It’s the year 2015, and you all know what that means: self-tying shoes, flying cars, hoverboards… and a visit from Marty, Doc, and Jennifer! While they weren’t supposed to arrive until October, sightings of the DeLorean in Akihabara lead us to believe that Marty McFly and the gang have changed their travel plans to make their appearance a couple of months early!
As a tiny island packed with millions of people, Japan knows all about the small things. From compact serving sizes to tiny houses on narrow streets, everything here is designed for convenience to help cope with the stress of overcrowding and the real possibility of stepping on someone else’s toes.
Now, as Japan throws itself into the 21st century, it’s looking towards the bigger things: its place in the wider context of Asia and the Pacific Region; the 2020 Olympics and, why not; gigantic girls.
Idol anime Love Live! and instant noodles? We’re not sure if that’s exactly a match made in heaven, but we imagine there are plenty of fans ready to get their hands on these instant noodles, especially since snagging a box of the instant noodles gets you a limited edition clear file!
So, sensing that they were going to have a hit on their hands, the Akihabara branch of anime and manga merchandise store Animate initially decided to offer their truckload of instant noodles at the stroke of midnight. They were drumming up buzz on Twitter…until there was a last-minute change of plans!
Time and time again we have professed the end of Naruto. While the original manga has certainly finished, there always seems to be something new for Masashi Kishimoto’s ninja clans. If you haven’t gotten your fill of Naruto yet with the new manga featuring Naruto’s son or the live-action theater production of the series, you should ninja run to the Adores building in Tokyo’s Akihabara. Their collaboration cafe is currently featuring the boisterous boy ninja and all his sneaky pals, but you better get there quick before the whole cafe ninja vanishes!
Akihabara is considered by many to be a holy land of otaku culture, and with good reason. From anime to electronics to maid cafes, there’s not much you can’t find here. You can even pay someone to clean your ears! Which, to this writer, sounds absolutely horrifying. The idea of a total stranger getting inside my ear canal and scraping out all the gunk is both gross and horrifying, mainly because I can’t stop imagining the ear cleaner slipping and driving the ear-pick deep into my brain.
And that’s probably exactly why the RocketNews24 editors chose me to try it out! If you’ve ever wanted to have a young woman lay your head in her lap and then scrape the wax out of your ears, here’s your chance to see what it’s like.
Even in a city as packed with people as Tokyo, some places, and times, are more crowded than others. So when and where can you find the largest, densest mass of humanity? Some would say the Yamanote loop line during the morning rush hour. Others would vote for Shibuya’s scramble crosswalk intersection on a Saturday night.
But before you go awarding the crown to either of those two candidates, take a look at the massive crowds that came out for the Kanda Matsuri festival last weekend.
Elections are a serious business everywhere in the world. In Japan, as election time draws near, huge boards go up around town where each local candidate has a square for their poster. (Also, since door-to-door canvassing is forbidden, they instead drive around with a loud-speaker at all hours of the day shouting about how great they are, which is totally not annoying at all.)
But don’t worry, this isn’t a boring politics post! Apparently not everyone takes the decision to stand as a candidate as seriously as they’re expected to.
Onigiri are the perfect Japanese snack food. Portable and (generally speaking) healthy, they consist of a small ball or triangle of rice containing one of a huge variety of fillings, wrapped in seaweed or coated with some kind of seasoning. While most of the onigiri you can buy at convenience stores here in Japan are probably filled and shaped by machine, it’s traditional to roll ’em yourselves by making a squeezing motion with your hands. And now you can combine your love of onigiri with your love of cute idol girls by heading down to “Galmusu”, a new cafe where, for a small fee, a cutie will squeeze your rice balls for you right in front of your eyes!
We sent one of our Japanese reporters to investigate this new form of edible performance art!
Oh, but before you read on, we should probably mention one thing: our reporter usually can’t stand anyone handling his food…
As the development of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset continues, software developers are experimenting with ways to utilize the new piece of video gaming hardware. Given Japan’s well-known accepting attitude towards dating simulators and other, more adult forms of electronic entertainment, it wasn’t such a huge shock that the country is already hard at work on Oculus Rift games that allow you to date, peep at, at straight-up paw anime-style virtual girlfriends.
But how about a VR application that feels incredibly Japanese without simultaneously being incredibly pervy? In that case, perhaps this simulated roller coaster ride on a revolving sushi conveyor belt through the Tokyo skyline is more your style.
Here at RocketNews24 we love a good April Fools’ Day yarn. But in Japan, April Fools’ Day still isn’t that popular, and there’s a clear difference between catching people out with a clever joke and deliberately trying to deceive and emotionally harm people.
One man who apparently doesn’t know the difference between a joke and lying maliciously managed to flood Akihabara with police after posting a particularly unfunny April Fools’ Day tweet threatening a sarin gas attack in the area.
Otoko no ko (男の娘) is a Japanese play-on-words for men who identify as men but wear women’s clothing. The term has really caught on in the past few years with some otoko no ko even becoming idol representatives. Some of our favorite Internet stars, including Sailor Suit Old Man and Ladybeard, have already captured our hearts, grizzly facial hair and all.
