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Yakuza Man Kills Seven in Akihabara

Date: 2008 June 08 11:39 | Posted By:

Category > Current Affairs

Seven people are dead and another eleven have been injured in Akihabara today as a Yakuza man said to be "tired of life" has gone on a stabbing rampage in the district.

Read More... | Souce: BBC News

Bandai Visual USA to be liquidated

Date: 2008 June 04 19:44 | Posted By:

Category > Current Affairs

Bandai Namco Holdings has announced the liquidation of the American division of their Bandai Visual releasing arm effective July 1st 2008.

Read More... | Souce: Anime News Network

New Non Photographic Law is a bit vague

Date: 2008 May 29 18:12 | Posted By:

Category > Current Affairs

Some anime and manga fans in the UK might have heard about the new proposals which would ban obscene images of children. The proposals mainly cover drawings and computer-generated images, however due to certain parts of the proposals being a bit vague, it's not exactly certain what images are classed as obscene. The mainstream press are keen to wrongly cite manga as one such example.

Read More... | Souce: BBC News

Station Manager Cat saves company

Date: 2008 May 28 08:49 | Posted By:

Category > Current Affairs

BBC News are running a delightful story about a stray cat who saved the day for a loss making Japanese railway. Tama was a stray cat and adopted as the mascot for Kishi station in western Japan. Two years ago the staff had to be axed, but she stayed and was promoted to station manager, and given her own office (which was previously a ticket booth).

The article states that she was born and raised at the station, in the city of Kinokawa, Wakayama prefecture. The feline apparently has the perfect temperament for a mascot and it happy to let people pet her.

Tama has spawned her own range of popular merchandise, including a picture book "Diary of Tama, the Station Master", and has been credited with returning the railway company to profit.

Phew, I managed to write this article without a single Lolcat reference.

Souce: BBC News

Japanese parrot talks his way home

Date: 2008 May 22 15:54 | Posted By:

Category > Freaky Things

BBC News have an amusing story about a stray parrot in Japan, who was reunited with his owner after repeating his name and address. The red-tailed African Grey parrot called Yosuke was taken in by the police and then taken to the local veterinary clinic.

Yosuke greeted people, sung popular children's songs and started to repeat his name and address. Police were then able to match these details to the parrots owner, who had taught the parrot how to recite its name and address.

Souce: BBC News

Free Anime Released to Raise Awareness of Abduction

Date: 2008 April 16 15:25 | Posted By:

Category > Anime

The Japanese government have produced and have released an anime to raise awareness of Japanese citizens being abduction by North Koreans.

"Story: In 1977, Ms. Megumi Yokota, a 13-year-old girl, disappeared on her way home from school. It was revealed later on that she was abducted by North Korea. This film features the anguish of Megumi’s family and their desperate effort to bring her back home."

An English version is available! Check it out at:

Souce: Japan Probe

Dating Classes for Geeks

Date: 2008 February 18 14:46 | Posted By:

Category > Freaky Things

Wired are running an interesting story about a Japanese Pick Up school for geeks, they don't use the word otaku, but we all know who they're talking about.

Satoshi Fujita's Pickup School for Men Who Can't get Any helps geeky males to get ladies. It sounds like a set up for a quirky sitcom, but the date doctor has all sorts of tricks and techniques up his sleeves after a decade of careful research.

The Tokyo evening classes seem popular with more than a hundred students a month being taught in his classes with interesting subjects such as How to Use Magic to Gain Popularity and How to Seduce Women.

Souce: Wired

Akira gets bad press

Date: 2008 January 21 22:06 | Posted By:

Category > Current Affairs

A Sun article on the case regarding Meredith Kercher's death last November points out that suspect Raffaele Sollecito has the words "AKIRAFUGA" as his computer's password.

"The court was told the password for his computer is AKIRAFUGA. Akira is a character in violent sado-masochistic Manga comics.

Fuga is Italian for flee. One Akira story relates how the 'hero' ran after trying to rape students.

Sollecito was remanded in custody. "

I think some further analagy is needed on the term "akira" here...

Read More... | Souce: The Sun Online

Japanese priests have day jobs to keep shrines going

Date: 2008 January 20 16:35 | Posted By:

Category > Current Affairs

The Mainichi Daily News is reporting that a growing number of Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines have started to run profitable side businesses to keep things afloat. It's common for religions in Japan to run businesses with socially redeeming characters, such as schools, but now it seems that the clergy are keen to tap into the "elderly and woman markets".

