awesome

Expat’s video “Our Japan” beautifully captures why we love it here

Expat’s video “Our Japan” beautifully captures why we love it here

What’s great about Japan? Glad you asked, since we’ve got the answer in long form right here.

But if you’re pressed for time, this amazing video, in a little under four and a half minutes, will give you a beautifully condensed version of what makes Japan so special.

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The awesome Soccer Samurai is back, and this time he’s fighting ninjas in Manchester 【Video】

The awesome Soccer Samurai is back, and this time he’s fighting ninjas in Manchester 【Video】

Back at the start of summer, our jaws dropped to the floor as we watched what might be the coolest commercial for Nissin Cup Noodle instant ramen ever, in which a man dressed in samurai armor travelled to Brazil and wowed the people of the World Cup host country with his amazing freestyle football skills.

The Japanese national team turned in a less than impressive performance in the contest, though, failing to advance past group play. Would the disappointment over his countrymen’s early exit lead the soccer samurai to retire?

Not at all, as his second video finds the samurai with a new set of armor, new, European surroundings, and now a group of adversaries: ninjas!

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Tokyo ice cream stand’s colossal eight-flavor cones might be the biggest we’ve ever seen

Tokyo ice cream stand’s colossal eight-flavor cones might be the biggest we’ve ever seen

Tokyo’s Nakano Broadway is mainly known for its anime specialty shops, but that’s not all you’ll find if you make your way to each corner of the shopping center’s labyrinthine interior. Inside you’ll also come across an old-school video arcade, suit tailor, watch store, and painting workshop for tabletop role-playing game lead miniatures.

But what we’re talking about today is what awaits visitors in Nakano Broadway’s basement: just about the biggest ice cream cones we’ve ever seen.

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Awesome treehouse café in Yokohama satisfies our longing for bagels, beer, and nature

Awesome treehouse café in Yokohama satisfies our longing for bagels, beer, and nature

Not too long ago, I ate ramen from a can on a Tokyo backstreet. It didn’t taste half-bad, but between the barkers for maid cafes and the homeless guy raiding the surrounding vending machines’ recycling bins for cans, it really didn’t make for the most elegant dining ambience.

But the great thing about Japan is the contrasting extremes you can find, and if eating in the middle of Tokyo’s concrete jungle by the soft glow of neon signs isn’t to your liking, you can always come on down to Yokohama, which has a café with plenty of natural sunlight thanks to the restaurant actually being an awesome treehouse.

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Master Japanese chef’s knife skills turn cucumber into edible art in just three minutes

Master Japanese chef’s knife skills turn cucumber into edible art in just three minutes

Artists of different disciplines each have their own unique tools of the trade. A painter has his brushes and canvas, while a sculptor’s skills might call for a chisel and block of marble.

And a Japanese chef? All he needs to make beautiful, edible artwork is a cucumber and a kitchen knife.

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Mega Burger Pizza rises from its cheesy grave, available again for a limited time

Mega Burger Pizza rises from its cheesy grave, available again for a limited time

This year, one of our favorite Japanese monsters has returned. Gigantic and terrifying, we still can’t help but cheer at its reappearance, even as we realize it’s likely to destroy us.

Are we talking about Godzilla? No, our dark idol is far tastier: the Mega Burger Pizza.

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Japanese customer service: So amazing that employees will burst out of the walls to help you

Japanese customer service: So amazing that employees will burst out of the walls to help you

One of the most awesome things about Japan is that you can expect amazing customer service just about anywhere. With exuberant convenience store clerks and burger deliverymen who reimburse you for the phone call you placed your order with, you almost expect employees to come bursting out of the walls in order to serve you…and sometimes they do!

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11 Miyazaki films in 9 minutes – Fan’s incredible compilation is a love letter to Ghibli【Video】

11 Miyazaki films in 9 minutes – Fan’s incredible compilation is a love letter to Ghibli【Video】

Even though anime legend Hayao Miyazaki has been a household name in Japan for decades, his films are still a recent discovery for many foreign viewers. A common question from an enthusiastic newly formed Ghibli fan is to ask, “Which Miyazaki film should I show my friends and family to make them understand how amazing they are?”

It’s a tricky question to answer. For example, My Neighbor Totoro and Princess Mononoke are both incredible films that can evoke emotional responses far beyond what many adults expect from animation. The feelings the films stir, and the ways in which they do so, are extremely different though. It’s hard enough to pick one from just those two, let alone the 11 feature films for which Miyazaki served as director.

