Joan Coello

Native to the sweltering lands of Singapore, Joan spent a substantial amount of her teenage years gnawing through translated versions of Japanese manga and dubbed anime. Picking up the language sparked off something in her to abandon years of education and experience in design to pursue a career in translation instead. After spending a couple of years localizing Japanese product packaging and mobile games for the English-speaking population, Joan gave in to her longing for the magical land of Japan and leapt into the arms of Tokyo (missing by a bit and landing in Kanagawa prefecture). In her free time, she continues to nibble on Japanese manga and anime, now savoring them in full authentic flavor.

All Stories by Joan Coello

China: Typhoon sends fish flowing out of a dam, giant fish makes creepy appearance on a mountain

Earlier this month, Typhoon Fitow rampaged through eastern China, sending heavy rains and massive waves crashing, causing floods across several areas. Zhejiang province in particular took a hard hit, suffering over 2 billion yuan (US$330M) in economic damage. Over three million people in the area were affected, hundreds of thousands having to evacuate from their homes.

Trust the Chinese to be opportunists even in such extreme situations. While many folks were busy fighting the storm, some were busy picking up fishes that had been washed out of a dam. No harm in getting some free fish for dinner, right? But a hair-standing occurence that was discovered later probably left many fish hoarders choking with guilt…

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Sweeten up your instant meal with a frozen treat,  à la Korean style!

Instant noodles, otherwise known as instant ramen in some parts of the world, were invented by the Japanese and were once considered luxury gourmet over fifty years ago, back when fresh foods were more accessible than processed food. Today, the packaged instant delicacies have become an affordable snack enjoyed globally, particularly among those who are too busy, too lazy or those who have been deemed a fire hazard in the kitchen.

While the instant noodle makers have shown continuous effort in developing new flavors to keep the consumers’ tastebuds tingling, there are people out there who have gone beyond the bowl in creating their own unique serving. A sprinkle of extra seasoning, or topping it off with eggs or vegetables is rather common since the ramen itself isn’t quite as nutritious, but wait, ice cream?!

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Chinese Photoshop trolls part 5: Testing the limits of the PS masters!【Photos】

We’ve seen the Chinese Photoshop masters work their magic in Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4, which leaves us to wonder, exactly how creative can they get? Also, were those requests really sent in by the people in the photographs? Apparently we’re not the only ones pondering those questions. One brave hero sacrificed himself as a lab rat to test the limits of these photo editing experts. This time, only one photo was sent, and with a very simple request. Guess what?

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World-famous Japanese cat Maru gets a new pal, learns a cool new tail trick 【Video】

You might be thinking we’ve been posting an awful lot of articles about cats recently, from stories about cat islands to black-cat cafés, and even one about wearable cats, but here’s one more to end the week with, because they told us to publish it and we’re too scared to disobey.

It would seem that Maru, possibly the most famous cat on YouTube right now, not only has a new friend to play with, but he’s found a novel use for his fluffy tail…

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Gotta eat ’em all! Japanese idol goes crazy over Pokémon XY, eats the box【Photos】

Being human, there are times when we lose control of ourselves in a state of extreme excitement. Some people scream, some dance, some cry, some may even wet their pants. On 12 October, Pokémon fans of the world rejoiced over the global release of two new titles, Pokémon X and Pokémon Y. Popular seiyuu voice actor and otaku idol Shoko Nakagawa (or more affectionately known as Shokotan) expressed her ecstasy by going on a Pokémon binge, literally.

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Random manga character blows our minds with IQ score of 500 MILLION

How high is your IQ? It is said that most people score between 85 to 114. Scores exceeding 140 are considered to be quite high, but you only get your “Genius” badge if you’ve managed 160 or more.

Albert Einstein had an IQ of 160. Issac Newton was scored at 190. Barack Obama is said to be at 130 while Madonna is a 140. Go figure. Some people consider IQ to be the best measurement of intelligence, while others think otherwise. Whichever it is, this list of fictional braniacs is sure to blow your mind.

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Trick or Treat! A concise guide to Halloween attractions in Japan

Halloween has become one of the three largest Western-influenced events celebrated in Japan following Christmas and Valentines’ Day. Though the spooky festival’s cultural origins are not the reason why the celebrations are observed, the Japanese do enjoy getting decked in themed costumes, thus making it a major commercial celebration for many.

The widespread popularity of the festival has resulted in confectionary makers rolling out Halloween-themed goodies, restaurants preparing Halloween-inspired menus, fashion outlets retailing Halloween-related costumes and accessories, and of course, entertainment facilities going all out with Halloween events.

We’ve put together a concise guide to some of the Halloween festivities taking place this year, so if you’re planning a trip to Japan during this season, here’s what you can expect!

