Japan

Six things Tokyo has less of than any other city in Japan

Being the capital city, Tokyo very often tends to come out on top when it comes to rankings – it’s the top tourist destination for foreign visitors, the safest city in the world, the most populated (in fact, the most densely populated place on earth), has long been one of the most expensive (that dubious honour now belongs to Singapore, apparently), was recently declared the most satisfying city…we could go on.

But the student section of Japanese website MyNavi published a list this week of six national rankings that Tokyo comes at the bottom of – things it does worse at than any other city in Japan. Let’s take a look at what they found!

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Just how fast is Japan’s new maglev train? See for yourself【Video】

It may not be due to begin ferrying passengers between Tokyo and Osaka for another 10+ years yet, but Japan’s magnetic levitation (maglev) train is already zipping up and down a special section of test track in Yamanashi Prefecture, and it’s nothing short of spectacular.

Check out our video of this thing in motion – oh, and try not to blink because you really might miss it.

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Mochi hot cakes: The Japanese pancakes you don’t even need a rice cooker to make!

There’s a reason we say “selling like hotcakes”, and that reason is that hotcakes are awesome. These fluffy, light little circles of joy were sent to make snack time delightful and fill the world with rainbows and sunshine.

But if you’ve ever looked down at your little pancakes and thought “hey, this just isn’t Japanese enough for me!” then we have the answer for you. Mochi, Japan’s favourite rice cake, is said to make hot cakes even fluffier and even more awesome. But how do you add a solid, square block of mochi to a bowl of pancake mix anyway?

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New McDonald’s commercial grosses out Japan 【Video】

McDonald’s Japan recently launched a limited time menu option called the teriyaki chicken and egg with Seto lemon sauce. The Seto Inland Sea is famous in Japan for its warm climate and top-notch citrus, so you would think a Seto lemon sauce would put the already popular teriyaki chicken and egg into stratospheric levels of demand.

That doesn’t seem to be the case, though, and the culprit may be McDonald’s own commercial, which viewers are calling “dirty” and “gross”.

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Narita Airport attempts to woo international travellers with ‘Omotenashi’ welcome program

‘Omotenashi’, the spirit of Japanese hospitality, became something of a buzzword at home and abroad when Christel Takigawa used the phrase in her speech to the International Olympic Committee in 2013.

And it’s in this spirit that Tokyo’s Narita airport plans to extend an especially warm welcome to international visitors this year, as it renews its Omotenashi Program of special offers and cultural events for transferring passengers.

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Our Japanese reporter shares three interesting revelations he had after studying Korean

Hello, everyone! I’m a Japanese man who’s been studying Korean for three years now. I’ve been doing a language exchange with a South Korean study abroad student in Tokyo’s Shin-Okubo “Koreatown” district, learning about both the Korean language and culture.

During the past few years, I’ve discovered several points of interest regarding Japan and Korea. Today, I’d like to share with you three things that surprised me as a Japanese person studying Korean.

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Warranted anger or overreaction? Tokyo train driver snaps at train enthusiast for taking a picture

The word otaku in Japanese isn’t just limited in use to fans of anime and manga. It can be used to refer to fans or enthusiasts of a number of things, and with the abundance of trains weaving throughout the country, it’s not surprising that Japan has a fair number of “tetsudou otaku,” or train enthusiasts. Within that group there are also “toritetsu,” who enjoy taking pictures of trains.

Recently, a video surfaced on YouTube which shows a Tokyo Metro train driver scolding one toritetsu for taking a flash photo of the train, and while most Japanese netizens seem to be in support of the driver, there are some of the opinion that the driver could’ve handled the situation differently.

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The internet reminds us how cool it is with this Minecraft recreation of the Japanese islands

While browsing the net over the last week, I’ve been bombarded by a barrage of pictures uploaded from block-busting game Minecraft. The next thing I knew, a Japanese fan had generously shared his original world data for the entire country of Nippon.

Just wait till you see his incredibly precise rendering of the Japanese islands in all of their Minecraft glory!

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Super handsome-looking female group ‘THE HOOPERS’ are like boys come straight out of girls’ comics

For their major debut, the seven-member female idol group ‘THE HOOPERS‘ will be releasing the single ‘Itoshi Koishi Kimi Koishi‘ on March 4. But what makes THE HOOPERS’ different to any other run-of-the-mill girls group? Well, ‘THE HOOPERS’ are a group composed of seven women dressed in men’s clothes. Now that’s not something you see every day.

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Noto Peninsula shows us how to keep warm during the Japanese winter 【Photos】

I recently had the opportunity to travel to the Noto Peninsula, an outcrop that sticks out from Japan’s main island of Honshu into the Sea of Japan. The area relies heavily on fishing and agriculture, and is famous for its delicious seafood and beautiful scenery.

Noto’s not so popular as a tourist destination in winter, but I went along on a trip to see what the place has to offer when it’s coooold outside. As it turns out, Noto out of season is about as chilly as I’d expected. But it was also very cool.

