Domestic culture shock – 30 things people from Hokkaido experience when they move to Tokyo

When foreigners first move to Tokyo, they’re often amazed and overwhelmed by Japan’s biggest bustling metropolis. But sometimes culture shock can be more localized, and just because you haven’t left the country doesn’t mean there aren’t any surprises in store when you move to a new town.

Hokkaido has more than five times the area of any other Japanese prefecture, and the lowest population density in the country to boot. So when someone born and raised on the northern island moves down south to Tokyo, which is more than 90 times as crowded as Hokkaido, he’s sure to be surprised by a lot of things, and here are 30 of them.

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Sailor Moon Crystal menu at Namja Town features adorable drinks, meals and desserts

Namja Town, an indoor theme park in Tokyo operated by Namco, is putting  out a special spread to celebrate Sailor Moon’s 20th anniversary year. With a selection of five beverages and a whopping fourteen types of cute meals and desserts to choose from, this is the most extensive list of Sailor Moon-themed edibles we’ve ever seen!

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Cross-dressing bride in Tokyo leaves Japanese Twitter users confused

Cross-dressing isn’t a mainstream concept in Japan. It’s still a topic that comes up somewhat often in the media, though, and over the past few years there’s been a rise in services that offer Japanese men the experience of getting in touch with their more feminine side.

That said, on any given day in Tokyo you’re still unlikely to encounter cross-dressing personalities like Sailor Suit Old Man and Ladybeard, let alone a man in a wedding dress walking the streets of Tokyo, which is why Japanese Twitter has been abuzz about the sighting of an older man cross-dressing as a bride in the Akasaka neighborhood.

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Official Sailor Jupiter bento boxed lunches being served now at Tokyo anime-themed cafe 【Photos】

Maybe we’re just predisposed to thinking with our stomachs, but even with all the brightly colored pleated skirts and magical monster battles in Sailor Moon, we always find our attention drawn to the food that shows up in the hit anime series. So when we heard that the official Sailor Jupiter bento boxed lunch is now being offered by a Tokyo cafe, took a break from marathoning episodes of the magical girl saga to go and try it for ourselves.

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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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We check out another all-you-can-eat yakiniku deal in Shinjuku, just 1,080 yen!

In short order, it seems we at RocketNews24 have found ourselves not only unwitting experts in fast foodology – what, with our near-constant coverage of McDonald’s new pie flavors and Lotteria’s most recent forays into madness – but we’ve also added quite a few notches into our cheap, all-you-can-eat yakiniku deals belt (which doesn’t even fit us anymore, if we’re being honest).

But, recently, our resident yakiniku fiend, Mr. Sato, reported he may just have found the cheap all-you-can-eat yakiniku restaurant to rule them all.

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We visit Tokyo’s Reversible Destiny Lofts, the apartments designed to make you live forever【Pics】

Incongruous in their grey surroundings, these multicoloured buildings looks like something in a children’s playground, or perhaps an outsized set of toy building blocks. But these colourful constructions are Reversible Destiny lofts—rental apartments in Tokyo’s Mikata City. And the inside of these eccentric properties is just as extraordinary and confusing as the exterior.

But what is “Reversible Destiny” anyway? And how is living in a playful apartment supposed to make you immortal? We sent a reporter from our Japanese sister site Pouch to find out.

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Crazy crooner crashes Tokyo typhoon report with his passionate ballad and guitar-playing 【Video】

Japan has spent just about all week getting drenched by a pair of typhoons that have decided to leisurely make their way across the country’s skies. Thankfully, there hasn’t been any significant damage in the Tokyo area, but whenever there’s heavy rainfall, you can expect local news outlets to send a camera crew to check on conditions at one of the capital’s major rail hubs.

Last night, a team sent to Shinjuku Station brought back footage of all the things viewers have come to expect from such reports. The camera’s lens capturing soaked commuters caught without an umbrella and concerned travelers watching the display boards for word about whether their train lines were still running…oh, and also a crazed, sunglass-wearing guitarist who insisted on being heard and in-frame.

