events

60-meter Attack on Titan monster comes to Kawasaki, so we do too 【Photos】

60-meter Attack on Titan monster comes to Kawasaki, so we do too 【Photos】

In the eight years since it opened, the Lazona shopping center in Kawasaki has become the city’s highest-profile entertainment hub. Conveniently attached to Kawasaki Station, Lazona makes a great place to grab a bite to eat or shop for the latest fashions or electronics.

But like many of the visitors who made the trip to Lazona on April 10, we weren’t there for dining or bargain hunting. We came to see the projection-mapped 60-meter Colossal Titan from hit anime Attack on Titan.

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Swanky Sailor Moon styles selling now at Tokyo department store

Swanky Sailor Moon styles selling now at Tokyo department store

With three months to go until the delayed beginning of the long-awaited new Sailor Moon TV series, fans have a lot of time on their hands. Some have filled this with dressing their dogs up like characters from the hit anime, while others have undressed to reveal their Sailor Moon lingerie.

But what if you want not just anime-themed underwear, but outerwear as well? If that’s the case, one Tokyo department store is ready to be your one-stop shopping destination with a whole store of clothing inspired by the pretty guardian herself, Sailor Moon.

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“Please, tread on me!” beg anime fans

“Please, tread on me!” beg anime fans

It’s no secret that some of the most obsessive anime fans develop, oh, let’s call them “intense feelings” for certain animated characters. Peer deep enough into their psyches, and you’ll find a (dirty) laundry list of things they’d like to do to, or have done to them by, their favorite anime heroes and heroines.

Usually, these desires are kept private, but when a special even at the recently held anime convention Anime Japan offered an opportunity to make one of these fantasies come true, some fans couldn’t resist the chance to be stepped on by frilly-costumed anime girls.

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Train station gives convention arrivals what they came to see: tons of anime characters

Train station gives convention arrivals what they came to see: tons of anime characters

There’s a three-day weekend coming up in Japan, which ordinarily is enough to put people in a good mood. Animation fans, though, have something extra-special to look forward to, as the Anime Japan 2014 expo is being held at Tokyo Big Sight this Saturday and Sunday.

The event is sure to attract a large crowd of both enthusiasts and industry professionals, who won’t even have to wait until they get inside the venue for a taste of the most popular franchises, as the nearest train station to Tokyo Big Sight is already decked out with decorations featuring some of anime’s hottest series.

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Life-size Attack on Titan monster to appear in projection-mapped form in Kawasaki

Life-size Attack on Titan monster to appear in projection-mapped form in Kawasaki

For such an ordinarily listless bunch, hit anime Attack on Titan’s titular monsters sure have been busy lately, collaborating with hamburger chain Lotteria, appearing in their first smartphone game, and even helping one fan get a job.

But now comes literally the biggest Attack on Titan promotion yet, as a life-size recreation of the 60-meter Colossal Titan is set to menace Japan in projection-mapped form at a shopping center in Kawasaki.

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Square Enix announces new Romancing Saga project! Don’t fire up your PS4 just yet though

Square Enix announces new Romancing Saga project! Don’t fire up your PS4 just yet though

Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest may be video game developer Square Enix’s two biggest series, but the Saga franchise could make a solid case for the company’s third-most important intellectual property. While the initial title in the series was the Game Boy’s Makai Toshi Saga, or Devil World Tower Saga, the more eloquently named Super NES follow-up, Romancing Saga, is where the series really took off, and 10 games are now counted as part of the Saga saga.

2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the Saga franchise, and in celebration Square Enix is collaborating with a partner that’s at once completely unexpected and totally obvious: Saga Prefecture.

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Scout Corps now accepting recruits for upcoming Attack on Titan Real Escape Games

Scout Corps now accepting recruits for upcoming Attack on Titan Real Escape Games

As its popularity continues to grow, Attack on Titan seems to be seeping into the real world more and more, whether with figurines (in both hyper-realistic and, well, potato versions) or replicas of the heroes’ 3-D maneuver gear. Soon, though, fans will have a chance to reverse the trend and experience the world of the hit anime first-hand at a series of Attack on Titan-themed escape games.

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Osaka Castle backdrop for brain-melting 3D light show【Photos and Video】

Osaka Castle backdrop for brain-melting 3D light show【Photos and Video】

If you happen to be in Osaka in the next month and feel up to braving the chilly nights, there is an interesting event taking place at Osaka Castle as part of the Art Festival of Light. In addition to the castle gardens being decorated with thousands of twinkling bulbs and a giant cube of swirling light constructed with LEDs, the castle itself will be the canvas for a 3D mapping projection guaranteed to confuse your brain.

