Ms Misao Okawa, the woman recognised as the oldest living person on earth, has died in her nursing home, it was announced earlier today.
Whenever people ask me what I want to happen after I die, I always tell them I want a Super Mario-themed funeral where, at the end of the ceremony, the Mario death music plays and my casket is launched a few feet up in the air, then allowed fall down into the earth. I’ve always thought that would be a pretty cool way for friends and family to send me off, but the actual location of the funeral – or even really what happened to my body afterwards – has never been all that important to me.
Westerners have surprisingly little ritual when it comes to death. There’s usually a wake or a funeral, and then, if you’re lucky, every couple of years Solid Snake comes by to stand in front of your grave, look grim and deliver a two-hour monologue about the horrors of war. The Japanese, on the other hand, make a point to visit and pay respects to the dead every year through somewhat ritualized ohakamairi, so the location of your grave is an important thing to consider.
So important, apparently, that specialty online grave retailer Ohakamagokorokakaku (“ohakamago”) is considering offering a service to move the graves of loved ones, and recently conducted a survey among Japanese people asking: “Where would you most like to ‘live’ after death?”
The next time you sit down to enjoy a meal in a Japanese or Chinese restaurant, or perhaps this very evening when you open your kitchen cupboard at home, be sure to give your red-capped bottle of soy sauce a tiny salute. The designer of the now-iconic Kikkoman soy sauce bottle, Kenji Ekuan, has died at the age of 85.
Ah mochi, the delicious Japanese sweet. It can come in all different shapes and flavors, from the loveable daifuku with sweet bean paste filling, to hot zenzai soup with azuki beans and white mochi, to such delights as mochi ice cream and even chocolate cow poop mochi.
Since mochi is a traditional New Year’s treat in Japan – you can even reserve your New Year’s kagami mochi at Baskin Robins – more of it is consumed around this time of year than any other.
But all that mochi-eating has a dark side to it. With its incredibly sticky texture, mochi causes the most choking-related deaths of any food item in Japan. Last year it killed two people during the New Year season, and after just two days into 2015 it has already claimed nine lives and hospitalized 128 others.
In Japan, places where people have died are considered bad luck, so unsurprisingly apartments where there has been a suicide, murder, or other death are rented at much cheaper prices than usual due to a lack of demand. However, real estate agencies are seeing a surge in people specifically seeking these kinds of ‘death rooms’. That may sound horribly morbid, but usually it’s not out of a desire to be close to death. Rather, for those who can put aside their culturally-ingrained reservations, it’s a way to save money during tough times.
In countries like Japan and America, funerals are generally thought of as very somber affairs. No one wants to say goodbye to their friends and loved ones, and that final parting is something that cultures across the globe take very seriously. However, in some parts of Taiwan, this undesirable situation is occasionally met with marching bands wearing miniskirts! A series of videos have surfaced on YouTube, portraying Taiwanese funerals as rather enjoyable affairs. Whose idea was it to treat such a serious ceremony to the same sort of flair that’s found at an American football game?
When it comes to advertising, we can’t fully agree with the saying that “sex sells”, but we can’t deny the fact that a touch of sex appeal in commercials do have an effect in attracting the glances of many. Advertising and packaging featuring alluring ladies have been around since the 19th century, and have on many occasions sparked controversy, deliberately or not.
We’ve seen girls in skimpy outfits modeling for cars, sexy starlets promoting anything from perfume to apparel to even burgers. Just when we thought that such means of provocative advertising can no longer surprise us, some marketing geniuses from Poland gave us the kiss of death with their calendar featuring voluptuous beauties posing with coffins.
Death is indeed the final departure, but that does not mean that the echoes of our lives can’t have some lasting effects on the lives of those who survive us. One Japanese school teacher understood that he was nearing the end of his time on earth and did what he could to dispel the certain grief of his beloved students the only way he knew how. He gave them one last homework assignment.
With character design and a visual style worthy of a Disney production, when we were introduced to this short animation by the staff at our sister site RocketNews24 Japan, we almost didn’t believe them when they said it was made not by a world-famous animation studio but by students of the National Taiwan University of Arts. Half an hour of replays later, we managed to tear ourselves away from the video just long enough to share it with you, our dear readers, too!
