Osaka

Osaka man wipes away millions in owed taxes by deducting losing horse race tickets

It’s often said that nothing in life is certain except for death and taxes, but for one Osaka resident, that maxim was little more than an old wives’ tale.

One day, the taxman came calling to the tune of 816 million yen (US$7.7M) over years of unreported winning horse race bets. However, in a game where the house always wins, this guy managed to flip the script and knock down the money owed to a relatively modest 67 million yen ($635,000).

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South Korean design company turns subway maps into beautiful artwork you can hang on your wall

The first time I went to Tokyo alone, I got lost within the first five minutes of arriving at Shinjuku Station, unable to comprehend why there were so many transfers to different lines going in different directions. Without mobile data on my phone, I was basically one of the ‘internet-less lost gaijin’ crippled by the lack of Google Maps who ended up befriending the station master at every transfer station because, without them, I would probably have had to spend the night hanging out with the buskers on the streets.

The maps in Japanese subway stations are not only confusing, they also look like multi-colored spaghetti or weird roller coasters, and I can clearly recall thinking how nice it would be to have a better-looking representation of the city’s train lines. Thankfully, it looks like South Korean design company Zero per Zero has fulfilled my wish with their subway map designs, which are becoming a hot topic on Reddit.

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Kansai and Kanto prove again that they are each distinct regions when it comes to food

Tokyo and Osaka are only about 2.5 hours away by bullet train, so perhaps you wouldn’t think they’d be that different. But while Kanto (Tokyo, Yokohama, Chiba) holds the image of a glittering metropolis, Kansai (Osaka, Kyoto, Nara) is full of the old, historical aspects of Japan. The most commonly cited difference is the dialects of the two regions. For example, dame in Kanto-ben is akan in Kansai-ben, both meaning something like “wrong, no good.”

So when Japanese people were polled about their food habits, it wasn’t so surprising that the two regions answered very differently.

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Osaka Station showered with photos of a teenage boy, two train otaku questioned by police

On the evening of 19 September, JR Osaka Station became the scene of unseasonable weirdness as dozens of photographs of an unknown teenage boy seen sitting on the train fell from the sky like giant snowflakes of randomness.

Upon investigating the incident, Osaka Prefectural Police found this to have been an act of revenge by what is fast becoming Japan’s most oddball sub-culture: train otaku.

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Video showing convenience store workers being forced to kowtow to thugs leads to one arrest

In Japan, particularly online, you may come across the term DQN (dokyun). It’s a label reserved for those at the lowest order of intelligence and social graces and those who rank in the highest percentile for violence and general douchebag behavior.

Catching one of these creatures in their natural habitat of the streets is a rare but obnoxious treat. That’s why it’s awfully nice of them to record their own anti-social behavior so that we may study their ways in the comfort of our own home, and so the authorities can arrest and prosecute them all the more easily.

Take alleged DQN Tsuyoshi Nakamura for example, who along with some associates stands accused of harassing, threatening, and extorting from the entire staff of a FamilyMart convenience store in Ibaraki, Osaka. Nakamura is also under suspicion of forcing them to get on their knees and bow in apology, with the entire scene being uploaded to YouTube for all to see.

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The most crowded train lines during rush hour in Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya are…

Even though I could praise Japan’s efficient public transportation system for hours on end, there’s one major drawback about it that has left me traumatized on several occasions and never fails to induce terrifying flashbacks whenever I’m surrounded by too many people. You can probably guess what I’m talking about, right? Yup, it’s about how unbelievably crowded the country’s trains and subways can get during rush hour.

Anyone traveling in the Greater Tokyo Area or other metropolitan centers of Japan should be forewarned that the experience is not for the faint of heart–nor for the claustrophobic. I mean, you know it’s a bad sign when there are actually station staff on hand during peak rush hours to squeeze as many passengers as possible into each car. That said, if you’ve traveled or happen to live in Japan’s capital, you can undoubtedly sympathize with the following ranking of the most crowded train and subway lines in Tokyo at rush hour. And just so you don’t think Tokyo gets all the love, we’ve also thrown in the lists for Osaka and Nagoya, too!

