5 ways Japanese TV shows are broken

There are certain things almost everyone who moves to Japan seems to like. The food? Tasty and healthy. Public transportation? Clean and punctual. But Japanese TV? Let’s just say there’s a reason Internet access is one of the first things new arrivals in the country look to outfit their apartments with.

It turns out this lukewarm reaction to the country’s programming isn’t just a foreigner thing, either, as some 75 percent of Japanese citizens polled by the Asashi Shimbun newspaper also said that TV has become boring. Today we look at why.

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Masahiro Tanaka’s tweet leads to mass confusion but reveals his taste in idols

Perusing Japanese Twitter feeds, you’re likely to come across the word “nau” at the end of a sentence. This word has the same meaning as the phonetically similar “now” in English. It’s used to simply state what the tweeter is doing at that given moment. Examples include “Unko Nau” (pooping now) or “Jishin Jiko Nau” (physical injury now).

Even Nippon Professional Baseball star Masahiro Tanaka, fresh off his perfect season got in on the action and tweeted out what he was doing nau. However, when you’re a pro-pitcher rumored to be imminently signed to a Major League Baseball team, an innocent little tweet can create unusually big ripples.

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Japanese condom maker pierces previous boundary with 0.01-millimeter wonder

For modern society to function, there is a line that must be protected. When it does its job, it’s often taken for granted, but should that line break down, fear and panic will shortly follow. The line must hold at all costs.

However, the line cannot be too thick, lest it rob humanity of the joy it needs to continue as a species. For the line to do all that it must, it must be precariously thin, yet unbreakably strong.

What’s that, you ask? Is this thin line the police, who separate the law-abiding and criminal elements of society? No. We’re talking about Japan’s thinnest condom here.

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Awesome Japanese expressway rest stop lets you travel back in time, dine like a samurai

Growing up in Southern California, I was no stranger to long road trips, whether up the coast to visit relatives, or out to Las Vegas to visit the craps tables. Along the way I’d pass many freeway rest areas, with amenities whose quality ranged from “a good place to use the bathroom as long as you cover your nose” to “a good place to use the bathroom, as long as you have a friend with you to make sure you don’t get shanked by a hobo.”

So imagine my surprise when I moved to Japan to find that its highway rest stops (called “parking areas” by Japanese motorists) are spotless. Plus, they’re often great spots to munch on regional specialties or pick up local souvenirs. And if you happen to visit one particular parking area, you can even go back in time.

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Japan’s top souvenir recommendations for foreigners, from sweets to swords

Japanese culture is filled with gift giving, and no gift is more common than the omiyage. Usually translated as “souvenir,” omiyage is a bit broader in usage, encompassing all sorts of travel gift situations. Taking a trip somewhere? Make sure to bring back omiyage for your coworkers. Have friends coming from overseas? You might want to give them some omiyage to remember their trip by. And of course, if those same friends offer to show you around their country, it’s only polite to bring them an omiyage as a show of thanks, if you take them up on their offer.

But what kind of Japanese omiyage from Japan is most likely to be a hit with foreigners? Japanese Internet users offered the following suggestions.

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China’s biggest online retailer has a ‘Rent a Boyfriend’ section — Here’s what you’ll find there

China has some interesting matchmaking and dating practices. There are love hunters who track down potential wives for China’s richest bachelors and there are “leftover women,” who are criticized for being older than 27 and unmarried.

In some cases, when a male dies too young, families have “ghost marriages,” exhuming female corpses and marrying the pair.

So, it’s natural for many young Chinese to want to allay their parents’ anxiety over their single-dom. And now they can take to Alibaba-owned online retailer Taobaotweets George Chen at South China Morning Post. That’s the equivalent of shopping for a date on Amazon or eBay.

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10 everyday English words that were originally Japanese

While Japan’s bank of English loan words has grown to the point where “context” and even “paradigm” can be understood by most people, there seems to be only a handful of Japanese words that have been sprinkled into the modern English vocabulary. Of course, there’s things like “manga”, “sushi,” and “karate,” which English speakers can instantly recognize as comics, a Japanese food, and a way to kick ass (in that respective order), but there are also some sleeper agent Japanese words traipsing about our English conversations. Let’s take a look at Japanese words, like “honcho” (as in “head honcho”) and “tycoon” (as in “oil tycoon”), that we use in English.

