otaku

Is Incest Japan’s Latest Literary Craze? Popularity of “My Little Sister” Light Novels on the Rise

Japanese “light novels” are a type of short and often serialized young adult novel that are usually heavy on dialogue and light on narrative depth. The growing popularity of light novels has made them common choices for manga and anime adaptations, such as the Haruhi Suzumiya series.

One of the more popular light novel series in recent years is My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute, which tells the story of a normal high school student who finds out his prodigious younger sister is actually a closet otaku, obsessed with anime and incest-themed adult computer games…

It’s probably less unwholesome than it sounds (at least by Japanese standards), and the point is that the series has become so popular that it has spawned an anime and manga series as well as several video games.

It has also seemed to usher in a new craze of light novels about the relationship between normal older brothers and their not-so-normal little sisters.

That’s totally wholesome…right…?

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Why do Foreigners Like Japanese Manga so Much? We Head to Comiket to Find Out!

While manga is ubiquitous in Japan — just ride the subway in any major city and you’ll see people from all walks of life flipping through a comic book — many Japanese people are surprised to hear how popular manga has become overseas. After all, aren’t Westerners only interested in macho superheroes or short comic strips?

Perhaps that was the case in America before, but in recent years many major bookstores have begun to reserve more space near the front of the store for Japanese comics and in some European countries like France and Germany manga occupies a large portion of overall comic sales.

But why?

Earlier this month, we sent one of our Japanese reporters to Comic Market (or “Comiket“), the world’s largest self-published comic book fair and otaku mecca, to interview real live foreigners and ask them why they like Japanese manga so much.

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Hatsune Miku 7-Eleven Parody Video Will Give You Nightmares

If you weren’t in the know (and by the know we mean Japan), Japanese convenience store chain Family Mart and Hatsune Miku are running a promotional campaign from August 14 to September 10 to celebrate the Vocaloid’s 5th birthday.

To spread word of the campaign, Family Mart created a 15-second television commercial featuring Miku singing the store’s signature jingle and posted it to YouTube on August 17, though a ripped version had been posted to Japanese video sharing site Nico Nico Douga a few days earlier.

One group of enterprising viewers saw the video and immediately got the idea for a parody, which he posted to Nico Nico and YouTube on August 19. The parody, titled “Miku LOVES Seven Campaign [Fiction]”. features a super deformed Hatsune Miku singing the Japanese 7-Eleven jingle and is absolutely terrifying.

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Why Do Foreigners Like Japan so Much? We Head to Comiket 82 to Find Out!

Many foreigners view Japan as some marvelous dreamland of technology and culture; a place where crazy is the norm and embracing fantasy in everyday life is acceptable.

But to Japanese people, Japan is just that place you were born. Everyone and everything is routine, and it’s often difficult to see why the rest of the world get’s so worked up about “Japanese culture.”

Earlier this month, we sent one of our Japanese reporters to Comic Market (or “Comiket“), the world’s largest self-published comic book fair and otaku mecca, to interview real live foreigners and ask them what it is they really think about this country.

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Your Favorite Nintendo Games As You’ve Never Seen Them Before, As Traditional Japanese Prints

Ukiyo-e Heroes are a group of artists who work in the medium of tradional Japanese woodblock printing (ukiyo-e), a style most strongly associated with Japanese culture.  This group has turned their facebook page into a virtual gallery displaying their favorite muse: video games.

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A Couple of Train Stations Create Their Own Cutie Gods in an Effort to Boost Tourism

Sadly with Japan’s many recent economic woes, visitation to the remote stations of Kofuku and Aikoku has been low.  So in an effort to drum up some visitors, the local communities did what anyone would do in this situation.  They made some gods.

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Omiya Station’s Platform 8 Becomes the Scene for a Rare Mass Influx of Train Enthusiasts, Things Get Ugly

23 June, 2012, marked the 30th anniversary of the Tohoku Shinkansen Line. Its original first stop, Omiya Station, acted as a lightning rod for Japanese railfans called toritetsu (lit. Photographers of Iron). A normally peaceful trainspotter, when packed into small spaces the toritetsu can become noisy and obnoxious to those around it.