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【TBT】Who needs a cherry on top? Osaka café crowns its parfaits with cake

Tokyo’s restaurants may have more Michelin stars, but for many Japanese foodies, the real culinary action is in Osaka. Particularly if your tastes run more towards good honest grub than haute cuisine, Japan’s second largest city is the place to be.

The people of Osaka enjoy a good meal so much that they coined the phrase kuidaore, to eat until you collapse. But even with this image firmly entrenched in our minds, the city has found a new way to surprise us with its gastronomic decadence.

On a recent day out in Osaka, our reporter stopped by a café and ordered a truly hard-core parfait. It wasn’t that the parfait was so big, and no, it didn’t contain any shocking ingredients. What blew our minds about this parfait was its topping.

It was a slice of cake, and it was so big it wasn’t even trying to fit into the glass.

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Osaka police sergeant arrested for putting smartphone between woman’s legs on train

A 41-year-old police sergeant from the Osaka Tondabayashi police station has been arrested after it was discovered that while riding in a train, he put his smartphone between a woman’s legs.

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Udon Museums set to bring oodles of noodles to Tokyo and Osaka this year

Compared to ramen, udon has a decidedly low-key image. Ramen is actually a comparative newcomer to the Japanese dining scene, and so it’s generally the more likely candidate for crazy experimentation. Udon, on the other hand, is simpler, and in its most basic form, the thick white flour noodles, floating in a basic salty broth, can seem almost austere by comparison.

At least, that’s the impression eating udon only in train station noodle joints and school cafeterias would leave you with. The truth is, in the several centuries Japan has been eating udon, it’s come up with dozens of different takes on the dish, and later this year, you’ll be able to sample dozens all in the same place, with the opening of two Udon Museums in Tokyo and Osaka.

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Osaka airport’s new mascot is adorable, laid-back, possibly drunk

Osaka International Airport has a deceptively confusing name. First, although its mailing address is indeed in Osaka, a large portion of the facility actually spills over the border into neighboring Hyogo Prefecture, specifically the city of Itami.

Second, it only has domestic flights, as during the 1990s the overseas traffic was moved to Kansai International Airport, an international airport that’s entirely in Osaka (yet completely separate from Osaka International Airport).

But even if it’s hard to find a shred of logic to the naming of Osaka International Airport, the domestic hub can now fall back on the good looks of its new mascot, the undeniably cute, possibly worrying Sora-yan.

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Take a look at Japan from a whole new angle — from the air! 【Video】

Now, chances are you’ve already seen many pictures and video footage from Japan, especially of tourist areas in cities like Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto. But this video, shared about a month ago on Vimeo, offers a look at these cities from a very unique perspective — from up in the air! The video, filmed by a tourist visiting Japan, was taken from the perspective of a remote-controlled drone attached with a camera. And while some of the shots captured are of well-known tourist spots, Internet users both inside and outside of Japan seem to have been impressed by how the unique angle gives the familiar scenes quite a new feel! Let’s see what some of the popular sites of Japan look like from up above.

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Two boys beaten and robbed of puffy pants, Osaka slammed for being trapped in the past

On 20 May, Osaka Prefectural Police announced the arrest of four boys ages 14 and 15 on charges of assault and robbery. The victims were two other male students caught in the act of bontan hunting” which is ganging up on and attacking someone to steal their particular style of puffy pants.

In addition to this heinous crime, as news hit the internet the rest of Japan came down hard on Osaka for having teens who wear fashion and engage in activities that have been out of style for decades.

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Alice in Wonderland shop in Nagoya, another opening in Osaka this week!  

What if we told you to follow the white rabbit? Would you have the knee-jerk reaction of “hell no!” or would you pull a Neo and see just how deep the rabbit hole goes? If you find yourself in Nagoya or Osaka, following the white rabbit might actually lead you to Wonderland! Tons of shoppers have been doing just that and have been arriving at a store called Alice on Wednesday. The store has been so popular that on the weekends, long lines form in front of the shop, letting you know exactly where the rabbit hole is.

