Darth Vader to be featured in large-scale snow sculpture at the 2015 Sapporo Snow Festival
Michelle Lynn Dinh
The annual Sapporo Snow Festival held in Japan’s northernmost prefecture has been delighting tourists and locals for over six decades. Each year, artists from around the world are invited to show off their talents constructing enormous structures out of ice and snow.
To commemorate the release of the seventh installment of the Star Wars series, The Walt Disney Company has collaborated with festival officials to design what looks to be the most epic large-scale snow sculpture yet, featuring enormous snow versions of Darth Vader, three Storm Troopers, a TIE fighter, and the Death Star.
Sapporo Snow Festival officials recently announced the collaboration, marking the first large-scale snow sculpture licensed by Lucasfilm. The design will be made a reality in time for the 66th anniversary of the festival, scheduled to take place from February 5 to February 11, 2015.
Tag: Random Japan
Dec 20 2014
Dec 13 2014
Wear black – The 20 most memorable anime deaths, as chosen by fans
While the gigantic robots and gratuitous nudity were certainly eye-catching, when I first started watching Japanese animation, one of the things that surprised me the most was the fact that anime characters could, well, die. Sure, American cartoons from Tom and Jerry to G.I. Joe were filled with explosions and gunplay, but while the violence was abundant, injuries were conspicuously absent.
Anime tales, though, have no qualms about knocking off their players. As a matter of fact, characters shake off this mortal coil so frequently that a recent poll ranked the 20 most memorable anime deaths.
Dec 06 2014
Strange English signs in China and Japan really hate vegetables, sometimes threaten to kill you
We’ve talked before about some of the reasons why bizarre English signage pops up in Asia. One of the most common causes is a fundamental difference in the way sentences are structured between English and other languages. Automated translations programs, which aren’t nearly as well sorted out as many monolingual users believe, are also among the usual suspects.
That said, looking at a flawed translation is sort of like performing an autopsy, in that sometimes there’s a limit in what it can tell you. Just like the medical examiner might say, “Well, all the baby spiders hatching inside the subject’s eyeball definitely killed him, but I’ve got no idea how the eggs got in there,” there are times like these when we look at some garbled English, and, just like we can’t stifle our chuckles, we can’t imagine why the translation went flying off the rails, or if it was even on them to begin with.
Nov 29 2014
Chinese sand artist tickles the heartstrings of manga fans with stunning sand manga drawings
Many of us can’t even draw a decent manga portrait on paper, but there are talented individuals who manage to replicate character illustrations on food, and some using just their bare hands and sand.
Chinese sand artist Zhao Ying Li creates portraits of manga characters from titles such as Slam Dunk and Detective Conan that are so detailed it’s hard to believe they were drawn with sand. See the creation process after the break!
Sand drawing is appreciated as a form of performance art, unlike conventional drawings or paintings. Every single dot, line and gradient is drawn with nothing but sand by the nimble, artistic hands and fingers of the artist, and in the case of a live performance, drawn precisely within a timed session in sync with background music and illumination arrangements.
Nov 22 2014
Nissin Cup Noodle is offering a promotional life-size water-dispensing cow
Yes, you read that title correctly! As part of their promotional campaign for the “Milk Seafood” flavor of cup noodle, Nissin is giving away a life-size plastic cow water dispenser to one lucky instant ramen fan. Simply fill up your cow with water, wait for the cow to heat up, and then “milk” out as much hot water as you need to fill up your Cup Noodle. Join us after the jump for a look at the amusing commercial behind this wacky promotion!
The commercial is actually quite sweet and touching, and features a doting dad reading a story to his child.
Nov 15 2014
Parody news announces “smart rice cooker” by KDDI, KDDI goes ahead and begins designing it
On 13 November, a tweet went out from Kyoko Shimbun which read “AAAAAAAAAAAAA!” Generally, such single-letter interjections don’t yield much of a response, but in this case they got over 400 retweets.
That’s because on this day, Kyoko Shimbun which translates to “Fabricated News” learnt that their fictional Infojar, a next-gen rice cooker with several smartphone capabilities, was in the research and development phase by the very company they were spoofing at the time, KDDI.
