Japanese UFO catchers give the best prizes – if you’re talented or lucky enough to grab them. (Personally, I think it’s all about luck because after many hours and probably hundreds of yen down the drain, I’m still not any better at winning.) But the euphoria of a win is usually quickly forgotten, and you’re left with one more piece of tat to cram into your room. So what about if UFO catchers actually dished out useful goodies? Wouldn’t that be a real win-win situation?!
- Casey Baseel
As the world’s biggest video game and anime merchandise district, it’s easy for enthusiasts to lose track of time in Tokyo’s Akihabara neighborhood. For hard-core fans, an initial plan to pop into the ground floor of one of its multi-level shopping complexes, just for a second in order to check out the newest releases, can easily metamorphose into a two-hour survey of all the goodies the store has in stock.
Still, there are some things that shouldn’t take very long, even for the biggest anime nut or gaming enthusiast. So when one man heard the call of nature then spent 30 fruitless minutes waiting for even one person to come out of the three stalls in the public restroom he’d entered, he became suspicious, and with good cause, since it turns out the three individuals holed up in there were doing more than clearing out their digestive tracks.
- KK Miller
Cheating and adultery are one of the leading causes of divorces and break-ups. No one wants to be cheated on, and for those who do the cheating, the thrill of sneaking around and trying not to get caught is sure to spur some adulterers on. However, at what point is what you are doing considered cheating? For most people, sex is certainly cheating, and kissing someone other than your partner is crossing the line. But is having dinner with someone cheating? Is having lunch? Is spending significant time with someone cheating?
An Osaka judge has drawn a new line in the sand for what is considered adultery in Japan, with one woman suing not her husband but his “mistress”, despite the fact that there was no intercourse involved.
With the string of holidays known as Golden Week coming up in early May, all of Japan is looking forward to a couple of days off to spend with friends and family. Whether you’re visiting a friend’s apartment or going back to your hometown for a couple of days, Japanese manners dictate that you should bring a gift, with food being the most popular choice.
If you’re stumped for what kind of food to bring, here’s an easy way to play the percentages. Almost everyone likes cake, and almost everyone in Japan likes Disney characters, so odds are this set of Disney cakes will make just about everyone happy.
- Casey Baseel
The earliest weapon associated with the samurai was the longbow, and many were also proficient with polearms. Neither is what first springs to mind for most people when they think of Japan’s warrior class, though. To many, the image of two opposing samurai grasping their swords, ready to duel, is by far the more iconic image.
But while the bow is technically the most traditional, the polearm arguably the most practical, and the katana certainly the most dramatic, none of these are anywhere near as funny as the depiction in this centuries-old scroll of samurai battling each other with their farts.
The official website for the Pokémon XY television series announced on Monday that the previously scheduled episode for Thursday, April 24, “Kaitei no Shiro! Kuzumō to Doramidoro!!” (Castle at the Bottom of the Ocean! Skrelp and Dragalge!!), has been delayed indefinitely “due to circumstances.”
A pig farmer in Japan is warming hearts around the world, thanks to a photo collection that documents his life with some 1,200 pigs. Whether he’s tending to the little piglets, sleeping with the sows, or serenading them all with tunes on his guitar, this is a farmer who loves spending time in the pen surrounded by his animals.
- Casey Baseel
My wife, who’s always interested in learning more about foreign culture (no doubt in an effort to better understand her insufferably baffling husband), recently asked me how Easter is celebrated in America. “We usually hunt for Easter eggs and eat chocolate rabbits,” I told her, which quickly presented us with two problems. First, our apartment isn’t nearly large enough for a proper Easter egg hunt, and while you can get special Easter donuts in Japan, bunny-shaped candies are surprisingly nonexistent.
Stumped as to how to spend the holiday, my wife offered a suggestion. “Why don’t we go to the rabbit café?”
- Philip Kendall
Close your eyes and throw a stick in pretty much any Tokyo neighbourhood, and there’s a good chance that you’ll hit someone riding a bicycle. With roughly 72 million bikes on the streets of Japan, they’re an essential part of daily life for many, especially in urban areas where space for motor vehicle parking is both limited and expensive.
