I remember one time I had a pet frog (I named it Cyrax because Mortal Kombat was big at the time. Also, robots are cool), and I went to great lengths to pamper it even though I knew, even in my tiny child brain, that my frog was a barely sentient creature that was only vaguely aware at best of some otherworldly giant hand reaching out to annoy it from time to time.
I’m able to relate this story to people without shame because a) I was a kid, and b) the frog was at least a real, tangible creature of some measurable amount of intelligence.
These super committed anime geeks, however, have no such excuse.
- Philip Kendall
Say hello to your newest recurring nightmare, kids!
Held in Miyako-jima, one of the smallest of the Okinawa Islands, Paantu is a centuries-old festival which takes place during the ninth month of the Chinese calendar each year. During the festival, groups of men are elected to dress as the paantu, evil spirits covered from head to toe with mud and foliage, and are given the task of driving out demons and cleansing the island of bad luck.
Of course, like any good festival involving involving mud-covered monsters, this also means scaring the life out of small children…
The other day, I woke up and immediately had a craving for sushi. In and of itself, that’s not really anything remarkable, since “Man, I could really go for some good sushi,” is one of my first fully formed thoughts on just about any given morning.
Not one to deny my heart its truest desires, I headed to Tokyo’s Tsukiji, home of the world’s biggest seafood market and some of Japan’s best sushi restaurants. I ducked into one and polished off a bowl of sliced tuna and salmon, and, still wrapped in the lingering effects of my food coma, went for a rambling stroll around the neighborhood.
Since I wasn’t looking for food anymore, my eyes ended up being drawn to a shrine I’d never noticed before. I stepped onto the grounds, where I found a monument to the souls of all the fish whose lives supply Japan with sushi.
- Casey Baseel
4 days ago
Nowadays, whenever we want to access to the vast wealth of knowledge humanity has amassed, all we have to do check Google, Wikipedia, or the RocketNews24 search box. But long ago, you had to go to a place called a library.
With an Internet search engine you can just type in what you’re looking for, but simply scrawling, say, “history of feudal Japan” on the wall of the library will not only fail to provide you with the information you seek, it’ll probably get you thrown out of the building. Instead, you’ve got to utilize a system of numbers used to organize written works. While the U.S. has the Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress Classifications, Japan has its own framework, called the Nippon Decimal Classification.
For modern youths, though, having to look up books by a numeric code feels extremely cumbersome and inefficient. So how do you get young readers excited about using the Nippon Decimal Classification? By anthropomorphizing it as a team of cute anime characters. , of course!
Sep 24, 2014
Earlier in our thankfully extremely sporadic series, “Oh Boy, That’s Pretty Racist,” we covered a Japanese “comedian” (I use this term loosely) who posted Vine videos as a poorly acclimated Indian guy living in Japan, complete with racist accent and affinity for curry, of course.
For our second installment, we have a Japanese woman living in Taiwan explaining the reasons people should choose Japanese women over Taiwanese women using broad cultural stereotypes that at best unfairly pigeonhole Taiwanese ladies, and at worst are outright false. Let’s take a look:
Sep 24, 2014
If you’re an Apple fanboy living in Japan, you may have noticed – while waiting in a ridiculously long line for your latest gadget – that there was a huge number of Chinese nationals waiting in line along with you.
That’s because, for the last couple of years, heading out to other countries to buy up the latest Apple products and sell them for a profit back in China has become a popular pastime for China’s more enterprising scalpers.
But this year, when Apple stores unexpectedly sold out of the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 + before lines could dissipate, things got a little out of hand with the remaining Chinese customers, who reportedly stormed at least one Tokyo-based Apple store and wrecked the place – in addition to leaving piles of garbage out on the streets. Which would not have gone down well had it not been for the actions of one man.
Something many visitors to Japan notice is the abundance of overhead power lines. Whether you’re in the suburbs, city center, or even rural communities, it’s rare to look up at the sky or towards the horizon without the view being crisscrossed by thick, black cables.
So why does Japan have so many above-ground power grids when so many other countries have gone subterranean? The easy answer is cost, but there’re also some purported advantages to stringing cables up on poles, and the country hasn’t quite reached a consensus on which is the better option.
These days, cosplay functions as a 40 billion yen (US$390 million) industry and has a large impact on Japan’s economy. Now, before moving on, please allow me to clarify that ‘cosplay’ to Japan does not only refer to people dressing up as anime and video game characters, but includes all manner of live action, Western, original characters, nurses, maids, and so on. Virtually any costume worn for fun is considered cosplay over here. So what kinds of special services are available to avid cosplayers in Japan? And how are cosplayers themselves making the most out of this bountiful, infinitely tolerant environment? Read More
- Casey Baseel
Sep 18, 2014
In a lot of ways, romance is a toss of the dice. There’s a long checklist of items you want to be compatible on before making a relationship permanent and tying the knot, but you’ll cross the threshold for the initial spark long before that. The only way to know if the person you’re attracted to is legitimate marriage material is by going on dates and spending time together, and sometimes the potential we see early on doesn’t pan out, which is why so few people end up married to their junior high school sweetheart.
