Springtime in Japan means graduation season, and for increasing numbers of students that means cosplay. And with years of costuming excellence preceding them, students of Kyoto University have a lot to live up to. This year’s grads didn’t disappoint, though!
Comedian Dave Chappelle once said that “Everything looks better in slow motion,” since time seems to slow down during the coolest moments of music videos. But you could make the same statement about Japanese animation.
Don’t believe us? Here’s an animated short that somehow manages to make taking a correspondence course in high school math feel beautiful and dramatic, proving that everything looks better in anime.
Mar 19, 2015
Last year, one of our Japanese reporters went on an extended visit to the United States. While he had plenty of nice things to say about the country, he also had some complaints, and, as an American myself, I can’t really say that I blame the guy. Having to drive literally everywhere unless you live in one of maybe three specific cities is a major hassle and a huge drain on your budget, certain services seem staffed entirely by people who are barely even aware of your existence or what’s going on more than a few inches on either side of their smartphone, and yes, the police are a little on the brutal side and drunk on their own power a lot of the time no matter how you slice it (annnnnd… now I’m on an NSA watchlist. Hi, guys!).
But, there’s one complaint our reporter had that I just can’t relate to: how crazy America’s systems of measurement are.
I mean, I grew up with feet, inches, pounds and whatnot, so I can’t really speak to our reporter’s profound confusion. Is it really so bad? We had to find out, so we donned our troll-proof vests and dove deep into the smelly, dark recesses of 2chan to see what other Japanese Netizens thought of America’s wacky measurement systems:
Mar 18, 2015
Do you remember the characters in your school textbooks? Perhaps you have fond memories of doodling in the margins and augmenting the illustrations.
Well, just when we were thinking that study guides in Japan in recent years were all looking a little bit same-y, some clever marketing person (or, more likely, about 100 clever marketing people) has come up with a one-step technique for designing these educational guides. It doesn’t matter whether it’s history, philosophy, social studies or English – just put a smart, cute anime girl on the front cover!
Mar 18, 2015
It’s no joke that living and studying in the US costs a pretty penny. So, instead of paying the hefty tuitions of universities on top of living expenses, some young foreigners have been taking a sneakier route to staying in the States.
Recently some “students” have been opting for “institutions” like the four schools recently closed down for fraud in Los Angeles, which function under a “pay-to-stay” program, where the “students” basically pay for a student visa with no expectations of attending classes, wishing only to stay and work in the U.S.
Mar 10, 2015
Take a moment to think back to your high school graduation. As recent or as long ago as it may have been, do you recall getting a present from your school; a nice momentum to celebrate your years there? Some of us did not even get a card from our schools, but many students in Japanese high schools, on the other hand, often get commemorative gifts, such as key chains, mugs, card holders, pearl necklaces or designer wallets…
Yeah, you read that correctly. While not all graduation gifts are worthy enough to post about on the internet, this year, some kids, from apparently high-rolling educational institutions, have been posting pictures of commemorative gifts more exquisite than you could ever imagine getting from your high school or even university, for that matter.
Feb 27, 2015
As society and education changes, Japan is slowly opening up to the idea of online high school courses. But while modern technology makes video lessons and email correspondence easy to implement, some things are still lost in the transition to a virtual classroom setting. One major issue is the lack of ability to affirm your own individuality, as well as the increased difficulty of building bonds with other students without any sort of visual representation of their identities.
Hoping to alleviate these problems is a new online high school in Japan that requires students to create anime-style online avatars, and even provides a simulated school campus for them to mingle in.
Feb 26, 2015
The very first job that brought me to Japan as a gainfully employed adult was teaching at a private English school. While most of our customers were in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, we also offered kids’ classes, even for preschool-aged children.
With young learners, the first hurdle to get past was for them to not freak out about talking with someone from a different country. While that might sound horribly racist, there just aren’t that many opportunities to meet people from other cultures in Japan, especially in a child’s daily life, and the first meeting was usually a little intimidating for them (the company policy that didn’t allow foreign staff to speak Japanese in front of the customers probably didn’t help in this regard).
Thankfully, it usually only took a couple of minutes for the kids to see that non-Japanese instructors aren’t terrifying monsters. Unfortunately, this startling commercial for a chain of children’s English schools in Japan only takes 15 seconds to visually imply that, yes, actually, they are.
Jan 28, 2015
Compared to some other countries, video games enjoy a fairly high standing in Japanese society. Nintendo’s Mario is seen by many as not only a symbol of wholesome fun, but an example of how innovation and craftsmanship can lead to sustained economic prosperity. The world of Final Fantasy isn’t just a great setting for an epic quest, but for lunch or dinner, and some particularly stylish game characters even go on to leave their mark on real-world fashion.
Still, not everyone in Japan is a fan of video gaming. The Hokkaido Board of Education would rather see kids with schoolbooks or fishing poles in their hands than game controllers, and to that end is calling for parents to institute twice monthly No Game Days, and not just for the kids in the family.
