Japan

New Shop in Tokyo Offers 16 Kinds of Whale Meat and Hopes You Don’t Attack Them For It

The Ameyoko block of Tokyo is a comprised of a busy market street lined with quaint little shops selling various foods, cosmetics and knick-knacks like clocks.  You can expect to find just about anything in Ameyoko, which makes it the perfect location for Geinanhonbo, a whale-meat specialty shop, to open its newest branch.

At Geinanhonbo you can choose from 16 different cuts of whale meat from a giant fridge that takes up most of the shop space.  Red meat cuts are relatively cheap, costing 380 yen per 100g (US$1.32/oz), but more expensive parts like the tail or jaw can run up to 2,800 yen per 100g ($9.84/oz).  The store offers “almost every edible part of the whale” including the heart, which costs about as much as the red meat.

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1 Year After Tōhoku Earthquake FujiFilm Reports Over 1,000,000 Photos Rescued and Cleaned

Like with many natural disasters, governments and large corporations throw money and supplies in relief efforts.  Although the aid is greatly appreciated and needed by the victims, there is always this lingering cynicism that these donations were done out of self-serving motives.  Especially when said company releases an ad tooting their own horn about the contributions they made.

However, a largely unsung gesture by FujiFilm has recently celebrated its milestone of restoring over 1,000,000 photos recovered from earthquake devastated areas.  The cynic in you may ask what the big deal is about cleaning some photos when these people need food and shelter.

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Smartphone App Uses GPS to Home In On Shops with the Sexiest Guys

I must admit I was really excited when I downloaded this app I was told would turn my iPhone into “a stud finder.” Much to my chagrin, rather than helping me put up my new shelves it introduced me to Katsuhiro, a dashing young man who works at my local bakery.

This app was released by Datacraft on February 9, and uses GPS to locate the stores near you which have hot guys working there.  Called Ikemen Tenin MAP Sapporo (Map of Handsome Clerks in Sapporo), it’s designed for the working women who can’t find enough time to meet guys.

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Traditional Japanese Sword Makers Commissioned to Create Real-Life Evangelion Weapons

Museums always struggle to find ways to attract younger visitors, so it’s not unusual to see a museum tie in an exhibition to some pop-culture trend.  Even the Bizen Japanese Sword Museum which you’d think is one of the “cooler” museums for the kids has had to come up with new ideas recently.

As a result anime fans may want to take a trip to Setouchi City in Okayama Prefecture this summer to check out the “Neo Japanese Sword Evangelion” exhibition.  This exhibition is a fusion of the hit anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion and the works of Japan’s finest traditional sword makers. Read More

Could Cool Blue Lights Help to Calm the Suicidal?

Thanks to Japan’s extensive rail system, millions of people are safely and promptly carried to and from to their destinations every day.

For instance, Uchihara Station in Mito city alone sees over 2000 people pass through every day. However, these useful transportation nodes are also plagued by a dark social ill: suicide by train.

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Hello Kitty Hotel Rooms Ensure Sweet Dreams on the Road

So you’re taking a vacation to Japan via the Hello Kitty Jet to buy some Hello Kitty stationary, knick knacks, clothing, and accessories, but you don’t have a place to stay?  The Shinhankyu Hotel in Osaka has got you covered!

Starting March first they are making Hello Kitty themed Prince Kitty Rooms available, each decorated wall-to-wall with the infamous kitten along with her childhood companion Dear Daniel.  Everything in the room from the curtains to the sheets to the cushions is touched with the pink and white essence of Japan cutest cultural icon, all of which are exclusive designs for this hotel.

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How to Tee Off But Not T-Off the Wife: Get Married on a Golf Course!

When thinking about a golf course, most women probably picture unappealingly dressed men whacking around a small ball while drinking beer.  It’s an image that keeps many a lady off the links, and makes it difficult for a husband to get away for a day on them.

Meanwhile, golf courses in Japan have been suffering. With the downturn in the economy they have been experiencing a dip in attendance recently.

Who would have thought that these two problems could be the perfect solution for each other? 

In Tsukuba, Japan, golf courses are now being rented out for weddings.

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Current Head of 500 Year-Old Koga Ninja Clan Lecturing at University

On 31 January, Mie University’s Social Studies Department announced the hiring of their newest teacher – “the last living ninja” Jinichi Kawakami.  Would-be students from all over are lining up to learn from the 21st head of the approximately 500 year-old Koga Ninja Clan.

Mie Prefecture, which is home to Iga city and its famous ninja museum, intends to spread the word of ninja culture to Japan and beyond, with the added benefit of promoting their own ninja-based-tourism industry.

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We Order A Massive 2 Kilogram Steak And Feel Manlier Than Ever!

