Tokyo

Stunning 22-year-old HD footage brings Tokyo of the ‘90s back to life

When looking at old photographs and video, there’s a strange phenomenon that sometimes occurs. Between the visual grain and the way colors bleed together, sometimes those images don’t seem like they’re just from another time, but from another world, one somehow less defined and concrete then the one in which we now live.

Of course, that’s all just outdated technology playing tricks on you. While camera and monitors have certainly gotten better over the years, the resolution of real life hasn’t gone through any upgrades, and the physical world has always been as sharp and vibrant as what we see today. As proof, take a look of these amazing HD videos of Tokyo taken over two decades ago.

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Tokyo’s coin lockers to be out of service for week in effort to prevent terrorism

Notices like the one above, which was posted on Twitter, have been popping up at major stations around Tokyo such as Shinjuku. It notifies commuters that coin lockers will be unusable from 19 to 25 April as a terrorism counter-measure.

How exactly does shutting down coin lockers prevent terrorism? The answer is quite simple… but a little confusing.

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Tokyo’s 7 coolest public art pieces

Last week, we had a round-up of my choices for the seven stupidest art pieces in Tokyo, but lest you think I am just a negative Nelly incapable of appreciating talent and beauty, this week we’re presenting Tokyo’s seven coolest public art pieces.

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Bizarre Tokyo shop sells retro sunglasses by the literal bowlful

Before you jump directly to the comments section to scold me about the proper usage of “literal” and the dangers of hyperbole, just know first off that the long-running Ikebukuro institution Rougan Megane Hakubutsukan (老眼メガネ博物館, or literally, “Aging Glasses Museum”) actually sells bowls full of retro sunglasses. And for just 280 yen (US$2.80) at that.

And, besides enabling writers like me to use the phrase “literal bowlful” in relation to something that isn’t a food item, Rougan Megane Hakubutsukan defies expectations in a lot of other ways, too.

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Tokyo’s 7 stupidest public art pieces

Any city with aspirations to be a vibrant international metropolis should invest in interesting, challenging and useful public art, and Tokyo has certainly done so. There are some absolutely amazing artworks scattered around our fair city, but there are also some complete abominations lurking as well.

While acknowledging that art is subjective and one person’s favorite piece is another person’s piece of crap, here are what I consider the seven stupidest public artworks in Tokyo.

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Japanese casual steak joint set to debut in New York

When one thinks of exported Japanese food, one tends to imagine sushi, miso, and other dishes that have become so ingrained in the English lexicon that they no longer warrant italics.

One thing you almost definitely don’t consider when thinking about Japanese food is steak. Why would you? Steak is the territory of Western food, often associated specifically with American diners; Which is what makes the New York debut of Ikinari Steak – a Ginza-area chain – so much more surprising.

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Simon Boulsson’s “Tokyo Reverse” is backwards, gorgeous 【Video】

In the age of affordable digital cameras and programs that can make even photos and footage taken by a team of cavorting chimps look artistic and cool, footage of popular destinations like Tokyo are ten-a-penny online. But this video from Simon Boulsson is not just noteworthy by stop-and-gawp-worthy.

Titled “TOKYO REVERSE”, the video is set to a pumping soundtrack and takes us on a brief tour of some of the capital city’s most famous spots. The views are of course stunning, but as its title suggests there’s even more to the video than that.

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Hidden gem in Tokyo: Black water hot spring hotel

Tokyo may be the largest city in the world, but Tokyoites still long for the comforts of rural Japan. While the less populous cities don’t have all the luxuries of a major metropolitan city, what they have in spades are hot springs. Hot springs remain one of the most popular getaway destinations for the busy Japanese worker. Day trips, short weekend trips, everyone longs for the chance to relax in the soothing waters of a hot spring.

But where do you find a nice, relaxing hot spring within the 23 wards of Tokyo? Is it really possible to find one that is reasonably priced? Can you find one where people respect the rules? Where guests won’t immediately enter the bath before washing themselves which makes the water dirty and suspicious? Where you won’t have to wonder what that thing floating in the water is? The answer is a resounding yes and it’s closer than you think!

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Bored with traditional hanami? Four other ways to enjoy the cherry blossoms in the Tokyo area

It’s sakura (cherry blossom) time again in Tokyo! As the blossoms reach their peak in the next week, you can bet that people will be flocking to the parks to enjoy some much-needed R&R under the flurry of falling petals. It’s hard to imagine that anyone could get tired of gazing at the sakura since the flowers are only in full bloom for such a short time in the spring.

But if you’ve found yourself fighting through the hanami (blossom-viewing) crowds at Ueno or Yoyogi Park for several years in a row, you might be looking for a slightly more alternative, or even adventurous way to take in the ephemeral petals. If we’re describing you, check out these four alternative ways to enjoy hanami without having to break out that tired old picnic blanket or get up at 5 a.m. on your precious weekend to grab a decent a spot!

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Tokyo’s Sanrio Puroland to host special “necogirls” Grand Prix event on March 29

If you happen to be a fan of cats, have a penchant for ridiculously cute Japanese idol culture, and will be in Tokyo later this week, then there’s an event you simply have to check out! Sanrio Puroland, an indoor theme park dedicated to the characters of Sanrio (think Hello Kitty!), will be hosting a “Neco 1 Grand Prix” on Saturday, March 29 focusing on “necogirls.”

