Smartphone GPS system lets you bring your favorite anime voices along for the ride

Almost none of the streets in Japan have names, and even when they do, civil planners are pretty haphazard about putting up signs to let you know what they are. As a result, it’s hard to get anywhere in a car without a GPS system guiding you.

But after enough time behind the wheel, you might find yourself getting bored of the default voice chirping out you to “make a right turn in 30 meters.” So if you’re feeling a little burned out on your navigation system, or nabi as it’s known in Japan, now might be the time to update it with the voice of Evangelion’s Asuka, Attack on Titan’s Arumin, or one of dozens of other available anime characters.

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Kansai and Kanto prove again that they are each distinct regions when it comes to food

Tokyo and Osaka are only about 2.5 hours away by bullet train, so perhaps you wouldn’t think they’d be that different. But while Kanto (Tokyo, Yokohama, Chiba) holds the image of a glittering metropolis, Kansai (Osaka, Kyoto, Nara) is full of the old, historical aspects of Japan. The most commonly cited difference is the dialects of the two regions. For example, dame in Kanto-ben is akan in Kansai-ben, both meaning something like “wrong, no good.”

So when Japanese people were polled about their food habits, it wasn’t so surprising that the two regions answered very differently.

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On living in Japan: Five essential essays from the internet, the greatest library on earth

Ten years ago, I used to read a lot of books. Now, I read a lot of content, which is to say, blogs and online articles. But when I read something that sticks with me, even for a fleeting moment, I still want to reach for a highlighter and shade the words fluorescent yellow, so I can find that part again later. And I’m not alone in my instinctive response to treat the digital word in the same way I do printed material. There’s a reason browsers still call it a “bookmark” when we save a webpage.

There are all kinds of great English-language blogs about Japan out there. But there are also a number of stand-alone articles that, over the years, I’ve read again and again – and they still make me want to grab my highlighter and start collecting quotes. I’ve put them together into this short list, which we may think of as a small (highly subjective) foreigners-living-in-Japan canon: seminal pieces of writing from around the internet.

Some of these are very long. Some are controversial. All of them have stayed with me for some reason or another, and maybe they’ll stick with you too.

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The 30 most ‘romantic’ lines that women want to hear (well, according to the Japanese internet)

OK, ladies: imagine you’re taking a moonlit walk with the object of your affections. Or maybe you’re dining at a fancy restaurant with your dream date, or cuddling together on a blanket in a field with no one else in sight. All of a sudden, your crush leans in close, looks deeply into your eyes, and whispers, “You’re mine.” What do you do?

If you’re the type who would immediately blush and feel your heart beating at a quickened pace, you’ll probably enjoy the following list of 30 things women want to be told. The list has recently been circulating around Japanese social media sites recently, leaving sparkly, flower petal-filled puddles of shojo manga sappiness oozing in its wake. If, however, you’re of a slightly more cynical disposition, you should also enjoy the compilation, but instead for its value to induce a good chortle.

Don’t worry, because whichever type you are, we promise not to judge!

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New Nintendo 3DS ad flaunts the incoming console’s spiffy new features 【Video】

With just a few weeks to go until its launch in Japan, Nintendo has begun streaming an introductory ad for its new, analogue nub-toting 3DS.

Check out the video in full after the jump.

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Small hands? Japanese Twitterer gets creative and makes handy case for the wider iPhone 6

We are well aware of the lengths Apple fanatics go to for their devices, and while waiting in line for 48 hours may make for some precious memories, one fan’s devotion gave rise to something quite tangible and utilitarian. Whether you have small hands or inherited stubby fingers like Lisa Simpson, check out the clever case Japanese Twitterer and sound engineer Gusoh came up with so that he could still easily manipulate the larger iPhone 6 with one hand! That leaves the other five digits free for, say, coffee or an iPod Touch? (I’m sure you’ve seen these busy people on the train, right?)

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Kamishibai — the precursor to manga and anime?

When I first came to Japan, I noticed students using story boards frequently at school. They drew pictures on cardboard with crayon or marker, to assist in skits, plays and telling Japanese folktales. Story boards were especially helpful in English classes because the illustrations helped the audience understand the less-than-perfect translations from Japanese to English. Furthermore, the students could write their translations on the back of each board and narrate rather than memorizing it in English first.

Little did I know that what these students were doing was performing an updated version of a traditional Japanese storytelling format called kamishibai, believed to be the precursor to Japan’s manga and anime.

Find out where Japan’s first superheroes came from and which manga and anime started with from this original, unassuming art form called kamishibai.

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Rice cooker oden: Quick, cheap, and delicious

Between rising sales tax and the dropping value of the yen, prices are on the rise for food in Japan. That puts us in a bit of a bind, since food is one of our favorite things to buy, along with swell stuff like shelter and clothing (although if you’re a work-from-home Internet writer, you can sometimes get away without that last one).

Thankfully, we recently found a way to make a delicious, hot meal that’s also dirt cheap, by tossing the stewed vegetable contents of a pack of oden from 7-Eleven into our rice cooker.

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Sad 3DS user wants Gamecube peripheral for Smash Brothers, genius tinkerer provides

There are few things in life more competitive than Super Smash Brothers (and, like, hot dog eating contests with hamsters). So, even though you can now Smash Brothers on the go with the new 3DS version, truly competitive players don’t want to settle for the 3DS’s inferior, cramped D-pad and button layout.

