TV

5 ways Japanese TV shows are broken, according to expats

There are certain things almost everyone who moves to Japan seems to like. The food? Tasty and healthy. Public transportation? Clean and punctual. But Japanese TV? Let’s just say there’s a reason Internet access is one of the first things new arrivals in the country look to outfit their apartments with.

It turns out this lukewarm reaction to the country’s programming isn’t just a foreigner thing, either, as some 75 percent of Japanese citizens polled by the Asashi Shimbun newspaper also said that TV has become boring. Today we look at why.

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Air quality in Beijing now so poor that sunrises are being broadcast on giant TV screens [UPDATED]

As if today being a Monday wasn’t depressing enough, media outlets are reporting that the air quality and visibility in China’s capital city has become so bad that the state has begun televising live footage of sunrises on enormous screens ordinarily used for advertising. That’s right: with the real thing now almost completely hidden behind a thick layer of smog, people are actually watching nature on TV.

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First full-length trailer for live-action Kiki’s Delivery Service shows off sets, cast, new theme song

Last month, we saw a brief teaser trailer for the upcoming live-action theatrical version of Kiki’s Delivery Service. Happy as we are for another chance to see our favorite magical parcel carrier on the big screen, our first look at the film’s flying effects didn’t do much to excite us, especially when compared against the lovingly crafted visuals of the story’s 1989 animated adaptation by Studio Ghibli.

Now, the producers of the live-action Kiki are back with a full-length trailer. Being the open-minded cinemaphiles/Kiki fanboys that we are, we decided to give the plucky witch one more chance to impress us, while also getting an earful of the film’s new theme song.

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Don’t own a television? Japan’s public broadcaster doesn’t care, but still wants your money

Paying taxes works a little differently in Japan. Often, large companies will simply deduct the required income tax from employees’ paychecks, and even file the necessary paperwork for them. On the other hand, workers have their earnings taxed twice, with residency taxes which are based on their income from the previous year and must be paid quarterly. Like most things in Japan, resident taxes can be paid with a fat wad of cash at the convenience store.

But perhaps the weirdest of all are government fees for public television in Japan. Not only do the bill collectors go door to door soliciting payment, but some administrators are looking to make people pay the fees whether they own a TV or not.

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Pikachu kisses his audience in Pokémon XY anime opening, gives glimpse of another dimension

In case you’ve been trapped under a giant boulder for the last few weeks, Japan – nay, the world – is currently once again gripped by Pokémon fever. Along with the new Pokémon X & Y titles for Nintendo 3DS, the new animated TV series is currently being lapped up by fans.

But one eagle-eyed viewer in Japan has spotted something both cute and a little odd in the show’s opening credits. In typically adorable fashion, a few seconds after the show’s opening song begins, everyone’s favourite pocket monster, Pikachu, gives the camera a friendly little kiss. But what on earth is going on inside his mouth!?

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Japanese dancer wins America’s Got Talent, calling show title into question【Video】

We introduced our readers to the “dance-ish” performer Kenichi Ebina when he first appeared on the popular NBC performance program America’s Got Talent earlier this year and summarized The Matrix in a 90-second dance routine. We knew then that he was something special, but little did we know he would go on to take the top prize, becoming not only the first Japanese but also the first dancer to do so.

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Sony’s new PlayStation Vita Slim ad is awesome, features gaming penguins 【Video】

We fell in love with Sony’s new PlayStation Vita Slim the very first moment we got our sweaty little hands on a demo unit at this year’s Tokyo Game Show, but this new commercial, which features rocking gaming penguins of every colour the new device is available in, made us even more eager to buy one.

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2013 Fall Anime Preview – Part 1

It’s almost that time again! The Fall 2013 anime season is absolutely jam-packed with something for every kind of fan. There’s no way you can watch all of these though, so have a skim through this list (put together by Gigazine and translated by yours truly) to pick out the ones you’ll be following.

Read on for the first 20 series that will be hitting screens next week.

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New Pokemon anime taking it back to ’96, Coming this October!

Were you one of the millions playing the battery life out of Pokémon Red, Green, or Blue back in the late ’90s? If so, your days fishing for magicarp have probably taken a backseat to a 9-5 job and changing diapers. Perhaps you feel a little disconnected after the several iterations that followed the original games over nearly two decades and feel that the poké balls have been passed to younger generations?

If any of this applies to you, the people behind Pokémon want to say they understand and have prepared a special treat in store. Coming 2 October to TV Tokyo a new anime series will begin titled Pokémon the Origin and follows the storyline of the original set of games.

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Korean media receives harsh criticism for not stopping man from committing suicide

Members of the Korean media have come under fire this week after they filmed a man who warned via his Twitter account that he would jump from Mapo Bridge-a known suicide spot-and made good on his promise.

There staff on the scene made no effort to intervene and have been arrested as accomplices to the man’s suicide.

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New Pokémon XY anime series to air October 17: will Ash finally become a Pokémon Master?

