Tokyo

Riding the B Line in Argentina? Better bring a Japanese dictionary

Riding the B Line in Argentina? Better bring a Japanese dictionary

There’s apparently a running joke in Beunos Aires, Argentina, that if you’re planning on riding the subway’s B Line, you’d better bring a Japanese dictionary. No, Argentines don’t have a bizarre and nonsensical sense of humor; it turns out the country imported the B Line’s trains from Japan and didn’t even bother to change all the Japanese writing.

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New train carriages on Tokyo’s Saikyo Line allow more sardines to be squeezed into the can

New train carriages on Tokyo’s Saikyo Line allow more sardines to be squeezed into the can

Bringing commuters to Tokyo from neighboring Saitama Prefecture, the Saikyo Line, operated by the East Japan Railway Company (JR East), is one of the busiest in the metropolitan area. During morning rush hour its trains are packed to 200 percent capacity. On June 30, however, E233 Series trains were introduced to the line, and officials are hoping the new carriages, which are a whole 15cm wider, will reduce crowding by ten percent.

That’s right. Now instead of having to endure bone-crushing, suffocating, sucking-the-will-to-live commutes in trains packed to 200 percent capacity, riders will be able to breathe, and perhaps move just a little, while enjoying the relative luxury of a train crammed to just 190 percent capacity!

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Tokyo department store faces allegations of selling outrageous items to senile customers

Tokyo department store faces allegations of selling outrageous items to senile customers

Some Tokyo department stores are facing legal allegations of selling outrageously expensive items to customers who clearly have Alzheimer’s or other mental disabilities related to old age.

The story broke with a Yomiuri Shinbun article detailing a court case brought about by the brother of a woman diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Despite the diagnosis and clear symptoms, she was nevertheless allowed to buy a wide variety of extravagant goods – often the same item multiple times – from a Tokyu department store.

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Hot selling ‘Tattoo Stockings’ making millions of Japanese girls’ legs look hot as @#&%

Hot selling ‘Tattoo Stockings’ making millions of Japanese girls’ legs look hot as @#&%

The permanent kind of tattoo will get you kicked out of a lot of establishments in Japan, where inked skin evokes Yakuza traditions and images of violent biker gangs. Nevertheless, as Western culture – with its inked-up celebrities and musicians – continues its decades-long slow creep into Japan, a lot of teens and 20-somethings are longing to go under the needle without suffering discrimination.

That might explain why these stylish and novel “tattoo stockings” have been selling like sexy hotcakes since 2011 in Japan and are so far showing no signs of slowing down.

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From cabbages to katanas – five awesome umbrellas from Japan!

From cabbages to katanas – five awesome umbrellas from Japan!

Most people prefer to open their curtains in the morning to find bright, clear skies waiting for them, but with the arrival of the rainy season (known as 梅雨 tsuyu, and written with the characters for “plum” and “rain”) here in Japan we‘ve got a long stretch of wet weather ahead. If that has you down, perhaps channeling your inner superhero when you wake up in the morning and stepping out with this ninja sword umbrella will brighten your day. And if fantasizing about slashing enemy combatants isn’t your thing, maybe the romaine lettuce-inspired Vegetabrella from Tokyo Noble is what you need to put a smile on your face.

Take a look at these five rainy day inspirations helping ensure Japan stays dry during drizzling days of June.

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Japan’s futuristic underground bicycle parking vaults

Japan’s futuristic underground bicycle parking vaults

Culture Japan’s Danny Choo gives us an inside look at one of Shinagawa’s automated bicycle vaults, proving once and for all that they are not operated by tiny elves working under illegal labour conditions.

Our favourite part is when the official explains that the vaults keep bikes safe from “the weather and pranksters.” Damn those pranksters, stealing our bikes! Not funny this time, you guys.

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Room with terrace or terrace with room? Apartment listing boasts 160-square-meter ‘balcony’

Room with terrace or terrace with room? Apartment listing boasts 160-square-meter ‘balcony’

This bizarre room listing gives a whole new meaning to “open-air layout.” A Tokyo real estate agency is advertising this room with a 160-square-meter (524 ft) balcony attached. It all seems like a fantastic deal until you realize that, while the balcony is indeed enormous, it dwarfs the room itself – which is a mere 25 square meters and somehow manages to cram a bathtub, toilet and kitchen inside.

