Krista Rogers

Starting with a love of J-Pop and J-dramas when she was 13, Krista Rogers has left her quiet New England hometown in the States both to study abroad in Tokyo and to work on the JET Program in beautiful Yamagata prefecture. She misses chatting in the local dialect and staging Kamehameha battles in the hallway with her students. Although she's currently working on her master's degree in Boston, she will without a doubt be back in Japan before long and buying way too much at Book-Off and Tower Records again. When she needs a break from schoolwork, Krista enjoys eating yakiniku, figure skating, finding cute cafes, watching Big Bang MVs, and continuing on her quest to catch 'em all.

Posted by Krista Rogers

Fashion advice – Almost half of Japanese women say they don’t like guys wearing tank tops

Last week, Japan’s CyberAgent invited women to share their thoughts regarding men’s summer fashion via a survey on anonymous online bulletin board GIRL’S TALK. While the poll in itself was in no way earth-shattering, the results showed that guys who are wanting to impress the ladies may want to think twice before putting on that tank top or swimsuit before heading out for the day.

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Twitter trend of the week – posting cosplay pictures side by side with originals

In the past few days, Japanese cosplayers have flooded Twitter with their own cosplay photos situated next to original pictures of the character(s) they’re portraying. This approach is convenient because viewers can see at a glance both the source material and how well the rendition turned out.

So far, we’ve seen anime characters, Disney characters, video game characters, celebrities, robots, mythical river demons, and more! Keep reading to pick out your favorites.

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Artist turns adorable Pokémon into terrifying Attack on Titan-style monsters

It’s easy to forget when you’ve got the adorable little Pikachu as the franchise’s mascot, but the word ‘Pokémon’ is actually a blend of the English words ‘pocket’ and ‘monsters.’ Usually people aren’t thinking about that fact as they catch as many of the cute little critters as they can in each new video game installment, but one artist is out on a different quest to remind everyone that pokémon are indeed monsters at their core.

Artist Beth Emery, otherwise known as zsparky on art-sharing community site DeviantART, is gaining attention online for her creepily brilliant drawings of pokémon portrayed in the artistic style of Attack on Titan. 

Warning: You may never be able to see Jigglypuff in the same way after seeing these pictures…

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Limited-time Pokémon shop and Pikachu Cafe to open in Roppongi Hills!

In celebration of the release of this year’s Pokémon movie Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction on Saturday, a special “Pokémon the Movie XY Shop” will be open in Tokyo’s Roppongi Hills between July 19 and August 31. Pokémon fans will definitely want to stock up on the limited-edition goods being sold there, as well as sample the adorable Pikachu-themed food at the “Pikachu Cafe.” Plus, the shop will be located on the observation deck of one of Tokyo’s highest buildings, so you can fit in some essential sightseeing, too!

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Why do Japanese cleaning crews bow at trains? Foreigners and Japanese sound off

The cleaning crews who maintain Japan’s high-speed bullet trains have a mere seven minutes to make the interior of the train spotlessly clean for its next journey. Those seven minutes are carefully divided into different tasks to make sure everything gets done in the allotted time.

Another curious detail people often notice about these cleaners is the way they bow as trains are entering and exiting the station. While this act is generally thought to be a respectful gesture, the intended recipient of the bowing seems to be a matter of great debate, with plenty of conflicting opinions out there, even among the Japanese!

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Is there a correlation between sex and World Cup success?

Another World Cup has come and gone, and diehard soccer fans will have to wait another four years until their national teams will have another chance for glory. While many of the successful teams in the tournament depended heavily on star players such as Argentina’s Messi or Portugal’s Ronaldo, it’s undeniable that the all-around teamwork of Germany was instrumental in their first-place finish. Another possible contributing factor to their victory was…sex?!

As both English and Japanese-language news agencies have reported, all the teams participating in the Cup had different policies regarding their players and sexual intercourse during the tournament. Furthermore, all of the teams that advanced to the quarterfinals had policies that allowed sex, while all of the teams which specifically forbade sex during the tournament were eliminated in the group stage or the round of 16.

