New online manga service features 200 titles, three selectable languages, and no fees

New online manga service features 200 titles, three selectable languages, and no fees

Kadokawa, one of Japan’s largest publishers, is almost ready to roll out its new online manga service, dubbed Comic Walker. There’s so much to like about it that we’re having trouble picking our favorite part.

The voracious media consumer in us is attracted to the large library of titles, some of which can’t be read anywhere else. The ability to instantly translate dialogue into English or Chinese is a plus, too, especially for those time when you’re not up to the challenge of leafing through your Japanese dictionary so you can read the kanji for “particle beam cannon.”

But perhaps best of all is that Kadokawa’s digital manga service is absolutely free.

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Sorry Japan, this Yoshi-themed 3DS XL is just for North America and Europe

Sorry Japan, this Yoshi-themed 3DS XL is just for North America and Europe

Gamers outside of Japan were not doubt disappointed to learn that past limited editions of Nintendo’s popular 3DS portable console were not for sale outside of the company’s homeland, and are likely still sad that they missed out on the Mint White and Pikachu Yellow models that Japanese gamers snapped up in the blink of an eye. But we’re happy to report that for once it’s Japanese gamers who will be turning as green with envy as this Yoshi-emblazoned 3DS XL, as it is heading to North America and Europe only this month alongside the colourful new platformer Yoshi’s New Island.

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Struggling to prep the perfect rice for sushi? We have the answer!

Struggling to prep the perfect rice for sushi? We have the answer!

When it comes to making sushi, you obviously need some good fish, unless you’re happy with kappamaki and cucumber, we suppose. But there’s one other ingredient that you’re not going to want to forget: Rice!

If you prefer to stick with rolls, getting the rice just right isn’t quite so important, but when it comes to nigiri-zushi, or hand-pressed sushi, it’s essential. Since there’s no seaweed there to hold everything together, it’s easy for your tasty dish to literally fall apart on your plate. If you’re looking for some good chopstick practice, you could try picking up the individual rice one by one, but for the rest of us, there’s a new tool on the market to help perfect your rice shaping: The “Hayawaza! Nigirizushi Tongu”!

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Testing English “loan words” on people who don’t speak Japanese (Spoiler: they don’t make sense)

Testing English “loan words” on people who don’t speak Japanese (Spoiler: they don’t make sense)

YouTuber and full-time Japan fan Sharla is back this week with a brand new video. After bringing us exploding condom ice cream and giving us a peek inside one of Japan’s typical love hotels, she’s currently back in her native Canada and just for kicks decided to try out a few English loan words that appear in the Japanese language on her non-Japanese-speaking friend.

As we’re about to see, despite the majority of these words originally coming from English, once pumped through the Japanese lexicon and read back to a native English speaker they make almost zero sense. The full, laugh-out-loud video after the jump.

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Donguri Kyowakoku, the store with nothing but Studio Ghibli anime items

Donguri Kyowakoku, the store with nothing but Studio Ghibli anime items

Shopping for anime merchandise isn’t always as easy as you’d think in Japan. While any toy store will be stocked with goodies from currently airing, elementary schooler-targeted TV series such as Pokémon or Precure, what if your tastes run towards more sophisticated fare, like the animated classics of Studio Ghibli?

If you’re looking for stuffed animals or accessories inspired by the films of legendary anime director Hayao Miyazaki and his cohorts, you can’t go wrong with a trip to Donguri Kyowakoku, a whole chain of stores that sells nothing but Ghibli items.

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Volkswagen celebrates Girls’ Day with Beetle sushi

Volkswagen celebrates Girls’ Day with Beetle sushi

Leave it to Japan to make a bowl of rice absolutely adorable. The Volkswagen Japan official Facebook page has recently been the topic of conversation on the net thanks to the publication of a bowl of chirashi-zushi, or “scattered sushi”, with the image of a VW Beetle. However, that’s not the only edible auto to show up on the site.

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Nature photographer in Hokkaido captures beautiful sun pillar 【Video】

Nature photographer in Hokkaido captures beautiful sun pillar 【Video】

This winter brought record snowfalls to the Tokyo area, causing residents to alternatively let their creative sides run wild and panic-horde groceries.

Meanwhile, residents of Japan’s northernmost island, Hokkaido, sat back and chuckled at the weather-based hijinks of their urban cousins in the capital. After all, this sort of thing is no big deal in Japan’s coldest prefecture. It takes something really special to make people in Hokkaido stop and take notice of the snow. Something like an angelically beautiful pillar of light.

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New frozen snacks promise to make you come out smelling like a rose

New frozen snacks promise to make you come out smelling like a rose

A few weeks ago, Häagen-Dazs began treating Japan to a special edition Rose flavored ice cream. While it was pretty delicious overall, many people felt it tasted too similar to a bathroom air freshener.

This came as a surprise to people from countries more accustomed to rose flavored treats as well as Kracie. This confectionary company had been selling rose flavored candies and rose water mix for years. So, starting 3 March they are releasing their own Fuwarinka Ice which not only tastes like a rose but also empowers your body with its lovely aroma.

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Chocolate covered shrimp chips are back in Japan!

Chocolate covered shrimp chips are back in Japan!

We’ve seen our fair share of interesting and often downright weird snacks in Japan, from Mountain Dew poofs that actually fizz in your mouth to chocolatey dried squid. Now we’ve got one more for you: Chocolate covered shrimp chips. If you wrinkled your nose at the thought of crunchy shrimp snacks, you’ll double over at the sight of these sweet and savory snacks that smell of the sea.

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Rock band Good Morning America performs new Dragon Ball Kai ending

Rock band Good Morning America performs new Dragon Ball Kai ending

Japanese rock band Good Morning America (no relation to the American television show of the same name) is contributing their song “Haikei, Zarathustra” (Dear Zarathustra) as the new ending theme of the anime series Dragon Ball Kai.

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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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