born. At the moment it seems to be practiced mainly by a small band of people in Henan Province, but numbers are growing. It’s also said to have health benefits beyond that of regular bipedal walking.

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LoCoS: The universal language we’ll be using by 2065, according to legendary Japanese designer

Yukio Ota is a legendary graphic designer in Japan. As the creator of the green “running man” pictogram that features on the nation’s emergency exit signs which have since spread to Europe, Canada and the Asia-Pacific, Ota is a frontrunner when it comes to developing images that convey a thousand words.

Now the designer of the exit sign is making headlines for his long-term project that aims to have the world using a universal language by 2065. Called the Lovers’ Communication System, or LoCoS, the standardised system based on pictographs has the power to overcome language barriers and revolutionise the world of communication as we know it.

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Gift-giving made easy! The most popular omiyage bought in Japan, station by station

Believe it or not, train stations are one of the best places to buy gifts in Japan. Train station omiyage (gifts brought back from your travels) are usually edible, representative of the local culture, and are well-received by everyone from colleagues at work to friends or neighbors.

Whereas in the west we tend to keep a person’s personality and their likes in mind when buying a gift, thankfully in Japan, it’s much easier—just buy what’s most popular! In convenient Japan, you’ll find most of the decisions already made for you, so all you have to do is decide how many pre-giftwrapped boxes you want of each item, and you’ll soon be on your way. You can even wait until you’re on the train to buy them from the vendor pushing their cart up and down the aisles on the Shinkansen.

While initially the array of train station omiyage may seem baffling (hundreds of choices!), in this article we whittle it down to the most popular picks; the things that anyone would love to receive. We’ll start in Hokkaido up in the north and move down the archipelago station by station, highlighting the most popular gifts sold at each bullet train station. At the end, we also offer some suggestions on what to purchase if you’re looking for souvenirs from Japan to take abroad.

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Heroic bus driver prevents roadside suicide on bridge in China 【Video】

Self-driving cars are getting closer and closer to becoming a reality, While there will always be those who prefer the freedom of driving themselves, the technology seems like it could have some serious advantages for public transportation. In the case of a bus, for instance, it doesn’t seem like it would be too hard to program the vehicle’s software to travel along a fixed route and stop at the predetermined bus stops to pick up and drop off passengers.

But while self-driving buses may one day become safer and more efficient than human operated ones, they’re a lot less likely to heroically prevent roadside suicides, as this bus driver in China just did.

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Nintendo’s 8-bit Famicom getting first new cartridge in 21 years with chiptune album 【Video】

As we head towards the end of the year, video game publishers are pulling out their big guns. But what if the modern gaming world leaves you feeling cold? Maybe you’re burned out on multiplayer first-person shooters, and open-world game sandboxes hold as much appeal to you as the pet poop-concealing one in your neighborhood park.

In that case, you’ll be happy to know that this December, Nintendo’s 8-bit Famicom, the Japanese version of the NES, is getting its first commercial cartridge release in more than two decades.

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Umbrella decides it’s had enough of the rain, flies off handle【Video】

We’ve all experienced this frustrating situation–it’s a rainy day, and as if to add insult to injury, your umbrella suddenly decides to break in what has to be an act of sheer defiance against you.

Net users sympathized with the following clip posted by one such unlucky soul. It certainly looks like the umbrella is doing nothing but mocking him, since it only decides to open after flying clean off the handle!

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Spooky wasanbon sugar skulls will make your Halloween coffee creepier

It’s almost Halloween, and even here in Japan, where the holiday is still but a shadow of the American take on the creep fest, an avalanche of orange and black gewgaws and processed sugar confections is pouring off retail shelves.

But if you’re looking for Halloween sweets with a little more culture and class, check out the awesome skulls made from wasanbon, a premium fine-grain sugar from Shikoku!

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UN urges Japan to ban sexual images of children in manga, Japanese netizens tell UN to shut up

On 26 October, Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, wrapped up a week-long visit to Japan with a press conference at the Japan National Press Club.

During her hour-long speech, De Boer-Buquicchio implored the Japanese government to tighten its relatively lax restrictions on child pornography in which photographs of sexually dressed children and illustrations of children in sexual contexts are still considered legal.

Many other countries would take “legal child porn” to be a serious gap in their law books and promptly get right to work on tougher child porn restrictions. But online comments in Japan have taken the less popular route and rebutted that “the UN should shut-up and mind its own business.”

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Man flips out on train after being confronted for his rude behavior【Video】

Public transportation can be a cheap and convenient way to get around, but sometimes that means having to occasionally deal with rude strangers. For minor offenses, usually the best thing to do is ignore the situation and hope you’re not stuck with their unpleasant company your whole commute, but what happens when their behavior is so atrocious you and those around you can’t help but speak up?

In the best-case scenario, voicing your objection might urge them to re-think their actions, but for some, like this rowdy passenger captured on video in Shanghai, China, it may only serve to fuel their disorderly conduct.

