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Japanese archery: The coolest school club ever?

Japanese archery: The coolest school club ever?

Bukatsu, or club activities, are a big part of school life in Japan. In the majority of schools, all kids are required to become a member of a club, be it track and field, judo, or even computer club, and have to attend every session regardless of the time of year and the weather (yes, athletics club kids jog up and down the hallways when it’s raining heavily). Naturally, there are distinct levels of coolness that students are more than aware of when they sign up, with clubs like baseball generally considered to be for the jocks, and soccer-bu for those who want to look good while sharpening their shooting skills.

Japanese archery, or kyūdō to use its native moniker, may not be considered the coolest club to belong to by kids in Japan, but as this video from Japanese culture blogger Danny Choo shows, as far as non-Japanese are concerned, it’s pretty epic, and if we were somehow reincarnated as a Japanese high schooler it’s definitely the club we’d sign up for.

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Does Avril Lavigne’s Tokyo music video really have anything to do with Japan?

Does Avril Lavigne’s Tokyo music video really have anything to do with Japan?

The lack of both L and V sounds in Japan’s language hasn’t kept Canadian musician Avril Lavigne from achieving widespread popularity here. As a matter of fact, given the country’s affinity for female solo acts, and its decades-long ready acceptance of “girls’ rock” music, you could make the argument that Lavigne has an even broader fan base in Japan, or at least one that’s split more evenly across the gender line.

So when Lavigne recently revealed she’d filmed her latest music video in Japan, maybe it wasn’t so surprising, even if a few of her choices for representing Japan were.

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Whack-a-Kitty: Now with real kittens【Video】

Whack-a-Kitty: Now with real kittens【Video】

Ah, whack-a-mole, that fun childhood arcade game where the only goal is to smash all the moles back down into their holes. No one ever felt sorry for the little plastic rodents, but what if they were actual kitties? Take a look at this video featuring kittens in their own version of the classic game. (Don’t worry, no kitties were whacked in the making of this video!)

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The Whimsy Bomb! College Humor splices Studio Ghibli movies with other popular anime series

The Whimsy Bomb! College Humor splices Studio Ghibli movies with other popular anime series

Throughout his long career as an animator and manga artist, Hayao Miyazaki has created a particular style and theme throughout his works that have inspired an untold number of younger artists. However, what if Miyazaki himself had been influenced by some of the other popular series to come out of Japan, like Dragon Ball Z or Sailor Moon?

Brian Murphy and Patrick Cassels from College Humor have dreamt up exactly such scenarios by combining anime hits like Pokémon with Miyazaki classics such as Spirited Away in an animated short titled: If Miyazaki Films Were Like Other Anime. And it’s truly glorious.

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Patlabor’s giant robot gets taken out to the ballgame, keeps the peace in Chiba 【Video】

Patlabor’s giant robot gets taken out to the ballgame, keeps the peace in Chiba 【Video】

In planning any large-scale sporting event, organizers have to take security needs into consideration. Any time you combine thousands of people in a confined space with heightened emotions and flowing alcohol, there’s at least the chance that some individuals will be tempted to cross the line of polite behavior or even public safety, so it’s always a good idea to have a few security guards or uniformed police officers on hand.

Or, as shown in this awesome time-lapse video filmed outside a stadium in Chiba Prefecture, the giant robot from Patlabor.

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

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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The pillows fans rejoice! You could win a contest to meet the band in Tokyo【Videos】

The pillows fans rejoice! You could win a contest to meet the band in Tokyo【Videos】

2014 marks 25 years as a band for the pillows. They are celebrating with a song entitled “Happy Birthday,” and also by announcing a cover and dance contest. For those with the misfortune of not knowing who the pillows are, they are a Japanese rock band whose style has changed over the last 25 years from pop to jazz experimentation to alternative rock.

Many of the band’s fans outside of Japan became acquainted with them through the six-episode animated series, FLCL, for which the pillows provided the music. The caffeinated, crunchy soundtrack is the perfect complement to the nonsensical but purely fun plot that includes a robot that emerges from a boy’s head wound, the spirit of a powerful pirate king and the sexy maniac who hunts him down riding a Vespa with an electric bass as a weapon.

