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Why are people in their 20s moving outside of Tokyo to Yokohama and other areas?

Posted: 01 Apr 2018 08:00 PM PDT

Expert dishes on important factors that are leading young people to shun living in certain areas of the capital in favor of other suburban centers. 

Young and moving to Tokyo for work or study? You may want to think a little outside of the box in terms of where to rent an apartment, or at least evaluate which factors are most important to you when it comes to a desirable place to live.

Real estate agency Suumo‘s recent 2018 survey of the most desirable places to live in and around the Tokyo area found some interesting trends between the age of respondents and their top living picks. The most dramatic difference was related to the traditionally coveted Kichijoji neighborhood of western Tokyo which is often ranked high in this type of housing survey but performed underwhelmingly for the 20s demographic. Compare the overall rankings for respondents of all ages polled with the 20s-only crowd below:

Top ten places I want to live (20s-40s demographic):

  1. Yokohama (Kanagawa Prefecture)
  2. Ebisu (Tokyo Prefecture)
  3. Kichijoji (Tokyo Prefecture)
  4. Shinagawa (Tokyo Prefecture)
  5. Ikebukuro (Tokyo Prefecture)
  6. Musashi-Kosugi (Kanagawa Prefecture)
  7. Shinjuku (Tokyo Prefecture)
  8. Meguro (Tokyo Prefecture)
  9. Omiya (Saitama Prefecture)
  10. Urawa (Saitama Prefecture)

Top ten places I want to live (20s demographic):

  1. Yokohama (Kanagawa Prefecture)
  2. Ebisu (Tokyo Prefecture)
  3. Shinagawa (Tokyo Prefecture)
  4. Ikebukuro (Tokyo Prefecture)
  5. Musashi-Kosugi (Kanagawa Prefecture)
  6. Kichijoji (Tokyo Prefecture)
  7. Shinjuku (Tokyo Prefecture)
  8. Shibuya (Tokyo Prefecture)
  9. Omiya (Saitama Prefecture)
  10. Meguro (Tokyo Prefecture)

While Kichijoji ranked third for all surveyed ages combined, it only took the sixth spot for respondents in their 20s. Conversely, Yokohama, the capital of neighboring Kanagawa Prefecture and only a 30-minute train ride from Tokyo, was equally desirable for all age ranges. In fact, the more detailed results indicate that even people from outside of Kanagawa Prefecture would like to live in Yokohama–only 52.4 percent of those who billed it as their top choice were already residents of Kanagawa Prefecture, whereas 68.9 percent of those who selected Kichijoji were already residents of Tokyo. What can account for these trends besides the obvious steep price of rent for living in the capital city?

▼ Even if it’s expensive, Tokyo does have some of the best public cherry blossom-viewing spots at this time of the year.

Suumo Editor-in-Chief Yoichi Ikemoto recently shared some insight regarding why the younger generation is not completely sold on the idea of Kichijoji or even Tokyo as their ideal place to live, as well as the draws of other neighboring suburban centers. In particular, he cites two main factors: the availability of fun places to spend time and ongoing workplace reforms. 

The first reason is inextricably tied to most younger people’s natural desire for fun places to hang out after work and on their days off. It’s perhaps most succinctly illustrated in a common survey response along the lines of “There’s no movie theater in Kichijoji.” Ikemoto notes that while Kichijoji has long been prized for its fashionable boutiques and upscale dining, people in their 20s don’t necessarily have the disposable income yet to enjoy these perks as do the 30s and 40s crowd. Furthermore, Kichijoji is lacking a cinema complex, a variety of entertainment attractions, large public parks, and inexpensive family-style restaurants where it’s acceptable to linger for long stretches of time.

▼ A new shop opening in the stylish Kichijoji area of Tokyo

Contrast those details with Yokohama, which offers an abundance of inexpensive entertainment and dining options in the form of Minato Mirai 21, the city’s central business and commercial district which boasts the Landmark Plaza shopping complex and Cosmo World Amusement Park. Yokohama Chinatown, the seaside Yamashita and Rinko Parks, and many other attractions are also nearby and easily accessible. In other words, Yokohama has all of the perks that keep young people clamoring for more at a more realistic cost of living than many Tokyo neighborhoods.