Of course, sometimes luck is on your side when you roll the bones, and for some people their first love is also their true one. A recent survey revealed just how often this happens in Japan, as well as a few other statistics about Japanese chances for love.
- Casey Baseel
Sep 17, 2014
There are two paradigms you can aim for in designing a car. One is a great vehicle, accelerating, turning, and braking with speed and precision. The other is a great living or hotel room, with stylish interior appointments and spacious seating.
The owner of this van is obviously in the second camp, and has modified his ride so that it doesn’t look anything like a car on the inside, but rather a Japanese inn on wheels.
- Casey Baseel
Sep 12, 2014
Earlier this month, we talked about Japanese artist Akira Nagaya. An expert in kamikiri, the art of crafting intricate paper cutouts, Nagaya first caught our eye with his takes on classic anime icons such as Totoro, Son Goku, and Pikachu.
Japanese animation isn’t Nagaya’s only inspiration, as we can see in his other creations that capture the delicate beauty of nature and the changing of the seasons.
If you happened to be in Japan this week, you may have noticed rather a lot of rabbit-themed goods, particularly sweets. Not to worry, the Japanese haven’t gotten their dates for Easter spectacularly wrong, these lapine lovelies are part of otsukimi, a tradition celebrating the harvest moon.
Sitting down to a traditional Japanese meal is made even more special by those little sticks you’ll have to manipulate to get the food to your mouth. However, for fork-loving westerners, using chopsticks, or hashi as they’re called in Japanese, can be downright frustrating when all you want to do is sample the local cuisine, not wear it on your shirt. But while you’re skewering your tempura and twirling your udon (PS – don’t do that), be sure to take a few seconds to appreciate that little tool propping up your hashi. From simple to completely bizarre, there’s a chopstick rest to suit any style in Japan.
Sep 5, 2014
A decade or two ago, the big Japanese food export that everybody raved about was sushi. Sushi joints cropped up all over the place, with the more authentic places employing highly skilled Japanese chefs slinging expertly crafted sushi at exorbitant prices. In places like New York City, sushi was the go-to food if you wanted to eat out but keep it at least a little on the healthy side.
Then, Westerners apparently took a look at all the diet food in their grocery stores and bland sandwich wraps in their food trucks and decided to revolt. Suddenly, wraps, sushi and other healthy foods were replaced with cronuts, cupcakes, “all the bacon and eggs you have,” and, of course, ramen. Delicious, fatty, greasy ramen quickly replaced sushi as the hip Japanese food and Westerners are willing to pay top dollar for it.
Of course, some Japanese (primarily the slightly feral citizens of 2chan) argue that, for all the money they’re shelling out, Westerners couldn’t pick out a truly great bowl of ramen to save their lives. So, 2chan was unsurprisingly amused when Reddit user lemonpls posted to a foodie subreddit that he’d found the greatest bowl of ramen he’d ever had in his life… at a common fast food chain in Tokyo.
Sep 3, 2014
Osamu Mukai is a well-known drama and commercial actor in Japan, best known for playing heart-throb types on prime time TV. He also apparently does not speak English or pay much attention to his fashion choices, as a recent appearance on what seems to be a typical Japanese evening talk show proves.
While the majority of the Japanese audience probably had no idea what the English on the actor’s drab green T-shirt meant, one eagle-eyed Twitter user seems to have noticed, and thus immortalized, Mukai’s unfortunate fashion choice for the world to see.
File this one under things we hope don’t fall into the wrong hands: Those Women Only train cars in Japan aren’t actually enforceable under the law.
All foreign men in Japan can recount their first harrowing experience of obliviously stepping onto a train, only to find that literally every single other passenger was a woman. There’s a moment of confusion and, if you’re lucky, a good Samaritan politely explaining that wieners don’t belong here, followed by the terrible realization that you’ve broken not only an official rule set forth by the train company but also an unwritten social rule, which is kind of almost worse. But, from here on out, you can rest assured that even though you’re committing a social taboo, you’re not breaking any laws!
If you are a brain surgeon trying to get a side job flipping burgers at a fast food joint, you’re more than likely to be called “overqualified” and sent packing; yes, even if you really have a passion for perfecting the ultimate burger flip. Your services are clearly required elsewhere, despite your dreams of being Employee of the Month. But being overqualified for sports isn’t something most athletes generally have to worry about blowing back on them.
Unless, apparently, your sport is Japanese high school baseball, as one especially talented and furiously base-stealing Gunma Prefecture player learned recently.
The idea of living in a high-rise condo in downtown Tokyo makes for a nice daydream. Between the high cost of housing and the inescapable hustle and bustle of Japan’s capital, though, when it comes time to actually pick a home, many people decide they’d rather live in one of Japan’s other cities, or one of Tokyo’s suburbs at least.