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UNICEF produces 4-minute-long song about poop【Video】

UNICEF produces 4-minute-long song about poop【Video】

The newest song to hit India is about an unprecedented topic: poop. The song was written by Shri, celebrated composer of the promo song for Life of Pi, and the animated video features hordes of poo piles assailing horrified people holding their noses and running for their lives. Now why is UNICEF involved with something that sounds like the plot from a niche B-movie horror flick?

While most people in developed countries take it for granted that they can find a functioning bathroom anytime they need one, that is not true everywhere. In developing countries like India, sanitation has not always kept up with exploding populations. It’s estimated that half the country’s residents defecate in public, leading to a daily addition of 65 million kilograms (71,650 tons) of feces in public places. Almost none of the poorest 20% ever have access to toilets and have no choice but to defecate outdoors.

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Fighter discovers Japanese giant hornet in his apartment, hilarity ensues 【Video】

Fighter discovers Japanese giant hornet in his apartment, hilarity ensues 【Video】

When people talk about Japan, they usually talk about its beautiful landscapes, rich culture, and delicious food. They talk about the cherry blossom in spring, the soft, powder snow in winter, the deep red autumn leaves, and the summers that, while swelteringly hot, go perfectly with a big glass of cold Japanese beer.

What they don’t talk about are the bugs.

Although Japan has nothing on “Don’t Touch That, It’ll Probably Kill You” Australia, it nevertheless has its fair share of creepy-crawlies, and the oosuzumebachi, or Japanese Giant Hornet is perhaps the worst of the bunch. It’s still only April, but it would seem that the Japanese branch of Satan’s striped servants are already out and about, and getting into people’s apartments, no less…

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Extremely well-behaved Chinese dogs “say Grace” before daily meal

Extremely well-behaved Chinese dogs “say Grace” before daily meal

I can’t even remember the last time I “said Grace” before a meal. It must have been before my teens, when my parents realized I was a Godless, hopeless heathen that shoveled food into my mouth so fast I couldn’t even taste it.

Which, I guess, puts my manners one level below four Chinese dogs that dutifully bow and lower their heads as their owner/trainer says a few words of thanks for their meal.

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Kid trampling, surly schoolgirls, and dancing grains of rice: Cup rice ad is classic crazy Japan

Kid trampling, surly schoolgirls, and dancing grains of rice: Cup rice ad is classic crazy Japan

Last September, we brought you news that Japanese cup noodle maker Nissin was about to launch a new product, Kare Meshi curry rice in a cup. Hoping to do for rice what it did for noodles and ensure that a new generation of Japanese never give in to the urge to cook a real meal for themselves, the idea is that lazy diners simply add water to the pre-cooked curry and rice, heat it in the microwave and get stuck in. All the taste with minimal washing up and none of the fuss of cooking rice the regular way.

This week, in an effort to lodge Kare Meshi more firmly in the minds of consumers, the noodle king has launched a new ad for its cup rice. And it is positively insane.

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Taiwanese student creates incredible art with materials others would throw away【Photos】

Taiwanese student creates incredible art with materials others would throw away【Photos】

Tony Stark is a character whose power comes from his ingenuity in designing and building his Iron Man suits and weapons. And of course having millions of dollars at his disposal helped.

Meet Kai-xiang Xhong, the Tony Stark (sans riches) of cardboard art. Some people might laugh at the phrase “cardboard art,” but this man’s sculptures are so stunning that it’s hard to believe they are made of the same stuff your Amazon purchases arrive in. Take, for instance, the life-size Iron Man suit shown above. (Did we mention it’s wearable? There is a person in that suit, walking around and bending parts without it falling to pieces!)

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Sulky Shiba can’t hear you… or can he!? 【Video】

Sulky Shiba can’t hear you… or can he!? 【Video】

Unlike cats, dogs are usually pretty easy to win over. Constantly seeking praise and approval, with a few “good boy”s and a scratch behind the ear they’ll immediately cheer up and want to be friends again. You can praise a cat until you’re blue in the face – it neither wants nor needs your approval, and if it’s not in the mood, you’ll soon know about it.

