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Extreme Origami

Date: 2007 March 24 18:47 | Posted By:

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!

Souce: Times On-line

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

We all want a Perfect Piece Tachikoma

Date: 2007 March 09 17:53 | Posted By:

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... | Souce: MegaHouse

Manga Toilet Paper

Date: 2007 March 09 08:56 | Posted By:

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.

Souce: Anime News Network

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

Kelly Osbourne: Turning Japanese

Date: 2007 February 01 05:34 | Posted By:

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... | Souce: ITV2

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

Akutai Matsuri, the Japanese swear by it

Date: 2007 January 02 15:59 | Posted By:

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.

Souce: Mainichi Daily 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

Maid Cafe in Toronto

Date: 2006 December 05 07:21 | Posted By:

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.

Souce: Boing Boing

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

Wine tasting robot thinks human flesh is bacon

Date: 2006 November 12 13:14 | Posted By:

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.

Souce: Wired Blogs

More single grain sushi fun

Date: 2006 November 10 15:28 | Posted By:

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.

Souce: Ege-Sushi

Panty Explosion the game

Date: 2006 November 10 13:54 | Posted By:

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... | Souce: Atarashi Games

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

Single grain sushi

Date: 2006 October 27 09:12 | Posted By:

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.

Souce: Daily Mainichi 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

More on Otaku Hunting with an otaku budget

Date: 2006 October 15 13:36 | Posted By:

Category > Fandom

Following on from a previous article on Otaku Hunting, the Mainichi Daily News has some interesting details about an Akihabara otaku wallet, the Shukan Post did a very rough and ready survey of 10 otaku in the area and discovered the maximum amount one carried was 47,000 yen (that's about $392 USD or £211 GBP) with the least carrying 3,000 yen (approximately $30 USD or £14 GBP), with the average wallet containing around 21,900 yen ($183 or £98 GBP).

We question such a small sample size and would be keen to find out if these results scale, or the 10 otaku questions where above or below the real average otaku in Tokyo. Interestingly what the Shukan Post discovered that otaku are in fact penny pinchers, using the knowledge of their train obsessed friend to work out the cheapest journey to save them 10 yen a trip as every little counts.

Souce: Mainichi Daily 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

Maid lamps on sale now!

Date: 2006 October 12 12:45 | Posted By:

Category > Freaky Things

A brand new line of sexy maid lamps have appeared at the Onoden Electrical Appliances store in Akihabara. The lamp shade is a maid skirt and the stand is made to look like a cute pair of legs striking a MOE pose. With a flip of the switch and somewhere in the vicinity of the pretty skirt will bring have light.

Sexy Leg Lamp is the name of this product if you ever want such a thing, and it will cost you about 12,600 yen (which is $106 US dollars).

It looks as though anything can be turned into maids nowadays. What will they show up next?

Souce: Akakdot

Defending Anime Fans

Date: 2006 October 06 03:46 | Posted By:

Category > Fandom

The trouble with being an anime fan is that people often get the wrong idea, and then start talking about stereotypical stuff about how crazy people are in Japan. Dragon who is the president of the London Anime Club and has also written a shopping guide to anime and electronics in Tokyo has posted a good defence to being called an otaku:

I got into an "arguement" with somebody at work over the term Otaku. They accused me of dressing up in costume and being obssively knowledgeable about the subject. "Fine," I said. "Just like the rest of the perverts who you see dressed up in strange costumes and hanging round in parks on Sundays, or that gather in huge crowds dressed in outlandish gear singing stupid songs and generally idolising over their obessions. Who spend huge amounts of money buying all the latest things. They have pictures on their bedroom walls. They follow the latest news and interviews very great glee. They seek out fellow fanatics and discuss the latest events. Such obsessives like you. Only in this country they are known as football fans."

So note down the otaku are just the same as football fan strategy and use it next time people call you weird for liking those strange Japanese cartoons! ^_-

Souce: London Anime Club

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

Japanorama Episode 2 - Otaku

Date: 2006 September 13 12:18 | Posted By:

Category > Anime > TV

UK viewers able to access BBC Three, will want to tune into Japanorama on Thursday 14th September 2006 at 11pm. The show will be reporting on otaku the Japanese nerds (if you're reading Otaku News, you should already know what an otaku is ^_^).

It looks like the show will be focusing on the rise of otaku and why so many of them can only feel love for manga, anime and model collecting. Host Jonathan Ross will also be reporting on Cosplay, as well as Maid Cafes. We're guessing Japanorma will also cover Akihabara, Train Man (Densha Otoko) and if we're lucky a convention like Winter WonderFest.

