japan

Food photo
Food

Nissin Cup Noodle's latest commercial transcends time and space


Stay Hot!
Jun 05
// Salvador GRodiles
To this day, I've yet to try fresh ramen. At the moment, my experience with the meal's limited to the cheap Maruchan instant noodles that are good for anyone who's on a tight budget. While we're on the topic of noodles, Niss...
Japan photo
Japan

Fight off aliens with the power of brocolli


Power up with Broccoli
Jun 03
// Anthony Redgrave
Sailor Moon may have the moon, Power Rangers have the zords, but for ageing men and women they have the power of broccoli. To help emphasise the need for a nutritious and healthy diet for the middle aged person of Japan, Kag...

Strong Style: New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS season 2 episode 2

May 30 // Soul Tsukino
We are at the Bodymaker Coliseum in Osaka for what is the first of 3 shows that are matches from the Dominion card from June 21, 2014. IWGP Jr. Tag Team Title: Time Splitters V/S Young Bucks: As was pointed out last week, the Time Splitters are Kushida and American Alex Shelley with a Back to the Future gimmick. The Young Bucks are brothers Matt and Nick Jackson, an American team that has been around the horn with runs in Ring of Honor as well as TNA. They have a bit of a reputation for thinking way to much of themselves and being dicks, but I think a lot of that is just hype. Here they are part of The Bullet Club, a bad guy stable that was started by Fergal Devitt (NXT'S Finn Baylor), before being lead by TNA and ROH stalwart A.J. Styles. Think the NWO with a little DX mixed in and that describes the Bullet Club, and no I don't say that as a compliment. The Bucks are the IWGP Jr. Tag team champions. The cocky champions come walking in with big smiles and threats of superkicks. This continues in the match with lots of crotch chops and "suck it" taunts. The story of his match is that the Splitters keep trying to keep the speed up while the Jacksons want to slow things down. The fun thing about Japanese wrestling is that you can hear what's going on in the ring and after a double chop to the chest, Nick Jackson screams "Oh my god!". The match is edited a bit for time but it's not taking too much away from the match. The team moves of the Spillters is a thing of beauty as they go on the attack but The Bucks counter with double moves of their own, especially the move they call "The Indytaker" where one man holds his opponent upside down while the other man dives off the rope, driving the opponent straight down on his head. The crowd is bonkers for this one as both teams go for finishers but the Splitters get the win when Kushida uses the "Hoverboard Lock" to get the submission and the titles. We get some words from the Splitters, actually Kushida does all the talking, in the post match press conference.   Takashi Iizuka & Minoru Suzuki V/S Toru Yano & Kazushi Sakuraba: The people in this match kinda scare me. On one side you have Suzuki (left bottom), an amateur wrestling champion and MMA pioneer who one of the founders of the Pancrase MMA promotion in 1993. He also is known as a an off kilter man who can basically destroy anyone, even as he has gotten older. His partner Iizuka (Top Left) is a grizzled veteran on NJPW (debuting in 1986) who isn't a walk in the park to wrestle either. On the other side you have Sakuraba (Bottom Right), an MMA master known as "The Gracie Killer" after having beaten 4 members of the famed Jujitsu master family. He is also a huge Otaku and known for his anime themed entrances to fights. He is partnered up with Yano (Top Right), a lot younger than the others in this match. He is a former amateur champion as well although like Iizuka, he is a brawler and heavy hitter. This match came about as Yano and Iizuka were partners in Team Chaos going against Suzuki's group of the Suzuki Army. Iizuka turned on Yano (a match shown last season on AXS). Sakuraba comes in as just a big name of MMA that could stand up to Suzuki. 