On 8 February, the skies over Tokyo and much of the Kanto region darkened. Ominous clouds suddenly began to steadily sprinkle the urban center with fluffy flakes of snow. However, in an area not used to such weather conditions, chaos ensued. Residents urged loved ones to stay indoors if possible while others flocked to supermarkets to load up on supplies. Our own Kuzo – who’s no stranger to reporting from dangerous environments such as North Korea and the spa-resort town of Évian-les-Bains, France – took to the streets of Tokyo to see how everyone was coping with the nearly three inches of snow that had strickened them.
If you’re in Tokyo today you’re probably indoors staying warm and gazing out the window at a very different scene thanks to Tokyo’s first real snowfall of the season. Hopefully you’ve stocked your kitchen with more than a battered bottle of Kewpie mayonnaise and stray packets of ramen seasoning because if you’re thinking of heading out to the shops for a quick snack, there’s a good chance you won’t find anything there. It seems the city is full of nervous shoppers acting like bears going into hibernation, hoarding stocks despite an abundance of 24-hour convenience stores and fully-functioning delivery services. After seeing these photos, we’d hate to see supermarket conditions in a blizzard or even worse, in a major catastrophe.
Located a short stroll from Shinjuku Station, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, or Tocho, as it’s commonly called, is one of the city’s most easily recognizable landmarks. Its design is distinctive, stately, powerful…and honestly, if you stare at it too long, it starts to look a little sinister.
Driving this sentiment home were a few Japanese Twitters user who worked a little photo editing magic to prove that Tocho would make a perfect dwelling for an RPG boss in a title from video game giant Square Enix.
- Casey Baseel
Feb 2, 2014
Committing to an apartment in Japan can be nerve-wracking. On the plus side, there’s no penalty for breaking your lease, but on the other hand, you can expect to pay somewhere between four to six months’ worth of fees and deposits to your real estate agent and landlord. This being Japan, they’d like that in cash, and before you move in, of course.
Long story short, bouncing around from one apartment to another is cost prohibitive, so you want to make sure you choose a location you like. For everyone who’s looking for a place to live in Japan’s capital, we asked a real estate agency for the three best, most affordable neighborhoods in which to live in downtown Tokyo.
- Philip Kendall
Jan 31, 2014
A Tokyo court has ruled that a cyclist must pay 47 million yen (US$459,000) to the family of a 75-year-old women he collided with and killed in 2010.
The pensioner, one Mrs. Mitsuhiro Azuma, was struck by the cyclist on a pedestrian crossing in Tokyo’s Ota Ward after he ignored a red light. The court heard that Mrs. Azuma suffered a head wound when she was knocked to the ground, from which she died five days later.
Housing in Tokyo is notoriously cramped, but this is ridiculous! With a total of 7.2 ㎡ (77.8 square feet) per floor (that’s smaller than the inside of Japan’s famously crowded train carriages), this towering five-story house packs a lot of rooms into a petite frame. So if you’ve ever fancied living in a tiny triangle, now’s your chance because this baby is on sale now!
There are only three reasons one could possibly fathom going to any establishment that’s known in American English as a “dive”: Cheap beer, cheap beer, and greasy burgers.
Now apparently you can add a fourth reason: Cheap, delicious bento lunch boxes, thanks to whispered-about bento shop, Kitchen Dive. With just a handful of locations around Tokyo, we’d never actually seen one in the flesh before and almost thought they were some apocryphal legend; some cruel prank older, wiser salarymen were playing on the newbies, maybe (“Oh yeah, there’s a shop selling 200 yen bento. Right around the corner. Caaaan’t miss it.”).
Finally, we spotted an honest-to-goodness, 24-hour Kitchen Dive in the unassuming Kameido area of Tokyo and the 100 yen coins in our pockets practically flew out of their own accord.
The Coming of Age Ceremony is the Japanese celebration that officially marks the passing into adulthood of all boys and girls that turned 20 the previous year. It’s normally steeped in tradition and – unlike some other countries’ coming of age rituals where kids put their hands in fire ant mounds or drink 15 beergaritas or whatever – it’s generally a pretty subdued affair until the youngsters-only after-party.
But one Setagaya Ward Coming of Age Ceremony saw things get pretty rowdy this year when a gang of bikers – called bosozoku – decided to crash the party. Bosozoku (literally, “wild running clan”) are groups of teens and 20-somethings that share a love of impractically kitted-out motorcycles, breaking traffic laws and all-around crude behavior.
In a somewhat complicated story we’re not sure is heartwarming or kind of devastating, three middle-aged Tokyo fishermen have accomplished what experts thought was impossible by single (triple?)-handedly bringing an area fish species back from the brink of extinction by illegally catching them.