So perhaps the best plan isn’t to show the person you’re trying to convert one Miyazaki movie, but all of them, and thanks to one fan’s compilation video, it’ll only take nine minutes.

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Epic back-covering otaku tattoo is a veritable who’s who of ’80s and ’90s anime

Epic back-covering otaku tattoo is a veritable who’s who of ’80s and ’90s anime

Earlier this year, we came across a photo of an anime fan in Hong Kong and his back-covering tattoo of his 2-D crush, Love Live’s Nozomi Tojo. Impressive as it was, though, we couldn’t help but be a little concerned over his exact choice of large-scale body art.

While the Love Live franchise has exploded in popularity, with multiple games, anime and manga, the whole thing only got its start in 2012. No matter how much that guy thinks he loves Nozomi-chan now, isn’t it still a little too soon to be making such permanent declarations of his affections?

Wouldn’t it be wiser to wait a few years to make sure his feelings are genuine, like the other otaku who just got his back inked with over a half-dozen of anime’s biggest heroes from the late ‘80s and early ‘90s?

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Pics of Pikachu packs from a day of Pokémon hunting in Yokohama【Video】

Pics of Pikachu packs from a day of Pokémon hunting in Yokohama【Video】

A few weeks ago, the handlers of the Pokémon franchise announced the Pikachu Tairyou Hassei Chu, or “An Outbreak of Pikachus” event. First they brightened our day with a TV ad showing the adorable Pocket Monsters hanging out in a shopping mall. Then they teased us with a photo of the electrified rodents landing on the dock.

And now, they’re here!

We grabbed our cameras and went Pikachu hunting in Yokohama, and we were not disappointed. We were, though, almost completely paralyzed by the awesome overdose of cuteness that comes from a parade of a pack of 20 Pikachus.

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Amazing aquatic artwork transforms water into sky, aquariums into fantasy realms

Amazing aquatic artwork transforms water into sky, aquariums into fantasy realms

Compared to cats and dogs, fish do have a couple of undeniable drawback as pets. You can’t really play fetch with them or take them on walks, and while there’s nothing physically stopping you from holding a goldfish on your lap and petting it, the sight of it desperately flopping around makes it far less relaxing than petting a purring kitty.

That’s not to say fish don’t have anything going for them. For example, they’re far less likely to pee on the sofa or cough up a hairball than a dog or cat. Plus, since they live in the confined space of a tank of water, you can create amazing scenery for them, like these amazing artistic aquariums.

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Amazing highschool ninja ad has nothing to do with the product, everything to do with awesomeness

Amazing highschool ninja ad has nothing to do with the product, everything to do with awesomeness

We’ve no doubt all experienced that feeling of frustration when, right when things are getting good, our favorite TV show is interrupted by an ad break. We kick ourselves for getting suckered in, knowing full well that both the show’s makers and the networks that host it put the ads in where they did for good reason – to keep us glued to our sets that little bit longer.

But there are times when even the ads are so well made that they’re as entertaining as the shows we were watching. This new commercial for a Japanese soft drink, for example, is so cleverly shot that for the first few seconds we genuinely thought it was footage taken by a couple of high school girls tooling around in their classroom. Until, of course, they started back-flipping off buildings, sprinting across roofs and pulling every trick in the ninja book.

Sure, it has almost nothing to do with the product, but we think you’ll agree this is one of the coolest ads around.

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High schoolers’ epic stop-motion fight jumps between the third and second dimensions 【Video】

High schoolers’ epic stop-motion fight jumps between the third and second dimensions 【Video】

In Japanese schools, it’s the responsibility of students to clean the classrooms at the end of the day. But while some kids take this responsibility seriously, others are more interested in goofing off while their more earnest classmates do the majority of the work.

This has to be extremely frustrating. For example, imagine you just put in the time to diligently wash the blackboard, only to reach the end, turn back, and discover someone ruined your efforts by doodling over the section you’d already cleaned. You’d probably be pretty angry, right? But would you be so angry that you’d start a brawl that almost destroys the entire schoolhouse?

If you were the star of this amazing stop motion video, you would.

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Amazing time-lapse video turns Tokyo into a floating, endless metropolis

Amazing time-lapse video turns Tokyo into a floating, endless metropolis

Two features of Tokyo make an immediate impression on visitors. First is the sheer size of the teeming metropolis, as it seems to envelop you from all sides. Second is the otherworldly atmosphere imparted by its futuristic architecture, intricate network of crisscrossing train lines, and the fields of neon that come to life like blooming flowers after sundown.

