We have written a handful of articles about cute character-shaped doughnuts and cakes that can be found in Japan. Adorable food is probably something that would sell in any country, but what if such Western snacks are not a common choice among the locals, like in China, for example? The creative canteen ladies at the Northeast Agricultural University in Harbin recently cooked up their own version of animal-shaped snacks, in the form of Chinese steamed buns, and they’re selling like, well, hotcakes.
Evangelion, known to its fans simply as Eva, has already earned itself a spot in history as one of Japan’s most popular anime ever. The franchise has such wide appeal that its characters have been used to promote everything from lingerie to cheeseburgers.
Now, Eva’s cast of teenage protagonists is helping to drum up interest in something a little more traditional than the high-tech robots they usually pilot with their newest promotional crossover, the Evangelion and Japanese Sword Exhibition.
- Casey Baseel
Oct 31, 2013
Japan is, by almost any criteria, an extremely safe country. You can wander most back alleys of Tokyo in the dead of night without any sense of danger, and calmly carry huge amounts of cash secure in the knowledge that you’re about as likely to come across a mugger in downtown as a man riding a horse.
While this bubble of safety is definitely a plus when you’re inside it, the flipside is that Japanese travelers, unaccustomed to street crime, violent or otherwise, tend to be extremely risk averse when going abroad. Driving this point home is the East Africa edition of a popular series of Japanese guidebooks, which is filled with warnings of danger that seem more like something out of a pulp action novel than a travel reference.
It can be difficult to get along without female friends.
In Japan, work ethic and subsequent exhaustion tends to tie many men to their work places beyond the call of duty, and gender roles can be highly restrictive. If you’re a single man who is not socially confident, how do you get enough positive human interaction? We all need to tell someone about our troubles, and yarn about the day-to-day minutiae that friends and family share.
Maybe you want to go out to a nice restaurant… but how can you go alone? Maybe you have relationship difficulties and want to confide in someone. Maybe you need help with your computer, or organizing your stuff, or careers counselling. Everyone needs a female friend… and in eastern Japan, Client Partners KK is one company which offers a rent-a-friend service. Billed as “women-only odd-jobbers” (josei dake no benriya), the services they offer do not include anything untoward. In the commodification of today’s world, “rental friend” should come as no surprise. What is surprising is just how much this kind of human contact benefits lonely people.
South Korean netizens are apparently up in arms over their president’s choice of shoes that she wore when throwing the opening pitch of the third game of the Korean Series baseball tournament in Seoul on October 27. Her fashion crime? President Park Guen Hye had the “audacity” to show up wearing a Japanese brand of sneakers!
Fall is in full swing and that means we’re all able to enjoy what this chilly season has to offer. Red and golden leaves, chestnuts, apples…all the things that remind us of autumn! For those with a little patience and some artistic ability, you can even create origami versions of these seasonal favorites. Take a look at the following eight origami designs and learn how to make them yourself!
The art of origami is one of Japan’s most widely recognized cultural contributions to the international world. Although the practice of paper-folding has many possible roots, the Japanese approach to sculpting three-dimensional shapes from flat squares has had a large impact on many people’s approach to not just art, but also packaging and product design. Here are six very special items, designed both in and out of Japan, which claim inspiration from the practice of origami.
As you may have heard, Disney’s movies and theme parks are incredibly popular in Japan. While Hello Kitty is the reigning queen of cute, she can never rest easy knowing that Minnie is just one step behind, ready to take the throne. And with the immense popularity of Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea, it’s hardly any wonder that one of the most popular destinations for Japanese folks traveling abroad is Alcázar of Segovia, a Spanish castle which served as the inspiration for the nearly universally-known Cinderella castle.
And when you see the pictures we’ve found of the castle, you’ll want to visit it too!
Oct 31, 2013
I just happened to be watching TV the other day when a young man’s singing performance suddenly and utterly grabbed my attention. Having been a member of the Glee Club during junior high and high school (an experience which, by the way, was no where near as crazy as the TV series), I have to say that hearing talented people sing is a huge source of pleasure for me, and a pleasure it was indeed to listen to this man perform a well-known Japanese pop song, his voice ringing clear and true.