The article states:
"Bald bonzes are now plugging Buddhist-style beauty in Kyoto, while a Shinto Shrine in Saitama Prefecture is making a killing operating a hot spring resort where everybody strips off and bathes together."

It seems that it's been hard to keep many temples and shrines afloat, with many shrines inherited from parents, the new owners have developed a sense of crisis about the future of the family business. It seems unless you're running a venue in a popular tourist area many temples and shrines have had trouble getting donations.

Souce: Mainichi Daily News

Fake is Japanese word of the year for 2007

Date: 2008 January 06 16:25 | Posted By:

Category > Current Affairs

The Japan Times, has an interesting article about the word fake (nisei) being named kanji of the year for 2007 by the Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation. It seems that political and commercial fakery has gone too far in Japan in 2007. The article highlights several instances in Japan where the food industry has been less than perfect, including the bacterial contamination of Fujiya cakes, Shiroi Koibito falsifying sell-by dates by up to two months on its cookies, Meat hope selling a meet blend claiming to be 100% beef as a cost cutting measure, and the trend for up market restaurant chain Senba Kitcho selling normal supermarket grade chicken as an exclusive poultry delicacy.

Souce: The Japan Times

Japanese Government believe in UFOs

Date: 2007 December 18 13:16 | Posted By:

Category > Current Affairs

BBC News have published a rather bizarre story about the Japanese governments stance of UFOs. A member of the opposition asked the Japanese government what its policy was to deal with UFOs, however under Japanese rules they could not ignore the question and issued a statement. Apparently if a flying saucer is spotted in Japanese airspace a fighter would be scrambled to get visual confirmation.

It also stated that most alerts turned out to be birds or other objects. The article highlights that Japan has not yet planned what to do if aliens do arrive (we're pondering if the Japanese government are waiting for confirmation about what kind of aliens would arrive, if they're like the Angels from Evangelion that's one thing, but if they're like Digi Charat that's another).

Japan's chief government spokesman Nobutaka Machimura, confirmed he believed that they were "definitely" real, while Japan's Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda when asked about alien spaceships said he had "not yet confirmed" whether they existed. This of course is not a straight yes or no, and the Otaku News crew wonder if the Japanese government know something the general public don't. ^_-

Souce: BBC News

Virtual Idol Proves to be big in Japan

Date: 2007 December 11 16:27 | Posted By:

Category > Gaming

The Mainichi Daily News have published an interesting story about some new software that allows users to create their own songs and have them performed by a virtual idol singer. This sounds a bit like a real world example of Sharon Apple to us!

The software Vocaloid 2 Hatsune Miku uses computer-generated vocals mixed with an actual human voice (supplied by voice actress Saki Fujita). It can be configured to perform any song and has proved to be a big hit with people wanting to create their own virtual idol generated songs.

The article states that the software is especially popular with the middle aged, even though it's priced at 16,000 yen (145 USD / 72 GBP) to appeal to the teen market.

Souce: Mainichi Daily News

Hikonyan in copyright dispute

Date: 2007 December 01 14:40 | Posted By:

Category > Current Affairs

Following on from earlier reports. The Mainichi Daily News are currently running a story about the copyright dispute around Hikonyan the cat. The iconic cat was designed as a mascot for Hikone Castle, however he was so cute he became a national hit across Japan.

The cat was made an honorary citizen of Hikone and has created an entire industry of merchandise, this partly because the Hikone Municipal Government's decision to make the licensing rights to Hikonyan free of charge. Apparently the unknown designer of the cat is fuming. The original designer did receive 1 million yen prize money for his winning design. Copyright experts don't think the creator has much chance of getting any control over Hikonyan as there were no detailed discussions in advance for what the character could be used for.

Souce: Mainichi Daily News

More Nova News

Date: 2007 November 23 12:39 | Posted By:

Category > Current Affairs

Following on from the stories about Japan's English Language School Nova being bankrupt, The Times, are running a story by a Nova employee about the situation, even if you're not interested in Nova, but are considering teaching English in Japan it's worth reading, as it gives insight into what to expect when teaching English to a broad array of Japanese people as Oliver Clarke explains - "... no topic seemed taboo as I was frequently regaled with tales of extra-marital office affairs, bowel movements and alcohol-induced vomiting, despite my best efforts to steer the conversations towards shopping or pets..."