Last weekend, though, we stumbled upon a fleet of sparkling new bicycles that couldn’t be more different to the typical mamachari shopping bikes that everyone from junior high schoolers to worryingly wobbly grandmothers pedal around town. Sleek, compact, and with”Suicle” stamped on their crossbars, these lime-green lightweights are available for anyone with a prepaid IC bus or rail card and a half-decent sense of balance to rent.
Eager to know if the ride, and the process of renting and returning, was as smooth as a nearby sign purported it to be, we took a couple of the mini bikes out for a spin.
- Angelina Lucienne
2 days ago
2014 marks 25 years as a band for the pillows. They are celebrating with a song entitled “Happy Birthday,” and also by announcing a cover and dance contest. For those with the misfortune of not knowing who the pillows are, they are a Japanese rock band whose style has changed over the last 25 years from pop to jazz experimentation to alternative rock.
Many of the band’s fans outside of Japan became acquainted with them through the six-episode animated series, FLCL, for which the pillows provided the music. The caffeinated, crunchy soundtrack is the perfect complement to the nonsensical but purely fun plot that includes a robot that emerges from a boy’s head wound, the spirit of a powerful pirate king and the sexy maniac who hunts him down riding a Vespa with an electric bass as a weapon.
2 days ago
As a two-party democracy, the United States can be a fickle place for marketers. Republicans and Democrats are so different ideologically that certain words and phrases on your product label or in your ad campaign are practically guaranteed to alienate half of the market; or, if you’re especially unlucky, all of it. Take the word “immigrant,” for example – it’s a loaded word that will make Republicans shun your product believing that it advocates rights for immigrants (Remember, this is the same party whose leaders sometimes suggest in all seriousness building a moat – complete with cartoonish man-eating alligators – around the US to keep illegals out), while Democrats might see the word “immigrant” on a product and suspect some type of labor exploitation going on.
Luckily, Americans – and Japanese – of all stripes are united in their love of beer, so Chiba, Japan’s Loco Beer brewery’s rendition of an old American beer recipe, originally brewed by German immigrants, gets a pass from American expats and Japanese consumers alike on the unfortunate naming of its new Immigrant Pilsner craft beer.
Windows Phone is still a distant third to Apple and Android in the smartphone market, but Microsoft is hoping to change that with the introduction of Windows Phone 8.1— and more importantly its personal digital assistant Cortana.
Microsoft claims that Cortana isn’t like your average virtual assistant. She’s supposed to be a little wittier, more personable, and capable of learning more about you than Siri or Google Now.
After using Cortana for a week and speaking with Microsoft’s Marcus Ash, Partner Group program manager, it’s clear that the company’s got a lot riding on the success of its new virtual assistant.
- Oona McGee
2 days ago
Ever since Mt Fuji earned World Heritage status in 2013, designers and artists have been marking the occasion with a flurry of creative merchandise featuring the famous landmark. The latest product to hit shelves shows the celebrations are continuing well into 2014, this time with moulded ice mountains that sit perfectly in your favourite drink! The attention to detail is particularly impressive, with the concentrated tip of ice perfectly resembling the famous snow-covered peak of Mt Fuji.
We take a look at the unique mould that makes them and see why this is one of Japan’s latest must-have souvenirs.
Twenty-year-old Ayaka Sawada has a lot going for her. To begin with, she’s currently a junior in the Faculty of Education at the University of Tokyo (Todai for short), the most prestigious university in Japan. Secondly, she is the newly appointed weather forecaster on NTV’s Sunday morning program Shuichi. Thirdly, she’s drop-dead gorgeous, and was even crowned “Miss Todai 2013″! Is there anything this girl can’t do?
It’s also safe to cross art off that list, because it turns out that Ayaka’s also talented at drawing. Her profile lists drawing as one of her special skills, but we were still impressed by the following adorable sketches made by her!
