- Japanese partygoer starts dishwashing at American friend’s house, ends up pondering her culture
- Japanese Twitter user may have discovered why they’re forever alone
- Seiji and the spirit of Yngwie Malmsteen barely interview a Japanese actress【Interview】
- Survey reveals Japan as the top travel destination for Southeast Asians, but not for Westerners
- Affordable glasses that help blind people understand text now receiving crowdfunding support
- Japan’s newest virtual YouTuber boasts 17 years of idol experience, is only 12 years old【Videos】
- Japanese coffee chain brings in spring with sakura-scented ground and drip coffee
- “Farts of Beautiful Women” festival returns to Shinjuku this March, farting rap battle added
Posted: 18 Feb 2018 08:00 PM PST
A simple act leads to a deep discussion on important cultural values within Japan vs. outside countries and traditional gender roles.
Who does the dishes in your household? Is it an expectation, or do they volunteer? Would they behave any differently at someone else’s house? As one Japanese net user found out, the answers to these questions may reveal more than they initially seem.
A little over a week ago, a single instance of doing something that was completely natural to her at an American friend’s party and the ensuing reaction prompted Twitter user @montserrat5 to post a series of four tweets in total on her thoughts about the experience. Japanese people from around the country have since chimed in with their opinions and observations as well, leading to a net-wide discussion on the subject.
Let’s take a look at the original tweet and scenario that sparked the debate:
It’s important to note for the purposes of this exchange that the writer of the post is a Japanese female, who later clarified that the party took place in Japan and the attendees were almost all non-Japanese people. She continued in a second tweet:
Is she reading too much into this situation, or is she making a valid point? While it’s true that even individuals from the same country of origin and of the same gender have different notions on how to delegate household tasks, @monserrat5 further went on to share another intercultural anecdote:
She finished the dialogue with one more summary tweet:
▼ (NOT part of the discussion agenda: questions about interspecies dishwashing)
Japanese net users weighed in on her postings with mixed opinions:
Truth be told, as an American female, my immediate reaction to @montserrat5’s original anecdote was not related to traditional gender roles at all, as most of the other net users and she herself seemed to interpret it, but to the host vs. guest dynamic. If I were hosting a party at my place, I would never expect my guests to do the dishes for me. Furthermore, if one of them automatically began to clean, I would absolutely intervene just as the American male friend did in this case. From my own time in Japan, I have witnessed Japanese friends trying to stop me from cleaning up as well, so I’m not convinced that it’s necessarily a cultural difference, either. We’d be curious to hear from readers all over the world what your reactions to the tweet series were, and judging by @montserrat5’s interest in the topic, she’d be keen to hear your thoughts too!
Posted: 18 Feb 2018 07:00 PM PST
According to one little sister, the key to getting a girlfriend or boyfriend? Loneliness, and not going to amusement arcades on your own.
There are apocryphal tales about how the birth rate jumped up nine months after a power cut in a major city like New York, Paris or Tokyo as people robbed of the chance to watch TV found another way to keep themselves and their partners entertained. Maybe the television, and its successor as procrastinator general, the Internet, has a hand in the decreasing number of children and relationships in developed countries. According to one partner-less Japanese Twitter user’s younger sister, there’s another culprit in Japan that might explain why their brother is still alone: ramen shops and amusement arcades.
While @Cherry_ogt‘s little sister doesn’t exactly get full marks for tact with that fairly brutal explanation, maybe she’s on to something. While coming across as overly desperate may work against you in the dating game, you need some desperation at least to shrug off the inertia and put yourself out there, something that is even harder to do with a sated belly full of ramen and blistered hands (from excessive taiko arcade game drumming, obviously).
Other Twitter users were quick to see the merit in the wise-beyond-her-years girl’s words, with many believing that she could as easily have been talking about them as about her older brother. Others thought quite the opposite, that those who were happy in their own company made better boyfriends or girlfriends and so would find it easier to find someone to be with.
