events

Steam Garden: Tokyo’s steampunk festival might be better than a Victorian time machine

Though it sometimes feel a bit like bragging, when people ask what we like best about Tokyo, we can’t help answering that it basically has everything. Now, don’t us wrong, there are some things you can’t find in Japan’s capital city, but just about everything we’ve gone looking for, we’ve been able to find. And we’ve even discovered some things without knowing we were looking for them! Case in point, about a week ago, we found out that Tokyo has its very own quarterly steampunk festival!

Dubbed Steam Garden, the first event of the year will be held next month in Harajuku, but we were dying to know more about it, so we reached out to the Tokyo Inventors Society to learn more about steampunk in Japan. Check our exclusive interview and get information about joining the fun below!

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Fushigi Yugi stage adaptation gets cast and schedule as Mysterious Play becomes a real one

Over the past few months, there’s been a string of stage adaptations of hit anime and manga announced. But while we’re sure plenty of fans are psyched about the upcoming Naruto play and One Piece kabuki performance, fans of girls’ comics, or anime series with fewer than 600 episodes to wade through, might be feeling a little left out.

Luckily for them, there’s a more female-oriented, reasonably concise franchise about to become live performance theater, with the opening in March of a stage version of the Mysterious Play, or as it’s better known, Fushigi Yugi.

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Snow sculpture of anime girls with soulless eyes is bone-chilling in two different ways

The key difference between being an idol singer and a pop diva is warmth. Even if you’ve got perfect pitch and unshakable rhythm, if you want to succeed as an idol, you still need a heart-melting smile. Really, as long as you’ve got the smile, idol fans will even cut you a lot of slack on not having the other two.

So it’s a little unusual to gaze upon this trio of anime idols and feel a chill run down your spine, and not just because they’re made of snow.

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The City of Angels is now the City of Samurai with Los Angeles museum’s awesome armor exhibition

Like clockwork, every winter I get a serious bout of home-sickness. It’s usually triggered by a call or email from someone back home telling me about taking a drive with the top down, watching football on ordinary broadcast TV, going out for some Vietnamese sandwiches, or one of the other things I miss about life in Los Angeles.

“But,” I remind myself, “Japan has lots of cool things too! Where else can you go to the museum and see massive collections of samurai armor, huh?”

Oh, right now you can do that at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art? Touché, L.A.

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5 places in Japan to visit in 2015

Although we just told you about why Japan is an unpopular tourist destination, if you are planning on visiting in 2015and we really recommend you do!there are some landmark events going on that you might want to consider as you make your plans. Here’s our list of five places you’ll want to visit in Japan in 2015.

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Melon topped with ice cream: two great Hokkaido tastes in one crazily delicious package

Japan sure loves its parfaits, and while they all come with tasty toppings, the most highly regarded come crowned with fruit. But what if you turned the concept on its head, and instead took a piece of premium produce, then added a cone’s worth of ice cream on top?

You’d have our newest dessert infatuation: the fresh melon soft serve.

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“2D vs. Katana” exhibition shows off recreations of swords from anime and video games in Osaka

Last year, Tokyo’s Ueno Royal Museum held an exhibition of Japanese swords inspired by the mechanical and character designs of landmark anime Evangelion. As cool as some of the pieces looked, though, you won’t find any scenes in the giant robot franchise where someone actually fights using a katana.

On the other hand, right now the Osaka Museum of History is holding an event that goes even further in bridging the gap between fantasy and reality, by displaying recreations of amazing blades seen in anime, manga, and light novel illustrations.

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Naruto stage play releases first photo, announces cast, adds performances outside Japan

With the Naruto manga all wrapped up, we imagine a lot of fans are feeling sort of lonely. Sure, there’s an animated movie coming up, and you can still catch episodes of the weekly anime series, but with no more issues of the comic to look forward to, it must seem like the series’ cast of charismatic ninja have drifted just a little farther away.

