Game Review: New dating sim takes you back to school days of flirting with soft-shelled turtles

In a country overflowing with every dating simulator game both imaginable and unimaginable it can be hard to carve a niche. We’ve seen games in the past where players challenge themselves to score a date with an alpaca, pigeon, or T-Rex, but for those who want to play the field of the entire animal kingdom a new player has emerged.

The game is called Kikenna Kare ni Koishiteru (In Love with a Dangerous Boyfriend) and in it you assume the role of a young girl who enrolls in a school of a variety of animals from soft-shelled turtles to Japanese horseshoe crabs. We took the game for a spin and now humbly present this review for your consideration.

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Chicken Ramen mascot grows to giant size, runs rampant on the highways of Japan

Two of the things Japan is best at making are cars and cute characters. Sometimes these two worlds combine with itasha, cars slathered with painfully geeky anime graphics.

But itasha rely largely on decals, making them a literally shallow way of mashing up automotive engineering and cuteness. Isn’t there a more dynamic way to fuse the two?

Why yes, there is.

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5 reasons foreigners find it hard to become friends with Japanese people

With all the controversy surrounding a recent “racist” All Nippon Airlines ad, the Japanese and Western media have both been abuzz with the question of whether foreign people can ever truly become respected Japanese citizens – accepted by their community and deemed worthy of the right to not be the recipient of extraordinary treatment.

But this conversation has been going on a long, long time in the expat community in Japan, with a lot of otherwise Japanophile foreigners finding it hard to befriend the Japanese on a higher-than-acquaintance level. Why? Well, frequent source of opinion and cultural commentary Madame Riri has compiled a few of the reasons:

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Genka Bar, where your drinks never cost more than what they’re worth!

Friday night means going out for a drink with your buddies from the office or your favorite classmates. It also means a large chunk of cash is missing from you wallet when you wake up with a pounding headache on Saturday morning. As much fun as a night on the town is, it’s often ridiculously expensive–especially in Tokyo! And it doesn’t help things that bars and restaurants love to mark up their drinks by…well, a lot. If only you could get your booze and snacks at cost.

Well guess what, thirsty and hungry readers? You can at the Genka Bar! At least, that’s what they claim. We sent one of our Japanese writers to find out the truth. Check out the results below.

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Government form allows Japanese romantics to officially declare their love

Generally, Japanese culture tends to handle emotional expression a little less directly than in English-speaking countries, especially where romance is concerned. In particular, couples in Japan aren’t nearly as likely to regularly say “I love you” as their Western counterparts are or be seen smooching in public.

In certain situations, though, these roles get flipped. For example, while most Westerners would feel awkward making the explicit statement, “Please be my boyfriend/girlfriend,” in Japan that exact phrase, tsukiatte kudasai, is a pretty common romantic milestone, and something that many actually expect their partner to say in order to explicitly recognize the nature of the relationship.

Now, couples can even have their affection officially recognized, as lovers in Japan can submit government documents certifying their love for each other.

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Tokyo Tower displays special message ahead of Tohoku earthquake and tsunami anniversary

A special message is being displayed on Tokyo Tower in memory of those lost during the March 11, 2011 earthquake and resulting tsunami, as well as to promote a sense of unity across the country.

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A look at Ko Tao: the tiny Thai island that just nabbed its second “Asia’s Best Island” award

For the second year in a row, Thailand’s Ko Tao nabbed the title of “Asia’s Best Island” from the travel website Trip Advisor. Located in the Gulf of Thailand, the island barely covers 21 square km (8.1 square miles) but the crystal clear and very peaceful waters have earned it international fame among divers.

Between beautiful white sand beaches, the 300 sunny days per year and the chance to swim alongside whale sharks, click below to find out more about why travelers chose Ko Tao as Asia’s best island!

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Ghibli co-founder Toshio Suzuki retires as producer

Suzuki takes less hands-on role at studio he co-founded with Hayao MiyazakiIsao Takahata.

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Mystery, rumour and speculation after Malaysia Airlines plane disappears mid-flight UPDATED

People all over Asia wait with bated breath today for news about the Malaysia Airlines jet which disappeared without trace on Saturday last week. Earlier today, debris described as possibly from a plane was spotted in the sea off the coast of Vietnam, but it has yet to be confirmed as belonging to the missing aircraft.

The plane, which was carrying some 239 passengers, was flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it suddenly disappeared. No distress calls were made and weather conditions were thought to have been good, leading the global media and internet masses to propose numerous theories regarding what might have happened, including an (as-yet entirely unsubstantiated) report that authorities in China ordered its military to shoot down any “suspicious passenger planes” coming close to Beijing on the same day the Malaysia Airlines flight vanished.

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Step into a Ghibli fairytale at this castle in the sky in Hyogo Prefecture

Japan is home to an enormous number of famous ruins and castles, with fascinating histories that transport us back to an era of clan warfare and old allegiances which remain at the heart of local tales today. As strongholds for the Lords and clans of old Japan, many castles have a commanding view of surrounding lands but none more so than this spectacular castle in Hyogo Prefecture. Often referred to as the Machu Picchu of Japan, and looking every bit like Ghibli’s famous floating castle from the animated movie Castle in the Sky, these ruins are expecting an unprecedented number of visitors this year. And with photos as stunning as these, it’s easy to see why.