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Join Sharla on a Japan love hotel adventure!

One of the weird, fascinating things about Japan that makes many foreigners giggle is the presence of so-called “love hotels.” In many Japanese cities, you and your lover can rent a hotel room for either a few hours of fun (less expensive) or overnight for  a whole lotta fun (more expensive). Often, love hotels will have a particular theme in decor throughout the building, which may even vary room to room. To get an idea of just how crazy the decorations can be, check out this photos collection of some of the most outrageous love hotel rooms Japan has to offer.

If you’re curious to learn more about the differences between a typical hotel room and a love hotel room, however, YouTuber Sharla in Japan has uploaded a video documenting her stay at a love hotel with a friend. Sharla wants everyone to know that you don’t have to go to a love hotel with your significant other or for clandestine nooky; it can be just as fun to go with your pal or use the places as a cheaper accommodation alternative! Hear more about what Sharla has to say and watch her fun video after the jump!

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Does Japan really need company drinking parties?

Among the Japanese language’s many unique loanword mashups is nominikeshon, a hybrid of “nomi / drinking” and the English “communication.” Nominikeshon is a term that gets applied to the common Japanese business practice of workers from the same company going out together for a beer (or six) after work, and hopefully strengthening their bond along the way.

But even if you’ve technically punched out, if you have to spend time with your boss, with a large chunk of it used to talk shop, couldn’t you make the argument that you’re still working? In which case shouldn’t you get paid for drinking with your coworkers?

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Chairman of Japan Mother’s Society arrested, accused of beating wife

The Japan Mother’s Society, as the name implies, is a non-government organization committed to providing information and support to assist Japanese women with the difficulties of raising children in our modern age. Along with consultation and events designed to raise awareness about parenting issues, the organization has also been involved in volunteer activities helping to bring a little joy and levity to the children of families who have lost their homes due to earthquakes or other natural disasters.

Surprisingly, Shinji Morimatsu, the head of the Japan Mother’s Association, is not a mother, nor even a woman. Adding to the incongruity is the fact that the 49-year-old Morimatsu now stands accused of being a wife beater.

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42 reasons why we love riding the rails in Japan

Coming from abroad to live in Japan, there’s a lot to love–and there’s a lot to be frustrated about as well. One thing that nearly everyone loves about Japan though is the trains! With many of us coming from rural areas where you either drive or walk, being able to hop on a train pretty much any time anywhere can sometimes feel nearly miraculous. Tired? Distracted? Had too much to drink? Raining? None of that matters, because you’re on a train!

And we’re not the only ones who think so either. Today we’ve compiled a list of foreign residents’ favorite things about trains in Japan. Check them out and see if your favorites made the list!

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How tired of allergies are you? Thanko hopes enough to wear this giant USB-powered mask

We’ve covered many products developed by Thanko – that company always seems to have clever ideas and is never afraid to flirt with madness – in the past. Their upside-down desk, and upside-down cushion both look very tempting, whereas their more ambitious products such as camera glasses and the Fanbrella seem inherently flawed with poor battery performance.

Whether Thanko’s newest release, the USB Pollen Blocker crosses the crazy train tracks remains to be seen.

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We give Mr. Sato a Gyro Bowl: Can it withstand even his creepiest undulations?

It’s a little known yet unsurprising fact that Mr. Sato loves a nice bowl of potato chips. However, much to the chagrin of his colleagues, he loves them so much that he begins to flail his limbs around wildly when he gets some.

After brushing the crumbs off the keyboards and shopping around online, the rest of the RocketNews24 staff found Gyro Bowl. For only 2,480 yen (US$24) this German-engineered bowl boasts a full 360° of spill prevention. All that combined with Mr. Sato’s inherent love of orange spinny stuff made this purchase a no-brainer. When the bowl arrived it was time to fire up the cameras and see how Gyro Bowl held up to Mr. Sato’s chip dance of joy.