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Adorable zombie children take over Arakawa Amusement park, our hearts melt

Adorable zombie children take over Arakawa Amusement park, our hearts melt

Since its inception in Canada in 2003, Zombie Walk for Kids has spread to England, Australia, Mexico, and, at last, Japan. And, like a proper infection, it’s really catching!

Though still focused mostly on major cities like Sapporo, Osaka, and Tokyo, the events are growing and gaining lots of shuffling, moaning followers. Just a few days ago, one was held at the Arakawa Amusement Park in Tokyo–and we have the horrifyingly adorable photos of zombie kids to prove it!

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We pick up a new good luck charm at the Tori no Ichi Festival in Shinjuku

We pick up a new good luck charm at the Tori no Ichi Festival in Shinjuku

Japan’s urban and rural areas alike are dotted with temples and shrines, but there’s no practice of attending regular services at them. Instead, visitors primarily come to offer a few yen as a donation, say a quick prayer, and pick up one of the plethora of good luck charms and amulets sold there, many of which have specific purposes such as passing an important exam or finding a new love.

But every member of our team is already out of college, and so popular with the opposite sex that we’re starting to feel bad about not leaving any for the rest of the populace. Looking further down our to-do list, we noticed that “build mansion with supermodel grotto” was preceded by “achieve economic success,” so we decided to head to our local Shinto shrine for Tori no Ichi, Japan’s annual festival for buying good luck charms for success in business.

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Survival Game: Japanese hobbyists fall in love with shooting each other

Survival Game: Japanese hobbyists fall in love with shooting each other

After a long, frustrating day of work, there’s nothing better than plopping down in front of your computer or TV and shooting the ever-loving poop out of digitized bad guys. This is, obviously, just an opinion, but it is a common opinion–global video game sales for GTA V, Call of Duty, and Battlefield would certainly seem to support this. But, you know, as much fun as video games are, they’re not exactly great exercise, are they?

And that’s fine, of course! Not every single thing we do everyday has to be healthy. But maybe you’re starting to notice a little pudge around your edges (like me) and are trying to think of the least painful way to get some exercise.

Sure, you could go for a jog, I guess. Or you could head down to Tokyo’s newest airsoft field and shoot some of your friends!

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We fall under the spell of life-sized Madoka statue at magical girl anime art exhibit

We fall under the spell of life-sized Madoka statue at magical girl anime art exhibit

For many years, fans of the magical girl anime tended to be from the same demographic as its principal characters: little girls. The genre of young girls using mystical powers to fight monsters saw its potential broadened, though, in 2011 with the television premiere of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, which cast an unflinching, unsentimental eye at the physical and psychological dangers of tasking middle school girls with battling extradimensional entities.

Madoka went on to become such a hit that its original 12 episodes were retouched and repackaged into a pair of theatrical releases. This month a third film, Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Rebellion opens in Japan, and a special exhibition of Madoka artwork and statues is being held in Tokyo.

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Trick or Treat! A concise guide to Halloween attractions in Japan

Trick or Treat! A concise guide to Halloween attractions in Japan

Halloween has become one of the three largest Western-influenced events celebrated in Japan following Christmas and Valentines’ Day. Though the spooky festival’s cultural origins are not the reason why the celebrations are observed, the Japanese do enjoy getting decked in themed costumes, thus making it a major commercial celebration for many.

The widespread popularity of the festival has resulted in confectionary makers rolling out Halloween-themed goodies, restaurants preparing Halloween-inspired menus, fashion outlets retailing Halloween-related costumes and accessories, and of course, entertainment facilities going all out with Halloween events.

We’ve put together a concise guide to some of the Halloween festivities taking place this year, so if you’re planning a trip to Japan during this season, here’s what you can expect!

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We visit the World Santa Congress in Kumamoto Prefecture and still feel exactly like jaded adults

We visit the World Santa Congress in Kumamoto Prefecture and still feel exactly like jaded adults

Located in a remote section of a remote prefecture of Japan, Kumamoto’s Amakusa City faces the same problem a lot of rural towns do: its population is dwindling as children born there generally have to leave to pursue an education or career, and few move back.

As part of an effort to boost the remaining residents’ spirits, as well as hopefully garner a little tourism publicity, Amakusa recently held a World Santa Congress.

