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Imagine you’re a young buck at a singles’ party at a swanky Tokyo restaurant. As you regale the ladies with your testosterone-dripping tales of regular shark wrestling, frequent motorcycle racing, and occasional motor-shark racing, you mentally calculate whether or not you have enough protein powder in the kitchen cupboard to make two breakfast shakes, because you know there’s no way you’re going home alone tonight.

Unless, of course, the guy next to you starts talking about his collection of Sword Art Online Blu-rays.

The Japanese word otaku originally meant nothing more than just “you.” It had a bit of a wishy-washy tone to it, but for the early stage of its existence the word wasn’t anything more than a pronoun. Somewhere along the line it caught on as a way to refer to young men with an intense interest in animation, comics, video games, or any other form of technology or escapist entertainment.

In other words, it became the Japanese word for “geek.”

But much like its English equivalent, the word otaku went from being a cutting insult to a defiant mark of pride with people identifying themselves by it, and now carries a certain level of geek-chic.

As part of its ongoing series of surveys on love and relationships, Sankei Living Newspaper asked 94 women if they could bring themselves to be in a relationship with a guy who’s an otaku. An overwhelming 77 percent said they’d have no problem doing just that.

▼ Would you date an otaku? Red: Yes Blue: No

The researchers credited this to the growing number of women who are “light otaku.” Anime, video games, and manga comics have seeped so deeply into Japanese pop culture, with top-tier musicians singing their theme songs and hit TV dramas and movies made from their stories, that it’s becoming harder and harder to find someone under the age of 30 who’s not at least a little into them.

“It’s easier for a couple to understand each other if they share a hobby, and being into the same thing makes it more fun to experience together,” explained one women who said she could see herself with a fan-boyfriend.

There is one tiny cloud obscuring this ray of hope for lonely otaku, however. While the women surveyed said they’re fine with a guy who loves manga and computers, a number of them qualified that by saying if he looks or dresses like an otaku, he’d better get used to spending the night with his anime huggie pillow. So otaku men, consider yourselves warned. You’ve got a chance with the girls at the club this weekend, so long as you leave the Naruto headband at home.

Source: http://en.rocketnews24.com/2013/04/28/beta-males-rejoice-77-percent-of-women-say-geeky-otaku-are-a-ok/

While it’s hard for some people to imagine the visually-impaired using smartphones, there is a growing market out there of models and apps specifically designed for them. Japan will be releasing a smartphone app that can read the denomination of money if the user holds it over the running app.

The Ministry of Finance is targeting a December release of the app which will be able to read ¥1000, ¥2000, ¥5000, and ¥10000 notes. An official from the ministry said that they want to make sure that everyone in the society will have the ability to read banknotes because it is a “fundamental infrastructure of our economy and society.” He also said that this initiative of the MOF, together with the National Printing Bureau, is a result of a directive from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to think of ways to improve the lives not just of the visually-impaired but all in society who have a disability. The Bank of Japan will also be releasing a new ¥5000 note by 2014 that has a hologram which will allow the blind to quickly identify the bill just by touching it. The MOF will also be trying to create a portable device that will help the blind identify bank notes.

Japan is not the only country that has created ways to help visually-impaired citizens deal with money. Australia specifically designed their bills to be of different length while Canada, they print raised dots on the bills to make them identifiable. The US Bureau of Engraving and Printing also released a similar app to Japan’s. It’s not just the real visually-impaired that will benefit from this app. Finance Minister Taro Aso joked at a press conference that those who are too drunk to see straight and pay for stuff or their taxi fare. Now for that reason alone, this will probably be downloaded a lot of times.

Sources: http://japandailypress.com/japan-to-release-money-reading-smartphone-app-for-visually-impaired-2627858 & http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2013/04/26/japan-unveils-new-money-reading-app/

If you've spent a lot of time in Asia, you're probably familiar with the Tuk-Tuk, a three-wheeled buggy that's commonly used for taxi services. They're noisy, smelly and environmentally unsound. But one Japanese company has plans to replace them with space-age-looking electric vehicles.

According to Autoblog:

The company plans to build the car in the Philippines and start selling it later this year for about $6,300. It can go about 31 miles on a two-hour charge, which could propose a bit of a limitation for all-day taxi use. This three-wheeler ties into a national program in the Philippines to replace 100,000 gas-powered tuk-tuks with more efficient, cost-effective EVs by 2016.

Source: http://io9.com/asias-notorious-tuk-tuk-taxis-could-become-electric-479796027

These are even found in South Asian countries like India & Pakistan so maybe it'll even available there.

The Sports Hochi and Sports Nippon newspapers are reporting on Wednesday that Eiko Kadono's popular children's novel series Majo no Takkyūbin is getting its first live-action film next spring. 40-year-old Takashi Shimizu (The Grudge/Juon, Tomie: Rebirth) is directing.

