Ace Attorney localizer explains alternate-universe Los Angeles

While the Ace Attorney games take place in an urban Japanese city, for the European and North American games, they take place in Los Angeles. Although the games have gotten their fair share of ribbing for this decision, game localizer Janet Hsu posted a blog entry about some of the decisions behind this change, as well as the alternate-universe version of Los Angeles that makes this possible.

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It’s Pikachu! No, it’s Jibanyan! No… what IS that?

Rumored to be the new wave to take over the long-running multimedia kid’s series Pokémon, Youkai Watch and its various colorful characters can be seen all over the streets in Japan. Just as how Pokémon posters and merchandise used to be visible almost everywhere, the streets and shelves are now occupied by Jibanyan and his fellow youkai counterparts from the hit series Youkai Watch.

Pokémon has yet to back out from the race though, as loyal fans who loved the series since they were kids continue to shower their love (and money) on Pikachu and his hundreds of mystical friends. What are fans to do? Cling on to the old, or embrace the new? Check out the ingenious solution Twitter user @umeko_kj8 came up with after the break!

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Kyoto restaurant only sells one dish, features mannequins and gets rave reviews!

In a country filled with countless ramen, udon and sushi restaurants, it can be very difficult to choose. Which one is the most delicious? The most interesting? How do you find the restaurant where you can understand everything on the menu?

If you’re in Kyoto, look no further than Issen Yoshoku, the restaurant that covers all those bases, plus, you never have to dine alone!

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Chinese bus stop alleviates the boredom of waiting by threatening to crush everyone under it

China has become one of the world’s fastest growing car markets. On a macroeconomic scale, this is due largely to demand rising as Chinese consumers enjoy greater prosperity, coupled with more and more automakers putting an effort into building and selling their products in China.

On a microeconomic scale, though, we think at least a few car sales in the city of Foshan are from people who lost their nerve about using public transportation after spending too long waiting at a bus stop that has a demolished building going down around, and even on top of, it.

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Gorgeous animated video shows Hatsune Miku as designed by Final Fantasy’s Tetsuya Nomura

Given the massive success he’s since enjoyed as a video game character designer and director, it’s almost hard to remember how skeptical everyone initially was about Square Enix’s Tetsuya Nomura. When he stepped up to the plate as character designer for Final Fantasy VII, long-time fans were uneasy about his ability to fill the boots of predecessor and renowned artist Yoshitaka Amano. When Nomura announced Kingdom Hearts, a new series that would blend characters from Final Fantasy games and Disney animation, early reactions ranged from puzzled silence to nervous laughter.

Fast-forward 15 years, and Nomura has established himself as the single most influential person behind those two Square Enix franchises. As a matter of fact, his skills are now in so much demand that he’s produced his take on virtual idol Hatsune Miku, which was recently shown off in gorgeous animated form.

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Fantastically bright, green meteor in Japan caught in amazing videos

The evening of Nov. 3 had a big surprise for people in Japan: A big, bright meteor streaked across the sky, giving locals an absolutely stunning light show.

You can see the green and orange light of the meteor as it falls toward Earth. These colors are likely due to the presence of magnesium and sodium in the meteor itself that produce green and orange light, respectively, when subjected to extreme heat.

The celestial event took place over western Japan and was reported within a couple of hours of a series of US meteor sightings across the East coast.

In Japan, cameras at the Fukuoka airport caught this amazing footage:

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This “full-body bear babywear” is just toooo cute not to share!!

Okay, we know baby clothes are supposed to be adorable; that’s simply the nature of their existence. But just take a look at this item we found on online shop Baby Goose. Now, it has got to be near illegal for a piece of clothing to look that cute! And you know us — when we find something this adorable, we absolutely have to share it with you, our precious readers, in the spirit of spreading the joy of kawaii around the world. And boy, I would definitely be ordering one of these in an instant if I had a baby of my own … !

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Ginji the hamster tends miniature bar, serves tiny sushi, makes everyone smile from his cuteness

Growing up, I, like a lot of kids, bugged my parents for a dog. They, like a lot of parents, rightly realized I envisioned myself spending more time playing fetch with it than scooping up its poo, and suggested a much more low-maintenance pet instead.

