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Browsing Categories

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Browsing Category: > Freaky Things

Dating Classes for Geeks

Date: 2008 February 18th Monday [14:46] | Posted By: Joe
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.

Source: Wired

Origami Paper Planes to fly in space

Date: 2008 February 7th Thursday [9:03] | Posted By: Joe
Category: > Technology

BBC News are running a story about the University of Tokyo's latest engineering project. They are currently testing a paper aeroplane that they want to launch from the International Space Station to glide back to earth.

The plan is to get a Japanese astronaut to throw 100 plans into space so they will land on earth.

The paper planes are designed by the Japan Origami Airplane Association. The planes actually are made out of paper, but are treated with a special compound to increase heat resistance. Currently the research looks promising, with planes can resist winds speeds up to Mach 7, and also endured temperatures of around 300 degrees Celsius.

The project is being done to inspire new designs for lightweight re-entry vehicles and similar craft to explorer the earth's atmosphere, as well as inspiring school children to taken an interest in science.

Source: BBC News

Contact Lens HUD

Date: 2008 January 22nd Tuesday [0:27] | Posted By: Voxie
Category: > Freaky Things

I just noticed on DannyChoo, an interesting type of contact lens with HUD display! o.o EurekAlert says: "There are many possible uses for virtual displays. Drivers or pilots could see a vehicle's speed projected onto the windshield. Video-game companies could use the contact lenses to completely immerse players in a virtual world without restricting their range of motion. And for communications, people on the go could surf the Internet on a midair virtual display screen that only they would be able to see."

What's even more interesting is that while finding the article, I was fiddling with my own contacts in my eyes at the time. I'm up 'til past 4am scanning news again, bah I love it.

Source: Danny Choo

Akira gets bad press

Date: 2008 January 21st Monday [22:06] | Posted By: Voxie
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... | Source: The Sun Online

Japanese priests have day jobs to keep shrines going

Date: 2008 January 20th Sunday [16:35] | Posted By: Joe
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.

Source: Mainichi Daily News

Five Girls Name Moe talk now on-line

Date: 2008 January 10th Thursday [16:46] | Posted By: Joe
Category: > Anime

Jonathan Clements' talk "Five Girls Name Moe: The Anime Erotic", from Swansea Animation Days, is now up on-line as a web stream. You can watch his talk on-line, while it's up. As we've come to expect from Jonathan it's amusing, informative and backed with solid figures and statistics.

Source: Five Girls Name Moe: The Anime Erotic

Fake is Japanese word of the year for 2007

Date: 2008 January 6th Sunday [16:25] | Posted By: Joe
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.

Source: The Japan Times

Japanese Government believe in UFOs

Date: 2007 December 18th Tuesday [13:16] | Posted By: Joe
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. ^_-

Source: BBC News

Inemuri a Japanese word to add to your vocabulary

Date: 2007 November 29th Thursday [17:48] | Posted By: Joe
Category: > Culture

BBC News are running a story about sleep deprivation and different strategies for coping with it. The article covers the Japanese concept of inemuri, which translates as "to be asleep while present", the idea is you can fall asleep in without getting into trouble, such as at meetings. Apparently it's viewed as a positive thing, and suggests to those around you that the tiredness is from exhaustion from working too hard and sacrificing sleep at night. Naturally some people fake this to give the impression that they're working really hard.

Source: BBC News

Cosplay pubs all the rage in Japan

Date: 2007 November 12th Monday [17:57] | Posted By: Joe
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".

Source: Mainichi Daily News

Burusera a Japanese word to add to your vocabulary

Date: 2007 October 23rd Tuesday [17:29] | Posted By: Joe
Category: > Freaky Things

We like to educate our readers with new Japanese words, which is why we'd like to tell you about burusera, which is derived from bloomer seller, normally a Japanese school girl who sells her panties for profit to rather, erm, needy men. The Mainichi Daily News have an article about the current trend for Japanese school girls that use disabled toilets to take of their used panties and sell on. Apparently the girls prefer this as it allows direct selling, cutting out the middle management of a burusera shop, and the clients are happy to purchase the genuine product, as they are not sure if they are buying authentic used school girls underwear, as a burusera shop may not sell the real thing.