The newest otoko no ko making waves certainly looks even more like a girl, but still proudly identifies as a man. There is nothing wrong with that! Sofmap, a Japanese retailer of used and new electronics, doesn’t think so either. This beauty has already headlined the first ever Sofmap otoko no ko event that was held in Akihabara last month. So who is he?
For a time, shopping for electronics was just about the only thing to do in Tokyo’s Akihabara neighborhood. In recent years though, the area has gone through a renaissance, and it’s now packed with restaurants and cafes, too.
Of course, just because your feet are tired and your throat is parched doesn’t mean you’re ready for the excitement to stop. So if you’d like to mix some thrills in with your cafe time, how about stopping in for a drink or snack at a restaurant that’s sandwiched between the tracks of one of the busiest train lines in Japan?
Being the very heart of the anime and consumer electronics scene in Japan, it’s no surprise that Tokyo’s Akihabara neighborhood has Internet cafes where you can also read comics from a massive in-house manga library. But as nice as it can be to immerse yourself in all of the extremely important information available online, or to gorge yourself on a year’s worth of manga at a fraction of the price you’d pay to buy it, you might find yourself wanting to do so in relaxing, even traditional surroundings.
If so, a visit to the Nagomi-Style Cafe Akiba is in order, as it’s the only manga and Internet cafe in Akihabara designed with the look and atmosphere of a Japanese ryokan inn.
You might think that after Keanu Reeves’s 2013 movie 47 Ronin – very loosely based on the Japanese story Chūshingura – became the second biggest box office bomb ever, Japanese people’s opinion on the actor would go down a little bit.
Well, you’d be wrong! On February 11, Keanu Reeves was spotted just walking down the street in Akihabara like any other tourist, and he was instantly mobbed by fangirls and fanboys alike, each one clamoring for the best “Keanu selfies” that they could get.
For most of their patrons, a visit to one of Japan’s maid cafes comes after a tough day at the office, or maybe as a special reward at the end of a busy week. But if enjoying the cafes’ light fare and frilly costumes can come as a pick-me-up after some hard work, can’t it also provide the energy boost to kick-start your workday?
That’s the theory behind a new, limited-time maid cafe that’s opening up in Tokyo, where customers can bolster their spirits with a maid-made breakfast before heading out to tackle the day’s challenges.
Even in a country without Japan’s incredibly low rate of violent crime, the events that took place in Tokyo’s Akihabara on June 8, 2008 would have been shocking. Driving a rented truck, Tomohiro Kato, then in his late 20s, deliberately drove into a pedestrian area, only stopping and exiting the vehicle to continue his rampage by attacking still more victims with a knife. Seven innocent people lay dead, with another 10 seriously injured, by the time he was captured by police.
Kato was subsequently convicted and sentenced to death in 2011, a decision his lawyer appealed on the grounds that the punishment was unduly harsh. The Supreme Court disagrees, though, and as of February 2 has finalized the decision that Kato be executed for his crimes.
Just the other day, we brought you news of HACOSTADIUM, a photography studio equipped with over 40 backdrops to create all of your dream cosplay scenarios. But let’s take one step back now–just where are you supposed to design those fabulous costumes in the first place?
Introducing CosBox (コスバコ), a rentable room outfitted with all of your costume-making needs. It just opened this month in the Akihabara district of Tokyo, and its managers are offering some serious opening month deals. Whether you’re a diehard cosplay fanatic or are just breaking into the hobby, CosBox may be the perfect place to prepare for your next big convention!
Imagine yourself walking through the busy streets of Akihabara (or Akiba), Tokyo’s electronics and gaming haven (a.k.a. otaku central), when suddenly, a nerdy guy busts his way out of a dark alley and does a flip over a passer-by, with guards tailing him by only inches. Surprised? Welcome to “Akiba Stealth.”
In preparation for the November 20 Japanese release of the newest game in the Assassin’s Creed series, “Unity,” the creators, Ubisoft, came out with a promotional video, entitled “Akiba Stealth,” to get the attention of the Japanese fan base. The video is supposed to be a “real-life” Assassin’s Creed in Akihabara, lovingly dubbed “Ota-ssin’s Creed.” (Get it? Otaku + assassin… otassin. No?)
Akihabara has a well-deserved reputation as having Japan’s highest concentration of anime and video game shops, not to mentioned maid cafes. There’s one other thing it’s known for, though, and that’s weird vending machines.
And no, we’re not talking about Japan’s fabled panty vending machines, but rather automated sales of odd canned food. A few years back, Akihabara came to be known as the place to score canned bread. Next came the canned oden craze.
On a recent trip to the Tokyo neighborhood, however, we stumbled across something we’d never seen before when we spotted a vending machine that spits out hot cans of pre-cooked ramen.
With the highest concentration of anime and video game specialty stores on the planet, it’s pretty easy to go over-budget spending a day in Akihabara. But while some otaku might claim that Japanese animation is their lifeblood, eventually everyone needs to eat something.
So for everyone with a crying wallet and a grumbling stomach, a new restaurant has just arrived in the neighborhood, serving pasta to-go, starting at just 190 yen (US$1.88).