Sixteen-year-old Yap Hanzhen of Malaysia apparently suffered through a childhood in which even the most simple of communications was difficult. Hanzhen’s parents say he barely spoke through most of his adolescence.
Like many children who display difficulties communicating during early development, Yap turned out to have a form of autism – a fact that his parents struggled to convince doctors and child psychologists, who were apparently quick to presume simple bad parenting as the source of young Yap’s speech difficulties.
In taking the special needs care of their young son into their own hands, Yap’s parents gave him a sketch book and pencil to help him associate thumbnail drawings with words for everyday objects, inadvertently nurturing a latent talent that would eventually see Yap touring the world, showing off his extraordinary drawings.
Jan 26, 2015
No matter how scholastically talented you are, it’s hard to concentrate on an empty stomach. Even the bright minds at Tokyo University, Japan’s most prestigious institute of higher learning, need to take a break from studying and grab some chow now and again.
Of course, it’s hard to give yourself a mental recharge eating bland cafeteria food. Thankfully, that’s not a concern for the students of Tokyo University’s Kashiwa Campus, who’re lucky enough to have an amazing sushi restaurant right on the school grounds.
In 2014, Dr. Shuji Nakamura, along with two other scientists, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for his work in creating bright blue LEDs. In 1993, Nakamura held only a master’s degree and worked with just one lab assistant for a small manufacturer in rural Japan, yet he was able to find a solution that had eluded some the highest paid, best-educated researchers in the world.
If his story ended there, he would no doubt be the poster boy for Japanese innovation and never-say-die spirit, but in the years since his discovery, he has instigated a landmark patent case, emigrated to the US, given up his Japanese citizenship and become a vocal critic of his native country. Last week, the prickly professor gave his first Japanese press conference since picking up his Nobel and he had some very succinct advice for young Japanese: Leave.
Among contemporary writers, there’s no Japanese author with a bigger international following than Haruki Murakami. The novelist and translator is also highly respected within his home country, as Japan holds an especially deep respect for any of its citizens who succeed in making a name for themselves on the international stage.
As such, we imagine one young graduate student was hoping for some sage advice when she contacted Murakami and asked him for pointers on how to become a better writer. The response she got was as surprising, unique, and challenging as Murakami’s books themselves.
Textbooks are boring. There is too much text, few pictures and back in our school days you had to accept whatever was in the textbook and struggle through it. It was an uphill battle…both ways! But with all the advancements and conveniences of technology, why not bring a little of the 21st century into the classroom?
Textbooks around Japan have been incrementally upping their game with QR codes, “hip” songs and whatever else to keep students entertained and excited about learning. But sometimes these advances in textbook technology don’t provide any benefit, and actually confuse more than they teach.
What is the best way to learn a language? Many foreign people in Japan will tell you living here and being immersed in Japanese is a pretty good way to pick up the lingo. When you realize you have to be able to speak and understand the language in order to live your daily life, it certainly becomes a huge motivation to make the Japanese language your own.
Do you know what isn’t a particularly good method of learning a language? Four classes a week of language learning taught in your native language with little to no chances to utilize what you’ve learned.
As the whole world knows, the Olympic Games will be held in Tokyo in 2020, and Tokyo wants to be as prepared as possible. The city is trying to do everything it can to improve its citizens’ grasp of English, and there is now talk of plans to create an “English Village” where everything will be conducted in the language so many Japanese wish they were fluent in.
Dec 9, 2014
Those who have taught English at a school in Japan would likely have encountered the New Horizon textbook series. Starting off with the basics of English, it takes students through a series of Rockwellian incidents such as “my grandma who goes to baseball games, but doesn’t know the rules.”
One man who has clearly gone through these idyllic situations one too many times is Brain Reyes. Taking New Horizon’s main characters ten years into their bleak futures, he has written a new version of the English textbook: Dark Horizon.
A piece which seems created to exorcise the memories of New Horizon for both student and teacher alike, it also provides uniquely useful phrases you’re not likely to find in any other textbook including “I love you like a fat kid loves cake” and “That’s not just any stack of boxes, that’s my house.”
Dec 5, 2014
I’ve lost count of the number of Japanese people I’ve met who were disappointed to find out I don’t have what they consider quintessential American eating habits. The last time I had a steak was a year ago. I’m perfectly happy eating rice, and I love fish, since, you know, I grew up in California, which is a coastal state (same ocean as Japan has, too).
But there’s one stereotype I do conform with, and that’s how much I love milk, despite being a full-grown adult. Many Japanese people, on the other hand, associate the drink with their childhood, since it’s been served in elementary schools for decades.
One city in Niigata Prefecture, though, has decided it has no more tolerance for drinkable lactose, and starting this month, is removing milk from its school lunches.
Dec 1, 2014
There’s something wonderfully relaxing and welcoming about libraries. Not only are they full of good things to read, their quiet, contemplative atmosphere makes them the perfect place for introspective people to hang out in, too. The sanctity of a library can’t be broken by the rabble of everyday life, and perhaps that’s why homeless people in Zhejiang Province, China have taken to holing up in Hangzhou Municipal Library.