While the sagacious dating guru sister may have identified a factor, there might be a bit more to it than that. If her older brother is happy, fair play to him. In fact, at a certain incredibly popular ramen chain, going with other people can be more awkward than going alone. If worst comes to worst though, he can always look for a cafe holding a special virtual girlfriend event, or go for the low budget option and just invest in some stockings.
Posted: 18 Feb 2018 06:00 PM PST
In order to confront the intimidating and multi-talented Rena “Non” Nonen, our interviewer summons a god of rock.
Seiji Nakazawa is well-known as a regular writer for this website, but you may not know that he’s also an aspiring musician. As such, his hunger to create will not be satiated until he has found someone to believe in his music enough to pay him for it.
He’s no dreamer, however. Our Seiji knows that you’ll never make it by sitting on your thumbs — unless you happen to know a really cool way to sit like that. No, instead, he’s always looking for opportunities and will pursue them to no end.
One such opportunity came up at the Japan Amusement Expo 2018 held in Makuhari Messe. Non (full name: Rena Nonen) was appearing at the Konami booth to promote the smartphone game Quiz Magic Academy Lost Fantarium in which she provides her voice talents.
Non is something of an entertainment powerhouse finding success as an actor, model, voice actor, spokesperson, and musician. In fact, she has even started her own independent label on which she has released three EPs.
This was it! Seiji could use his reporter-type-guy credentials to get a one-on-one interview with Non. However, his true intent would be to audition his guitar chops so that she would have no choice but to sign him to her label right then and there. It couldn’t fail!
However, he couldn’t just waltz in there looking like some scraggly blogger and expect to be taken seriously as a musician. He had to look the part too, so he raided his closet in order to resemble none other than legendary Swedish guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen as much as possible.
Any record producer would have to be out of their mind not to sign the guitar virtuoso, so by associative property they also couldn’t reject Seiji if he looked and acted like Yngwie.
On the day of the convention, Seiji treated every action as if the shred-steady hand of Yngwie was guiding him. He even drove through Tokyo in an ultra-compact car painted in magic markers in the same way he imagined Yngwie would have done.
And as he stopped for a brief cigarette before entering, Seiji tried to copy how Yngwie would look smoking a menthol on the side of the road.
By the time he arrived, Seiji’s ego was filled to the brim with the spirit of Malmsteen, to the point that he didn’t really care about the potentially life-changing audition any more. “Ain’t no thing,” he muttered as he walked through the gates, “Let’s do this.”
Then, Seiji was surprised to learn that the interview wasn’t going to be held in the Konami booth on the convention floor. Instead it was in a private room. The mellow colors and deafening silence reminded him that he actually wasn’t Time Magazine’s 9th greatest electric guitarist of all time.
It was a momentary chink in his psyche though. Seiji managed to shrug off the fear and returned to full Yngwie-mode as he prepared to enter the interview room.
He opened the door and…
“OMIGODOMIGOD! It’s really her,” Seiji’s inner monologue squealed like a starstruck schoolgirl at the sight of Non, “She’s so cool and pretty!”
Just then the spirit of Yngwie Malmsteen slapped Seiji out of his state awe. “Hey man,” Seiji could hear Yngwie whisper in his head, “You got work to do. Keep your eye on the prize.”
Yngwie was right. Seiji had to keep up appearances and gushing over others simply wasn’t rock and roll. Brushing back his locks and stretching his pants to their limits, Seiji took a seat across from Non.
What would Yngwie do? He would break the ice with some playful banter, of course.
Seiji: “You look very androgynous today, don’t you?”
Non: “Ah! Yes… I do don’t I? In Quiz Magic Academy Lost Fantarium, I play Shikigami Metis who is an… um, ‘androgynous’ character so… that’s the idea! [laughs]“
Seiji: I see.
Seiji: “Non, you’re a talent musician who’s established your own record label. Is there any other music that moves you?”
Non: “Well, I like Kiyoshiro Imawano and Akiko Yano.”
Seiji: “Uhuh, and do you like any Western music?”
Non: “I haven’t really listened to Western music much, so I don’t know much about it.”
Seiji: “I see.”
