Saitama

Penguin that fell in love with cardboard cutout anime girl now has his own drink for sale at zoo

Does it taste as bittersweet as unrequited love?

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Japanese zoo penguin falls in love with cutout of cute anime penguin girl

Humans aren’t the only ones who can have affections for 2-D characters.

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Which Japanese prefecture buys the most leopard print clothes?

The answer is o-oh my god, not Osaka?!

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Japan elects its first openly transgender man to public office

25-year-old politician draws on his own experiences of isolation during campaign.

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Osaka man arrested for throwing dozens of cockroaches around at anime music event

Suspect of the “cockroach incident” fully admits to the charges.

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Jaw-dropping Japanese “sea of clouds” is a great reason to visit Tokyo’s northern neighbor

Just a few hours outside of Tokyo, but visually worlds away.

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Japanese high schooler awarded by police chief for cleaning up litter on city street on her own

She alone collected 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of garbage!

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This year’s contest to choose Japan’s greatest mascot attracting some shady characters

Call me old fashioned but I remember when mascots were meant to be cute, not demons spawned by human weakness or yam ninjas.

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Dragon Quest celebrates anniversary with enormous rice paddy art in Gyoda, Japan【Video】

The Guinness World record-holding game joins up with the Guinness World record-holding rice paddy to create a Dragon Quest artwork on a massive scale.

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Mass stabbing in Japan leaves 19 dead and dozens injured

According to local media reports, the incident is one of Japan’s worst massacres since WWII.

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Japan’s most sensitive bikers busted for Valentine’s Day rowdiness

Gather around and listen to the tale of Discreet Relationship; the most gosh darn precious biker gang Japan has ever seen.

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Angry customer smashes pachinko machines with hammer 【Video】

Videos have emerged of a man smashing pachinko machines with a hammer before being arrested by police.

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Japanese city’s promotional animation is an emotional roller coaster like no other 【Video】

This flipbook animation will have your heart doing flips right along with it.

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Kidnapped girl escapes from abductor after two years in confinement

A girl who was apparently held captive in Tokyo for two years has escaped and been reunited with her family.

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This photo of a train has an amazing surprise

If you look closely there’s a chance you’ll be able to see it…

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Barbapapa opens its first cafe in Japan with exclusive menu of cute characters

Joining the amazing anime café openings this month is Café Barbapapa in Saitama Prefecture, with a gorgeous lineup of sweets, sandwiches and drinks all featuring cute character details from the series.

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Stunning Saitama rice field art snags Guinness record

You may have already heard about rice field art: Those complex works that use dyed or naturally colored rice grains to create gorgeous patterns, or that turn the whole rice field into a canvas for a massive “painting” that can only be fully appreciated from the skies. Also, because Japan, Ultraman is sometimes involved.

But the phenomenon, once a niche practice for small Japanese cities that otherwise had nothing in the way of tourist destinations, has caught on to the point that the Guinness Book has actually recorded, for posterity, the current world’s largest work of rice field art.

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Saitama now offering free SIM cards to foreign tourists

Japan is well-known for its unique hospitality culture, which partially stems from the concept of “ichigo-ichie” (lit. “one time, one meeting”), the tea master’s philosophy that every encounter is a once-in-a-lifetime moment to be cherished.

Now, Japan is flexing its hospitality muscles in the lead-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by rolling out new services and products to help visitors and reduce the stress that comes with travelling in a country where things can sometimes get lost in translation. The latest display of impressive hospitality comes from Saitama City, where the city council is offering free SIM cards to its foreign visitors.

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Camera crew visits the abandoned town that inspired Japanese survival horror game “Siren”【Video】

Back in 2003, the world was introduced to the first Siren, a survival horror video game which told the story of a mysterious secluded village caught between time and space. Like the best games of its genre, the setting played a pivotal role in captivating the player, sucking them into an eerie atmosphere made all the more scary by the tremendously creepy town.

It turns out that the fictional town of Hanuda is based on an actual town in Saitama Prefecture, just north of Tokyo. Life imitates game as a camera crew heads to the abandoned town, just like how a crew did in the third Siren game. Take a look at the footage they captured after the break. If you aren’t too afraid…

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Johnson Town: A little piece of America in Japan… where all the residents are Japanese 【Pics】

Groups of people moving to a new country often settle in the same area together, creating a little neighborhood reminiscent of their old lives in their new homes. In the U.S., we have a Chinatown or Little Italy in almost every big city, and Japan has the same thing too. They even have something you may have never heard of: Little America towns that used to house U.S. military personnel.

But what happens when the military decides they don’t want to live there anymore? Then you get a place like Johnson Town in Saitama Prefecture, where you’d swear you were walking around rural America, if not for the fact that it’s entirely populated by Japanese people.

What is one of these Little America towns in Japan like? And, most importantly, do they have good American-style food? A reporter from our Japanese sister site went to investigate and bring you all the answers, some of which may surprise you.

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