3 of the 4 guys are around 50 years old, showing off another trait of Japanese wrestling where when guys get older, they start appearing in mid-card tag matches most often instead of main events and title matches (Wish companies in the States did that). Also, no beauty queens here for this one! Iizuka does the Bruiser Brody entrance through the crowd while Suzuki comes out with the towel over his head as a bad ass. Broadcaster Josh Barnett, it turns out, has had a hand in either training, or training with the people in this match, even teaming with Iizuka. Suzuki and Sakaraba, the MMA fighters start off in a classic grappling match before they just glare at each other and tag out to their partners. Things break down in a fight as a weird dynamic on the Yano/Sakuraba team develops with the wrestler Yano screaming orders as the MMA fighter Sakuraba, not always with success. This is a grudge match so lots of foreign objects are used like chairs, a hammer that rings the bell, a mic cord, and the tag rope are used, with the referee not disqualifying anyone. Sakuraba at one point tops Iizuka with palm strikes to the eye (ouch!) before Iizuka counters with a choke with a mic cord. After a spot where Yano and Suzuki fight over an exposed turnbuckle Yano gets clobbered with both a chair shot and and the "Iron Fist" of Iizuka (refer to the pic abovee of Iizuka), Suzuki hits a cradle piledriver on Yano to win the match for his team. The Army keep up the attack going after Sakuraba with the glove and piledriver as well. Suzuki gives us some words of how awesome he is to the press before we get to the main event of this show. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title: Kota Ibushi V/S Ricochet: As we saw last week Ricochet won the Best of the Super Juniors tournament to earn this title shot against Ibuchi. Kota Ibuchi is a long time Jr. Heavyweight with a Karate background. He hasn't had that big of an impact in the U.S. but had been featured on this show a few times in the first season. He also not only wrestles for New Japan, but also for the smaller Dramatic Dream Team (DDT) promotion as well. Ricochet's background was largely covered last week if you want to know more about him. We get some words from Ibushi before we get into the match as he talks about how much of an opponent Ricochet is after watching him in the BotSJ tournament. Both guys are "good guys" and for being under 220 pounds, neither are stick figures with muscles to spare. As the match starts the fans are solidly behind Ricochet surprisingly.  Both guys trade kicks to get things going but start up the action with a quick run of attempts for moves and the other guy flipping out of the way with cartwheels, moonsaults, and flips. No plodding here!  Ricochet gets an advantage with a move known as the Zig Zag (used by Dolph Ziggler) and goes to work over Ibushi with a mix of strikes and submission holds. Ibushi finally gets the advantage with a missile dropkick. He then dives outside the ring with a spring off the ropes and does a flip onto Ricochet nearly on the other side of the ring!  Richochet counters with his own missile drop kick that is a marvelous thing. Both men are back and forth on each other with the attacks getting bigger, turning the match into a game of 'Can you top this?'. Ibushi nearly kills himself when he falls off the top turnbuckle and hits himself in the face with the metal buckle. Ricochet gets him back up for a flying rana but Ricochet counters by doing a complete flip and landing on his feet! I'm loving this! Ibushi goes for a spinning phoenix splash (tribute to one of my favorites, Hayabusa) but misses, however Ricochet still can't get the pin. Ricochet goes for the Benedryller twice but Ibushi counters it. He hits a kick before going for the Phoenix Plex, a move I have never seen before in my life. He sets Ricochet for a powerbomb but when he gets him onto his shoulders, Ibushi grabs Ricochet's head and pulls in tight, before going backwards, looking like a tightly held version of the Kinnikuman Muscle Buster. Ibushi scores the pin with this one to retain the title to the roar of the crowd. Ricochet honors the winner by handing him the belt and the winner's trophy in the ring. We get words from both men after the match and then words from Ibushi praising Ricochet's resilience and power to end the show.  Holy crap, I had been told the main event match was incredible, and it was! My words aren't doing that match justice. The Middle tag match did provide a nice breather between the to Jr. Heavyweight matches and even that was kind of enjoyable in a kooky kind of way. The announcers were ON tonight as not only were they into the matches as much as the fans were, but Josh Barnett gets some credit with his experience with the men in the middle tag team match. This week once again, this show proves why it is a must watch for people who like really good wrestling instead of 25 minute promos and sketches involving fake Russians macking out on a guy like a horny school girl. See you all next week!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
Ibushi V/S Ricochet
[Welcome to Strong Style, Soul's new regular column covering the high-flying antics of Professional Wrestling in Glorious Nippon and beyond! - Josh] This week on New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV we pick up from last wee...