Do you love burgers and enormous, skinless giants? How about sexy studs Eren and Levi from the super popular Attack on Titan? If you answered yes to any–or all–of those questions, then you better get to your nearest Lotteria this Friday, because supplies for the limited-edition mini-towel and plastic file are…uh…limited!
Also, we’d really like a milkshake while you’re there.
- Master Blaster
2 days ago
There are a number of active bands in Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF), but at the top of them is the Central Band. In existence longer the GSDF itself, they are the go-to band in situations where it’s unacceptable to screw up, such as welcoming foreign dignitaries and ceremonies of the highest order.
Then there’s “Senbonzakura”. This song was produced by WhiteFlame (aka Kurousa-P) and utilizes the artificial vocal talents of vocaloid Hatsune Miku. After its upload to video hosting site Niconico Douga in 2011, it became a modern classic of the vocaloid genre spawning several remixes and covers online and in karaoke rooms.
So what happens when the rigid discipline and tradition of the GSDF Central Band meets the wild pop of Senbonzakura? Let’s take a listen!
- Preston Phro
2 days ago
While cosmetic surgery is the certainly one of the most dramatic ways to change your physical appearance, not everyone is willing to spend the money–or lose the flesh–for a new look. And if you happen to be a bit indecisive, going under the knife probably isn’t a very good idea. Fortunately, there’s always that ancient magic that humanity has used for millennia: make-up!
There’s no doubting the power of make-up–it’s one of the oldest human institutions and widely used in nearly every known society. And even today, it still manages to maintain a slight allure of mystery–there’s something almost scandalous about seeing someone “without their face on.” Which makes finding this huge compendium of before and after photos all the more fascinating!
One of the benefits of living in a modern society is letting other people worry about building all the stuff we use–like cars or blenders or cell phones. After all, do you really know what’s going on inside an internal combustion engine or how your juicer works? Well, okay, actually, you might know, but even so, it’s fair to say that the average person probably doesn’t have a very clear idea of how all their appliances–kitchen or otherwise–were actually put together.
And there’s nothing wrong with that! That’s the whole point of living in a society–DIYers and insane survivalists aside–specialization is what lets us have so much cool stuff. But sometimes our ignorance can lead to certain, um, embarrassing situations, as one Japanese Twitter user recently learned.
Alibaba, the enormous Chinese e-commerce company, is about to file for an IPO in the U.S.
The two most popular Alibaba websites — Taobao and Tmall — are Chinese marketplaces and rather inaccessible if you don’t know the language, but there’s also Alibaba.com, an English site for sales between importers and exporters in more than 240 countries.
Alibaba.com has been known to sell different types of well-disguised counterfeit goods. Not only that, but a lot of the stuff on the site is just straight up bizarre or oddly labeled (we found quite a few normal products that for some reason had the phrase “hot” or “girl” tacked onto them).
We dug around Alibaba.com, and here are some of the gems we found:
- Joan Coello
2 days ago
Japan is one of the safest countries in the world, so it is no surprise to hear that the majority of the Japanese population are law-abiding citizens. How law-abiding are the Japanese? We could pull up some statistics and numbers for you, but we believe that you internet-savvy Rocketeers are more than capable of finding such information online. Here’s a little incident that may be slightly unusual, but just goes to show how serious some Japanese are when it comes to keeping the law.
A driver in Oita Prefecture surrendered herself to the police because she beat the yellow (or amber, if you live in the UK) light at a traffic junction. It wasn’t even a red light. More details after the break!