▼ A view of Minato Mirai 21 in Yokohama

The second reason why many people in their 20s prefer living outside of Tokyo rests with ongoing workplace reforms, for which many of the core suburban centers are leading the way. In light of the startling amount of overtime hours that many Tokyo firms expect from their employees, many companies are beginning to see the value in cutting working hours so that employees can actually go home at a decent time. It’s no wonder that a fresh-out-of-college employee would prefer this workplace model to that of the older generations.

On a final note, Ikemoto notes the role that sports and “civic pride” have perhaps played in raising the popularity of some current and up-and-coming suburban cities. For instance, the excitement in Yokohama was palpable last year when the Yokohama BayStars professional baseball team won the 2017 Central League Climax Series for the first time in 19 years. Similarly, the neighborhood of Urawa in Saitama Prefecture (which crept into tenth place in the overall living survey rankings this year) is home to the Urawa Reds of the J1 League. Sports serve as a unifying force for these areas, and make the people who live there proud to be residents of them.

▼ Professional soccer team Urawa Reds have helped contribute to Saitama Prefecture’s newfound “cool” factor.

Regardless of where you decide to live near Japan’s capital city, make sure to take a look at our list of the five worst areas to live in and around Tokyo–you might thank us later.

Source: Yahoo! Japan via Otakomu
Featured image: SoraNews24

Clip shows Nintendo wouldn’t be the powerhouse it is today without cards and yakuza【Video】

Posted: 01 Apr 2018 06:00 PM PDT

Now one of the most influential firms in the video game industry, few know of the company's past struggles.

Heralding a fresh generation of popular games like Super Mario Odyssey, Splatoon 2, and perhaps a hotly anticipated Pokémon RPG, Nintendo's newest console is the culmination of decades of innovation coupled with unbridled ambition.

Yet the company's goal wasn't always as clearly defined as it is today, particularly when it was first founded back in 1889. Nintendo started off producing hanafuda, which were traditional Japanese playing cards printed on mulberry tree bark.

It was remarkably profitable thanks to the yakuza, who used hanafuda in their numerous gambling parlours, eventually providing the firm with enough resources to branch out into other businesses.

▼ Here's a short clip explaining Nintendo's colorful history.

▼ Nintendo sure dealt with some shady customers back in the day.

Steering away from the limited potential of playing cards, the company tried its hand in other fields to find its true calling. It wasn't until the arrival of Gunpei Yoko's extendable claw toy that Nintendo began pouring all its efforts into innovative entertainment.

▼ Known as the “ultra hand,”
it’s perfect for annoying your parents!

Gunpei's key inventions such as the Game & Watch handheld system and iconic plus-shaped control pad were the turning point for not only Nintendo, but for our entire gaming industry today. The rest, as they say, is history.

▼ We have a lot to thank Gunpei Yoko for.

It would be hard to deny that Gunpei single-handedly changed our world, but if it weren't for the fact that Nintendo once profited off of selling playing cards to crime organizations, the squeaky-clean family-friendly Nintendo that we know today would probably not exist.

Although to be fair Nintendo may have recently dipped their toe back into their seedy roots with the recently-released adult game featuring sexy cosplayers. But we’ll go out on a limb and say that’s probably not something that they’re going to pursue.

Source: YouTube/Polygon via My Game News Flash
Images: YouTube/Polygon

University student’s angelic rendition of Princess Mononoke theme song stuns netizens【Video】

Posted: 01 Apr 2018 10:30 AM PDT

Higher pitched, celestial version of the iconic song soothes the heart and brings tears to eyes.

Many Japanese people remember Princess Mononoke for its graceful animation, gripping storyline, and fascinating cast of characters. But perhaps more than that, it's the soulful music that cements it as one of the most classic films in Studio Ghibli's collection.

