Besides great sushi, great customer service and ubiquitous vending machines, another great thing about living in Japan is the relatively low crime rate there. Although the country certainly has its criminals (including very cute and cuddly ones), visitors, tourists and expats in Japan routinely extol how Japanese culture has created a society where even a wallet full of cash will be returned to its owner most of the time. After hearing about Japan’s reputation for being an honest, rule-abiding country, a Saudi Arabian TV show created a social experiment to see what would happen when they left a very conspicuous wallet on the busy streets of Tokyo.
The weather in Tokyo can be a little unpredictable in June. Spring still wasn’t that long ago, and sometimes we’ll get a day with a cool breeze or nighttime temperatures low enough that you’ll want a windbreaker, or at least a long-sleeved shirt.
On the other hand, midsummer is just around the corner, and steamy, sweltering days with high humidity and temperatures aren’t at all unusual. On just about any day the cloud layer has the potential to turn into a squall, too.
One thing Tokyo usually doesn’t see at this time of the year, though, is hailstorms.
Naomi Watanabe, a famous female comedian, has started a fashion brand for plus-sized girls named “PUNYUS”. PUNYUS has been in the spotlight since the brand launched this spring, because it is part of a new trend to focus on chubby girls, and also it is remarkable for a comedian to produce a fashion brand compared to the many slender fashion models that have their own brands.
- KK Miller
Jun 24, 2014
Everything has been coming up Tokyo lately. Recently ranked no. 1 on a Trip Advisor survey, Japan’s capital city has now come in at No. 2 on Monocle’s list of most livable cities for 2014. That’s two positions up from their ranking last year!
Cities across the world were ranked based on criteria such as economics, society, functionality, as well as ease of everyday living and happiness of people. But it’s not just Tokyo that’s feeling the love recently – two more Japanese cities made it onto the list of great places to live!
Jun 18, 2014
Before we had mouth-watering croissant doughnuts and doughnut sandwiches, we had … good ol’ cupcakes! But we’re not talking about just any ordinary cupcake here. We’re talking about cupcakes from the Magnolia Bakery in New York, made famous the world over by the hit TV Series Sex and the City. And yes, the TV series was an enormous success in Japan too, meaning that countless Japanese fans were left coveting not just gorgeous Manolo Blahnik shoes, but the delectable looking Magnolia Bakery cupcakes as well.
So, you can imagine how absolutely thrilled fans of the cupcakes were about Magnolia Bakery opening their very first store in Japan in the Omotesando area of Tokyo this week. And prove their enthusiasm they did, as throngs of fans showed up on opening day of Magnolia Bakery Tokyo on June 16. Now, as a passionate fan of all things sweet, as well as a devoted follower of American TV dramas — Sex and the City in particular — I knew I simply had to be there for the grand opening. And while the wait was long, the sight that greeted me in the shop was sweet indeed! But first, let us tell you just how long the wait was …
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.
Two features of Tokyo make an immediate impression on visitors. First is the sheer size of the teeming metropolis, as it seems to envelop you from all sides. Second is the otherworldly atmosphere imparted by its futuristic architecture, intricate network of crisscrossing train lines, and the fields of neon that come to life like blooming flowers after sundown.
These two characteristics have been captured, interpreted, and enhanced in an entrancing new video from Yokohama-based visual artist Darwinfish105 which gives the impression of floating through a Tokyo without borders or end.
Live in urban Japan long enough and, as shocking as it sounds, you’re eventually going to have the distinctly unpleasant experience of riding a train that hits and more than likely kills a human being.
Even if you aren’t experiencing it firsthand, walking into a Tokyo train station only to notice yet another train delay caused by what is euphemistically described as a “bodily accident” (jinshin jiko, or 人身事故) is at least a weekly occurrence. It’s enough to make you think Japan must be wrestling with one hell of a suicide problem.
Which is true. But it’s not quite as bad as the Western media would have you believe. Here are five facts about suicide in Japan that are about as uplifting as we have any right to expect from facts about suicide:
- Fran Wrigley
Jun 8, 2014
Japanese family crests (or kamon), have been passed down through the generations for centuries, although these days they’re mostly seen in the patterns of kimono or the logos of sushi restaurants, as well as on flags and armour. Kamon are circular, often featuring animal or plant motifs.
These family crests have found a new home now, though – as logos on cute shoes! These kamon pumps, from an Ikebukuro-based cosplay store, use the actual family motifs of four armoured generals (“busho” in Japanese) from the Sengoku period, to make up this new feudal warlord series. We do love it when Japan combines old and new!
The world is a huge place, and where you spend your hard-earned money and time off is a big decision. With so many fabulous locations around the globe, how do you choose what is the best destination for you? The answer seems obvious: ask the people. With tools like Yelp and Wikitravel, crowd sourcing your best vacation spot is easier than ever.
