Japan

How epic is PlayStation 4? The specs of Sony’s newest console explained through Dragon Ball

How epic is PlayStation 4? The specs of Sony’s newest console explained through Dragon Ball

Readers in North America, Europe and Australia, where the PlayStation 4 was released back in November, might be surprised to learn that Japanese gamers are still waiting for Sony’s next-gen console. But this Saturday February 22, the PS4 is finally unleashed on the video game capital of the world!

As we’ve discovered before, Dragon Ball can be used to explain just about anything, and this clever infographic shows how the PS4 compares to its predecessor – with specs converted into battle strength! So if Frieza was a PS4, just how powerful would he be?

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Guard your smartphone with a tiny ninja accomplice

Guard your smartphone with a tiny ninja accomplice

Lurking in the shadows is a mysterious figure. He conceals himself behind a giant kite, a flipped tatami mat, or a sliding door. Only his eyes are visible from beneath his dark robes. Yes, it’s a tiny ninja, and with a distinctly modern purpose: to protect your smartphone from would-be assailants!

There are three different warriors to choose from, each using a different ninja art to fend off attacks:

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Japanese pottery repair technique makes comeback, clumsy people rejoice

Japanese pottery repair technique makes comeback, clumsy people rejoice

When I was 13, I fell in love with a hand-made bowl in a ceramics shop in Italy. “How are you going to get it home without breaking it?” asked my dad. I wrapped it in a tight bundle of clothes in my suitcase and fretted about it all the way back to England.

My little bowl survived the airline baggage handlers, but it was no match for a clutz like me. Two weeks later, I knocked it off the kitchen counter and it took a sizeable triangular chip out of the rim. “It’s always the things you like that get broken”, my dad told me. “The bowls and cups that you don’t care about, they stay in the cupboard and don’t get smashed up.”

If only I’d known then about kintsugi, the Japanese art of restoring pottery that makes a broken object even more beautiful than it was before.

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Don’t bother, ladies: Survey reveals most Japanese guys don’t want your Valentine’s chocolate

Don’t bother, ladies: Survey reveals most Japanese guys don’t want your Valentine’s chocolate

Valentine’s Day gifts in Japan are usually one-directional, with women giving chocolate to men. You might think the people leading any kind of counter-movement against this would be the girls, fed up with having to buy or make chocolates for everyone in the office. But a new survey shows it’s the guys who are unhappy, with 90 percent saying they don’t care or would rather the girls didn’t bother.

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Happy 2,674 birthday, Japan! Now blow out all those candles!

Happy 2,674 birthday, Japan! Now blow out all those candles!

“Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday, dear Jaaapaaaan! Happy birthday to you!!! Yah! Now, blow out your candles! All 2,674 of them!”

Today is a national holiday here in Japan: It’s Kenkoku Kinenbi, or National Foundation Day in English. The day is a celebration of the foundation of Japan, which occurred on February 11 in 660 BCE.

Or was it?!

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Quiz of the Week: Round 4 (Now with 100% more otter!)

Quiz of the Week: Round 4 (Now with 100% more otter!)

It’s nearly the weekend! Yaaaay! But before you all skip off to join your friends and pretend to be a normal human being, make sure you have all the info you need and are up on the week’s weird news from Asia. After all, how else will you win the respect of your peers? With love and kindness!? Madness. Take our weekly multiple-choice quiz, see how much awesome you have flowing through those veins of yours, and maybe even learn an interesting fact or two.

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Limited Hayao Miyazaki figurines created for Tsunami Relief

Limited Hayao Miyazaki figurines created for Tsunami Relief

Martin Hsu and Bigshot Toyworks have teamed up to create a limited run of “Miya-san” figures modeled after acclaimed director Hayao Miyazaki.

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The good, the bad and the ugly: Japanese kids rate their own country【Survey】

The good, the bad and the ugly: Japanese kids rate their own country【Survey】

Last year, Japan was thrust into the international spotlight after Tokyo won the 2020 Olympics and traditional Japanese cuisine was named an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO (only the second national cuisine after France’s own!). With all of this increased attention on the global stage, one Japanese corporation was curious to know what thoughts Japanese children harbored about their own country. Keep reading to find which things about their country Japanese kids liked and disliked the most.