And now a video of a Japanese university student singing Princess Mononoke's theme song has become the talk of the town thanks to her angelic voice.

▼ She also sang it at a higher pitch, five keys higher to be exact.

With an impeccable voice full of emotion, this version could easily fit into the anime movie and no one would have batted an eyelid.

The karaoke video is almost four years old, but has resurfaced a few weeks ago on the Japanese Internet perhaps due to YouTube's recommendation algorithm. Nevertheless, it's an elegant spin on countertenor Yoshikazu Mera's original version of the iconic song, renewing netizens' love for a film that has deeply touched their lives.

▼ Princess Mononoke wouldn't be the hit it is today
without Yoshikazu's crystal-clear voice.

The unnamed Japanese university student recorded several other karaoke videos of her belting out anime songs on her channel, and though they were all fantastic in their own right, few came close to the marvelous vocals found in her stunning Princess Mononoke rendition.

Japanese netizens were moved:

"I was thinking there'd be plenty of negative comments, but I was dead wrong."
"I'm certain you're a fairy singing in a forest while playing the harp."
"Raise your hands if you're still listening to this now."
"It's such a waste listening to this on a smartphone. I bet it'll sound way better live."

Between Yoshikazu's divine tone and university girl's angelic voice, which do you prefer? While the original does have a classic ring to it, the girl's high vocals were undoubtedly spectacular, particularly in the later half of the video. Perhaps if we took some special singing pills then we could sing as well as her.

Source: YouTube/Maya Himaiyafu via Hachima Kiko
Top image: YouTube/Maya Himaiyafu

Bizarre or brilliant? Takoyaki and okonomiyaki rice balls available in convenience stores now

Posted: 01 Apr 2018 08:00 AM PDT

New Japanese snacks lets you enjoy the spiritual food of Osaka with onigiri.

Tasty salmon is by far the most popular stuffing for onigiri (Japanese rice balls). Seasoned cod roe and tuna remain crowd favorites, but the beauty of this wonderful snack is that as long as it tastes good, it deserves to be buried in rice.

Figuring that Japanese people have a soft spot for takoyaki (balls of batter filled with diced octopus) and okonomiyaki (savory pancake), convenience store chain Lawson has combined them with the nation's beloved rice ball snack.

▼ We made a trip to a store and spotted our prey nestled
among bizarre fried oyster onigiri and braised egg onigiri.

▼ And here's our loot for the day:
okonomiyaki (left) and takoyaki (right) rice balls.

For a paltry 100 yen each (US$0.94) these two felt like they could fill our stomachs easily. Unwrapping the takoyaki one first, we were startled to find a whole ball of batter encased by an outer shell of rice.

▼ We had no idea they would literally bury an entire octopus ball in there.

Biting into it brought forth a burst of savory takoyaki flavors accompanied by mayonnaise and bits of seaweed. It was a great concept marred by the fact that the combination didn't really mesh well together, feeling more like eating octopus balls with rice rather than a homogeneous blend of exciting tastes.

▼ Nevertheless, we couldn't deny its visual impact.

Next up was the okonomiyaki rice ball, and judging by what we got from the previous morsel, we had a hunch it would be a tasty pancake slapped onto a ball of rice.

▼ And we were right.

▼ It's certainly not the most visually appealing of foods,
but how else would you make an okonomiyaki onigiri?

After sampling the two snacks available only in Lawson stores, we believed it was only a matter of time before they start cramming entire salmon sushi into tiny rice balls. Which might not be such a bad idea considering one brave establishment actually made onigiri with fish butts sticking out of them.

Source: Lawson Store 100
Images: ©SoraNews24

To combat declining birth rate, Japan to begin offering “Breeding Visas” to foreigners

Posted: 01 Apr 2018 02:00 AM PDT

Later this year, Japan will attempt to induce its own baby boom.