The article ends explaining that Nova employees are still waiting to find out what the situation is, as Japanese staff haven't been paid since July, and 4,000 non-Japanese instructors have not been paid since October.

Souce: The Times

Japanese staff get benefits for their pets

Date: 2007 November 20 14:10 | Posted By:

Category > Current Affairs

In a heart warming story from the Mainichi Daily News, they are covering details of the latest employment perk in Japan - pet allowances, which is part of recognising pets as legitimate members of the family.

The article highlights a few companies that are doing this, including Kyoritsu Seiyaku Corp, which plans to give every dog and cat owning staff member a pet dependency allowance of 1,000 yen a month. They are also considering a 12,000 yen reward fee for anybody who agrees to adopt a stray.

The article also mentions that pet food company Hills Colgate (Japan) was one of the earliest companies to reward employees with pets, as they have a pet condolence system which started in 2005, where staff are rewarded 10,000 for each animal they own and another 10,000 yen in condolence if the pet passes away, along with a condolence telegram from the company president and a days leave to grieve.

Souce: Mainichi Daily News

Tokyo Top city for good food

Date: 2007 November 20 13:34 | Posted By:

Category > Cuisine

BBC News have just published a story which states that Tokyo has the finest cuisine in the world. The Michelin guide, famous for awarding the coveted Michelin stars has devoted it's first ever edition to an Asian city. Tokyo was awarded a total of 191 stars, which is nearly twice as many as Paris and more than 3 times New York's total.

The article ironically states that 3 of the top 8 restaurants in Tokyo serve French food.

Souce: BBC News

Cosplay pubs all the rage in Japan

Date: 2007 November 12 17:57 | Posted By:

Category > Freaky Things

The Mainichi Daily News has an interesting article about the latest trend in Japan, Cosplay pubs, where staff dress up in cosplay (and sometimes customers too). The costumes vary from venue to venue and don't seem to be anime themed. The article concludes that it's a great way for office workers to unwind and isn't "as geekish as the maidcafes the otaku like to go to".

Souce: Mainichi Daily News

It's over for Nova?

Date: 2007 October 26 05:00 | Posted By:

Category > Current Affairs

BBC News are running at story about Nova, Japan's largest chain of foreign language schools. Apparently the company is in financial crisis and has filed for court protection from creditors. 2,000 Japanese staff have not been paid since July and 4,000 non-Japanese instructors have not been paid their October salary, according to union officials. Nova has also closed all of it's schools.

The firm primarily offers English classes, being the largest foreign language school in Japan, Nova were always keen to recruit English speaking graduates eager for adventures in Japan and frequently attend graduate fairs. English Language schools are often used by otaku as a sort of gap year experience, many have extended their stay from just a year to a couple of years, and some even joining the company permanently making their chosen career path. Nova also advertised their lessons heavily in Japan and even had a mascot, the Nova Usagi, a cute pink rabbit who was enthusiastic about learning English.

For our readers who want to go to Japan for a year, we don't think the English language school market has collapsed, Nova lost a court case that had ruled it had misled customers in adverts about it's services, as a result student enrolment dropped, and Nova accumulated huge debts. There are other English language schools in Japan (we wonder if their enrolment has increased instead of Nova's), and failing that there are also a few government schemes for foreign nationals to participate in.

Souce: BBC News

Japanese civil servants in trouble over Wikipedia edits

Date: 2007 October 05 08:52 | Posted By:

Category > Freaky Things

BBC News are reporting a story about some Japanese civil servants who got into trouble at work for making lots of Wikipedia edits. One particular man was found to have made 260 entries to Gundam articles. The article features a classic quote from a ministry official, in case you didn't already know "The Agriculture Ministry is not in charge of Gundam".

We wonder if the agriculture ministry could do with some robotic help, as lots of labour intensive tasks in agricultural circles could surely be made easier. We're wondering if they're not so keen on Gundam, what robot would be better? ^_-

Souce: BBC News

Anime Cancelled Following Axe Murder

Date: 2007 September 24 19:27 | Posted By:

Category > Freaky Things

Two anime series get cancelled after a girl kills her father with an axe!

Read More... | Souce: Mainichi Daily News

Manga shares gain in Japan

Date: 2007 September 13 08:49 | Posted By:

Category > Manga

As a slightly strange side effect of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announcing his exit, shares in manga retailers in Japan have surged with speculation that manga fan Taro Aso is the leading candidate to replace Mr Abe.