■ Fake Infojar
In the fake announcement published back in January of this year, Kyoko Shimbun explained that due to each of Japan’s major mobile providers now carrying the iPhone, KDDI’s brand au would have to find another niche to fill. So, they decided to enter the rice cooker market.
Nov 08 2014
Check out this absolutely stunning drone video of Nagasaki’s Battleship Island in Ultra HD
Nagasaki is known for having a lot of history, being the only port open to foreign trade during Japan’s long isolation in the Edo Period. But one of Nagasaki’s most captivating tourist attractions really isn’t that old – Hashima Island, better known as Gunkanjima, or Battleship Island. It’s eerie existence brings haikyo (urban ruins) fans from all over the world. If you can’t make it to the island yourself, or are unsatisfied with the limited visibility from the tour, wait no longer. Thanks to “Gunkanjima Archives,” an organization run by Nishi Nihon Newspaper, which is dedicated to bringing you photos and videos of the desolate island, you can now take an Ultra HD drone tour of the island in a spellbinding video.
Nov 01 2014
Shibuya celebrates Halloween costumes and huge crowds
Michelle Lynn Dinh
While you might not see a lot of trick or treaters out in Japan, if you find yourself in Tokyo, specifically Shibuya, you’re sure to see some original and inspiring costumes. Let’s take a look at some of the best homemade and store-bought costumes spotted in Shibuya this Halloween.
Oct 25 2014
New cafe in Harajuku serves up Pom Pom Purin-shaped cuisine, attracts fans and pop idols alike
Hayashi ‘Fang’ Hougi
Despite being nowhere near as famous as his feline counterpart abroad, Sanrio’s Pom Pom Purin has a very loyal fan base in his homeland, so much so that the pastel-yellow “pudding” dog managed to clinch fourth place in this year’s Sanrio Character Ranking, at one point leading the pack.
But while Hello Kitty, My Melody and Kiki & Lala have all been given their own themed cafes, poor old’ Pom Pom has had to wait on the sidelines like the patient pup he is. But by the looks of it, the first ever Pom Pom Purin Cafe was well worth the wait, with the Harajuku location boasting a super-kawaii menu with meals, desserts and drinks featuring everyone’s favorite Sanrio canine as well as adorable merchandise available only at the cafe.
Oct 18 2014
The ultimate guide to Kyoto ice-cream
Hayashi ‘Fang’ Hougi
While the weather is gradually getting chillier as many parts of the world meander into autumn, we know we’ll never be able to give up the sweetest bit of summer – ice cream. You can never be too full, nor the weather too cold, for a bowl of that delicious, frozen goodness, and if you happen to be heading to Kyoto to catch the beautiful autumn leaves, you’ll be pleased to know that Japan’s most traditional city is positively brimming with ice cream at this time of year, and today we have a guide to some of the best out there.
Whether you’re into fruity flavors or traditional Kyoto desserts, or simply wanting to satisfy your sweet tooth, the ancient capital is bound to have something for you.
Oct 11 2014
Travelers pick the top three destination restaurants in Japan
Between the country’s natural beauty and historic sites, there are plenty of things to see on a trip to Japan. Eventually, though, you’re going to have to take a break from sightseeing in order to eat, and even then you’re in luck, since Japan is a foodie’s paradise.
But while it’s true that Japan is filled with great restaurants, only one can be at the top of travelers’ dining wish list, as decided by users of travel website Trip Advisor in a recent ranking of where they want to eat in Japan.
Sep 27 2014
Japanese company creates ball-balancing cheerleader robots
Michelle Lynn Dinh
Japan has an infatuation with robots; after all, you don’t see beautiful cyborg women hanging out in restaurants in the US or 24-fingered hair washing bots in the UK. That’s why we weren’t surprised at all to find that Japan has just produced a gang of cheerleading robots that dance in sync while balancing on a ball.
Officially called the “Murata Cheerleaders,” these balancing robots are the fourth generation of robots to be produced by the company. The bicycle-riding Murata Boy was first to come in 1991, followed by the second version of the Murata Boy in 2005, and the Murata Girl who learned to ride a unicycle in 2008.