Tokyo

Are Women-Only train cars illegal in Japan?

File this one under things we hope don’t fall into the wrong hands: Those Women Only train cars in Japan aren’t actually enforceable under the law.

All foreign men in Japan can recount their first harrowing experience of obliviously stepping onto a train, only to find that literally every single other passenger was a woman. There’s a moment of confusion and, if you’re lucky, a good Samaritan politely explaining that wieners don’t belong here, followed by the terrible realization that you’ve broken not only an official rule set forth by the train company but also an unwritten social rule, which is kind of almost worse. But, from here on out, you can rest assured that even though you’re committing a social taboo, you’re not breaking any laws!

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What if the 1945 Hiroshima bomb had been dropped on Tokyo instead?

On Wednesday of last week, the city of Hiroshima marked the 69th anniversary of the atomic bombing. When the bomb detonated in the air above Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, it destroyed the city and killed up to 140,000 people. Almost everything in a one-mile radius of the target site was immediately razed to the ground. On August 9, a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, killing a further estimated 70,000.

Hiroshima was chosen as the primary target for a number of reasons. The US wanted a target city with an urban area of at least three miles diameter. It also had to have been untouched by other air raids, so that the weapon’s impact could be accurately observed. Hiroshima was also thought to be the only potential target city that did not have any Allied prisoner-of-war camps.

But what if the A-bomb had been detonated over Tokyo instead? Or Osaka? Using statistics collated by Dr. Mark A. Carlson at the University of Nebraska, the Japanese Huffington Post has produced this interactive Google map answering just that question.

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Here’s what $5 million buys in housing markets across the globe

If you’re looking for a pricey vacation home for the end of summer, we’ve checked out what $5 million can get you in real estate around the world. Our friends at Point2Homes helped us find everything from a tiny apartment in Monte Carlo to a 16,000-square-foot mansion in Qatar. Needless to say, $5 million should get you pretty far no matter what city you live in.

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Two men die in apparently separate suicides after jumping in front of the same train

Komabatodamae Station was the scene of a bizarre suicide yesterday as two men who seemingly had nothing to do with each other took their own lives by leaping in front of the same train.

At around noon on 11 August, an express train struck and killed the men after they jumped into its path about 20 meters apart.

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Something for the weekend? Love doll exhibition opens in Ginza – and yep, it sure looks creepy

“Bored of Tokyo”, you say?! It’s impossible to run out of things to do in Tokyo! Ever-evolving fashion, more Michelin stars than any other city in the world, and hundreds and hundreds of art museums and galleries…

“Oh yeah! Art! Like that erotic gallery in Ginza that’s been taken over by sex dolls for the month of August! Tell me more about that!”

Oh. Well…if you insist.

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The top 5 places to see the sun set in Japan

Japan may be known as the Land of the Rising Sun for good reason. The Japanese are extremely reverential to the sun and, if you can find a spot somewhere that doesn’t have a skyscraper blocking your view, Japanese sunrises are impressive and breathtaking to behold. They also happen at like 4 a.m., when no one in their right mind is awake – and those that are are likely enormously drunk and just getting ready for bed.

So for a lot of people, you might be better off watching the sun set in Japan. It’s equally gorgeous depending on location, and even in the middle of summer, the sun starts to slip behind the horizon around 6:30 or 7 p.m., so catching that perfect sunset is easy to work into your plans and doesn’t require remaining awake at some ungodly hour.

Of course, some places are better than others for catching a great Japanese sunset. While it’s cool and all to watch the sky turn all kinds of magnificent colors and the neon lights of the city winking on one by one from whatever street you happen to be standing on in the middle of Tokyo, it’s just not the same without a perfect backdrop and that eye-searing, crimson glory of the sun itself visibly sinking behind the landscape.

Here are our top five picks for watching the sunset in Japan (in no particular order):

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One Piece takes over Yamanote train for 15th anniversary

The One Piece anime is turning 15 this year, and one of the birthday surprises includes a One Piece takeover of JR’s Yamanote Line.

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New app will find you a bath on-the-go in Tokyo

With blistering temperatures over the past week and record cases of heat stroke, just getting around Tokyo for business or pleasure can leave you dripping with sweat and a littleokay, A LOTstinky. It’s enough to make you want to bathe several times a day.

But what if you are dying to clean up but don’t want to go all the way back to your home or hotel? That’s when a cheap Japanese bathhouse, or sentou, can come in very handy. For a few hundred yen, you have a place to take a bath, grab a snooze on a bit of tatami, and put your game face on again. These little places used to be hard to locate, but as with most things these days, now there’s an app for that.

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Dreamed of living in a “Phil Collins” mansion? Come to Japan and you can!

Engrish, the comedic results when non-native speakers utilize English, is hilarious and when used on products and signs, the results are shared far and wide with great enjoyment. But sometimes it’s not just incorrect English that is really funny, sometimes it’s just the seemingly awkward usage of perfectly normal English. What do we mean exactly? Take apartment building, for example, which are notorious for sporting some of the most ridiculous names. Perhaps it’s for the best though, because sometimes it turns your modest accommodations into a luxurious palace! Would you like to live like British superstar Phil Collins? Would you like to live IN Phil Collins?!?

