Compared to most other action anime, the cast of Attack on Titan has a pretty low-survival rate. This could be because their opponents are remorseless man-eating giants, but is another key factor that fact that the Survey Corps’ uniforms are poorly suited for the duties the heroes perform? Sure, those cloaks look dramatically stylish, but they’re also bulky and movement-limiting, so maybe it’s about time Eren and his pals changed into some official Attack on Titan exercise wear from Adidas.
Many fans choose to wear T-shirts plastered with pictures of their favorite anime or video game characters, therein letting them broadcast their love for the fictional figures to everyone they pass by. Of course, if want to get that message of devotion to even more people, you can always turn your car into an itasha, a vehicle covered with anime stickers.
But even a coupe or sedan only gives you so much sheet metal to work with. That’s why one fan decided he needed an even bigger canvas, and created an itasha like we’ve never seen before: an ita-flatbed truck with some gigantic artwork of his 2-D muses.
Last month, we took a look at how in Japan many children are expected to commute to school without their parents’ help starting in elementary school. That’s not the only amazing display of responsibility that’s part of everyday life for Japanese kids, though.
Not only do Japanese schools not have school busses, they also don’t have food-serving or cleaning staff. That means it’s the students themselves who’re responsible for distributing school lunches and keeping the building clean, and the diligence with which they go about their tasks would put many full-blown adults to shame, as shown in this video of all the things Japanese grade schoolers are expected to do during a typical school day in addition to studying.
Walking through Japan can be a truly uplifting experience. You see so much more by walking through places, especially sacred places. It’s different from walking to them, seeing, and then leaving. Another bonus is (unless you’re climbing Mount Fuji), there are no crowds since, in our modern world, it just doesn’t occur to most people to see things on foot. As we learned previously, quite a few of Japan’s World Heritage Sites are on hiking trails, and the World Heritage Sites of the Kii Peninsula are also located conveniently along ancient pilgrimage routes of the past.
The Kumano Kodo (actually a network of trails) has been traveled by Japanese worshipers for over 1,000 years. By following the route, you not only get to see ancient Japan, but you’ll encounter nature worship everywhere you turn. You’ll feel more like you’re experiencing ancient Japan, rather than just looking at it from the outside.
Come with us now as we hike our way along the Nakahechi route, the well-groomed, often cobble-stoned path that connects a string of quaint little towns where you can book into comfortable ryokans serving gourmet food and offering hot spring baths to soothe your tired muscles. This is glamping—Japanese style!
Hayao Miyazaki and Mamoru Oshii are two of the most successful and influential anime directors in the history of the medium, but their films couldn’t be more different in tone and appearance. The soft-edged natural environments of Miyazaki’s anime are bathed in a nostalgic glow, while Oshii’s animation, such as Ghost in the Shell and The Sky Crawlers, is filled with shadowy ruinscapes and turns its sharpest focus inwards to the human mind and consciousness.
Miyazaki and Oshii are such fundamentally different people that they even communicate with their production teams in completely opposite styles. But that’s not to say that one can’t find things to admire in the works of the other, as Oshii has shared his favorite film and even scene in a Miyazaki anime.
Following in the footsteps of Kobayashi City in Miyazaki Prefecture, Gifu Prefecture’s Seki City has recently released its own quirky PR video. This ad, however, focuses on the city’s contribution to daily life with an important product that the city is famous for rather than emphasizing any local accent. Judging by the bizarre scene in the photo above, can you guess what Seki City is famous for producing? Here’s a hint: This video is shear madness!
Every season brings with it a different set of delicious food offerings, and no country seems to take advantage of that fact more than Japan, where supermarkets aisles are always adorned with special seasonal displays in order to entice shoppers and capitalize on the time of year. For those of us who live in areas where you can buy pretty much any food item at any time, you might find the idea of seasonal products to be a bit strange, but restaurants all over Japan take advantage of the seasons to lure in customers.
This fall, KFC in Japan is trying something a little bit different. If the idea of fried Hokkaido salmon has you salivating, you might want to head down to KFC to see what the Colonel has to offer.
While dogs have no trouble emptying their bladders and bowels on busy streets in broad daylight, proudly locking eyes with you as they let rip right there on the pavement, members of the feline world are much more reserved when it comes to answering the call of nature. Even in the comfort of their own homes, kitties need their own space to do their business; no self-respecting cat would want the eyes of their human on them while they’re trying to go.
So it’s no wonder this clever new idea is getting a lot of attention in Japan. It’s the cat onsen, which houses your pet’s kitty litter box and comes complete with a cute spa-style noren curtain to provide some much needed privacy. Once your cat finishes using the kitty litter “sand bath” inside, they’ll emerge looking as fresh as a daisy!
For many of our readers, the “culture festivals” held at high schools and colleges will already be familiar thanks to their prevalence in anime and TV dramas produced in Japan. Even if you’ve never been to Japan yourself, you probably already know that the classes turn their rooms into fun little shops, offering food and entertainment for their families, friends, alumni fellow students and teachers.
While most of them aren’t particularly elaborate, every now and then, a class with will show up with a project that goes above and beyond. This year, one of those projects exploded online, capturing the attention of thousands of Twitter users. The idea? The students made their own “tea cup” ride! It’s just like what you’d see at Disneyland, but entirely mechanical and way, way more awesome!