This little shiba inu, though, looks especially irked, and is making no secret of the fact that he’s cross by ignoring his owner no matter what she says or does. All until…

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Drivers spill the beans while saving the planet with Nissan’s two-seater electric vehicle

Drivers spill the beans while saving the planet with Nissan’s two-seater electric vehicle

In October last year, Yokohama City joined forces with Japanese automobile manufacturer Nissan for a special project dubbed Choi-Mobi Yokohama. Furnishing the historic port city with a small fleet of rentable, ultra-compact electric vehicles, Nissan set out to examine the feasibility of making such modes of transport commonplace in urban centres. Allowing anyone with a valid license to zip around the city – emission free, of course – for just 20 yen (US$0.19) per minute of use, ultra-compacts like the Choi-Mobi are tipped to be a useful replacement for taxis and private vehicles in urban areas in future years.

The concept alone was enough to have tech-heads and environmentalists alike grinning from ear to ear, but on April 1 this year, Nissan asked a group of Choi-Mobi renters to use their time together inside the vehicle to convey important messages to one another, telling not April Fools but “April Truths”.

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Up-and-coming band combines traditional Japanese instruments with pop metal and awesomeness

Up-and-coming band combines traditional Japanese instruments with pop metal and awesomeness

These tattooed badasses are not, in fact, extras from that bafflingly misguided 47 Ronin movie. They’re the members of the newly-signed Wagakki Band, which combines the chunky guitar chords and shredding of pop metal with traditional Japanese instruments for a totally awesome sound.

While the name Wagakki Band (Literally, “Traditional Japanese Instrument Band”) isn’t going to win any awards for creativity, the group’s head banging videos are a spectacle to behold; Sure to please fans of J-Pop, metal and old-timey Japanese imagery at once.

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Adorable judo girls still years away from making us scared, already able to make us smile

Adorable judo girls still years away from making us scared, already able to make us smile

In a way, small children are scary. Their language skills aren’t fully developed, so you can’t negotiate with them. When they’re angry, their lack of adherence to societal norms means they’re likely to scream at or even bite you. Really, the only thing that keeps them from being paralyzingly frightening is the superior size and strength we have as full-grown adults.

So when we first heard about toddlers practicing judo, which would eventually allow them to use our strength against us, we assumed they must be terrifying. Then we watched this video, and learned that they’re somehow even more adorable as a result of their training in Japanese grappling techniques.

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Fan-animated Doraemon x Akira crossover will haunt your dreams

Fan-animated Doraemon x Akira crossover will haunt your dreams

What do you get when you mix the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games ambassador, the iconic and famous Doraemon, with a fictional doomsday scenario, as foretold by Akira? An eerie crossover that will populate your nightmares for weeks.

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The kid’s got moves: Tiny dancer wows audiences on Chinese talent show 【Video】

The kid’s got moves: Tiny dancer wows audiences on Chinese talent show 【Video】

Don’t even bother getting up on stage; this kid has just stolen the show.

Three-year-old Zhang Junhao blew audiences away recently with a genuinely impressive performance at a Chinese talent show. After handing the judges the remote control to flick between audio tracks at will, the pint-sized performer showed his skill on the stage, wowing the judges with an array of cute dances before revealing that his dream is to “make people happy.”

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What does “Konnichiwa” really mean? Understanding Japanese greetings

What does “Konnichiwa” really mean? Understanding Japanese greetings

Well, good afternoon/evening/morning/day everyone! Today we’re going to talk about Japanese greetings and what they really mean.

Just as in English, “Konnichiwa” or “Good day” is a greeting that is technically an idiom with a complex and near-forgotten past. Just as English language greetings tend to stem from bastardizations of foreign loan words and/or full sentences that have been gradually shortened over the years, “konnichiwa” is actually a shortened version of a full and meaningful greeting, because, if anything, human beings are a lazy sort with a bad habit of cutting corners whenever possible.

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

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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