I soon found out that the man I saw performing on TV had just released his debut single from a major Japanese music label a few months ago. His star seems to have been rising quickly, which wasn’t surprising considering his amazing voice and striking looks. Plus, there was also something else that made him stand out in the Japanese music scene. Ladies and gentlemen, meet 21-year-old Nicholas Edwards, the blond J-POP singer from Oregon, U.S.A.
Oct 31, 2013
The doctor-patient exchange has always been a crucial segment in basic language textbooks, because it’s one of those situations you’ll want to know how to navigate if you plan on going to a foreign country for an extended period of time.
This Japanese English textbook goes the extra mile by also reminding you that doctors don’t have time for your namby pamby psychological problems like, um, seemingly legitimate depression and loneliness…
- Master Blaster
Oct 31, 2013
Airports and airlines frequently get a bad rap. The internet alone has more complaints about air travel than and episode of Evening at the Improv. However, buried deep among the stories of security gropings, crushed luggage and delayed flights lie some uplifting stories to restore your faith in humanity.
A while back we reported on JAL’s kind move to provide specialized guitar cases free of charge. That’s swell, but this story about what happened to our reporter Kuzo on his return flight on ANA after eating some dancing squid will brighten your day and remind you what customer service is all about.
There’s something to be said for keeping up appearances and making good impressions, but what underlying defect is this string of apartment buildings trying to hide by painting on pretend windows?! These high-rise housing complexes in China’s Shandong Province aren’t fooling any prospective tenants with their fake windows, so really, what’s the point?
Just look at that face. That’s the kind of face you wouldn’t want to see grinning at you from the other end of a dark alley.
And yes, in case you’re in doubt, that’s Pikachu putting on his best “sexual deviant planning something untoward” face. What on earth could have spawned this unholy creation?
Oct 30, 2013
Interesting media can make for especially interesting art, as the pencil-tip carvings, hairy apples and damaged banana art we’ve covered before should attest, but when you go carving up some perfectly good brand-name lipsticks to celebrate strong women and fashion icons, you are bound to cause your intended audience a little heartache.
- Philip Kendall
Oct 30, 2013
In one of the strangest stories we’ve come across so far this week – yes, stranger than exploding yogurt and ramen cake – reports are coming in of a number of Chinese-made irons that contain “mini microphones” and chips that can plant viruses in nearby computer equipment via home Wi-Fi networks.
We always knew ironing sucked, but this is ridiculous.
Despite having a name that induces chuckles in many English speakers, Kinki University (Kinki being the name of the region around Osaka) is a well-respected school, with roots stretching back to 1925 when it came into existence as Osaka Technical College.
In keeping with the school’s long history of pursuing technological advancement, a team at Kinki University has recently developed a mouse that allows users to operate their PC with nothing more than their breath.
Everyone loves a good tongue twister, especially when getting to grips with a new language. I’ve had fun being challenged by Japanese coworkers at drinking parties to get my mouth around phrases like basu gasu bakuhatsu (“the bus gas explodes”) five times in a row, or aka-makigami ao-makigami ki-makigami (“red paper roll, blue paper roll, yellow paper roll”) on many occasions, but this Chinese tongue twister blows them all out of the water.
Akita musician and illustrator do everything they can to convince us their eel characters are actually dongs
- Casey Baseel
Oct 30, 2013
Japan cranks out a huge number of corporate and regional mascot characters, and each one is required to be cute, right down to its name. Unfortunately, sometimes a moniker that sounds perfectly fine in Japanese doesn’t have quite the same inoffensive ring to it in English.
Of course, naming choices can have unfortunate implications for Japanese speakers as well, like with Akita Prefecture’s cute little garden eel character called Chinanabo. In Chinanabo’s case, however, there’s enough evidence to make us think his creators are in on the joke.
Hello Kitty has always taken center stage when it comes to Sanrio characters. But now My Melody is getting her shot at an extremely popular limited-time only pop-up cafe in Tokyo. Even My Melody’s rival, Kuromi is making an appearance at this cute cafe, which features lattes, cakes, and light snacks with the faces of My Melody and friends.
- Rachel Tackett
Oct 30, 2013
Imagine if the characters from Street Fighter, Capcom’s classic fighting game, were born as members of the opposite sex, with the same amount of physical strength and fighting spirit but a decidedly different physiques. Thanks to a fan-made short movie by Really Clever Androids, we don’t have to wonder what to expect from a world like that. This awesome three-minute clip gives us a pretty good idea of the conflict and copious cleavage we might encounter. Let’s just say that these genderswapped Street Fighter folks really know how to bring it!