16-year-old Fūka Koshiba is starring as the young witch Kiki, the character made famous by Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli's 1989 anime film adaptation Kiki's Delivery Service. The accomplished figure skater (she can perform the triple loop jump) was chosen from 35,390 candidates in the "Girls Audition 2011" competition. She then made her acting debut as the sister of actress Emi Takei (Rurouni Kenshin) in the 2012 television series Iki mo Dekinai Natsu. She was chosen from an audition of about 500 for Majo no Takkyūbin, her first film role.

The six novel volumes of Majo no Takkyūbin follow the coming of age of Kiki with her black cat Jiji. They have sold 1.8 million copies and have been translated into eight languages, including English, Italian, Chinese, Swedish, and Korean.

Despite the fact that both films adapt the same 1985-2009 novel series, this live-action film has no direct connection to the Ghibli anime film. The anime adapted the first novel volume, while the live-action film will cover the first two volumes. The website Twitch reported earlier this month that Shimizu is directing a live-action Kiki's Delivery Service film, but Ghibli denied it, saying, "We have nothing to do with it."

Annick Press published the first novel with an English translation by Lynne E. Riggs in 2003. That same year, Buena Vista Home Entertainment / Disney released Ghibli's film on DVD in North America.

Source: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2013-04-23/the-grudge-shimizu-helms-live-action-kiki-delivery-service

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Backdrops are called backdrops for a reason—they're designed to fade against the focus of a particular scene. But as a new single-serving Tumblr called Anime Backgrounds proves, sometimes the best art is to be found behind the characters.

Like the late, great Animation Backgrounds blog, Anime Backgrounds highlights random moments of beauty that take place while most of us are focused on the story. "I feel like there are lots of blogs dedicated to the art of western animation," the anonymous creator writes, "so this blog will be ‘mainly' focused on Japanese and non-western animation." Since there aren't terribly many scenes that don't contain characters, the moderator meticulously Photoshops them out, letting us enjoy the scenes without the intrusion of people and giving us a much-deserved look at the (really) amazing technical drawing skills of greats like Osamu Tezuka and Masamune Shirow.

It bears mentioning that anime, manga and architecture share a surprisingly intimate relationship, thanks to generations of young architects who grow up watching or reading visual stories set in cities. As Japan recovered from World War II, a group of young Japanese architects—known as the Metabolists—imagined rebuilding cities as organic, adaptable megastructures (some of them succeeded).

When anime came of age in the 1970s, many films were set in cities that bore both the scars of war and the signs of Metabolist-style regeneration, multiplied by a few orders of magnitude for visual effect. Then, in the 1980s and 90s, a new generation of architects emerged with a vision of the city that was deeply informed by the classic anime they grew up with—hence, "anime architecture."

But that's a cultural history for someone else to parse—for now, enjoy these intricate architectural stage sets, courtesy of Anime Backgrounds.

Please look at the sources for more images.

Sources: http://gizmodo.com/5995272/an-ode-to-the-unsung-art-of-anime-backgrounds & http://anime-backgrounds.tumblr.com/


Realizing that the oft-promised 'paperless office' may never actually come to fruition, researchers at Fujitsu are working on a backup plan that gives printed documents similar tablet-like touchscreen functionality.

Using a tabletop projector, webcam, and other sensors, the system can precisely detect finger movements and motion in 3D, allowing a user to interact with a printed page and digitize text or pictures by simply tapping or dragging out selection boxes. The projector creates UI elements that are perfectly matched to a user's finger motions, but it can also facilitate additional content like animations or videos on the page. One thing's for certain, staying up all night to cram for a college final would be a heck of a lot easier with an enhanced textbook.

Sources: http://gizmodo.com/5994660/turn-a-printed-page-into-a-touchscreen-with-this-brilliant-concept & http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=I2l0qklSzks

Current Mood: indifferentindifferent
The spring anime season has begun in Japan, and while there’s plenty of standard stuff like kids saving the world, harem shows and busty samurai waitresses (really), there are a few gems that deserve to be seen. If you’re looking for new anime, make sure you hunt these five series down.

Attack on Titan

Based on an extremely popular manga by Hajime Isayama, Attack on Titan takes the giant monster genre in a dark new direction. The Earth is under constant attack by humanoid giants called Titans who eat any human on sight, while the remnants of humanity live in a single city surrounded by three enormous concentric walls; this protects them for about a century, until an even bigger, meaner giant knocks the first wall down, killing the mother of our young protagonists Eren Yeager and his (adopted) sister Mikasa Ackerman. When the giants begin to break through the second wall, Eren discovers the ability to transform into a Titan himself — a power that not every human living in the last city on Earth is okay with. Think of Attack on Titan as Japan’s equivalent of The Walking Dead — a show where the giant monster attack never stops happening, and the stresses that puts on people and society. Let me assure you, Attack on Titan is not any cheerier than Walking Dead in that regard.

