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.
Nov 4, 2013
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.
Oct 1, 2013
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.
Aug 12, 2013
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.
May 24, 2013
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.
Apr 2, 2013
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.
- Japanese netizens stare at red dot for 30 seconds, freak out when they see what happens1
- Pretty kitty says “Good morning” in Japanese, not just a doting owner’s imagination!2
- Time to quit your job – Company in Japan now hiring for the position of Ninja Master3
- Ingenious sloths engineer home theater systems ideal for tiny Japanese homes4
- Three-year-old girl perfectly recites martial arts school’s student creed, wields tiny fists of death5
- Häagen-Dazs releases new mochi ice cream, and it’s amazing! 【Taste test】6
- Our Japanese staff members pick the top places in Japan they’d like to visit again someday7
- Jealous girlfriend erases game from boyfriend’s phone, destroys relationship in process8
- We try one ekiben shop’s three most popular bento boxes- out of a selection of 170 kinds9
- This is the most technologically-advanced cat feeder you’ll ever find10
- Time to quit your job – Company in Japan now hiring for the position of Ninja Master1
- Magazine asks Japanese women if they’d rather date an ugly millionaire or unemployed hottie2
- Japanese netizens stare at red dot for 30 seconds, freak out when they see what happens3
- Ultimate TKG: We’ll never eat tamago kake gohan the old way again! 【Rocket Kitchen】4
- What’s really for breakfast? 20 Japanese people give us a peek at their morning meal【Photos】5
- Japan’s most popular kitty names, featuring inspiration from anime and sweet treats!6
- Japanese female bodybuilder could kick your butt, break your heart at the same time7
- Anime is real, says Obama, in definitely-not-at-all-faked photos8
- Pretty kitty says “Good morning” in Japanese, not just a doting owner’s imagination!9
- R.I.P. Ginji – Japan’s bartending hamster makes us smile one last time with his brave last words10
- Hachiko, Japan’s most loyal dog, finally reunited with owner in heartwarming new statue in Tokyo1
- Literal breastplate will give you a cosplay-ready, anime-class bust in seconds 【Photos】2
- English hot spring manners poster is so thorough, even Japanese people are learning from it3
- Meet Asuna, the hyperreal android that will leave your jaw hanging 【Video】4
- Keanu Reeves tries to be a tourist in Akihabara, gets mobbed by fans instead5
- Man beats up woman for not looking like “goddess” he spent thousands of dollars to meet6
- This amazingly detailed theme park map is what Tokyo Ghibli Land would look like7
- The number one thing that foreign men find “not so kawaii” about Japanese women8
- Someone finally built the massive, room-filling Dragon Ball Z diorama the world deserved9
- The last photo of faithful dog Hachiko breaks our hearts10
- Hachiko, Japan’s most loyal dog, finally reunited with owner in heartwarming new statue in Tokyo1
- Self-taught Singaporean artist creates unbelievably realistic art on plywood2
- Buyers’ remorse in China: After a record-breaking day of online shopping, the angry selfies begin3
- Literal breastplate will give you a cosplay-ready, anime-class bust in seconds 【Photos】4
- Nobel Prize-winner Shuji Nakamura to Japan’s young people: “Get out of Japan”5
- Kyoto taxi drivers reduce convenience store robberies by 50 percent by doing absolutely nothing6
- Japanese man proposes to girlfriend with Guinness World Record-winning GPS drawing7
- Historic Kyoto temple first in Japan to offer gay weddings8
- Cosplay ideals vs. cosplay reality, a.k.a. cool vs. funny 【Photos】9
- Internet ready to shut up and take your money as preorders finally start for Cat Ear Headphones10
- Häagen-Dazs releases new mochi ice cream, and it’s amazing! 【Taste test】
- Our Japanese staff members pick the top places in Japan they’d like to visit again someday
- Jealous girlfriend erases game from boyfriend’s phone, destroys relationship in process
- We try one ekiben shop’s three most popular bento boxes- out of a selection of 170 kinds
- This is the most technologically-advanced cat feeder you’ll ever find
- Awesome Akihabara restaurant sandwiched by busy train lines offers more thrills than a maid cafe
- The top 10 most common shojo manga scenarios, as picked by Japanese girls’ comic fans
- Don’t want to pay your NHK TV licence fee? Beat Takeshi doesn’t think you should have to
- Here’s a newly-revealed character list for the 2015 Dragon Ball Z movie to geek out over
- A road runs through it: China’s first over-water highway almost complete
- Japanese people share their family mottos, from “Eat first, think later” to “New Year, new pants”
- Artist’s new posters for classic movies will inspire you to watch them all over again
- Adorable little kitten auditions for her own cooking show, charms us all