TV

Japanese viewers spot “real ghost” in TV broadcast, get all freaked out

Japanese viewers spot “real ghost” in TV broadcast, get all freaked out

As well as barbecues, rooftop beer gardens, and delicious ice-cream, summer in Japan is time for horror. No, not the fear of opening your August electricity bill after all those nights sleeping with the air-con on, but scary stories. Whether you get your scare fix by going to the movies, visiting a pop-up haunted house, or do it old-school by telling ghost stories around a campfire, in Japan, summer is the season to cool off by giving yourself the chills.

I’ve never quite seen the appeal of actual horror films, personally, and tend to find them mildly distressing, although not in an exciting way like other people do. “Well, that’s kind of gross”, is about the strongest reaction I can muster. I do love Japanese TV though, and there’s no shortage of scary programming here in summer. Honto ni atta kowai hanashi (“scary stories that totally actually happened”) – or Honkowa for short – celebrated 15 years onscreen this year with a summer special that went out on the night of August 16th. During the broadcast, something unexpected happened – and viewers took to Twitter to ask the eternal question into the internet ether: “Did anyone else see that, or was it just me!?”

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“I know how it’s done!”: Japanese TV guest learns what not to say to a magician on live TV【Video】

“I know how it’s done!”: Japanese TV guest learns what not to say to a magician on live TV【Video】

If the first rule of magic is that the illusionist must never tell an audience how a trick is done, the second rule must be that you never interrupt a magician live on air to yell, “I’ve seen this one before! I’ll tell you how he’s doing it…”

Obviously, no one told studio guest Airi Taira that, because that’s exactly what she did during a live TV broadcast featuring Japanese-American magician Sero (セロ) on Tuesday night. Join us after the jump for one flying hoverboard, one defensive peeved magician and more awkward smiling than you can shake a stick at.

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Defrost a steak in 5 minutes without using heat or the microwave? What is this sorcery!?【Video】

Defrost a steak in 5 minutes without using heat or the microwave? What is this sorcery!?【Video】

Buying in bulk and freezing some of your purchase to cook another day is a great way to save money. But the problem with freezing things is that then you have to unfreeze them. That’s right, my friend. We need to talk about defrosting.

If I told you there was a super-fast way to defrost meat that doesn’t require a heat source, a microwave, or even hot water, you’d probably think I’d been drinking too much Lemon Coke or something. But, dear reader, never again will you feel depressed about the single-person servings lined up neatly in your freezer. Never again will a good steak go to waste for want of an eater. Never again. And it’s all thanks to the magic of physics. Yes. Magic.

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No console? No problem! Sony tests streaming video games direct to TV sets

No console? No problem! Sony tests streaming video games direct to TV sets

Those of you who don’t immediately catch fire the second you step outdoors may not yet have heard of PlayStation Now. Essentially the video game equivalent of Netflix, the service is due to be rolled out on July 31 and will, in theory, allow PlayStation 4 owners to pay to stream and play a selection of PlayStation 1, 2 and 3 games without having to download them first, with all the processing being done in the cloud.

But Sony is not content with going after just existing PlayStation owners, oh no. As promised at the beginning of the year, the company is now starting beta trials of the game rental service for certain high-end Sony TVs. That’s right, even if you don’t own an actual PlayStation console you’ll soon be able to play PlayStation games.

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Game of Thrones meets Zelda in Super Nintendo-inspired opening song

Game of Thrones meets Zelda in Super Nintendo-inspired opening song

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, HBO’s hit TV show Game of Thrones must be feeling rather pleased with itself these days. From Disney cartoon characters to woodblock-like prints of the show in feudal-era Japan, there is no lack of love from talented fans.

This newest fan-made project is sure to please both fans of the show and gamers around the world, as it blends the world of none other than Super NES classic The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past with the realm of Westeros.

Click below to see Zelda get the Game of Thrones treatment.

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Doraemon anime’s visual & script changes for U.S. TV detailed

Doraemon anime’s visual & script changes for U.S. TV detailed

The Oricon Style website reported on changes that the Doraemon television anime is undergoing before its American television premiere this July. The Disney XD channel will run 26 episodes of the quintessential Japanese anime about a robot cat. The anime has been adapted for American culture and customs, as well its strict guidelines on violence, depictions of discrimination, and depictions of sexual content.

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Ultra-cute moe pilgrims embark on Shikoku’s 88-temple journey in new TV show

Ultra-cute moe pilgrims embark on Shikoku’s 88-temple journey in new TV show

2014 marks the 1,200th year since Buddhist monk Kukai made his holy journey to 88 temples on the southern Japanese island of Shikoku. The Shikoku Pilgrimage now attracts people from all over Japan as well as the world to visit the same temples along the 1,200 km-route.

