Japan

Lone Japanese Golf Putter Craftsman Flooded with Orders from around the World Including Barack Obama

Yamada Putter Workshop in the city of Yamagata has previously been known in pro-golf circles, but through a twist of fate it has become the maker of the most sought-after putters in the world.

In otherwise economically depressed Japan, Yamada Putter Workshop has received up 300 orders in a single day from 20 countries around the world.

Needless to say, business is booming for the small outfit, but there’s just one problem – Yamada Putter Workshop, since opening in 1986, has only one employee: 57 year-old President Toru Yamada.

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The Love Affair Behind A College Beauty Queen’s Amazing 33kg (73lb) Diet! How Ever Did She Do It?

Ahh, the things we do for love … but of course, love takes many forms, sometimes with astonishing results.

Just a month ago, we brought to you the story of the amazing cosplay diet that had the Japanese internet buzzing. Now, there’s another young lady who achieved equally incredible results dieting — motivated by her love for a manga comic, no less. And we have to say our hats were off to her when we learned how she shed off the weight. Read More

iPhone Underpants Cover Up Your Phone’s Private Parts

Someone finally “went there.”

Presenting SmartPants, a pair of underpants that covers up your iPhone’s home button. I guess if your iPhone were to have private parts, they would be located on the home button…

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Osamu Tezuka’s Three Biggest Works Celebrated in Collector’s Stamp Sets

Like collecting comics? Like collecting stamps? If you happen to like both, then just try keeping your hoarding urges in check for this news.

Japan Post will be releasing three sets of stamps honoring the works of manga and anime legend Osamu Tezuka. The sets celebrate 40th, 50th, and 60th anniversaries of three of his biggest successes.

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Japanese Blogger’s Troubling Insight into the Psyche of Post-Disaster Fukushima Residents

In just 10 days’ time, two years will have passed since the magnitude-9.03 earthquake off the coast of Northeastern Japan shook the country to its core. The resulting tsunami killed thousands of people living in coastal areas and knocked out power to cooling systems at the now infamous Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, which ultimately led to the incident that has been cited by many as the worse nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. People living nearby were ordered to evacuate, and thousands more from surrounding areas fled for fear of being exposed to radiation. Many have never returned.

Despite some areas of Fukushima remaining unsafe to enter, with a population of nearly 2 million, life goes on in the troubled prefecture. Kids go to school; parents go to work; people are doing their best to get back to normal.

According to one former Fukushima resident, however, there is something very much amiss in the prefecture. An uncomfortable air of forced self-assurance pervades many towns, and the general message of “all is well” is repeated ad nauseam, with those who go against the grain met with disdain and reproach.

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Can You Spot the Hidden Mickeys in this Traditional Japanese Helmet?

It’s well known that within every Disney Park, small Mickeys are hidden throughout the grounds. If you look close enough, Mickey Mouse seems to be everywhere; on buildings, carpets, and even the vehicle speakers on Space Mountain.

But you would never expect Mickey to be hidden on a helmet used by ancient Japanese warriors and samurai. You also wouldn’t expect it to be made of silver and cost a staggering 250,000 yen (US $2,697).

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Sharp Unveils New “Cherry Blossom” Light that Aids Concentration

We have to hand it to Sharp Electronics, no matter how many times industry pundits herald its downfall, the company pulls something innovative out of the bag. This time, the people that brought you ion cluster photocopiers and solar panel windows has unveiled a new ceiling light that it claims can actually help people in the room maintain focus while studying, and actually inspire productivity.

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T is for Thievery: Surprising Identity of Osaka Elementary School Bandit Discovered

From November last year until this January, Nozato Elementary School in Osaka City had been the scene of a string of robberies. In 16 different incidents, up to 235,000 yen (US$2,500) was stolen from the wallets of teachers who worked there.

However, thanks to the efforts of one vigilant teacher, the culprit was finally identified and dealt with on 28 February.

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Onomatotastic! Sony’s Portable Games Console Gets a Cool New Ad 【Video】

Speakers and learners of the Japanese language will no doubt be familiar with giongo and gitaigo, onomatopoeic words that are used to imitate or describe real-world sounds or sensations, respectively.

For many English speakers, sentences like “And the rain was falling like ‘tccccchhhh’, and my heart was going ‘boom boom boom,'” might come across as informal at best, or perhaps even suggest that the speaker is not especially articulate. In Japanese, though, onomatopoeia is employed far more frequently in both spoken and written communication, and this new commercial from Sony announcing a price cut for its Vita portable games console has it in droves.

