Osaka

Kansai International: The airport that’s never lost a passenger’s bag

One of the many things we love about Japan is its amazing customer service, from intelligent packing to omnipresent station attendants who pop out of the walls to help you.

So we weren’t too surprised to hear that an airport in Japan has been judged to be the best airport in the world for baggage handling. And the details of the top-notch service that helped Kansai International Airport clinch the title are really quite impressive. For starters, the Osaka airport hasn’t lost a single item of luggage in over 20 years.

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You should visit Osaka’s first rescue cat cafe so I don’t have to

I’m going to confess something that, this being the Internet, I’m almost certain is going to make me deeply unpopular and possibly get me fired from my writing job: I hate cats.

I hate ’em. I hate them so much that, apropos of nothing, the very idea of cats and how much I hate them pops into my mind a few times a day even when there are no cats around to spur my ire. I hate them when the three or four strays in my neighborhood wake me up in the middle of the night with their incessant mewling and fighting. I hate them when they get too close and trigger my allergies. I hate them in a box, I hate them with a fox, I hate them with a mouse, and I certainly hate them in my house.

That said, I think the new rescue cat cafe, SAVE CAT CAFE, which opened in Osaka on April 1, is just the cat’s meow.

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We try some chicken ramen-flavored ice cream at Chikira-House in Osaka

Alongside Kit Kat bars, carbonated beverages, and potato chips, ice cream is one food Japanese flavor engineers love to monkey with. In the past we’ve seen frozen desserts flavored with great tastes such as scallops, vegetables, and pork.

This time we caught word of a little shop in Shin-Osaka Station offering travelers the cold and creamy taste of chicken ramen-flavored ice cream. So we hopped a train over to check it out and grab a self-heating chiki-bento while we were at it.

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Attack on Kansai: manga creators post free comic translated into the Osaka area dialect

There seems to be no stopping the enormously popular manga-turned-anime series (and soon-to-be live-action film) Attack on Titan with fans all over the world who can’t get enough of its terrifying world. Attack on Titan has seen crossovers and fan-made tributes before, but last week the manga creators themselves surprised fans when they published a special online comic of the first issue completely translated into the Kansai dialect spoken in western Japan around Osaka.

Attack on Titan announced the free comic by posting a picture of the redesigned cover showing well-known symbols of the Osaka area, such as the Hanshin Tigers baseball team, takoyaki and of course, purple-haired obachan.

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Undetonated one-ton U.S. bomb found near downtown Osaka

On the morning of March 16, workers at a the construction site for a new condo complex in Osaka were surprised when they hit something hard after excavating about two meters (6.6 feet) deep. They were even more surprised to find that what they found was an unexploded piece of ordnance left over from World War II.

The bomb was found very close to one of Osaka’s more densely populated areas and could cause major disruptions in the city as the Self Defense Force (SDF) considers declaring an evacuation zone during the removal operation.

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Osaka railway creates superhero to attract foreign tourists, makes name unintelligible to them

A new superhero has arrived to save the people of Osaka from evildoers. This is great because just the other day some savage left an empty can in my bicycle’s basket while I parked it.

Unfortunately for me, his beat is just on the Rapi:t express train running between downtown’s Namba Station and Kansai International Airport. But if you happen to find trouble on the way to or from KIX there’s only one name to call out for help: Rapi…Ra…Rapee-itl-dee-yer!!?

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Visiting Osaka’s Umeda Sky Building, one of the “Top 20 Buildings in the world”

Built in 1994 and standing just a few hundred meters from Osaka Station, the Umeda Sky Building drew large crowds when it first opened, thanks to its unique design of two high-rise buildings connected at the top by the Floating Garden Observatory.

Once pulling in around a million visitors each year, in the days since attendance had dropped to about half that as the building’s novelty wore off and people became used to its towering presence. Having lived nearby for around a decade myself, I have to admit that I’d never been to see it. It looked nice and all but there didn’t seem to be much of a draw.

But it appears I was wrong. In 2014, attendance to the Umeda Sky Building has shot back up to about 975,000, and there are hopes that it will hit the million once mark again this year. Interested to see what this new fervor is all about, I hopped on a train to have a look around this possibly under-appreciated landmark.

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Seniors in Osaka less than thrilled at government offer to review their pension spending habits

There are certain privileges that come along with adulthood. For example, if I decide I really want to eat a bag of cookies for dinner or stay up until sunrise playing video games, there’s really not a whole lot any other person can do to stop me (even if my body is likely to eventually break down in protest of the unhealthy lifestyle).

Likewise, one you hit the age where you stop getting an allowance from your parents and start earning a legitimate paycheck, you’re generally considered to have earned the freedom to spend your money however you want. And just like you wouldn’t take kindly to someone trying to reinstate a bed time for you, seniors in Osaka aren’t too crazy about a government offer to check up on how they’re spending their government-administered pensions.

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Osaka shop owner in trouble for advertising “100-yen Molotov cocktails”

Police paid a visit to an eatery in the America Mura area of downtown Osaka after several images of a restaurant advertising improvised incendiary bombs known as Molotov cocktails began floating around on Twitter.

Sure enough, in front of the restaurant sat a plastic box with eight beer bottles stuffed with cloths and a sign that read Molotov Cocktails: One for 100 yen (US$0.84).

