Evie Nyan

Born and raised in the UK, Evie escaped to Tokyo as an exchange student six years ago. Since then, she has been a Co-ordinator for International Relations in Kyoto, a translator of electronic manuals in Osaka, and a video game translator in London. Her hobbies include scouring second hand software shops for unlocalised retro games, drinking umeshu, and napping under the kotatsu. Her dream is to open a combination English teashop/bookshop/cat cafe in Tokyo.

All Stories by Evie Nyan

Japanese ad for new PlayStation 4 function “Share Play” is surprisingly touching

There’s a stereotype about women and games. We can’t aim, we have no attention span, we only like cutesy games, we have to get our brothers/boyfriends/guy friends to clear the hard missions for us.

Well, this incredible advert for PlayStation 4’s Share Play – a new feature which allows PS4 owners to hop in and out of their friends’ games and even take full control without having to own a copy of the game – is set to smash those misconceptions like the proverbial glass ceiling! Watch as this Japanese girl gamer goes from zero to hero on her path to becoming the Goddess of Aiming!

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Impractical yet adorable Hello Kitty school uniform set for spring debut

In many countries around the world, mandatory school uniforms are the bane of students’ lives, with their unflattering shape and drab color scheme. Their purpose seems to be to help pupils blend into a homogeneous mass of unfashionable conformity, and are often enforced under the logic that they “promote modesty” and “prevent distractions from learning”.

In Japan, however, it’s completely different. The Japanese tend to put a lot of stock in uniforms of all kinds, and school uniforms, which signify the wearer’s youth, are considered a prime status symbol. Now everyone’s favorite mute cat, Hello Kitty, is getting in on the action with her special snowy-white sailor suit for spring!

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New app helps you translate Japanese and Chinese offline using smartphone camera

With their complex writing systems, getting around in Japan or China can be stressful for even the most seasoned of tourists. Sure, you could carry a travel dictionary in your pocket while you go sightseeing, but how are you supposed to look up all those funny looking sticks and squiggles when you don’t even know how to pronounce them? Often the locals try to be helpful by providing an English translation, but there are reasons why that doesn’t always work out. If only there was a way to just wave your magic smartphone over some unintelligible text and have it provide a reliable translation on the spot. Well, as we discovered over at Shanghai Listthere’s an app for that.

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Cautious consumers wary of McDonald’s free McNuggets, fear of tainted chicken lingers

Recently, we brought you the news that McDonald’s Japan is offering free chicken nuggets in a bid to restore consumer good will in the wake of the “Chickengate” scandal. As reported, expired Chinese chicken found its way into a range of fast food eateries’ products, sparking public fears of food poisoning. We’ve been curious as to how many people jumped at the chance for free but potentially tainted nuggets, (although McDonald’s Japan has now switched their chicken supplier from China to Thailand) and how many decided to steer clear. Luckily for us, Livedoor has conducted a survey of 1,000 participants to see how many would be willing to cash in a free chicken coupon. The results are… kind of a mix.

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Bus driver in China makes pit stop to buy fish for supper, passengers perplexed

On October 20 in Taizhou City, Jiangsu Province, a bus driver on his usual route made a sudden, unscheduled stop. The reason? To purchase some tasty-looking fish from a street vendor. According to passenger and eyewitness reports, the driver suddenly pulled to a stop by the roadside (no bus stop in sight!) and hopped down from his bus to purchase “several” fish, before hopping back into his driver’s seat and resuming his route. But was this a sudden impulse buy, or did the driver just really, really need some fish?

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Anger online as tweeting tech guru Takeshi Natsuno slams Sendai for rejecting IC card

You may have heard the name Takeshi Natsuno before. A Keio University professor, former Senior Vice President at NTT Docomo, Sega Sammy big-wig, and creator of i-mode, he is by all accounts an intelligent, not to mention extremely tech-savvy, dude. So you can imagine the surprise the good residents of the city of Sendai felt when he took to his Twitter account earlier this week to publicly disparage their home town as being “too lame for words”.

Just what prompted this sudden outpouring of ire? Well, it seems Mr Natsuno felt rather short-changed when he attempted to use his prepaid Suica IC Card to ride the Sendai subway. Suica is a Tokyo-based IC card system. Sendai is not in Tokyo. You can probably see where this is going.

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Worst date ever! Japan’s ladies reveal the top five date ideas to avoid

Dating these days is a complete minefield, and nowhere more so than in Japan. There’s a lot of stress put on guys to impress a girl with their choice of date spot. Sure, you can get away with cute cafe dates with yummy tea and cake during the “getting to know you” phase, but after that the onus is pretty much always on the guy to come up with something enjoyable each time. In fact, indecisiveness when it comes to date decisions is a major turn-off for Japan’s ladies, according to a survey conducted by Livedoor. To avoid potential dating disasters next time you’re in Japan, here are the top five dates to avoid if you don’t want her to run screaming!

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Fukuoka’s “Wisteria Tunnel” delights visitors with pretty pastel petals

Anyone who has visited Japan during hanami (cherry blossom viewing) season will definitely agree –  they’ve got some really gorgeous flowers over there. But Japan’s not all sakura, you know! In fact, there’s a veritable cornucopia of beautiful blooms to appreciate at different times of the year. If you’re too impatient for the springtime sakura, you can get a head start by checking out the plum blossoms that start to peek out during the tail-end of winter. And if you’re still not satisfied after feasting your eyes on the sakura itself (or feasting on snacks during hanami, as the case may be), why not plan a summer visit to the “Wisteria Tunnel” located in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture?

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Cosplay as you cook with new Sailor Moon aprons!

If you’re a woman in her late twenties in Japan, chances are you grew up obsessed with Naoko Takeuchi’s “Magical Girl” manga series Sailor Moon and its accompanying anime. Given Japan’s love of natsukashii (nostalgic) cuteness, it’s really not that shocking that there’s now a thriving market out there for adult-appropriate Sailor Senshi outfits and accessories – we’ve even recently seen a trend for grown women wearing Sailor Moon undies. Not content with mere ribbon-bedecked panties? Well, now you can replace your dingy old curry-stained cooking apron with a stylish and colorful Sailor Moon version! In the name of the Moon… let’s get cooking!

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Late to bed, early to rise: Statistics suggest Japan seriously skimps on sleep

It’s a stereotype about Japan that most people are familiar with – the Japanese work hard, give their lives to the company, and stay at work until after the boss has gone home. It’s a country where karoushi, or death from overwork, is a commonly-used buzzword. While some people might argue that the Japanese don’t actually work any harder than those in the west, it certainly seems that they’re working longer hours than the rest of us.

But as a consequence, how much sleep are they getting?

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