When western people visit Japan they often complain about the small size of the portions served to them at restaurants, especially when it comes to steak.  The average Japanese steak weighs in at around 150-200g (5-7oz) which would make for a decent sized American hamburger but little more than a frozen dinner-caliber steak. Read More

Behold The USB of the Future, No More Fumbling To Put It In Right-Side-Up

Buffalo Kokuyo Supply Inc. has announced they will release a new USB hub sometime in the end of February.  What sets this USB hub apart is that you will be able to connect your USB cord facing either way (upwards or downwards).

This comes as welcome news to everyone who has had to squint into their USB jack to see what side that little piece of plastic is on, and then still somehow manage to put it in the wrong way.

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McDonald’s “Broadway Burger” Is More “Off-Broadway” Yet Delicious Nonetheless

The newest in McDonald’s Big America Series of US themed hamburgers, the Broadway Burger has been released amid much confusion over its name.  No one can really understand what’s so “Broadway” about this thing.

Anyone who has been to Manhattan knows it’s the home of some of the finest restaurants in the world.  Only on Broadway can you see a world-class play and then walk up the street to a plethora of restaurants for your choice of international cuisine. Read More

Around the world women often turn to bizarre-looking contraptions in the quest to look more beautiful and Japan is perhaps home to some of the strangest.  Sometimes it even seems like beauty product makers are playing a huge joke on their customers by making them look more ridiculous than beautiful.

The latest of such products is Hana-Tsun (Pointy Nose), produced by Glim Inc., who are no strangers to thinking outside the box when it comes to beauty products.

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Japanese Shoppers Buying Tomato Juice Like There’s No Tomorrow, Or Like There’s A Fat Tomorrow

Supermarkets all across Japan have been struggling to keep up with demand for that barely-tolerated gritty beverage known as tomato juice.  This is the latest in an ongoing series of food fads many in the country believe to be effective in reducing weight like cabbage and bananas.

At the beginning of February one supermarket in Osaka had a well-stocked shelf of tomato juice daily, most likely catering to the odd person avoiding blood clots or making Bloody Marys.  However, on the weekend of February 10, hordes of shoppers descended on their supply of juice like so many locusts on a farm.  By the 14th, the staff was turning desperate dieters away as new shipments could not reach them in time.
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On the 16th of this month, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department announced the results of a bicycle safety enforcement campaign they implemented on the 10th. In those six days, 1571 people were issued warnings for illegal behavior, and over half of those were to people wearing earphones or headphones while riding. An additional 27 people were issued tickets. Read More

Ramen Shop Serves Mountains of Meat, Gets Customers and Laughs

There is a ramen shop in Japan that will pile the sliced pork higher than anything you’ve ever seen. It’s name, fittingly enough, is Niku-ya (Butcher Shop), and according to their sign, “We’re not a ramen restaurant, we’re meat specialists.” It definitely seems like they want to emphasize that end of the business rather than the noodles.

While it does look like a ramen shop and their customers are there to order ramen, their main selling point is definitely their meat. It’s said that their pork ramen has the largest portion of roasted pork slices of any shop in Japan! Well, we had to go check that out. Read More

A Must-See Visual of Japan’s 2011 Earthquakes

On March 11, an unprecedentedly large earthquake struck northern Japan, marking 2011 as a disastrous year for the Japanese. This video shows the fierce power of that quake and the cascade of aftershocks that came in the months to follow as nothing less than horrific. Read More

Pop Quiz: Is This A Gigantic Camera Or A Tiny Cart?

Looking at this picture closely you can probably tell it’s a tiny cart, although it seems an equally odd idea to make a huge camera.

I bought this from Tokyu Hans the other day on a whim after hearing about it from the internet. Before you think I’m crazy I should mention, it’s remote controlled!

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How Lens Maker Sigma Saved My Life

Among lens makers, Sigma is a brand famous the world over. They’ve been in the news recently for their February 8th announcement of the 46 megapixel DP1 Merrill and DP2 Merril models, but this article is actually about an experience I had with them late last year. Read More

A lingering topic of the Fukushima incident has been how to go forward. Should nuclear plants in Japan be improved or discontinued. What have been revealed to reporter Hirotoshi Ito by industry insiders are the massive business deals being prepared behind this important social issue.

According to Ito, what we don’t see occurring is what he calls “backspin business” which is profit made off of situations that undo previous progress. Key players that once had the now-dubious honor of building a strong, clean, and safe nuclear power infrastructure are making preparations to profit from its damage.

For example, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has long struggled with the task of disposing of nuclear waste. Local residents of all TEPCO’s desired locations have been understandably hesitant to accept tons of radioactive material into their neighborhoods. Luckily for TEPCO the wasteland of the likely to be decommissioned Fukushima Daini (Number 2) Reactor is now the perfect place for them to set-up a decontamination factory.

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Welcome Home, Arisa: Missing Woman’s Body Found Nearly 11 Months After Tsunami

The corpse of a woman found in January in the ruble of Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture, has been determined by DNA testing to be that of 24-year-old Arisa Miura, an employee at the disaster preparedness office at the city hall, which was washed away in the March 11th tsunami last year. Following the results, her body is finally being sent home. Read More

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