Eventually, we settled on a hamster, since at the very least the house would stay clean if it was kept in a cage. And while Hamlet (of course we named him Hamlet) never complained about his metal wireframe home, I can’t help but look at these pictures of fellow hamster Ginji and think how much cuter it would have been to make a miniature bar and Japanese-style living room for him.

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Netizens enraged by elementary school’s “No Technology Challenge”

If you didn’t do one of these three things today, you can stop reading this article immediately:

1) Woke up and immediately looked at your phone.
2) Checked Facebook while eating a meal.
3) Played Candy Crush on your smartphone while on the toilet. (Or was that just me?)

Still with us? Okay, well this just shows that a lot of technology is seeping into every momentary pause in our day, which many educators aren’t exactly happy about. One elementary school in Japan decided to do something about it, implementing a “No Technology Challenge,” which asked students and their families to strive to completely eliminate the use of technology in their homes. Netizens were not pleased.

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Manga training kit has pro artist demonstrations and feedback session, all for under 50 bucks

A quick look through the shelves of a bookstore or the inventory of online retailers will turn up tons of guides for how to draw manga. When still getting the hang of the basics of dynamic drawing, a book is the ideal way for many people to learn, since it spares them the embarrassment of having anyone else see their painfully produced yet still subpar early work.

Still, there’s only so much you can learn from on you own through reading and independent practice. That’s why toymaker Takara Tomy is releasing a kit that includes not just the tools of the trade, but demonstrations by a published manga artist and feedback from professional instructors.

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Funasshi’s unofficial mascot Satosshi celebrates Halloween 2014 in his own special way!【Photos】

The inimitable Mr. Sato is such a big fan of Funasshi, the unofficial jiggly pear mascot of Funabashi City, that he even created his own mascot-to-the-mascot, Satosshi. This Halloween, Satosshi decided to head down to the famous Shibuya crossing to make friends with fellow costume-wearing Tokyoites.

Might there be other, kindred spirit Funasshi fans there? Will Satosshi be busted as an unofficial impersonator? Could Mr. Sato’s journalistic efforts be thwarted by a sudden attack of deadline confusion? And worse still, what if no one recognises him? Join us after the jump for a photo report from Satosshi’s big night out.

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Volunteers clean up Tokyo after huge Halloween party, get called hypocrites for their service

This year, Tokyo’s Shibuya neighborhood made a major push to establish itself as the place to celebrate Halloween in Japan’s capital. Things got off to a pretty low-key but still impressively creative start with a costume contest on one of the local train lines, but that was nothing compared to how jumping Shibuya was on the night of October 31.

Unfortunately, when you funnel that many people into one place, some of them are going to exhibit some pretty poor manners, as evidenced by the mounds of litter some revelers left behind. In response, volunteers sprang into action cleaning up the trash, but instead of a pat on the back for their hard work, some Twitter users decided to take them to task for what they felt was a shameless play for attention.

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Japanese cats commandeer space heaters, owners left shivering from cold and cuteness 【Photos】

Japan gets pretty chilly during the winter, but houses and apartments aren’t designed with centralized heating systems. Since mounting an array of full-blown AC/heater units throughout your home is a pretty expensive endeavor, a lot of people instead opt to use space heaters to warm up a patch of their living room.

The downside to creating this tiny oasis of warmth, though, is that it can be hard to force yourself to leave it. This phenomena isn’t limited to humans, either, as shown by these Japanese cats lounging luxuriously in front of their owner’s space heaters.

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Pretty Indonesian sisters share everything including good looks and sweet style 【Photos】

Sisters Elle and Jess Yamada from Indonesia do everything together, and that includes making a name for themselves on the fashion blogosphere. The lovely ladies are in their early twenties and have a combined total of nearly 250,000 Instagram followers, write for their popular blog on their website, and run a clothing line called Gowigasa. They’re also apparently really awesome at hulahooping, and won their high school’s hula hoop competition.