Funnily enough, the German team was one of the groups that allowed its players to engage in some adult fun during down time…

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Tokyo Gas commercial gets taken off the air for being too cruelly realistic

As any young Japanese college graduate can attest, Japan’s hellish job hunting process can be one of the most stressful and demotivating periods of a person’s life. Numerous rejections, along with that feeling of isolation after seeing those around you get job offers, is enough to make anyone severely depressed.

So what does that have to do with a gas company, you ask? A commercial by Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. which features a girl in the midst of the job hunting process has been stirring up controversy and was even taken off the air. Why? Apparently, its portrayal of the painful job hunting process was so accurate that it left people feeling a little too miserable after seeing it. 

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Japanese people react to reading that “pizza is a vegetable in America”

If you live in the States, you may remember a few years ago when Congress blocked a proposal that aimed to make school lunches for children healthier. One of the provisions which stirred up considerable debate involved increasing the amount of tomato paste necessary to be considered a full serving of fruits and vegetables, but the proposal was eventually nixed, effectively maintaining that the tomato sauce used on pizza could count as a serving of vegetables.

After a Japanese news site broke the story fashionably late last month, Japanese people were incredulous to hear that from a legal standpoint, “pizza is a vegetable” in the U.S. Read on to learn more about the ongoing debate and some reactions of readers.

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Pugs take over Westeros in Game of Thrones video parody…because why not?

Almost 2 million people have viewed this short YouTube clip of pugs dressed as Game of Thrones characters since it was uploaded late last month. And well, why not? It’s not every day you get to see doggies cosplaying as characters from George R. R. Martin’s fantasy world of Westeros. Heck, we may even prefer the adorable pugs to some of their live-action counterparts!

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Japanese girls mysteriously collapse at school, rumors say it’s the work of a ghost

The Japanese internet is exploding after a succession of high school girls in Fukuoka Prefecture disturbingly collapsed during school hours on Monday. Students who were at the scene took to their Twitter accounts to post updates as the bizarre spectacle unfolded.

While the most likely explanation for the mysterious series of events is that the girls were induced into a state of mass panic after the first girl collapsed, some are attributing it to a vengeful spirit. Feel free to draw your own conclusions from the details, but either way, this is one creepy happening.

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Greece national football team players turn down individual bonuses for something else

The World Cup is not just a battle between nations to determine who is the strongest in the world. It is also a momentous celebration of international exchange and an opportunity for citizens of the world to display their national pride. Heart-wrenching and heartwarming stories alike are born from the event, which remain in people’s minds long after the final score has been forgotten. Some of the most memorable stories from the tournament don’t even take place on the pitch during gameplay; rather, they materialize in other acts of chivalry off the field.

Although Greece was defeated by Costa Rica on Sunday, Greek citizens couldn’t have been prouder to see their national team advance to the Round of 16 for the first time ever. The Greek athletes also seemed content just having served as representatives for their home country, as they incredibly refused individual monetary bonuses and instead asked for a joint venture that should further unite them in spirit with their fellow countrymen.

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Some reflections on the popularity of Japanese manga in Spain

You may be surprised to hear this, but Japanese manga is thriving in Spain. Look no further than massive conventions such as Madrid’s Expomanga and Barcelona’s Salón del Manga, where fans can celebrate their favorite series and characters with other like-minded people. So what are some of the factors that contribute to manga’s success in España?  

The folks at Japanese website Niconico News recently caught up with David Hernando, the Editorial Editor of Planeta DeAgostini Comics, which is a Spanish-Italian publisher that distributes many beloved Japanese manga series throughout the Spanish-speaking world. Mr. Hernando graciously shed some light on the current market for manga in Spain in an exclusive interview with them, and the following piece will attempt to summarize some of his key points, along with some other related topics we have taken notice of.

We would love to hear the thoughts of our readers residing in Spain as well, so please leave your comments at the end of the post!

