awesome

Awesome Akihabara restaurant sandwiched by busy train lines offers more thrills than a maid cafe

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?

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Time to quit your job – Company in Japan now hiring for the position of Ninja Master

Do you ever get a little down in the dumps immediately following a major holiday? The day after Christmas, for example, many people miss the goodwill and excitement they felt just 24 hours before.

That’s how we’re feeling right now, since we’ve got almost a full 12 months to wait until the next Ninja Day. Really, wouldn’t it be great if we could keep the spirit of Ninja Day in our hearts all year long?

Actually, there’s a way to do just that, as one company in Japan has put out an honest-to-goodness help-wanted ad for a ninja master.

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Want your mecha models to look amazingly realistic? Don’t stop at the robot – Make the buildings!

Whoa, hold on a second! We know Amazon Japan now sells giant robots, but we didn’t know someone else had made something this big! This mecha looks like it’s at least twice as tall (and three times as awesome) as the one offered by the online retailer. Don’t you need a permit to build something that huge?

Actually, the only legal paperwork involved in this photo was for model-making supplies, as that’s not a real giant robot, but a scale replica. What’s more, the way it appears to be standing with its head almost in the rafters of the structure housing it isn’t thanks to a mere trick camera angle, but rather the considerable skills of the modeller who also crafted a miniature hanger for his compact mobile suit.

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Kyoto’s amazing mechanized underground bike parking system is even more awesome in motion 【Video】

Compared to Tokyo, Japan’s former capital, Kyoto, is fairly compact. Most of the commercial development is clustered around Kyoto Station, with a ring of temples, gardens, and other historical sites surrounding the more modern parts of the city.

Kyoto is also relatively flat, and the grid pattern its major streets are laid out on makes it an easy town to get around by bicycle. Of course, Kyoto doesn’t want an unsightly mass of parked bikes marring the scenery and cluttering pedestrian walkways, which is why at one of the city’s major transportation hubs there’s a subterranean, automated bicycle parking lot, and if that sounds awesomely high-tech, wait until you see it in action.

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February 22 is Ninja Day, as these cosplaying civil servants at Koka City Hall just reminded us

Are you feeling bummed out that February’s two most high-profile holidays, namely Twin Tail Day and Valentine’s Day, are both already over and done with? Cheer up! While it may not necessarily tug at the heartstrings like February 2 and 14, what’s arguably the coolest holiday of the month is coming up this weekend.

That’s because February 22 is officially Ninja Day, and one town in Japan is helping people get into the spirit with a bit of shinobi-style cosplay at its city hall.

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Dual-wielding free thrower masters the game of arcade basketball 【Video】

There are all sorts of masters lurking in arcades around the world. We’ve seen quite a few in Japan, where taiko drum experts and claw game champions reign supreme. But if this video of a basketball free-thrower is anything to go by, Chinese game centers seem to have their own breed of skilled gamers. However, what makes the skills of the guy on the left, we’ll call him “Khaki Shorts,” all the more amazing is the fact that he’s making one-handed free throws with both his left and right hand four times faster than the other players.

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Hello Kitty goes to space in awesome junior high science experiment 【Video】

Fans’ love for Hello Kitty has taken her all over the word. Aside from her many enterprises in her native Japan, Sanrio’s most famous mascot has been at the center of ventures in the U.S., Taiwan, and China. You could even say the character’s popularity has reached astronomical proportions, just like Kitty-chan herself did when she made a trip into space as part of an awesome junior high school science experiment.

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See the dark side of the force in pure white with Snow Festival’s gigantic Star Wars sculpture

Last week, we took a sneak peek at the upcoming Sapporo Snow Festival by checking out an icy rendering of an idol trio from hit anime Love Live! Freaked out as we were by their unfinished yet crazed expressions, it turns out Umi, Honoka, and Kotori aren’t the most intimidating characters showing up at this year’s event.

That title goes to the massive snow sculpture of fallen Jedi Darth Vader, who rolled into the largest city in Hokkaido with the sort of backup that’d you’d expect from the Supreme Commander of the Empire’s space fleet.

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Flaptter flying machine from Ghibli’s Castle in the Sky brought to life!

If you’re a fan of Studio Ghibli’s films, you’ve probably noticed that director Hayao Miyazaki has a love for planes and all other manner of flying machines, which make numerous appearances in many of his movies. We’ve seen a Miyazaki creation come to life before with the construction of the glider called Möwe, as seen in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, but here’s one now for you Laputa: Castle in the Sky lovers – a real working Flaptter!

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Web series’ anime arsenal expands with real-life version of Kill la Kill’s Scissor Blade【Video】

You really have to respect the skills of the team behind Man at Arms and its successor Man at Arms Reforged. It was impressive enough when the web series’ blacksmiths were taking on projects as iconic or massive as The Legend of Zelda’s Master Sword or Final Fantasy VII’s Masamune. The craftsmen have since moved on to even more complicated designs, such as the gunblade from Final Fantasy VIII and Fierce Deity Sword from Majora’s Mask.

Now, Man at Arms Reforged is back with what might be its most unique creation yet, the Scissor Blade from cult hit anime Kill la Kill, made from materials as unusual as the school supply inspiration of the weapon itself.

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Burger Decision 2015! Which crazy Lotteria sandwich will you vote for to make a comeback?

Hamburger chain Lotteria has to walk a difficult tightrope. On the one hand, it’s got its reputation as the mad scientist of the Japanese fast food industry to uphold, meaning it needs a sizeable roster of unusual, outlandish, or just plain massive sandwiches on offer. On the other hand, in order to ensure each item has plenty of impact and novelty factor, the chain doesn’t want them hanging around on the menu so long that customers start to get bored with them or take them for granted.

