apps

Japanese Line users unleash their inner troll after popular messaging app gets hacked

Although still relatively unknown in the West, Naver Company’s Line is by far the most popular messaging application in Japan right now, with millions of active users. But when an app comes to be embraced by so many people, it’s often only a matter of time before someone with too much time on their hands decides to spoil the fun for everyone by hacking users’ accounts in an effort to make money.

Cases of Line accounts being taken over have been on the rise since May this year, with many people claiming to have received messages from both anonymous users and those already in their contact list, asking them to purchase pre-paid WebMoney cards and send a photo of the card’s number over to them so that they can claim it.

Thankfully, most Line users are bright enough to recognise a scam when they see it, and know exactly how to respond…

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Tonight vs Hotel Tonight – Did GREE just rip off one of America’s most popular hotel apps?

Smartphones and tablets improve almost faster than consumers can keep up with, and the apps designed for them change even more quickly. That means that there is a lot of opportunity for plagiarism. But surely sometimes it’s just a coincidence, right? It’s not out of the question that two developers could realistically be trying to fulfill the same need.

This week has brought us one more heated internet debate: Is hotel application Tonight by Japan’s GREE a rip-off of North American app Hotel Tonight, or are their similarities just coincidence?

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iPhone makeup app used to tart up family pets 【Photos】

If pets have any acquaintance with makeup, it’s usually one that involves eating it, not wearing it. But it you are dying to see what Fido or Frisky would look like dolled up for a big night out, you can use a photo app like Perfect365 to give them an extra pretty face.

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Six (and a half) essential resources for learning Japanese

As we’ve said before, Japanese isn’t actually as hard to learn as it’s often made out to be. Unlike English, for example, Japanese follows its own grammatical rules far more rigidly, pronunciation is easy because there is only one variant of each vowel sound to choose from (none of this tomayto/tomahto business), and it’s possible to create entire, perfectly meaningful and valid sentences without uttering a single pronoun or bothering to conjugate a verb.

Nevertheless, the language will not magically seep into you through a desire to speak it alone — you still need to encounter and study it as often as possible. With that in mind, we’d like to present to you the six and a half resources that no dedicated student of the Japanese language should ever be without. Oh, and the good news is some of them are completely free.

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Japan Self Defense Forces hoping to entice new recruits with… dancing avatar smartphone app

In our modern world, with the sometimes questionable motives of our political leaders and the abundance of often conflicting information available online, it’s perhaps not surprising that countries’ armed forces have a hard time finding new recruits.

While the United States Army opted to take a rather gung-ho approach to recruitment by releasing a free-to-play tactical first-person shooter video game in the form of America’s Army, Japan – who, following its defeat in World War II, is permitted only to have “Self-Defense Forces” that remain on Japanese territory – has its own methods of rallying support and enticing potential new recruits. Its latest recruitment drive, for example, is so fantastically quirky that is positively screams “Japan”.

Say hello to the JSDF “cheerleading shout” app that allows future soldiers, sailors and pilots to take selfies and insert them into Mii-like avatars that dance around when special augment reality (AR) cards are scanned.

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Playing with middle-aged men: What’s with the new rash of “oji-san” smartphone apps?

You might think that middle-aged is synonymous with uncool, but middle-aged men in Japan, or oji-san, are currently something of a hot item.

Young Japanese women find a certain type of dorky oji-san to be “totes adorbs, yo” and are driving a boom in oji-san-related goods, including quite a number of apps featuring cutely crotchety oji-sans. Here are a few we’ve recently discovered.

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Thank god: New app rewards prayer with free Wi-Fi

There’s already something pretty devotional about how often people check their smartphones, so why not take the next step to full-fledged worship? You never know what the gods of gadgetry might grant you. If you are using the new app called Internet Shrine, a prayer will get you free Wi-Fi.

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English grammar app makes us laugh, helps us learn with blindfolds, bondage and aliens

For Japanese people, studying English is almost a given. Even folks who may have no interest in actually leaving their home country may feel compelled to study the language for business or simply because they’re supposed to. But it’s hard to enjoy learning a language that you don’t have any interest in–and having fun is one of the best ways to facilitate learning.

This has opened up something of a cottage industry for people trying to make the learning part fun. There are nonsensical textbooks and sexy teachers, but then there are the college textbooks that seem like their authors weren’t even trying.

Well, for any Japanese English-learners who are on the verge of giving up – and perhaps for those of you struggling with learning Japanese – there may be one ray of hope still shining: Majime na Eibunpou, a surprisingly funny English grammar smartphone app!

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Run, fat boy, run! Moe cuties return to help men shed pounds in running app Burn Your Fat With Me 2

With Thanksgiving looming over our North American readers and the eatathon that is Christmas not far behind it, the folks at Creative Freaks are clearly worried about our waistlines. Following on from the success of last year’s Nenshou: Burn Your Fat with Me!! and July’s insult-you-until-you’re-slim-‘em-up Nenshou for Girls, the developer has just released a true sequel to the fitness app-cum-dating sim, taking a slightly different approach this time around.

If having abs of steel and not breaking into a sweat halfway through your evening meal aren’t incentive enough for you, perhaps dating a moe-style cutie and having her be your personal trainer each day will be enough to get you off your couch and into your running shoes?

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JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure creator’s pasta challenge to be held on upcoming Shonen Jump app

With the announcement by Japan’s premier manga magazine Weekly Shonen Jump regarding their highly anticipated smartphone app Jump Live, information has been coming out in drips and drabs about its features.

However, their most recent announcement has fans jumping for mild confusion: it’s a multimedia pasta cooking challenge between the creator of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Hirohiko Araki and creator of Assassination Classroom Yusei Matsui.