Soon enough, though, Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura will be just a few rows of seats away from their adoring public, as the Naruto stage play is set to open this spring, and producers have just announced the cast and released the first shot in-costume photo of the star of the show.

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Tokyo’s Christmas displays offer dazzling rebuttal to calling Paris the City of Lights 【Photos】

Spring in Japan belongs to the cherry blossoms. Summer is all about the country’s amazing fireworks shows. And in fall, there’re the beautiful fall colors to look forward to.

In winter though, Christmas decorations take center stage. Specifically, it’s the lights covering the urban landscape, called “illuminations” by the locals, that really bring out the crowds. So if you’re looking to do a little prep work for your Christmas Eve date, the following collection of Tokyo Christmas display snapshots should help you choose which one will best set the mood, and is also a chill-free way to get into the holiday season for those of you more comfortable at home with a hot mug of cocoa than braving the elements outdoors.

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Tokyo’s Rikugien garden: Beautiful for 300 years, but especially in autumn after dark

They’re often overshadowed by the sakura, but Japan’s fall colors make the country a beautiful place to be at this time of year. Maples and gingkos even have a few advantages over cherry trees. They tend to hold their color a little longer, and the cooler weather is less conducive to large outdoor parties, meaning your appreciation of the beauty of nature is less likely to be disturbed by the carousing of drunks.

In contrast to Tokyo’s many cherry tree-lined parks and boulevards, though, getting a good view of crimson and yellow leaves often means having to head out of the city and up into the mountains. That’s not always the case, though. Historic Rikugien Garden has plenty of fall color, is located right in the middle of Tokyo, and right now is so beautiful it’s staying open after dark.

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Life-size Attack on Titan statues coming soon to Universal Studios Japan

Who does a 15-meter naked giant make marketing deals with? Anyone he wants, apparently.

Just days ago, we heard about the upcoming crossover between hit anime and manga Attack on Titan and Marvel Comics, which as of 2009 has been a subsidiary of Disney. Still, that isn’t stopping the Titans from playing both sides of the fence, as Tokyo Disneyland’s major theme park rival has just announced that two life-size Titan statues are coming to Universal Studios Japan.

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Who needs room service? All-night haunted hotel event’s amenities include ghosts and zombies

I used to work in online hotel marketing, and sometimes properties in Japan didn’t mesh up smoothly with our database. The system allowed us to easily trumpet amenities such as sofas and Jacuzzi bathtubs by just pasting in a line of code, but if we wanted to tout things like provided yukata cotton kimonos or onsite natural hot springs, both of which were popular with our users, that took some extra fiddling around.

Since we were a global company, we had to accept that those “only in Japan” features weren’t going to get a spot on the standard, easy-to-use checklist. Still, I sympathize with the difficulties this sort of thing presents for boutique hotel operators, and that’s why today we’re spreading the word about a hotel in Japan with two incredibly unique amenities: zombies and ghosts.

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Tokyo’s Shibuya holds its first Halloween costume contest aboard a train, we ride along

Back before Halloween became as popular in Japan as it is today, Tokyo expats looking to celebrate the holiday would stage impromptu costume parties on the last car of the JR Yamanote loop line. At the time, though, most Japanese people weren’t familiar with Halloween, and this tended to freak the indigenous locals out, leading Japan Railways to eventually crack down on the festivities.

Things have changed a lot in the last 15 years, though. Tokyo is starting to seriously get into the Halloween spirit, so much so that another rail company, Tokyu, actually held a Halloween costume contest onboard one of its trains, and we went to check it out.

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Massive 5-CD Final Fight soundtrack set lets you hear the game’s music without the punching

It’s been 25 years since the arcade release of video game developer Capcom’s Final Fight. While it wasn’t the first side-scrolling beat ‘em up, at the time of its release it was far and away the best, and the number of sequels Final Fight spawned makes its title almost as ironic as the long-running Final Fantasy’s.

In honor of the classic hitting the quarter-century mark, Capcom’s green-lit a Final Fight CD release. No, it’s not a sequel, nor is it a reissue of the Sega CD version. Instead, it’s a soundtrack collection for practically the entire franchise.