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Kumamoto Prefecture shows us that less is more with simple yet mouth-watering rice balls

Kumamoto Prefecture shows us that less is more with simple yet mouth-watering rice balls

One of our reporters recently drew the enviable assignment of visiting this year’s Nippon no Umai, an annual event sponsored by Kirin that brings the best of Japan’s regional delicacies together under one roof. With so many tasty options on display, those of us not lucky enough to attend the tasting session, held at the super swanky Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, would have to settle for living vicariously through our correspondent’s report after he returned.

We were a little underwhelmed when we asked what he’d eaten, and his answer was “white rice with salt!” but we soon came to understand why he was looking quite so content.

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2,000 figures ready for their close-ups at toy exhibition in Ikebukuro – and oh, admission is free!

2,000 figures ready for their close-ups at toy exhibition in Ikebukuro – and oh, admission is free!

Kaiyodo is one of Japan’s largest figure makers. Aside from being the manufacturer behind the Revoltech line that’s a hit with hardcore anime fans, over 130,000,000 of Kaiyodo’s Choco Eggs, toy animals, bugs, and tanks hidden inside an edible chocolate shell, have been sold, cementing the company’s spot in mainstream popular culture.

To celebrate its 30 years in the business, the Kaiyodo Figure World exhibition is being held in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro district. Roughly 2,000 figures are on display, admission is free, and as if that wasn’t enough, photography is completely unrestricted. Visitors are free to snap as many pictures of any figures they like.

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Eat food from Osaka on your lunch break in Tokyo at Isetan’s special Naniwa food fair

Eat food from Osaka on your lunch break in Tokyo at Isetan’s special Naniwa food fair

Japan is a nation of unabashed foodies, and each major metropolitan area has its own culinary standards. Tokyo is the place for top-tier avant-garde dining. Kyoto cuisine is known for its understated yet complex interplay of flavors. And Osaka? Well, Osaka is the spot for good old-fashioned grub, and where the people aren’t afraid of something a little heavy on the palate or in the stomach. What less would you expect from a town where fans of the local baseball team jump off of bridges into the river after a big win?

Being situated in downtown Tokyo’s Shinjuku neighborhood, our offices are too far for us to sneak out to Osaka on our lunch break. They are, however, within striking distance of a branch of prestigious department store Isetan, which just so happens to be in the middle of holding a special Osaka food fair.

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Eat Ice Cream from All Over Japan Without Using the Bullet Train

Eat Ice Cream from All Over Japan Without Using the Bullet Train

Located just across the northern border from Tokyo, Saitama Prefecture is home to over seven million people. With far more affordable housing than the capital, but yet with relatively easy access to it via numerous train lines, several of Saitama’s residents spend most of their day studying or working in Tokyo. Despite its proximity though, Saitama is still outside Tokyo, earning it something of a stigma among Tokyoites, some of whom have saddled it with the unflattering nickname “Dasaitama,” coming from the word dasai, or “uncool.”

For the beginning of May though, Saitama will be filled with something we can all agree is very cool: ice cream. With the opening of the All Japan Ice Cream Collection festival, Saitama’s Koshigaya City is set to make even the snootiest urban socialites eat a little crow, even if that particular flavor is definitely not on the menu. Read More

Tokyo Bug Eating Club to Hold Festival Tomorrow, Guess What’s on the Menu?

Tokyo Bug Eating Club to Hold Festival Tomorrow, Guess What’s on the Menu?

As icky as it sounds to many of us brought up in Western cultures, the human consumption of insects is common in many parts of the world.

Most Japanese people are on the same page as the rest of the developed world in thinking of bugs as unappetizing—not to mention creepy, gross, and/or scary— little creatures that have no place in the home, and especially not on the dinner plate.

However, there are some rural regions of Japan where insects are are a local delicacy, and have been so for centuries. In Nagano, the prefecture this writer calls home, you can walk into any supermarket and expect to find plastic packs of grasshopper (inago) or stonefly larva (suzumushi) boiled in soy sauce, and sometimes even read-to-eat packs of boiled wasp larva mixed in with rice (hachinoko-gohan).

In the cities, eating bugs is still taboo, and even in rural areas insect cuisine is now considered fringe cuisine, especially among the younger generations.  But in Tokyo, there is a group of people who believe that bugs just need to be given a chance, which is why they are hosting what is now the 4th annual Tokyo Insect Eating Festival (Tokyo Mushikui Festival) on November 23.

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