Now, a new TV series, Ohenro, is out to appeal to a new generation of religious travelers and features three female pilgrims stylized in the ever popular moe fashion of super-cute anime characters.

But Japanese netizens, eager to soak up all things moe, are wondering if they will have to make their own “holy trip” since only four broadcasters are airing the show!

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Microsoft’s cringeworthy new Surface ad makes Japan squirm in unison

Microsoft’s cringeworthy new Surface ad makes Japan squirm in unison

Anyone who’s watched more than a smidgen of Japanese TV will tell you that the line between “appropriately heartwarming” and “so cheesy you want to tear your eyeballs out” is drawn in a different place in this country. It can seem like every exchange in a Japanese drama is overly emotionally charged. Why are the actor’s reactions so exaggerated? Does it really have to rain every time someone is sad? And why is there someone running through the streets frantically in every single episode? I have grown to love J-drama’s clichés and warm heart, but still occasionally regard Japanese acting as perplexingly over-done.

It’s heartening to discover, then, that a series of spectacularly cringe-inducing ads for Microsoft’s Surface tablets have been widely panned in Japan, as the nation screams, “Stop! You’re hurting my ears!” in one voice. Let’s take a look at this awkward new advertisement in all its glory.

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Tear-jerker: Brain tumor patient’s “final wish” is to find her husband a new girlfriend

Tear-jerker: Brain tumor patient’s “final wish” is to find her husband a new girlfriend

Recent reports of popular celebrities embroiled in illicit love affairs may have caused many Chinese netizens to lose hope in love, but a devoted couple on “iDream of China”, a television program that gives common people a chance to fulfil their wildest dreams, touched the nation with their heart-wrenching story and rekindled the people’s hope in true love.

Get your tissues ready because the story of Ying Feng, a 23-year-old diagnosed with a fourth-degree brain tumor, and her loving husband is likely to bring a tear to your eye.

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Attack on Titan to run on Adult Swim’s Toonami Block

Attack on Titan to run on Adult Swim’s Toonami Block

Adult Swim, the American television network paired with Cartoon Network, announced on Saturday that it will run Attack on Titan in its Toonami programming block. The anime series will premiere on the network on Saturday, May 3 at 11:30 pm ET.

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Japan’s public broadcaster goes thug-style, tags the house of man who refuses to pay fees

Japan’s public broadcaster goes thug-style, tags the house of man who refuses to pay fees

We’ve talked before about the oddities of how Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK, goes about collecting its fees from ordinary citizens. Rather than sending you an official bill in the mail, collectors will come to your door and ask you for a stack of cash to cover the 13,600 yen (US$133) Japanese residents are technically supposed to pay.

However, many people refuse to pony up the money, since there’s no official penalty for nonpayment, and many feel that NHK’s programming is sub-par and rarely watch it. However, should you make one particular NHK collector walk away empty-handed, he just might mark your house for all to see, as he apparently did to one person we talked to.

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George Clooney appears in Kirin beer ad, sounds a bit like Batman when he speaks Japanese

George Clooney appears in Kirin beer ad, sounds a bit like Batman when he speaks Japanese

As we’ve seen before, Hollywood stars who ordinarily wouldn’t be seen dead in a commercial in their homeland for fear of damaging their reputation as a serious actor aren’t quite so shy when it comes to commercials in Japan. With Japanese companies eager to push stacks of cash stars’ way in exchange for endorsing their products, occasionally a big-name actor will pop up on billboards over the famous Shibuya scramble intersection and on primetime TV.

This week, smirking silver fox George Clooney follows in Leonardo DiCaprio‘s footsteps by lending his face to a Japanese commercial, in this case one for Kirin Brewery Company’s Green Label brand of beer. Clooney is no stranger to ads even at home, but Kirin’s commercial – which sees the actor painting a house and communicating with a small bird – is kind of an odd one, partly because it doesn’t have an awful lot to do with beer, and partly because, to our ears at least, Clooney appears to be channeling Christian Bale’s Batman for his single word of Japanese dialogue.

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Japanese Twitter user ruins Thomas the Tank Engine for everyone with ultra-creepy drawing

Japanese Twitter user ruins Thomas the Tank Engine for everyone with ultra-creepy drawing

Well, that’s a much-loved part of my childhood ruined forever…

I have fond memories of rushing home as quickly possible every Monday afternoon circa 1986, pulling my mother along behind me after she had kindly come to meet me from school, and constantly asking her what time it was, fretting that I might miss even a snippet of the opening credits of kids’ TV show Thomas and Friends.

Had I known that there was just some creepy nude guy inside that little blue tank engine, though, I might have instead dragged my feet as much as possible so as not to give my four-year-old self, already with a highly active imagination and a fear of anything that wasn’t my cat or jam sandwiches, any additional nightmare fuel.