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Five Cute Things Girls Do in Winter: Japan’s Men Share their Favourites

For many of us in the northern hemisphere, winter is finally showing signs of packing up and leaving us alone for a while. People are starting to use their heaters less or, wear fewer layers and, if you live in a paper-thin, central heating-less house in Japan like I do, risk not putting on a woolly hat when going to bed at night.

But winter in Japan isn’t all bad! There are beautiful snow festivals and alternative snow cones to be enjoyed! And, according to a report over on Japan’s R25 news site, even wrapped up in all that winter weather gear, the nation’s ladies still manage to look so very, very cute.

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Japan’s Prime Minister Abe Derails Budget Meeting by Repeatedly Going to the Toilet

Since Shinzo Abe’s election win late last year, a faint hope for some kind of action in the long stagnant government of Japan was kindled. “Perhaps the return of his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to power could finally get some gears turning again in the nation?” people thought.

So far the fruit of LDP leadership has been a novel way to filibuster by frequently going potty – which I guess makes it a fig.

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Japan’s “Galapagos Phones” Strive to Survive in a Smart Phone World

Remember way back when Japan was the land of mobile milk and honey. Tales of cell phones with built-it TVs and cameras were the envy of the world. Then Apple stepped in and brought the whole thing crashing down.

Now, as I stand on the train surrounded by people poking at little plastic rectangles I conceal my once luxurious Panasonic P706ie in shame.

To support these once mighty phones, an extensive infrastructure was set up across the country. However, this entire network couldn’t be exported easily and was confined to the islands which made them. They were garapagosu-ka (Galapagos-ized).

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The Biggest One We’ve Ever Seen: Cuddly Character “Nameko” Goes Large

Before you say it, no, that’s not a phallus with feet; it’s a mushroom.

Readers outside of Japan may not be familiar with Nameko – the now famous cuddly character based on the slightly slimy nameko (or “pholiota nameko” to be exact) variety of mushroom that’s often used in dishes like miso soup. This little round-headed chap first came on the scene in the middle of 2012 and, like many weird and cuddly characters, was made available as a soft toy, key chain and sticker set, but before we knew it, Nameko goods of every shape and size popped up, delighting schoolkids and young female office workers with a penchant for kimokawaii (gross but cute) while leaving the rest of us creeped out and asking “But… why?”

The good news for fans of this buck-toothed mushroom is that online resource for all things Nameko, Namechoku, has recently launched “the biggest Nameko in history”.

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Concern as Japan Sees an Increase in Solitary Non-Employed Persons (SNEPs)

Solitary Non-Employed Persons is a term that perhaps many are unfamiliar with. It defines those who are unemployed and, if you exclude relatives, those without any ties in society. These ‘without occupation or social network’ wanderers are referred to in short as “SNEPs”. More specifically, the term can be applied to anyone of the working age 20-59 years who is not enrolled in education, is unemployed, unmarried and has no ties outside of one’s family. And according to reports online, Japan is witnessing a sudden increase in these such people.

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Kids in Korea Order $250 in French Fries, Piss Off Everyone at McDonald’s and on the Internet

It happened again! Yet another “large order” at McDonald’s has caused controversy on the Internet. This time, a group of young people in Korea gathered at their local McDonald’s restaurant and ordered an obscene amount of french fries. These kids could be described as mischievous or simply hungry, but either way the end result of their fry ordering rampage was a row of tables filled with greasy fried potatoes that cost 270,000 won (US$250) in total. After witnessing the mound of french fries in his store, a McDonald’s worker decided he had had enough of these shenanigans and told the kids, “Stop causing trouble, you brats! Get out of here!”

As it turns out, a majority of the Internet supports the McDonald’s worker’s harsh words.

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What to Do If Suddenly Stuck with 100,000 Toy Blocks: A Management Guide

Being in management is difficult. Sometimes you have to make lightning-quick decisions that you later regret. However, the most valuable members of an organization are the ones that take a risk, fail, and then make success from that very same failure.

The pioneering entrepreneurs at Omocoro are just such business men and would like to share their techniques with you on how to make gold out of 100,000 errantly purchased toy blocks in the following handy guide.

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Nagoya Teen Arrested for the Attempted Murder of His Own Father

A 15-year-old junior high school student in Aichi Prefecture, Japan has been arrested for the attempted murder of his father after stabbing him with a knife.

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Korean Boyband BIGBANG Cited for Plagiarism in High School Textbook

Korea’s chart-topping boyband BIGBANG has been cited in Korean high school music textbooks as an example of plagiarism.

The above image was taken by a second year high school student moments after she received the book. She then uploaded it to Twitter where it has since shocked many Korean Internet users.

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