These two characteristics have been captured, interpreted, and enhanced in an entrancing new video from Yokohama-based visual artist Darwinfish105 which gives the impression of floating through a Tokyo without borders or end.

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A hauntingly beautiful live performance of Ghost in the Shell anime music 【Video】

A hauntingly beautiful live performance of Ghost in the Shell anime music 【Video】

In science fiction, 25 years may as well be an eternity. The genre is littered with visions of the future that were initially compelling, yet suddenly felt overwhelmingly dated and dull just a few years later.

That said, it’s been a quarter-century since the first manga installment of Ghost in the Shell was published, and Japan’s most successful cyberpunk franchise is still going strong. Ghost in the Shell succeed where others failed because the story’s true focus isn’t on shiny, imaginary technology itself, but rather on the question of what it means to be human in a rapidly evolving society, and how an individual’s personal answer to that ties into the concepts of identity, free will, and interconnectedness.

Those are concepts mankind has grappled with for centuries, so it’s only fitting that this live performance of the anime’s most iconic piece of music feels at once both modern and ancient.

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Suntory’s awesome miniature ice versions of the Golden Pavilion, Statue of Liberty and more

Suntory’s awesome miniature ice versions of the Golden Pavilion, Statue of Liberty and more

Although I’m a man who can definitely appreciate the simple joys of knocking back a can of tasty beer in my living room, every now and again it’s nice to treat yourself to a drink at a classy bar. You know, the kind with soft lighting, a gleaming wooden bar top, and a vested bartender with an ice pick working a block into a classy orb to place in your glass of whiskey.

But as impressive as a nicely rounded sphere of ice may be, it can’t hope to match the visual impact of an ice version of Japan’s famous Golden Pavilion or the Statue of Liberty that you can drop in your glass.

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Awesome Korean airsoft park lets you live out your urban combat fantasies 【Video】

Awesome Korean airsoft park lets you live out your urban combat fantasies 【Video】

We’ve talked before about airsoft, and how the game that allows you to gun down your friends is ironically gaining seeing its ranks grow and grow in Japan. Unlike paintball, airsoft uses solid-state, BB-like ammo, so it’s a great way to unleash your inner remorseless 1980s action hero (or his gritty, 2010 reboot) without getting your fashionable combat fatigues stained with purple and orange splatters.

Most airsoft fields tend to be just that, fields out in the woods. But what if your combat fantasies are more Predator 2 than Predator, and you’d prefer an urban theater of operations? Is there a place where you can hunt the deadliest game: man?

Sure there is, at the Wanju Military Theme Park in Korea.

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Super (Saiyan) dad creates homemade Dragon Ball animation for his son’s birthday

Super (Saiyan) dad creates homemade Dragon Ball animation for his son’s birthday

We’ve officially found the world’s coolest dad…and he lives in Brazil! Animator Robson Menezes dos Santos began working on a special animation video last August for his son Rasdael’s 9th birthday on February 9. And let’s just say that the results will blow you away faster than if you got hit by a Kamehameha. He even got the official Brazilian voice actors to dub a special birthday message for Rasdeal! Be sure to watch this awesome birthday present yourself- it’s over 9,000 one million levels of coolness!!

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The best restaurant in Japan serves…French food and dirt soup?

The best restaurant in Japan serves…French food and dirt soup?

Hospitality Magazine recently announced its annually updated list of the 50 best restaurants in Asia. While the top prize went to Bangkok’s Nahm, Japan did snag the second and fifth place sports on the list.

But while Japan has a rich and complex cultural legacy all its own, its most highly ranked dining establishment isn’t a Japanese restaurant, but a French one.

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Soccer fan’s Attack on Titan parody is so awesome it got him a job 【Video】

Soccer fan’s Attack on Titan parody is so awesome it got him a job 【Video】

The other day, faced with another bleakly overcast, freezing cold day, we wife and I decided that the local video store was as far a trip as we were willing to brave the elements for, and came back with a stack of Attack on Titan DVDs. After watching a dozen episodes of the biggest anime hit in recent memory, the only time I’m not bugging her with my rendition of the show’s opening theme is when she’s singing it herself (thankfully, she does a much better job of staying on-key than I do).

There’s just something infectious about the show’s anthem, “Guren no Yumiya.” It’s helped its performers Linked Horizon get famous, thousands of fans get pumped up, and even one soccer fan get a job.

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