According to BBC News, Mr Aso is a big promoter of manga abroad. They cite the rise of manga publisher Broccoli gaining 71% and Mandarake (a retail store in Japan which is a treasure trove for otaku), jumping 13%.

The article states that Mr Aso served as foreign minister, and suggested that embracing Japanese pop culture was an important step in cultivating ties with other countries. If this is the case the Otaku News crew would like an invite to Japan to meet with Mr Aso to help promote manga and anime. ^_-

Sadly the BBC gets some facts wrong about anime and manga stating that they have "psychedelic colours and outlandish story lines", and emphasises the more explicit side of anime and manga. They also manage to mention Spirited Away and Quentin Tarantino in the same sentence, which I'm sure can lead to all sorts of associations for those who haven't actually seen the wonderful family film that is Spirited Away.

The article also states that Mr Aso created an International Manga Award to honour non-Japanese cartoonists.

Souce: BBC News

Toilet Money Mysteries

Date: 2007 July 18 08:42 | Posted By:

Category > Freaky Things

No, it's not a name of a new bizarre anime series, but a puzzling story that's being reported on BBC News. Someone has been leaving envelopes with 10,000 yen notes (that's about $82 USD, or £40), in men's toilets around Japan. Over the last couple of months around 4 million yen has been found. Most of the money has been found in government office buildings.

Read More... | Souce: BBC News

British rural tea-rooms seek geisha girls

Date: 2007 July 12 17:03 | Posted By:

Category > Freaky Things

BBC News are currently running an interesting story about the quest for geisha in Cumbria. The Lake District is a popular destination with Japanese tourists. So much so that Cumbria Tourism has translated a map of tea-serving places off the beaten track into Japanese and even hosting a Green Tea Day on 19th July 2007. Cafes on the tea trail are advertising for geishas to help with intricacies of the tea ceremony. Experts are also required to help translate the more trickier recipe names like "tarty tarn drizzle" into Japanese.

Fully-trained geisha are rare and apparently would charge up to £7,000 (more than $13,000 USD) to fly across from Japan. So the tourist association is hoping some more local experts can help out. Which is why I'm really posting this story on Otaku News. I know of our readers would be able to help. Any experts when it comes to tea etiquette in Japan should contact Cumbria Tourism. I'm sure a few translators could come in handy too. ^_-

Souce: BBC News

Australian soap to target Japanese tourists

Date: 2007 June 27 04:49 | Posted By:

Category > Current Affairs

BBC News are currently running a story about a new Australian soap opera that is set to target a Japanese audience. With Yoshino Kimura getting the main billing, the soap is going to focus on a group of Japanese students living near the sunny beaches of Queensland. The idea is basically to create a 30 minute long advert to why it's good to go to Australia. The article draws parallels to the success of Neighbours in the UK and the effect it had to increasing the amount of British tourists to Australia.

The article states that Japanese tourism is worth A$1.98bn ($1.68bn USD) to the Australian economy each year, with 624,000 visitors annually.

Personally I've travelled to Queensland, and I'd rather the Australian government don't promote themselves, as I would prefer that places like Noosa were kept a secret. ^_-

Souce: BBC News

Russian ninja caught in Italy

Date: 2007 June 13 04:51 | Posted By:

Category > Freaky Things

In what can only described as a truly bizarre story reported by BBC News, it seems that Italian police have arrested a Russian robber wearing a ninja like outfit. He has all the hallmarks of an excellent manga villain, dressed all in black the ex-military robber equipped with a night scopes, bow and a knife breaks into farmer's houses and robs them and their families.

The wannabe ninja was only caught out when a farmer was expecting him and was ready and waiting with a rifle. Coming down the stairs the farmer tripped on the last step, letting the gun off and frightening the robber away, who instead of jumping into trees or flipping out, hopped into a bicycle and made a getaway into a nearby cornfield, where he was followed and later caught by police.

Souce: BBC News

Grey Japan propping up the economy

Date: 2007 June 11 14:30 | Posted By:

Category > Current Affairs

BBC News have an interesting story about the elderly in Japan who are old enough to retire, but choose not too, partly because they enjoy it, but also because they companies they work for need them. Many companies now have older worker schemes to keep their skilled and experienced staff in the company.

The article continues with a rather lonely technology solution, a kettle for old people that sends text messages to their children to tell them that they're still using the kettle and therefore OK.