But we know what you really want is to get a good look at these two beauties, so read on to find a selection of photos after the cut.

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Gunma-chan is named the champion of the 2014 mascot character contest

Have you ever wondered how Kumamon suddenly burst into the spotlight back in 2011? It was the result of his victory in the national mascot character contest, the Yuru-kyara Grand Prix. The contest has been held every year since 2010 and Kumamon was the first major winner in 2011.

Voting for the annual contest runs from August to October every year and people are eligible to vote for their favorite character (usually the one representing their town or prefecture) once a day for the duration of the contest. Well, the results for the 2014 contest are finally in, and it looks like a certain entrant took the win by a nose.

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Mannequin prankster returns for more Halloween fun on the streets of Osaka

Last year, we introduced you to the Mannequin Guy, a 2m tall (6,6″) American dude living in Japan who took to the streets on Halloween 2013 to give passersby a scarily good laugh. Well, we’re happy to report that Mannequin Guy returned again this Halloween, and there’s even a video compilation of all the best bits of his routine!

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Japanese Amazon reviewer tells us why Alien vs Avatar is awesome and Dark Knight sucks

Aside from the fact that they still exist in large numbers, one of the interesting things about video stores in Japan is the range of titles they offer in the new release section. Perusing them, you might find future Oscar candidate or big budget Marvel production sharing the exact same shelf space as the latest made-for-cable offering that would make Sharknado look like Fellini.

However, sometimes films get a little too close to their apparent sources of inspiration which can lead to confusion among Japanese people. One such movie the misleadingly titled Alien vs Avatar. It’s a film title that has led netizens to question “Hey, aren’t they both aliens?” While universally panned by all who have seen it, one online reviewer in Japan thought it was particularly great… copyright issues aside.

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Don’t have enough time to see Japan? You do now, with this amazing time-lapse video

With so much to see and do in Japan, it’s easy to forget that sometimes one of the most rewarding things to do is to take a few moments and do nothing at all. Whether you’re looking at people moving about some of the most bustling cities on the planet, witnessing the burst of light and color as the sun goes down and the neon lights come on, or watching as the fog rolls over a sacred mountain, Japan never lacks for amazing ambiance to soak up.

But with so many flavors of atmosphere to enjoy, it can be hard to find the time for all of them, especially if you’re tied up with work or trying to visit as many destinations as you can on a whirlwind tour. If you’ve got a few minutes to spare, though, this awesome time-lapse video of sights across Japan will show you all those cool things we talked about and more.

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No offense, Russia, but some of your food-art can be pretty terrible

Okay, so first off, I just want to start by saying I promise to avoid any “In Mother Russia, xxxx eat you!” jokes in this article, as tempting (and as easy) as it may be to do so.

But, that said: come on, Russia! You’re jockeying with China for worst food-art fails of all time here. While Japan has been busy cranking out new and innovative ways to create beautiful and sometimes seemingly impossible food-art masterpieces, other regions are definitely falling behind with, at best hilarious fails and, at worst, nightmare-inducing food abominations.

Let’s take a look at a few food-art fails from Russia:

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How does Britain’s Wagamama Ramen stand up to Japanese taste buds? A culinary investigation

If you’ve ever tried pizza in Japan or even miso soup in America, you probably know not to expect the same quality as in that food’s homeland. That’s perfectly understandable if you ask me; sometimes food is adapted to appeal to local palates, and things that a dish’s original creators may insist on can be considered unappetising or downright odd in its new home.

But then you have countries where even the native cuisine is known throughout the world, whether it’s a fair statement to make or not, as being kind of unappetizing. In such a country, would seeking out non-native dishes be an especially good idea?

When he found himself craving Japanese food after months of living in the UK, RocketNews24 Japan’s writer Gold Hijikata decided to take himself out to well-known British chain restaurant Wagamama, which he heard specializes in Japanese favorite ramen. With over 100 locations across the UK, our man Gold had high hopes for Wagamama’s noodles, but he also knew that it would be hard to come close to his own country’s efforts.

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