Virtual idol Hatsune Miku announces seven-city U.S., Canadian concert tour

The world’s biggest virtual idol is returning to the U.S. on a new concert tour, and also making her Canadian performance debut.

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Otaku speed-dating party lets participants chat online before event, review each other during it

Even as the world of otaku becomes an increasingly co-ed one, many of Japan’s obsessive fans of anime, video games, and other forms of pop culture struggle in finding a romantic partner. That’s where Aeullura, a matchmaking company specializing in konkatsu (marriage-minded dating) events for otaku, comes in.

But conventional speed-dating can be intimidating for even ordinarily outgoing individuals, let alone otaku who might very well spend more of their free time watching fictional characters than interacting with other people. Add in the pressure of a ticking clock, and some might not feel confident in their ability to walk up to an attractive stranger, make a good impression, and then find out more about them.

That’s why Aeullura is flipping that sequence of events for its upcoming otaku matchmaking party by giving the speed daters access to a wealth of information about one another, and even letting them communicate online, before putting them all in the same room together.

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Evangelion episode to be shown on giant skyscraper monitors across Japan for 20th anniversary

Japan’s urban landscape is dotted with giant TV monitors mounted on the sides of skyscrapers. Despite what you might expect, though, from watching science fiction anime or young adult-literature-sourced movies depicting dystopian futures, they aren’t constantly broadcasting information about where citizens should evacuate to during the current alien invasion or directives from the Office of the Supreme Leader.

No, usually they’re just devoted to ad loops. But this weekend, public big screens across Japan will be showing something a little more exciting: The entire first episode of anime hit Evangelion.

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Seijiro Nakamura as Chris Redfield? Resident Evil stage play’s cast is entirely Japanese

I’m never really sure what I should call the zombie action series that began as a hit PlayStation game in 1996. Resident Evil, its internationally used name, is a lot more colorful than Biohazard, its Japanese one, but only the first of the many games takes place primarily in a home. What’s more, the source of the trouble is science run amok, not dark magic, so the “evil” part seems a touch melodramatic.

On the other hand, there are now five films in the franchise, with a sixth on the way, all of which are produced in English and usually come to Japan only after already premiering overseas, so score one point for Resident Evil.

But in the case of its upcoming stage adaptation, set to open in two months, I really think Biohazard is the most appropriate name, because it looks like every single member of the cast is Japanese.

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They’re back! Pikachus overrun Yokohama for second straight year and dance up a storm! 【Videos】

Although I’ve never witnessed either in-person, I’m sure that the running of the bulls in Spain’s Pamplona and the return of the swallows each spring to their nesting grounds in Southern California are wonderful sights to see. And yet, I think I’m still happiest with what we get here in Yokohama: an annual visit from packs of Pikachus!

Just like they did last year, the loveable Pokémon once again overran the Minato Mirai harbor district for a week this August, But just like Nintendo’s Pocket Monsters routinely acquire enhanced abilities with each new video game or anime installment, in the time since their last appearance in Yokohama our adorable visitors had learned some new moves…dance moves!

Read on for all of our videos and photos of Pikachus grooving and swaying to hip-hop, hula, and more, with costumes to match!

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Prepare for a “poopoopoo” picnic with Nintendo’s Kirby at Kiddyland this month

It’s hard to believe that our beloved, voracious powderpuff Kirby is over 20 years old now! “Born” in 1992 on the Nintendo Game Boy, the adorable little guy is actually a fully grown adult now, possibly with a driver’s license and, like, maybe even a family we don’t know about. We picture him holding down a boring office job somewhere in Tokyo, willing himself not to snap at his irritating boss and hoover him up (thus gaining his incredible powers of bureaucracy and micromanagement).

But, even though everybody’s favorite non-Jigglypuff pink ball creature is all grown up now, that doesn’t stop him from enjoying a good picnic!

A Poopoopoo picnic, to be exact.

