A radical solution to baseball’s All-Star game problem: MLB Vs. Japan

If baseball wants to increase interest in the All-Star Game for both the fans and the players, there is a radical yet simple solution, but it requires Bud Selig to look across the ocean.

MLB All-Stars vs. Japanese League All-Stars.

While the NFL and its players continue to mull the cancellation of their Pro Bowl due to the lack of interest, Major League Baseball has taken the opposite approach and has gone to great lengths in an attempt to return their mid-summer classic to prominence.

In 2006, Selig tried to artificially increase interest by giving the winner home-field advantage in the World Series. It was a solution that was only slightly less arbitrary than the “alternating years” system that served as the previous method.

Importing All-Stars from Japan’s Nippon Professional League would create genuine interest from both fans and the players.

Here’s how it works:

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The tricky game of wits that sometimes lurks behind a Kyoto granny’s compliment

One of the most characteristic parts of communication in Japan is the frequency with which people dish out compliments. Travelers and expats, for example, quickly become accustomed to being praised when displaying even the most basic skills with chopsticks or the local language.

Japanese people don’t just have kind words for foreigners, though, but for each other, too. Modesty and empathy are considered virtues of the highest order, so when someone shows any sort of ability, good manners dictate that you should notice and appreciate whatever small trace of talent can be found, as well as the effort that went into acquiring it while leading what, courtesy says you should assume, is a busy life.

Of course, sometimes these compliments aren’t triggered by the speaker being genuinely impressed, but rather just polite, or in some extreme cases, irritated.

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New onsen facility in the heart of Tokyo’s business district to be ready for Olympics

When you think of an onsen, what springs to mind? Tranquil steaming pools surrounded by misty mountains and bamboo groves? This is probably the the ideal image of a hot springs getaway, but there are actually over 200 onsen facilities to be found amidst the high-rise office blocks and busy roads of central Tokyo. And there’s soon to be one more to enjoy in Otemachi, right in the heart of Tokyo’s business district.

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Watermelon bagels arrive in Japan, then in our bellies【Taste test】

There’s a lot that I love about summer. The additional hours of daylight, awesome fireworks festivals, and the chance to wear a summer kimono are all big plusses in my book.

Still, even I have to admit Japan can get uncomfortably hot at this time of year. A cold beer or cup of sake are both refreshing ways of beating the heat, but there are times when chilled alcohol isn’t an option, such as when I have non-drinking related work to do and/or am already hung-over.

So in order to stay both sober and cool, I eat as much watermelon as I can every summer. And while I don’t think Japanese chain Bagel & Bagel designed their new watermelon bagel just for me, I figured I’m still in the target demographic, and decided to try it out.

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Cool, super-absorbent handkerchief maps keeping Japanese hikers dry and on-course

There are a few things you’ll want to make sure you have before setting out on a long hike. Proper footwear is a must, for example, as is a sufficient supply of water.

Especially if you’re heading into the mountains of Japan during the summer months, a hand towel is something else you’ll definitely want to have with you. The high humidity means you’ll be working up quite a sweat, and having something to wipe yourself off will go a long way towards making your day outdoors more enjoyable.

Of course, even more so than being drenched in sweat, getting lost is an easy way to ruin your day out. Thankfully there’s now a way to prevent both of those problems with a towel that doubles as a map.

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Japan Post upgrades customer service technology, downgrades it soon after

Although offering up high-tech features and services to their customers seems like an obviously good idea, businesses must always be wary of alienating the less technologically inclined. Such is the case with Japan Post (JP) who once had to come up with a low-tech solution to a high-tech problem.

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Woman arrested for slashing two people in Sapporo

SAPPORO — Police in Sapporo said Monday they have arrested a 31-year-old woman for slashing two people at random on the street.

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Experience an entire day at Tokyo Disneyland in just 110 seconds of time-lapse video

Despite having lived in Japan for eight years now, I’ve never actually been to Tokyo Disneyland. I was lucky enough to be taken to Walt Disney World, Florida when I was a kid, but now that I’m older and infinitely more cynical, I don’t think I have the stomach for an entire day of cheery music and giant mice.

One thing people often ask me (after whether McDonald’s is any different here) when they learn that Japan has its own Disneyland, though, is whether the park is anywhere near as good as those in Florida or California. In the past, I’ve only been able to shrug and tell them that “the kids here go nuts over it, so probably,” but now, with this time-lapse video made by the folks at Tokyo Disneyland, I can safely say that it’s pretty much exactly the same.

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Pork skewers, spicy fish cakes, and beer backpacks – We look for baseball grub at Nagoya Dome

Even though she grew up in Nagasaki, when it comes to baseball our Japanese-language correspondent Aya cheers for Nagoya’s Chunichi Dragons. Sure, the Softbank Hawks, who play out of Fukuoka, would be closer to her home town, but ever since Aya’s Dragon-loving friend took her to her first baseball game at Nagoya Dome, she’s been pulling for the serpentine team.

The Dragons have given their fans plenty of memories over the years, with the sweetest being the club’s Japan Series championship in 2007. But do they also provide a tasty meal at their home stadium?

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Artist turns adorable Pokémon into terrifying Attack on Titan-style monsters

It’s easy to forget when you’ve got the adorable little Pikachu as the franchise’s mascot, but the word ‘Pokémon’ is actually a blend of the English words ‘pocket’ and ‘monsters.’ Usually people aren’t thinking about that fact as they catch as many of the cute little critters as they can in each new video game installment, but one artist is out on a different quest to remind everyone that pokémon are indeed monsters at their core.

Artist Beth Emery, otherwise known as zsparky on art-sharing community site DeviantART, is gaining attention online for her creepily brilliant drawings of pokémon portrayed in the artistic style of Attack on Titan. 