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I am the one who knocks (you out): Street Fighter meets Breaking Bad in genius animation

I am the one who knocks (you out): Street Fighter meets Breaking Bad in genius animation

The only thing we love more than videos about our favourite forms of entertainment are crossover videos that bring them together in one place. Doing precisely that, a talented British animator has just made our Monday that bit more bearable by posting a video titled “Ryu VS Jesse” to YouTube, which combines the worlds of much-loved video game Street Fighter and smash TV show Breaking Bad. And the result is simply awesome.

Full video after the jump.

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Good news for robot and pop idol fans: new Macross anime series is on the way!

Good news for robot and pop idol fans: new Macross anime series is on the way!

It’s hard to think of an anime franchise that’s had a bigger impact than Macross. Aside from being a huge hit in its native Japan, the military sci-fi saga has provided no fewer than three gigantic boosts to anime’s international popularity. The original Macross, repackaged internationally as Robotech in 1985, provided many English speakers with their first taste of Japanese animation, a feat repeated by its 1994 direct-to-video follow-up, Macross Plus. Macross’ first theatrical feature, 1984’s Do You Remember Love?, is even largely credited with kick-starting the practice of fan-produced anime translations.

Now, the franchise is poised to bring in yet another crop of new fans, with the announcement that a new Macross TV series is on its way.

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Man spends $140,000 a month on cosmetic surgery, girls still aren’t impressed

Man spends $140,000 a month on cosmetic surgery, girls still aren’t impressed

Imagine dropping vast sums of cash on plastic surgery in an effort to make yourself appear more attractive, only to be told by a host of female celebs on national television that they wouldn’t touch you with a barge pole.

In classic Japanese variety show fashion, that’s precisely what TBS’s Watashi no Nani ga Ikenai no!? has in store for viewers next week, according to a recently released teaser trailer.

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7 hilarious/inexplicable Japan moments in South Park

7 hilarious/inexplicable Japan moments in South Park

With its crude animation and humour, South Park shocked audiences when it first aired back in 1997, with viewers unsure of its place in the schedules and target audience. Since then, Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s animated comedy has grown to become arguably one of the most entertaining, risqué and cutting-edge shows on TV today, with episodes pumped out at breakneck speeds so as to ensure that their content is always as topical as it is amusing.

With endless spoofs, homages and no-holds-barred social commentary, South Park has entertained audiences in dozens of countries for almost 17 years now, but there’s one theme in particular that just keeps cropping up season after season: Japan.

So come with us today as we take a look at seven of South Park’s most memorable and outrageous “Japan” moments. Trust us when we say that this isn’t one for the easily offended.

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NHK TV worker woken by earthquake, gives viewers a show by accident

NHK TV worker woken by earthquake, gives viewers a show by accident

As you already know, the third anniversary of the 3/11 Tohoku disaster was remembered this week through a variety of activities, including a fundraiser by Yahoo! Japan which saw the company donating roughly $250,000 to charity. The anniversary was also marked by a powerful earthquake off the coast of Kyushu at around 2 am on March 12, injuring about 14 people and wrecking havoc on innocent anime figures.

It also brought grins to all of the NHK viewers and Twitter users who happened to catch the public broadcaster’s footage of a confused-looking man running around an office in his underwear!

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Live-action series Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist could well be all kinds of awesome 【Photos】

Live-action series Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist could well be all kinds of awesome 【Photos】

Based on Capcom’s hugely popular Street Fighter fighting games, upcoming TV series Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist began life back in 2010 as a mere seed of an idea. Three years later, fans of the video games went nuts when the project surfaced on Kickstarter asking for funding, only for it to suddenly disappear again when it was snapped up by a private production company.

Since then there has been so little news about Assassin’s Fist that we were starting to wonder if it would ever see the light of day, but recently released photos and one website’s extremely positive first impressions have our hands tingling with hadouken power more than ever.

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Some of China’s top leaders are apparently obsessed with ‘House Of Cards’

Some of China’s top leaders are apparently obsessed with ‘House Of Cards’

The country of China, including some of its top leaders, can’t get enough of the Netflix drama “House of Cards,” The Washington Post’s William Wan reports.

On Sohu, the Chinese equivalent of Netflix, “House of Cards” has been the No. 1-streamed show since the debut of Season 2 last Friday. Streams of both seasons top Sohu’s rankings, ahead of “The Big Bang Theory.”

And according to Sohu (via the Post), most of China’s 24.5 million views of Season 1 of House of Cards came from government-sector employees and residents of Beijing. The state-run Xinhua News Agency wrote last week that “a large number of government and enterprise executives and opinion leaders also strongly recommend” the show.

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