If you are unemployed and living in Japan, we may have found a perfect job for you. No experience is necessary, it’s a pretty safe gig and you won’t have to do anything too difficult. You will, however, be a savior, a hero, and a knight in shining armor for one overworked, stressed-out, and understaffed, 7-Eleven store manager in Tokyo.
Japan and most of the rest of the developed world don’t exactly see eye to eye on whaling. Sure, Japan has a couple of mammal-fishing buddies in Norway and Iceland, but most other nations with a comparable scientific and economic footing take a dim view of Japan’s professedly research-based whaling expeditions, especially in light of how you’re much more likely to come across a restaurant in Japan serving whale meat than a significant biological discovery about whales coming from one of the country’s scientists.
One of the most outspoken opponents has been Australia, which is particularly upset about Japanese whalers hunting the creatures in the Southern Ocean that surrounds Antarctica, an area much closer to Australia than Japan. Now, though, some Japanese Internet commenters are launching snide jabs right back at their critics from Down Under in regards to the Australian government’s consideration of a plan to kill off a portion of its koala population.
It’s already a well-known fact that terrible, nonsensical English (or Engrish, as the phenomenon is known) is found everywhere in Japan. For the most part, Engrish happens because many people just like the look that English print gives to their outfit and accessories, and really don’t give a second thought as to what it means.
But those from western countries are really not much better, choosing clothes or tattoos with kanji characters simply because they look cool, without really giving thought to what the characters themselves might mean. This unfortunately ends with poor souls who forever have the word “kitchen” inked on their arm, or a t-shirt that proudly proclaims the wearer is a beautiful fish.
Now, another western brand is stepping up to add to garbled Japanese to their threads with a fall line apparently dedicated to “bad squirrels”…
Tottori: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starbucks (coffee) enterprise. Their continuing mission: to serve strange new Frappuccinos, to open new stores and new locations, to boldly go where no Starbucks has gone before.
For anyone playing Starbucks Japan bingo, you can now cross off Tottori from your sheet. May 23 officially marks the first day that there is a Starbucks Coffee shop in every single prefecture in Japan. Tons of people showed up for the grand opening of the Tottori Starbucks, but was this a great triumph or another situation of the little guy being pushed aside by a huge mega-corp?
Weibo, the Chinese microblogging site, is full of people of all walks of life, just like Facebook or Twitter, we suppose. Everyone from your average Joes to 15-year-olds with more plastic surgery than Hollywood can get together, share pictures, and argue ad nauseam. The last Weibo user we saw with a ton of work done certainly hit a nerve with Internet users across the world, though she apparently did not give a crap what we thought. And good for her! Listening to the haters is a sure way to ruin a good day.
But now, a new angular face has appeared on the scene, and it looks like he’s not bowing to the Weibo hate either. Though we’re not sure his “deny, deny, deny” tactic is going to work out quite as well as he’s hoping.
Since its announcement last November, gamers all over Japan have been anxiously awaiting a new virtual outing by D3 Publisher which combines the open-world freedom of titles like Grand Theft Auto and Skyrim with the dating sim fun and frivolity of titles like Kokeshi and Kikenna Kare ni Koishiteru.
However, what has captured everyone’s attention is the apparent feature to use “stealth” tactics to take photos of characters’ panties. And with one week to go before the game’s launch, the developers have released another video showing more gameplay footage.
Sekai no Owari is one of the most popular groups in Japan right now. The clown-faced, top hat-wearing rock band is managing to thrive in a Japanese music industry saturated with seemingly endless three-letter-48-style girl groups.
So what better to combine with one of the most popular music groups than one of the most popular manga/anime, Attack on Titan? It was just recently announced that the upcoming live-action Attack on Titan movies will feature two original Sekai no Owari songs produced specially as theme songs for the films.
As an island nation that sits on a number of major tectonic lines, Japan is no stranger to earthquakes. But the frequency of quakes by no means makes people any less afraid of them, especially after the disastrous 2011 Tohoku earthquake which left great swathes of Northeastern Japan in ruins.
So it’s quite reasonable that the Magnitude-5.6 earthquake which occurred on Monday, May 25 caused a bit of a panic. Despite being centered in Ibaraki Prefecture and affecting surrounding areas such as Tokyo and Saitama, there were, thankfully, no reports of any damage or injuries. But even so, many were still left with their nerves quite shaken.
That is, except for this super-chill gorilla at Chiba Zoo, who seemed straight-up bored, if anything.
This is hands down (or up, in this case), the most fun you can have at a games arcade in Japan.
The maimai music game cabinet by entertainment giant Sega may look like a front-loading washing machine, but rest assured it is actually way more entertaining. In a game that’s a cross between a whack-a-mole and Dance Dance Revolution, players follow a sequence of hand movements in time with a frantic beat.
