Steven Simonitch

Writer / Translator

Though a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Steven currently resides in Nagano, Japan, where he is known by the old lady at the supermarket as "the white guy who always buys 2 packs of natto." Having finished a 2 year stint teaching English with the JET program, Steven now spends his days writing silly things about Japan while vainly insisting to his parents that he's a "journalist" working for an established "newspaper."

Aside from writing banal stories about hot Asian women and cheeseburgers, Steven is also working with dojin circle Creative Freaks to localize their fitness app/ Japanese dating sim series, Burn your fat with me!! (known as Nensho! in Japan).

Posted by Steven

From Spitting to Sh*ting: China’s Ten Worst Subway Manners

In any country there are both written and unwritten rules of etiquette that people are expected to follow while riding the subway. In many cases, these rules reflect some of the more unflattering quirks of that country’s people. In Japan, there are women-only commuter cars because some guys just can’t help themselves from recording up a girl’s skirt with their smartphone.

As China has been working to expand its subway network over the past few years, including a nearly 50% increase to the Beijing Subway that as made it the fourth longest metro system in the world, the country has developed its own brand of metro manners— or the complete lack thereof .

So just what kind of offenses do Chinese subway commuters have to endure on their train rides to and from work? A local newspaper in  Tianjin, China’s fourth largest city, surveyed 894 people to find out what they think are the “most unforgivable subway manners.”

Take a look at the survey results below!

Read More

New Tokyo Crossdressing Bar Appeals to First-Time Drag Queens

Men, no matter how old or how “masculine” they are, can learn a lot from crossdressing in public (trust us, we know).

But even if you do get the urge to unbuckle and skirt up, it can be difficult to find a time and place where going out in drag is socially acceptable. Throw in the added stress of having to coordinate an outfit and wig that sufficiently bring out your inner woman and the simple act of putting on women’s clothes and walking out the door can feel incredibly intimidating to first-timers.

Enter Onna no Ko Club, or Girls Club, a new club in Tokyo where curious men can go to experience the wonderful world of crossdressing.

Read More

【Video】 These Japanese Dolls Are Creepy, but They Sure Can Dance

Most humanoid robots are made to look either as lifelike as possible, or as machine-like as possible; that is, similar to the robots we know from science fiction.

After seeing the “Dancing Dolls” made by YouTube user RozenZebet, we have a feeling we know why: anything in between would be absolutely terrifying.

Read More

Chinese Artist Recreates Iconic Evangelion Scene with Interpretive Dance and Fire Cups

It’s been a little over a week since Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo opened in theaters across Japan and the film has already grossed 2.8 billion yen (about US$34 million), making it the most successful film of the year domestically.

If you still can’t get enough Eva, Chinese artist Lu Yang has created a short tribute film for the celebrated animated series that involves high fashion, interpretive dance, and Chinese fire cupping.

True to the spirit of Evangelion, the film is artistic, bizarre, and slightly disturbing.

Read More

Japanese Plastic Figure Stop Motion Videos Look Amazing, Make Little Sense

This might be what Toy Story would look like if it were made by Japanese nerds: amazing, fluid animation, incomprehensible story line. There’s even an appearance by Hentai Woody

Check the video, called “The Worst Thing”, below:

Read More

Japanese Man Brings Virtual Girlfriend to Own Wedding, Bride Retaliates with a “Surprise” at the Reception

Japanese men hold their virtual girlfriends in high regard. Even among those who eventually find a real girlfriend and get married, there are some men who struggle to abandon their digital partner.

Especially after the release of Love Plus, an addictive open-ended dating simulator for the Nintendo DS that went on to sell over 250,000 copies in Japan, stories of men who were busted by their girlfriends or wives while playing—as well as stories of men whose wives played with them—became a common sight on the internet.

While everyone has their own level of tolerance for 2D infidelity, you’d have to be one hell of a woman to allow you husband to bring his virtual girlfriend to your most important day as a couple: your wedding.

Read More

Moscow’s First Maid Cafe is Russian-Made, Japan-Approved

Maid cafes have become a quintessential symbol of Japanese otaku culture and many foreigners who visit Japan make a trip to one an essential stop on their travel itinerary.

In recent years, some enterprising foreigners have even opened maid cafes back home, though some argue that they don’t translate well into other cultures and that foreign girls look awkward trotting about in stylized French maid costumes. In some cases, it is (see the video at the end of this article).

However, doubters need only look to Moscow’s first ever maid cafe, Otaky, which boasts a staff of young Russian maids so cute that even Japan acknowledges they’re doing it right.