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Oh boy, that’s pretty racist: Vine Japan edition

We’ve already covered extensively Twitter’s propensity for bringing out the stupid in people – both in Japan and the world at large – so we knew it was only a matter of time until users of Twitter’s video-based cousin, Vine, just couldn’t help themselves anymore and started making Vine entries to elicit the collective eye rolling of millions.

And so, taking the dubious honor of the first subject of our hopefully not ongoing new segment, “Oh Boy, That’s Pretty Racist,” is Japanese Vine user Indodeen, who demonstrates for us how to have fun with blatant racial stereotypes by pretending to be a poorly-acclimated Indian man living in Japan.

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Ignore the name, Kitchen Dive’s bento are cheap and delicious!

There are only three reasons one could possibly fathom going to any establishment that’s known in American English as a “dive”: Cheap beer, cheap beer, and greasy burgers.

Now apparently you can add a fourth reason: Cheap, delicious bento lunch boxes, thanks to whispered-about bento  shop, Kitchen Dive. With just a handful of locations around Tokyo, we’d never actually seen one in the flesh before and almost thought they were some apocryphal legend; some cruel prank older, wiser salarymen were playing on the newbies, maybe (“Oh yeah, there’s a shop selling 200 yen bento. Right around the corner. Caaaan’t miss it.”).

Finally, we spotted an honest-to-goodness, 24-hour Kitchen Dive in the unassuming Kameido area of Tokyo and the 100 yen coins in our pockets practically flew out of their own accord.

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Limited Hayao Miyazaki figurines created for Tsunami Relief

Martin Hsu and Bigshot Toyworks have teamed up to create a limited run of “Miya-san” figures modeled after acclaimed director Hayao Miyazaki.

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When it comes to blending art and sport, Japanese athletes represent

Japan has fared pretty well in the realm of professional sports these days with more and more Nippon Professional Baseball players popping up in the Major League and the recent rise in men’s and women’s soccer.

Even on the streets young Japanese people are pushing their bodies to the limit and creating awe inspiring athletic dance routines and working their way onto the world stage. The following are four such people, Taisuke Nonaka (B-boying), Yohei Uchino (flatland BMX), Kotaru Tokuda (freestyle football), and ZiNEZ (freestyle basketball).

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Polar vortex solves #1 cat dilemma: Inside or out?

This winter has seen some astonishingly low temps and heavy snow even in places that normally enjoy mild winter weather. In fact, the chilly weather has even stopped one finicky feline from pursuing her favorite pursuit: meowing to be let out and then meowing to be let back in.

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3 larger-than-life ninja tales

More than likely, you’ve heard of the legend of the ninja, the stealthy hired hands and spies for regional warlords in feudal Japan. But considering how popular ninjas are in the modern world, from video games to ninja-themed American bars, it can be pretty hard to separate historical fact from fiction. And today we have three stories for you about this secretive bunch that may help to give a little more light to the mythos surrounding ninja and the truth behind some of these larger-than-life tales. Click below to read three anecdotes (of varying veracity) about what made ninjas into the legend they are today!

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How the meaning of “quality” differs between the U.S., Japan, Korea, and China

Quick, what color means “go” at a traffic signal? If you speak English, odds are you just said “green” (and if you don’t speak English, why are you here? The articles with pictures of cute girls and cool robots are in a different part of the site).

On the other hand, in Japanese that same light is considered ao, which translates as “blue.” Crazy as it may seem, the Japanese concept of the color extends all the way down to the hues of traffic signals and mountain forests. It’s just one example of how the same word can have different meanings in different cultures.

OK, so that may be true for artsy fartsy things like colors, but surely this kind of linguistic flatulence isn’t present in the world of business, right? Wrong. Even seemingly simple things like the term “quality” can have vastly different meanings depending on the nation, as one expert demonstrates by explaining the differing definitions consumers in the U.S., Japan, Korea, and China have for it.

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