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Starting on April 19th, Fuji TV will begin airing a new late night program “ASIA VERSUS“.

The program aims to find talented rookie artists from Asia through video sites such as YouTube.

Every week, two finalists will be chosen among eight artists who pass the primary examination, and they will perform at the studio. Then one will be picked as the weekly champion, and the program will produce the songs for the winner.

The MC of the program will be music producer Jeff Miyahara who has worked with artists like Amuro Namie, Nishino Kana, JUJU, and Kato Miliyah. He said enthusiastically, “I want to show the world how amazing Asian music is.”

The program will also be aired in Taiwan (FTV), Korea (KMTV), and Indonesia (MNC Music), and the panel of judges will include one person from each country. The judge from Japan will be none other than GACKT. He commented, “It’s a good opportunity to meet a new talent in Asia, and I am enjoying it. If I find a good one, I may help produce the contestant….”

“ASIA VERSUS” will be aired on Fuji TV every Friday at 2:05 am.

Source: http://www.tokyohive.com/2013/04/fuji-tv-to-start-a-new-program-to-find-new-artists-from-asia-gackt-to-be-one-of-the-judges/

Nice! Altho how is he fitting this all in his schedule with his upcoming tour & all? :/
Current Mood: blahblah
06 April 2013 @ 05:14 pm

Japan-US ties have been strained over Okinawa bases and troops in the past
Japan and the US have agreed plans to return land near the Kadena US air base on Okinawa to Japan.

The move will see many US troops relocated outside of Japan.

Japan also announced a revised timetable for relocating the controversial Futenma US air base. Original plans to relocate by 2014 were stalled by local opposition.

There has been a US military presence on Okinawa since the US invaded the island during World War II.

The plans call for an immediate return of certain facilities and areas on Okinawa.

Additional locations will also be returned once replacement facilities are constructed and large contingents of US Marine Corps relocate outside of Japan to Guam and Hawaii, according to a statement from the US military.

Continue reading the main story
1429: King Sho Hashi establishes Ryukyu kingdom
1609: Satsuma clan from southern Japan invade
1872: Japan makes Ryukyu kingdom a feudal domain; absorbs it in 1879
1945: An estimated 100,000 Okinawan civilians die in Battle of Okinawa; Japan surrenders; US takes control of Okinawa
1972: Okinawa reverts to Japan; US bases stay
Profile: Okinawa
The US has not said how many troops will be redeployed.

Once implemented, the plans will see approximately 1000 hectares of land returned to Japan.

Ongoing dispute
Under new plans, the Futenma base will be moved after 2021.

The base, near Naha city, has soured ties between the two allies in the past.

Locals say having a military facility so near the city is dangerous and noisy, and want it removed from the island altogether.

Occasional well-publicised instances of bad behaviour and criminality by US personnel fuelled the concerns.

A 2006 agreement between the US and Japan stated that the base must be relocated before the troops were redeployed. However in 2011, the two sides agreed to "de-link" the two issues.

Under the 2006 agreement, the US said it would move 8,000 marines to Guam once Futenma was shut down, leaving 10,000 on Okinawa.

That deal stalled amid local protests at the possible sites for relocation of the base.

The US has a total military deployment in Japan of about 50,000 personnel.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-22039186

Jrock's Samurai Guitarist King Miyavi announced the release of his next album in June!

This album will be self-titled and is scheduled to drop on June 19th. The also revealed that the album will be released world-wide.

But there's more oversea fans can look forward to! Miyavi announced that he's already planning a new worldtour! It will be the 4th time he will visit countries overseas. The guitarist didn't reveal any details yet but it's said that he will tour in fall.

Currently he is on his "Ahead Of The Light" tour that will end on April 13th in Okinawa.

Source: http://www.jpopasia.com/news/miyavi-announces-self-titled-album::13434.html

title or description

Versailles’ members HIZAKI, TERU, MASASHI, and YUKI made a new band, Jupiter.

According to their official website, they welcomed a new vocalist ZIN and will bring the debut single “Blessing of the Future” on 2013 summer.

title or description

Sources: http://culture.cdjapan.co.jp/?p=3105 & http://jupiter.jp.net/home/

Even though it's not Versailles anymore, I'm just glad they're still continuing! :D
Originally posted by whatjapanthinks at Japanese men’s favourite height, weight and bust size



goo Ranking recently took a look at the female body shapes that men like.


Over the 6th and 7th of March 2013 1,083 members of the goo Research monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 56.7% of the sample were femle, 11.6% in their teens, 15.0% in their twenties, 24.9% in their thirties, 24.7% in their forties, 12.7% in their fifties, and 11.1% aged sixty or older. Note that the score in the results refers to the relative number of votes for each option, not a percentage of the total sample. This question was for the men only.