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Battery-saving app creeps us out, probably doesn’t save your battery life

The smartphone is perhaps one of the neatest inventions we have. They allow unprecedented access and communicative abilities—until the #$%& battery dies! What good is a five-inch screen with a quadcore processor and more gigs of ram than my last laptop if the battery is dead by noon? This has led to numerous power-saving methods, external batteries, and, of course, apps claiming to extend battery life. Today, we discovered one app that does a little more than just extend your battery life, it also creeps you out and makes you feel like a terrible pervert! Yah!

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Snapcat: Is your cat better at photography than you?

People the world over love to upload pics of their cute kitties, but with the help of this new app the cats could well end up taking the photos for you!

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Around the World with Your iPhone: Nine Convenient Apps for World Travelers

It doesn’t take 80 days to circumnavigate the world anymore, but we do have a host of new problems, like how to stay connected when overseas and outside of our smartphone carrier’s signal!

Well, a fun article popped up on Gizmodo Japan this weekend with nine great apps to have on your iPhone while traveling the world. Based on the author’s personal 3-month long journey around the world, there are lots of good recommendations! Unfortunately, some of these apps might not help you if you don’t live in Japan, but most of them will be useful for any world traveler. We’ve come up with our own alternatives where applicable.

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Under Its au Brand, Japanese Cellular Service Provider KDDI Unveils World’s Largest and Highest Resolution Smartphone

When he realized he’d primarily been using his smartphone in bed, Nemool Smith, an au product designer and chief hardware architect, wanted a more comfortable and rewarding user experience. Coming up blank in an online search for solutions, Nemool got an idea and decided to approach his bosses at KDDI and get their permission to design a radically new hardware platform he was sure would revolutionize the way people used their phones. The result has set the tech world abuzz, and has the potential to vault KDDI to the top of the global smartphone market.

Introducing the new au zzzPhoneBed by KDDI

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Prefect Your Navy Salute with Salute Trainer App, Comes with Engrish Instructions!

Here’s an awkward situation I’m sure we’ve all had to deal with at one point or another.

Your recently-divorced out-of-the-closet father with a thing for guys in uniform has begun bringing home high ranking military officials.

You want to show these officers and gentlemen their due respect, but every time you go to salute your lack of technique makes them look at you like you’re some kind of dirty hippy.  That scornful glare cast by a Rear Admiral as he flings on a feather boa is just the worst.

Luckily, the modern incarnation of the Japanese Navy, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) put together a free iPhone app and instructional video to teach the proper way to salute.  The iPhone app called Salute Trainer also measures your saluting ability in detail and gives you a score and military style ranking.

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Fitness Meets Cute Anime Girls in Exercise App, “Burn your fat with me!!”

The holidays are over, you’ve gained a few extra pounds, but you’re finding it difficult to start a workout routine after so many peaceful days spent lounging around. What you need is a workout buddy to help you stay motivated. Preferably a cute girl.

For those of you who don’t know any cute girls willing to get sweaty with you, Japanese indie developer Creative Freaks has you covered with Burn your fat with me!!, a fitness app/dating simulation game where players must workout in real life to impress a 2D anime love interest. 

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Can ‘Make Me Asian’ App Make Japanese People Look Asian Too? We Investigate

Recently a lot of Asian Americans are getting their pantsu in a bunch about an Android app called “Make Me Asian” that allows users to slant their eyes, yellow their skin and add other stereotypical Asian features to their photos.

Critics say the app uses dated and racist stereotypes that marginalize and humiliate Asian Americans. There is even an online petition asking Google to remove the app, which has nearly 3,000 signatures as of December 28.

Alright, so the Asian American community is clearly offended, but what do Asian Asians think of this app?

Well, they think it’s pretty fun, actually.

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【TGS 2012】Breast of the Show: the Gloops Booth Babes

I had never heard of Japanese social game developer gloops before attending Tokyo Game Show.

And even after spending a considerable amount of time at their booth, I still have absolutely no idea what their games are about because let’s be honest: how could you stay focused on a screen when you’re surrounded by the exposed chests and unbuttoned shorts of the gloops booth babes?

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【TGS 2012】 Brain Kiss or: How I Neuro-Cheated on my Wife at Tokyo Game Show

Now don’t get me wrong. I love my wife and wouldn’t trade her for anyone in the world. But my brain is telling me that I just met the girl of my dreams at today’s Tokyo Game Show, and how can you argue with your own brain?

She’s a booth girl at Brain Kiss, a “neuro-diagnosis” app for iOS that tests the compatibility of two people by analyzing their brainwaves.

All you need to do is put on a special brainwave-reading headset developed by NeuroSky and stare deep into the eyes of the person in front of you for 15 seconds. Brain Wave then presents you with your results, divided into five different “levels of affection.”

It sounds like a fun little app, but be careful who you use it with: if you’re like me, love may be staring your straight in the face.

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Annoyed by Buzzing Mosquitoes? A Smartphone App May Be the Answer to Your Problem

We’ve introduced some unique smartphone apps in one of our previous posts, but here’s one more unique app that’s caught our attention and may even be useful, if you believe what the developers say. If you’ve ever been annoyed by mosquitoes in the outdoors, and I believe most of us have at one time or another, then the Mosquito Buster app may be the solution to your pest problem. Yes, those small, buzzing blood-suckers can really be a pain, can’t they? But can a smartphone app really help you avoid mosquitoes? Well, the people at TABROID, a Japanese site that focuses on Android-related news and information, have apparently tested the app out in the field to see if it actually works. Read More

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