It’s a Fukui Sharknado! Or is it?

2017-09-19 01:49

Sometimes, certain less populated prefectures of Japan which are less commonly frequented by tourists and less commonly known by average city-dwellers are characterized in popular culture as wild and dangerous. For the most part, such characterizations are tongue-in-cheek, and even the locals enjoy playing it up. This seems to be the case with Fukui, located in the central Chubu region of the Honshu island facing the Sea of Japan, and one of the least populated prefectures. This picture posted on Twitter last Saturday by @oyayubi_814, along with the caption: “Fukui…dangerous!” caused quite a stir. It would seem to be a hammerhead shark lying on a street gutter, clearly far removed…

“Blackface Potato Chips” Leave Questionable Aftertaste

2017-09-15 05:03

One of the features characterizing the Japanese commercial food and beverage industry is that new variations of products, whether in flavor, packaging, or size, continually appear on the market, some lasting a whole season, others only lasting a few weeks. In other words, consumers can expect to see something new at all times. A stroll through the aisles of a Japanese convenience store is never boring. Right now, this is what you’re likely to see in the potato chips section of your local store: source: Grape Inc. “Wait a second? What’s a Japanese man in blackface doing on the cover of that bag of chips?” you may wonder. It turns…

When You Have a Hair-Trigger Switch For Your Public Facade

2017-09-14 09:35

Most of us probably know people like this. They’re Mr. or Ms. Congeniality in public, whether with classmates or with coworkers, never a wrinkled brow on their face or a stern look in their eyes. But can you really be certain that their personality is genuine? Of course, many of us have public facades, there’s no arguing that. However, in a society such as Japan where preserving harmony is highly valued, there is a lot of pressure to maintain a happy demeanor, pressure which many are impatient to relieve as soon as it’s no longer required. This was the inspiration for a simple but effective three-cell panel by Himeyuri, author…

Ninja-like Ice-Maker is Speedy, Ultra-Compact and Quiet, Delivers Ice in Six Minutes.

2017-09-12 12:06

There’s nothing more frustrating than opening up the freezer and discovering that you’re out of ice, especially when you know it will take hours to make new ice from scratch. Specialized ice makers already exist on the market, but they also take time, and can be noisy and cumbersome — not exactly a welcome addition to your home or a crowd-pleaser if you’re having friends over. Thankfully, the wise folks at Thanko have a solution to your problem. The IceGolon, in spite of its name vaguely reminiscent of an ice golem, is an ultra-compact and quiet ice maker that can produce bullet-shaped ice cubes in just six minutes. source: Thanko,…

This Inspirational Dancer Isn’t Bound by her Wheelchair

2017-09-10 09:52

Meet Ayananana. She dances as an odorite, following a performance genre that has blossomed in the past ten years. Fans of mostly Vocaloid or J-pop upload dance videos to popular video sharing sites like NicoNico Douga and YouTube. Here she is performing “Onegai Daarin” (Please, Darling) by ONE: Ayananana was already interested in dance since she was 13, although she didn’t perform for the public. However, she later faced a life-changing event which cast a shadow over her aspirations. She was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a rare disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the nerves, causing numbness in limbs and other parts of the body….

“Why Don’t You Just Buy A New One?” Japanese Father’s Reason For Always Wearing Tattered Shirt Has Twitter In Tears

2017-09-06 01:46

Sometimes, the most ordinary and even beat-up items around us carry a meaning deeper than an initial glance will yield. Japanese Twitter user R1A (@ 922_riaru) recently found that out when she noticed that her father often favored wearing a shirt that had become tattered. She writes that even when holes would open up in the shirt after he continued to wear it for 20 years, he would sew them closed and fix the shirt himself. Puzzled by this, she would complain to him that “it looks lame, why don’t you just buy a new one?“ Source: @922_riaru Her father kept his answer to himself, likely having been told the…

Girl’s Japanese Tea Party Called Racist, But Japanese Response Shines A Light On How Japan Views Cultural Appropriation

2017-08-03 06:45

The very different filters with which Japan and other countries, particularly the United States, view topics of race and discrimination can be explained by a multitude of cultural differences, such as education, social homogeneity, regard for identity politics, and overall history–to simply name a few. One of the more contested gaps in understanding is the concept of cultural appropriation, which although not particularly new, has found more attention lately given its relatively recent nomenclature. A lack of mutual regard for the concept often puzzles Japanese observers when it is brought up in the news, with a blog post from a Utah mother who threw a Japanese-themed tea party for her…

Japanese Comedian Naomi Watanabe Makes Vogue Debut With The Most Relatable Makeup Video Ever

2017-07-14 01:10

Having made her mark in the world as a Japanese plus-size comedian (who does a mean impression of Beyoncé, by the way), Naomi Watanabe isn’t afraid to keep it real if it means playing her part in empowering women and spreading body positivity. Her strong mindset has contributed to her well-established career not just as a comedian, but also a model and fashion designer. In fact, she’s proven that nothing can make her abandon her silly antics and self-deprecating humor, not even a highly-coveted collaboration with Vogue. A post shared by 渡辺直美 (@watanabenaomi703) on Sep 15, 2016 at 1:32am PDT Watanabe, who is known for her bright and colorful fashion…

