Studio Ghibli fans all over the world love visiting places that remind them of their iconic anime films like Laputa: Castle in the Sky or Spirited Away. But Japanese netizens recently discovered a home in Mexico City that was not quite the ode to Hayao Miyazaki films as it seemed. At first glance, netizens thought they were looking at video evidence of the existence of soot sprites from My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away, but soon realized the horrifying truth that the home was crawling with spiders.
Mar 14, 2015
Japan is in the middle of a luxury train boom, but that doesn’t mean every station in the country is a palace of creature comforts. In the most rural areas, the station is often little more than an unstaffed slab of concrete poured next to the rails.
Things are just a bit more infrastructure-intensive at Tsutsuishi Station, however. That’s because while its above-ground facilities may not be much to look at, the platform is located at the bottom of a stairwell that descends 40 meters (131 feet) into the earth.
Feb 26, 2015
The very first job that brought me to Japan as a gainfully employed adult was teaching at a private English school. While most of our customers were in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, we also offered kids’ classes, even for preschool-aged children.
With young learners, the first hurdle to get past was for them to not freak out about talking with someone from a different country. While that might sound horribly racist, there just aren’t that many opportunities to meet people from other cultures in Japan, especially in a child’s daily life, and the first meeting was usually a little intimidating for them (the company policy that didn’t allow foreign staff to speak Japanese in front of the customers probably didn’t help in this regard).
Thankfully, it usually only took a couple of minutes for the kids to see that non-Japanese instructors aren’t terrifying monsters. Unfortunately, this startling commercial for a chain of children’s English schools in Japan only takes 15 seconds to visually imply that, yes, actually, they are.
We heard that there is a particularly alarming girls’ fashion mobile game lurking in the app store, so in the spirit of RocketNews24, we decided that we had to try it out for ourselves. The game in question is Mary&Ange II, an updated version of, well Mary&Ange, a simple dress-up game for iOS and Android produced by Halcon. The game seemed innocuous enough from the download page, even though reviews were mixed. However, little did we know there was a hidden secret inside…
In what might be the first ever case of one of those viral cryptozoological animal videos actually being real, a bunch of Indonesian palm oil plant workers recently recorded a run-in with some sort of crazy-looking, hairless werebeast that supposedly charged them.
Michelangelo once said he sees “in every block of marble, a statue as plain as though it stood before him.” He speaks the truth; sometimes you can’t help but see a masterful work of art begging to be exposed from everyday objects. Especially when the item has already been anthropomorphized with a smiley face!
The eternal artist doesn’t allow such a great opportunity to pass them by. A Japanese ice cream called “Panapp” provides an excellent chance to sculpt a face in your dessert. It’s the snack that smiles right back, until you scream your face off!
Jan 27, 2015
The key difference between being an idol singer and a pop diva is warmth. Even if you’ve got perfect pitch and unshakable rhythm, if you want to succeed as an idol, you still need a heart-melting smile. Really, as long as you’ve got the smile, idol fans will even cut you a lot of slack on not having the other two.
So it’s a little unusual to gaze upon this trio of anime idols and feel a chill run down your spine, and not just because they’re made of snow.
The town of Fukusaki in Hyogo Prefecture has taken a rather unusual direction when it comes to public art. Namely, the town spent roughly 3 million yen (US$25,000) to install a red, mechanical kappa in the small pond at Tsujikawayama Park (辻川山公園). The strange fixture has become a local attraction, and is scary-looking enough to make children cry!
Just what could have driven the town to install such a creepy mechanical model?
Dec 7, 2014
I can’t help but laugh every time I hear a story about people finding an image of Jesus in some household setting. It’s not so much their spiritual fervor that gives me a chuckle, though, but the incongruent nature of the logic being shown. On one hand, he’s powerful enough to send messages to true believers from across the boundaries of our mortal realm, but on the other, he chooses to make his appearance in a piece of singed toast or an oil stain on someone’s driveway?
Call me cynical, but I’m not convinced the son of God rolls that way. That kid of haphazard choice of manifestation setting seems more like the work of a lower being, like maybe a dog who’s still getting the hang of how to project himself through the astral plane.
Speaking of which…
Dec 5, 2014
Some people say cats possess strong spiritual powers, but I’m not so sure. Yeah, they’ve been popular familiars for literary witches since as far back as anyone can remember, but I’m not really convinced that they can sense spirits where the rest of us can’t just because they have a tendency to be startled by, and throw jabs at, empty patches of air. Really, that’s only about as profound a connection to the supernatural plane as I have after half a bottle of bourbon.