If you hail from one of the many developed nations that comprehensively frowns on the practice of whaling, you may have the image that an appalling number of people in Japan eat whale meat. And while that may be true in relative terms compared to extremely low number of people who regularly eat whale meat in several parts of North America and Europe, whaling can be a divisive topic even within Japan. Some Japanese have no problem with dining on whale from time to time, treating it like just a meatier, gamier fish. Others think eating whale is a custom that’s long past its time and needs to be rethought.
To get a preliminary understanding of some of the many different opinions on the issue that exist in the country, we interviewed a number of Japanese people and asked them whether they were in favor of or opposed to whaling and eating whale meat.
When one of Japan’s most controversial directors teams up with one of its sexiest actors to make a film about the manga world’s most cursed samurai, the ripples of excitement that usually surround a live-action movie announcement turn into a veritable tidal wave.
The upcoming film adaptation of Hiroaki Samura’s manga Blade of the Immortal is set to be one of the most anticipated films of 2017. Until then, fans of the original manga series will have to wait to see what lies in store when 42-year-old boy band member and heart-throb actor Kimutaku takes on the role of a masterless samurai living in an immortal body.
The Harajuku/Omotesando district in Tokyo is already a mecca of sweet shops from around the world, but things in the area just got even sweeter this past weekend as another internationally loved bakery opened its very first shop in Japan. Yes, we’re delighted that London’s celebrated LOLA’S cupcakes now has a shop in Tokyo, and as you may have guessed, we weren’t about to miss out on trying the sweet creations from one of London’s best-loved baking outlets, so there we were on opening day.
We already knew from the pictures that their cupcakes look simply amazing; now we couldn’t wait to try some for ourselves, and there were even going to be four original Japanese flavors too — Yum!
One of the few good things about mornings is the coffee. There’s nothing quite like a jolt of caffeine after rolling out of bed! It’s hard to improve on the formula of coffee, but Chat Noir may have found the perfect ingredient: Cat figures!
Now, for a limited time only, the company is offering adorable cat figures to customers who buy three drinks, so be sure to stop by Caffe Veloce or any of the company’s other cafes for your morning cup of joe and earn yourself one of these awesome black kitties!
Japanese fans of the Sword Art Online light novel series know all about the importance of attending the seasonal Dengeki Bunko festivals in Tokyo. This is the main stage on which Japanese publisher ASCII Media Works and its Dengeki Bunko imprint make all their big announcements regarding the series, and it was no different at the Dengeki Bunko Autumn Festival held in Akihabara on Sunday, where it was revealed that Sword Art Online will be made into a new anime movie, with an all-new storyline from its creator Reki Kawahara.
Starbucks never ceases to delight us with their tempting seasonal creations, and here in Japan they’ve done it again this autumn with two new beverages that they released on October 1, the “Fruit Crush & Tea” and “Fruit Crush & Cream Frappuccino“. Both are fruit infused tea-based drinks that should be prefectly relaxing as the weather gets cooler heading into fall. Naturally, we had to try these, and we sent one of our Japanese reporters to a Starbucks the day the drinks were released!
Japanese history can be a lot of fun to explore, from the Sengoku era to the modernization of Japan in the Meiji Period. We’re sure everyone has their own favorite time period, but one that doesn’t always get the respect it deserves is the Heian Period. Lasting roughly from 794 to 1185, the period was a relatively peaceful time in Japan that saw a blossoming of culture in everything from literature to music.
Unfortunately, we can’t just hop on a plane and go back in time to see everything for ourselves. But there is a hotel in Shikoku where you can experience a bit of the Heian life for yourself complete with period costumes, games, and architecture! So whether you’re a history buff or just need a major change of scenery, you’ll want to check out Gosho Yashiro no Mori!
High school girls. In all seriousness, are they aliens??
Japanese Twitter users delight in sharing the perplexing, nonsensical, contradictory, or downright outrageous behaviors that they observe high school girls engaging in around the country. Below, we’ve gathered together a sampling of some such anecdotes for your reading pleasure. What strange escapades are the girls up to now?
The world of intimate apparel has taken an animated turn recently, with online fashion retailer SuperGroupies creating bra and panty sets inspired by the female pilots’ plugsuits from Neon Genesis Evangelion and popular lingerie and women’s apparel brand Peach John releasing Sailor Moon lingerie.
Now Peach John is coming out with its own Eva-inspired line of roomwear and intimates, featuring matching bras and panties with gorgeous Evangelion details, a nightie and even a Pen Pen onesie to lounge about the house in.
Unless you’re striving to become one of the big guys yourself, you may not have much connection to the world of professional sumo. As an ancient sport with plenty of ritual elements, the wrestlers, known as rikishi in Japanese, have a highly regimented training lifestyle. With all those rules, it’s certainly easy to overlook the comedic side of sumo.
Wait, there’s a comedic side to sumo?
It’s been recently announced that AKB Group, the idol conglomerate responsible for AKB48, NMB48, SKE48, HKT48, NGT48, JKT48, and SNH48, will be adding another serial number to the roster in the form of MNL48, which is planned to operate out of Manila in the Philippines.
This new group will be formed through a project by the publicly funded Cool Japan initiative which, contrary to what Gackt may think, appears to be doing something tangible with all their funding after all. In fact, this is especially tangible as yet another source of revenue for Yasushi Akimoto, the head of AKB Group who also just happens to be the chairman of the Cool Japan Council.