As a result, most of Lotteria’s most interesting items are only available for a limited time, sometimes as short as a single day. But just in case you missed your chance to try one, Lotteria is bringing back just one of its special sandwiches from last year, and its letting fans decide which by tallying the number of Yahoo! searches for each of the candidates.

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KFC’s Double Down evolves into a fried chicken-wrapped hot dog in the Philippines

KFC launched its Double Down menu item in 2010, and after it sunk in that the fast food chain was serious about making a bacon and cheese sandwich with two pieces of fried chicken substituting for the bread, reactions were split between horrified and hungry. All agreed though that the decadent offering was in no way to be mistaken for a healthy dining option, and many commentators declared it the sort of thing that could only have been birthed in response to the extra-gluttonous fast food culture of the U.S.

Except it turns out that Americans aren’t the only ones who occasionally like to go crazy and stuff themselves with as much KFC-cooked meat as their mouths and stomachs can hold. The Double Down was also a sales success in Korea, and this week, KFC launched an evolved version in the Philippines called the Double Down Dog.

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Burn baby burn! The Shinto inferno of Japan’s Dondo Yaki ceremony

When entering the grounds of a Shinto shrine in Japan, it’s customary to first stop by the water basin near the gate and rinse your hands, and sometimes your mouth, in order to cleanse them. Water isn’t the only classical element held to have purifying properties in Shintoism, though, since the same can be said about fire.

Obviously, worshippers aren’t called upon to put fire on their palms or inside their mouths. Instead, Shinto priests light pyres of charms and decorations during the Dondo Yaki ceremony, with the towering blazes regularly reaching 15 meters (49.2 feet) into the air.

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Expat’s video says “Welcome to My Japan,” and you ought to take him up on the awesome invitation

I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who moved to Japan and stayed for exactly two years. Most of the study and work opportunities that initially bring people here are 12-month programs, and while plenty of people decide that’s enough Japan for them, most people who manage to adapt and thrive during that first year reup for an even longer stay.

One such example is Canadian Thomas Simmons, who’s now been in Japan for four and a half years and counting. Given the country’s relatively small geographic size, you might think that’s enough time to see everything, but as the powerful video Simmons created about his experiences so far shows, he’s just getting started with his life in Japan.

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With adult responsibilities looming, Japanese teen lets loose with epic Frozen chalkboard art

With winter break over, students in Japan are looking at a straight shot with no major breaks until the end of the school year in spring. For teens in their third and final year of high school, that means it’s almost time to take the big step of going off to college or finding a job, both of which mean probably having to cut back on silly hijinks.

That’s why when one Japanese 12th grader found an empty classroom, she couldn’t resist the temptation to let loose with youthful exuberance, especially since she knew it might be one of her last chances to do so. She didn’t take advantage of the lack of adult supervision to vandalize the school, though, but decided to beautify it with some awesome Frozen chalkboard art instead.

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Melon topped with ice cream: two great Hokkaido tastes in one crazily delicious package

Japan sure loves its parfaits, and while they all come with tasty toppings, the most highly regarded come crowned with fruit. But what if you turned the concept on its head, and instead took a piece of premium produce, then added a cone’s worth of ice cream on top?

You’d have our newest dessert infatuation: the fresh melon soft serve.

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Chibatman speaks! Costumed superhero addresses crowd at Chiba’s Coming of Age Ceremony【Video】

Last Monday in Japan was Coming of Age Day, the national holiday which celebrates everyone who’s reached the age of 20, and thus legal adulthood, during the past 12 months. 20 is also the drinking age in Japan, and while safeguards against minors getting boozed up are pretty lax in the country, many people decide to exercise their newly acquired legal right to get as tanked up as humanly possible, which probably had something to do with the childishly inconsiderate behavior and scuffles with the police that broke out during some of the festivities in Okinawa.

Not every part of Japan was marked with lawlessness that day, though. As a matter of fact, a coming of age ceremony in Chiba Prefecture featured a special appearance by Chibatman, who showed that he speaks Japanese in the same extra gravely voice heard in the English versions of his most recent movies.

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“100 Sizzling Japanese Maids in Action” video is less sexy yet more awesome than it sounds

Japan has a long-standing and highly publicized infatuation with maid outfits. As such, it’s really not much of a surprise that you can find a video on YouTube that bears the English title 100 Sizzling Japanese Maids in Action.

The 100-second video isn’t a contribution to Japan’s highly specialized pornography industry though. Rather, it’s an ad for something altogether less prurient, as its true theme isn’t so much “hot girls” as “hotcakes.” It is, nevertheless, extremely compelling viewing.

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Internet ready to shut up and take your money as preorders finally start for Cat Ear Headphones

Last summer, were you one of the many people who screamed “Shut up and take my money!” when we brought you news of the prototype cat ear-shaped headphone/speakers from recent startup AxentWear? If so, your harshly worded enthusiasm has been rewarded, as preorders have at last begun for the futuristically feline gadgets.

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Samurai tennis! Professional Kei Nishikori trades racquet for a sword in this awesome new ad

Last year, Nissin, makers of Cup Noodle instant ramen, created the awesome Samurai in Brazil ad, in which a soccer player clad in Japanese armor travelled to South America to show off his footwork to the locals. The company later caught up with the freestyle soccer expert in Europe with a sequel, Samurai in Manchester .

In its newest commercial, Nissin isn’t just switching venues, but sports, too, as Samurai in New York features one of the best tennis players in the world, who proves just how talented he is by leaving behind his racquet and delivering powerful forehands, backhands, and serves using a wooden sword.

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