Japan’s rapidly aging population and declining birthrate has been a problem for decades now. There have been several attempts by the government to try and alleviate the issue, but so far none have met with much success.

However, one upcoming strategy may finally prove successful. It comes from the Japanese government's Accelerated Family Bureau (AFB), which recently announced that starting later this year they will begin issuing “breeding visas” to residents of foreign countries.

▼ The visas will allow certain eligible foreign travelers
to enter Japan, just like any other current visa.

Flickr/Paul Davidson

According to plans put forth by the AFB, breeding visas will be offered similarly to tourist, work, and family visas. However, breeding visas will have their processing expedited (typically available after one business day) and applicants will receive reimbursement on all travel expenses incurred.

Holders of breeding visas will be required to provide evidence of at least one pregnancy that they helped induce, either in themselves for females or in a Japanese citizen for males. Those unable to do so will have to pay a fine of no less than 50,000 yen (US$476) upon departure.

The AFB plans to issue breeding visas with stay durations of one week, one month, and a special one-day “one night stand” version that comes with extra bonuses unknown at this time.

▼ Rumors online have suggested that it will include free cosplay
costumes and love hotel vouchers, but they have not yet been confirmed.

Pakutaso

In order to apply for a breeding visa, foreign residents will have to go to a Japanese consulate or embassy and fill out paperwork to ensure that they meet the eligibility requirements.

While details are still being worked out, applicants are required to be at least 21 years old, be in good physical and mental health, and have scored at least chunin level on the official Naruto Certification Exam.

▼ “B-but Sakura-chan… you’re married to Sasuke now dattebayo!
“It’s okay. I have a breeding visa.”

Some have critiqued breeding visas, saying they should only be made available to foreign males, since the visa does not require female recipients to give birth to their “breeding visa child” in Japan and raise them there.

However, such criticisms were quickly silenced once the detractors realized what they were saying.

▼ “We don’t want thousands of women coming to Japan
just with the intent of… oh. Yeah, never mind!”

Pakutaso

So what do you think? Will you be picking up a breeding visa of your own? Do you think it will be more successful than the government’s controversial policy last year to allow adopting of deer in Nara?

Let us know in the comments and remember to have a happy April Fools' Day!

Source: April Fool’s!
Top image: Pakutaso

Taiwanese man set off by brush of woman’s hair, throws boiling soup on her face【Video】

Posted: 31 Mar 2018 10:00 PM PDT

Victim pays the price for the man’s “fit of rage“.

Living in crowded cities means you’ll regularly be making contact with those around you, whether you’re simply brushing past each other on a busy sidewalk or are crushed up against each other on a packed train.

Most people take this sort of physical contact in stride, as it’s just a part of living life in close quarters with those around you. But one man from Taiwan recently lost his temper when the hair of a fellow diner brushed up against him.

The 57-year-old man, reported with his surname Huang, was at a hot pot restaurant in the Taiwanese city of Chiayi, when a female diner sitting next to him, 33-year-old Chen, turned around to check her order. In doing so, her long hair accidentally brushed against Huang’s arm, as can be seen in the video below.

Huang started yelling at Chen, accusing her of being unhygienic, and Chen retorted that he didn’t need to be yelling so loudly. A few seconds later, Huang can be seen picking up the bowl of soup in front of him and throwing the contents in Chen’s face.

Other diners rushed in to calm the man, and restaurant staff tended to Chen, running cold water on her face and providing her with ice cubes until an ambulance arrived. The hot soup resulted in first- and second-degree burns on her face and neck.

Huang told police he had acted in a fit of rage, and expressed regret for his actions, but it’s likely that he will be paying greatly for his temper, as Chen is rightfully filing a lawsuit against him. We hope that she will be successful and be able to move on with her life without any permanent damage.

Just another reminder that if you don’t like going to jail, then you shouldn’t throw soup in people’s faces or road-rage attack them with katana.

Source: YouTube/The AIO Entertainment, Mail Online
Featured Image: Youtube/The AIO Entertainment