Souce: BBC News

Japanese MP gets virtual office

Date: 2007 June 11 08:27 | Posted By:

Category > Freaky Things

In what sounds like something from Serial Experiments Lain, BBC News are running an article about a Japanese MP who has opened an office in the virtual world of Second Life.

MP Kan Suzuki states that he wants "to discuss new policies with net citizens, deliver lectures and also hold meetings".

Mr Suzuki claims to be the first Japanese politician to establish an office there. Interestingly the MP could be breaking the law by doing so, the Public Office Election Law (which is over 50 years old), restricts election campaign materials to postcards and pamphlets, with officials recently deciding that web pages cannot be created or updated during the official period of campaigning for elections.

The BBC conclude that it's not clear if this will affect Mr Suzuki's plans to use his second life office to help him win re-election. Some have claimed this is just a gimmick. What the article doesn't say is what Mr Suzuki's avatar (on-line character) looks like, the Otaku News crew suspect it's probably a virtual copy of him, but we're secretly hoping it's something a lot cooler. ^_^

Souce: BBC News

Golden Bathtub stolen from hotel

Date: 2007 May 31 16:56 | Posted By:

Category > Current Affairs

Million-dollar bathtub stolen from hotel near Tokyo.

Read More... | Souce: Yahoo! News

Hikonyan the cat helps Hikone Castle

Date: 2007 April 27 15:38 | Posted By:

Category > Culture

Everyone knows that cute stuff is popular in Japan. To celebrate the 400th anniversary of Hikone Castle in Shiga Prefecture they created a mascot cat called Hikonyan, a fat white cat wearing a samurai helmet sporting big yellow horns. According to The Mainichi Daily News, Hikonyan toured major cities and generated massive merchandise sales. Apparently people travel to Hikone Castle now just to see Hikonyan, who comes out four times a day to greet visitors, people are willing to wait for hours, lining up for the greeting sessions. The article states that part of Hikonyan's popularity is down to his vulnerability making him appealing to otaku.

Souce: Mainichi Daily News

Lambs dressed as poodles

Date: 2007 April 26 19:21 | Posted By:

Category > Freaky Things

In one of the more bizarre stories we've published recently, it seems a news story doing it's rounds on many news sites including the UK Metro, about Japanese people who have been scammed into buying lambs, believing that they were poodles. What is even more odd is that the scam was only spotted when a Japanese actress appeared on TV and said her poodle didn't bark and refused to eat dog food. Apparently as many as 2,000 people have been fleeced this way as poodles are extremely rare in Japan and many people have little idea what they look like.

Souce: Metro.co.uk

National Office for Vocation use manga to promote vocations

Date: 2007 April 26 17:12 | Posted By:

Category > Current Affairs

Following on from our story about the Manga Bible, it seems that many religions want to remain accessible to a wider audience, according to the Catholic News Agency manga will be used to promote vocations in the UK.

The article states: "We have chosen the Manga cartoons for the 2007 campaign, because we hope it will appeal to young people under twenty as well as people in their thirties," Fr. Paul Embery, Director of the National Office for Vocation, explained to the Italian Religious Service.

A new website has been launched too - www.calledtoday.com which features artwork in a manga style and tells the stories of various people dedicated to the church.

Souce: Catholic News Agency

Manga events at the Bristol Comics Expo

Date: 2007 April 11 13:34 | Posted By:

Category > Events

Following on from our earlier story about the Bristol Comics Expo (on 12th and 13th of May 2007), we've got some more details regarding their coverage of manga stuff. They'll have:

- Tokyo Pop
- Sweatdrop Studios
- Selfmadehero
- Yishan Li
- Umisen-Yamasen
- Siku
- Boychild Books
- Ilya
- Misako Rocks

They've bundled everyone together into a Manga Ally too, as always it's good to see Sweatdrop attending these events.

Read More... | Souce: Bristol Comics Expo

UK MP fears reduction of British children's TV

Date: 2007 March 19 15:30 | Posted By:

Category > Anime > TV

The Guardian are reporting on British Conservative MP John Whittingdale's recent speech at the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers conference. Mr Whittingdale is the chairman of the Commons culture, media and sport select committee. He's rather worried about a children's TV and the impact of pulling food advertising from children's TV - "[It will] have a damaging effect on children's broadcasting that will lead to money going out of it, the effect will be fewer children's programmes produced in this country except for the BBC," the main concern he stresses is increase in imported Children's TV - "There will be a growth of the likes of Japanese anime cartoons and American animated content which is something we are concerned about and may need to be addressed as part of challenge of maintaining public service plurality."

