TripAdvisor Ranks Top 20 Japanese Travel Destinations For Foreign Visitors, Hiroshima Edges Kyoto For Top Spot

The Japanese arm of tourism website TripAdvisor gathered user comments and evaluations from the past year and used them to rank the Top 20 travel destinations in Japan over that time. Hiroshima Prefecture maintained its popularity with two destinations in the Top 5 while five Kyoto sightseeing spots made the list.

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and A-Bomb Dome moved to the top of the list after coming in second last year. Read More

Interview With the Man Who, Rather Than Bottled Water, Received A Mysterious Remote Control from Vending Machine

May 16th was a day like any other on the platform of Koiwa Station in Tokyo.  But for a Musician/DJ who goes by the name Soeda Dyjean, a simple purchase of a bottle of water turned into a one-way ticket – to the Twilight Zone.

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Pack Your Boxes With Style: X Tape Gussies Up Plain Cardboard

In a world where all that existed to hold cardboard boxes together was normal brown packaging tape and cloth tapes, Korean designer Jeong-Min Lee saw a need and taped it up.

Lee’s snazzy “X Tape” spruces up spring cleaning and storage with eccentric designs printed on rolls of clear tape. Designs featuring metal hinges or leather straps can turn a plain cardboard box into a steamer trunk, and metal bolt and spiral notebook designs can add some fun to a gift or package. Read More

Lame Applicant Pool Plagues Don Quijote, Discount Superstore Posts Recruiting Fails

Part of the fun of visiting Don Quijote discount superstores is the vastly diverse clientele swarming the narrow aisles. People from all walks of life sort through the unique, chintzy merchandise and add a distinct flavor to the atmosphere inside the gaudy stores.

An atmosphere that Don Quijote apparently does not want to see behind the counter. The retail giant has put out an urgent call for “plain, normal people” on its online job postings after struggling to find even these very average folks in their latest round of recruiting in the Tokyo Metropolis.

In a frustrated cry for help, Don Quijote posted reasons why previous applicants had failed to measure up to its expectations on FromAnavi (the post has since been removed). Read More

New iPhone App Lets Users Throw Darts at Expensive, High-Tech Equipment

Want to let off some steam by throwing dangerous sporting equipment at expensive entertainment devices? Want to indulge your destructive, decadent side while testing your fine motor skills and depth perception? “Play Darts!” is the perfect iPhone app for you.

Play Darts! (“Daatsu Ni Shiyagare!”) is a new kind of game application that links iPhones to Smart TVs or computers. The user “throws” a dart shown on his iPhone to a target displayed on a distant Smart TV or PC by moving the iPhone through the air the same way he would throw an actual dart. The game is available for free on iTunes for users with iOS 4.3 or newer.

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Mitsubishi’s Newest Line of Cars Asks: Guys, Just How Comfortable Are You With Your Sexuality?  Hello Kitty Comfortable?

What ever happened to the days of cars that weighed several tons, burned obscene amounts of fuel and had some style and personality to them.  Most cars these days look like blandly colored Tylenol gelcaps devoid of any of the raw machismo of their forefathers.

That’s why Mitsubishi’s third annual My i-MiEV Design Wrapping line of i-MiEV electric cars deserves applause for bringing some personality and more importantly testosterone automobiles once again.

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A&G Diner’s “Best Burger in Tokyo” Hijacks Taste Buds, Takes Them for a Wild Ride

Everyone seems to agree that the best burger joint in Tokyo is A&G Diner in fancy-schmancy Jingumae. It tops the lists on Gourmet and B Gourmet blogs and gossip sites and is the first name out of the mouths of my restaurant critic friends.

I decided to check it out for myself to see if the taste lived up to the hype and glam of Jingumae. I went in to attack an A&G Diner burger with abandon, but, as it turns out, the burger attacked me . . .

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Get a Load of Those Melons! Rabid Bidders Paid Up To US$12,000 For a Pair Yubari Kings

For the first time this season the legendary Yubari King melons have gone to market and the bidding was fierce to get a taste.  Yubari Kings are sometimes referred to as the “Cadillac of melons” for their beautiful design, sweet taste, and exorbitant prices. In this instance one pair of melons fetched a winning bid of 1,000,000 yen (US$12,500).

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Life-sized Anime Figure Draws Criticism for Price, Creepy Face

A life-sized figure of manga and anime character Fujiko
Mine has been drawing criticism from fans on the Web.
Comments have ranged from “Why did they make her like that?” to the more succinct, “Who the hell is that?” Apparently, she’s looking a bit off-color. Read More

Lakeside Resort Accentuates their Scenic Beauty with Some Freakishly Huge Funhouses

A lot of older people complain that the younger generation spends far too much time on their Z-Boxes and Nintendo Wee-Wees.  It’s not hard to imagine why when younger people are presented with fantasy worlds full of castles and dungeons they aren’t too keen to go to the farmer’s market.

Finally, Sagami Lake Resort is doing something about it by adding two colossal real world attractions to tempt kids to give their thumbs a rest and take their legs out for a spin instead.

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Get ready to rock ‘n’ roll with the new line of alcoholic drinks from Suntory!