It’s cute, it’s emotive, and it’s absolutely gorgeous; this is Deathigner.
He was a good man; a perverted man; a man who liked games in which female characters’ unfeasibly large breasts bounce around with every tiny movement of their body, and clothes dissolve into pixel dust with every well-timed button press or click. Today, ladies and gentlemen, we mourn an ero-gamer.
On 12 July at 2:08 am, in a hospital in Kyotango, Kyoto, Jiroemon Kimura passed away due to natural causes. Since his birth on 19 April, 1897, Mr. Kimura had gone on to live the longest life of any male in the world: 116 years and 54 days. During his life he bore witness to the evolution of modern Japanese society, falling under the reign of four emperors and all but one of Japan’s Prime Ministers.
Upon hearing rumors swirling around the internet that a search on Yahoo! Japan’s struggling search engine does something strange when you enter the words “death” and “die” in Japanese, our reporter went to check it out. Could Japan’s most popular online search tool have revealed the sinister truth about a household name?
As most people flock to the high production values of American television programs, the subtle nuances of British dramas, or the addictiveness of Korean programs, Taiwanese television shows are often sorely overlooked. Still, after nearly three years from its first airing we continue to be haunted by a television moment so poignant that it has captured not only the nation’s audience but the world’s.
I’m talking, of course, about the truck accident that claimed the life of Michael from the series Night Market Life. Achieving well over one million views on YouTube, people keep coming back to relieve that fateful day.
Let us watch and remember. Michael would have wanted it that way.
On 8 April, the trial began for a woman accused of killing a man in an excruciating fashion.
It all started on 19 April of the previous year. The suspect was picking up her child when she parked an electric bike in front of a shop. The man running the shop came out and shouted “you’re blocking my business!”
The resulting argument must have gotten pretty heated as it resulted in the mother clutching the shopkeeper’s testicles in her vice-like grip.
The Chinese government announced on March 31 that two men from Shanghai have died from a variant of bird flu known as H7N9. It is the first time transmission of this type of bird flu has been confirmed in human beings. After contraction of the virus, both men showed symptoms of pneumonia.
The Chinese Health Authorities announced that the 87 and 23-year-old men first showed symptoms of a fever, pneumonia and similar characteristics in March of this year. The 87 and 27-year-old-men died on 4th and 10th of this month respectively.
Shortly afterwards, a detailed inspection into their deaths was carried out where it came to light that both men had been infected with the H7N9 strain of the bird flu virus. It has also been confirmed that a woman in the eastern province of China, Anhui, has been infected with the same strain of bird flu. Her current condition is critical, exhibiting identical symptoms of pneumonia, however the woman is said to be receiving medical treatment.
We all love Totoro, that huge cuddly bundle of fur, right? Well, maybe not this version of the lovable character from the famous Studio Ghibli anime “My Neighbor Totoro (Tonari No Totoro)”. Yes, the dark side of the friendly forest spirit is revealed in this particular work of art we found on the internet. Take a look at the unedited photo if you dare… Read More
While the rest of the world worries about global warming, guns and which countries may or may not be building nuclear weapons, there are evidently some people out there who ought to be more concerned about things a little closer to home.
According to Japanese website Game Spark, a 21-year-old man in China has been found dead after playing an as yet unnamed online role-playing game for some 40 hours.
A popular confectionery around the New Year’s season in Japan is mochi. Mochi is often translated to “rice cake” but is nothing like the Styrofoam discs of the same name that are popular in some countries and doesn’t really resemble a cake at all. It can either be more like a soft “rice gummy”, usually stuffed with sugary foods like sweet beans, strawberry, or even ice cream; or like a “condensed rice block”, which is often basted in soy sauce, grilled, and wrapped in seaweed.
Mochi is made by whacking rice in a tub repeatedly with a giant wooden mallet, a fun but tiring holiday festivity. During New Year’s mochi is sold in a small snowman like configuration called kagami mochi (pictured above) which serves as a decoration until it is eaten after 1 January.
While all of this sounds fun, mochi has a dark side as well – one that foreigners who try it for the first time often realize quickly: It’s chewy, sticky, and really hard to eat.
And if you’re not careful, this little snack could land you in the ER.