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New onsen facility in the heart of Tokyo’s business district to be ready for Olympics

When you think of an onsen, what springs to mind? Tranquil steaming pools surrounded by misty mountains and bamboo groves? This is probably the the ideal image of a hot springs getaway, but there are actually over 200 onsen facilities to be found amidst the high-rise office blocks and busy roads of central Tokyo. And there’s soon to be one more to enjoy in Otemachi, right in the heart of Tokyo’s business district.

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Perfect rainbow appears over Tokyo like an interdimensional portal, no spirits spotted (yet)

While we rarely think about it, the way our atmosphere works is pretty amazing–filtering out all that cosmic radiation and keeping us alive. It also has tons of moisture in it, which, in addition to giving some nifty lightning shows, is also what gives us really cool stuff like sun dogs and rainbows. While it’s nothing special to see a piece of a rainbow or even half of one in the sky after a rainshower, it’s quite another thing to see a full rainbow shimmering in the sky.

But that’s exactly what appeared over Tokyo on Friday, setting Twitter ablaze with photos of the beautiful phenomenon. And because we’re ready for some uplifting fun this weekend, here’s all the photos we could find! Guaranteed to make your day 200% more magical or your leprechaun back.

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Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist to get theatrical premiere in Tokyo!

The brainchild of martial arts expert and lifelong Street Fighter devotee Joey Ansah, live-action series Assassin’s Fist was finally released on May 23 this year. Of course, you could stay home and watch the episodes on YouTube via Machinama‘s official channel, but if you happen to be in Tokyo on August 2, you could take in a special screening of the entire series in one night!

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An afternoon in Kagurazaka, Tokyo’s French Quarter 【Hidden Tokyo】

Kagurazaka is one of the most attractive and interesting enclaves in all of Tokyo. Its name in kanji, 神楽坂, literally translates to “God Music Slope”, referring to kagura, the spiritual music traditionally dedicated to Shinto gods. Located at what used to be the outer edge of Edo Castle, the gentle slope that still runs through Kagurazaka today was once filled with the sounds of music emanating from the Imperial Court.

Today, this is one of the few remaining areas of Tokyo where you’ll find exclusive geisha houses hidden off the main street and kimono-clad women shuffling through narrow cobblestone alleyways. It’s also the best place to experience a taste of France, as it has the largest concentration of French restaurants in Tokyo, and a vibrant French expat community. You’ll even hear the strains of accordions as they pipe Parisian music through speakers on the street!

Join us after the jump as we take a stroll through the area and reveal why a visit to Kagurazaka should be on your list of places to see in Tokyo.

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The top 10 sweet souvenirs in Tokyo

If you’re lucky enough to take a trip over to Tokyo, it’s best to bring a little slice of Japan’s capital back home for those who missed out on your trip. But with all the delectable sweets and beautifully packaged treats, it can be a little overwhelming to choose the right one. So before you leave, be sure to take a look at this list of the top 10 omiyage you can only buy at Tokyo Station.

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【TBT】Tokyo’s Pico Pico Cafe: Where video games meet coffee

Despite having visited the town of Kichijoji in Tokyo on a near daily basis for over a year, it wasn’t until I sat down with video game developer James Kay and started chatting about our mutual love of pixels and coffee that I learned about Pico Pico Cafe, a cosy corner perched at the top of a eight-storey building just minutes from Kichijoji station.

After dropping the staff a line, RocketNews24 headed over for a coffee and a chat. We hadn’t gone two steps inside, however, before we found ourselves completely enamoured with the unique cafe’s warm, homely interior and – perhaps most of all for this life-long gamer – the subtle dashes of video game culture in every other nook and cranny.

Tons of cool photos after the jump.

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Is new “One Piece” plane awesome fan service or just a cynical cash grab?

In what can now officially be called a budding trend, the Japanese domestic carrier Skymark has announced it will be painting over five of its Boeing 737-800 model planes with characters from the popular and long-running manga and anime, One Piece.

Two designs – presumably on the left and right sides of the plane – will feature group shots of some of the series’ most popular characters to date, including main character Monkey D. Luffy, Roronoa Zoro, Nico Robin, Nami, and that reindeer thing. A separate graphic of Luffy will greet passengers as they enter the plane near the boarding door.

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Tokyo woman arrested for streak of poo-throwing incidents over neighbor’s “noisy” car door

On 1 July, Tokyo Metropolitan Police announced the arrest of 53-year-old Yuri Hamajima on suspicion of disturbing the peace. If proven guilty this will come as a relief to Ms. Hamajima’s neighbors who woke up every morning for six months wondering if a pile of human excrement was waiting outside their home.

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“Awesome! Lemon Coke is back!” say tens of consumers in Japan

After a grueling nine year wait, the two dozen or so hardcore fans of Lemon Coke can finally triumphantly shrug their shoulders and go, “Meh,”, as the company has announced it’s bringing back the mildly tolerated legend after a long hiatus.

The new Lemon Coke, now with slick new packaging that includes a spiffy yellow cap, will be re-introduced to 16,622 7-Elevens throughout Japan, probably to the glorious, collective nonchalant grunts of thousands. Based on promotional photos, the Coke seems a little more transparent than usual, indicating that there must be a whole lot of lemon juice in there.

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Saudi Arabian TV tempts would-be thieves in Tokyo to test Japan’s honesty

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.

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Freak hailstorms hit Tokyo in June as winter rises from its icy grave

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.

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