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Now bullet train geeks can ride the rare, top-secret “Doctor Yellow” train

It’s apparently a pretty rare sight, not unlike the majestic (read: ugly as sin) Northern Bald Ibis, the probably made-up Sasquatch, or the sober RocketNews24 writer, but on certain lengths of Shinkansen bullet train track, one can occasionally catch brief glimpses of a completely yellow bullet train as it whizzes past. Japan Rail (JR) doesn’t make the train’s schedule public, it doesn’t stop at stations, and it only runs a few times a month.

And, until a little later this year, no member of the public was ever allowed to ride. Learn how you can ride the special “Doctor Yellow” bullet train after the jump.

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The top 10 drinking districts in Tokyo, as recommended by Japanese locals

The number of foreign visitors visiting Japan has increased recently, and with Tokyo set to host the 2020 Olympic Games that trend is likely to continue. Now is the perfect opportunity for the city to show off its offerings as a must-see destination.

In an effort to appeal to and satisfy more tourists, a recent survey of Japanese Tokyoites ranked the top 10 drinking districts that they think tourists to Japan should visit to see and experience the “real” Tokyo.

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Screaming crowds stampede through Tokyo as new Godzilla movie starts filming 【Video】

Last Sunday morning, dozens of Tokyoites ran screaming through the streets of the Kamata neighborhood. Ordinarily, this would be cause for concern, but for cinema fans the world over, this is actually something to celebrate, as the crowds, caught on video, are proof that filming has begun for the newest made-in-Japan Godzilla movie.

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Kurand Sake Market opens Asakusa branch, Mr. Sato and Yoshio imbibe to their hearts’ content!

On September 2, Kurand Sake Market opened a new shop in the Asakusa district of Tokyo. This location is a sister branch to the original Kurand Sake Market which opened earlier this year in Ikebukuro, where sake lovers can sample 100 varieties of sake for 3,000 yen (US$24.64) per person with no time limit.

The Asakusa branch invited curious members of the media in for a sneak peek before its grand opening to the public, so we promptly sent our sake-loving reporters Mr. Sato, a veteran of the Ikebukuro shop, and Sailor Venus-cosplaying reporter extraordinaire Yoshio to check things out. But rather than write their opinions for each of the 30 individual brands they sampled, which would undoubtedly become tedious after a while, they decided to create a handy visual guide so that you can gauge their reactions to each cup with a picture, thus eliminating any language barriers in the process. Let the sake festivities begin!

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Japanese candy artisan opens new store below Tokyo Skytree with exclusive sweets

With the Japanese reverence for aesthetically pleasing food, it’s no surprise that candy crafting artisan Shinri Tezuka has made a name for himself with his fantastic sugar creations. As we reported previously, he has been in charge of his own shop, Asakusa Amezaiku Ameshin, since 2013, and is perhaps best known for his incredibly lifelike candy goldfish.

Since our last report, Tezuka has been so busy raising his profile by appearing on numerous Japanese television shows and at various events, he’s now been able to open up a second store, right underneath Tokyo Skytree!

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Tokyo realtor will give you hundreds of dollars of anime decorations for your new apartment

There’s a huge variety of fees that need to be paid when renting a new apartment in Japan. In addition to an advance payment of your first month’s rent, there’s insurance, the security deposit, the realtor’s fee, and the dreaded “key money,” basically a sign-up cost that you pay to the landlord for the privilege of being allowed to start giving him money on a monthly basis.

Add it all up, and you’ll probably find yourself out several months’ worth of rent before spending the first night in your new home. But there’s a nice upside if you chose to go through one unique realtor, because while you’ll still have some fees to pay, you’ll also get a nice housewarming present in the form of several hundred dollars’ worth of anime merchandise.