Strong Style: New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS season 2 episode 1

May 24 // Soul Tsukino
We start the second season of New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV the same way we left off, Mauro Ranallo and Josh Barnett are back with the play by play of the best action going on in Japan. As I have mentioned here before, This show is not a "first run" show like a Monday Night RAW or Smackdown. Instead it is a show that looks back at key matches and shows from recent NJPW history. This episode takes us to June 8th, 2014 and the Yoyogi National Gymnasium for the semi-finals and finals of the 2014 Best of the Super Juniors tournament. BotSJ is a tournament that was first held in 1988 and is a big spotlight on the lighter weight class in NJPW. Unlike "one and your done" style tournaments (IE: NCAA Basketball tournament), this competition is stet up much like Olympic Ice hockey where the 16 competitors are split into 2 groups. Each man fights all the other men in his bracket for points, the two top point-getters in each bracket face each other on this show with the winners of the semi-finals fighting for the trophy in the final. The show starts with one of our competitors tonight in Kushida. He shares his thoughts on competing that night before we get to our first match. Kushida vs. Taichi:  This is a very interesting match. Both men were trained in some part by 90's Japanese wrestling superstar "Dangerous K" Toshiaki Kawada. These two are also familiar to me from their runs 10 years ago in a promotion called HUSTLE that was so over the top it referred to itself as a "Fighting Opera" instead of wrestling. Taichi is a member of Team Chaos, a rule breaking stable in NJPW, and as Ranallo points out, a bit of an underdog to have gotten this far. Kushida is one half of a tag team called The Time Splitters.   A tag team who's gimmick is based off Back to the Future. Bless you Japan. Kushida also as noted is in this match as a replacement for his partner Alex Shelley who was injured. The match is a chaotic mess as Taichi attacked Shelly during his entrance with a chair and started a fight before the bell rings. This is like a fast paced cheating heel V/S good guy style match as both men have partners interfering on their behave and getting the referee to miss all of it. Taichi even pulls out a classic Eddie Geurrero spot where he tosses Kushida a cane, only to collapse in fake pain, making the ref think Kushida nailed him with it. The match comes to an end when Kushida unveils his new finisher, The "Hoverboard Lock", A flying kimura armlock. I'd have called it the McFlying armlock myself. The move gets the quick submission and sends Kushida to the finals.     Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Ricochet: Taguchi has popped up on this show before as one of NJPW's top Juniors,  He is the favorite of the tournament as he won the 2012 BotSJ and would have made the semifinals of the 2013 tournament but had to withdraw because of injury. Rochochet is an American wrestler with a large independent following, and here is representing the Dragon Gate promotion. Many will also know of his as Prince Puma, champion on the American Lucha Underground show. This match plays out with an opposite dynamic from the last match as both men are fan favorites and they play the match that way. It is very fast paced and it's a show of who can top who. There is a bit of a skip in the match, but it's not very big and you don't seem to miss much. Ricochet scores the win with his finisher, the Benedryller kick, to score the win. Both semis were kept short, under 8 minutes, as both winners would be coming back. These matches weren't hacked to death and were shown for the most part. As with last season Ranallo and Barnett do a great job of explaining to context of each guy as well as the tournament itself We get some more words from Kushida about his new finisher and about that night as well. Final: Kushida V/S Ricochet:  This match is amazing and feel like 3 different matches in one. The first part of the match is a slower paced mat wrestling match with hold, counter hold, escape, to get things kicked off. It switches to a million-miles-an-hour face-paced match where both men are keeping the pace up and landing several moves at once. Finally the match becomes a battle of attrition as each man is throwing out their biggest moves joined together with some hard kicks and elbows. The match is close to 40 minutes long, which to some American fans is unthinkable for Junior heavyweights. The story that is told during the entire match is Kushida keeps going for Ricochet's arm to set him up for the Hoverboard Lock, while Ricochet is wearing down Kushida for the Benedryller. To say they throw everything at each other is not an overstatement. These guys used every one of their biggest moves, and even some moves from other people to try to get the victory. The battle finally ends when Ricochet nails Kushida with a kick right to the head and then the Bendryller that folds Kushida in half before being pinned. During the entire match not only is the crowd very into the battle, but so are the announcers. No old timey vaudeville jokes, no bickering, no talks about women's underwear or whatever they pulled from the headlines to be topical for the week. Not only to both announcers put over the importance and history of the tournament, they put over the moves and action in the ring with more legitimacy than anything else going on in wrestling on TV. We get some post match words from Kushida who is sweating buckets and on the locker room floor before we get some in ring words from Ricochet, who challenges NJPW Junior Heavyweight Champion, Kota Ibushi, to a match (Ibushi accepts). We then get some in studio comments from Kushida where he talks about how the crowd was cheering for Ricochet in the finals and that putting on a good showing not only for himself, but Junior Heavyweights as a whole, was the goal of the match. Once again this show is my favorite. Josh Barnett and Marro Ranallo have not lost a thing since the first season  of shows and the producers put together a great 1 hour look at the show that night. The editing wasn't a hatchet job and a lot of the action was shown, while still having some comments from Kushida to get some insight into what one of the competitors was thinking during the course of the night. I encourage more people to watch this show and see what a wrestling show that takes itself more seriously can be like. Next Week we will see the match between Ricochet and Ibuchi for the title and feature the Time Splitters together in action going after the Jr. Heavyweight tag titles against the Young Bucks.
New Japan Pro Wrestling  photo
The best of Japan for American fans
Welcome to Strong Style, Japanator's look into Japanese wrestling! This time out we look at my favorite wrestling show on American TV as it returns for a second season. Can AXS keep up everything that made this show amazing during its first season? What does the producers pick to highlight from New Japan wrestling action? Take a read and find out!  