The article also states that the trade is illegal and illicit, girls can earn up to 20,000 yen a pair (that's about $175 USD or £85 GBP) depending on the circumstances and also that "Some of the weirdoes who buy used panties can be really scary", we feel that's a bit of an understatement.

Source: Mainichi Daily News

Japanese civil servants in trouble over Wikipedia edits

Date: 2007 October 5th Friday [8:52] | Posted By: Joe
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? ^_-

Source: BBC News

Anime Cancelled Following Axe Murder

Date: 2007 September 24th Monday [19:27] | Posted By: Jeremy
Category: > Freaky Things

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

Read More... | Source: Mainichi Daily News

Dance Dance: Revolution keeps you fit

Date: 2007 September 17th Monday [18:20] | Posted By: Joe
Category: > Gaming

It seems that physical education teachers in the UK have discovered what gamers have known for ages, that Dance Dance: Revolution keeps you fit. Schools in the UK have taken up DD:R classes to keep children fit in school. Apparently you can burn about 400 to 600 calories an hour in these classes, so it can be fun to keep fit and exercise. The classes are being used as a platform to get children fit, help them exercise regularly and encourage them to go to the gym.

Source: BBC News

Manga shares gain in Japan

Date: 2007 September 13th Thursday [8:49] | Posted By: Joe
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.

Source: BBC News

Groper Delays 80,000 Commuters in Tokyo

Date: 2007 September 6th Thursday [15:19] | Posted By: Joe
Category: > Freaky Things

In one of the more bizarre stories about problems with public transport this week, it seems that a man in Tokyo who was accused of groping a 15 year old high school student caused chaos as he fled the scene in JR Akabane Station. While the student was reporting the incident to staff, the man jumped from the platform and ran away along the rail tracks leading into the station. As a result some 80,000 commuters suffered delays as 37 trains on all 5 nearby lines were affected as they stopped services as the accused was in the path of oncoming trains.

Source: BBC News

Touchy, Feely Ad

Date: 2007 August 30th Thursday [18:56] | Posted By: Jeremy
Category: > Freaky Things

New game ad allows customers to feel up a cardboard cutout. Really.

Read More... | Source: Wizard Magazine

Broken arm wrestling game recalled in Japan

Date: 2007 August 22nd Wednesday [3:56] | Posted By: Joe
Category: > Freaky Things

BBC News are reporting that a Japanese arcade game called Arm Spirit has been recalled after 3 players have broken their arms playing it (and we thought Wii injuries were bad). The manufacturers claim that the arm wrestling machine isn't that strong, however it seems that some players have got too carried away and twist their arms in an unnatural way. The company have launched an investigation into the cause.

Source: BBC News

Hello Kitty Punishes Police

Date: 2007 August 9th Thursday [18:28] | Posted By: Joe
Category: > Freaky Things

BBC News are running a strange story about the Thai police in Bangkok. Police officials have come up with a way of punishing their officers who break the rules, they make the offending officer wear a large bright pink Hello Kitty arm band. The guilty officers have to wear the snazzy arm bands in the office for a few days, but are not allowed to disclose their offences, which leads to deliberate speculation about what they have done.

Source: BBC News

Toilet Money Mysteries

Date: 2007 July 18th Wednesday [8:42] | Posted By: Joe
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... | Source: BBC News

British rural tea-rooms seek geisha girls

Date: 2007 July 12th Thursday [17:03] | Posted By: Joe
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. ^_-

Source: BBC News

The 39 million Yen Hello Dog House

Date: 2007 July 9th Monday [10:10] | Posted By: Azure
Category: > Freaky Things

Sanrio are once again weird super expensive Hello Kitty crap! This time it's a dog house, with a Hello Kitty cushion. The house will be on sale from July 24th to 30th at the Mitsukoshi flag ship store in Tokyo , if more than one person actually bids they will decide the winner by lot.