But maybe cats do have access to dark magical powers. It would certainly explain the eerie calm they display in this video showing a group of them huddled around a table as part of what looks like a cultish ritual.
Nov 6, 2014
I used to work in online hotel marketing, and sometimes properties in Japan didn’t mesh up smoothly with our database. The system allowed us to easily trumpet amenities such as sofas and Jacuzzi bathtubs by just pasting in a line of code, but if we wanted to tout things like provided yukata cotton kimonos or onsite natural hot springs, both of which were popular with our users, that took some extra fiddling around.
Since we were a global company, we had to accept that those “only in Japan” features weren’t going to get a spot on the standard, easy-to-use checklist. Still, I sympathize with the difficulties this sort of thing presents for boutique hotel operators, and that’s why today we’re spreading the word about a hotel in Japan with two incredibly unique amenities: zombies and ghosts.
So we might be a little late to the party on this one – on account of being at other parties that involved a lot of drinking – but we’re still taken with the Halloween spirit, and it looks like Thailand is too, because we managed to scrounge up a bunch of spooky, possibly “haunted” photos from the area recently.
As awesome as smartphones are, do they really help us to better communicate with one another? Sure, it’s nice to be able to instantly talk with anyone, regardless of whether you’re at home or out and about, but there are certain things we lose by doing it with the help of technology. Even as mobile phones’ audio and video capabilities continue to improve, they’re still not perfect. Without talking face-to-face, you can’t pick up on every facial expression, hear each subtle change in inflection, or reach out and hold someone’s hand should the conversation turn emotional or romantic.
Unless you’re using this iPhone case that’s an eerily detailed replica of a human hand.
Some days, it seems like everything’s cuter in Japan. After all, this is the country where some construction crews feel if they have to shut down part of the street, the best barricades are the ones shaped like a procession of purple and pink kimono-wearing princesses.
There’s an exception to this rule, though, and it’s mermaids. In the West, they’re portrayed as enchanting beauties of the deep. In Japan, though, they were traditionally treated like yokai, ghostly monsters, as this collection of Japanese mermaid paintings has a few that would be better stars for horror movies than kid-friendly animated musicals.
Summer is the season for ghost stories in Japan, and at the end of August we sent one of our reporters to try out the terrifying haunted house from the horror masters and game fans at Obaken. Amazing as that six-room production is, Obaken has since expanded its scale to something even bigger: Zombie Camp, a two-day excursion that combines the majesty of the great outdoors with the threat of rampaging zombies!
Sep 30, 2014
Say hello to your newest recurring nightmare, kids!
Held in Miyako-jima, one of the smallest of the Okinawa Islands, Paantu is a centuries-old festival which takes place during the ninth month of the Chinese calendar each year. During the festival, groups of men are elected to dress as the paantu, evil spirits covered from head to toe with mud and foliage, and are given the task of driving out demons and cleansing the island of bad luck.
Of course, like any good festival involving involving mud-covered monsters, this also means scaring the life out of small children…
Aug 30, 2014
A few months ago, we heard about a terrifying haunted house in Honancho, a neighborhood in western Tokyo. Unfortunately, our backlog of terror entertainment was a little jammed up, and we weren’t able to get to it right away, but this week we finally went to check out Obaken.
In addition to the horror movie-inspired creepy sights and sounds you’d expect from any decent haunted house, Obaken also takes a page from video games, with multiple levels, customizable settings, and even a continue system.
Aug 28, 2014
Japan’s history has such a huge influence on its current trends. In fact, what is old is cool in Japan. Samurai, geisha and ninja are all perfect examples of how Japan loves to romanticize their history and how the past continues to play a role in present day culture. It’s surprising that entertainment in Japan isn’t constantly just remaking old stuff into new stuff! (Oh wait, they are?)
One of the most popular things in Japan right now is Yo-Kai Watch, which combines the thrill of Pokemon with monsters of Japanese folklore. But aren’t the monsters of Japan too scary for a children’s Pokémon-like game? If you haven’t figured it out yet…Japanese folklore is a weird and wonderful place.
Aug 26, 2014
If it’s been a while since you’ve cleaned out your cabinets and closets, you can be surprised at what you find inside them. Sometimes, you’ll uncover good things, like the time I was straightening up and came across an envelope with 5,000 yen (US$49.50) which I’d earmarked for some purpose, then forgotten about. Other times, the surprises aren’t so pleasant, like the time in my old, first-floor apartment where I lifted up a box and found a scurrying cockroach underneath.
As disgusting as the creepy critter was, though, in pure shock value it pales in comparison to what a woman in Japan found in her home: an artillery shell.