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Cat wanted to join management team of Tokyo workspace

Once relegated to menial tasks like mousing or appearing in commercials, cats have been recently begun making huge inroads to other labor sectors such as service industries. Pioneer felines like Tama the station master and his successor Nitama along with Kuzya the assistant librarian cat at Novorossiysk Library in Russia.

Granted, those are only three, but those three cats alone amount to a staggering 7,560-percent increase in the employment rate for the species as a whole from the previous decade. And now one workspace in Tokyo is trying to get ahead of this trend by recruiting a cat for a management position. Humans need not apply.

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The cafe with a kabuki twist  — we visit Tully’s Coffee at the Kabukiza Theater

Kabuki is a traditional Japanese performing art that has been enjoyed by the masses since the 17th century  and is known for its unique make-up as well as its distinct, exaggerated poses and expressions. Kabuki is performed exclusively by male actors, and some of the more famous ones enjoy celebrity status in Japan, appearing in movies, TV dramas and commercials.

So, while it’s not nearly as big an attraction in this day of 4-D movies and theme parks as it used to be in the Edo Period, kabuki is still an established entertainment genre. And the Kabukiza Theater in Tokyo’s Ginza district, which was newly rebuilt in 2013, is still a mecca for kabuki fans. Today, one of the reporters from our Japanese sister site Pouch introduces the Tully’s Coffee shop located in the Kabukiza Theater for a look at a modern cafe that serves a menu item with a kabuki twist!

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Man arrested for scamming millions of yen with complaints of “soggy bread”

Soggy bread is the pits. A great sandwich is equal parts texture and taste, so there’s no greater let-down when your bread feels like a freshly opened bucket of tile grout.

Actually, forget that. A bigger let-down is when someone exploits our shared hatred of soggy bread for their own personal gain. That’s what Tokyo Metro Police are suspecting Takashi Ishimoto of doing by making fraudulent complaints of damp sliced bread and raking in an estimated 30 million yen (US$251,000) from unsuspecting retailers in the process.

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Vampire Cafe: Over a decade of Tokyo’s best undead dining in Ginza

As one of Tokyo’s swankiest neighborhoods, Ginza is home to numerous up-scale restaurants and cafes that will as much do damage to your wallet as fill your stomach with delicious food. From French cuisine to delicious brunch, you can find just about anything in Ginza—including a Vampire Cafe!

Though you might not expect to see many theme restaurants like this in Ginza, it turns out these bloodsuckers have been going strong for over a decade. If you’re hoping for a night of spine-tingles and blood-red everything, this is the place for you!

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30 things that will go through your mind on a business trip to Tokyo, according to our Japanese writer

It is perhaps common knowledge by now that folks in Japan tend to go on business trips a lot. Whether this is actually true or an exaggeration, we can’t exactly say, but it certainly seems that there are a ton of workers moving around the country as part of their jobs. And it should go without saying that quite a few of them end up coming to Tokyo.

So, what is it like taking a business trip to Tokyo for someone who lives outside of Japan’s most populous metropolitan area? Read on to find out!

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Love costumes and karaoke? Shinjuku Cosplay Karaoke is just what you need! 【Pics & video】

Cosplay has certainly become of Japan’s most well-known and loved subcultures, exploding on the world stage partly thanks to the Internet and partly thanks to the ingenuity of many of its most fervent participants. Despite this, it can still be difficult to find and make friends in the cosplay community if you’re coming in alone, as with any other subculture. But it doesn’t need to be that way! The Japanese cosplay community is just that — a community — and some of its members are working to make sure people can get together and cosplay as often as possible.

Perhaps the most relaxed way to join the fun is to take part is Shinjuku CosKara, or Shinjuku Cosplay Karaoke! While singing in front of others might set your nerves on edge, the events are organized so that people can come, have fun, take lots of cool photos, and make friends. You needn’t worry about your warbling offending anyone either; half the fun of karaoke is doing it badly with a giant grin! So, come along as we take a look at the event and talk to some local cosplayers!

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