Source: Japan News Review

Australian soap to target Japanese tourists

Date: 2007 June 27th Wednesday [4:49] | Posted By: Joe
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. ^_-

Source: BBC News

Comic Yell, girl's manga for men

Date: 2007 June 22nd Friday [22:56] | Posted By: Joe
Category: > Manga

The Mainichi Daily News have posted an interesting article about a new manga publication called Comic Yell, Japan's first girl's manga for men. With girly titles like Honey and Clover and Nana proving to be popular with male readers and 50% of Shonen Jump's readership being female, it shows people are attracted to good stories, regardless of it's intended target gender.

Targeted at men from their 20s to 40s, the magazine doesn't have girls in maid's outfits or girls wearing animal ears. There is however the occasional panty shot to keep the male reader happy.

Feedback has been mixed, with hardcore otaku readers wanting more "zing", and mainstream readers happy that it isn't pandering to hardcore otaku tastes. Some readers have even requested that it made more girly. The official Comic Yell Website can be found here.

Source: Mainichi Daily News

Russian ninja caught in Italy

Date: 2007 June 13th Wednesday [4:51] | Posted By: Joe
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.

Source: BBC News

Naruto but not as we know him

Date: 2007 June 11th Monday [14:40] | Posted By: Azure
Category: > Gaming

Whilst the confusion over the inclusion of the Japanese voices in Ubisoft's Naruto 360 game still reigns supreme (did they never think they might release it in Japan in these post IdolM@ster days?) it seems that a Naruto themed character will appear in Rayman: Raving Rabbids 2.

This means keen fans will be able to pitch him in mini game battle against other themed Rabbids including Spider-man.

Source: Gametrailers

Japanese MP gets virtual office

Date: 2007 June 11th Monday [8:27] | Posted By: Joe
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. ^_^

Source: BBC News

Golden Bathtub stolen from hotel

Date: 2007 May 31st Thursday [16:56] | Posted By: Jeremy
Category: > Current Affairs

Million-dollar bathtub stolen from hotel near Tokyo.

Read More... | Source: Yahoo! News

Media Immersion pods

Date: 2007 May 19th Saturday [20:07] | Posted By: Joe
Category: > Technology

BBC News have an interesting story about Japan's high end cyber cafes, the article calls them Media Immersion pods, and amusingly describes them as "drug dens for internet addicts". We've been aware of these cyber cafes like these since the late nineties, but from the article it seems to imply it's not an office type cubicle, but a luxury booth with a private door you can sit in for more privacy. Each "pod" is supplied with a computer, that you can also use to watch TV, play DVDs and games on, as well as surf the internet. Like all good Japanese internet cafes, Bagus Gran Cyber Cafe (the cafe featured in the article), has a fully stocked manga and DVD library for you to enjoy. Otaku heaven.

Source: BBC News

Japanese and Korean otaku

Date: 2007 May 13th Sunday [14:59] | Posted By: Joe
Category: > Freaky Things

The Mainichi Daily News are running an interesting article about the differences between Japanese and South Korean otaku.

It mainly focuses on the concept of moe and how the maid cafes didn't really take off in South Korea.

Source: Mainichi Daily News

Hikonyan the cat helps Hikone Castle

Date: 2007 April 27th Friday [15:38] | Posted By: Joe
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.

Source: Mainichi Daily News

Lambs dressed as poodles

Date: 2007 April 26th Thursday [19:21] | Posted By: Joe
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.

Source: Metro.co.uk

2-Chan the voice of a nation

Date: 2007 April 19th Thursday [15:57] | Posted By: Joe
Category: > Culture

Wired have a very good article about the popular Japanese bulletin board 2-chan. The article focuses on the impact 2-channel has had in Japan, from cancelling advertising campaigns, to producing 830,000 replacement folded paper cranes, mass suicides, solving crime and even helping Train Man become a national phenomenon.