One of the most popular travel sites, Trip Advisor, has released a survey asking its users to rank its top 37 cities, and Japan has something to celebrate before the World Cup even begins: coming in at #1 in the world!
If you thought being an anime director was all cosplay groupies and cool action figures, think again. Turns out it’s long, long hours in front of a computer, less-than-fancy convenience store dinners and tons of office all-nighters.
- Fran Wrigley
May 31, 2014
Kyabakura hostess clubs, where men pay to spend time with a girl who will pour their drinks, light their cigarettes, and generally lavish them with attention, are a common sight in Japanese cities. The equivalent for female customers is a host club, where women can be waited on by smartly-dressed male hosts. A newer addition to Japan’s nightlife scene are cross-dressing bars, which fulfil a niche gap in the industry.
At Bar Prince, in Tokyo’s Nakano ward, the boyish-looking staff in ruffle-trimmed “little prince” outfits are all cross-dressers. The bar operates a strict women-only policy which extends to staff as well as patrons. At hostess clubs, the customer is king: but at this club, the stated mission is to treat every customer like a princess.
- Scott R Dixon
May 25, 2014
With Japan’s population steadily decreasing, the country is finding itself with a bigger and bigger surplus of vacant houses—7.75 million of them, according to a 2008 survey. That makes more than 10% of all housing units in Japan unoccupied and that is set to increase to 30% by 2030.
But Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic reforms, lovingly dubbed “Abenomics,” hopes to turn this vacancy problem into a cash cow for property owners by changing hotel laws and loosening restrictions on renting out your home to tourists planning their ultimate Japanese vacation. And to jumpstart the initiative, a Japanese real estate giant has teamed up with a home rental website to match up homeowners to prospective overseas tourists who want to experience a more authentic Japan.
We’ve already talked about Japan’s penchant for limited stock and limited-time seasonal items, but I’m starting to get the impression manufacturers and retailers are playing us for fools. Zipping down to the grocery only to find that at least some of the basic items you wanted are sold out is a common headache in Japan, as if retailers are hoping we’ll all be like, “Oh man, white bread must be really trendy right now. Guess I’ll buy five loaves next time.”
Convenience store chain 7-Eleven is downright diabolical about this kind of stuff, with a constantly shifting roster of goods that seem to come and go arbitrarily, which Japanese consumers have apparently picked up on because they’re currently in a crazy purchase panic over 7-Eleven’s delicious new Premium Popcorn.
Few can forget the massive snow storm that swept over most of Japan’s main island of Honshu this February. Obscene amounts of snow accumulated everywhere, throwing cities into panic, shutting down Disneyland for the first time in years, and even completely destroying U.S. warplanes like some kind of snow-based Godzilla villain.
But now the U.S. is wading into some touchy political territory, announcing that it’s currently investigating whether or not to demand compensation from Japan to pay for the planes because, come on, obviously that’s Japanese snow.
- Oona McGee
May 20, 2014
If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in the bustling, beautiful megalopolis of Tokyo, then the city really is yours – you just have to know where to look. And if you want to get away from the tourist trail and get down close to the beating heart of the capital, a journey into the back streets of the 23 wards is where you’ll wind up.
Come with us as we take you into different neighbourhoods and spend an afternoon exploring some of Tokyo’s best-kept secrets. Today we’ll take you around some of Shibuya’s lesser known backstreets, where you can chow down on falafels, pick up some of the best coffee and soak up a hip, laid-back atmosphere.
Have you ever given up on something you wish you’d persisted with? We’ve all quit something at one point or another in our lives and there are many reasons for giving up. It sounds great to be able to play an instrument effortlessly, master a sport or become fluent in multiple languages, but once the reality of just how much work goes into a skill sinks in, it can often feel impossible.
Meet Ibrahim Hamada of Egypt, a table tennis enthusiast who says, “Nothing is impossible as long as you work hard.” That may sound like the kind of thing that can only be said by the exceptionally naive, but that is not the case here. He was involved in a train accident when he was 10 years old, and he lost most of his arms as a result. At 13, he was determined to find a way to play again.
Given that there were no murders, Abe gaffs, North Korean human rights violations or major Attack on Titan events today, we decided we’d do something a little fluffier and… saltier with our reporting today. After hearing that professional chefs claim pasta should be boiled in a combination of water and salt that closely resembles seawater, we wondered: Why not just use, you know, actual seawater?
Since it’s essentially an unlimited and free resource, it seems like a waste to go out and buy pure water and sea salt and combine the two when you can just head on over to Odaiba on Tokyo Bay and fill up an empty bottle with real seawater.
One of our Japanese reporters did just this, with… somewhat mixed results.
May 13, 2014
In one of the most obvious conclusions since that survey that found people tend to buy potato chips in grocery stores, a new Japanese poll found that 80% of women have been hit on by strangers on the street at least once.