I am surprised that huge breasts appear lower down than small ones! My wife has a theory that tall foreign men prefer short Japanese women, although I wonder if it is just because we tend to remember the height mismatches and forget the more size-compatable couples?

Note that for weight, the four categories in ascending size are slim, average, well built, and fat. The other two statistics should be self-explanatory.

Ranking resultCollapse )

It’s been revealed that actress/singer Kuriyama Chiaki will be releasing her first single in a year and 5 months, “Toyosu☆Luciferin“, on April 24th.

Kuriyama’s 6th single since her singing debut in February of 2010 was written by former Midori vocalist Goto Mariko and composed, arranged, and produced by 9mm Parabellum Bullet guitarist Taki Yoshimitsu. The song is said to have a beautiful melody, heavy-metal sound, and lyrics full of fantasy.

For its coupling track, the single will include a rock number called “Hodokenai, Bokura wa Zettai.“, which is also composed, arranged, and produced by Taki. It will also include a song that was produced by 9mm Parabellum Bullet, “Roulette de Kuchizuke wo“, which was featured in Kuriyama’s first album, “CIRCUS“, released back in March of 2011.

Below are the jacket covers for “Toyosu☆Luciferin”.


Limited Edition

Regular Edition

Source: http://www.tokyohive.com/2013/03/kuriyama-chiaki-to-release-her-first-single-in-a-year-and-5-months/


All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan’s leading airline, has recently launched “Let’s Do Japan”, a tourism and culture site that targets at international visitors and that allows them to create their own Japanese manga personality. The site also offers helpful tips about Japanese culture and trends.

ANA’s online visitors will be able to create their own manga personality using a site called “Manganizer”. The site features five distinct Japanophile travelers that embody the characteristics of ANA and Japan. Visitors can choose to be a manga hero that includes the characteristic of either Executive, Fashionista, Gourmand, Designer or Aficionado. The characters use the visitors’ own pictures.

Manganizer uses face recognition technology to render manga images of the user, based on information shared with the app through Facebook Connect or by uploading their image. The rendered manga can then be tweaked using the editor, and downloaded or shared via Facebook and Twitter. By using the Facebook Connect function, users can also generate entire manga stories that incorporate themselves as well as their Facebook friends into the plot, according to the international press.

Another site feature called 360° Japan allows visitors to explore Japan-centric social scenes like a restaurant, design architecture lounge, or a café and to find out more about Japan’s culture and traditions.

“Visitors to our innovative site can immerse themselves in their own story through Manganizer or discover helpful tips and interesting facts about Japan and Japanese culture through 360° Japan,” explained ANA spokesperson. “We believe our site offers its visitors a fun, high-tech glimpse into what to expect when they visit Japan for the first time or the tenth. And, who would not want to be the hero of their own manga-style story?”

Sources: http://www.tokyotimes.com/2013/ana-site-allows-users-to-become-manga-characters/# & http://ana-manganizer.com/

A week late but awesome nonetheless.

Japanese architect Toyo Ito has won this year's prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize.

Ito, who created London's Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in 2002, was recognised for the libraries, houses, offices and other buildings he has designed in Japan and around the world.

Judges commended the 71-year-old for improving the "quality of both public and private spaces".

He will receive $100,000 (£62,000) at an awards ceremony in Boston in May.

Past winners of the annual award, dubbed as architecture's Nobel prize, include Frank Gehry, IM Pei, Tadao Ando, and Renzo Piano.

Accepting the honour, Ito said whenever he completes a design he becomes "painfully aware of my own inadequacy, and it turns into energy to challenge the next project".

"Therefore, I will never fix my architectural style and never be satisfied with my works," he said in a statement.

US Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, who served on the jury, said Ito had "inspired many architects, critics and members of the general public alike".

"Along with all others involved with the Pritzker Prize, I am very pleased that he has received the award," he said.

Ito's buildings have been praised for their fluid beauty and balance between the physical and virtual world.

Among his notable designs include the curvaceous Municipal Funeral Hall in Gifu, Japan; the transparent Sendai Mediatheque library in Miyagi, Japan; and the spiral White O residence in Marbella, Chile.

"His buildings are complex, yet his high degree of synthesis means that his works attain a level of calmness, which ultimately allows the inhabitants to freely develop their life and activities in them,'' said Chilean architect and jury member Alejandro Aravena.

Ito began his career at Kiyonori Kikutake and Associates after he graduated from Tokyo University in 1965, going on to found his own architecture firm in 1971.

His works have been exhibited in museums in the US, England, Denmark, Italy, Chile and numerous cities in Japan.

Chinese architect Wang Shu won the prize last year - the first Chinese citizen to do so.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-21827475