Okinawa

The surprising name for Universal Studios Japan theme park in Okinawa leaves netizens confused

We reported earlier this year that Universal Studios Japan (USJ) is floating the idea of opening a new theme park in Okinawa. We now know the proposed name for the new amusement park, and it has left many Japanese surprised and confused.

You see, the company plans to drop the “Universal” brand from its name, and instead the new theme park will, apparently, be called Nangoku Resort.

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Hayao Miyazaki speaks out against relocation of Okinawa U.S. base, criticizes Prime Minister Abe

Internationally renowned Studio Ghibli co-founder and director Hayao Miyazaki, who announced his retirement from feature films in September of 2013 but is now reported to be working on a computer generated animated short, pretty much attracts attention for whatever he does or says. And while it’s nothing new, this time, it’s Miyazaki’s anti-war and anti-military statements, and not his animated works, that have recently been making headlines on the Japanese internet, especially as he referred to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in his statements, and not in a positive light.

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Haunted, abandoned hotel complex on Okinawa is a lesson against messing with Japan’s spirits

A luxury leisure resort on the lush hillside of Okinawa. Panoramic ocean views. A waterpark, a petting zoo, a night club. Now crumbling into ruins, swallowed up by nature reclaiming the land developers tried to take. Perhaps the owners should have known better than to build on the site of ancient tombs. The local priests warned them. But they didn’t listen.

This is the tale of Okinawa’s Nakagusuku Kogen Hotel, one of the most haunted abandoned sites in Japan.

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Video shows Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe heckled by angry Okinawans at ceremony

June 23 marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the Battle of Okinawa, a bloody, 82-day battle which left thousands of people dead. In commemoration of this gruesome chapter of Japanese history, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appeared in Okinawa at the Cornerstone of Peace, a memorial to those who died in the battle, to deliver a speech.

However, it turned out that not everyone was happy to see the leader, who faced heckling by some attendees.

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Hayao Miyazaki joins politicians and CEOs donating millions to protest U.S. military in Okinawa

As you may know, Hayao Miyazaki is one of the most outspoken proponents of anti-war policy in Japan. As you may also know, Okinawa is home to a plethora of American military bases, and has been a hotbed of controversy for decades.

However, what you may not know is that Miyazaki and Okinawa have finally officially teamed up to protest the American military presence. The director announced on May 7 that he will officially join the “Henoko Fund,” a group of politicians and CEOs who are putting their money where their mouths are and donating hundreds of millions of yen to prevent the relocation of the Futenma Air Base.

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NHK host, bullied for being “too busty”, quits, sticks it to the man with new photo book

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.

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Six-year-old girl roughed up by group of adult men opposed to U.S. forces in Okinawa

In an incredibly sad turn of events, a group of men who identify with those who oppose the presence of a U.S. base in Okinawa turned their anger towards a Japanese-American six-year-old girl late last month, allegedly shoving her to the ground and demanding to know, “Why are Americans in a place like this?

As this attack could be qualified as a hate crime, you might be wondering why you haven’t heard more about this. Well, the reason could be just as shameful as the attack itself.

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Universal Studios to open theme park in Okinawa, in case you get bored of the beaches

For folks in the Kanto area, theme parks tend to mean Tokyo Disneyland, and for people in the Kansai area, they mean Universal Studios Japan, or USJ for short. But what about Okinawan residents? We suppose they could just fly to Osaka or Tokyo if they get bored with their beautiful beaches and old-lady idol groups, but they don’t have much actually in the prefecture.

However, it looks like things are going to change for theme-park-ride-starved Okinawans: It was revealed today that USJ is planning to open a second park on the tropical island!

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Japan’s newest idol group, KBG84, hails from Okinawa, has an average age of 84

Japan’s idol world is quite…expansive, for lack of a better word. Even with the wide variety of groups running around, it can be hard to really tell them apart–though we have to say there was no mistaking Osaka’s Obachaaan for any other group. In fact, the “old lady” idol group is still going strong–perhaps thanks in part to the dearth of elderly competition. But it looks like Obachaaa and AKB48 are about to face some new rivals: KBG84, Okinawa’s own geriatric idol group!

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We examine the footage, decide Coming of Age Day in Okinawa is actually pretty badass【Video】

Japan’s Coming of Age Day, held in January to celebrate young people who have turned 20 in the last year, involves dressing up in fancy kimono to attend an official ceremony, followed by a trip to the shrine or (more likely) an afterparty.

Or, to put it another way, every 20-year-old in the country is invited to a party to celebrate the fact they’re old enough to drink alcohol. Perhaps it’s no surprise then that in recent years, each Coming of Age Day has brought with it a small number of arrests, as rowdy enjoyment spills over into reckless driving and alcohol-related incidents.

Okinawa in particular boasts some of the wildest Coming of Age celebrations in Japan. This year, filmmaker and Okinawa native Hisashi Hamamoto headed to some of the busiest spots to film the partygoers. Join us after the jump for kids blocking traffic, shaking champagne about and generally having a riot, Japan-style.

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Taco Rice: Yummy Tex-Mex cuisine, Okinawan style!

Hands up everyone who loves Japanese food. Now, hands up everyone who loves Tex-Mex. Okay, you can put both of your hands down now. If you’ve never had the pleasure of chowing down on a bowl of delicious “Taco Rice”, then you’re seriously missing out! This Okinawan dish is a staple of the islands, being both tasty and filling while at the same time satisfying many a US military serviceperson’s hankering for a taste of home. We recently picked up a “Taco Rice bento box” from one of the best Taco Rice establishments on Okinawa. Read on for our thoughts!

