Tokyo

Survey asks Japanese people where they’d most like to “live” after death

Whenever people ask me what I want to happen after I die, I always tell them I want a Super Mario-themed funeral where, at the end of the ceremony, the Mario death music plays and my casket is launched a few feet up in the air, then allowed fall down into the earth. I’ve always thought that would be a pretty cool way for friends and family to send me off, but the actual location of the funeral – or even really what happened to my body afterwards – has never been all that important to me.

Westerners have surprisingly little ritual when it comes to death. There’s usually a wake or a funeral, and then, if you’re lucky, every couple of years Solid Snake comes by to stand in front of your grave, look grim and deliver a two-hour monologue about the horrors of war. The Japanese, on the other hand, make a point to visit and pay respects to the dead every year through somewhat ritualized ohakamairi, so the location of your grave is an important thing to consider.

So important, apparently, that specialty online grave retailer Ohakamagokorokakaku (“ohakamago”) is considering offering a service to move the graves of loved ones, and recently conducted a survey among Japanese people asking: “Where would you most like to ‘live’ after death?”

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Group of ISIS-inspired kids abuses, attempts to kill a goat as “practice for killing a person”

Earlier this month we saw what was beleived to be the first ISIS-inspired murder in Japan when a group of teenagers brutally killed a fellow classmate. However it has recently come to light that in the middle of February, a different group of Tokyo middle school students broke into an elementary school with the intent of murdering the school pet goat as “practice” for killing a fellow human being.

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Flyer for May dōjinshi fair brings together beloved childhood anime… Tokyo, here we come!

It’s been a little over three months since the fantastic Comiket 87, which certainly didn’t fail to disappoint with everything from toilet plunger cosplay to the usual slew of dōjinshi. Yet, just as with Christmas, the end of such a big event can leave one feeling empty in the aftermath. “I have to wait until August?” you moan as you count down the months to the next Comiket.

We think the wait just got a little easier, thanks to a recent flyer advertising an upcoming dōjinshi fair. Featuring all our favorite childhood anime, including Yu Yu Hakusho, Soul Hunter, and Rurouni Kenshin, the flyer is sure to set dōjinshi fans scrambling to book tickets to Tokyo in time for the May opening.

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Moving to Tokyo? Real estate agent picks five best neighborhoods for single residents

Tokyo is a big place, both in terms of population and area, and if you’re moving here from anywhere else, you might be at a bit of a loss in terms of where to look for an apartment. Obviously, a large part of that decisions is up to personal preference, but we do happen to have some advice for areas to look at if this will be your first time living alone!

These five areas were selected by a local real estate agent, so you know they must be good, right?

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We visit a reasonably-priced sushi shop so good you’ll forget all about that “Jiro” guy

With a whole documentary devoted to him and a coveted place in the Michelin Guide, the (reportedly) rather ornery owner of renowned sushi shop Sushi Jiro has ruled the sushi world with a nori-wrapped fist for some time now. Jiro’s tiny shop, located in an underground mall in Ginza, commands about US$300 per 30-minute “omakase” meal and reservations need to be made months in advance – which is a pretty huge investment for a meal.

That daunting investment seems downright silly, though, when you realize that you can get incredible, world-class sushi in your maw for around a third of the cost just down the road!

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Old execution grounds become popular place to tell someone “I love you”

When taking big steps in relationships, like confessing your true feelings to a friend or asking someone to marry you, the setting is important. You want to set the mood, and getting the right atmosphere may mean the difference between delighted acceptance and “Where did that come from??”

Among some high school girls, this statue in Tokyo is considered a great place to take an amorous risk. It might not look like the most romantic place, located on a rather busy intersection and nestled between the NHK Broadcast Center, Shibuya Tax Office, and Amway Japan, and in fact this very spot is actually the memorial of a bloody attempt to overthrow the Japanese government. Nevertheless it is said to have a “supernatural” ability to create strong couples.

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This video of Tokyo shrouded in fog is the most beautiful commercial you’ll see all week 【Video】

When it comes to beautiful landscapes, one of the best is anything with rolling banks of thick fog. Now, we imagine some people who live in places like Seattle or London might not agree with the sentiment, but for many of us, the heavy mist of a spring morning is like meandering through a dream. Maybe not the best way to get yourself ready for a day of work, admittedly, but it’s definitely affecting.