This was the moment he had waited for. Seiji’s buttery-smooth interviewing skills had opened the perfect window for him to begin playing for Non. However, suddenly all of the Malmsteen melted away and Seiji felt like he was back in grade school at his first recorder recital.
Having played countless times in front of people, Seiji was by no means prone to stage-fright but now he found himself with sweaty palms and a lump in his throat the size of a Grammy award. There was too much at stake.
With every second that passed, Seiji’s ruse of an interview was eroding away. Had he taken the few seconds needed to research what a “Fantarium” or “Shikigami” was, he could have stalled a little longer, but he hadn’t. He had been too busy perfecting his “Malmsteen lunge.”
The urge to get up and run away was strong, but then Seiji had a vision. It was as if a hole in space and time opened up spewing forth fire and ice, Yngwie Malmsteen emerged with a rising force riding on a tiger made of lightning.
He rode towards Seiji with his arm outstretched shouting, “Come on!” Seiji grabbed his hand and the rock legend said calmly, “It’s time to unleash the fury Seiji… unleash it!”
Suddenly, Seiji sprung up from his chair and went into the deepest “Malmsteen lunge” he had ever achieved!
Then… he played.
▼ Riggarun riggarun dununnnuuuun ♫
Seiji played his ever-loving heart out, but with all the beautiful women and lightning tigers around him he couldn’t remember what he actually played. He just let the music flow, and when it was all said and done he sat back in his chair with the satisfied air of knowing that he had done his best.
Choosing once again to strike while the iron was hot, Seiji then asked Non point-blank whether or not she would sign him.
Non: “You were pretty awesome, but….”
Non: “I only work with girl groups, so I can’t sign a guy.”
With that, the interview was over. Non thanked Seiji for coming and gave him a copy of her latest single “Run!!!” That and the fact that she didn’t have him forcibly removed from the premises was awfully nice of her.
Still, rejection always hurts, and Seiji couldn’t help but wonder if “I only work with girl bands,” is the professional equivalent to “I have a boyfriend.” In other words, she was just too kind to tell Seiji he sucked to his face.
▼ Although, if you watch the 50 second interview in its entirety,
As he walked away from Makuhari Messe, a dark cloud of despair began to form. But just then a hand touched his shoulder. It was the spirit of Yngwie Malmsteen telling Seiji with a gentle smile, “C’mon man. No biggie. Let’s go get some soba noodles and potato croquettes, eh?”
Walking together but leaving one set of footprints, Seiji and Yngwie headed for the nearest soba joint.
As Seiji slurped up the delicious noodles he realized that Yngwie was right. This was “no biggie.” It was just another step on the road to his dreams. Today may not have been his day, but his time would come. That he was sure of.
Because Seiji Nakazawa is without a doubt a far better guitar player than he is an interviewer. Just ask Keanu Reeves.
Posted: 18 Feb 2018 05:00 PM PST
Commissioner of the Japan Tourism Agency claims the country isn't exciting enough to appease the Western crowd.
Japan's alluring contrast of tradition and contemporary has made it a fantastic getaway destination for travelers looking to immerse themselves in country known worldwide for anime, video games and cuisine.
And thanks to the 2020 Olympic Games looming on the horizon, the country attracted a record number of tourists in 2017, totaling a whopping 28.69 million people. Chinese (7.35 million) and South Korean (7.14 million) travelers claimed the top spots, but according to the survey, only a paltry 3 million tourists hailed from Western countries.
▼ Steep flight costs might have been a huge factor.
Commissioner of the Japan Tourism Agency, Akihiko Tamura, notes that visitors from Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Canada and Australia associate Japan with Mount Fuji, temples and cherry blossoms. For long periods of stay however, Akihiko laments that visitors find the country to be utterly boring.
▼ Japan, dull? You've got to be kidding me!
Based on those findings, Japan Tourism Agency has begun working toward polish up the country’s image to be more appealing in order to attract more sightseers from Western countries.
They’ve found that several factors could have contributed to the apparent lack of visitors from Western countries, including long travel distances and the general perception that Japan is an expensive country to visit.
