Since winning the Poster Award at the 2015 Cannes Film Market, people have been wondering what the heck CG anime Sushi Police is about. Now we know. Kind of.
Upon arriving in Japan, one of the first things you’ll probably notice is the large army of characters being used to sell anything from services to stationary to automobiles, or giving tips on being a good citizen like when it comes to separating your trash or picking up your dog’s poop after it finishes doing its duty. Most of them are cute, but some are downright scary.
In recent years, yurukyara, literally “weaker mascot characters”, have slowly been taking over the country, with more and more cities and businesses allocating funds to coming up with the prefect representative character costume each year. Aside from being hot and stuffy inside, being a yurukyara seems like a pretty awesome job. Kids are happy to see you, people are clamoring to get a picture of you, and generally everyone loves you…
Or at least that’s the impression we got until news of a mascot character in a small Ehime Prefecture town getting attacked.
Japan has spent just about all week getting drenched by a pair of typhoons that have decided to leisurely make their way across the country’s skies. Thankfully, there hasn’t been any significant damage in the Tokyo area, but whenever there’s heavy rainfall, you can expect local news outlets to send a camera crew to check on conditions at one of the capital’s major rail hubs.
Last night, a team sent to Shinjuku Station brought back footage of all the things viewers have come to expect from such reports. The camera’s lens capturing soaked commuters caught without an umbrella and concerned travelers watching the display boards for word about whether their train lines were still running…oh, and also a crazed, sunglass-wearing guitarist who insisted on being heard and in-frame.
Two men died and five other people, including two children, from two families were injured after they were electrocuted by an electrified fence set up by a local resident to keep out deer and other wild animals from hydrangeas in Nishi-Izu, Shizuoka Prefecture, on Sunday.
Fire crews are currently battling a blaze at a petrochemical plant in Rizhao City in China’s Shandong Province following a massive explosion which occurred at just after 7:30am local time today.
Onlookers caught the moment the plant exploded on camera, only to then run for their lives as subsequent explosions caused the ground beneath their feet to shake.
If you’ve seen a weather report in the last couple of days, you probably know that the Pacific is currently chock-a-block with typhoons. Across Asia, people are watching the forecasts to see whether a monster storm is going to come swirling their way, and the news stations are doing their best to give them up-to-date and easy-to-understand information.
In Taiwan, the Next TV presentation led one viewer to wonder if the graphics team weren’t perhaps Evangelion fans.
Japan’s best minds have contributed quite a few important inventions to the world over the years. Did you know that the portable ECG machine was invented in Japan, for example? So were electric rice cookers, DSLR cameras, CD players, Blu-ray discs, and gaming systems. Really, the list of Japanese tech that has become integral to our daily lives goes on and on.
However, if you ask Japanese people which invention their country should be proud of, it turns out a far humbler product jumps to mind for most: instant noodles.
It’s no secret that Japan and China don’t like each other very much. So when the official government news channel in China aired a segment discussing Japan’s Self-Defense Forces, it comes as no surprise that there would be some exaggerations.
However, one exaggeration was too huge to just let slip by. While the news broadcast was showing videos of Japan’s aircraft and ships, one image of a giant Gundam mech somehow snuck into the mix. Those Chinese reporters are probably going to want to double-check their source on that one.
In the village of Wang Luang in northern Thailand’s Phrae Province, there is a traditional ritual held to end a drought that involves putting a live cat in a cage, parading it around town and splashing it with water. The cat’s cries were said to call down rain.
As the area is currently in the grips of a severe drought, the villagers held the ritual again this week, but with one key change: robot cat Doraemon stepped in as the caged feline.
A somber case is currently making its way through the Japanese legal system as a 93-year-old man goes on trial for killing his wife, apparently at her request. This heartbreaking case has made headlines in Japan and evoked a gut-wrenching testimony from their eldest daughter.
Japanese video game giant Nintendo has announced that Star Fox Zero, a brand new game for Wii U, will be released at the end of this year.
Tokyo’s public infrastructure is widely considered to be one of the best in the world, with impeccably paved roads and sidewalks, perfectly operating energy grids, and clean drinking water, delivered with just the right amount of water pressure unless you really blast it up to high, in which case you’re basically guaranteed to flood your entire apartment with a biblical cascade of H20.
And, other than those types of user accidents, catastrophic power outages, water and gas leaks and other public works disasters are practically unheard of. But it looks like even Tokyo’s public works aren’t entirely foolproof, as a number of drivers, bystanders and local businesses learned when a water pipe burst near a street in the Takadanobaba District, flooding the street and plunging the area into (mild) chaos.
Apparently, the Okinawan branch of oft-despised broadcaster NHK (Nihon Hoso Kyokai or Japan Broadcasting Corporation) had been receiving complaints, starting around 2008, from concerned parents about a morning host who was boasting some exceptionally large assets and making men and teenage boys feel all funny and conflicted while tucking in to their morning cereal.
Former announcer Tomoka Takenaka says viewers would regularly call in to complain about her (Japan size) G-cup breasts, with such gems as, “I can’t concentrate on the news [with those things in my face]!” and “It’s not good for kids to see [huge breasts] first thing in the morning”.
After additional on-set bullying from co-workers, Takenaka decided she’d had enough and called it quits to ironically pursue a career where her endowment would be more appreciated: modeling.
Police have arrested a 33-year-old Yokohama man on suspicion of threatening to kill his former girlfriend in a series of messages on the LINE app.
In a city in China’s southwestern Shichuan Province during the early hours of April 2, a man walking alongside the river suddenly noticed what appeared to be huge quantities of pale fish floating in the water.
He quickly rushed home and returned with fishing equipment, and was soon joined by crowds of amateur fishers – and local officials, who subsequently hauled 300 kilograms of fish from the river to be destroyed.
Ms Misao Okawa, the woman recognised as the oldest living person on earth, has died in her nursing home, it was announced earlier today.
Japan is well-known for its packed commuter trains. For decades, smartly dressed men and women have shuffled wordlessly into train cars each morning, all painfully aware that they will soon be getting up-close and personal with total strangers and have nowhere to run, hide, or even breathe freely until their stop. Glove-wearing station staff pack passengers in as tightly as they’ll go without them popping out the other side, each firm shove accompanied by a polite word or phrase thanking passengers for moving all the way inside the car or warning them to keep their various appendages clear of the (just barely) closing doors.
But earlier today, Japan was given a glimpse of a much more civilised, luxuriant commuting experience that may soon put an end to these sardine-can shenanigans. Better yet, this logistical revolution is coming soon: not twelve months from now, commuters will be able to zip into Tokyo in style, lying back in comfortable faux-leather chairs inside sleek, aerodynamic private pods that resemble something out of Minority Report.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the next generation of luxury travel, and its name is Kosoku.