Underlining this trend are the results of a survey by newly formed magazine Aene which asked Japanese housewives which town they’d be happiest living in. Central Tokyo failed to crack the top 10, although the number-one pick isn’t too far away from the capital.
There are a lot of things that surprise newcomers to anime. Why are the characters’ eyes so big? How come everyone has funky hair colors? What’s up with all the panty shots?
A lot of those have simple answers. The giant eyes are an influence from legendary manga artist Osamu Tezuka, who was in turn inspired by classic Disney designs. Anime artwork uses a relatively small number of lines in drawing faces, and a large palette of hair colors is a quick and easy way to differentiate otherwise similar-looking characters. Male anime fans in Japan are extraordinarily open about their love of undies.
With those questions out of the way, let’s take a look at something a bit less cut-and-dried: Why are there so many anime characters with non-Japanese names?
- The top 10 instances when Japanese people feel thankful to be Japanese1
- 61 more images of cosmetic surgery from South Korea2
- The awesome Soccer Samurai is back, and this time he’s fighting ninjas in Manchester 【Video】3
- Expat’s video “Our Japan” beautifully captures why we love it here4
- Three reasons to sleep with a huggy pillow (that have nothing to do with an anime crush)5
- Teen job hunter learns: Do not screw around at an interview with McDonald’s Japan6
- Tokyo ice cream stand’s colossal eight-flavor cones might be the biggest we’ve ever seen7
- Chinese writer thinks Doraemon is a sinister affront to China8
- Kabe-zubo! Kabe-zun! The unexpected, highly intense versions of Kabe-don are here!【Photos】9
- We troll a scammer online, make him wish he’d never tried to take our money10
- 61 more images of cosmetic surgery from South Korea1
- Artist turns innocent Disney princesses into flirty pin-up girls2
- We troll a scammer online, make him wish he’d never tried to take our money3
- Japanese women reveal their methods of raising a guy’s bedroom technique4
- Japanese illustrated cookbook teaches you how to cook “mother and daughter”【Photos】5
- The ugly truth of goukon, Japan’s group blind dates6
- Tokyo hamburger vending machine has a human touch7
- Chinese cadet is beautiful enough to make you want to join the army8
- Ghibli anime inspires beautiful cosplay from across the seas 【Photos】9
- The 30 most ‘romantic’ lines that women want to hear (well, according to the Japanese internet)10
- School textbook is withdrawn after “teacher” on the front is recognized as Japanese adult video star1
- Artist turns innocent Disney princesses into flirty pin-up girls2
- Surgery, diet, and sunscreen transform heavy, swarthy Thai boy into slender, tan-free lady3
- 61 more images of cosmetic surgery from South Korea4
- Lifehack: Transform a Starbucks paper bag into a fully functional wallet!5
- Scholars confirm first discovery of Japanese sword from master bladesmith Masamune in 150 years6
- Ten-year-old boy cuts construction worker’s lifeline because noise was interrupting his cartoons7
- Japanese actor’s unfortunate choice of t-shirt has net users amused, doubting his English ability8
- You’re in for a big surprise if you fall for this bikini wearing DJ’s sexy poster!【Photos】9
- Chibatman called in by police, receives their official approval10
- Nailed it! The shape of your nails may reveal the type of person you are!1
- “Mom’s 1st Birthday” – Try to get through this video without tearing up【Video】2
- School textbook is withdrawn after “teacher” on the front is recognized as Japanese adult video star3
- Artist turns innocent Disney princesses into flirty pin-up girls4
- 6-year-old boy vowed to marry his childhood sweetheart, really marries her 18 years later5
- Ten-year-old boy cuts construction worker’s lifeline because noise was interrupting his cartoons6
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker7
- 61 more images of cosmetic surgery from South Korea8
- Surgery, diet, and sunscreen transform heavy, swarthy Thai boy into slender, tan-free lady9
- The clever way Japanese drivers thank each other without saying a word【Video】10
- Teen job hunter learns: Do not screw around at an interview with McDonald’s Japan
- Tokyo ice cream stand’s colossal eight-flavor cones might be the biggest we’ve ever seen
- Chinese writer thinks Doraemon is a sinister affront to China
- Kabe-zubo! Kabe-zun! The unexpected, highly intense versions of Kabe-don are here!【Photos】
- We troll a scammer online, make him wish he’d never tried to take our money
- The ultimate spork that’s just for eating ramen
- Tokyo Disney Resorts to introduce plethora of new attractions for 2015
- See Studio Ghibli film characters recreated in 3-D perfection at special exhibit in Seoul
- On living in Japan: Five essential essays from the internet, the greatest library on earth
- Not all of the Fullmetal Alchemist anime accessory line is metallic, but it’s all awesome
- Miyako-jima’s Paantu Festival: Traumatizing small children to bring them good luck
- “Bye-bye!” Chinese flying doll works a little too well, becomes one-use toy 【Video】
- Police officer arrested for assaulting 2 train station attendants in Saitama