▼ Depending on which region you're in and the activities you partake in,
Nevertheless, those reasons pale in comparison to what is probably the biggest obstacle preventing Westerners from enjoying Japan to its fullest: the language.
Due to language similarities, tourists from China, South Korea and Taiwan have an easier time navigating Japan. However, for English-speaking tourists who struggle to comprehend what's available on restaurant menus or understand the historical significance of a 100-year-old shrine, much of what Japan has to offer is essentially locked away behind a steep language barrier.
English education over here in Japan, while compulsory, has not taken off as much as in other nations. Addressing this issue would likely be key in drawing in more visitors from Western countries in the long run.
Luckily for all the readers out there, we at SoraNews24 will continue to bring you exciting Japanese news in English, so you won't miss that all-you-can-eat pie cafe in Tokyo that's all the rage at the moment
Posted: 18 Feb 2018 09:30 AM PST
A simple concept that will forever change the lives of the visually impaired.
Japanese society provides tremendous support for blind people, not only by providing those yellow bumpy ground indicators found on sidewalks and train stations, but with neat campaigns too like allowing visually impaired children to choose their favorite Tokyo Olympics mascot.
Taking a further step toward improving the lives of those unable to see or read properly, company Oton Glass has appealed to the public to help crowdfund a tool that would ease their burden: glasses that convert words into voice.
▼ "Oton Glass" aims to better humankind.
Rather than relying on excessive technology like other similar products on the market, Oton Glass features a spectacle frame outfitted with two tiny cameras and a earphone.
Simply clicking a button on the device captures text as information, sends it to a dedicated cloud system, then converts it into voice emitted via earpiece. Should the system be unable to read the words, the information can be sent to a remote supporter for deciphering.
▼ Oton Glass continues to operate hands-free once activated,
▼ The handy device lets people skip the tedious process
Its simplistic design also translates to lowered production costs, and crowdfunders can get a pair for as little as 5,000 yen (US$47.07), an incredibly affordable investment considering other electronic glasses cost up to five-digit figures.
Even if the project doesn't reach its crowdfunding goal of 10 million yen, all proceeds will be channeled into future development of Oton Glass.
▼ Given its rapid progression, expect new models and
Individuals hoping to make a contribution can do so here.
It's heartwarming to know that companies like these seek to help the visually impaired, but such noble acts are not just limited to large organizations or associations. Even ordinary Japanese citizens try their best to improve the lives of disabled people.
Posted: 18 Feb 2018 07:00 AM PST
Racks up more than 13,000 subscribers in three days after debut with her cheeky channel.
Popular Japanese virtual YouTuber, Kizuna Ai, may be the reigning virtual queen of quirky videos with her bubbly personality and existential A.I. crises, but her competitors are already working hard climbing the same gilded ladder to fame.
Enter Chiyu, a Japanese virtual idol who has been sporadically delivering news involving games, anime and manga since 2001. The website on which she provides amusing commentary lists her as 12 years old, and on Valentine's Day this year, Chiyu has officially made the jump to the YouTuber profession.
▼ Her favorite hobby is playing mahjong, as evident from the large tile
Envious that Hatsune Miku and other virtual YouTubers have legions of devoted fans creating beautiful fan art and videos of the idols, Chiyu took matters into her own hands by becoming one of them instead.
Despite Chiyu having only seven videos in her channel at the time of this writing, the budding anime girl virtual YouTuber has already amassed more than 13,000 subscribers within three days after her debut.
For a seemingly innocent YouTuber, Chiyu's channel debates startling topics like penile measurements, Showa-era pornographic books, or reviews of sex-filled B-grade movies, all narrated using speech synthesis software. So be forewarned, some of her videos are not things you’d want to be caught watching at work or in class.
▼ Although her other videos where she discusses topics like
Hopefully she’ll trend away from the more racy topics and gain more fans and momentum as her website articles get turned into videos, a move Chiyu has been planning for some time now.
