Two Tokyo wards issue Japan’s first ever same-sex partnership certificates

Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward has been creating headlines around the world since the district first announced that it would begin issuing Japan’s first same-sex partnership certificates in the fall. Fast forward to this month, and both Shibuya and neighboring Setagaya Ward today issued their very first certificates!

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You party, we tidy — Volunteers, kids hit Shibuya streets to clean up after Halloween hijinks

Remember when everyone’s minds were blown by images of Japanese fans tidying up their section after the World Cup? Well what might seem amazing to some is totally atarimae (obvious and expected) to the typical Japanese mindset. As your mother may have told you as a kid; you make the mess, you tidy it up! And the day after the massive Halloween party at the famous Shibuya crossing last weekend, volunteers were out in droves this year again with plastic bags and gloves to make the streets all sparkly again.

But just how many of them actually even contributed to the mess to begin with? According to reports on Twitter, not too many—and boy, are they angry…

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Tokyo Halloween 2015: Our reporters’ collection of photos from their night in Shibuya【Photos】

On Friday night, illustrious RocketNews24 reporters Mr. Sato and P.K. Sanjun ventured out into the streets of Shibuya, Tokyo’s hub of youth culture. Both dressed as Marge Simpson, they were there to check out this year’s collection of crazy costumes. While Halloween as a holiday is still only catching on in Japan, they were thrilled by the number of like-minded, costumed revelers they found.

Join us for a photographic tour of some of the costumed people they ran into on the streets of Shibuya!

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Our reporters search for the spirit of Halloween in Shibuya and make some new friends

It’s been months of events and marketing in the making, and Halloween has finally arrived in Japan. Our own Mr. Sato and P.K. Sanjun decided to hit the streets of Shibuya in costume to  report on the festivities at hand.

Well actually, they went a day early, but as we’ll soon see, October 31st ain’t nothing but an ordinal number assigned to anachronistically named month, because in Japan, Halloween comes whenever you want it to.

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Japanese cell phone provider gives same-sex couples with Partnership Certificates family discount

Cell phone service in Japan isn’t exactly cheap, and if you spend a lot of time on your smartphone talking with clients, chatting with friends, or otherwise keeping in touch with the rest of the world, it’s not hard to run up a monthly bill in the neighborhood of 10,000 yen (US$84). Thankfully, Japanese providers offer a variety of discounts to help soften the blow, with reduced rates for family members being a huge help.

Now, as part of the changing societal concept of what constitutes a family, Japan’s largest telecommunications provider has begun offering family discounts to same-sex couples who present documentation of their union.

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Cosplaying taxis with monster drivers to offer free rides to cosplayers in Shibuya this Halloween

Halloween in Japan keeps getting bigger and better every year, with cosplayers coming out in droves to celebrate the world of costumes and make-believe. This time around, Japanese car manufacturer Nissan is joining the fun with a fleet of taxis dressed up in Halloween costumes, complete with “monster drivers” behind the wheel.

The monsters and their vehicles will be helping fellow ogres and ghouls by offering free rides to people in costume in the Shibuya area on October 29 and 31. What’s more, the unusual vans promise to be so spacious, they’ll accommodate any type of outfit you’re wearing!

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Tokyo’s labyrinthine Shibuya Station becomes a literal RPG dungeon in free smartphone game

Sometimes when I’m in Tokyo, I find myself wandering through seemingly endless subterranean passages that twist and turn back on themselves in a disorienting serpentine labyrinth. As I trudge forward I can feel my stamina fading, as well as my spirit. Still, though, I press on, delving deeper and deeper into the bowls of the earth, knowing that only at the very bottom level will I find what I seek: the platform for the subway line that takes me home from Shibuya Station.

And apparently I’m not the only one who feels that Shibuya Station feels more like an RPG dungeon than a rail hub, since there’s a new smartphone game that uses the map of the station as the layout for its fantasy adventure.

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Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon is coming to Shibuya to become Pretty Soldier Sailor Shopper

The best thing about the Japanese entertainment industry milking popular properties for all their worth is that fans get a chance to purchase all the new merchandise that inevitably accompanies a brand new release. Sailor Moon fans have been witnessing a Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon renaissance with the recent anime series Sailor Moon Crystal and there have been so many awesome Sailor Moon goods that you could be forgiven for thinking fans had run out of money. However, you would be wrong! It turns out fans are getting their wallets ready for some more heavy shopping in Shibuya.

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Women’s World Cup celebration at Shibuya crossing is a completely different beast from 2011

Four years ago, the U.S. and Japanese teams met in the Women’s World Cup final in Germany, with Nadeshiko Japan emerging victorious in an uplifting and feel-good story after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. This year’s rematch of the two teams was a totally different result as the Americans gave the Japanese a real shellacking with a final score of 5-2. Japanese fans didn’t have much to cheer about as they found their team down 4-0 after about the 16 minute mark.

While thousands of soccer fans celebrated the championship in Shibuya’s famed scramble crosswalk four years ago, what sort of celebration would be found after the U.S. victory? There are definitely enough Americans in the Tokyo area to celebrate their win so join us after the jump to witness the “madness” in Shibuya.

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Shibuya Station 2019: one step closer to the Neo-Tokyo of our dreams

If you’ve been to Shibuya Station recently, you’ll have seen one area in particular that’s filled with crowds, noise and trucks; and it’s not the meeting place around the famous statue of Hachiko.

It’s the massive redevelopment project currently underway to revitalise the district and deliver a completely new-looking Shibuya by 2027. Latest pictures of the next high-rise in the pipeline reveal just how amazing life in Neo-Tokyo will be.