It’s really not surprising given that most guys have tried the random on-the-street approach at least a few times in their lives, either because of peer pressure or through a fleeting, spur-of-the-moment impulse. It seems to us as long as you’re polite and not overly aggressive, it doesn’t hurt to try, but apparently Japanese women disagree, since the poll also found that 65% of women reject those proposals outright. Why? Well…
Tokyo is filled with enough lights, sounds, and odd sights to inspire any artist to create something interesting – and that’s exactly what we found over at Show us your type, an online gallery that showcases GIFs created by artists using the names of cities across the globe. The artists draw inspiration from the famous sites, food, and culture of a particular area and incorporate that area’s name into an animated GIF. In other words, it’s a “creative platform for designers to share their talents and explore cities from a different perspective.” Let’s take a look at 20 different perspectives of Tokyo as seen by artists from around the world.
- Ten-year-old boy cuts construction worker’s lifeline because noise was interrupting his cartoons1
- GIF: Chinese SASUKE contestant’s unexpected fail immortalized in Web’s favorite file format2
- Chinese parenting posters from 1952 gave insightful advice that still makes plenty of sense today3
- 6-year-old boy vowed to marry his childhood sweetheart, really marries her 18 years later4
- “Women who attract chikan, and women who don’t”: The illustrated guide that’s provoking debate5
- Smash & Eat: We try a playful Korean sweet you have to hit with a hammer to enjoy6
- 50 items you can buy in Japan to spruce up your bento lunchbox7
- Gaming culture takes a hit as Sony demos its virtual reality headset with schoolgirl leering sim8
- Artist turns innocent Disney princesses into flirty pin-up girls9
- Artist creates awesome anime artwork by carefully cutting a single Post-it note 【Photos】10
- 6-year-old boy vowed to marry his childhood sweetheart, really marries her 18 years later1
- Artist turns innocent Disney princesses into flirty pin-up girls2
- Ten-year-old boy cuts construction worker’s lifeline because noise was interrupting his cartoons3
- Hello Kitty isn’t a cat!? We called Sanrio to find out!4
- Taiwanese Tsunade cosplayer sparks debate about public decency at events5
- Visiting the South Pole and 14 other lesser known crimes in Japan6
- Sanrio says, “Hello Kitty is not a cat.” Whaaa?7
- These photos from the ‘richest village in China’ will positively blow you away8
- Philippine netizens do the makeup transformation meme to mixed results9
- Master drummers are lurking in Japanese game centers10
- “Mom’s 1st Birthday” – Try to get through this video without tearing up【Video】1
- 6-year-old boy vowed to marry his childhood sweetheart, really marries her 18 years later2
- Artist turns innocent Disney princesses into flirty pin-up girls3
- Ten-year-old boy cuts construction worker’s lifeline because noise was interrupting his cartoons4
- The clever way Japanese drivers thank each other without saying a word【Video】5
- Hello Kitty isn’t a cat!? We called Sanrio to find out!6
- Taiwanese Tsunade cosplayer sparks debate about public decency at events7
- We swear we won’t tell anyone if you buy one of these super lifelike love dolls from Japan8
- Visiting the South Pole and 14 other lesser known crimes in Japan9
- Sanrio says, “Hello Kitty is not a cat.” Whaaa?10
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker1
- Nailed it! The shape of your nails may reveal the type of person you are!2
- “Mom’s 1st Birthday” – Try to get through this video without tearing up【Video】3
- Samurai in Brazil shows off incredible freestyle football skills ahead of World Cup4
- 6-year-old boy vowed to marry his childhood sweetheart, really marries her 18 years later5
- Artist turns innocent Disney princesses into flirty pin-up girls6
- Ten-year-old boy cuts construction worker’s lifeline because noise was interrupting his cartoons7
- This amazing water cake just may be the most delicate sweet ever created!8
- The clever way Japanese drivers thank each other without saying a word【Video】9
- Life’s not perfect? Says who? This woman’s life is too perfect to be true!10
- Smash & Eat: We try a playful Korean sweet you have to hit with a hammer to enjoy
- 50 items you can buy in Japan to spruce up your bento lunchbox
- Gaming culture takes a hit as Sony demos its virtual reality headset with schoolgirl leering sim
- Artist turns innocent Disney princesses into flirty pin-up girls
- Artist creates awesome anime artwork by carefully cutting a single Post-it note 【Photos】
- From Ponyo to Italy: Four delicious ways to improve instant ramen while your water’s boiling
- What is this man painting? You may have to wait until the very last second to find out 【Video】
- Hiroshima begins recovery projects following tragic, deadly landslides
- Genius dishes can be molded freely to hold whatever you want
- Korean Photoshop Troll Trilogy: The shocking conclusion! 【Photos】
- New Sony Cyber-shot: a perfume bottle camera specifically designed for selfies
- This ice cream spoon uses your body heat to get the perfect scoop, costs more than most desserts
- These scarecrows look so human, they belong in an art museum【Photos】