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Pikachu dance video teaches how to shake your tail in preparation for annual Pokémon outbreak

In just a little over a week, the city of Yokohama is going to be overrun with Pikachus for the second year in a row. And as awesomely adorable as it was seeing them parading about town last year, this iteration of the seemingly annual Pokémon event promises to be even more exciting, as the beloved Pocket Monsters are set to dance their way through Yokohama’s bayside Minato Mirai district.

With the festivities almost ready to get started, the Pokémon Company has released this handy instructional video to help fans get ready by teaching them how to do the Pikachu Dance (which may or may not include a moonwalk).

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Sakuragicho Station celebrates the coming of 1,000 dancing Pikachus with awesome new signs

If you love Pikachu, you’ll want to head down to the city of Yokohama this summer because that’s where you’ll get the chance to meet not one, not two, but a thousand Pikachus. And to add to the amazement, they’ll all be dancing up a Pokemon storm.

To celebrate the upcoming “outbreak”, as it’s being called, Sakuragicho is adorning their station platform signs with a number of adorable Pikachus. With signage this cute, we can hear the squeels of “kawaiiii” all the way up here in Tokyo!

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You can take this 33,000-pound robot for a virtual test drive, watch it dance to J-pop 【Video】

Now that we’re living in the age of giant fighting robots, it’s time to update the list of things a fully capable member of society needs to be able to do. And while many anime make piloting a huge mecha as simple as falling into the cockpit and learning as you go, it’d be irresponsible to assume things are so easy in the real world.

That’s why we sent one of our reporters to check out a 15,000-kilogram (33,000-pound) giant robot that’s on display in Tokyo right now. Not only is it awesome to look at, its creators will even let you take it for a virtual test drive.

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All-you-can-eat stinky fermented soybeans come to Ginza, if that’s your thing

Spend a while in Japan, and at some point you’ll no doubt encounter natto, sticky, stinky fermented soybeans that often get served over rice for breakfast. This polarizing food has its superfans and impassioned detractors among Japanese and foreigners alike, but if you happen to be in the former camp, you should know there is an all-you-can-eat premium natto pop-up bar in Tokyo’s Ginza this weekend.

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Full orchestra to perform music from Attack on Titan, Madoka Magica, Evangelion at Tokyo concert

The music plays a huge role in setting the mood of some of anime’s most memorable hits, but it can be kind of hard to notice behind all of the dialogue and sound effects. Grabbing the series’ soundtrack and popping in your earphones is a good way to appreciate the compositions, but an even better way is to hear them performed live by a full orchestra, which is just what fans of Evangelion, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Attack on Titan, Berserk, and more will be able to do at a special concert taking place in Tokyo this month.

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Want to shake hands with an adorable otter? You can right now at this Tokyo aquarium

Tokyo’s Ikebukuro is an archetypical part of the concrete jungle of Japan’s capital. The neighborhood is even home to Sunshine 60, one of the tallest buildings in a city that’s already packed with massive skyscrapers.

With so much space to work with, Sunshine 60 houses a shopping center, restaurants, planetarium, museum, and even a parlor for playing the Japanese board game go. But what convinced us to visit recently was the complex’s aquarium, which right now is offering a chance to shake hands with its adorable river otters!

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Amazing 3-D printing pen 3Doodler gets a cheaper, slimmer version and workshops in Tokyo 【Video】

About a year ago, we took a look at the 3Doodler, an amazing crafting tool developed by U.S.-based WobbleWorks. Described as a 3-D printing pen, the 3Doodler uses plastic filament to let you draw in mid-air, creating physical objects instead of flat images.

Now we know what you’re all thinking: Where are those 3-D printed Mr. Sato statues we talked about making in our previous article? Well, it turns out we don’t actually have the artistic skills to properly capture the likeness of the head of RocketNews24’s Vice-President of Craziness. Oh, and also we’re cheap.

Thankfully, it looks like there’s a way to solve both of those problems. The updated 3Doodler 2.0 is easier to handle and less expensive than the original model, and there’s even a series of  upcoming workshops in Tokyo that’ll teach you how to get started drawing three-dimensional works of art.