Of course, many in Japan would agree–from 12th century emperors to contemporary filmographers. Just check out this stunning video titled “TOKYO DENSE FOG” to see how something as simple as the weather can turn Japan’s modern capital into a mystical realm.

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If you could move Japan anywhere in the world, where would you move it? 【Video】

When you ask people where they would live if they could move anywhere in the world, a lot of times they’ll stick with their home countries. We don’t blame them! After all, their family is probably there, they are used to the culture and lifestyle, moving to a new country would, frankly, be tough.

But, what if you could move your whole country with you? Our RocketNews24 reporters braved the cold on the streets of Tokyo’s Shinjuku district to ask passersby, “Where would you move Japan, if you could?” 

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Honest Tokyo: 3.3 billion yen of lost cash handed in to police in 2014 alone

Imagine this. You’re at a fireworks festival with almost one million people in attendance. Everyone is scrambling for a place to sit and stampeding for the exit when it’s over. In between standing in line for a tasty treat and being dazzled by the fireworks spectacle, you realize something terrible. You’ve lost your wallet. Now what?

In Japan, you just go to the nearest police box, or koban! In 2014 alone, a stunning amount of cash and lost possessions was turned into police stations around Tokyo. In cash alone, over 3.3 billion yen was turned in. That’s a whopping US$27.8 million picked up and taken to the authorities. Could that happen anywhere else in the world?

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7 surprising images of Tokyo without its billboards and neon signs 【GIFs】

If you’ve ever walked the streets of Tokyo, you’ll know how the buzz of people, street signs and giant screens can heighten all your senses and fill you with a rush of excitement that stays with you well after you’ve returned back home. While travel brochure photos can never truly prepare you for the dense onslaught of visual and aural stimuli that envelop you when you visit the megalopolis, one creative photographer has come up with a clever way of highlighting the main features of the city by showing us just how bare the city landscape looks without them there.

Come with us as we take a walk through day and night in Tokyo and see just how different the place looks when the neon signs and billboards are taken away. You’ll never see Tokyo in quite the same way again.

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Pizza evolution! We try mochi-dough “stick pizza” from Roppongi’s EU Shokudou

Most of the foods we enjoy today have gone through many stages of evolution, to the point where you almost begin to wonder whether they can ever be improved upon. Yet, so long as cooks maintain their curiosity and enterprising spirit, the foods we know will surely continue to change. We can see the truth of this in creations such as Mokubaza’s cheese keema curry, which we covered in a previous article.

But how can we possibly improve on the wünderfood that is pizza? Well one pizza cafe in Tokyo’s trendy Roppongi district seems to think so…

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Tokyo taxi driver AMA: Our reporter gets the low-down

In a country that has such a robust public transportation infrastructure, it’s easy to forget the humble car. Looking at a map of train and subway lines in the Tokyo area, it’s clear to see how far-reaching the two modes of public transport are. However, there are still plenty of people who choose to drive. And just like any other major city, there are many who prefer to travel by car, but don’t want to do the driving themselves.

Enter the humble taxi. An iconic fixture of cities such as New York and London, how does the Tokyo taxi driver compare? Are Japanese drivers and passengers just as interesting? Or does their business-like mental focus keep them from acting out in the car? Join us after the jump as we interview the humble Tokyo taxi driver, asking such probing questions as “Do you give rides to yakuza?” and “Can you tell what kind of people your customers are before they get in?”

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El Bulli-trained Japanese chef serves edible origami at gastro cafe Celaravird 【Pics & Video】

Molecular gastronomy, the science-based art of cooking, has brought us some mind-blowing edible concoctions over recent years. Rose water balloons, vinegar gels and fruit caviar are some of the dishes pioneered by leaders of the movement, including Ferran Adrià, chef of the famed El Bulli Restaurant, and René Redzepi from Noma, whose restaurants have been named best in the world.

Koichi Hashimoto has worked with both these chefs and is now bringing what he’s learnt from the greats to a 16-seater dining room near Yoyogi Park in Tokyo. His nine-course dinner menu, priced at 6,800 yen, is an absolute bargain in the molecular meal world, and reflects his aim to bring creative gastronomy to casual dining. Come with us as we take you through the menu at Celaravird, with all the delicious photos from our recent visit.