Souce: BBC Three

Jesus Went To Japan To Become a Rice Farmer

Date: 2006 September 11 17:23 | Posted By:

Category > Freaky Things

BBC News has an interesting, if not bizarre story about a Japanese legend that claims Jesus escaped Jerusalem and went to Japan to become a rice farmer. Tourists can even visit the remote Kristo no Hakka, or Grave of Christ. The article focuses on it's origins which seem to date back as far as 1930, when it is claimed ancient Hebrew documents were discovered detailing Jesus' life and death in Japan. Conveniently these documents have been lost, however there are some alleged descendants of Jesus in the village near his grave, but they're Buddhists and not Christians!

Souce: BBC News

Robo-sommelier Perfect for Tasting Wines

Date: 2006 September 04 15:38 | Posted By:

Category > Technology > Robotics

According to BBC News the clever people at NEC have created a wine tasting robot. The 2 foot tall robot use infrared light to detect different tastes. Originally developed to taste and identify foods by checking the ingredients and their quantities, the team decided to focus on wine as it was more challenging. The robot will even recommend wines based on the users previous tastings. For some reason or another we can't stop thinking about Bender from Futurama.

Souce: BBC News

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

Miuro The iPod Robot

Date: 2006 September 01 08:33 | Posted By:

Category > Technology > Robotics

For the otaku that has everything Japanese firm ZMP have developed a robot that rolls around playing music. The egg shaped robot is called Miuro which stands for - music innovation based on utility robot technology. Miuro has all sorts of interesting features such as an iPod dock, a remote control and can even use wireless signals from a PC to play music from iTunes or similar software (the article isn't clear which wireless technology is used). The robot uses a Kenwood speaker system. Camera and sensors are available as an optional extra to allow Miuro to map out it's on position and remember routes.

Miuro is available to buy on-line in Japan, with overseas availability expected in the second half of 2007. Retailing at $930 (USD), it isn't exactly at the cheap end of iPod accessories.

Souce: Yahoo! News

A Big Gundam of Your Very Own

Date: 2006 August 04 12:38 | Posted By:

Category > Freaky Things

Fans in the past have built massive Gundam models now you can own an official one of your own for a mere 350,000 yen. It's 1.5m and weighs 35kg, and if you're very interested is based on a HY2M RX-78-2 Gundam.

Souce: Insert Credit

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

The Secret Otaku Support Commission

Date: 2006 July 28 09:10 | Posted By:

Category > Freaky Things

It may sound like a name of some new romantic comedy anime, but in fact it's a match up service. The Mainichi Daily News are currently running a story about the Secret Otaku Support Commission, a service that allows female otaku who rather hide their nerd like tendencies to rent another female otaku to hangout with. The service is expensive and the MDN discover that the matching service isn't exactly perfect, with their match up as the rented otaku girl was too young to have seen most of the anime the reporter enjoyed.

Souce: Mainichi Daily News

Free Visual Novel Construction Tool Released

Date: 2006 July 24 03:58 | Posted By:

Category > Gaming > PC

Fans of dating games will be pleased to hear that the nice folks from CuriousFactory and Buredo have released a free game engine and construction kit, designed at making Visual Novels easy to produce in English. In a nutshell this will allow users to create their own interactive stories, anime and manga fans will probably be most familiar with dating games, but the companies are keen to promote that you can also produce other games using their game engine.

A good story is a must, good artwork is always nice too, but there are some crafty ways around this, such as taking photos of things and then using a bit of photoshop magic. It’ll be interesting to see if any otaku take up developing games on this engine. Currently the engine is Windows only.

Read More... | Souce: Blade Visual Novel Engine

Japanese Prime Minister To Visit Graceland

Date: 2006 June 29 03:18 | Posted By:

Category > Current Affairs

While attending talks between US President George W Bush and Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, the two leaders will pay a special visit to a very American home. They will be visiting Graceland the famous house of rock and roll legend Elvis Presley.

According to BBC News this is widely seen as a thank you gesture from Mr Bush to Mr Koizumi, who is known to be a huge Elvis fan. Mr Koizumi has even released a CD with a selection of his favourite Elvis songs. The Japanese PM is such a dedicated fan he helped fund a statue of the King which now stands in Harajuku.

Souce: BBC News

Rennai NEETs a New Kind of Dropout

Date: 2006 June 26 15:15 | Posted By:

Category > Freaky Things

From the country that brought you hikikomori, the Japanese now have a new kind of outcast, Rennai NEETs, (Not in Employment, Education or Training). According to Mainichi Daily News the twist with Rennai NEETs is that they enjoy being single. Apparently a survey of 3000 single Japanese men discovered that two thirds do not have a girlfriend and one third haven't had a partner for three years or more. They state that looking for a girlfriend is too much nuisance and there are limited opportunities for them to meet girls. They also mention Dragon Odawara, an artist who specialises in Rennai NEET manga.

The article goes on to explain the Psychological reasons for Rennai NEETs and then raises concern as half of Japan's men in their 30's are unmarried, and is worried that this figure will grow. Results to the Japanese economy could be disastrous in years to come, especially when you factor in the declining Japanese birthrate.