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Girl rejected by boy she never actually met takes revenge with 20-girl mob

Girl rejected by boy she never actually met takes revenge with 20-girl mob

I remember the time when, back in junior high school, I was cruelly rejected by the girl I was crazy about. My hopes dashed to pieces, I went home and cried my eyes out. It hurt right down to the pit of my stomach and it took a while for me to get over it, but never once did it cross my mind that I should take revenge for being rejected.

For one girl in Japan, however, the same cannot be said. After having her advances spurned, this female junior high school student decided to get back at the young man she had hoped to form a friendship with. Assembling a violent mob of 20 girls, she went out for payback – and the worst part is, she and the boy had never actually met in person.

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Son terrified of the outside world refuses to report father’s death, lives with corpse for two weeks

Son terrified of the outside world refuses to report father’s death, lives with corpse for two weeks

When a death occurs most people can quickly and responsibly deal with the situation. However, a man in Osaka knowingly left his father’s corpse in the house and lived with it for almost two weeks without alerting authorities. The man told police that he was unable to contact anyone about the death because he is a hikikomori! So what is a hikikomori and why would they live with a dead body?

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Easy-to-make marshmallow toast is delicious, could open a gateway to Hell

Easy-to-make marshmallow toast is delicious, could open a gateway to Hell

I can eat marshmallows all day long. So when I saw this delicious, albeit simple, recipe for marshmallow toast on Japanese website, Jin115, I just had to try it for myself. It’s so easy you should try it too. But be careful, yours could become the next source of dark matter or gate to Hell.

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From “Love Princess” to “Silent Hill”: Awesome Japanese prefecture names changed into English

From “Love Princess” to “Silent Hill”: Awesome Japanese prefecture names changed into English

What happens when you take a prefecture’s name written in kanji and change it into English based on the literal meaning of the Chinese characters? Sounds like you’d get a pretty cool name, right? Well, you may be disappointed to find out that Tokyo (東京), the capital of the nation of Japan, in fact simply means “Eastern Capital,” and Kyoto (京都), the former capital, doesn’t fare much better, coming out as, um, “Capital Capital.”

But with 45 other prefectures to choose from, there’s no reason we can’t find some good ones! Join us after the jump for some fun with kanji.

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Japanese drivers get a ghostly reminder about winter road safety【Video】

Japanese drivers get a ghostly reminder about winter road safety【Video】

Winter driving can be pretty treacherous, and you can never be too careful when it comes to traversing snowy and ice-covered roads. The same can be said for mysterious videos or images lurking on the internet. I’m sure we’ve all learned the hard way after one of those horrifying faces pops out of a purported magic-eye picture or photo of a smiling baby.

If you scare easily, however, you might not want to watch the following video, which reminds Japanese drivers that it’s about time to fit winter tires, or else risk coming face to face with something rather nasty.

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Cute credit cards could send you to the slammer

Cute credit cards could send you to the slammer

You better watch out. Having a credit card with Idolmaster characters plastered across the surface is good enough to get you arrested in the U.S these days. That is precisely what happened to a Japanese Twitter user’s father on a recent trip to Los Angeles. The card was so cute that it was mistaken as a fake, which resulted in the Japanese man being arrested by local authorities. Maybe a wonderful Disneyland trip was ruined in the process but we may never know the full extent of what actually happened.

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Japanese Q&A site answerer makes starting a cult seem like legitimately good business sense

Japanese Q&A site answerer makes starting a cult seem like legitimately good business sense

Back in the day, starting a cult was just as good a way to make a dishonest living as robbing banks or selling kidneys on the black market, but with the rise of the Internet (specifically, Snopes.com), attracting believers to your bogus religion seems like way too much work. Besides, Scientology kind of already has the market cornered.