And as long as she avoids the disastrous pitfalls made by other anime girl virtual YouTubers, we're pretty sure it's only a matter of time before Chiyu joins the ranks of those she has admired for so long.
Posted: 18 Feb 2018 01:00 AM PST
The aroma of coffee is tantalizing on its own, but how about a bit of sakura to make it even more appealing?
While the temperatures may still be chilly, once the month turns to March, the Japanese public inevitably begins to think about the coming spring, and of course, cherry blossom season.
This year, starting March 1, Japanese coffee chain Dotour will be offering customers an early taste (or smell, in this case) of spring — with sakura-scented coffee! Their new coffee product, the “Premium Roast Coffee Sakura“, will be a limited edition blend of high roast coffee using beans from several locations, to be available in both ground and drip coffee bag form.
More specifically, the blend will consist of Indian coffee as the base, with other coffees such as the fruity and floral Ethiopian Yirgacheffe and Brazilian coffee added as well, and scented with the aroma of sakura tree chips. A “sakura powder” made from yaezakura (multi-layerd cherry blossom) flowers and Ōshimazakura (a cherry tree native to Izu Ōshima island and the Izu Peninsula) leaves will also be added, to create a coffee that should subtly and elegantly carry the scent of sakura.
▼The ground coffee will be available at a price of 680 yen
▼ The drip coffee bag type will be priced at 480 yen for 5 bags.
According to the product description released by Dotour, while the sakura scented coffee is certainly flavorful tasted black, its distinct cherry aroma should become even more pronounced if you add some sugar.
Also, when the temperature of the coffee is still hot, the scent of the cherry flower should be strongly recognizable, while the scent of cherry leaves should become more evident as the coffee cools down, almost as if you can sense the change of the cherry trees from full bloom to their green, leaf covered state after the blossoms are over.
The Premium Roast Coffee Sakura will be available at Dotour locations across Japan for a limited time from March 1. If you’re visiting Japan and looking for a bit of Japanese spring to take home as souvenir, it may fit your bill perfectly!
Posted: 17 Feb 2018 09:00 PM PST
Finally, an event that everyone can enjoy.
In Japan, 3 March is traditionally known as Hina Matsuri and is a celebration of young girls as they grow into adulthood. Activities include setting up an exquisite display of Japanese dolls featuring a noble family and eating snacks and festive sushi. However, you probably notice that this event celebrating only girls is leaving out a very important segment of Japan’s population.
That’s right, I’m talking about fart-lovers.
Out of all the music, food, and festivities surrounding Hina Matsuri, not a single one is oriented to people who love to smell farts — be they their own or other people’s. This tragic wrong is about to be righted, however, by the upcoming event Everyone Listen to the Farts of Beautiful Women Party Vol. 2.
Normally, I’d give a run-down of the event, but the press release was so beautifully written I will translate it verbatim instead:
Now that’s a copy! The bold assumption that 94 percent of the population of Japan are fart-lovers was an especially nice touch. It was also nice of them to apologize for the delay, especially since volume one was only four months ago.
The event will be graced by the three farting stars of the adult film industry:
Miu Akemi is the only returning cast member…
…and she will be joined by newcomers Tomoka Akari…
…and Saiko Yatsuhashi.
The exact details of what will happen are unclear, but considering the cast it will probably involve mature situations and farting — or, at the very least, attempts to fart seeing as the fine print at the bottom of the event page reads:
There is also an Onarap Battle planned which is a delightful play on onara, the Japanese word for “fart.” In this contest, participants must freestyle rap and then end their verse with fart. Whoever can successfully punctuate their rhymes with a rectal raspberry will rule the roost in the Onarap Battle.
If you’d like to attend, you must be over 18 years old and tickets cost 4,000 yen (US$37) in advance and 4,500 yen ($42) at the door. Those who purchase in advance will also receive a “Fart Present” as an added bonus.
So what are you waiting for? Break out your air purifier and yams, and get ready for Everyone Listen to the Farts of Beautiful Women Vol. 2! It’s sure to be a blast.
Source, top image: Evelt
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