The good, the bad and the ugly: Japanese kids rate their own country【Survey】

The good, the bad and the ugly: Japanese kids rate their own country【Survey】

Last year, Japan was thrust into the international spotlight after Tokyo won the 2020 Olympics and traditional Japanese cuisine was named an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO (only the second national cuisine after France’s own!). With all of this increased attention on the global stage, one Japanese corporation was curious to know what thoughts Japanese children harbored about their own country. Keep reading to find which things about their country Japanese kids liked and disliked the most.

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The simple beauty of winter life in Japan

The simple beauty of winter life in Japan

In Japan, while most of us foreigners are complaining about the bitter cold, Japanese farmers and fishermen across the nation are putting that dry, frigid air to good use. Although a somewhat rare sight in large cities, in rural areas, it’s not uncommon to witness strange bodies of floating tentacles or long curtains of noodles swaying in the winter breeze.

“Cold wind drying” is a traditional method of food preservation that is still practiced today. This simple, economical way to prevent fresh foods from spoiling also gives rise to some breathtaking, bizarre and somewhat otherworldly scenes. Let’s take a look at some surprisingly beautiful photos from Japan of fish and vegetables hanging out to dry.

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We fall in (and out) of love with McDonald’s new Diner Double Beef burger

We fall in (and out) of love with McDonald’s new Diner Double Beef burger

On January 7, McDonald’s Japan started rolling out its new American Vintage menu items, with the first batch inspired by the diners of the 1950s. Our recent taste test of the fast food giant’s Classic Fries with Cheese left us less than impressed, what with a cheese sauce that didn’t taste like cheese and their ineffective “bacon flavored topping,” which McDonald’s is at least kind enough to admit isn’t the genuine article.

Still, the Golden Arches managed to lure us back to give its American Vintage menu another shot with a very persuasive offering. Two very persuasive ones, actually, in the form of the two beef patties in its Diner Double Beef burger.

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Roppongi’s Russian doctor treats the rich and poor of Japan’s international community

Roppongi’s Russian doctor treats the rich and poor of Japan’s international community

As Japan’s densest foreign enclave, Tokyo’s Roppongi neighborhood is a study in contrasts. On the one hand, the district is home to some of the country’s finest dining and most luxurious hotels, which attract the well-heeled and powerful from around the globe. At the same time, Roppongi’s backstreets are teeming with run-down bars and strip clubs, several of dubious legality in both their business licenses and working practices.

But while it’s common knowledge that Roppongi is the place to go for either a pricey bottle of Dom Perignon or a budget-friendly lap dance, you might be surprised to find that you can also receive consummate, compassionate medical care at the clinic of Dr. Evgeni Aksenoff, who’s been treating Tokyo’s international residents and guests for over 50 years.

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Japan’s manga cafes allow you to play with cats, enjoy a hot spring bath, and even get a suntan!

Japan’s manga cafes allow you to play with cats, enjoy a hot spring bath, and even get a suntan!

Being a manga addict, Japan’s manga cafes are hands down my favorite hideout in the country. Manga cafes (also known as internet cafes) provide you with personal space, internet connection, a free flow of drinks, and of course, a wide selection of manga to read at very reasonable prices. But with strong competition in the business, it seems the basic functions alone aren’t enough to satisfy customers nowadays.

Check out these manga cafes that have silently evolved with better services and facilities!

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Japan’s unfaithful women share tips on how to cheat without getting caught

Japan’s unfaithful women share tips on how to cheat without getting caught

Here’s a shocking fact: Despite decades of gender stereotypes insisting that men are disgusting pigs that would gladly hump anything without too much back hair even if they’re already in a relationship, recent studies suggest women are cheating about as much as men (presumably also provided there’s not too much back hair).

One reason for the persistent stereotype may be that women are just a bit smarter and better at hiding their affairs than men are. While a cheating man is liable to show up to his SO’s house with a pair of panties on his head, cheating women are apparently much more discreet, a Japanese survey of 50 unfaithful women reveals. The Niconico News survey also offers a few tips for girls who are currently cheating or who may be considering a little love on the side in the future:

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“Family name researcher” discovers the most common full name in Japan

“Family name researcher” discovers the most common full name in Japan

What’s in a name? In Japan, those with a strong understanding of kanji, those pesky Chinese characters that are always tripping up language learners, can immediately understand the significance of anyone’s appellation.