The three men, according to their accounts, caught the fish and, upon learning that they were on the endangered species list, contacted experts and aquariums for advice on breeding them – either for the sake of fishkind or for the sake of tons of delicious illicit fish meat.
Jan 14, 2014
Before the capital city of Tokyo was given its current name in the late 1800s, it was known as Edo and served as the seat of power for the Tokugawa shogunate. The era now referred to as the Edo Period effectively ended with the last Tokugawa shogun Yoshinobu Tokugawa relinquishing power to Emperor Meiji in 1867, thus drawing the age of the shoguns to a close. However, we were pleasantly surprised to find a collection of vivid paintings depicting Tokyo sometime after the end of the Edo Period but still strongly reminiscent of a past era when the city was called by its former name. Quite interestingly, these paintings happen to be the work of an American artist who travelled to Japan near the end of the 19th century. So, come join us and take a look at Tokyo through the eyes of a foreign visitor to Japan over 120 years ago. It’s certainly nothing like the Tokyo we know today!
At about 6:00am on 26 December, a young woman was walking down a street in Nakano, Tokyo. Suddenly, she was confronted by a man brandishing a knife and threatening, “Get out all your money and nothing will happen.”
The woman in her 20s complied and passed over 3,000 yen (US$30). You’d think the crime would be nearly complete, but in a truly Columbo-like moment the woman had just one more thing to ask the mugger.
Visitors to Tokyo may be aware of a popular local sweet called Tokyo Banana sold here in the city. They’re cute, yellow, banana-shaped sponge cakes with banana custard cream filling inside. And yes, they’re as good as the description sounds, which is why the cakes are a well-loved treat in Japan, and seemingly in other parts of the world as well, as I’ve actually heard people from Singapore and Malaysia mention that they’re fans of the cake.
One of the reporters at our sister site Pouch is also apparently a big fan, so when a new version of Tokyo Banana came out this month, she naturally had to get her hands on some! And what’s so special about the new Tokyo Banana cakes? Well, to start with, they’re only sold at one location — Tokyo Station to be exact — and not only do they come in a different flavor from the regular cakes, they come in beautiful, colorful prints!
Expensive Tokyo living got you down? Are you staring another three-day weekend in the face and wondering what havoc it will wreak on your wallet? You’re in luck! There are plenty of places to enjoy yourself for free all over Tokyo, if you know where to look. RocketNews24 has sifted through the many options and has come up with 12 suggestions that will not disappoint. Try them next time you have a last-minute date or cobwebs in your billfold!
Even though tap water in Tokyo is perfectly safe to drink, and in most cases indistinguishable from bottled water, the metropolitan government is concerned about the bad rap it gets from citizens who will not give it a try. In October, the Bureau of Waterworks, charged with providing clean and tasty water for Japan’s largest metropolitan area, wrapped up a 25-year-long project to connect the majority of Tokyo residents to great-tasting and specially treated water from the Tone River system.
According to an NHK article, the government agency wants to get the word out that their water is just as good as any store-bought bottled water and has asked 700 private citizens all over Tokyo to become “water monitors” and test their home’s tap water for minerals and judge its quality.
Tokyo Disneyland is a magical place, what with all the joyous rides, concerts utilizing incredible animatronics and performers who seemingly never tire, mostly not-terrifying mascots available for photo ops, and children mysteriously vanishing from the park every year, never to be seen again.
Okay, so the last one may or may not be an urban legend. Like any public place that gets massive amounts of traffic and a lot of media attention, Tokyo Disneyland attracts its fair share of urban legends. Some of these legends apply to Disneyland locations worldwide, while others are exclusive to TDL. Let’s take a look at some of the more interesting/frightening ones:
We all know there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch, but in Japan, you might just be able to get free tour rides, free vegetables, and even free boxers! Some of these services even deliver the free items right to your doorstep without charging a single cent!
Sounds too good to be true. Getting a little skeptical here, aren’t we? Details after the cut!
Yesterday, we wrote about Mister Donut’s new Pon de Umaimon series, which are basically savory varieties of the doughnut ring leader’s signature product, the Pon de Ring. Speaking of savory doughnuts, some genius in the office thought, why not go all the way with it! So we attempted the ironic stunt of making a monjayaki with a monjayaki flavored doughnut to see if it blends in with the real deal.
Monjayaki is a Kanto dish, so we had our very own Tokyo native, Mr. Hatori, work the monja magic for us!
Back in school we learnt about the predator-prey system, the brutal but entirely natural way in which Mother Nature keeps things in balance. It’s a cruel world out there in the wild, but that’s just how it is.