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Puzzle & Dragons + Attack on Titan = ??? China’s creative copycats strike again【Photos】

What’s better than a ripoff of a top-selling game? A ripoff of a top-selling game featuring characters ripped off a top-selling anime!

If you own a smartphone and occasionally (or heavily) dabble in mobile games, you should have come across Puzzle & Dragons, one of the top grossing puzzle games available on both iOS and Android platforms. The Japanese developed mobile game’s tremendous success worldwide has led to many envious game developers producing “inspired” games of a similar genre.

Now, it is almost common knowledge that the Chinese are geniuses at creating imitations of anything and everything, so everyone would have expected them to make a pirated version of the monster-battling puzzle game eventually, but they have yet again managed to exceed expectations, incorporating characters and themed events based on one of the year’s hottest anime, Shingeki no Kyojin: Attack on Titan.

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“Share a Coke” arrives in Spain! First Coca-Cola campaign in 60 years

The Coca-Cola Company recently launched a branding campaign in Spain, allowing consumers to personalize a Coca-Cola can or bottle with their name on it.

The global brand has achieved numerous marketing successes over the years, so it’s no surprise that the campaign received overwhelming response in just a couple of days. In fact, this award-winning “Share a Coke” campaign has been launched in several countries including Denmark, Australia, France and the UK, so some of you lucky people out there might already own one of those shiny red cans with your name on it. Nothing new, you might think, but there is a little twist behind the scenes this time.

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Air China serves expired in-flight food, mid-air rush for the restroom follows shortly after

Billions of people travel by air each year, and in recent years, low-cost airlines have heated up the competition a fair bit, spoiling travelers for choice with their attractive rates. Apart from the pricing, some other factors that many of us consider before buying a ticket include the quality of service, the time of the flight, whether there is likely to be much eye candy among the cabin crew, and of course, the quality of the in-flight food. When you’re cooped up in an aircraft for hours on end, sometimes having to endure the thundering snores of a comatose businessman, or some brat kicking your seat from behind, the quality of the in-flight food can be something that makes or breaks your flight experience.

In some rare cases, the food served not only ruins your mood, but also your tummy. Air China is reported to have recently served expired food products as part of their in-flight cuisine, causing a rumble in the tummies of about 50 passengers and rushes for the bathroom.

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The secret to creating world-class automobiles, as told by the engineers of Honda

The Japanese are globally recognized for their dedication towards technology. From household appliances to automobiles and even dancing robots, the high-quality creations from Japan have never ceased to wow the world with their amazing attention to detail. There is something about Japanese craftsmanship that is uniquely theirs. Whether is it their creative approach, or perhaps some natural ability they have, we don’t know, but we’re guessing it might be an extreme case of passion for their work.

We dug into the quotes and experiences of four superstars of Honda, one of the world’s leading automobile manufacturers, in an attempt to unravel the secret to their success.

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SNS warfare: Businesses hiring pranksters to defame rivals

If you’re still into planking, owling or tebowing, you’re way behind the times in terms of online photo trends. In July this year, a wave of photos featuring part-timers (more commonly known as arubaito, or simply baito, in Japan) at convenience stores getting cozy in their working environment started a new trend – “freezering”. The photos featuring convenience store baito taking a snooze inside an ice cream freezer instantly went viral, and soon baito at numerous stores and fast food outlets jumped on the bandwagon, tweeting photos of themselves inside freezers, playing with ingredients in the kitchen and more.

As expected, the series of unbefitting photos sparked outrage online, employers were questioned, apology notices were sent, and some outlets were even pushed to the extent of shutting down. But did you know that some nefarious villains are actually offering pranksters for hire? And even worse, that some businesses are turning to them to defame rivals?

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Latest chitchat technology pairs your smartphone with your home phone for ultra-convenient use

Panasonic announces the release of a digital cordless phone, VE-GDW03DL, which allows the use of a smartphone as a sub-handset over a wireless internet connection. The domestic chat device is set to hit stores on 14 November, and has an open price tag.

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Smart Sushi: How the classic dish and technology come together to make dinner even more fun

Kaitenzushi, or conveyor belt sushi, is possibly Japan’s most famous dining invention, and continues to amaze foodies around the world. The concept of serving plates of sushi on a conveyor belt is said to have started as early as 1958, and the trend continues to grow internationally even today.

Granted that the automated serving system has become a somewhat familiar scene today in sushi restaurants worldwide, the brilliant fusion of food and technology continues to evolve in a truly Japanese fashion. A visit to Muten Kura Sushi presented an advanced system that was beyond my knowledge of kaitenzushi.

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