Author Naoki Hyakuta’s tweets of politics, perverts, and pleasuring himself spark controversy

Naoki Hyakuta is the writer of hit books such as Monsuta (Monster) and Eien No Zero (Forever Zero) both of which were adapted into films, the latter of which grossed 8.76 billion yen (US$72.5M) at the box office. In 2013 he was appointed to Japan’s public broadcaster NHK’s management committee.

However, after a slightly tumultuous engagement with the high-profile company, Hyakuta stepped down in February this year. Since then he appears to be enjoying his freedom to speak more freely again on Twitter, and as a result he has already irked an impressive number of people in only a few weeks.

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Daiso posts videos of fans dancing with long-lasting glow sticks, we can’t look away 【Video】

Last year, we learned from Nissin that samurai are still well and alive in Japan–they’ve just traded their swords in for glow sticks. While the Cup Noodle creators were obviously having a bit of fun with us, it has hard not to take notice of the wild swinging dance moves of the featured idol otaku. They moved with the sort of alacrity that we’d normally expect from a magical pear fairy running from explosions, and we had kind of assumed they were just actors playing a role.

It turns out we were wrong! Apparently that sort of jazzercise-on-steroids dancing is actually common at idol shows. In fact, it’s so common that Diaso, the 100 yen store filled with unique products, has gone out of its way to make and market long-lasting glow sticks. They even have little loops to make finger-spinning easier!

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Facepalm News: Japanese Twittersphere thinks Tokyo Disneyland’s Alice might be a (male) imposter

The Japanese Internet thinks there’s something strange in Wonderland these days, if a handful of photos doing the rounds on Twitter are any indication.

A Disneyland enthusiast – of which there are a great many in Japan – recently uploaded several close-up photos of Alice in Wonderland‘s Alice standing atop a parade float with the open question, “Am I the only one who thinks Alice might be a man?”

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Bottle-blowing meets the sounds of sushi in The Bottle Boys’ new ad for Kirin【Video】

The Bottle Boys are a five-piece band from Copenhagen, who shot to fame last year after performing ‘Billie Jean’ using nothing but (a large number of) beer bottles. And now they’ve been snapped up by Kirin Ichiban, in a slick production that sees them team up with Iron Chefs to record a track blending their musical bottle-playing with the sounds of sushi.

Join us after the jump to see how it sounds!

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Insane-looking construction site in Yokohama is, amazingly, neither a giant robot nor a deathtrap

I have a friend whose college professor was fond of saying, “Anyone can make a bridge that doesn’t fall down, but only a civil engineer can make one that barely stays up!” The point he was making is that an important task of civil engineering is designing structures that are sturdy and safe without incurring unnecessary costs and wasting materials, often in ways that might not seem intuitive to those who don’t have an engineering background.

For example, if you were building a support column for a highway overpass, you might think the base needs to be the sturdiest part, but the planners of this construction project in Yokohama beg to differ.

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New Sailor Moon clothing line for Tokyo department store may be the most stylish and elegant yet

Last month, we took a sneak peek at some of the fashion items set to go on sale this month when Tokyo department store Isetan opens its limited-time boutique of high-class Sailor Moon apparel. February’s announcement was filled with girlish purses, wallets, and watches, and with just days to go before the store opens, the lineup of new Sailor Moon clothing has been revealed, as well as the three brands participating in the collaboration.

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Lucky Mari-chan: This fantasy-like proposal is so heartwarming it’s almost hard to watch 【Video】

Are there really any men out there who would arrange a surprise proposal like this? This video we discovered could well be the greatest proposal we’ve ever seen – it’s almost too cool to watch.

Check out how Mari-chan’s man popped the question – using everything from a dance routine to a holographic projection of his own head – after the jump.

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Ironically, only people with poor eyesight are said to be able to see this optical illusion

As a teenager, I held off on getting glasses for as long as I could, only caving once the DMV told me I’d be a danger to myself and others behind the wheel without them. Up until then, I’d figured everyone saw the world as I did, that is to say that everything became blurry and indistinct at about the distance I could accurately throw a baseball (and I was a football player, by the way).

Wearing glasses for the first time, I was amazed by how much detail I could see in the world around me. I could see the individual leaves on trees, for example. But as great as all the details that come with naturally good or corrected vision are, there’s apparently a tradeoff, as shown by this optical illusion that’s said to only be visible if you have poor eyesight.

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New “peach and berry tart” Crispy Sandwich from Häagen-dazs makes spring debut

The weather is finally getting warmer and the cherry blossoms are starting to peek out here in Tokyo. So naturally, we’ve started planning all the snacks we’re going to much on during our cherry-blossom viewing parties and picnics.

We’ve already staked out some room in our tummies for Magnolia Bakery’s cherry blossom cupcakes, but we have to consider our ice-cream needs, too. For portable snacking, Häagen-Dazs‘ range of Crispy Sandwich ice cream treats are always a great option. And, as luck would have it, they’re rolling out a special new flavour for spring: Peach and Berry Tart!

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Light-up Hikaru Skirt makes its Idol music video debut

The “wearable special effects” skirt project, “Hikaru Skirt,” made its big debut in the idol group Mōsō Collaboration’s newest music video, “Mahou no Juice” (lit. Magic Juice) on Sunday. The project’s website claims the skirt turns the “zettai ryōiki” (i.e. the “absolute territory” between where a girl’s skirt ends and her stockings begin) into “komorebi ryōiki,”or “territory where sunshine filters through the trees.” The members utilize the skirts’ different color options for each of their outfits.

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Enjoy your sushi with a dash of Star Trek flare with a U.S.S. Enterprise sushi set!