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The most annoying people you’ll meet at a Japanese fitness gym, illustrated (badly) 【Pics】

Before we even get into this, there’s something I have to say in the interest of full disclosure: I’m a bit of a gym rat and I have more than a little bit of a bone to pick with Japanese gym etiquette, so apologies if I sound a little harsh or gripe-y, and/or you feel the strong wind of me chucking dumbbells in frustration throughout this article.

Having experienced the joy and wonder of numerous American gyms – often 24 hours, never too crowded, always sprawling and well-equipped, cheap and usually never exceeding more than two elderly men gleefully prancing naked through the locker room at any one time – you can imagine the soul crushing disappointment I felt upon coming to Japan and realizing that even the best gyms routinely exceed US$150 a month to use, rarely stock all the equipment you’ll need, and are generally populated exclusively by old dudes who spend 10 minutes chatting up their buddies while sitting on the only bench in the place, and the rest of their “workout” enthusiastically blow-drying their testicles in the locker room.

The only small consolation I have is that, apparently, one of the gym-frequenting writers at Japanese sister site is similarly miffed by the myriad annoyances of Japanese gyms… and he’s even been kind enough to sit down and badly sketch out all the craziest folks who’re likely to ruin your workout:

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Japanese netizens proud to see Tokyo named safest city in the world, Osaka number three

Japan had plenty to boast last week when Tokyo was named as the safest city in the world by The Economist, with Osaka coming in a respectable third. Netizens were proud that even with Tokyo’s famously terrible (and sometimes dangerous) commutes and Osaka’s penchant for strange crimes, the two cities stood out to claim top spots among some of the largest cities in the world.

Click below to find out what made the two Japanese cities rank so high and which other cities made the list!

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Steam Garden: Tokyo’s steampunk festival might be better than a Victorian time machine

Though it sometimes feel a bit like bragging, when people ask what we like best about Tokyo, we can’t help answering that it basically has everything. Now, don’t us wrong, there are some things you can’t find in Japan’s capital city, but just about everything we’ve gone looking for, we’ve been able to find. And we’ve even discovered some things without knowing we were looking for them! Case in point, about a week ago, we found out that Tokyo has its very own quarterly steampunk festival!

Dubbed Steam Garden, the first event of the year will be held next month in Harajuku, but we were dying to know more about it, so we reached out to the Tokyo Inventors Society to learn more about steampunk in Japan. Check our exclusive interview and get information about joining the fun below!

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We swear you’ve never seen Tokyo like this before 【Video】

Art can appear in the strangest of places and what qualifies as art is as wide and as varied as the works themselves. So, what about a city? Can a city be art? You might not think so, but artist darwinfish105 is about to prove you wrong with his breathtaking shots of Tokyo.

You are about to see the largest city in the world change into a futuristic technological metropolis. In addition, all of this is accomplished with just a camera and some mirrors.

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Disney Store is all grown up with new branch designed for adult women opening in Tokyo

Disney enjoys broad popularity with Japanese children, with tykes across the nation regularly getting excited for the studio’s animated films and begging their parents to take them to Tokyo Disneyland. This isn’t a recent development, though. Disney’s been a hit with kids for decades now, and while the age of many fans who grew up watching Mickey, Minnie, and their pals has changed, that doesn’t mean their love for the cartoon characters has.

That’s why this spring a new branch of the Disney Store is opening up in Tokyo, and while the staff won’t be turning away little girls at the door, it’s really being designed for adult women.

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A little sweet with your spicy? Tokyo restaurant serves curry with strawberries and ice cream

One of the great things about curry is how versatile it is. The standard way to eat the spicy dish in Japan is with carrots, potatoes, onions, and pork, but you can also toss in chicken, shrimp, beef, or tuna. Things are wide open when it comes to vegetables, too, with some people opting for eggplant, spinach, or tomatoes.

But why limit yourself to just meats and veggies? One curry restaurant in Tokyo feels its menu should be inclusive of the entire food pyramid, and will fix you a plate of curry rice that represents the fruit and dairy groups in the forms of curry with strawberries and even ice cream.

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Epidemic! Tokyo issues an influenza alert following a significant increase in cases

Are you feeling under the weather? Is your fever running higher than 38°C (100.4°F)? Are you living in or around Tokyo? If you’ve answered “yes” to all of the above, then there’s a good chance you have the flu! After the results of a weekly influenza check came in for the week of December 22 to 28, it seems that epidemic levels of the virus have reached Japan’s capital city.

Grab your mask and water for gargling; it’s only predicted to get more serious!

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