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The Latest Singles Pick-up Spot: Buddhist Temples

Most people go to Shinto shrines several times a year, like for New Years or to make a special wish or prayer, like before a job interview. But with Buddhist temples, it’s usually just for tourism and funerals – not that frequently, basically. But wait! Temples are transforming these days, more and more using their halls for activities such as yoga classes, group date venues (‘gou-kon‘ in Japanese – group dinners with single men and women, seeking potential mates), and even as concert venues!

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Well, the combination of the first two was working out well, apparently. (For those of you who don’t know, there are many regional dialects / accents in Japan. The most easily found is likely the Kansai dialect, due to the huge number of comedians and entertainers you can see on TV.) In any case, following the logic of [cute girls] + [dialects] = [cute], they created a late-night TV program featuring these girls doing various  things in their respective dialects (PG-rated, presumably). Due to the skyrocketing popularity of the TV show, the next natural step was to … promote men’s electric shavers. Read More

Bus Button Lovers Get Off at Tokyu Hands During Golden Week

“Next stop, Shibuya Tokyu Hands!”

That’s what one might have expected to hear at the department store that hosted the quirky Tsugi Tomarimasu Bus Button Exhibit on May 3 and 4. A private collector put his collection of over 100 bus signal buttons on display for the Golden Week shopping crowds.

Anyone who has ever ridden a bus is familiar with the buttons you push to signal that you want to disembark, and we all have a relationship with these buttons. Aggressive people want to initiate action and get where they’re going. Passive people want someone to push the button and take care of their needs. Kids just want to be big enough to reach the buttons! Read More

Put the Tokyo Subway in Your Mouth!

Among both train nerds and the general public, the bright red 300-series cars that originally ran on the Marunouchi subway line in Tokyo are much beloved. This year, that line celebrates the 50th anniversary of the completion of its full length, and someone has fittingly made it a cake. Literally.

The cakes, called Marunouchi Line 300-Series 3D Cake, are being sold for a limited time at the price of 7980 yen (about $97).
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Pikachu Shoes: The Only Way to Get Your Boyfriend to Notice Them

Ladies, are you looking for something to liven up your wardrobe but not go overboard? Are you tired of the man in your life not paying attention to your new shoes that you spent hours choosing?

If so, then visit etsy.com for your next pair.  Here you can find sparkly and eye-catching designs that are too far over the edge of good-taste.  I guarantee your husband or boyfriend will compliment you on your 1-UP designed shoes faster than you could imagine.
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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

The Kissing App for People Who Love Their iPhones a Little Too Much

Sometimes we all need a little lovin’. Now you can get a kiss anywhere, at any time, with the saucy new iPhone app Choi Kiss, loosely translated as Kisses on the Go. This little piece of heaven won’t even cost you a penny.
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Trouble Unhooking Bras? There’s an App for That.

The App Store, which is famous for prohibiting applications of a sexual nature, doesn’t have any porn, but now they’ve at least got an app that will be amusing for you dirty-minded guys. With Putti!, you can practice unhooking a brassiere on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch and if you succeed, you’ll be rewarded with a “marvel of unsurpassed glory”! But first you’ve got to beat that little hook.

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All-Japan Kendama Champion Takes Game to The Next Level

First of all, you might be wondering, “What’s kendama?” Well, it’s a popular children’s toy that is kind of like a cup-and-ball game on steroids. However, rather than a single cup, this game has three of varying sizes, and they aren’t so much “cups” as they are shallow saucers that are meant to hold the ball. And if that’s not enough, there’s an extra spike that you’re expected to skewer the ball on exactly through a pre-made hole. The purpose of this game being not only to get the ball into a cup but to also juggle it between cups or spike without dropping it.

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Need a Last Minute Christmas Present? How About a “Whale Sword”?

On Yahoo Shopping, a site famous for its oodles of unique merchandise, an ornamental sword is attracting a lot of attention. It’s called the “Whale Sword” and it’s a model of a style of ornamental sword used in the pre-war days, with a blade close to a meter long. Who wouldn’t want that in their stocking?

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