What will you find in Alice’s Wonderland? What makes the store so popular that they are opening a new location in Osaka? You won’t have to take the red pill to find out, just click on through!

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“We’ve got nice breasts!” – Osaka’s eye-catching ads for chicken, pickles, and more

Two things the residents of Osaka are known for are their sense of humor and acute business acumen. This is, after all, the city that produces far more comedians than any other in Japan, and also a town where the local greeting translates to “Are you making any money?”

Just a few blocks west of Osaka Castle you can find a place where these two characteristics mix together. The merchants of the Fuminosato shopping arcade are well aware that passersby are much more likely to put cash in your hand if you can put a smile on their face first, which is just what the local businesses do with their sometimes funny, sometime quirky, always eye-catching posters.

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Judge sets new line for adultery in landmark case, and it doesn’t involve intercourse

Cheating and adultery are one of the leading causes of divorces and break-ups. No one wants to be cheated on, and for those who do the cheating, the thrill of sneaking around and trying not to get caught is sure to spur some adulterers on. However, at what point is what you are doing considered cheating? For most people, sex is certainly cheating, and kissing someone other than your partner is crossing the line. But is having dinner with someone cheating? Is having lunch? Is spending significant time with someone cheating?

An Osaka judge has drawn a new line in the sand for what is considered adultery in Japan, with one woman suing not her husband but his “mistress”, despite the fact that there was no intercourse involved.

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Osaka man stabbed after argument over boiling crabs leads to bizarre attempted murder

On 29 March a basement level restaurant in the bustling Dotombori area of Osaka became the scene of a grisly stabbing, when a part-time cook stabbed his co-worker over an altercation while boiling crabs.

The suspect’s remark of “I don’t get why I’m under arrest” to police as his fellow cook was rushed to hospital for a lacerated abdomen has led readers to call for immigration reforms. Others worried that this and events like this are contributing to more ultra-right-wing sentiment in the land.

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Man found innocent of indecent assault denied 12 million yen compensation by Supreme Court of Japan

In 2008 a man was accused of grabbing a woman from behind, which resulted in an injury to her leg. She filed charges with the prosecutor’s office for indecent assault and bodily harm but the man was eventually found innocent.

As indecent assault can be a hard accusation to get off from in Japan, this man would be considered extremely lucky. However, after all charges were dropped, he decided to try his luck again and sued the government for 12 million yen (US$116,000) in compensation for the charges. He would have gotten away with it too if it wasn’t for the Supreme Court of Japan who dismissed his claims for the last time on 6 March.

Was this man an innocent victim of the system or just looking for a quick pay day? The answer is not so clear.

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All the awesome cuteness of a cat’s paw harnessed in one pastry, on sale now in Osaka

From now until 31 March you can get your hands on a Kuro Neko No Te (Black Cat Paw) pastry at a bakery in the Hotel New Hankyu Osaka. This is the second installation of the Neko No Te (Cat Paw) series of delectable pastries that started last year to celebrate the hotel’s 50th anniversary.

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About time! Osaka embraces free city-wide Wi-Fi

Despite its image as a sleek, technologically advanced society, Japan really sucks when it comes to free wi-fi hotspots. In fact, when the Japan Tourism Agency surveyed tourists about difficulties traveling in the country, a lack of free Internet access was far and away the number one answer.

One major city has finally taken note and begun offering better connectivity for visitors. Osaka has just announced the launch of Osaka Free Wi-fi, a program that brings free wi-fi to locations throughout the city, as part of its effort to position itself as an international gateway to rival Tokyo.

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Osaka Police sergeant resigns after extorting hamburgers from officers

At the end of the day, police officers are just regular people in uniforms. Despite their position in society, they have all the virtues and vices as anyone else. Some might get addicted to mobile games, and others sometimes refuse to admit when they’re wrong.

And then there’s the case of the Osaka Police sergeant who over a period of nearly four years has been forcing his subordinates to purchase copious amounts of food out of their own pockets to feed his insatiable appetite.

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