Source: Wired

Flammable Electronic Toilets

Date: 2007 April 16th Monday [13:50] | Posted By: Joe
Category: > Freaky Things

In one of the more bizarre stories we've covered, it seems that a popular Japanese toilet manufacturer is offering repairs on it's toilets after a few caught fire! BBC News reports that Toto is offering free repairs on 180,000 eligible toilets from the Z series after 3 of them caught fire! (Hhhhmmm, toilets, fire, Z, I'm sure we could find a Dragon Ball Z joke somewhere here).

The article states:
"Fortunately nobody was using the toilets when the fire broke out and there were no injuries," apparently "The fire would have been just under your buttocks," which isn't really reassuring if you do use a Japanese toilet.

Japanese toilets commonly have extra electronic features such as heated seats, bidet, automatically opening and closing lid along with allsorts of other novelties. Although the toilet isn't sold outside of Japan, we are aware of a few otaku who have imported these, which includes British TV and radio celebrity Jonathan Ross.

Source: BBC News

Extreme Origami

Date: 2007 March 24th Saturday [18:47] | Posted By: Joe
Category: > Culture

The Times On-line have published an interesting article about Extreme Origami, the article focuses on computer geeks coding programs to create some incredibly complex folding problems. The article mentions super geek Robert Lang, a former NASA scientist who is a professional folder, consulting with car companies on the best way to fold their airbags and space telescopes!

Source: Times On-line

UK MP fears reduction of British children's TV

Date: 2007 March 19th Monday [15:30] | Posted By: Joe
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. ^_^

Source: The Guardian

We all want a Perfect Piece Tachikoma

Date: 2007 March 9th Friday [17:53] | Posted By: Joe
Category: > Toys

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex fans will be pleased to hear about the new toy from MegaHouse, it's a 1/20 scale Tachikoma model, with lots of articulation and even an opening pod that can fit the included Makoto figure inside! Known as the Perfect Piece Tachikoma the set is about 13cm tall, comes with a book, a wrench and other fun accessories. As expected the main eye can move around even it's oil intake tray opens for you to put in a can of oil to keep everyone's favourite jumping spider like robot well fed. Complete with both gatling gun and grenade launcher front gun, it's a real must have for the hardcore fan.

Read More... | Source: MegaHouse

Manga Toilet Paper

Date: 2007 March 9th Friday [8:56] | Posted By: Jeremy
Category: > Freaky Things

Up until now, whenever you wanted to read manga while doing your business in the bathroom, you had to take the actual book and/or magazine with you, then set it somewhere while you got started and finished. You still can do that, but now there's an alternative. At least in Japan, there is, because now manga can now be found on... toilet paper.

Famous 4-panel manga artist and TV talent Yakumi Tsuru recently made a deal with paper goods company Banbix to sell toilet paper that have his manga illustrations and 4-panel comics printed on it. Called Food Toipe, the toilet paper can be purchased in cases of 50 rolls for 8,500 yen (approximately 80 US dollars) from the Banbix website. You can also find images of the paper at the same website. No word, though, as to whether or not the illustrations featured on the paper are new material or reprints of Tsuru's previous work.

Source: Anime News Network

Artist Accused of Plagiarism

Date: 2007 February 9th Friday [22:03] | Posted By: Jeremy
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.

Source: Anime News Network

Kelly Osbourne: Turning Japanese

Date: 2007 February 1st Thursday [5:34] | Posted By: Joe
Category: > Anime > TV

UK readers who can view ITV2 may want to tune in tonight (Thursday 1st February) to catch Kelly Osbourne:Turning Japanese, it starts at 9pm and is repeated on Sunday 4th February at 10pm. Kelly Osbourne embarks on a working holiday exploring aspects of Japanese culture.

The first episode alone has her managing a Love Hotel in Tokyo, training with Samurai and working in what appears to be an otaku Maid Cafe. The second episode has her going to a manga convention in cosplay!

Read More... | Source: ITV2

Natto sales sky-rocket due to weight loss claims

Date: 2007 January 23rd Tuesday [7:55] | Posted By: Joe
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.