With summer winding down, people across Japan are scrambling to squeeze the last bits of entertainment from the season. We may be into the second half of August, but there’s still time for a last trip to the beach, one more barbecue, or a final icy cold beer.
As a matter of fact, you can combine the last of those pleasures with another Japanese summertime tradition – ghost stories - at a bar in Tokyo that provides stiff drinks, spooky tales, and truly terrifying interior decorations.
- Vanishing Japan: Five things to see before they disappear completely1
- Top 10 things Japanese people do that puzzle us (but we still want to hang out together)2
- “We Finns just like it simple”: Net users can’t get enough of Helsinki Metro map3
- What if Elsa was from some other country? 24 Hetalia variations of the Frozen queen4
- KanColle anime character’s catchphrase “poi” is POIsed to take over the world! POI POI!5
- New smartphone game lets lonely gamers blow up, unleash other misfortunes on lovey dovey couples6
- New Sailor Moon cafe in Tokyo has live public anime viewing and themed food and drinks7
- Past and present photos of Japanese fashion models make us wonder, where have all the gyaru gone?8
- Monjayaki, the popular Tokyo dish you’ve probably never heard of 【RocketKitchen】9
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker10
- “We Finns just like it simple”: Net users can’t get enough of Helsinki Metro map1
- Looking for a new favourite animal? Take your pick from these six adorable Hokkaido natives2
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker3
- Japanese girl finds “school love,” but with a surprising “partner”4
- Past and present photos of Japanese fashion models make us wonder, where have all the gyaru gone?5
- Buyer’s remorse? Not if you’ve got confidence like this girl6
- Japanese women list the top 10 lies they can spot the second a guy says them7
- 10 weird and wonderful things you can find in a Japanese drugstore8
- Bizarre video series gives pervy weirdos a glimpse of girls’ panties in very specific situations9
- What if Elsa was from some other country? 24 Hetalia variations of the Frozen queen10
- Marine park offers chance to shake hands with a loveable otter1
- “We Finns just like it simple”: Net users can’t get enough of Helsinki Metro map2
- Cats sitting politely outside Japanese convenience stores restore our faith in felines3
- What’s your type? Photo of two Japanese models spurs netizens to talk body type 【Poll】4
- Forget the dress, how many shades of blue do you see here?5
- Anime pillow responds to your rubbing with moans and groans, gets angry if you get too grabby6
- Half-Japanese beauty chosen to represent Japan at Miss Universe 20157
- Looking for a new favourite animal? Take your pick from these six adorable Hokkaido natives8
- Buyers’ remorse in China: After a record-breaking day of online shopping, the angry selfies begin9
- Get a haircut, a manicure and an eyeful at this saucy salon in Vietnam10
- Marine park offers chance to shake hands with a loveable otter1
- Hachiko, Japan’s most loyal dog, finally reunited with owner in heartwarming new statue in Tokyo2
- Anime pillow responds to your rubbing with moans and groans, gets angry if you get too grabby3
- “We Finns just like it simple”: Net users can’t get enough of Helsinki Metro map4
- Literal breastplate will give you a cosplay-ready, anime-class bust in seconds 【Photos】5
- Nobel Prize-winner Shuji Nakamura to Japan’s young people: “Get out of Japan”6
- Cats sitting politely outside Japanese convenience stores restore our faith in felines7
- Kyoto taxi drivers reduce convenience store robberies by 50 percent by doing absolutely nothing8
- What’s your type? Photo of two Japanese models spurs netizens to talk body type 【Poll】9
- Cosplay ideals vs. cosplay reality, a.k.a. cool vs. funny 【Photos】10
- New smartphone game lets lonely gamers blow up, unleash other misfortunes on lovey dovey couples
- New Sailor Moon cafe in Tokyo has live public anime viewing and themed food and drinks
- Past and present photos of Japanese fashion models make us wonder, where have all the gyaru gone?
- Monjayaki, the popular Tokyo dish you’ve probably never heard of 【RocketKitchen】
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker
- Naruto’s not over yet with new manga chapters, anime series coming soon!
- Haruki Murakami answers the question, “What is the meaning of life?”
- Dragon Ball Z’s Frieza meets own doppelganger at handshake event, gets thunder stolen
- South Korean media wants the world to know that “cherry blossoms originated there”
- Cheeky crows pluck panda’s fur to line their nests at Ueno Zoo, panda doesn’t seem to mind
- Japan’s rarest cars, from exotic sports coupes to Toyota’s answer to the Hummer
- Six anime songs people are sick of hearing at karaoke, according to new poll
- Nine of our Japanese writers share the restaurants they absolutely must visit again!