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The little-known inspiration for Princess Mononoke: A manga about a tribe in Papua New Guinea

It’s no secret that Hayao Miyazaki and his team of animators find inspiration for Studio Ghibli’s movies all over the place. Ponyo’s setting was inspired by a harbor town in Japan, Spirited Away’s world was based on a location in Taiwan, and Princess Mononoke’s forest came from Japan’s Yakushima Island.

But it was recently brought to light that a lot of inspiration for Ghibli’s movies came from a more innocuous place: a manga. The title is Mudmen, named after the Asaro Mudmen of Papua New Guinea, where the manga takes place.

Who are these “mudmen” and where do their inspirations crop up in Ghibli films? Read on to find out!

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Brilliant Art Aquarium takes over Nijo Castle in Kyoto for a spellbinding nocturnal event

Kyoto is, of course, one of Japan’s most loved and visited sightseeing destinations, so it doesn’t really need any extra help drawing crowds. But that doesn’t mean something a little extra-special would hurt anything! This year marks the 400th anniversary of Rimpa, a traditional school of Japanese painting that came from a community of craftsmen founded in 1615. In honor of the anniversary, the Rimpa 400 Year Celebration Festival is being held in Kyoto, and one of the events is the Art Aquarium, making an appearance in Nijo Castle!

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Say Hello (Kitty) to my little friend — Sanrio’s famous mascot as a custom assault rifle

Although most online first-person shooters these days allow players to customize their avatar to an extent, with only limited options it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd on the battlefield. You might spot someone with the occasional paid-DLC hat or weapon, but nothing we’ve seen comes anywhere close to the awesomeness of this Hello Kitty-inspired assault rifle.

But just who exactly is the genius behind this masterpiece? You might be surprised to find out they have closer connections to the gaming industry than you might have first expected.

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The Legend of Zelda’s three spiritual stones appear in new line of engagement rings from Takayas

Takayas Custom Jewelry is no slouch when it comes to pleasing their fans, with intricate details in each and every ring they design. In fact, it wasn’t that long ago that we showed you their out-of-this-galaxy Star Wars rings whose beautiful designs meant that there was no need for any hooded strangers to wave their hands in front of us and tell us that we wanted them.

They’ve now released a set of three rings based on the critically acclaimed video game The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, taking design cues from the three Spiritual Stones that play such an important role in the game’s story.

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Samurai Studio is open and we were the first in line!【Photos】

When we wrote about Samurai Studio earlier this month, we have to admit we were more than a little excited to head down and try it out ourselves. Hey, who doesn’t occasionally (or constantly) wish they could run around dressed in Japanese armor with a couple of swords strapped to their side?

Samurai Studio opened for its 10-day limited run today, and we were literally the first in line! In case you’re on the fence about going or just want to see what the process is like, you’ll want to check out our full report, complete with lots and lots of photos.

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Thinking about moving to Nara? Here are eight things that may surprise you!

Moving to Japan from another country can be a bit of a culture shock. Some handle the transition without any problems, and others can find it initially overwhelming. But it’s easy to forget that Japan isn’t one giant monolith, and the various prefectures can be wildly different—so much so that moving to a new prefecture can bring plenty of surprises even for those born and raised in Japan!

A great example is one of our own RocketNew24 Japan writers, Masami, who shares some of the things that surprised her after moving to Nara. Here are nine that may resonate with you!

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100-yen water guns get super cool makeovers, make awesome costume accessories 【Photos】

Halloween is less than a week away! Do all of you have your costumes ready?

If you’re still looking to add a nifty additional touch, then you can do as these handy DIY-ers on Twitter did and turn inexpensive, 100-yen (US$0.84) water guns into clever, steampunk-ish accessories. All it takes is some paint and a little creativity!

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Adorable animal earrings: The perfect accessory for any nature lover!

Do you have ears? Do you wish they were a heck of a lot cuter? If so, we have the perfect product for you: Relax Cling Earrings! Featuring hedgehogs, chicks, and soaring birds, these animal-themed earrings are sure to please any pierced animal lover looking to make their earbuds twice as adorable!

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Troll levels still abound in Mario Maker, Nintendo releases another sassy pigeon comic to help

In an effort to help alleviate the massive amount of horrible levels that have made it into the Super Mario Maker universe, Nintendo tasked its pigeon friend/Mario Maker extraordinaire Yamamura-san to show us how to correctly create a level. In the first comic, Yamamura-san literally poo-pooed all over novice-creator Mashiko’s level, and then gave her some homework to help her become a better builder.

But the first comic did little to alleviate the amount of terrible levels online, so Nintendo Japan has put out a sequel comic to try and clean up the mess. This time around, Yamamura-san checks on Mashiko’s homework and continues to offer sage level-building advice.

Does he give her level a star? Or is it an insta-skip? Read on to find out!

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