So in a nut shell he's worried that there won't be enough British produced children's TV, as ITV has been reducing it's children's output. The Otaku News crew want more TV greats like Danger Mouse. ^_^

Souce: The Guardian

Artist Accused of Plagiarism

Date: 2007 February 09 22:03 | Posted By:

Category > Current Affairs

Manga artist Rin Yoshi has been accused of committing plagiarism in the pages of her manga, Switch. According to Umeo Kamitsuo, Editor-in-Chief of Cookie, the manga magazine that serializes Switch, the opening pages of the manga were reproductions of images from the fashion magazine Gravure.

As a result of the accusations, the Switch manga will no longer appear in Cookie as of the April issue. Shueisha, the publisher behind the magazine, has also stopped distribution of Yoshi’s other works, including Kurabeyou mo nai Hodo ni (Uncomparable) and Silent Summer Snow, due to further instances of possible plagiarism. To prevent future incidents from happening, Umeo has stated that Cookie will step up their checks for potential copyright violations and make sure that their staff are aware of the problems associated with such issues.

Souce: Anime News Network

Natto sales sky-rocket due to weight loss claims

Date: 2007 January 23 07:55 | Posted By:

Category > Cuisine

Natto a traditional Japanese dish made of fermented soy beans is an acquired taste even by Japanese standards, but recently sales of natto have gone through the roof in Japan due to a TV show aired by Kansai Television Corporation which claimed that eating natto morning and night has helped people lose up to 3.5kg (roughly 7.7 lbs).

However as BBC News reports, the show's producers have admitted that some of the data was false. The US professor shown on the programme was not the same one that did the original research, additionally he was misquoted.

The company president has issued an apology, buy KTV still believe the diet could help people slim.

The BBC report a media backlash from the Yomiuri Shimbun stating the show had harmed the credibility of the television media sector as a whole. The Mainichi Shimbun's editorial commentary points out that popular media tended to exaggerate or give misleading information to keep their ratings high when reporting on weight loss or other health issues.

Souce: BBC News

Target Seal stickers prove a bit hit in Japan

Date: 2006 December 30 16:30 | Posted By:

Category > Freaky Things

Japan is famed for it's high tech toilets, with automatically opening lids, heated seats, jet washers and many other built in gadgets, but a new fad seems to be sweeping men's urinals, the Target Seal, a 3-centimetre high sticker placed inside a urinal to encourage men to take aim instead of randomly spraying all over the place (sorry to be crude, but this is so strange we just had to cover it).

The stickers proved to be so successful in Kansai International Airport that they've been labelled the cleanest toilets in any airport in the world by a London market research company.

The stickers are available in different designs and will change colour when warmed. Pachinko parlour urinals are using stickers with the number 777 (the lucky score in pachinko games) will go red just like a real pachinko machine does. The stickers also make cleaning the toilets a lot easier as their is less mess to clean up. Strange but true, you never know it might come to a urinal near you.

Souce: Mainichi Daily News

Oriental City under threat?

Date: 2006 November 22 13:33 | Posted By:

Category > Current Affairs

Many readers of this site will be familiar with Oriental City in Colindale, North London (formally known as Yohan Plaza) a purpose built shopping centre which contains in all manner of East Asian shops, restaurants as well as a Sega arcade.

The complex's new owner Development Securities, is planning to redevelop the site, offering current tenants alternative accommodation whilst it does so. Current tenants argue that the development will disrupt the community adding that plans to allow space for a DIY superstore would destroy Oriental City's distinctive feel.

Souce: The Independent

PS3 Disasters Already

Date: 2006 November 18 09:44 | Posted By:

Category > Freaky Things

A dislocated jaw and gunshot customers already reported at releases for the new PS3.

Read More... | Souce: G4TV.com

Fake priests in Japan

Date: 2006 November 03 15:50 | Posted By:

Category > Freaky Things

In what could be described as a bizarre plot from an episode of Father Ted, BBC News are running a story about the increasing trend of westerners earning money as fake priests in Japan. With western style weddings proving popular making up about 90% of ceremonies (despite only 1% of Japan being Christian), there is a shortage of real Christian priests, so Westerners are hired to give a performance and add to the atmosphere. The ceremonies are not legally binding, being more for show, so a visit to the local registrar is also required.