Although the most common surname in Japan is “Sato,” it turns out that there’s a far more popular name combination that doesn’t include our quirkiest reporter‘s last name. Let’s take a look at the most common given and family names in Japan and the meanings behind them.

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Enter the dark world of anime and manga urban legends

Enter the dark world of anime and manga urban legends

Be it movie, TV show, or book, whenever something achieves a certain level of popularity people begin to create their own stories surrounding them and urban legends are born. Japanese media is no different. Rumors spread and before you know it JoJo’s Bizzare Adventure accurately predicted the September 11 terrorist attack in New York.

The following is a collection of urban legends surrounding some of the most famous works in Japanese pop culture. Remember, most of these are not facts, just theories. Otherwise, about 80 percent of our most beloved anime characters are actually dead and just don’t know it yet.

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Too lazy to think up excuses for not getting anything done? This calendar has them for you!

Too lazy to think up excuses for not getting anything done? This calendar has them for you!

I recently took a few days off to visit my hometown in California. In keeping with Japanese norms, I spent most of my time there eating and loafing around my parents’ house (in my defense they have a really nice couch, and the soba noodles my wife makes at New Year’s are amazing).

Reenergized from a week of rest and relaxation, I arrived back in Japan and went to sleep, fully intending to jump out of bed at the crack of dawn and get right to work. But when I woke up around 5:30 a.m., I stopped to reconsider my plan. Given the near-freezing temperature, was crawling out from under my warm blankets really the best choice, health-wise? Shouldn’t I take it easy for a day and make sure I was over my jet-lag? I could always get serious about work the next day, right?

It turns out that not only is New Year’s procrastination common, there’s even a calendar for it, with solid excuses for nothing doing anything printed right there on it.

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Who’s afraid of the big Four-O? Not this Kitty!

Who’s afraid of the big Four-O? Not this Kitty!

About two months ago, we reported to you that 2014 was going to be a special year for Hello Kitty. That’s right, the busiest cat in the world will be hitting the big Four-O on November 1 this year. Lucky for her, she doesn’t have to worry about crow’s-feet or gray hairs — she just seems to become more popular and wiser (some would say more business-savvy) with age.

Now, when we heard that our favorite feline entrepreneur had started off the new year with a 40th anniversary sales event at Tokyo Station, we of course had to go and see what special goodies may be on offer. As it turns out, we weren’t disappointed, as there were plenty of goods to be seen and bought! Read More

【Thursday Throwback】Siri does not understand my English, kicks my confidence in the nuts

【Thursday Throwback】Siri does not understand my English, kicks my confidence in the nuts

The iPhone4S finally arrived in Japan today, and thousands of people lined up outside their local Softbank or AU store, eager to get their hands on the phone when it hit the shelves at 8 am.

The most appealing new function of the iPhone4S for many people is the integrated voice interface, Siri. Apple claims that Siri enables you to easily send messages, check the weather, schedule meetings, and take care of a number of other traditionally text-based tasks just by using your voice.

Though it is currently not compatible with Japanese, the program is still available for use on Japanese iPhones. I made my way to an Apple Store to see if Siri would respond to my heavily-accented English but I had no luck. In fact, my broken attempts to inquire about the weather in English were interpreted so far off that I couldn’t help laughing.

Take a look at my techno-lingual struggle below.

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Huawei’s “TRON” marks China’s first major entry into the games console market

Huawei’s “TRON” marks China’s first major entry into the games console market

Just a day after we brought you news that China had temporarily lifted a 14-year ban that prevented foreign companies such as Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony from selling their consoles in the country, homegrown telecommunications company Huawei has unveiled a brand new games console of its own at the CES 2014 trade show.