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First video ad for 2015 Pikachu outbreak event reminds us how adorable last year’s was

Roughly half an hour south of Tokyo by train, the city of Yokohama is a great place to hang out in the summer. The city boasts great dining and beautiful parks, plus most of its attractions are located near the harbor, which is regularly caressed by cooling breezes.

Of course, it’s not just people who enjoy heading down to the bayside capital of Kanagawa Prefecture, but Pokémon as well. Just like they did last year, packs of Pikachus will be spending their summer vacation in Yokohama, and the first ad for their upcoming visit gives us a taste of what’s in store.

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No plans for the weekend? Free CG animation festival is going on in Tokyo 【Videos】

If you were just looking at the clock and smiling because you’ve reached the end of your workweek, but have since switched to frowning and looking at the Tokyo weather report (clouds or rain all week long), cheer up, because it just so happens there’s a great indoor event going on.

Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia 2015 kicked off earlier this week, and until June 14 will be showcasing the works of talented short film makers from around the globe at venues in Tokyo and Yokohama. Best of all, admission is free, and today we’re taking a peek at some of the festival’s amazing computer animated shorts that are screening this weekend.

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Art Aquarium returns to Tokyo with goldfish, beautiful lighting, soothing sounds, delicious sake

As the weather starts to get warmer in Japan, many people will cope by cranking up the air conditioner. But there’re also traditional options for beating the summer heat, such as whipping out a folding fan, and also psychological cooling tricks such as listening to the soothing sounds of a wind chime or taking a few moments to gaze at a tank of water filled with gracefully swimming goldfish.

If that last idea sounds like your kind of thing, you’re in luck, as the Art Aquarium exhibit is returning to Tokyo this July with its unique combination of artistic displays, DJ performances, fine sake to sip, and late-night viewings of aquatic life.

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Check out the dirtiest festival in all of South Korea by heading down to Boryeong

Here at RocketNews24, you will often read about crazy Japanese festivals, but the rest of Asia also has some pretty fantastic festivals as well. Last year we sent some of our writers to the giant water festival in Thailand where they had a wet and wild time and came back thoroughly rinsed off.

Don’t expect to stay as squeaky clean at this festival in South Korea, though. The Boryeong Mud Festival is coming up next month and it puts any mud wrestling event you have ever seen to shame.

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Women, gamers, and foreigners all show up to be samurai for a day at Sengoku battle reenactment

Some people in Japan have no more than a passing interest in the country’s long and fascinating history, which is at least partly the fault of how the subject is taught in schools. Many history classes place a heavy emphasis on memorization of the exact dates and years of important events, leaving less time for studying the people and motivations behind them.

There’s been a recent surge in history buffs, though, especially in regards to the Sengoku, or Warring States, period which lasted from the mid 15th century until the very start of the 17th century. But it’s not crusty old historians leading this charge, as a recent samurai battle reenactment had women making up some 40 percent of the volunteers, whose ranks were also bolstered by video gamers and foreign residents of Japan.

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Yamathon: See Tokyo on your own two feet for a good cause!

Without a doubt, Tokyo is a big city, and it’s hard for any one person to see all of it. Even long-time residents probably aren’t familiar with every nook and cranny of the metropolis. So if you sometimes find yourself wishing you could get a closer look at its various neighborhoods, Yamathon, an event that takes you to all the way around the Yamanote Line, might be a great way to spend a Saturday!

Not only will you get an up-close-and-personal look at the Yamanote Line’s 29 stations, but by participating in Yamathon, you’ll also be contributing to a great cause!

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The running of the otaku! Event staffer learns not to get in fans’ way as gates open【Video】

With some jobs, the risks are obvious. Want to be an F1 racer? Driving cars at unsafe speeds is pretty much the extent of your work responsibilities. Firefighter? Be prepared to get up-close and personal with dangerous flames, because after all, the position isn’t called “fire-mediation-and-peacekeeping-liaison.”

Working the gate at a fan event for a video-sharing website seems like it should be relatively safe, though. That’s not always the case, though, as one man found out when he became a human speed bump standing against a crowd of stampeding fans at the recent Niconico Chokaigi.

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