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Korean national vows to pee on Yasukuni Shrine every time a Japanese politician offends his country

Korean national vows to pee on Yasukuni Shrine every time a Japanese politician offends his country

We’re actually surprised nobody had this idea before. A Korean national has uploaded a photo of him – for the squeamish let’s say, um, “micturating” – all over Yasukuni Shrine and vowed to continue to defile the sacred landmark every time a Japanese politician makes an insensitive remark.

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Waiter, I think some pasta got into my plate of locusts

Waiter, I think some pasta got into my plate of locusts

There’s been a lot of talk about the benefits of converting to an insect-heavy diet recently. Cashing in on this trend is Café & Bar Ristorante Absente in Kinshicho, Tokyo who will begin offering Peperoncino de Locust which is a plate of spaghetti topped with generous piles of locusts.

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Fast Cars, Tree Houses, Anime, and Secret Rooms: Crazy Beautiful Cafes in Tokyo and Yokohama

Fast Cars, Tree Houses, Anime, and Secret Rooms: Crazy Beautiful Cafes in Tokyo and Yokohama

As regular readers will no doubt be aware, Japan is home to more than a handful of peculiar bars and restaurants. From a robot eatery to a restaurant that serves up dirt, there’s no end to the exciting dining experiences available here. But did you know there’s a wealth of strange and intriguing cafes around as well? Come with us as we take you to Tokyo and neighbouring Yokohama to visit some of the most unusual, crazy, beautiful cafes in Japan.

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Guilty and NEVER Proven Innocent – Every Male Train Rider’s Nightmare in Japan

Guilty and NEVER Proven Innocent – Every Male Train Rider’s Nightmare in Japan

-Tales of subway groping are unfortunately commonplace in Japan, and anyone committing such a pathetic and cowardly act deserves every punishment given. But what happens if you are falsely accused? Often filled well beyond capacity, there is a real possibility of such a thing happening if you ride the trains running throughout Japan’s major urban centers. No matter your innocence, with a 99 percent conviction rate should the case go to court, one Tokyo lawyer says the best thing to do if wrongly accused is, run

Attorney Takashi Nozawa provides the following advice to anyone who might find themselves caught up in this nightmarish, no-win situation.
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GungoHo Online Entertainment Continues Upward Surge, Market Cap Exceeds Nintendo in Morning Trading

GungoHo Online Entertainment Continues Upward Surge, Market Cap Exceeds Nintendo in Morning Trading

On the morning of May 13, GungHo Online Entertainment, Inc. (JASDAQ Standard) rose by its maximum allowable single day limit of 300,000 yen (approx. US$3,000). The stock increased 28.79 percent to 1.342 million yen (approx. US$13,420). The rise comes on the heels of a 17 percent gain on Friday, May 9.
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Frozen Beer and Beer Cocktails – Mr. Sato Checks Out Kirin Ichiban Garden

Frozen Beer and Beer Cocktails – Mr. Sato Checks Out Kirin Ichiban Garden

With Golden Week over, it means summer and hot, humid days are just around the corner. Knowing you’ll need a cooling and refreshing oasis to escape to in the months ahead, Mr. Sato headed over to the Mori Trust Garden in Toranomom District, Tokyo to scope out the offerings at Kirin’s Ichiban Garden.

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Grand Theory of Moe: the Past, Present and Future of Maid Cafes

Grand Theory of Moe: the Past, Present and Future of Maid Cafes

When it comes to Japan, Akihabara is one place you’ll find on almost every tourist’s map. The name alone immediately brings to mind everything from games, manga, anime, figurines and AKB48 to Gundam, computers and electronics. Still one thing stands out as being particularly iconic: maid cafes.

Most visitors to Tokyo have stopped by one of these cafes at least once, and even if you haven’t, you’re probably familiar with the concept: cute, young women in fluffy “maid” skirts serving drinks and food while giggling with customers and, often, putting on shows. But have you wondered where these cafes came from? Read More

Fantasy Art: Amano Yoshitaka Art Gallery

Fantasy Art: Amano Yoshitaka Art Gallery

Should you happen to be in Tokyo this Golden Week, you have until Tuesday (May 7) to check out a free (!!!) art gallery displaying some beautiful works by Amano Yoshitaka. If the name doesn’t ring any bells, some of the projects he’s worked on surely will: Final Fantasy, Vampire Hunter D, Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, and the incomparable Sandman: the Dream Hunters.