Some, however, do it better than others…
On 26 May, Chinese internet company NetEase announced the release of a new smartphone game titled The Great Tokyo Air Raid. The game allows you to pilot a bomber and drop ordnance on 14 of Japan’s most populated areas.
After completing a mission, the player is awarded points based on how many cities they have destroyed. The points will also come with a message such as “Thank you for your contribution to world peace!”
This is how the game is being reported in Japan at least. And while all of those facts are true, after playing through The Great Tokyo Air Raid myself, it’s actually only about a tenth as disconcerting as the media would have you believe.
…It’s still a little unsettling though.
You don’t have to look far these days to find something related to Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon and her Sailor Scouts. It’s so popular that you can find just about any kind of merchandise you could ever want.
Despite the ubiquitous image of the Sailor Scouts, one photographer snapped what he thinks is the true representation of Sailor Moon, but his shot is causing an uproar on the Internet.
Surfers could be at greater risk of developing an allergy to natto, a Japanese study has found. And the unlikely culprit is thought to be jellyfish stings.
Natto, the sticky fermented soy beans that are as as polarising as Marmite, is a traditional and common Japanese food. Allergy to natto is rare, but research from Yokohama City University Hospital suggests it could be more prevalent in people who spend a lot of time in the water and have been repeatedly stung by jellyfish.
Running underneath Kasukabe City, Saitama Prefecture, lies the Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Channel – a sprawling network of waterways as long as its name. Its 6.3 kilometers (3.9 miles) of tunnels are intended to divert flood water from area rivers.
Also, since the massive project was completed in 2009 its enormous columns and walls are in relatively pristine condition giving the place an almost magical atmosphere. As a result it’s earned the nickname of the “Underground Temple” and has been frequently used in movies and music videos.
Tours run regularly for free which you can join, or just take a peek right now from the comfort of your browser with Google Street View.
If a recent spate of performances by Japanese dance groups, “talent” stars and other Japanese artists who brought the house down on Western television is any indication, the west may finally once again be catching on to “Cool Japan” – that tagline the country’s tourism board wants so desperately to sell abroad – after a long hiatus.
Of course, we all know and adore Baby Metal by now, Hatsune Miku had that awkward appearance on Letterman (which arguably may have hurt Japan’s pop culture image more than anything) and our adorable friend Mininja seems poised for foreign fame any day now, but that’s just scratching the surface of Japanese performers catching on abroad. And the number of artists waiting in line for their chance to shine in foreign lands is only growing, as evidenced by an increasing number of Japanese hopefuls on shows like Asia’s Got Talent, such as this super cool dance troupe hailing from Tokyo who recently brought the house down on the show.
Okonomiyaki is one of the most popular foods cooked at home in Japan. One of Japan’s Top 10 Comfort Foods, the dish is fun to make with family or friends and best of all, it’s easy! Okonomiyaki is also popular with foreigners who when visiting Japan can sample the dish at any of the myriad specialty restaurants dedicated to this vegetable-rich meal.
So, what exactly is okonomiyaki? And how do you make it? Glad you asked!
Read on to find out more about this simple dish: watch a how-to video showing you how to make it, check out photos that show you some unusual ingredients, and get inside tips from Kazuko who regularly makes the dish for her seven grandchildren.
This Japanese personality test, which is doing the rounds on Twitter this week, claims to reveal the inner workings of your subconscious by putting you in an impossible situation and asking you to choose between four equally unpleasant options.
We’re not making any claims about the accuracy of this test, but we do think it’s pretty hilarious. Join us after the jump to find out how big a pervert you are.
Two manga high school students, one boy and one girl, stand face to face in a deserted hallway. The guy pounds his fist into the wall behind the girl, executing a perfect kabe-don as he stares into her eyes with a serious look on his face and asks her an earnest, possibly life-changing question. After pausing for a second, the girl gives him her answer: yes.
Is this the birth of another girls’ manga couple? Nope, not this time, as the question the boy just asked isn’t as romantic as “Will you be my girlfriend,” but is no less important.
You’ve probably heard of Battleship Island before, the small abandoned island off of Nagasaki that looks like a battleship from afar and a zombie wasteland up close. It’s on its way to becoming a UNESCO world heritage site, which will bring in more tourists and help with its preservation.
But while Battleship Island gets its moment in the limelight, other abandoned islands around Japan are having a pretty tough time. Take Hoboro Island off the coast of Hiroshima for instance. It was once a decent-sized island known for pearls and oysters, but now it spends its days mainly being eaten away by millions of bugs and slowly sinking into the sea.
Aside from having particularly large members of the animal kingdom as their stars, sumo wrestling and horse racing don’t have a whole lot in common. But the sport of kings and the sport of heavy, scantily clad men are teaming up in a cross-promotion that’s bizarre even by the standards of Japanese marketing, with Japan Sumo Derby, a free-to-play browser game filled with sumo wrestlers riding famous Japanese race horses.