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Our Japanese reporter visits an American sushi restaurant in Japan

In this era of increasing globalization we see more and more cases of foods jumping across cultural boundaries and changing in the process. Japan is no different with foods like pizza topped with scallops, curry which tastes sweet as pudding, and ramen burgers.

And of course this culinary door swings both ways such as the United States’ take on sushi in creations like the California roll. However, now we are seeing an interesting twist in the migration of sushi with New Port Sushi located in Okinawa. Here American style sushi can be enjoyed in Japan. After our reporter Nakano was finished vomiting up his glass of root beer, we sent him in to check it out.

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Studio Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki opposes relocation of military base in Okinawa

Locals, citizens, and politicians continue to clash regarding the proposed relocation of a U.S. military base to the Henoko (辺野古) district of Nago City, Okinawa. A recent movement to oppose the base sought to gain support from famous Japanese people, including (sort-of) retired Studio Ghibli Director, Hayao Miyazaki.

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【TBT】The five Japanese streets that people of Japan most want to visit

If you’ve ever longed to go back to an old Japan, where samurai stayed at old ramshackle inns and merchants filled the air with the scent of food, then some of these traditional streets will be right up your alley. We take you to five of Japan’s most-loved streets, from well-worn paths in secluded valleys to bustling pilgrimage routes in scenic villages, all with an amazing history and atmosphere. Let’s take a stroll together and see what they have to offer.

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Sparkles! Hearts!! Personal loans? Okinawan bank’s approach to advertising is a little different

With the greater acceptance among adults that animation has in Japan, it’s not unusual to see anime characters pop up in advertisements and other endorsements. Usually, though, there’s at least some sort of connection linking the message and the characters, though, either in tone, back story, or demographic appeal.

For instance, convenience stores get a lot of young customers who’d rather be spending their time watching anime than cooking, so a tie-up with Attack on Titan makes sense. Likewise, hanging in my local train station is a public safety poster from the Kanagawa Prefectural Police asking citizens to be on the lookout and report crimes, which also feature the giant law enforcement robot from Patlabor.

So the fact that two anime-style magical girls have been created for a series of TV ads isn’t so surprising. What is weird, though, is the product they’re pushing: bank loans.

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How many have you seen? 18 must-visit sites in Japan 【World Heritage】

Visiting World Heritage Sites is a great way to see Japan. Since the sites are scattered all around the archipelago, you’re bound to be close to at least one of them no matter where you are in the country, and having gained the prestigious status by UNESCO, you can be sure you’re seeing the very best of Japan. After all, World Heritage status is not easily obtained and competition is stiff.

Join our peripatetic reporter as she takes you to each site and gives you the lowdown on what to see, how to avoid the crowds, and how to enjoy the sites on your own terms. Ready? Let’s go!

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Nago mayor says US bases “a legacy of misery” in Okinawa

Nago is located in northern Okinawa, a tourist town with beautiful beaches and a pineapple park. Its waters are home to gorgeous coral and seagrass beds that serve as the feeding grounds to Japan’s last remaining population of dugong, an endangered sea mammal related to the manatee. Nago is also the site of the proposed relocation of Futenma airbase, the US Marine complex that is at the core of a controversy between the Okinawan, Japanese, and US governments.

The mayor of Nago, Susumu Inamine, was in New York last weekend to deliver speeches and have informative discussions regarding the issue.

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Enjoy the ambiance of Okinawa’s aptly named Cave Cafe (plus “chest hair of the ancients”!)

The folks at popular Japanese travel site Another Tokyo have given us the itch to go traveling again. We’ve gotten used to drooling over their cool photos of off the beaten track places around Tokyo, but this time they’ve branched out a bit — all the way to tropical, sunny Okinawa!

Although we have to give the Tokyo area credit for its share of unconventional cafes, you’ll be blown away by the photos from this “Cave Cafe” in Okinawa, which is located inside – you guessed it – an actual cave! If you’re traveling to Okinawa soon and looking to do something a bit extraordinary, be sure to add this spot to your sightseeing list. After all, how many people can claim to have sipped coffee in a cave?

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Okinawa restaurant’s amazing shaved ice belongs in a (sufficiently air-conditioned) museum

Of all the art-you-can-eat creations that seem to be trending in Japan these days, most use easily manipulated and relatively sturdy substances such as rice and grated daikon radish, plus obvious stuff like cake and marzipan. So if these trendy edible canvases rank an eight or a nine on a 1-to-10 food art skill rating, we’d have to wager that ice-based food art is cranking it up to 11. And with ice melting in a matter of minutes, you’d think somebody would have to be crazy to try and make an edible sculpture out of it.

We can picture it now: The poor, young shaved ice art prodigy ridiculed and shunned by the food art community, forced to take his craft to far-off Okinawa and a decrepit-looking shop on an unassuming corner to carry out his trade in relative anonymity.

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Multiple witness reports of mysterious lights over Okinawa 【Video】

At approximately 9:00pm on 23 January, reports started coming into the Okinawa Times about a strange array of lights over their capital city Naha. Japan’s Self Defense Force and astronomical experts are without answer, yet witness accounts and videos claim a dozen or so bright orange lights appearing to hang and shift around in the sky could be see in the area.

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