Okay, so the economy may be down, it may be a drag go to work each morning on the murderously crowded trains (or the impossibly jammed highways), and you may be feeling tired of everyday life in general, but you can’t let things like that kill the rock ‘n’ roll spirit inside you, can you? Well, now there’s a new line of alcoholic beverages from Suntory Holdings Limited that will help you get back into the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll – in Rolling Stones fashion! Read More

Your Face on a 10000 yen bill! Bolster Your Delusions of Grandeur, Anyway

Whether you’re needing to boost your self-esteem, or you’re just awesome thank you and want some more proof of the fact, you can now get your lovely mug on some snazzy-looking cash. At Otona Ginko (“grown-ups’ bank”), you can order 10,000 yen bills with your portrait printed on them. You send in your picture and it gets converted to the kind of line-based monochrome graphic you see on real currency. (For those living outside of Japan, 10,000 yen is about 85 US dollars, though realistically speaking you use them like $20 bills here.)

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Truly Embody Your Love with this Ring

You want to have a symbol of your love for a significant other, but there are so many designs to choose from. You can now impress upon others as well as yourself, literally, your feelings with the Inner Message line of rings from Yoon Jungyun Shop. While the outside of the ring looks plain and unassuming, the inside surface of the ring imprints a message on your finger, which you can see after removing the ring. So even after you’ve taken off the ring, you’re still reminded of your significant other. Another part of the gratification of this ring is having the very exclusive knowledge of the message, possibly a secret to everyone but you and the person who you gave the ring to. Read More

Extreme Sashimi: Frog Edition

When we hear “sashimi”, usually what comes to mind is fish. But there are actually a wide variety of sashimi, such as horse sashimi and chicken sashimi. And, since ancient times in Japan, there is frog sashimi. (Here is where we try it out so you don’t have to.) We went to a Tokyo restaurant that we heard serves frog sashimi, “Asadachi” (which means morning wood, you know), about 3 minutes walk from Shinjuku station in ‘Piss Alley‘.

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A gadget that turns your iPhone into a martial arts weapon? Well, not quite, but you’ll be able to swing your phone around like a nunchaku!

Have you ever had the urge to flip and swing around your iPhone and make it look cool like you’re a martial arts expert using a nunchaku? Well, this little gadget called the “iPhone Trick Cover” let’s you do just that, and judging from the manufacturer’s demonstration video, it looks like it may be a lot of fun! Read More

Bevy of New Social Media Creators Hoping the Betterment of Humanity Goes Viral

We’ve all gotten very familiar with the concept of social media to the point that even my grandmother has a vague awareness of it.  However, its detractors are quick to point that social networks, microblogs, podcasts, and what have you all amount to an ocean of pointless drivel.

It response to this harsh attack of new media comes a growing trend of web users and developers who are looking to harness the power of the internet for what they call “social good.”

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Afraid You’d Look Ridiculous Singing Around Other People?  Here, Put This Big Plastic Cup Over Your Mouth

Everyone likes to sing, at least a little bit.  What most of us don’t realize though is that about 0.01% of the population can actually do it well.  The rest of us end up bugging the hell out of anyone within earshot.

So for all the neighbors and roommates of people who live life like a cast member of Glee we present Noiseless KaraOK!

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Pop Star’s First Pitch Induces Laughter, Ignites Shameful Flame War

Korean pop group Girls’ Generation’s Jessica had everything going for her as she stepped to the mound last week at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul. She went into a semi-accurate windup with her white glove, pink shoes, form-fitting jeans and perfect smile aaaaaaand . . . she spiked the ball into the ground three feet in front of her.

Big deal, right? Lieutenant Dan did basically the same thing in Texas a couple nights ago, proving to us that a ceremonial first pitch is like a box of chocolates – you never know what kind you’re gonna get.

And what’s better, throwing like a T-baller or collapsing in a heap a la Sadako last month in the Tokyo Dome?

None of it should come as a surprise; Jessica showed us the extent of her athletic prowess at 0:20 with that strong, convincing fist pump. What is surprising is the harsh criticism piled on poor Jessica by the peanut gallery.
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Glass Gem Corn Craze Hits Japan

Corn ain’t supposed to be this pretty. Corn doesn’t normally sparkle like jewels or reflect every color of the rainbow. But when it does, the world sits up and pays attention.

Glass Gem corn lives up to its name with white, pink, blue, purple, green and gold kernels distributed randomly and beautifully across each cob. The magnificent maize is an other-worldly sight at first glance to the extent that Discover Magazine went so far as to inform readers that pictures of the corn had not been edited.

Seeds Trust, a small, family-run American company, introduced the glittering corn to the world via Facebook last year, and it went viral earlier this month. Read More

Meanwhile in China, Butt-Kicking Patient Makes Surgery Tough (Video)

This isn’t about some botched job either. In early May, a man appearing to have knife wounds was brought to this one hospital, where the staff immediately assessed the situation and prepared for emergency surgery. In the operating room, the doctors asked him what his name was when all of a sudden, this guy completely loses it. He gets up off the operating table, beats up the doctors, and destroys a bunch of equipment in the operating room and other parts of the hospital.

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