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Tantalizing Osaka advertisement lures in certain unsuspecting, unsober passersby

A rather risqué advertisement somewhere in Osaka has been drawing quite the attention from passersby. It exploded in popularity when one Japanese Twitter user uploaded a picture of the poster online for the world to see. But just what about it, besides some woman’s attractively long legs, makes it such a brilliant advertising scheme? Wait till you read what said Twitter user said he saw one person doing beneath the picture. 

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Japanese netizens proud to see Tokyo named safest city in the world, Osaka number three

Japan had plenty to boast last week when Tokyo was named as the safest city in the world by The Economist, with Osaka coming in a respectable third. Netizens were proud that even with Tokyo’s famously terrible (and sometimes dangerous) commutes and Osaka’s penchant for strange crimes, the two cities stood out to claim top spots among some of the largest cities in the world.

Click below to find out what made the two Japanese cities rank so high and which other cities made the list!

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Seven cool things set to happen in Japan during 2015

If there’s one thing we know, it’s that you should always wash your hands after going to the bathroom. If there’re two things we know, though, the second is that you’ll never get anywhere in life being fixated on the past. So while 2014 was a pretty good year for us, we’re already looking to the year ahead, which is already promising seven cool happenings for Japan in 2015.

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Skinny Japanese man isn’t skinny enough, makes greatest face at realization!【Photos】

Japanese people have a stereotype for being incredibly tiny. Grown men and women can shop in the “junior” section, which is a handy way to save a bit of money, especially when buying some brand name items. But just because you “can” doesn’t mean you “should“. One Japanese “baller” finds out the hard way that some children-only items should really only be used by children. Unless you are looking for a new and permanent metal chastity belt.

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“Let them eat furikake!” says Mayor Hashimoto as Osaka school lunch saga rumbles on

He’s known for his outspoken and often controversial opinions, from saying that civil servants who have tattoos should resign, to denying the forcible recruitment of South Korean “comfort women” during the second world war.

But it was an intense debate about whether students should be allowed to have furikake seasoning with their school lunch that left city mayor Tōru Hashimoto scratching his head this week as he asked the Osaka Board of Education: “What’s wrong with furikake?!”

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Store employee uses barcode scanner to defeat knife-wielding robber

Being a big city, Osaka falls victim to criminal activity more frequently than the rest of the sleepy countryside surrounding it. But still, the criminals they do have in this “big bad” city, seem to be lacking in… experience? Guts? Commitment?

Back in May we saw the convenience store robber who got outsmarted by a clerk after a series of unfortunate decisions on his part. The other day, another wannabe convenience store robber started his raid out well, but gave up pretty easily after some quick thinking and scolding by the store attendant.

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“We don’t want to be girls. We just want to be cute!” The future of crossdressing in Osaka

Tokyo’s Onna no ko kurabu, or Girls’ Club, has a simple mission statement: it’s a place where anybody can enjoy dressing in girls’ clothing. The bar’s staff aims to help men who may be crossdressing for the first time, providing clothes to choose from as well as a dedicated make-up service.

And now, Girls’ Club is spreading the cuteness a little further, with the opening of a second store in the heart of Osaka’s entertainment district.

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Osaka man imprisoned on rape conviction released in exceptional reversal of charges

An Osaka man convicted of rape three and a half years ago and sentenced to a 12-year prison sentence has been released after new evidence revealed the man’s accuser had provided false testimony.

The man – whom Japanese news outlets are not naming – was accused of raping the same woman in both 2004 and 2008, and sexually assaulting her once again later in 2008. The guilty verdict was apparently based largely on the woman’s testimony and that of at least one eyewitness, but the trial seems to have lacked any physical evidence provided by prosecutors.

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Osaka police looking for woman who jumped in front of train, lived, and ran away

Weirdness broke out on the afternoon of 16 November in Osaka. Several witness claimed to have seen a woman jump onto the tracks of Izumiotsu Station just as a train was approaching. However, after the train arrived there was no sign of injury and the woman was last seen running away on the platform.

How the woman got on the tracks, survived the train, or escaped is unclear and an investigation is underway. Internet detectives well-versed in manga, however, are assuming that she was summoned by a big black orb in an apartment somewhere.

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11-year-old now youngest artist to join Dokuritsu Exhibition, teaches us to look on the dark side

One of the words for art in Japanese is bijutsu which contains the kanji character for “beauty” (美). That’s not to say that art is limited to images of beauty alone, however. Sometimes images considered superficially unpleasant can be seen as beautiful works as well. They have the power to push back the darkness of taboos and help us to overcome our own inhibiting fears and prejudices.

Those are pretty heavy concepts for sixth-grader Chifu Onishi, but she seems to have already excelled at them through her celebrated artwork such as Tsuki Ni Asobu (Play on the Moon) which was chosen as a part of the 82nd annual Dokuritsu Exhibition, an annual event that has featured some of Japan’s greatest artists in the past. This acknowledgement also earns the 11-year-old the recognition of being the youngest artist to ever take part.

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Amazing nighttime video shows Osaka, Tokyo’s rival, has a skyline that’s second to none

Tokyo is so massive and bustling that sometimes it’s hard to remember that it doesn’t have a monopoly on urban splendor in Japan. Take Osaka, for example. Long Tokyo’s rival, in everything from business to baseball to samurai warfare, Osaka is known for its economic ambitiousness, comedic sensibilities, and tasty grub, but there’s one thing that’s often overlooked in media coverage of Osaka.

It looks absolutely beautiful at night.

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