Source: BBC News

Akutai Matsuri, the Japanese swear by it

Date: 2007 January 2nd Tuesday [15:59] | Posted By: Joe
Category: > Freaky Things

The Japanese are famed for being polite, however everyone needs to vent now and again. The Mainichi Daily News are currently running a story about the Akutai Matsuri, held in late November in the city of Kasama. The festival has a chief priest and 13 tengu goblins dressed in white parading along a steep path, chanting and making offerings at small shrines along the way.

Apparently on-lookers scream out obscenities and try to snatch the offerings. The priest and goblins are prepared and parry away anyone with green bamboo staffs. Eventually the religious parade are overwhelmed and the onlookers snatch away their offerings. Snatching one of the offerings is said to grant the bearer the power of the tengu's spirit, which is why they are so desirable.

Oddly enough in recent years more English speakers have been taking part in the festival, with popular English obscenities creeping into the traditional Japanese taunts.

Source: Mainichi Daily News

Target Seal stickers prove a bit hit in Japan

Date: 2006 December 30th Saturday [16:30] | Posted By: Joe
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.

Source: Mainichi Daily News

Maid Cafe in Toronto

Date: 2006 December 5th Tuesday [7:21] | Posted By: Azure
Category: > Freaky Things

Canada can now boast it's first maid cafe. You have to feel a little sorry for the girls who work there, I mean isn't Canada cold? Aren't those skirts a little too short then? Where's the Hawaiian outlet? Judging by the menu it seems to be mainly snack food. Not that I suspect most of our readers would go for the food.... That said I imagine a trip to Canada is cheaper than Japan.

Source: Boing Boing

PS3 Disasters Already

Date: 2006 November 18th Saturday [9:44] | Posted By: Jeremy
Category: > Freaky Things

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

Read More... | Source: G4TV.com

Wine tasting robot thinks human flesh is bacon

Date: 2006 November 12th Sunday [13:14] | Posted By: Joe
Category: > Technology > Robotics

Following on from a story about a wine tasting robot, it can identify wines, cheeses, meats and hors d'oeuvres, so a reporter put the robot to the test, putting his hand in it's sensor. The robot reported that human flesh was bacon. Apparently we don't taste like chicken. I'm sure Otaku News readers aren't cannibals, but some cannibal tribes call human flesh long pig, as they thought we taste like pigs, the robot seems to confirm this.

Source: Wired Blogs

More single grain sushi fun

Date: 2006 November 10th Friday [15:28] | Posted By: Joe
Category: > Culture

Following on from our eariler article about single grain sushi Otaku News reader totsubo over at Ege-Sushi sent us some photos of his single grain sushi creations.

Source: Ege-Sushi

Panty Explosion the game

Date: 2006 November 10th Friday [13:54] | Posted By: Azure
Category: > Gaming

Every so often we get stories which I'm sure will generate some interesting key word stats next time Joe checks them, this is one. Panty Explosion is a good ol' fashioned RPG available in book and PDF form here's what the website says:

"Panty Explosion is a psychic schoolgirl adventure game. Each player takes the role of a normal Japanese student. One of you, perhaps more then one of you, is a psychic with devastating and terrifying powers."

I'm currently wondering if a rat flail +5 could beat a a psychic schoolgirl...

Read More... | Source: Atarashi Games

Fake priests in Japan

Date: 2006 November 3rd Friday [15:50] | Posted By: Joe
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.

Source: BBC News

Single grain sushi

Date: 2006 October 27th Friday [9:12] | Posted By: Joe
Category: > Cuisine

The Daily Mainichi News is currently running a story about single grain sushi. Japan has always been famed for it's love of all things miniature, even with small food portions, but the latest fad at sushi restaurant Omoroi Sushiya Kajiki takes it to a whole new level. With only a single grain of Japanese rice, the fish on top is about 1cm by 2cm at the most single grain sushi proves to be a miniature treat for all.

The dish is sold in on a plate with 10 or 12 portions and can be requested upon advanced booking during the more quiet times of day. The head chef apparently makes this dish to make the ladies smile.

Source: Daily Mainichi News

Browsing Category: > Freaky Things

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