The necogirls (neko = cat in Japanese) are a group of young women who express their love for cats in their adorable and quirky fashion style, which you can bet will always include a pair of cat ears. This event will serve as PR for the girls and will include a special contest held onstage. You can even interact with them and take cutesy pictures together. Just be ready to dodge the hordes of Japanese girls screaming kawaiiiii (cuuuute!) at the top of their lungs!       

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Restaurant in Asakusa offers up itty-bitty sushi made with just a single grain of rice!

Restaurant “Sushiya no Hachi” (すし屋の野八) in Asakusa, Tokyo is serving up some really tiny sushi. So tiny, in fact, that you might not even be able to find it on your plate!

Sushi chef Hironori Ikeno is the man behind these minuscule works of art. He has perfected his craft to the point that he can make each piece using only one grain of rice. Don’t believe your eyes? Don’t worry- you’re not the only one who needs a magnifying glass!

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Want to be in I Am Legend? Website uses Google Street View to show cities after the fall of man

Have you ever watched a sci-fi movie or played a video game and wondered what your home and neighborhood would look like if the human race were wiped out? If so you might want to seek counseling, or you can visit this website to seek closure on your thoughts of inevitable doom.

It’s called Urban Jungle Street View and it makes use of Google Maps interactive Street View system but decorates everything to look as if it hadn’t been touched by human hands for decades.

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Check out this 8m robot that appeared on Tokyo’s waterfront【Video】

It’s not every day you get to see an enormous robot being lifted up to tower above you. That’s why fans of science-fiction series Mobile Police Patlabor were excited to see an 8-metre high humanoid robot from the series being put up in the Toyosu area of Tokyo’s waterfront.

The robot in question is the AV-98 Ingram, which appears in the latest movie addition to the franchise, a live action series called The Next Generation Patlabor. Fans gathered to watch the robot, which is built “actual size” at just over 8m high, being raised into place on March 17th.

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Survey ranks Japan’s most popular fast food chains, McDonald’s surprisingly not No. 1

Despite all the lavish attention RocketNews24 has laid upon the altar of the Golden Arches at the cost of our Adonis-like six packs, it seems there’s a fast food chain Japan loves even more than McDonald’s. According to a recent Niconico News survey of adults, the reigning king of fast food in Japan is the country’s own native Mos Burger – although McDonald’s runs a close second.

Since our diets consist of almost nothing but the lard, chicken goo, sawdust and other mystery substances that go into a fast food meal, a win for any fast food is a win for humanity in our book, but let’s take a moment to look at Niconico‘s ranking and examine some of the possible reasons the results:

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See life-size Dragon Ball & One Piece statues fight & turn Tokyo street into rubble

J-Stars Victory Vs., the crossover fighting game that pits characters from 32 Shonen Jump manga against each other, debuts on Wednesday, and to celebrate the launch, Bandai Namco Games erected life-size statues of Dragon Ball Z‘s Son Goku duking it out with One Piece‘s Monkey D. Luffy on the streets of Tokyo.

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Japanese train platform door tech promotes safety, illusions of being in a sci-fi universe

Japan’s “suicide problem” is much talked about, both within the country’s borders and without, with a shocking number of people each year choosing to end their lives by jumping in front of a train. Less talked about are all the other deadly and injurious accidents that take place on train platforms in Japan on a semi-regular basis.

Recently, Japanese rail companies have been experimenting with platform barrier doors to prevent both suicides and other grievous accidents, and most of these inevitably end up looking like something out of Star Trek or a 1990s first-person shooter before technology allowed swinging door animations.

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New high-res photos simulate aerial tour of Tokyo (helicopter noises included!)

It’s hard to get an idea of how truly massive Tokyo is without seeing it from the sky. Unfortunately, most international flights come into Narita Airport, which is over an hour away from downtown, and we haven’t quite been able to convince our bosses that RocketNews24 really needs a company helicopter.

Thankfully, the newly upgraded Yahoo! Maps lets us take an aerial tour of the city even while we’ve still got both feet firmly on the ground.

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Several Tokyo train lines were momentarily shut down today in honor of Tohoku Earthquake victims

Tokyu Corporation, which runs train lines in the Tokyo Area, announced earlier that at around 2:44 p.m. today all of its trains would stop as part of a training drill to simulate the emergency situation that occurred three years ago today in much of Eastern Japan. It also announced on Twitter that Tokyo’s subway lines run by Toei and Tokyo Metro would stop at this time out of respect for those who suffered during the Great Tohoku Earthquake of 2011.

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5 reasons foreigners find it hard to become friends with Japanese people

With all the controversy surrounding a recent “racist” All Nippon Airlines ad, the Japanese and Western media have both been abuzz with the question of whether foreign people can ever truly become respected Japanese citizens – accepted by their community and deemed worthy of the right to not be the recipient of extraordinary treatment.

But this conversation has been going on a long, long time in the expat community in Japan, with a lot of otherwise Japanophile foreigners finding it hard to befriend the Japanese on a higher-than-acquaintance level. Why? Well, frequent source of opinion and cultural commentary Madame Riri has compiled a few of the reasons:

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Genka Bar, where your drinks never cost more than what they’re worth!

Friday night means going out for a drink with your buddies from the office or your favorite classmates. It also means a large chunk of cash is missing from you wallet when you wake up with a pounding headache on Saturday morning. As much fun as a night on the town is, it’s often ridiculously expensive–especially in Tokyo! And it doesn’t help things that bars and restaurants love to mark up their drinks by…well, a lot. If only you could get your booze and snacks at cost.

Well guess what, thirsty and hungry readers? You can at the Genka Bar! At least, that’s what they claim. We sent one of our Japanese writers to find out the truth. Check out the results below.

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