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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Heartbroken AKB-48 Fan’s Video was a Fake, Star Buys Himself a New Bike with Revenue

OK, who called it?

Just three weeks ago, we shared a video with you from a seemingly heartbroken AKB48 fan, berating group member Yuki Kashiwagi for attending a singles’ party and breaking the band’s strict “no dating” code of conduct. The video, which saw the fan almost in tears and screaming into the camera, turns out to have been a clever trick at the expense of the Internet community, whose clicks eventually netted the young man enough cash to buy himself an expensive new cross bike.

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Pork Cutlets with Fermented Soybeans? All-You-Can-Eat Natto Part 2!

Natto, which is also known as fermented soybeans, is a dish well-loved by the Japanese for its high nutritious value. Recently, we introduced a restaurant which served all-you-can-eat natto, and this time we’re back with another great natto dining experience!

Ibaraki prefecture has opened a local goods retail store and restaurant, named Ibaraki Marche, in Tokyo’s Ginza. Natto is widely used in many of the local dishes of Ibaraki, so one can expect Ibaraki Marche to serve the best tasting natto.

Ms. Rinko, a reporter over at our Japanese sister site Pouch, headed over to the restaurant to try out their natto lunch.

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Japan’s ‘Women Only’ Train Cars: Is it a Crime for Men to Ride?

Women-only cars on Japan’s railways have existed in some form or other for more than 50 years, with “hana densha” (lit. “flower train”) carriages originally being introduced as a way of keeping female students safe from the advances of lecherous men during the peak hours. Now considered by many to be a vital part of many inner-city rail services, the train car closest to the driver’s cabin is often reserved for females only and is clearly marked both at boarding locations on the platform and inside the train itself.

Many unwitting foreign males have no doubt hopped on board these carriages during rush hours without realising it. Although foreigners usually escape relatively unscathed, when native Japanese men dare to cross that pink line and invade the sanctity of the josei senyou sharyou (women-only carriage), more often than not they are berated by the women on board until they alight or switch cars.

But is it actually illegal for a man to ride in the women-only car? Surely when other carriages are packed to the rafters, men shouldn’t be forced to squeeze in when the first car would be much less tortuous? Yahoo! Japan News spoke with legal professional Ikki Hashimoto as well as representative from Japan Rail to get the facts about men’s rights when it comes to riding the pink car.

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Normal Behavior in Japan, Taboo Abroad

Did you know that in some parts of the world, flashing a thumbs-up is just as bad as sticking up your middle finger? And in Japan, it’s perfectly okay to slurp and make noises while enjoying a meal?

As shown by these examples, what’s considered proper behavior in one country could be considered taboo in another, and as the world continues to shrink, it’s important to understand these cultural differences. In order to help prevent cultural faux pas while traveling abroad, a recent article on Japanese website Matome Naver highlighted things that are considered normal, everyday behavior in Japan, but are taboo in other countries. Let’s take a look at the list!

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You’ve Got Pooh in Your Phone: Disney Earphone Jack Plugs Arrive to Cuten up Your Mobile

Is your smart phone too dull? Are you constantly terrified that foreign bodies may enter its earphone jack? Disney and phone accessory experts Plug Apli have just the thing for you!

We’ve seen socket plugs before, but this is probably the first time we’ve ever been given the option to buy half a Disney character and make it look like he’s struggling to get his over-sized rear into the headphone hole…

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Researchers at Osaka University Create Energy-Producing “Solar Paper”

Next stop, paper passenger planes!

In a news story over at Gizmodo Japan, the creative problem solvers at Osaka University announced that they have engineered a new type of “paper” that can actually generate and store energy from sunlight.

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Get Your Delicious Indigenous Grub on at Tokyo’s Only Ainu Restaurant

Even Japanese who have never been to Okinawa have probably eaten Okinawan food at one time or another due to the spread and popularity of Okinawan restaurants across the country.

The same unfortunately cannot be said for the food of Japan’s northern indigenous people, the Ainu. Even in cosmopolitan Tokyo, there is only one restaurant serving Ainu cuisine. Thankfully, though, the chefs at this restaurants are true masters of the art. Let us introduce HaruKor! Read More

Mr. Sato Schools Fellow Reporter at “Go! Go! Curry” Speed Eating Contest

Usually when people think of curry, the first country that springs to mind is India. But even in the land of sushi, ramen and okonomiyaki, curry and rice (or kare raisu” as it is known here) often tops people’s lists of food favourites.

On Feb. 25, Japanese curry chain Go! Go! Curry launched its annual speed eating championship, which challenges famished food fans to consume two servings of their regular house curry and rice as quickly as possible. Unlike many eating contests where participants must simply force down as much food as possible, Go! Go! Curry’s challenge focuses entirely on how quickly diners can shovel food into their respective shout holes.

Always ready for a challenge, RocketNews24‘s eternally hungry reporter Mr. Sato grabbed his younger coworker Tashiro-kun and marched over to the branch of Go! Go! Curry nearest to Shinjuku station’s east exit to take part. Suffice to say, Tashiro-kun learned a lot during their visit. They say that every apprentice eventually becomes the master, but it’s clear that this young Jedi still has a long way to go.

The full video of the pair’s frantic face stuffing after the jump.

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Pocket Money for Leo: Django Unchained Star finds Extra Work Pimping Whiskey in Japan

Commercials: a lot of celebrities in the west won’t touch them with a borrowed pole. After working hard to build up their portfolio and making themselves a household name, for many professional actors the mere thought of putting their face on an advertisement is completely abhorrent.