Souce: Mainichi Daily News

Beatrix Potter Home Clone

Date: 2006 June 13 15:14 | Posted By:

Category > Culture

Many Japanese people love Beatrix Potter's stories especially the tales of Peter Rabbit. According to BBC News, although her characters are very well known, it seems that the author isn't. Tokyo Zoo hope to readdress this balance and have built an almost exact replica of her home. Since Japanese buildings have to be earthquake proof a few adjustments had to be made, but apparently it's almost a brick by brick exact copy!

Souce: BBC News

After School Pressures in Japan

Date: 2006 June 10 09:38 | Posted By:

Category > Culture

BBC News has an interesting article about the hectic life of the average Japanese school child. It seems little Yataro spends a lot of his time when out of school in evening and weekend extra curricular activities. In an average week he would go to swimming, abacus, piano, judo, football and English classes, along with keeping up with his homework. It's not clear from the article how old Yataro is, only stating that he's a Tokyo journalists young son. What is clear from the article is that putting huge amounts of work on children like this is common in Japan. We were well aware of cram school, but never knew it went this far!

Souce: BBC News

Battle of the Freebies

Date: 2006 May 17 04:23 | Posted By:

Category > Freaky Things

Whilst not as shocking as some freebies, live action PSP game Finder love from Konami will come with a free bikini in special limited edition packs. There are three versions of the game based around three idols. Apparently though the bikini's aren't supposed to be worn.

Souce: IGN

ADV Cleans Up Hacker Mess

Date: 2006 May 16 11:31 | Posted By:

Category > Anime

ADV Films fixes up an attack by Turkish hackers.

Read More... | Souce: Anime News Network

Japan's Toys for the Elderly

Date: 2006 May 02 18:23 | Posted By:

Category > Toys

In a rather interesting story, following on from their earlier story about declining birth rates in Japan, BBC News have posted an interesting story about Japan's toys for the elderly. It covers Tomy's new product, a doll for the over sixties designed to be similar to a small child, the doll will welcome the owner back home and even weights the same as a small infant.

The article states that due to the falling birthrate Japans population could decrease by as much as 28 million people by 2050. As a result Tomy is keen on developing toys not just for children.

'"We go for teenagers, we go for people in their twenties and thirties, we go for housewives, families and for older people too. It's a strange culture but we are very lucky," Mr Tomiyama says'

The article goes to mention Nintendo's success with it's Brain Training Game. It ends with a the suggestion that games for adults are nothing new in Japan highlighting pachinko as an example, although it doesn't mention that games for adults are played in other countries too, such as pool, snooker, darts, lawn bowls etc..., it just seems odd that they highlight the Japanese adults love of games when almost every country in the world has games enjoyed by grown-ups. ^_^

Souce: BBC News

Japanese Goverment Pay for Speed Dating

Date: 2006 April 26 07:45 | Posted By:

Category > Current Affairs

BBC News are running an article about Japanese Speed Dating. Due to the decline of marriages and childbirth in Japan, the government are concerned to the social and economic impact this will have (no doubt they want to avoid a Roujin Z scenario), so the government have started to sponsor speed dating in the hopes of stemming the tide of the slowing birth rate.

The article mentions that since Japanese women are more career minded and financially independent, getting a husband is not always on the top of their list of priorities.

Aunts used to act as match makers, then office bosses, but now since people spend more time at work they don't really have a chance to meet others, so are willing to pay for a service to do so. The social impact of the declining birth rate can already be seen in Japan as over 2,000 schools have been closed down in the last decade due to lack of children.

Souce: BBC News

Earwax Removal Japanese Style

Date: 2006 April 18 14:31 | Posted By:

Category > Freaky Things

BBC News have posted an amusing article written by Christopher Hogg, detailing his visit to a Tokyo beauty salon and his experience with their latest treatment, ear canal cleaning while you watch! Japanese people have traditionally cleaned the inside of their ears out with a mimikaki (also known as a bamboo ear pick, which is similar to a surgical curette). This high tech service however has a difference from the traditional bamboo one, as the ear scoop has a minature camera at the end, allowing the customer to see the inside of their ear canal and all the ear wax being scooped out!

Apparently Japanese men use this service more, as women do a better job of cleaning their ears out.

Souce: BBC News

Man Arrested after Living in Manga Cafe for 34 Days

Date: 2006 April 15 02:44 | Posted By:

Category > Freaky Things

Mainichi Daily News are running an interesting article about a Japanese man that decided to live in a manga cafe after running out of money. This case happened in Gifu Japan where the man lived in the Manga cafe for 34 days without paying for it.