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Japan Self-Defense Forces get a fan club, for some reason

The Japan Self-Defense Forces, or JSDF for short, are basically the Japanese military and includes naval, infantry, and aerial branches. Though the Japanese constitution officially forbids the JSDF from acting aggressively and sees them rather as an “extension of the police” than a proper military, the Japanese budget for the JSDF is the fifth larges military budget in the world.

And now they have their own fan club, which was recently announced along with an accompanying website!

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Japanese netizens go crazy for a kitty who wants a bath

If you’ve ever owned a cat, you’ll know just how much some kittens love to follow their owners around, checking on their every move to make sure their attention is not foolishly lavished on anything else. One owner in Japan has tweeted photos of their possessive cat, who seems irked at the fact that bath-time can bring a person so much pleasure. This kitty peering over the bathtub with its what-about-me? eyes has everybody aww-ing in Japan. But it’s what happens next that has everybody squealing in delight.

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Welcome to the whimsical world of Yuko Higuchi

Tokyo is home to a large number of talented artists, but recently one in particular has been standing out. Japanese people and netizens around the world have become captivated by the versatile art of Ms. Yuko Higuchi, whose surreal works both delight and cause you to slightly question the state of her mind. Her style has been described as “dark kawaii (kawaii=cute), blending the real with the fantastical and seemingly drawing heavy inspiration from Alice in Wonderland (in fact, it looks like Alice and friends even make cameos in some of the pictures!). The pictures of anthropomorphic cats and fairy tale-like girls are especially popular. Even if you’re not usually a fan of art, you should definitely take a minute to look at these pictures – they may be just the thing needed to convert you!

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Had a bad day? Here’s a Cheeto that looks like a man doing “you-know-what”

Some people believe that everything happens for a reason, but there are certainly times when things happen for no reason. When things go wrong, they just do. Sometimes it even happens to non-living things!

Take this Cheeto for example. It’s not a big deal and no one was harmed, but it sure looks wrong! If you don’t get the drift, you might want to take a look at the GIF after the jump!

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Man found innocent of indecent assault denied 12 million yen compensation by Supreme Court of Japan

In 2008 a man was accused of grabbing a woman from behind, which resulted in an injury to her leg. She filed charges with the prosecutor’s office for indecent assault and bodily harm but the man was eventually found innocent.

As indecent assault can be a hard accusation to get off from in Japan, this man would be considered extremely lucky. However, after all charges were dropped, he decided to try his luck again and sued the government for 12 million yen (US$116,000) in compensation for the charges. He would have gotten away with it too if it wasn’t for the Supreme Court of Japan who dismissed his claims for the last time on 6 March.

Was this man an innocent victim of the system or just looking for a quick pay day? The answer is not so clear.

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Japanese-speaking “Real Barbie” becomes serious model in Japan

While you might think that the world only needs one real Barbie, it turns out that–whether needed or not–there’s already another one! However, unlike the Russian/Ukrainian version, this “Real Barbie” is a Tokyo-based, Japanese-speaking model for Popteen magazine. And her rise to fame has only just begun!

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Attack on Titan bag and shawl let you gear up for fighting giants, fashionable dates

Smash hit anime Attack on Titan has a full cast of compelling human characters, but most of the merchandising and promotions that have come with the series’ success are centered on the remorseless, pantless Titans themselves. Whether it’s figurines, burgers, or even beauty products, there just seems to be more love shown for the series’ ostensible villains.

Now, though, comes a way for you to show your loyalty to humanity while also scoring a few style points, with a fashionable Attack on Titan bag and shawl.

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World’s oldest kendo video is part martial arts, part Buster Keaton, all amazing

Kendo is a uniquely Japanese martial art. Like judo, karate, and aikido, this modernized version of a traditional art has numerous practitioners both in Japan around the world. And while some may approach it with more, um, zeal that others, it’s generally viewed as being more like chess than raw fighting.

But if you ever thought that kendo lacked in brutality or purely comedic tomfoolery, this 117-year-old video of a kendo practice session in Kyoto will put you in your place. And then smack you across the head with a big bamboo stick!

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JAL voted most reliable airline in the world

There’s nothing worse than having to take a 12 hour plane ride before getting to your relaxing exotic vacation. That is, unless your flight is delayed. Then it turns into a nightmarish trudge to your final destination, with missed connecting flights and more pulled hairs than you care to lose. As the saying goes, “It’s not the destination, but the journey” and if that’s true, you’re sure to have the most enjoyable trip on‘s list of the top ten airlines that get you to your destination on time. Japan Airlines leads the pack with an amazing 93 percent on-time departure rate. Take a look at the full list and choose your airline accordingly.

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“I will never forget again”: Nagasaki man gets back the cash he left at an ATM

What happens when you withdraw a ton of cash from an ATM in the middle of the city, only to walk away and realize later that you forgot to stick it in your wallet? Apparently nothing, if you happen to live in Nagasaki City. Earlier this week a Nagasaki native experienced the above situation, and was ecstatic to find the money untouched when he returned later. The killer part of everything? Wait until you hear his profession.

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