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.
Dec 6, 2014
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.
Nov 29, 2014
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?!”
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.
Nov 23, 2014
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.
Nov 20, 2014
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.
Nov 18, 2014
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.
Nov 17, 2014
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.
Nov 15, 2014
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.
Oct 18, 2014
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).
Hayashi 'Fang' Hougi
Oct 14, 2014
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.
Sep 25, 2014
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.
Sep 24, 2014
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.
Sep 10, 2014
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.
Sep 7, 2014
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!
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.
Aug 19, 2014
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Nobel Prize-winner Shuji Nakamura to Japan’s young people: “Get out of Japan”1
- New magnetic “slate” lets you write on actual paper, digitize your drawings in real-time2
- Evangelion couple rings let you tell your sweetheart you love him or her like Shinji loves Kaworu3
- Cross-dressing Cosplay Idol Group a Huge Hit in China4
- No more photo retouches! New makeup for cosplayers claims to create photo-perfect skin5
- Attack on Titan’s Universal Studios Japan attraction opens6
- Creating your own custom etched glass is a lot simpler than you think7
- Huge six-meter (19.7-foot) anime hug pillow will prove you’re a great big otaku 【Video】8
- These Disney princess live-action movie posters aren’t real but we’d pay for them anyway9
- Out of this world Valentine’s chocolates are (almost) too gorgeous to eat10
- Nobel Prize-winner Shuji Nakamura to Japan’s young people: “Get out of Japan”1
- Edo era Samurai were pretty gay2
- Netizens hatch adorable baby birds from supermarket eggs, provide evidence3
- New magnetic “slate” lets you write on actual paper, digitize your drawings in real-time4
- Attack on Titan’s Universal Studios Japan attraction opens5
- New plus-sized idol group hopes to broaden the image of beauty in Japan 【Video】6
- Secret backmasked message found hidden in Dragon Ball Z ending song7
- Disney Store is all grown up with new branch designed for adult women opening in Tokyo8
- With adult responsibilities looming, Japanese teen lets loose with epic Frozen chalkboard art9
- Is “Ago-kui” the next “Kabe-don”?10
- Kyoto taxi drivers reduce convenience store robberies by 50 percent by doing absolutely nothing1
- Nobel Prize-winner Shuji Nakamura to Japan’s young people: “Get out of Japan”2
- Cosplay ideals vs. cosplay reality, a.k.a. cool vs. funny 【Photos】3
- Internet ready to shut up and take your money as preorders finally start for Cat Ear Headphones4
- Edo era Samurai were pretty gay5
- Ugly-cute makeup genius feeds off negative troll comments on Twitter6
- “Malaysian girl holding things” is our new favourite Instagram account 【Photos】7
- Teacher draws over students’ doodles to make red pen masterpieces8
- Photos of people lining up outside of the Sapporo Apple Store make us feel positively frozen9
- Netizens hatch adorable baby birds from supermarket eggs, provide evidence10
- “No one sleeps in her class!” Internet goes gaga for gorgeous Chinese science teacher1
- Hayao Miyazaki working on new project, says “I’m going to continue making anime until I die”2
- Self-taught Singaporean artist creates unbelievably realistic art on plywood3
- Buyers’ remorse in China: After a record-breaking day of online shopping, the angry selfies begin4
- 1,200 Japanese workers convert above-ground train to subway line in a matter of hours5
- Tiny town in northern Japan creates gorgeous, gigantic artwork out of rice paddies 【Video】6
- Japanese high school holds annual contest to decide the prettiest “girl” in school7
- Kyoto taxi drivers reduce convenience store robberies by 50 percent by doing absolutely nothing8
- Sorry guys! Video of “sexy ice cream girl” in Taipei only delivers on half its milky promises9
- Oysters’ amazing cleaning skills shock Japanese netizens who question their shellfish habit10
- Attack on Titan’s Universal Studios Japan attraction opens
- Creating your own custom etched glass is a lot simpler than you think
- Huge six-meter (19.7-foot) anime hug pillow will prove you’re a great big otaku 【Video】
- These Disney princess live-action movie posters aren’t real but we’d pay for them anyway
- Out of this world Valentine’s chocolates are (almost) too gorgeous to eat
- New video claims one Japanese ISIS hostage killed, authenticity of video under investigation
- “Wait, you’re a dude? Meh, marry me anyway.” New male princess stealing hearts in China
- People from around the world share surprising quirks of their country in enlightening video
- Edo era Samurai were pretty gay
- 10 things foreigners do that Japanese people find amusing
- Yokohama’s adorable hedgehog dumplings are packed with spikey cuteness and creamy custard
- 6 things Japanese expats miss most about Japan
- Japan’s Kawakami Dogs: Descended from wolves, adorable as puppies 【Video】
- Gear up for Valentine’s Day with this lipstick…chocolate!