And if you happen to have a few extra yen laying about, you can also pick up some original pieces! The least expensive one we found was only about 40,000 yen (US$402), and the most expensive we spied was about 3.8 million yen (US$38,381). Even if you can’t pick up the original art, you can still get postcards, posters, notebooks, and calendars with Amano’s brilliant art. And! You’ll get a poster just for coming by!

Photo and event information below! (Some of the photos are not safe for work!!!) Read More

Looking for Love? Break the Ice Over Red Meat at this Barbecue Joint Famous for Turning Patrons into Couples

Looking for Love? Break the Ice Over Red Meat at this Barbecue Joint Famous for Turning Patrons into Couples

Typically a heaping plate of raw meat isn’t exactly the type of food you’d picture putting people in an amorous mood, but this tiny watering hole-slash-barbecue joint in Kanda (one station over from Tokyo) is famous for bringing patrons together through the magic of a hot grill, cold drinks, and very, very close quarters.

The interior of the restaurant, Rokkakai, is only 6.6 square meters, meaning complete strangers are pretty much forced to crowd around and share a single, rectangular table. We can see where this might result in the odd coupling, but that’s apparently not the only secret behind the location’s uncanny ability to bring people together.

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Tomatoes – Tokyo’s Latest Fashion Trend?

Tomatoes – Tokyo’s Latest Fashion Trend?

The coming of spring brings a coming change in fashion, which in turn prompts many to consider a slight change to their hairstyles. Lopping off a considerable length to go from “long” to “short”, adding a few streaks or coloring for accent, or perhaps getting a perm or wave will allow most people to achieve the look they’re after. One young Tokyo trendsetter, however, decided an extreme makeover was needed to celebrate the arrival of warmer weather and the start of the school year (April to March in Japan).

As the following picture shows she didn’t go with a garden variety cut, she went for the garden itself, turning her lovely locks into a… tomato!
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Sumo Wrestlers Greet the World From Tokyo on Google Maps

Sumo Wrestlers Greet the World From Tokyo on Google Maps

On April 23, the Ryōgoku Kokugikan sumo hall in Tokyo underwent a massive makeover on Google Maps. Now, the street view reveals a line-up of smiling sumo wrestlers. Once you get past them, you’re free to explore the entire building inside, from the seating area, to the food and souvenir stands and even the sacred dohyō, the ring where the bouts are held. We bring you all the best parts to explore, in easy to navigate clips straight from our page, after the jump.

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Tohoku Region Drug Dealers Slow to Anticipate Local Demand

Tohoku Region Drug Dealers Slow to Anticipate Local Demand

“Customer growth is stronger now compared to immediately after the quake,” said G, an organized crime group affiliate familiar with the illegal drug market. The Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake of 1995 proved there was a good post-disaster market for illegal drugs among temporary housing residents and others suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As a result, when the Great East Japan Earthquake struck, dealers from major urban centers swiftly loaded up and headed north to disaster-afflicted areas in the Tohoku region in search of quick profits.

According to G, “First on the scene were the stimulant drug pushers who began selling out of their cars on the back streets and in pachinko (pinball) parlor parking lots. Customers were wide-ranging, from high school students and young bar hostesses to grandfathers and grandmothers. Inferior grades of speed which couldn’t be sold in Tokyo and Osaka were offloaded there.”
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Six People Injured by Escalator in Akihabara, Once Again Proving that People in Tokyo Use the Wrong Side of the Escalator

Six People Injured by Escalator in Akihabara, Once Again Proving that People in Tokyo Use the Wrong Side of the Escalator

On 24 April at approximately 9:25 a.m., six people were injured while riding an escalator in Akihabara Station, Tokyo.

All the victims suffered injuries as serious as broken fingers when a piece of metal siding became bent upwards blocking the clearance between it and the rubber handrail.

Sadly, this digital carnage could have been easily avoided if people in Tokyo just stood on the right side of the escalator like normal people.

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