But things don’t always go as planned, even for great Mother Nature. There are exceptions every once in a while, like this pair of miracle buddies, Gohan-chan the hamster and Ao-chan the snake, who seem to get along just fine.
It’s about time cats did something for us. We’ve pampered them on the Internet and in convenience stores for years, and all they ever did in return was learn how to poop in the litter box.
Cats are finally giving back now with these cute but somewhat disturbing smartphone stands that depict various cat breeds heroically holding up your smartphone so it won’t topple over.
If you’ve ever yearned for an authentic potato chip in Tokyo, then it’s time to get excited because specialist french fry shop, “And the Friet”, is set to open in the Hiroo district today!
The Belgian-style stand will offer six types of cut, half a dozen potato varieties including a Belgian variety flown in especially, and a choice of seasonal dips and sauces. It’s time to get your friet on!
- Too hot during the blackout? Cool down with an electric fan, veteran newscaster suggests1
- Internet survey sheds light on how Japanese women deal with the hair ‘down there’2
- Raising awareness in the competitive gaming community – two female perspectives3
- Gamer discovers his deceased father’s ghost on an old Xbox game, challenges it to a race4
- The top 20 most eagerly anticipated anime of summer 2014, as chosen by fans!5
- Five amazing Japanese Starbucks locations that let you keep sightseeing as you take a break6
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker7
- Man kidnaps, imprisons 11-year-old to raise her to be his “ideal girl”8
- 10 incredible tiny houses in Japan: a photo tour9
- Japanese critic shares his (kinda weird) views on Japanese vs Western adult entertainment10
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker1
- Creative pet “haircuts”: Funky or funny? You decide.2
- Middle-aged Chinese man’s “stomach pains” turn out to be his first period as a woman3
- Gamer discovers his deceased father’s ghost on an old Xbox game, challenges it to a race4
- Internet survey sheds light on how Japanese women deal with the hair ‘down there’5
- Man kidnaps, imprisons 11-year-old to raise her to be his “ideal girl”6
- More than one way to skin a cat? Japanese YouTuber shows how to “open” a cat with belly rubs7
- Five amazing Japanese Starbucks locations that let you keep sightseeing as you take a break8
- Is Attack on Titan a documentary? Mikasa spotted in Russia!9
- Inconsiderate commuter behavior in Korea – A photo guide10
- Nailed it! The shape of your nails may reveal the type of person you are!1
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker2
- Life’s not perfect? Says who? This woman’s life is too perfect to be true!3
- Japanese politician screams and cries at press conference as he defends expenses claims【Video】4
- Japan’s Glico lets snackers turn their empty boxes into augmented reality sets for Doraemon!5
- “Retweet if you thought I was a girl”: This beautiful young man, in his own words【Photos】6
- Japanese giant salamander caught taking a stroll on land7
- German team hero Mario Gotze wins World Cup, later loses dignity thanks to gross pic8
- These anime mascots are just what the World Cup has been missing!9
- Guitarist perfectly recreates disgraced Japanese politician’s uncontrollable sobbing【Video】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
- Samurai in Brazil shows off incredible freestyle football skills ahead of World Cup3
- Doggy gets upset over his new haircut, walks around on hind legs like a boss for two days4
- Russian crocodile hospitalized after woman falls on it5
- Internet falls in love with Chinese cosplaying beauty, disappointed to hear she’s a guy 【Updated】6
- Not your average Bulbasaur: Mayan-style Pokemon7
- Chinese student asks for cooked sushi at Sukibayashi Jiro, gets flamed by Chinese netizens8
- What if Sailor Moon characters were lingerie models? They’d look stunning like this 【Photos】9
- The official Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist trailer just made our day【Video】10
- Five amazing Japanese Starbucks locations that let you keep sightseeing as you take a break
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker
- Man kidnaps, imprisons 11-year-old to raise her to be his “ideal girl”
- 10 incredible tiny houses in Japan: a photo tour
- Japanese critic shares his (kinda weird) views on Japanese vs Western adult entertainment
- Gigantic aquatic insect found in China has record-setting wingspan, possibly anal spray
- Toyokazu Nagano’s “Magic Road” – the funniest, most adorable photos you’ll see today
- Actress/sexpert Aya Sugimoto founds organization for animal welfare in Japan
- Kids’ Hello Kitty Dictionary is surprisingly gritty
- Would you dare to wear this ‘torso-less hoody’?
- Nara’s deer continue their summertime tradition of commandeering one of the city’s streets
- Creative pet “haircuts”: Funky or funny? You decide.
- International survey finds that 90% are open to a romantic encounter with a Korean partner