In Japan, however, it’s a very different story. TV celebrities, singers and sports stars are a common feature on commercials, whether they be on television, magazines or even hanging over our heads as we take the train to work each morning. Watches, skin cream, beer, anti-hair loss, cars, language courses; you name it, someone famous is smiling and pretending they love it in exchange for a few extra yen.

This time it’s the turn of hollywood heart-throb Leonardo DiCaprio to take the cash and smile for the camera. Because, as we all know, DiCaprio never shuts up about how much he loves Jim Beam whiskey usually…

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Kutani-ware Porcelian Skulls Remind Us of Our Mortality, Art’s Longevity

Kutaniyaki, or Kutani ware, is a style of porcelain making that dates back to the 17th Century. It’s known for its bold colors and designs, but one company is taking the traditional form in a decidedly modern direction with its new series of Kutaniyaki Skulls. Read More

The Best of the Best of Manga: Shonen Jump’s 20 Best Sellers of All-Time

As anyone will tell you, Japan is home to many major manga “monthlies” and “weeklies,” and of course the can be bought virtually everywhere from convenience stores to train stations. Among these many titles, however, it is without a doubt that Weekly Shonen Jump reigns supreme.

In the 90s the popularity of Shonen Jump soared and the stories it put out captured the hearts of young Japanese boys and girls everywhere, resulting in peak of 6 million copies sold. Although those numbers have fallen to 3 million in recent years, the company has stuck to its tried and true formula. Popular titles such as Dragon Ball and One Piece get serialized weekly in the magazine and then 10 episodes are compiled into comic books.

In this article we’re going to show you the all-time sales ranking of these books – something that we’re sure will appeal to both manga fans and newbies alike.

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Could one of Osaka’s Most Famous Dishes Actually Originate from Tokyo?

Here’s a story that’s bound to ruffle a few feathers down south. According to those in the know, okonomiyaki – a savoury “pancake” dish loved by millions and one of Osaka’s most acclaimed culinary delights – may in fact have been created in none other than Tokyo.

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And the Oscar Goes to… Kitten Taking First Bath in Tiny Cup!

It’s considered common knowledge that cats hate water, but recently YouTube has been awash (get it?) with cats enjoying their bath time. In this latest addition, kitten Hana-chan experiences a bath for the first time, displaying the range of expression with normally associate with Hollywood’s finest. Check out her journey from terror to bliss after the jump! Read More

Survey Shows 85.2% of Japanese People Are In Favor of Death Penalty, Others Demand “Something Worse”

On 21 February, Japan hanged a trio of convicts for murders including the kidnapping death of a young girl and a stabbing rampage which left nine dead. Those executed were Masahiro Kanagawa, Kaoru Kobayashi and Keiki Kano (nee Muto).

As always, these hangings drew outrage from Amnesty International and the Japanese Federation of Bar Associations who made a statement saying they find “these executions unacceptable.”

However, this opposition is largely ignored by the government of Japan who maintains that the population at large supports their policy of penalty by death.

To confirm this, the following day, the Research Panel website posted the results of a survey conducted of 29,364 people asking them how they felt about the death penalty.

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Tweet Threat: “Random Attack at Gifu Station” 【Updated】

The above pictured tweet was posted at 1:27 p.m. JST yesterday. Despite ending with a smiley emoticon, the harrowing message openly states that “a random attack” will take place at 10 a.m. on the Japan Rail Gifu station, Gifu Prefecture, at around 10 a.m. today.

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Trick Your Friends with these Incredibly Convincing “Ramen” Cakes

This is a cake. No really, it is.

And we know what you’re thinking: but there’s noodles and broth and chashu pork and it even has those weird tasting bamboo shoots on top! But even though it looks like ramen, your tastebuds will be surprised after the first sweet and sugary bite of this very convincing ramen cake.

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Warm Up Your Juicers! Substance Discovered in Strawberries Alleviates Allergy Symptoms

Anyone with allergies can tell you that they suck pretty hard. Particularly in Japan, the high density of cedar trees has hay fever sufferers throwing on masks for several months of the year starting about now.

To our rescue comes Koji Kawahara, Professor of Cellular Engineering at Kitakyushu National College of Technology who last year found a component in strawberries which eases allergic reactions.

Professor Kawahara presented his findings at an international biology expo and filed for an international patent. He will likely synthesize the active ingredient into pill form, but can simply adding strawberries to our diet do the trick too?

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Newly Released Emergency Ration Cup O’ Noodles Last for Three Years

The Cup O’ Noodles that “saved your life” in college may now actually save your life in an emergency situation.

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Is the Japanese Word for “Thank You” Losing Its Meaning?

As linguists and scholarly types routinely profess, language is something that is continually evolving. It is a living, breathing entity that twists, turns and grows on an almost daily basis. As our lives change, so too does language. We don’t always like the changes, but, realising that the amount of time we spend on this earth is a mere blink of the eye compared to how long language itself has existed, we come to accept that words are no more ours than the valleys and hills we trek over. (Although I must confess that I still face-palm whenever I hear someone utter the phrase “I could care less” to suggest that they do not care an iota about something.)

Nevertheless, when changes in language begin to occur, people notice them. The first time we heard the word “Facebook” used as a verb or saw our first “LOL”, many of us likely furrowed out brows and thought, “Is that right?” In much the same way, in July and August last year Japanese broadcasting giant NHK launched an online survey asking the people of Japan whether they had noticed the rather peculiar use of the word “arigatou” (thank you) cropping up in conversation in recent times.

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