Super Robot Wars BX photo
Super Robot Wars BX

Super Robot War BX's first trailer fills our bodies with delicious courage


All part of a well-balanced diet
May 22
// Salvador GRodiles
If there's one thing that the Super Robot Wars series does right with their trailers, it's that they tend to fill people's hearts with a huge surge of hot-blooded energy. In most cases, this high dosage of enthusiasm can res...
Super Robot Wars BX photo
Super Robot Wars BX

Prepare for takeoff: Super Robot Wars BX is now a thing


Our King of Braves has returned
May 20
// Salvador GRodiles
It's been a month since 3rd Super Robot Wars Z Part 2 hit Japan and the next title has been revealed. Titled Super Robot Wars BX, this upcoming game's being made for the 3DS and it plans to improve on the features from Super ...
Naruto photo
Naruto

Gothic Fashion no Jutsu! Silver rings inspired by Naruto's dark side


"You can never have enough Sharingans"- Danzo
Mar 28
// Anthony Redgrave
Even though Naruto ended last winter, it doesn't prevent us at Japanator from talking about our favourite orange clad ninja. When it comes to fashion, I'll be hard pressed to recommend anything from the Naruto series. Green l...
Brafile photo
Brafile

Accurately measure oppai with the BraFile


No more second guessing
Mar 24
// Anthony Redgrave
Knowing a ladies' three sizes is a blessing and curse. It shows that you are accurate and observant but to the woman in question it just means you're a massive pervert. There has only been one person I know that has the abili...
Asian Kung-Fu Generation photo
Asian Kung-Fu Generation