The article also reports that these wedding chapels can appear in untraditional locations, like on the sixth floor of a supermarket, the chapel is apparently very plastically, with lots of plastic stone and flowers to add to the atmosphere of fairy lights.

Authentic Christian Priests in Japan are annoyed at the impersonators, pointing out that people deserve a proper wedding and giving the real priests a bad reputation. The article also highlights that most Japanese people are unaware that there are fake priests, expecting all priests to be real.

Souce: BBC News

Japanese traumatised by Paris

Date: 2006 October 23 03:24 | Posted By:

Category > Freaky Things

A syndicated press article reports that around a dozen Japanese tourists each year need psychological treatment after visiting Paris. Apparently the real Paris does not meet their expectations, with unfriendly locals and scruffy streets. Harsh customer service when compared to Japanese shops and everyone looking stern on public transport seem to be key factors.

More bizarrely some people have extreme symptoms of being traumatised in Paris, with individuals believing their hotel room was bugged, another thought that she was being attacked by microwaves, with one man certain he was Louis XIV, this sounds like a plot from a crazy anime series.

Souce: The Scotsman

YouTube take down nearly 30,000 Japanese Clips

Date: 2006 October 20 12:36 | Posted By:

Category > Websites

BBC News and many other news sources are currently reporting that 29,549 clips have been removed from YouTube after the Japanese media companies complained of copyright infringement. The popular video hosting site (recently bought by Google for $1.65bn USD) frequently had clips from Japanese TV shows along with some anime as well.

It is not clear from the article what content has been removed, if it's Japanese TV programmes, more extreme quiz shows, comedy sketches and skits such as Matrix Pong, users of YouTube will have to discover that for themselves. What will be interesting to find out is if YouTube will automatically take down any future content or if the Japan Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC) will have to file more requests.

Souce: BBC News

Chinglish bad Engrish begone!

Date: 2006 October 15 13:22 | Posted By:

Category > Freaky Things

Those familiar with Engrish the nonsense English found in Far Eastern countries where English can be written in unpredictable and impossible to understand ways, will no doubt feel a bit of sympathy towards Beijing who are trying to clamp down on what BBC News have dubbed Chinglish in time for the 2008 Olympics. People can report the mistranslations and a panel of English professors and expatriates will review the signs and hopefully provide a more meaningful translation.

Souce: BBC News

San Francisco hotel to have Anime theme

Date: 2006 October 13 03:57 | Posted By:

Category > Anime

Interesting news from Anime News Network, San Francisco's Best Western Miyako Inn Hotel is going to be turned into a Japanese pop culture persona, starting with a contest to rename the hotel. The new theme will be "an energetic, optimistic expression" of anime, manga, J-Pop, and street fashion, said Matt Harvey, Creative Director of Joie de Vivre Hospitality, a boutique hotel operator that took over the 125-room hotel in May.

Souce: Anime News Network

Otaku Hunting

Date: 2006 September 29 09:33 | Posted By:

Category > Current Affairs

Otaku in Akihabara beware! The area famed as the spiritual homeland of otaku is under fire from young thieves who are targeting the mild mannered geeks. According the Mainichi Daily News eight youths (aged 14 to 18 detailed in other reports) were engaged in what they called "otaku hunting". The teens targeted otaku in Akihabara for mugging because they are weak, and are known to have money especially when in Akihabara due to the many popular anime shops in the area.

The bullies demand money from powerless otaku and threaten violence.

Police state that there have been 25 separate reports of otaku hunting since the start of the year with the victims losing a combined sum of 350,000 yen ($2965 USD / £1590 GBP) between them.

Souce: Mainichi Daily News

New York - Tokyo Music Festival scheduled for this weekend

Date: 2006 September 23 15:58 | Posted By:

Category > Events

Fujisankei Communications International (FCI) and Sharp Electronics Corporation join forces to present you the New York-Tokyo Music Festival 2006 on Saturday, September 30, 2006 at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park a free, all-day, good old-fashioned outdoor concert that will have some inspired artistic talents from the East and the West. The festival’s focal point this year is on artists that are just beginning to make a name for themselves in several different musical subgenres, ranging from Turntablism to Dancehall, Hip-hop to Progressive Jazz.