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Gorgeous stop-motion animation depicts Tokyo’s Shibuya crossing using tiny paper models

When the lights change at Shibuya’s scramble intersection, 10 lanes of traffic draw to a halt and thousands of people surge into the street to cross in multiple directions. It’s one of Japan’s iconic urban sites, and often features on the big screen as a symbol of Tokyo. Of course, Shibuya’s scramble is crowded – it may be the busiest crossing in the world – but underneath the chaos there is a kind of fluid order, as people weave in and out of the oncoming crowd.

Architect and artist Naoki Terada has constructed Shibuya at 1/100th its real size, with the crossing’s cars, people, motorbikes (and even dogs!) made out of hand-cut paper. This beautiful stop-motion animation is the result.

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Shibuya’s Hachiko has a new feline pal, and they look absolutely adorable together!

As you’ve probably noticed by now, cats and dogs are very much adored in Japan. Every now and then, a new furry face rises to online stardom, much like how celebricats Maru and the dearly departed Tama captured the hearts of people across and outside of Japan.

When it comes to famous canines in Japan, there’s none who surpasses Hachiko, the legendary faithful dog who even got a movie made in its name.We knew Hachiko was popular among humans, we just didn’t know he was popular among the felines too! Check out Hachiko with his new kitty pal!

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Gigantic girls take over your favourite Tokyo tourist spots 【Videos】

As a tiny island packed with millions of people, Japan knows all about the small things. From compact serving sizes to tiny houses on narrow streets, everything here is designed for convenience to help cope with the stress of overcrowding and the real possibility of stepping on someone else’s toes.

Now, as Japan throws itself into the 21st century, it’s looking towards the bigger things: its place in the wider context of Asia and the Pacific Region; the 2020 Olympics and, why not; gigantic girls.

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Mr. Sato went to Ganguro Cafe and discovered his beautiful inner gyaru 【Pics】

As you probably know, our ace reporter Mr. Sato has his own special way of doing things. Rather than just going to check out a popular speedy steak-cooking restaurant, he instead cooks the steak himself and shoves it in people’s faces. Rather than just buying some butter, he straps a bottle of cream to a helmet and goes around a track in a racecar, getting the g-forces to churn it for him.

So when he heard about the ganguro dress-up and makeup cafe Black Diamond in Shibuya, he couldn’t just write a quick review of the place and be done with it; he had to become one with the cafe and its staff. This is the story of how Mr. Sato became a fashionable gyaru for a day, and we have the glorious pictures to prove it.

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We visited the new JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Café and really liked the elevators

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure fans, listen up! Or don’t because you might walk away a little disappointed. Tokyo’s Tower Records Shibuya location has collaborated with JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Stardust Crusaders to create a café dedicated to JoJo for the month of JuJune.

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Dragon Quest Super Light Cafe draws near! Command?

Beating on smiling blue slimes for single points of experience and coins of gold is taxing work. So for those famished dragon questers and/or warriors in the Tokyo area Square Enix and TBI are set to open the Dragon Question Super Light Cafe (DQSL Cafe).

The cafe is expected to be modeled after the Dragon Quest world and feature dishes based on its characters. This may be the only time that you can nibble on a metal slime (risotto) and sip on a killing machine at the same time. But there are more secrets to be had here as well! Command?



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There might be a Jedi running for mayor of Shibuya

So we all know that Tokyo-area political races can attract some pretty, um… eccentric candidates.

We’ve got perennial Tokyo Governor candidates like Mac Akasaka, representing his own Smile Party (often while dressed like Superman), leader and probably the only member of the World Economic Community Party, Mr. The Only God Matayoshi Mitsuo Jesus Christ, and Rock ‘n Roll Samurai – aka TOKMA – whose big shtick is to dress like a samurai and play war-mongering rock ‘n roll music.

But, despite their crazy antics and lofty-sounding, self-appointed nicknames, these men are all mere Earthlings. What Tokyo needs is a true leader. A man of stellar moral character. Someone who can protect Tokyo from the inevitable threat posed by evil empires from other galaxies. In other words, Tokyo needs a Jedi. And that’s why Mutsuto Imajo gets our vote for Shibuya Mayor!

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All-you-can-drink sake in the park as 23 brewers come to Tokyo for the Shibuya Sake Festival

Late spring is one of the few universally pleasant times to spend outdoors in Japan. The cold of winter and the heavy pollen counts of early spring are gone, and the heat and humidity of summer are yet to make their appearance.

Of course, some would say that no matter how nice the weather is outdoors, it’s even more comfortable to have a drink in hand. Next month, you’ll be able to scratch both those itches at once with the Shibuya Sake Festival in Tokyo’s Miyashita Park, where you can spend a day drinking as much as you’d like of more than 100 different kinds of sake.

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Japan government hard at work trying to prevent Shibuya Ward approving same-sex marriages

There is less than a week to go before Shibuya Ward in Tokyo will begin issuing marriage certificates to same-sex couples. If all goes as planned, April 1 will be a major milestone for LGBT rights in Japan.

However, in the days leading up to it, Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party has established the “Special Committee to Protect Family Ties” which has just finished a meeting on 25 March to try to find any legal reason not to allow Shibuya’s version of same-sex marriages to go forward.

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Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward to offer marriage certificates to same-sex couples

Good news today for supporters of same-sex marriage in Japan! Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward is moving towards administering marriage certificates for same-sex couples. If the proposed plan is enacted, it would take effect on April 1 this year, making Shibuya the first ward in Japan to recognize same-sex marriage.

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