Asian Kung-Fu Generation 2015 Japan Tour


Rocking all around Japan
Mar 18
// Anthony Redgrave
I could go on a massive rant about how, why, and what I love about Asian Kung Fu Generation. From their supremely magnificent album Sol-Fa, to their more experimental works with Magic Disk and World World World, and finally t...
Dinosaurs photo
Dinosaurs

Dino-mite: A new dinosaur species has been discovered in Japan


Let's give a warm welcome to a new prehistoric creature
Mar 17
// Salvador GRodiles
Ever since I was a kid, I've always been fond of dinosaurs, since they're literally giant reptiles with their own unique feature, such as huge wings, fierce claws and deadly spikes. While we're on the topic of prehistoric cre...
Ninjas photo
Ninjas

Japan uses their ninja skills to increase tourism


Ninjas are back in business
Mar 10
// Salvador GRodiles
I know that I joked around in the past about 2015 being the Year of the Ninja, but Japan's recent tourism-related move might as well turn my made-up holiday into a real thing. Long story short, the Japanese government have de...
IJN Musashi photo
IJN Musashi

Battleship Musashi rediscovered 70 years after World War II


Get me a repair bucket, stat!
Mar 05
// Josh Tolentino
I'm not sure who should be more overjoyed by this news: History buffs or Kantai Collection fans. Perhaps both? I am, of course, referring to a cool tweet from a fellow named Paul Allen, formerly a founder of Microsoft and now...
Kantai Collection photo
Kantai Collection

Kancolle heals your battle scars with Hakujuji


Please heal me, Senpai!
Mar 04
// Anthony Redgrave
What do pharmaceutical supplies and school girls posing as battle ships have in common? Not much apart from cross promotion. Japanese medical and hygiene provider Hakujuji and web based game turned moe anime Kancolle are team...
Attack on Titan photo
Attack on Titan

Attack on Titan x Aqua Clara Promo has some Amazing Prizes


Attack on Thirst
Mar 02
// Anthony Redgrave
The increasingly popular Attack on Titan is partnering up with the Japanese water cooler provider Aqua Clara to wage war against dehydration. The link between killing titans and ensuring adequate hydration is extremely tenuous, but I don't want to be dehydrated when I'm fighting a 3 metre class of paper work. 
Food photo
Food

KFC and Potato Chips. Together at Last


For Increasingly Accessible KFC munchings
Feb 24
// Anthony Redgrave
There are some Japanese snacks that wouldn't fly in the west. Pocari Sweat has the connotation of drinking someone's perspiration, and their eclectic Kit Kat flavours can make some taste buds shudder. But this concept already has me salivating.
Asian Kung Fu Generation photo
Asian Kung Fu Generation

AKFG News: iTunes Albums and New Single


They're Back, BABY!
Feb 20
// Anthony Redgrave
Asian Kung-Fu Generation may not roll off the tongue as well as some other band names but their sound is definitely iconic. Playing on top of animated openings like Naruto, Fullmetal Alchemist, and Bleach, AKFG helped en...
Persona 5 photo
Persona 5

Persona 5 is the Lupin III RPG you never knew you wanted


And Atlus knows it, too
Feb 11
// Josh Tolentino
How about that Persona 5 trailer, eh? While the sensible voice in my head cautions me against getting too hyped-up for games that aren't out yet, but the Persona-fan voice in my head is currently drowning it out with shouts a...
Japanese MREs photo
Japanese MREs

Let's take a look at an instant Military meal from Japan


Protecting the troops from starvation
Feb 10
// Red Veron
Now I've had my share of US military rations, better known as "Meals-Ready-to-Eat" (MREs) I've often wondered how other countries handled their on-the-go meals for their troops. US military MREs aren't the tastiest and often ...
Golgo 13 photo
Golgo 13

Golgo 13 is officially Too Old For This Sh*t


The OG hitman retires soon
Feb 09
// Josh Tolentino
Indeed, like a certain police officer, the legendary assassin Golgo 13 is just a few weeks from retirement...literally! After nearly forty-seven years in serialization, the longest-running currently published manga is set to ...
Universal Studios photo
Universal Studios