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We spend the night at Zombie Camp! It’s like summer camp…but with zombies!

Summer is the season for ghost stories in Japan, and at the end of August we sent one of our reporters to try out the terrifying haunted house from the horror masters and game fans at Obaken. Amazing as that six-room production is, Obaken has since expanded its scale to something even bigger: Zombie Camp, a two-day excursion that combines the majesty of the great outdoors with the threat of rampaging zombies!

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God of Manga Osamu Tezuka’s nude female drawings to be shown at Tokyo art exhibition

Back in the spring, we got an eyeful of a series of drawings from manga artist Osamu Tezuka, in which the multi-talented legend showed off his skill at drawing mice and snakes with sexy curves. Being the open-minded creator that he was, though, Tezuka didn’t limit his sensual sketching to rodents and reptiles, and next month fans will get to see what the God of Manga could do with the naked humans, at the Beautiful Women of Osamu Tezuka Exhibition being held in Tokyo.

Heads-up if you’re at work! Manga nipples coming after the jump!

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Live your billionaire dreams with a shampoo from a team of beautiful models at this Tokyo event

Imagine for a moment that you’re a man with unlimited wealth, who no longer has to do anything for himself. Your financial planner manages your investments, freeing you from having to do any sort of day-to-day work. Likewise, your personal assistant handles all of your shopping and household maintenance needs.

But being filthy rich is no excuse for being filthy dirty. Of course, given your economic status, personal grooming seems just a little below the tasks you should be required to perform, doesn’t it? The only sensible thing to do is to employ a team of beautiful models expressly for the purpose of giving you a shampoo while they whisper suggestive nothings into your ear.

Okay, daydream’s over. Time to go back to reality…or is it? If you’re in Tokyo this weekend, and feeling like your scalp could use a good scrub from some scantily clad women, there’s an event where you can live out that exact fantasy.

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Pics of Pikachu packs from a day of Pokémon hunting in Yokohama【Video】

A few weeks ago, the handlers of the Pokémon franchise announced the Pikachu Tairyou Hassei Chu, or “An Outbreak of Pikachus” event. First they brightened our day with a TV ad showing the adorable Pocket Monsters hanging out in a shopping mall. Then they teased us with a photo of the electrified rodents landing on the dock.

And now, they’re here!

We grabbed our cameras and went Pikachu hunting in Yokohama, and we were not disappointed. We were, though, almost completely paralyzed by the awesome overdose of cuteness that comes from a parade of a pack of 20 Pikachus.

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We try Japan’s most exclusive beer at the U.S. Navy base in Yokosuka【Taste test】

In recent years, Japan’s gotten pretty into craft brewing. A few of the more prominent brands can be tracked down at specialty liquor stores in major cities like Tokyo, but many smaller outfits don’t have anything close to a national distribution network. For example, if you’re in the mood for a nice Doppo or Miyajima Beer, you’re looking at a trip out to Okayama or Hiroshima, respectively.

Still, most Japanese microbrews aren’t too hard to get your hands on, as long as you’re in the city, or at least the prefecture, where they’re made. Recently, though, we tried what might be the most exclusive beer in Japan, which is served in one place only, inside the U.S. naval base in the city of Yokosuka.

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We drown and freeze our troubles at the same time with alcoholic shochu shaved ice

We were feeling a little blue yesterday. You see, the RocketNews24 office is just a short walk away from the Isetan department store in Tokyo’s Shinjuku. Earlier in the week, we’d stopped by to see the ferociously cuddly stuffed Godzilla that had been on display, but sadly, August 5 was his last day at Isetan.

It was sad to be parted from the King of the Plush Monsters, but as the saying goes, God never closes a door without opening a window. Or in this case, a bottle, because Isetan also has something that can drown the sorrow in our hearts while cooling us off in the oppressive summer heat: alcoholic shaved ice with shochu.

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