A clever Japanese Twitter user recently openly dreamed of a better way to Smash Brothers on his 3DS by connecting an old-school Gamecube controller to the portable handheld and, shockingly, another even more genius Twitter user responded with a real-life prototype he made with plentiful engineering skills, his own two hands, and what appears to be a bunch of fresh spaghetti.

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The morning after: The trash-ridden aftermath of the iPhone 6 release in Hong Kong

The insane queues for the release of Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus were reported by media outlets around the world, but what fewer of them have picked up on is the aftermath of the hype, and what was left behind once Apple fans had got their mitts on the latest slinky gadgets.

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Swimsuit idols that you can date and marry

Pop idols exist in this strange space between reality and fantasy. While they are living, breathing individuals, they are set on a pedestal and rarely get to interact with people one on one. While groups like AKB48 may be tied to a certain location to serve as a symbol of pride for one area’s people, outside of meet and greet events, fans cannot really get to know them. Of course, the biggest taboo of all is for a pop idol and a fan to begin dating. But one brave group has decided to step forth from the binds of their image. Meet the members of the idol group Happening Girls. These four lovely ladies depicted here are unique in the idol community because they are allowed to foster relationships, date, and even marry their fans.

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Japanese flutist keeps her cool, plays beautifully even with a butterfly crawling across her face

Part of my job at RocketNews24 is providing English titles for the videos on our YouTube channel. So my knee-jerk reaction when stumbling across a clip, from a different source, with the title “flute performance butterfly stop the face” is to point out the capitalization and syntax errors.

But you know what? Full points to whoever thought it up anyway. That jumbled cocktail of nouns and verbs just about perfectly captures what would run through any of our heads if we experienced what the woman in the video did: a butterfly crawling around her face in the middle of an important flute performance.

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Ghibli anime inspires beautiful cosplay from across the seas 【Photos】

While the works of Studio Ghibli are widely loved in Japan, they exist in a sort of special realm outside ordinary anime fandom. Totoro, Kiki, and their kin may be universally respected, but they’re so much a part of the country’s shared pop cultural heritage that they don’t inspire the same sort of passionate, individual connection that you see with newer animated characters with a narrower target market.

Things are a little different in the west, though, where for many people, the films of Japan’s most hallowed animation are a more recent discovery. That new-found enthusiasm sometimes provides the spark of inspiration that leads to some amazing expressions of fans’ love for the characters, as shown in this collection of beautiful Ghibli cosplay.

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Little girl riding the subway in China threatens to kill older woman, bystanders gasp in disbelief

Most of us grew up being taught to respect our elders. In fact, this is one of the most fundamental values traditionally taught to Chinese children. But the video we’re about to see is a stark reminder that the times they are a-changing, and that even in China there are some real brats who think nothing of verbally abusing their elders.

Watch as this little Chinese girl threatens to kill the older woman after she apparently took a photo of her misbehaving onboard the train.

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Tokyo Prince Hotel delivers a hint of magic with Kiki’s Delivery Service suite and bakery

Halloween is still more than a month away, but Tokyo’s witch population has gone up by one with the DVD and Blu-ray release of the live-action Kiki’s Delivery Service. To celebrate, the Tokyo Prince Hotel is delivering a double dose of tie-ins with the main character of Eiko Kadono’s novel series and Hayao Miyazaki’s anime, in the form of a bakery selling Kiki-themed treats and a hotel suite decorated with props used by the actors in the film.

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People are getting into fights outside Apple stores because no one in China can buy an iPhone 6

Fights have broken out all over the world in the last couple of days in front of Apple Stores as people queued for the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

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Spotted in Japan: “Wild Bacon”

Sometimes when you’re hungry for a delicious, savoury treat, even regular bacon isn’t enough. Sometimes, you need WILD bacon.

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We road test the new Digital Image Stabilization on the iPhone 6 Plus – with a vibrator

Apple iPhone releases have been known to make people do crazy things. Whether it’s dressing as a blue slime and sleeping on the street for days or using your nipple to unlock your phone, there’s a sense of excitement and ceremony surrounding each new model that makes us want to push the boundaries and just have fun.

The latest release on the weekend was no different, and in our excitement to test out the much-anticipated ‘Digital Image Stabilization’ (DIS) on the iPhone 6, it seemed entirely sensible to line up two different models side-by-side and give them both a good shake. And how better to do that than by strapping them onto a vibrator?

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Get all powered up with these adorable Disney butts!

Nowadays, it seems everyone is surrounded by multiple electronic gadgets that need constant managing and charging. And we all know it can be a drag remembering to keep all those devices juiced up. Well, you might as well do the charging in style, right? In that case, these adorable USB power adapters may be just what you need to get the job done. Yes, our favorite friends from Disney have turned themselves into power adapters for your precious gadgets, but in this case, they’re keeping their faces hidden — and displaying their cute bottoms instead!

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Sleepy kitty snuggling with a stuffed animal is the most adorable thing you’ll see all day

Meet μ [the Greek letter mu], a four-year-old Scottish Fold female cat who enjoys all the typical feline hobbies of catnapping, meowing for treats, coughing up hairballs, and sitting down on your laptop while you’re trying to work. But μ has another hobby which is a bit more, shall we say, atypical in nature. Like many human children (and adults!), μ likes nothing better than to cuddle up with her favorite pink stuffed animal when she falls asleep!

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