Universal Studios' Attack on Titan and anime attractions are pure nightmare fuel


Zombies, Monsters, and Nudists, Oh My!
Feb 02
// Josh Tolentino
I took a trip to western Japan last year, and my big regret of the trip was not finding enough time to visit Himeji castle, the best-preserved traditional castle in the country. I think it's time to add another regret to the ...
One Punch Man photo
One Punch Man

It takes just one man to make a One Punch Man anime


Well, a prototype of one, anyway
Feb 02
// Josh Tolentino
If there's anything I've learned over the years of writing about the things I enjoy, it's that making those things - in this case, anime - is very hard work, often done by large numbers of very talented people. That makes th...
Super Mario World photo
Super Mario World

Watch this guy use his amazing nose to play Super Mario World


With a recorder, of course
Jan 29
// Salvador GRodiles
This might surprise most people on here, but Super Mario World was actually one of the first titles that got me into playing video games. As for the reason why I didn't get to play games before the SNES, this was due to my y...
Touhou x PS photo
Touhou x PS

Touhou games may come to PlayStation this year


But not the games you might want
Jan 27
// Josh Tolentino
Ah, Touhou Project. The hyper-popular series of bullet-hell shooters has long been a Holy Grail of sorts for non-PC-owning otaku, and the efforts to get games with the Touhou brand on various consoles have bee...
Arpeggio x JSDF photo
Arpeggio x JSDF

Buy some Japanese navy propaganda, get a free Arpeggio sticker


Just...don't join the navy for your waifu, OK?
Jan 27
// Josh Tolentino
Think "Military-Entertainment Complex", and videogames like Call of Duty or even the actual U.S. Army-sponsored shooter America's Army comes to mind. That's not the only way cross-promotion can happen though. ...
Mari-chan photo
Mari-chan

This adorable Shiba Inu loves to mess with its owner


Mischievous yet cute
Jan 20
// Salvador GRodiles
Dogs may have a great reputation for being loyal to their owners, but that doesn't stop them from messing with their caretakers from time to time. In this case, Mari-chan the Shiba Inu decides to fool around with her master ...
PSN games photo
PSN games

Japan's PSN users sure love them some western games


Downloads aplenty!
Jan 10
// Josh Tolentino
If there's one stereotype about the Japanese game industry that's more true than not, it's that Glorious Nippon hasn't gotten the hang of The Internet and its many facets quite as quickly or in the same way as the rest of the...
Steam sale photo
Steam sale

PSA: Anime is the name of Steam's weekend game sale


Now with more amorous avians!
Jan 09
// Josh Tolentino
Of all the geeky trends people took note of in 2014, one of the least appreciated is the Japanese gaming industry's growing embrace of indie development and global digital distribution. Sure, it's been happening for the last ...
Spider-Man photo
Spider-Man

Japanese Spider-Man always saves the day!


Best Spider-Man ever
Jan 09
// Josh Tolentino
All us normal everyday folks know to call their friendly neighborhood Spider-Man when they get into a jam, but what happens when Spider-Man gets into a jam? If Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott is to be believed, ...
Surveillance robot photo
Surveillance robot

Japan Ministry of Defense's surveillance robot is almost ready to roll out


Transformation feature included
Jan 02
// Salvador GRodiles
Good news, everyone! It turns out that the Japanese Ministry of Defense's Technical Research and Development Institute is close to finishing their special surveillance robot. Going by the name of the Throwable Type Reconnaiss...
3rd Super Robot Wars Z photo
3rd Super Robot Wars Z

3rd Super Robot Wars Z Part 2's trailer will heat up your blood


Groovin Magic!
Dec 13
// Salvador GRodiles
At long last, Bandai Namco has uploaded the first trailer for 3rd Super Robot Wars Z: Tengoku Hen, and things are looking interesting for Super Robot Wars Z's finale. First and foremost, Diebuster is making its debut in the ...

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