- Artist turns innocent Disney princesses into flirty pin-up girls1
- Ten-year-old boy cuts construction worker’s lifeline because noise was interrupting his cartoons2
- Genius dishes can be molded freely to hold whatever you want3
- Korean Photoshop Troll Trilogy: The shocking conclusion! 【Photos】4
- From Ponyo to Italy: Four delicious ways to improve instant ramen while your water’s boiling5
- Artist creates awesome anime artwork by carefully cutting a single Post-it note 【Photos】6
- Flagitious Idiosyncrasy In The Dilapidation: Japan’s awesome all-woman grindcore band【J-Tunes】7
- Smash & Eat: We try a playful Korean sweet you have to hit with a hammer to enjoy8
- What is this man painting? You may have to wait until the very last second to find out 【Video】9
- Visiting the South Pole and 14 other lesser known crimes in Japan10
- 6-year-old boy vowed to marry his childhood sweetheart, really marries her 18 years later1
- Artist turns innocent Disney princesses into flirty pin-up girls2
- Ten-year-old boy cuts construction worker’s lifeline because noise was interrupting his cartoons3
- Hello Kitty isn’t a cat!? We called Sanrio to find out!4
- Taiwanese Tsunade cosplayer sparks debate about public decency at events5
- Visiting the South Pole and 14 other lesser known crimes in Japan6
- Sanrio says, “Hello Kitty is not a cat.” Whaaa?7
- These photos from the ‘richest village in China’ will positively blow you away8
- Philippine netizens do the makeup transformation meme to mixed results9
- Master drummers are lurking in Japanese game centers10
- “Mom’s 1st Birthday” – Try to get through this video without tearing up【Video】1
- 6-year-old boy vowed to marry his childhood sweetheart, really marries her 18 years later2
- Artist turns innocent Disney princesses into flirty pin-up girls3
- Ten-year-old boy cuts construction worker’s lifeline because noise was interrupting his cartoons4
- The clever way Japanese drivers thank each other without saying a word【Video】5
- Hello Kitty isn’t a cat!? We called Sanrio to find out!6
- Taiwanese Tsunade cosplayer sparks debate about public decency at events7
- We swear we won’t tell anyone if you buy one of these super lifelike love dolls from Japan8
- Visiting the South Pole and 14 other lesser known crimes in Japan9
- Sanrio says, “Hello Kitty is not a cat.” Whaaa?10
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker1
- Nailed it! The shape of your nails may reveal the type of person you are!2
- “Mom’s 1st Birthday” – Try to get through this video without tearing up【Video】3
- Samurai in Brazil shows off incredible freestyle football skills ahead of World Cup4
- 6-year-old boy vowed to marry his childhood sweetheart, really marries her 18 years later5
- Artist turns innocent Disney princesses into flirty pin-up girls6
- This amazing water cake just may be the most delicate sweet ever created!7
- Ten-year-old boy cuts construction worker’s lifeline because noise was interrupting his cartoons8
- The clever way Japanese drivers thank each other without saying a word【Video】9
- Life’s not perfect? Says who? This woman’s life is too perfect to be true!10
- Artist creates awesome anime artwork by carefully cutting a single Post-it note 【Photos】
- Flagitious Idiosyncrasy In The Dilapidation: Japan’s awesome all-woman grindcore band【J-Tunes】
- Smash & Eat: We try a playful Korean sweet you have to hit with a hammer to enjoy
- What is this man painting? You may have to wait until the very last second to find out 【Video】
- Visiting the South Pole and 14 other lesser known crimes in Japan
- Back in Japan by popular demand: Ice cream that looks exactly like a roasted sweet potato
- Newsflash: Silver “Dragon Quest Metal Slime Edition” PlayStation 4 unveiled by Sony 【Updated】
- 6-year-old boy vowed to marry his childhood sweetheart, really marries her 18 years later
- Pay Japan’s apology agencies to say “I’m sorry” when it’s just too hard to do it yourself
- 61 more images of cosmetic surgery from South Korea
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker
- Chinese parenting posters from 1952 gave insightful advice that still makes plenty of sense today
- GIF: Chinese SASUKE contestant’s unexpected fail immortalized in Web’s favorite file format
- Nightmare food – Artist creates shockingly colorful portraits out of junk food