Japanese Illustrator Turns Life’s Awkward Yet Totally Relatable Moments Into Ukiyoe-Style Drawings

2017-07-10 02:18

It’s a given that life has a bottomless stock of awkward moments for us to experience. But we tend to forget that we’re all human, and a lot of what we go through are relatable to the vast majority of people just trying to live their lives. Japanese illustrator Takayuki Yamada jots down such moments and turns them into relatable haikus written alongside ukiyoe-style illustrations. Though a web designer by day, in his free time the Fukuoka-based artist conjures his alter ego Yamada Zenjidou, a haiku poet from the Bakumatsu-Meiji periods living in a modernized society. Using the voice of Zenjidou, Yamada creates artwork reminiscent of traditional Japanese art that…

Daughter Asks Dad To Turn Her Drawings Into Adorably Unique Character Bentos

2017-07-07 04:52

As many dads in Japan have proved, a little bit of creativity goes a long way when it comes to putting a smile on their kids’ faces. But while some fathers might turn their children’s sketches into professionally designed anime characters, Japanese comedian Takafumi Ozeki reproduces his daughter’s cute drawings as accurately as he can into heartwarming, handmade character bento lunches. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Ozeki’s adorable creations, but it looks like he’s come far from the days when he worried he would make an awkward impression on his daughter’s teacher. This year for Father’s Day, his daughter requested he turn a drawing she made of him…

Perfect Pitch! Pianist Turns Cringe-Worthy Press Conference Into A Musical Performance

2017-07-04 10:09

Do you have absolute pitch or perfect pitch? Perfect pitch is a rare auditory phenomenon that is characterized by the ability of a person to identify a given musical note without the benefit of a reference tone. Some people are born with that ability, but some acquire it through continuous training. One pianist demonstrated this kind of ability by performing the exact pitch from a press conference involving a Japanese congressman apologizing for his wrongdoings. In the video, the pianist not only amazingly plays the exact speed and pitch of the speech but also remembers to turn the speech of the reporter into musicical notes. Although the combination of the…

Manga Artist Illustrates Somewhat Awkward Ways People Address Their Boyfriends In Japanese

2017-06-25 05:44

In different countries, people address their loved ones differently. Some terms of endearment are evidently more unusual than others, and as Japanese manga artist Ezaki Bisuko illustrates in a short comic, it seems that there’s no shortage of awkward nicknames for boyfriends in the Japanese language. The comic introduces 8 different ways people have (apparently) begun to address their boyfriends in Japan. As you might already know, there are many English loanwords in Japanese, and one quite common way to address boyfriends is to use the word “ダーリン” (Daarin). Daarin comes from the English word “darling,” which some people even shorten to “daa” to refer to their significant others. Another…

Waiters With Alzheimer’s Serve Up Meals At Tokyo’s “The Restaurant that Messes up Orders”

2017-06-06 02:11

Tokyo is coming to be known as a hot spot for pop-up shops, but they are usually of the pop-culture themed variety–as seen with recent Power Puff Girls Cold Stone creamery drinks. However, last weekend, a restaurant with a name that would catch anyone’s eye popped up in the Toyosu district of Tokyo called “The Restaurant that Messes up Orders” ((注文をまちがえる料理店)), a name that makes a pun out of Kenji Miyazawa’s famous story, “The Restaurant of Many Orders”. While one might wonder why a restaurant would specialize in incorrect orders, the answer is quite simple. The restaurant employs waiters with dementia and Alzheimer’s, and does so to promote awareness and…

Plastic Modeler Paints 100 Yen Smartphone Cases To Give Them A Weathered Metal Look

2017-06-03 03:55

Even the most ordinary objects can be transformed into items worthy of a million bucks by the hands of talented craftsmen. Dollar store smartphone cases are no exception, especially when they’re given an entirely new look by plastic modeler @niiharu80. One day out of pure spontaneity, the Japanese hobbyist purchased some clear smartphone cases from the local 100 yen store and decided to paint them in a weathered metal design. The results, as the twitterverse soon found out, were no less than jaw-dropping. @niiharu80 decided to buy some clear smartphone cases at the dollar store. Source: @niiharu80 A huge fan of the weathered look, he decided to give them a…

Awesome Grandma Dances Into Grandson’s Room And Rocks Out On His Electric Guitar

2017-06-02 02:34

Metalheads who grew up in a small house probably have this one thing in common — they’ve been yelled at by a sibling, parent, or grandparent to turn the music down. But heavy metal just isn’t the same when played at a low volume, and truthfully, annoying the heck out of family members was all part of the fun anyway. However, there are always anomalies, like when Japanese Twitter user Yuhei (@gypsyheart3) was a hardcore metalhead living under the same roof as his grandmother. One day when he was still in high school, he was in his room playing Slipknot on his guitar. After a while, his grandma (who was…

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