The latest Pokémon TV series has been announced, and it’s due to air this fall! Will Ash finally achieve his dream of becoming a Pokémon Master? I wouldn’t count on it…

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Manga and anime declared good study tools for kids

Children’s books and television shows these days are nothing compared to the ones that many of us had growing up. At least that’s what we tell ourselves. I think back fondly on those days of watching Rugrats and Scooby Doo marathons and scoff at the thought of modern-age children rotting their brains with Spongebob and Annoying Orange. But the fact of the matter is that letting kids subject themselves to those books and animations is important to the development of reading comprehension and critical thinking skills, though the shows now seem like garbage to our fully-developed minds.

In Japan, the same sort of issue arises with kids becoming obsessed with manga and anime. Parents may try to insist that their children put away the comics and pick up a real book. Some may even go so far as to throw out their child’s comic magazines as they begin to pile up. However, according to one of the professors at Tama University, Yuichi Higuchi, in his short essay “Are you a Bad Parent?” keeping kids away from their anime and comics is a terrible thing to do!

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Man sues Japan’s public broadcasting corporation for excessive use of foreign loan words

Risuku (risk), kea (care), toraburu (trouble), asuri-to (athlete); I can’t understand what the hell they’re talking about!” vented 71-year-old Gifu Prefecture resident Hoji Takahashi.

Takahashi, a former public servant and sponsor of the “Cherish the Japanese Language Group,” filed suit against Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) in Nagoya district court on June 25 for emotional distress. Claiming he is unable to comprehend programming content due to the broadcaster’s excessive use of foreign load words, or gairaigo, Takahashi is seeking 1.41 million yen (US$14,000) for the pain and suffering he has had to endure.

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Set your DVR – 10 new anime to watch out for this summer!

Unlike the U.S. television cycle of new episodes from fall to spring with reruns through the summer, Japanese TV chugs along with continuous new content. The calendar gets broken up into four blocks of 13 weeks each, and with a new one starting next month, there’s a slew of anime about to premier. Hold on to your butts, anime fans–this is going to be a fun season!

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Mammoth GameCenter CX 10th anniversary project underway

“GameCenter CX”–also known as “Retro Game Master” in the West– has captured the hearts and minds of literally millions of video game fans across the globe since first airing in 2003. The premise of the show is simple: middle-aged, self-confessed game otaku and part-time comedian Shinya Arino pits himself against a series of treasured but often fiendishly difficult old-school video games, playing through them with the help of his cheeky “assistant directors”, a pile of snacks and stack of cooling towelettes to stick to his forehead.

The show has already spawned nine DVD boxsets in its native Japan, with English translations of many of the shows made available to Western audiences both in DVD format and online. But now, the show’s parent company has announced that a special 10th anniversary project is underway that will purportedly take an entire year to complete.

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Hyundai Ad Uses Suicide to Promote New Car, Causes Outrage and Sadness in the UK

As much as we might bemoan their very existence when they interrupt our favourite TV shows or appear ad nauseam prior to YouTube clips, when done well ads can be genuinely entertaining. With each shot written, debated, edited and otherwise laboured over sometimes for hundreds of hours, successful ads become pop culture in their own right and are often of higher quality than the shows whose commercial crevices they are stuffed into.

An ad recently aired in the UK, however, become a talking point for all the wrong reasons when it depicted a man trying to kill himself by breathing in the exhaust fumes produced by what transpires to be a particularly environmentally friendly type of vehicle: Hyundai’s iX35.

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Perfect the Art of Laziness! Get Your Sloth On with New Eyewear from Sanco


Everyone’s had one of those days when they just don’t feel like getting out of bed. Well “rare things” online store Sanco is now offering a must-have item for just such occasions: GORODEY2 Eyewear, glasses that allow you to remain flat on your back and still be entertained.

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Do You Know Where Japan Is? These Turkish Men Aren’t So Sure

It’s a shame that our man Mr. Sato didn’t talk a little more about his own country during his recent visit to Turkey. In a video currently attracting a lot of attention here in Japan, a Turkish television crew hit the streets of Istanbul to ask its residents whether they knew the geographical location of Japan. As it happens, despite the amount of media attention that Japan has received in the past couple of years, the average man on the street in Turkey is still a little off the mark when it comes to the home of sushi and Super Mario…

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Onomatotastic! Sony’s Portable Games Console Gets a Cool New Ad 【Video】

Speakers and learners of the Japanese language will no doubt be familiar with giongo and gitaigo, onomatopoeic words that are used to imitate or describe real-world sounds or sensations, respectively.

For many English speakers, sentences like “And the rain was falling like ‘tccccchhhh’, and my heart was going ‘boom boom boom,'” might come across as informal at best, or perhaps even suggest that the speaker is not especially articulate. In Japanese, though, onomatopoeia is employed far more frequently in both spoken and written communication, and this new commercial from Sony announcing a price cut for its Vita portable games console has it in droves.

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