- Local thugs forced to fight pro Muay Thai fighters as punishment during Thai New Year festival1
- We hope you’re not thirsty — Tokyo shuts down its vending machines for U.S. president’s visit2
- Stunning 22-year-old HD footage brings Tokyo of the ‘90s back to life3
- Two months is a lifetime: Cancer-stricken 22-year-old gets married in the hospital4
- The baffling reason three men spent 30 minutes in an Akihabara restroom together5
- Tear-jerker: Brain tumor patient’s “final wish” is to find her husband a new girlfriend6
- Japanese people surprised to find that “popular Japanese store” Meiso doesn’t exist in Japan7
- Classic Japanese painting “Picture Scroll of a Fart Battle” is exactly what it sounds like8
- Tokyo custom hamburger steak restaurant is all about choices, and all of them are delicious9
- Those freaky Hello Kitty contact lenses are back, and this time she brought friends!10
- Local thugs forced to fight pro Muay Thai fighters as punishment during Thai New Year festival1
- The extreme lengths Samsung must go to make sure your Galaxy phone works perfectly2
- 12 gender-bent Disney and Ghibli characters that are utter perfection3
- 10 Japanese expressions that sound delightfully strange and funny when translated4
- Photos of women with and without make-up show that reality is what you make it5
- 10 things Japan gets horribly wrong6
- Cat greets its returning owner with so much warmth we’d swear it was puppy love7
- Japanese high school student becomes Twitter sensation showing difference between time with boyfriend and friends8
- The baffling reason three men spent 30 minutes in an Akihabara restroom together9
- Lady Gaga goes gaga for Hatsune Miku, makes virtual idol her opening act10
- Chinese Photoshop Trolls and the Half-Blood Prisoner of the Deathly Phoenix Goblet (Part 6)1
- Unfortunate Google employee forced to wander alone on eerie abandoned island for Street View photos2
- Daughter of Osamu Tezuka, God of Manga, discovers his stash of hand-drawn sexy mouse artwork3
- 【TBT】China’s Photoshop experts will fix your bad photos, but be careful what you wish for4
- The extreme lengths Samsung must go to make sure your Galaxy phone works perfectly5
- 10 incredible tiny houses in Japan: a photo tour6
- Little store managers take over FamilyMart in Taiwan, hilarity and tons of cute in store【Video】7
- Local thugs forced to fight pro Muay Thai fighters as punishment during Thai New Year festival8
- 10 things Japan gets horribly wrong9
- Japanese netizens put reality on hold for a moment, fall in love with new attorney general of Crimea10
- Korean high schools allow “anything goes” yearbook photos, with hilarious results1
- Taiwan’s Gravity Max – Quite possibly the scariest roller coaster in the world2
- Don’t call them fat, call them Marshmallow Girls!3
- Japanese netizens put reality on hold for a moment, fall in love with new attorney general of Crimea4
- Beautiful gym babe impresses Chinese netizens with her incredible fitness!【Pics & GIFs】5
- Picture perfect siblings of 18 years apart melt the hearts of Chinese netizens【Photos】6
- Attack on Titan’s studio head talks sequels, keys to the hit anime’s success7
- Unfortunate Google employee forced to wander alone on eerie abandoned island for Street View photos8
- Chinese Photoshop Trolls and the Half-Blood Prisoner of the Deathly Phoenix Goblet (Part 6)9
- Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki says the anime industry’s problem is that it’s full of anime fans10
- Tear-jerker: Brain tumor patient’s “final wish” is to find her husband a new girlfriend
- Japanese people surprised to find that “popular Japanese store” Meiso doesn’t exist in Japan
- Classic Japanese painting “Picture Scroll of a Fart Battle” is exactly what it sounds like
- Tokyo custom hamburger steak restaurant is all about choices, and all of them are delicious
- Those freaky Hello Kitty contact lenses are back, and this time she brought friends!
- REVIEW: Sony’s new tablet is thinner and lighter than the iPad Air, and Android fans will love it
- Enjoy the ambiance of Okinawa’s aptly named Cave Cafe (plus “chest hair of the ancients”!)
- Raw fish, fermented soy beans, and Chinese food: Japan’s 7 weirdest parfaits
- If real animals were Pokémon, the world would be a much weirder place
- 10 Japanese expressions that sound delightfully strange and funny when translated
- Okinawa restaurant’s amazing shaved ice belongs in a (sufficiently air-conditioned) museum
- Kim Jong-un’s haircut takes over the world