Read More... | Souce: Anime News Service

Japanorama Returns

Date: 2006 September 04 03:57 | Posted By:

Category > Anime > TV

Keen readers of TV guides may have spotted the return of Japanorama, Jonathan Ross' TV show focusing on the more cool and bizarre side of Japanese culture. The previous season was well worth watching, and this latest instalment promises to be just as entertaining and informative.

UK Viewers (with freeview/cable/satellite) can catch Japanorama on BBC Three starting Thursday 7th September at 11pm, this weeks episode Ross explores the meaning of kakoii, Japanese for cool.

Souce: BBC Three

Geisha Advertise On-line

Date: 2006 August 21 17:22 | Posted By:

Category > Culture

In a really good of example of the traditional world colliding with the high-tech world, the Mainichi Daily News are running an interesting article about adverts for apprentice geisha Kyoto. Recently the number of applicants had steadily started to drop, until an enterprising teahouse started blogging about the experience of being an apprentice geisha and started posting adverts for applications.

Souce: Mainichi Daily News

Rare Games Collection Stolen

Date: 2006 August 20 15:36 | Posted By:

Category > Fandom

We've been passed a press release from DDR:uk, a group of hardcore Dance Dance Revolution fanatics, on the 18th of August their equipment was stolen (with the exception of their custom build DDR machine, as it too big to easily move), their £25,000 collection includes a wide variety of rare and sought after games, most of which are no longer in production, along with specialist hardware and games controllers.

Since the items in question are rather unique, we would like to ask community minded otaku to be aware of the items stolen and keep a look out for them on places like popular auction sites, specialist games dealers and other places second hand goods are traded. The DDR:uk crew are offering a reward for any information.

The DDR:uk crew also help run events at anime conventions such as the games room, which was a huge success at AmeCon 2006, with the DDR machine being a huge attraction, along with the more unusual classic games. DDR:uk also put a plea out for hardware and games donation to help replace what was stolen.

On a side note the AmeCon manga library (which is made up of generous donations from Tokyopop and Tanoshimi and is stored with the DDR:uk hardware), was also vanadilised by the same criminals, with boxes of manga thrown out onto the street into the rain, and is now spoiled as a result.

We've deliberatly posted this to all editions of Otaku News, as although the items in question were stolen in the UK, many of the items stolen are rare they're desirable internationally, so all our readers should be made aware.

Read More... | Souce: DDR:uk

The Mists of Akihabara - How Japan beats the summer heats

Date: 2006 July 31 17:49 | Posted By:

Category > Current Affairs

Japanese summers are usually extremely hot and that goes for this year as well. The sun shows no mercy for Japan as it shines down on its streets, the people have no choice but to endure.

But Tokyo (Akihabara to be exact) is showing the summer sun what it is made of! Right in front of the JR Akihabara train station is a machine that sets of a refreshing mist when the temperature outside reaches a certain level. That is one of the best ideas yet, am I right?

How would you like to have one of those in your town? What do you do to stay cool during this unbelievably hot summer?

Souce: Akadot

18 Year Old Arrested for Stealing Girls Online RPG Account

Date: 2006 July 31 17:25 | Posted By:

Category > Current Affairs

An 18-year-old boy was arrested in Tokushima, Japan for using a girl’s account for a popular online RPG. According to recent investigations, the boy got the username and password for this girl's account (how he did it is unknown), while chatting with her at the time of 2pm on April 30th. He then accessed her account so that he could play the game free of charge. The game that he worked so hard to play for free was not mentioned in the article.

Is it just me, or does anyone else think that arresting this guy was a little harsh? And what game did he want to play so badly?

Souce: Akadot

Tokyo Police Get Heavy on Otaku Culture

Date: 2006 July 28 09:58 | Posted By:

Category > Fandom

In another interesting article from the Mainichi Daily News reports that otaku culture in Akihabara is under threat. Traditionally every Sunday the main strip through Akihabara is closed to traffic, allowing pedestrians to rule the roads, bands to play in the street and ladies dressed in maid costumes to handout pamphlets for events otaku will be interested in.

But recently the police have been stopping bands' performances and prevented maids from handing out their leaflets causing many otaku to complain that they're being persecuted. On Sundays the street is frequently packed with cosplayers and fans taking photographs. The article reports that the cosplayers and photographers are "they're at least wary, if not afraid, of the cops".

Read More... | Souce: Mainichi Daily News

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