Nevertheless, an inquisitive aspiring cultist took to Yahoo! Japan’s Chiebukuro question and answer site as part of his/her cult-founding due diligence, perhaps hoping for some basic advice like “keep human sacrifices to a minimum,” or “promise male cult members multiple wives.”

Instead, what the asker got was a detailed breakdown of what it takes to build a successful cult; an explanation so thorough and well-thought out, we’re actually considering a career change.

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Japan’s 10 best-selling video games this century so far

Japan’s 10 best-selling video games this century so far

In a recent article from Famitsu, the weekly video game magazine considered by many Japanese gamers to be the authority when it comes to their medium of choice for entertainment, a list showing the current total video game sales for all platforms in Japan between January 1, 2001 and September this year caught the attention of gamers both at home and abroad. Aside from the fact that the number of games sold in Japan over the last decade or so is simply staggering, Nintendo’s dominance in its home territory when it comes to total software sales is quite remarkable.

Join us after the jump as we see Japan’s 10 most popular video games of this century so far, and how, with a little help from some clever pocket monsters, Nintendo is absolutely raking the cash in.

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10 things Japan gets awesomely right

10 things Japan gets awesomely right

At the end of our recent article listing the 10 things that we think Japan gets horribly wrong, we assured you that we’d be back soon to focus on some of the positives and introduce the things that we really, truly love about living in Japan. True to our word, we sat down and decided on what we as (mostly) foreigners most love about this great little collection of islands, and it turned out to be a lot of fun.

Although Japan is not without its faults, it is nevertheless an incredibly efficient and easy-to-live-in country, and we’ve discovered that there are numerous things that the Japanese get not just right, but awesomely right.

Join us after the jump for our top 10 things we love about Japan.

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Lonely this Christmas: Japanese gamers feeling left out in the cold as new consoles launch elsewhere

Lonely this Christmas: Japanese gamers feeling left out in the cold as new consoles launch elsewhere

It’s been a few months now since gamers in Japan learned that, unlike the majority of the developed world, they would not be enjoying next-gen consoles at home this Christmas. While both North and South America, the UK, Europe, even our pals down-under in Australia will be stroking their shiny new hardware and yelling at friends for leaving greasy fingerprints on it, video game fans in Japan will be left to either play with their existing consoles or try to import.

Sony and Microsoft’s decisions to focus on Western territories for the launch of their respective new consoles certainly makes good business sense – after all, the Christmas period accounts for between 30 and 40 percent of annual video game sales, and the West is by far the more lucrative market – but reports here in Japan suggest that some gamers’ perception of Sony in particular has been harmed by the move, with some once loyal fans saying that they feel the company is simply “not taking things seriously” anymore.

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Why do Japanese people obey traffic laws? Chinese students give their opinion

Why do Japanese people obey traffic laws? Chinese students give their opinion

On August 11, Record China published an article based on essays written by Chinese students after their first visit to Japan. The piece, titled “How Japanese People Interpret Laws,” mainly focused on the students’ impressions of Japanese roadway rules and regulations and how strictly they are followed.”

Those readers who have had the chance to experience Japanese motorways might not have found the streets very safe at all. Narrow roads often mean narrow escapes from clogged intersections as pedestrians weave in-between eco-delivery bicyclists and taxi cabs. But compared to the hustle and bustle of mainland China, where the rules of the road mean every man for himself, Japan may very well seem an extremely tame, if not complacent, environment.

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Cute cat noodles, anyone?!

Cute cat noodles, anyone?!

Ever the popular food, the Japanese noodles nagashi somen (“flowing noodles”) are the perfect treat for those beleaguered by the summer heat. Unlike your typical ramen, udon, or soba noodles, you can’t get nagashi somen in any old restaurant. Using a special set-up, thin, white noodles are sent down a bamboo trough of fresh, ice-cold water. Customers then have to try to catch the noodles with their chopsticks before it quite literally passes them by. It’s both a fun and frustrating experience for hungry patrons.

So what does this have to do with cats?

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