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Weirdest collaboration ever? Convenience store + menstruation website = pink bread

Weirdest collaboration ever? Convenience store + menstruation website = pink bread

Japanese marketers love a good crossover product. We recently covered the very strange Mountain Dew-corn chip mashup, a Pizza Hut-Evangelion pairing, and any number of Hello Kitty crosses. But even weirdness-loving Japanese may be put off by news of the latest crossover collaboration between Circle K-Sunkus convenience stores and menstruation-tracking website Luna Luna: a pink steamed bun.

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“Oops, I just ate my phone!”: A compilation of delectable iPhone cases from Japan

“Oops, I just ate my phone!”: A compilation of delectable iPhone cases from Japan

We’ve all the seen the amazing displays of plastic food outside restaurants in Japan. Sometimes they’re so detailed, it’s genuinely difficult to tell whether they’re real or not.

Well, if you’ve always secretly wanted to steal one of those food models to decorate your room, then you’re in luck, because someone had the great idea to turn plastic food into iPhone cases. We wanted to share this awesome compilation of fake food iPhone cases with you that look just good enough to eat.

Warning: no matter how hungry you are, do not attempt to consume these phones.

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Naruto’s fictional apartment valued at $100K

Naruto’s fictional apartment valued at $100K

Real estate brokerage Movoto generally focuses their interests on, you know, real estate, but every now and again, they’ll also post their estimates on fictional properties. Most recently, they turned their interests to Naruto Uzumaki’s apartment in Hidden Leaf Village. Factoring in location, furnishings, size, and market, they came up with $100,000.

Here’s the listing they whipped up:

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Hard work pays off! Chinese couple pay for their son’s PhD by recycling 7,000 bottles a day

Hard work pays off! Chinese couple pay for their son’s PhD by recycling 7,000 bottles a day

Education is important, especially in urban cities today where paper qualifications are often the factor that determines whether you get a job, and how much you get paid for that job. Knowing that education plays a crucial part in their children’s future, many parents work hard and invest a large portion of their savings in their children’s education. Everybody works hard, but some just have it a little harder than the rest.

A couple in Hengyang, China, collect and recycle plastic materials for a living, handling over 180kg of plastics a day in order to see their sons through college. That’s more than 7,000 bottles each day!

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The future of Japanese women’s fashion in two words: Top Gun

The future of Japanese women’s fashion in two words: Top Gun

At the end of last year, Nikkei Trendy published their list of trends to look for in 2014. Among their entries was one particular fashion that’s been steadily gaining momentum in Japan among young women and drawing the attention of the media. It’s called Top Gun Girl (toppugan joshi) and as the name suggests, it’s a highway to the danger zone of being both a little kawaii and a little militaristic.

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A better use for your smartphone than Angry Birds: Remotely driving your car!

A better use for your smartphone than Angry Birds: Remotely driving your car!

It’s only a matter of time until we’re all riding around in self-driving cars, texting our hearts out without having to worry about running anyone over. With all the companies working on the technology, it seems like it’s just a matter of time before you can slip into your automated automobile and say, “Carrie, take me to the bar!”

Unfortunately, “a matter of time” could very well be a few decades for all we know. So maybe we need to limit our dreams a bit. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could, at the very least, get our cars to pick us up outside the mall with an app on our phones? Yeah, that’ll probably never happen.

Or will it??

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Cappucino art that’s out of this world: Twitter cappuccino artist shows off his extraterrestrial skills

Cappucino art that’s out of this world: Twitter cappuccino artist shows off his extraterrestrial skills

We’ve seen some pretty cool latte art over the years, but this might be the most, um, unusual we’ve spotted. It’s not exactly cute, but it certainly is out of this world!

From aliens to bunnies to Ghibli’s Catbus, this guy does it all in 3-D foam sculptures atop cups of coffee!

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Japanese food presentation: Pro tips on making dishes you can devour with your eyes and mouth

Japanese food presentation: Pro tips on making dishes you can devour with your eyes and mouth

Japanese food has been gaining in popularity all over the world, and with the induction of traditional Japanese cooking, or washoku, as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, locals are expecting interest to rise further.

If you’d like to branch out a bit from your usual sushi rolls and try your hand at some washoku recipes, not only taste but also presentation is key. We’ve collected a handful of simple tips from the pros on how to make your Japanese cooking look as good as it tastes.

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