With the recent and unfortunate passing of the wonderful Leonard Nimoy and Harve Bennett (rest in peace you two), I’m sure Star Trek fans out there could use a lift right about now. So, we’d like to introduce to you this awesome sushi set designed after the U.S.S Enterprise, complete with warp-trail chopsticks!

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Sushi restaurant brings all the feels with commercial about dementia 【Video】

You wouldn’t think that bringing up the struggle of caring for a parent with severe dementia would be an effective sales technique, but sushi chain Gin no Sara has decided to go that route with this touching spot about what Alzheimer’s patients do remember.

I’m not sure if it will increase sushi sales, but boxes of tissues will definitely be flying off the shelves.

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Optical illusion, or mind game? Japanese website asks how many colors you see here

There’s a pretty standard progression that most people go through when they come across a optical illusion. Once the effect is revealed, you’re supposed to have a moment of disbelief, which gives way to wonder at the mysterious way our senses work, and a deeper understanding of and appreciation for how the complex human neurological system comes together.

Or, if you’re the stubborn type, you never get past the disbelief stage. If that describes your usual reaction, today you’re in luck, because it turns out there are actually two twists to this image making the round online in Japan, and possibly only one of them is intentional.

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First trailer for the live-action Attack on Titan movie just as smokin’ as the Colossal Titan

It’s been months since we’ve heard anything about the Attack on Titan live-action remake. Last we saw, the movie posters were just coming out, and they mostly just left us hungry for more.

But finally the first trailer for the movie has been released! There were some titanic expectations going into it, and so far the response has been… well, you can watch it and decide for yourself!

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Snack company Calbee recalls 140,000 tubs of Jagarico potato snacks for the weirdest of reasons

I love potato chips, don’t you? Except in the UK, where I’m from, we call them crisps because we already use the word “chips” to refer to those chunky morsels of potato commonly served with fish. Regardless, chips and crisps – whatever you want to call them – are totally delicious, and Japanese snack company Calbee has long since perfected the perfect marriage of both – their crispy “Jagarico” potato chips, which are shaped exactly like french fries. (Or chips. Wait. I’m getting confused.)

Anyway, Calbee has caused a bit of a scandal by issuing a product recall for approximately 140,000 tubs of their yummy snacks which they feel are not fit for human consumption. But what exactly is wrong with them?

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Japanese illustrators’ Pokémon mashups are probably the coolest thing you’ll see all week

Japanese users of Twitter have an instant advantage over English speakers, because the Japanese language is much more efficient in its use of characters. Take the word “book” for example. Write “book” in a tweet, and you’ve used up four of your characters. In Japanese, however, the word for book (本 “hon”) only takes up one character, so a 140-character tweet written in Japanese gives quite a bit more breathing space to the writer.

This, combined with the fact that Japanese doesn’t have spaces between words either, means the wonderful world of Japanese Twitter has another feature that’s not so common among English-language users: absurdly-long hashtags, like #1番目にリプがきたポケモンと2番目にリプがきたポケモンをフュージョンさせる (“reply to this with Pokémon and I’ll make a mashup combining the first two”), the hashtag being used by Japanese illustrators on Twitter recently. The results are glorious visual mashups of our favourite Pokémon – with some other shows’ characters sneaking in too.

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Drew Barrymore arrives in Japan, begins quest to eat all of Tokyo’s delicious food 【Photos】

We recently looked at a commercial in which model Miranda Kerr gives in to the temptation of a mouth-watering tonkatsu pork cutlet lunch. Kerr isn’t the only celebrity with a craving for Japanese cuisine, though.

Drew Barrymore is in Japan right now, and while we’re sure she’s got some sightseeing and interviews on her schedule, what she seems most fired up about is the food, as the actress looks to be on a mission to sample all that Tokyo has to offer her taste buds, from cheap ramen joints to Michelin-ranked fine dining.

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Japanese Netizens (and the rest of the world) confused by America’s imperial measurement system

Last year, one of our Japanese reporters went on an extended visit to the United States. While he had plenty of nice things to say about the country, he also had some complaints, and, as an American myself, I can’t really say that I blame the guy. Having to drive literally everywhere unless you live in one of maybe three specific cities is a major hassle and a huge drain on your budget, certain services seem staffed entirely by people who are barely even aware of your existence or what’s going on more than a few inches on either side of their smartphone, and yes, the police are a little on the brutal side and drunk on their own power a lot of the time no matter how you slice it (annnnnd… now I’m on an NSA watchlist. Hi, guys!).

But, there’s one complaint our reporter had that I just can’t relate to: how crazy America’s systems of measurement are.

I mean, I grew up with feet, inches, pounds and whatnot, so I can’t really speak to our reporter’s profound confusion. Is it really so bad? We had to find out, so we donned our troll-proof vests and dove deep into the smelly, dark recesses of 2chan to see what other Japanese Netizens thought of America’s wacky measurement systems:

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Japanese teens dress differently from usual for graduation; people freak out, call police

Since the Japanese school year starts in April, graduation ceremonies usually happen around mid-March. There are tearful speeches, young adults dressing up in traditional graduation outfits, and of course only the most heartfelt thanks and gratitude given to teachers, parents, and everyone else in the community.

But not in Okayama City. For the past few years there’s been an unofficial tradition of the recent middle school graduates gathering outside Okayama Station and wearing *gasp!* long jackets. And not just that, but they’re wearing them in different colors! The horror was so much that police officers were immediately dispatched to keep an eye on all the horrible delinquents.

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Drive ‘em wild with flame-grilled beef scented perfume! Just be careful not to get eaten alive

April Fools’ Day, every prankster’s favorite event of the year, is just around the corner, but what kind of amusing tricks will we see this year? Fast-food chain Burger King seems to be well prepared already, announcing a delicious meaty smelling perfume for their burger-loving customers, to be sold exclusively on April 1.

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