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Around Japan in 47 rice balls: Mr. Sato buys each prefecture’s musubi all from one Tokyo shop

Although Japan lacks ethnic diversity, it seems to more than make up for it in diversity of cuisine. Although the overarching recipes of Japanese foods can be found everywhere, you’d be surprised and how diverse the differences can be from region to region. Having your New Year’s soup in Okayama Prefecture may be quite different from Akita Prefecture’s offering. Even purchasing oden from a chain like 7-Eleven will produce different results if it’s from Osaka or Tokyo.

This is also true of another of Japan’s standard foods: rice balls also known as onigiri or musubi. To taste all the unique variations Japan has to offer, one must be a seasoned traveler, or they could just go to Momochi, a shop which offers a taste of all 47 prefectures straight from the counter. Our own Mr. Sato, eager to taste of these deliciously distinct snacks, visited Momochi to sample one of each.

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Is Japan’s “Daughter in a box” a myth?【Myth-Busters Series】

This is the first article in our brand new “Myth-Busters” series that attempts to provide definitive answers to readers’ questions about Japanese culture, language and concepts. If you’ve ever asked yourself “Is it really true that the Japanese…..?” then just ask us! We’ll let loose the RocketNews24 hound dogs to track down the answer.

Our first myth-busters topic, prompted by a question from a Canadian reader, is hakoirimusume (箱入り娘) or “Daughter in a box,” used to describe a girl who grows up protected by her family, as if being kept in a box. The term originated in the Edo Period (1603-1867), but do such shielded daughters still exist today?

Our hound dogs are on the trail! Results after the jump.

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Swiss man visits Japan, returns home an internet sensation 【Photos】

Lovers of Japan and Japanese pop culture the world over plan for their dream trip to the motherland of anime, delicious food, and all things cute, to experience first-hand all that this fantastic country has to offer. For those finally living the dream, social media makes it easy to share your adventures with friends, family, and others interested in Japanese culture too.

When Twitter user Swiss Ambassador Rayun (@yuzu_rayun) documented his most recent trip to the Land of the Rising Sun – posting pictures of his travels, delicious eats, and his haul of eroge (erotic game) goods – we doubt he expected the amount of fame he was about to receive, as his Twitter follower tally has grown by the thousands over the past few days.

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How do Japanese cats stay warm and accessorize during winter? With tail scarves, of course!

Though spring is only a few months away, Tokyo is still downright cold these days. Of course, if you’re from a colder climate, you probably annoy your friends by running around in shorts asking why they’re shivering, but for many people here, it’s still pretty cold. Whether it’s the sea breeze zipping through the streets or some sort of reverse heat island effect, we’re not sure, but it is enough to make mornings downright brutal.

And people aren’t the only ones cursing the cold–our furry feline friends are none too fond of winter either! But unlike humans, they come with built-in scarves. Check out some of Japan’s cutest cats wrapping themselves up nice and warm with their tails.

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Japanese conservatives call for ban on Angelina Jolie’s WWII movie

Angelina Jolie’s latest war movie, Unbroken, has been facing criticism recently from Japanese conservatives for its portrayals of brutality in World War II prisoner of war camps. While the film hasn’t even been released yet, there are some people who want to make sure it never sees the light of day in Japan.

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Upcoming Chinese drama criticized for copying video game series Assassin’s Creed

A series of stills from upcoming Chinese drama Hunter Blade drew heavy criticism recently when eagle-eyed Chinese netizens noticed that the costume designs seemed a little bit too familiar.

Those who game quickly pointed out the similarities between the costumes worn by the Hunter Blade actors and those in popular video game franchise Assassin’s Creed. As the Chinese production is intended to be a historical drama detailing patriotic resistance against the Japanese, some netizens have even called the wardrobe choices “embarrassing”.

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Change your perspective: A quartet of videos from little-known Japan

If you’re a regular RocketNews24 reader, then chances are you’re already a fan of Japan and Japanese culture. But ask the average person on the street to tell you what they know about Japan, and most likely all you’ll hear are things like “geisha,” “sumo,” and “anime.”

With that in mind, today we’d like to share with you a selection of videos from our special website, “Another Side of Japan” from NHK World, which feature three of Japan’s little-known wonders and demonstrate the importance of perspective when looking at not just Japan but the world in general. The video tour starts after the jump!

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Compulsory manga? Top Taiwanese university’s manga course has a waitlist of thousands

Like the rest of my classmates in my first Japanese class, I was inspired by manga to start learning Japanese. Although manga is usually deemed as ‘leisure’ reading, there are some quality manga that deal with serious societal issues. In fact, at National Cheng Chi University, one of the top universities in Taiwan, there is actually a class in which you have to read manga. Mandatory manga readings? It’s no wonder the class is so popular that some students have to wait four years to get in!

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You can eat a polar bear in Kagoshima

That’s right, you can eat a polar bear in Japan. But before you start freaking out about animal cruelty or endangered species, we are actually talking about the funky dessert in picture above, not the big furry mammal. Meet the shirokuma or polar bear, a delicious treat of shaved ice, sweet milk syrup and fruit from Kagoshima.

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Could you draw a map of Japan that doesn’t look like poop?

Sushi, geisha, sumo – everyone knows at least a few famous things from Japan. But how many people actually know what the country looks like on a map?

Our Japanese writer asked six of his foreign friends with an interest in Japan to draw a map of the country to see just how good their knowledge of the country was. The following collection of decidedly poopy-looking doodles is what he got back.

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