Read More

New Site Lets You Critique Online Japanese Underwear-er, Fashion Models

 

Fashion models who appear on online shopping sites get a lot less attention than their counterparts on the runway and in print. Industry and magazine models are chosen to represent well-known brands; there’s a sense of distinction to be had in saying you were on the cover of Vogue and walked the runway for Gucci, and you can pose confidently knowing that eyes go to you first and the product second.

Models on online shops, however, are seen by designers as nothing more than fleshy mannequins, employed to make their clothes look good.

But no longer! Now there is a Japanese website that shines the spotlight on internet retail fashion models, proving to the world that they’re more than just another pretty .jpeg!

Read More

Japan Takes a Shot at Minimalist Pixel Art; How Many Can You Recognize?

Minimalist Pixel Art is the term given to a series of simplified, multi-colored block representations of iconic characters. They quickly achieved meme status after appearing on the web in 2010, and were even given physical shape with a German ad campaign for LEGO earlier this year.

The original images have also made the rounds in Japan, where they are known as “pictures that people well get if they know them”, and have recently inspired some Japanese netizens on internet message board 2channel to start a minimalist pixel party of their own.

Take a look at the images in the gallery below, and don’t feel bad if a few fly over your head: you’ll need a pretty firm grounding in Japanese culture to recognize a few of them.

Read More

Here’s What Anime May Have Looked Like in Ancient Thailand

As the popularity of Japanese anime has spread around the world, many foreign artists have paid tribute to the genre by drawing characters from popular anime series in the style of their own country’s animation.

Sometime this turns out really cool, like the cast of One Piece reimagined Disney-style. But for art styles that aren’t as easily adaptable as Disney, such cultural crossovers can get a little bizarre.

Read More

Does One Piece Rip Off Disney? Only with the Best of Intentions

I remember reading the first few chapters of One Piece and being surprised to see a giant sea serpent that looked suspiciously similar to the moray eels Flotsam and Jetsam from Disney’s The Little Mermaid.

Apparently I wasn’t the only one who thought so, and apparently that wasn’t the last time a Disney “rip off” appeared in the series.

Read More

Tokyo Bug Eating Club to Hold Festival Tomorrow, Guess What’s on the Menu?

As icky as it sounds to many of us brought up in Western cultures, the human consumption of insects is common in many parts of the world.

Most Japanese people are on the same page as the rest of the developed world in thinking of bugs as unappetizing—not to mention creepy, gross, and/or scary— little creatures that have no place in the home, and especially not on the dinner plate.

However, there are some rural regions of Japan where insects are are a local delicacy, and have been so for centuries. In Nagano, the prefecture this writer calls home, you can walk into any supermarket and expect to find plastic packs of grasshopper (inago) or stonefly larva (suzumushi) boiled in soy sauce, and sometimes even read-to-eat packs of boiled wasp larva mixed in with rice (hachinoko-gohan).

In the cities, eating bugs is still taboo, and even in rural areas insect cuisine is now considered fringe cuisine, especially among the younger generations.  But in Tokyo, there is a group of people who believe that bugs just need to be given a chance, which is why they are hosting what is now the 4th annual Tokyo Insect Eating Festival (Tokyo Mushikui Festival) on November 23.

Read More

Microsoft to Have Booth at Japan’s Largest Comic Convention, Selling Limited-Edition Windows 8 PC

Microsoft Japan is getting serious about their anthropomorphic operating systems.

Until recently, these characters, also known as OS-tans, were nothing more than unofficial fan-made creations. However, as we saw last month with the popularity of the  Windows 8 DSP edition, Microsoft has begun to embrace their anime mascots, perhaps realizing their marketing potential among the otaku, or nerd, demographic. And now, for the first time ever, Microsoft will be delving into the belly of the beast and running a booth at Japan’s largest comic book convention, Comic Market.

Read More

【RocketRoundup】Scary Totoro, Feces Wine, and The Future

Welcome to RocketRoundup, where we share this week’s best content into one bite-sized article. That’s a figure of speech, please don’t bite the article. It’s past expiry.

Read More

Japanese Man Makes Bizarre Program That Lets You Raise Skirts With Your Voice

All Niconico user Naota wanted to do was see some panties.

“No matter how many pictures I look at in books or on screens, I can’t get my feelings through…”, laments Naota as he flips through the pages  of a suggestive anime magazine.

Even after going so far as to project a dancing life size image of virtual idol Hatsune Miku onto a screen, Naota found that his desire for digital panties went unnoticed and his efforts unrewarded.

As Naota learned, reality is a harsh mistress. Sometimes things don’t go the way you’d like them to, and while you can kick and scream all you want, it won’t change anything.

But what if it did? What if, by screaming at the top of your lungs, you could blow reality’s skirt right up in the air, allowing you to gaze at her panties in triumph?

This is the possibility that inspired Naota to take matters into his own hands…

Read More

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. ...
  9. 12