Preston Phro

Preston Phro (or simply Phro as most know him) is a Coloradoan attempting to fit in in Tokyo. (Surely, he would succeed if not for his unruly hair.) He puts his master's in classical Japanese literature to good use by writing silly stories and articles for the Internet. Having lived in Nara, Osaka, and Yamaguchi before moving to the Kanto area, he's quite happy to finally have a place to call home! When not writing, he enjoys annoying his wife by plucking at his shamisen (a three-stringed Japanese instrument not entirely unlike a banjo) and pestering her with questions about Japanese history. He also occasionally attempts to remember all the stuff he's forgotten since university.

Posted by Preston Phro

The real My Melody? Twitter user knits tiny hat for kotatsu, futon-owning bunny【Pics】

Hello Kitty may be the most popular Sanrio character, but My Melody has quite a few fans as well. And it seems she has a doppelgänger hanging out on Twitter too!

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Survey by Japanese ministry reveals high rates of “maternity harassment” in workplace

A new survey conducted by the Japanese government found that nearly half of female temp workers faced discrimination as a result of being or becoming pregnant while in employment.

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Drumming prodigy Senri Kawaguchi wows in new video supporting the Japan National Football Team

Teenage drummer Senri Kawaguchi, famous for her enthusiastic YouTube videos, appears in a stunning new video for the Japan National Football Team

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Keep warm this winter with a new fluffy Rilakkuma sleeping bag

Winter is settling in and the nights are getting colder. Fortunately, that means you’ll soon be able to slumber snugly in a Rilakkuma sleeping bag!

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Awesome new Hatsune Miku figure makes the vocaloid look like a Final Fantasy boss

Do you love fantasy RPGs and Hatsune Miku? If so, then you’re definitely going to love this new figure of the vocaloid designed by the popular artist mebae!

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Volcanoes, castles and more: 10 of Japan’s best drone-shot videos to give you wanderlust【Video】

Drones have sort of exploded in our cultural conscious over the last few years, garnering both media and political attention. Like many other countries, the skies of Japan seem to be full of the whirring, buzzing devices, and while the government and society are still trying to figure out exactly how they feel about these all-seeing sky robots, YouTube is quickly filling up with gorgeous videos shot with drones!

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The Phantom Limb Project: Gamer to get prosthetic limb inspired by Metal Gear Solid V

A collaboration between video game giant Konami and prostheses expert Sophie De Oliviera Barata aims to give an amputee gamer a new arm inspired by Metal Gear Solid.

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Japanese shopper finds the freshest sliced eel ever in a supermarket…with its heart still beating

When it comes to fish and eel meat, “fresh” is the favorite for pretty much anyone. But how fresh is “too fresh?” Well, how do you feel about buying eel with a beating heart?!

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Japanese high school student becomes the talk of the Internet with magic “floating desk” trick

Wherever there are classrooms, you are sure to find class clowns. From making fart noises to intentionally giving absurd answers, these resident jokers are often the best (and worst) distraction for a hard-working teacher. But we doubt many of them have taken their hijinks to the heights of this Japanese student!

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Love your iPhone? Then wrap it in one of these individually carved wooden cases from Hiroshima!

These individually carved and lacquered wooden iPhone cases aren’t cheap, but they are gorgeous! With a design as gorgeous as it is simple, your phone will look great wherever you might play Candy Crush.

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Mail your cute Sanrio-style self to all your friends and family with Chanrio New Year’s cards!

Earlier this year, we saw that Chanrio Maker is the easiest way to reimagine yourself as a Sanrio character. Now that the end of the year is approaching, it turns out you can use your own Chanrio to make the cutest New Year’s cards ever!

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Adorable prairie dog traffic jam wins the hearts of Japanese Twitter users

Depending on where you grew up, prairie dogs might be nothing more than hated, pesky varmints you just wish would go away. But in Japan, they are adorable little creatures deserving all your squeals of “kawaiiiii” — especially when they end up in a traffic jam!

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Japan’s Twitter users in love Air Self-Defense Force’s aerobatics team Blue Impulse

Regardless of how you feel about air travel, we sure you’ll admit that watching an aerobatics show by top pilots is nothing short of amazing. So, whether you get woozy standing on a stool or you love soaring in the sky, you won’t want to miss the photos  and videos from this week’s Blue Impulse show in Saitama!

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Japanese netizen travels Japan, takes photos of the country’s many (many) awesome cats【Pics】

Though it may not seem like it, Japan is actually a fairly sizable country, with a lot of ground for sightseers to cover. It’s so big, in fact, we imagine it’d be difficult to a regular tourist to see all of it.

But what if you grew up in Japan and spent all your free time traveling around the country? Well, in that case, we bet you’d get to see a whole lot more of it, and for one Japanese Internet user, that exactly describes their life—but with one very cool addition. It turns out this anonymous traveler loves to take photos of cats at their various destinations.

Check out the awesome and adorable photo album below!

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The newest Ghost in the Shell ukiyo-e print is available for pre-order and looking beautiful

In September, we introduced you to the new line of Ghost in the Shell ukiyo-e prints being prepared by OtakuWorks Inc. The first print was a relatively simple but beautiful take on the original movie poster, and while this second entry is equally limited and beautiful, its inspiration comes from a slightly different source: it’s based on the 24-hour Cherry Blossom Stakeout scene from the newest film!

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Yamaha shows off Motobot, the motorcycle-driving robot created to surpass us, at Tokyo Motor Show

With all the companies working on self-driving cars right now, it can be difficult for companies to differentiate themselves from competitors.

Yamaha, however, is sure to stand out from the crowd with their newest project Motobot, a robot designed to ride a motorcycle on its own. But simply riding a motorcycle isn’t enough—the company’s hope is to eventually create a machine that can “surpass” humans!

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We check out Japan’s zecOO, the black-and-gold electric “Akira bike”, at Tokyo Motor Show【Pics】

The zecOO electric bike made a splash online when it officially went on sale earlier this year, though it’s been known by people all around the world as the Akira bike for a few years now.

It’s still a little pricey at 8.88 million yen (roughly US$73,600), so we doubt any of our staff will be cruising around town on this bad boy until we’ve filled up a few more piggy banks, but fortunately the electric vehicle was on display at the Tokyo Motor Show and our very own Mr. Sato was able to check it out in person.

Take a look at his photos below and find out what clever new addition the bike is now sporting!

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Brilliant Art Aquarium takes over Nijo Castle in Kyoto for a spellbinding nocturnal event

Kyoto is, of course, one of Japan’s most loved and visited sightseeing destinations, so it doesn’t really need any extra help drawing crowds. But that doesn’t mean something a little extra-special would hurt anything! This year marks the 400th anniversary of Rimpa, a traditional school of Japanese painting that came from a community of craftsmen founded in 1615. In honor of the anniversary, the Rimpa 400 Year Celebration Festival is being held in Kyoto, and one of the events is the Art Aquarium, making an appearance in Nijo Castle!

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Samurai Studio is open and we were the first in line!【Photos】

When we wrote about Samurai Studio earlier this month, we have to admit we were more than a little excited to head down and try it out ourselves. Hey, who doesn’t occasionally (or constantly) wish they could run around dressed in Japanese armor with a couple of swords strapped to their side?

Samurai Studio opened for its 10-day limited run today, and we were literally the first in line! In case you’re on the fence about going or just want to see what the process is like, you’ll want to check out our full report, complete with lots and lots of photos.

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