Warning: You may never be able to see Jigglypuff in the same way after seeing these pictures…

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New in time for summer: Sparkling tomato booze!

Personally, I can’t stand the taste of tomato juice. Even if I try to be healthy and buy a mixed fruit-and-vegetable drink, if there’s even a hint of tomato going on, the carton gets immediately shoved back in the fridge for my wife to try (read: finish off for me).

But if you’re one of those folks who just can’t get enough of that curious red stuff, there’s a new drink you may want to try this summer: Toma Toma Sparkling. Oh, and it has alcohol in it.

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Keep your iPhone safe and retro-gamer chic with Famicom protective film

Yesterday, Nintendo’s Famicom, known internationally as the NES, celebrated its 31st birthday. While it may not have been the first video game console, the way Nintendo’s 8-bit system combined, for its time, high-end processing power, pleasing aesthetics, and user-friendliness elevated it to a level above both its predecessors and would-be rivals.

The Famicom was the sort of sweeping, segment-defining success that didn’t come along again until the iPhone took over the smartphone market. Now, you can combine those two iconic pieces of Nintendo and Apple hardware with a Famicom protective film for your iPhone.

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Goku coming back to theaters with new Dragon Ball Z movie in 2015

How many years does an anime franchise have to be inactive before it can be officially declared dead? Given the pace at which fans’ tastes change in Japan, if more than a couple of years go by with no new content, it’s probably time to give up hope, hard as that may for those fervently waiting for a new season of Ranma 1/2, Trigun, or All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku.

But when you’re the most popular martial arts series in the history of the medium, the ordinary rules don’t apply, which is why last year Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods hit Japanese theatres, ending a 17-year drought in Dragon Ball anime. Thankfully, the wait for the next installment in creator Akira Toriyama’s epic won’t be nearly so long, since there’s yet another Dragon Ball Z movie coming next year.

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Don’t mistakenly eat these sushi characters, they might just save the world!【Video】

When you think of Japan, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Perhaps, it’s “sushi”, the delicious combination of rice and various aquatic delicacies. Or maybe you think of “ninja”, those fierce warriors of the past that devastated more than a few rulers in their prime. Of course, it might be “anime”. After all, many people become interested in Japan because they want to see and know more about these big-eyed animated characters. If you thought of any of those words, you have to check out the newest anime from Daisuki TV, titled Sushi Ninja!

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This Sailor Mars cosplayer is playing with fire, literally

Fire dancer and apparent Sailor Moon enthusiast Thomas Vaccaro took his Sailor Mars crossplay in a unique direction—by harnessing her fire powers. While he can’t shoot fireballs just yet, we appreciate the effort.

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Emotional anime short celebrates Tokyo Station’s 100th birthday【Video】

It’s been 100 years since the opening of Tokyo Station. For many people, it’s more than just a rail hub, it’s a symbol of the city and the lives of those who live in and around it.

With just about everyone in Japan’s capital passing through sooner or later, Tokyo Station serves as the backdrop for a lot of nostalgic memories, not to mention some life-changing events for workers and travelers alike. So it’s fitting that the anime made to commemorate Tokyo Station’s 100th birthday is filled with both comforting looks back at the past and hopeful expectations for the future.

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Disney meets manga — never before seen crossover announced for new Big Hero 6 movie!

Back in May, we reported to you about how we would be getting our first Japanese Disney hero in the upcoming film Big Hero 6 based on the Marvel comic of the same title. Since then, we’ve found out that the film will be titled Baymax in Japan, after the protagonist Hiro Hamada’s white fluffy companion robot. We’ve also learned from a recent announcement that Disney will be getting involved in a highly unique crossover for Big Hero 6 that’s never been done one with any of their other movies before — in advance of the movie release, Big Hero 6 will be serialized as a manga here in Japan starting in the beginning of next month, and there will even be a prequel manga published as well!  Now, that’s a piece of news we’re certainly excited to hear!

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Little boy comforts scared girl at school, is manlier than your fully grown adult boyfriend

In the annals of history, there have been many men who were so cool, they practically defined the word. The kind of guys that were so naturally cool, they didn’t even seem to notice when they were doing something awesome. We’re talking about guys like James Dean, Sam Jackson, Bruce Willis, the classic crooners like Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole, and I guess we’ll begrudgingly add newbies like Ryan Gosling (Just kidding! We mean Marky Mark).

Now we can add this incredibly awesome little boy, who seems to be around five years old. We see him here in this video casually comforting a grieving little girl who is upset about being removed from her mother on what we presume is the first day of school. She even does that adorable kid thing where she tries her best not to cry but it’s not really working, and our heroic little boy just sort of nonchalantly tells her he’s got her back – almost like she’s a fiery explosion that he’s casually walking away from without looking at. That’s how cool this kid is.

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Automatic Skirt Lifting Vending Machine invented, humankind reaches new heights

You might say that the last great life-changing technological achievement was the development of portable devices like smartphones and tablets. However, it’s been a few years now and nothing truly new has come down the pike aside from making other everyday things “smart” like glasses or a watch.

Just in time, we now have a new device that may change the very fabric of society. It’s a vending machine that lifts up the skirt of a Hatsune Miku plush toy. It may not sound important right now, but that’s how these game-changers work. In a few years’ time all of our lives will revolve around this invention, so let’s take a moment to see how it works.

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McDonald’s is becoming a popular wedding venue in Hong Kong

McDonald’s restaurants are now doubling as wedding venues in Hong Kong.

McDonald’s launched a wedding party program a few years ago in response to customer demand, with three locations offering wedding services. Today, 15 McDonald’s locations in Hong Kong host weddings, as well as engagement parties, anniversary parties, and bridal showers, according to CNBC.

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