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Norwegian metal singer covers Japanese pop songs galore

It’s nice to share some Japan-related news coming out of Scandinavia for a change!

Norway, along with its neighbors, is no stranger to the metal music scene. The northern European countries together constitute one of the world’s major strongholds for the various subgenres of metal music. But what do you get when you combine the vocal talents of a Norwegian symphonic metal singer with the catchy tunes of J-Pop?

Just listen to PelleK’s cover versions of the following anime songs to find out for yourself!

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Post World Cup cheer up: Shinji Kagawa and Hiroshi Kiyotake take on 55 kids at once

For anyone who’s still struggling to accept Japan’s elimination from the World Cup at the group stage, we’ve got a little video clip here to brighten your mood. While it was originally broadcast on New Year’s Eve half a year ago, it features two of Japan’s top football athletes finding themselves in an amusing situation with none of the stress from the World Cup.

How would you like to see international stars Shinji Kagawa and Hiroshi Kiyotake taking on 55 elementary school kids at once?

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“I’ve fallen for a video game otaku–what should I do?” Woman appeals to internet for advice

One presumably hot day not that long ago, a young Japanese woman sat down at her computer, logged onto a website dedicated to giving advice to women, and sent out a request for help: “I’ve fallen for a video game otaku. How can I get close to him?” 

The first-year university student had developed a crush on her classmate, who always seemed to be alone and playing video games. She wanted to know how to best approach him, so she took her inquiry online. It was soon met by a flood of diverging responses, from the straightforward to some shocking advice.

Read on to see what kinds of pointers they gave her, and whether you agree with them or not.

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Japan national football star to voice character in upcoming Pokémon film

Atsuto Uchida, a defender on Japan’s national football team currently playing in Brazil, is making his voice acting debut in the latest Pokémon theatrical film set to premiere next month. 

The producers of the Pokémon movies are well-known for inviting celebrities to voice supporting characters in the annual films, but this year marks the first time that an athlete will lend his voice to the production. Uchida himself has been a fan of Pokémon since he was a child, and his involvement in the movie will hopefully add even more excitement to the World Cup fervor already taking over Japan.

Read on to learn more about Uchida’s role in the upcoming film!

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Can these Japanese kitties accurately predict the advancing teams of the World Cup?

You may remember that octopus named Paul whose accurate series of “predictions” during the 2010 World Cup about Germany’s matches and Spain’s victory shot him to worldwide fame.

Well move over, Paul, because you’ve got two new furry rivals! Stepping up to the challenge in 2014 are Munchkin kitties Kikunosuke and Rikimaru. Their owner had them “predict” which two teams from each of the initial groups A through H would proceed to the rest of the tournament. Japanese fans would be well-advised to listen to the cats, since Japan was picked to advance from group C.

Keep reading to find out which sixteen teams will advance, at least according to the cats!

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30 common characteristics of people who fall in love with Japan

Chances are since you’re visiting our site, you probably already have an interest in Japan or other Asian countries. But have you ever had a friend who knows next to nothing about Japan, but you just have a feeling that they would come to love the island country given the right incentive?

If so, you may recognize some characteristic qualities of that friend in the following list written by Japanese blogger and all-around-life expert Madame Riri. This time, she’s come up with some common traits of foreigners who grow to love Japan based on her own observations from time spent abroad. 

Do you find yourself conforming to any of the following patterns?

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Save space in a spaceship: KAKUREYA “cosy room” pod on sale now!

When life gives you lemons and you just need to escape for a bit, it can be hard to find somewhere to be alone if you’re constantly surrounded by people. But you’ll never find yourself in that situation again, thanks to a cool furniture-on-steroids invention on the market now.

Introducing the KAKUREYA, your very own private space that resembles the fusion between an internet cafe and a futuristic space pod. In fact, based on these pictures we’d have to say that the sensation of being inside it must be similar to what it feels like inside of a Gundam cockpit.

Lots of exciting photos after the jump!

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