The library staff have garnered praise online for “allowing” homeless people to read there, but aren’t libraries for everyone, after all? Join us after the jump for some snapshots of homeless patrons enjoying some quiet time with a book.
Nov 30, 2014
It must be hard to hold the attention of a class full of junior high students. Sure, they’re old enough to understand that education is important, but still, it can be hard for the young mind to focus. Especially for male students, with their hormones churning away as they hit puberty, many of them would rather be spending their time looking at pretty girls than listening to their teacher talk.
Of course, one teacher in China doesn’t have to worry about that, since she’s a pretty girl herself, and so much so that even her coworkers have taken to calling her “Professor Beauty.”
Nov 20, 2014
Proponents of outdoor learning, in which organized education takes outside the schoolhouse, say there are a number of benefits to the approach. Aside from fostering better communication skills and self-esteem, advocates hold that open-air class sessions lead to lower stress levels and greater respect for the natural environment.
None of those seemed to be the goal of a recent test session in China, though, where over 1,000 students took their tests outside a single school.
- “We Finns just like it simple”: Net users can’t get enough of Helsinki Metro map1
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker2
- Gift giving fails: Japanese girls tell you what NOT to buy3
- How to perfectly recreate the death of Dragon Ball’s Yamcha using baked goods4
- This adorable cat commercial answers the question: “What would a cat conversation sound like?”5
- 10 weird and wonderful things you can find in a Japanese drugstore6
- Even adult men are snapping up girls’ comic magazine’s new issue, and for an unexpected reason7
- 93-year-old Japanese woman gifts ambulance worth 2.7 million yen to local fire station8
- “It all came out?” Debate ensues over whether schoolgirl ad is just talking about mayonnaise9
- Our recipe for green tea rice-cooker pancakes: amazingly tasty, ridiculously easy10
- “We Finns just like it simple”: Net users can’t get enough of Helsinki Metro map1
- Looking for a new favourite animal? Take your pick from these six adorable Hokkaido natives2
- Inspirations for April Fools’ pranks (you can thank us later)【Photos】3
- Japanese girl finds “school love,” but with a surprising “partner”4
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker5
- Buyer’s remorse? Not if you’ve got confidence like this girl6
- Japanese women list the top 10 lies they can spot the second a guy says them7
- Bizarre video series gives pervy weirdos a glimpse of girls’ panties in very specific situations8
- 10 weird and wonderful things you can find in a Japanese drugstore9
- Six anime songs people are sick of hearing at karaoke, according to new poll10
- Marine park offers chance to shake hands with a loveable otter1
- Anime pillow responds to your rubbing with moans and groans, gets angry if you get too grabby2
- Cats sitting politely outside Japanese convenience stores restore our faith in felines3
- “We Finns just like it simple”: Net users can’t get enough of Helsinki Metro map4
- What’s your type? Photo of two Japanese models spurs netizens to talk body type 【Poll】5
- Forget the dress, how many shades of blue do you see here?6
- Half-Japanese beauty chosen to represent Japan at Miss Universe 20157
- Looking for a new favourite animal? Take your pick from these six adorable Hokkaido natives8
- Buyers’ remorse in China: After a record-breaking day of online shopping, the angry selfies begin9
- Get a haircut, a manicure and an eyeful at this saucy salon in Vietnam10
- Marine park offers chance to shake hands with a loveable otter1
- Hachiko, Japan’s most loyal dog, finally reunited with owner in heartwarming new statue in Tokyo2
- Anime pillow responds to your rubbing with moans and groans, gets angry if you get too grabby3
- 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
- Cats sitting politely outside Japanese convenience stores restore our faith in felines6
- Kyoto taxi drivers reduce convenience store robberies by 50 percent by doing absolutely nothing7
- “We Finns just like it simple”: Net users can’t get enough of Helsinki Metro map8
- What’s your type? Photo of two Japanese models spurs netizens to talk body type 【Poll】9
- Cosplay ideals vs. cosplay reality, a.k.a. cool vs. funny 【Photos】10
- 10 weird and wonderful things you can find in a Japanese drugstore
- Even adult men are snapping up girls’ comic magazine’s new issue, and for an unexpected reason
- 93-year-old Japanese woman gifts ambulance worth 2.7 million yen to local fire station
- “It all came out?” Debate ensues over whether schoolgirl ad is just talking about mayonnaise
- Our recipe for green tea rice-cooker pancakes: amazingly tasty, ridiculously easy
- Fan-made TIE Fighter short film: For people who love Star Wars, anime, or just plain awesomeness
- Superheroes invade Thai wedding, guests just smile for the camera 【Photos】
- Five simple ways to take your curry rice to the next level
- Doting cat owner buys his kitties a present, finds out all they want is the box it came in
- Chinese Photoshop Trolling Part 2: Now with 20% More Shirtless Men!
- Is Japan really racist? A look at where things stand
- Cup of noodles for vegans! Japanese Zen Buddhist temple starts selling instant soba and udon