Manga cafe's are places where you can rent a small private room (about the size of a cubicle) for a set length of time. Most of these establishments have large libraries of manga you can browse and read at your own leisure during your stay. They are open 24 hours a day and provide some food, and sometimes common ammenities like showers.

The man was lucky enough to stay 34 days in the Manga Cafe and racked up a bill of about $1500. He was arrested a couple of days ago by the police for fraud.

Souce: Mainichi Daily News

Robot Super Model to the Rescue

Date: 2006 April 09 11:53 | Posted By:

Category > Technology > Robotics

The Mainichi Daily News has an interesting story on Robo Garage who have previously made a child and an adult robot which appear to be male, have produced a "Female Type" bipedal robot.

Weighing just 800 grams and 35 centimetres tall the tiny Female Type (or FT), has a feminine shape and can strut along like a super model! Bipedal robots have always presented a challenge, since it's tricky to get a robot to walk and balance on two legs. A low centre of gravity helps, which would have made the robot look fat, so to counter this a lightweight motor was used, along with two sensors to detected if the robot starts to lean.

Souce: Mainichi Daily News

Eva 01 Bicycle

Date: 2006 March 27 16:26 | Posted By:

Category > Freaky Things

Just when you thought you've already got every bit of merchandise possible for Evangelion, Gainax go crazy and release a load of stuff for the tenth anniversary for the series. TechJapan have discovered that Media Magic have teamed up with Gainax to produce the Eva 01 Bike. For 47,000 Yen it can be yours too (that's about $405 USD / £230 GBP). Apparently it's a front suspension style mountain bike that uses 6 speed gears, currently there are no plans to release this bicycle in other Eva colours. We find this ironic, as otaku aren't famed for their physical fitness and are not frequently seen on bikes.

Souce: TechJapan

Mixed Reactions Over Manga Panties Giveaway

Date: 2006 February 28 13:05 | Posted By:

Category > Freaky Things

According to the Daily Mainichi News, Japanese magazine Cyzo has lashed out over a new manga that is being promoted with the gift of a pair of what they are describing as being "commonly worn by pre-schoolers".

Read More... | Souce: Mainichi Daily News

Hitachi Unveils New Cyber Desk Clerk

Date: 2006 February 26 19:59 | Posted By:

Category > Technology > Robotics

As some of you may have noticed, we rather like our robots over here at Otaku News. So imagine our glee when we discovered that Hitachi and Hitachi building services are installing a new robotic desk clerk at the Grand Tokyo Bay Hotel.

Read More... | Souce: The Raw Feed

Pachinko Support Group To Save The Day

Date: 2006 February 26 07:51 | Posted By:

Category > Freaky Things

According to the Mainichi Daily News, a Pachinko Support Group has been set up to help people cope with the addictive pinball like game. Addiction to pachinko, like many addictions can lead to problems in society such as debts, violence, juvenile delinquency and even neglect from addicted parents. What surprises us it that it's the first support group of it's kind, despite in it's hay-day in the mid nineties 44 million Japanese were playing the game.

Souce: Mainichi Daily News

Three Arrested in Tokyo Over Manga Postings

Date: 2006 February 19 12:33 | Posted By:

Category > Manga

Three men have been arrested in Tokyo over apparent copywrite infringement due to the scanning and subsequent posting of manga on a cybercafe server.

Read More... | Souce: p2pnet.net

Happy Giri Choco Day!

Date: 2006 February 14 12:18 | Posted By:

Category > Culture

Romance is in the air! It's Valentines day! With most card shops selling all sorts of Valentines day cards, including ones from your cat, you can't help wondering if things have got a bit too commercial. Well it's the same in Japan according to BBC News, since Valentines day is a day where women traditionally give chocolate to their significant others, and also to their bosses, as obligation demands. This isn't an ancient tradition, Giri choco was only started 40 years ago by the Japanese confectionary companies (who would have guessed?). Unsurprisingly 70% of Japanese women want this tradition to end, while Japanese men are happy to keep things the same. The confectionary companies are fair though as White Day a month later is when Japanese men have to buy white sweets for their loved ones.

Souce: BBC News

PC Case For Real Otaku

Date: 2006 February 13 14:49 | Posted By:

Category > Freaky Things

Even here at Otaku News, every now and then we find something that just screams hardcore otaku. It's normally something odd that only an otaku would want, but not just a everyday otaku, someone who wants to scream out to the world that they are a more extreme breed of otaku. Shuttle PC cases are cool, but can you image one with an anime paint job on the case? The example here is based on the hentai game Gift (although you wouldn't guess it's hentai from looking at the case), retailer Fast Online have a few other models too.

Shuttle have a good reputation for producing barebone systems with a smaller form factor, and have excellent build quality. Looking at the photos the artwork looks really nice and we're actually tempted to buy one since they're 39,800 JPY (which works out at $340 USD or £195 GBP), but then again, we're not into hentai.

Souce: Fast Online

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