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weird news

Fuzichoco photo

Japanese artist Fuzichoco wants to bring her art to puzzle form

Artist looking for backing for puzzle
Oct 17
// Soul Tsukino
The company Playing Ground Puzzles has joined with the artist Fuzichoco to bring the deep and colorful anime-inspired illustrations to puzzle fans with a Kickstarter program. The anime inspired illustrator has partnered with the puzzle company to bring a fun way to pass some time and bring together a wonder picture to take you away to a far off land.
Tiger Mask W photo
Tiger Mask W

Tiger Mask W makes his real-life wrestling ring debut!

We kinda saw this coming
Oct 14
// Soul Tsukino
In a crossover that many fans of Japanese wrestling knew would probably happen, the title character from the new anime Tiger Mask W made his debut in a real-life wrestling ring on October 10th. During the pre-show for N...
jellyfish photo

Check out Japan's rare aquarium-exclusive jellyfish

The world is still full of surprises
Sep 23
// Salvador G Rodiles
There's something wonderful about getting to discover something new in places where you least expect them. One of these marvelous scenarios is when a couple folks working at an aquarium found a rare jellyfish species that mig...
Pizza Hut photo
Pizza Hut

And you thought your boss was an asshole

Pizza Hut robbery lead by Store G.M.
Sep 05
// Soul Tsukino
A Pizza Hut restaurant in Fukugawa, Koto Ward, Tokyo had a really rough Sunday night when not only was the place robbed at knife point and an assistant manager assaulted with a metal pipe, but it turns out the whole thing was an inside job.

Biker Gangs photo
Biker Gangs

The biker gangs of Akira may be a thing of the past

Biker Gangs numbers dwindling.
Sep 05
// Soul Tsukino
While Otaku the world over are keeping a wary eye on the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo (and what could be buried underneath the stadium) the biker gangs that made Akira, GTO, and other iconic images of modern Japanese culture so awesome may have gone the way of the dodo.
Olympics? photo

Uh, Japan's Prime Minister cosplayed as Mario for the Olympics

Wait, what?
Aug 22
// Josh Tolentino
No, this is not an article from The Onion. Apparently, it really happened, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe did, in fact, emerge from a giant green pipe at the closing ceremonies of the Rio Olympic Games, dressed up as ...
Emperor Akihito photo
Emperor Akihito

No, Japan's Emperor isn't stepping down (but he might want to)

The Emperor Speaks
Aug 08
// Josh Tolentino
In a rare national TV address, Akihito, the current Emperor of Japan, spoke frankly about his declining health and hinted that he may want to stand down from the Chrysanthemum Throne someday. This came after weeks of rum...
Politics photo

Japan's Emperor plans to step down in near future

Emperor Akihito makes his plans known
Jul 13
// Soul Tsukino
In a report from the NHK today, it was said that Japanese Emperor Akihito may abdicate his role in the next few years and pass along the title to his son, Crown Prince Naruhito. The reports state that Akihito wishes not ...
Capsule Hotel photo
Capsule Hotel

Capsule Hotels go upscale in Akihabara

This is so worth the claustrophobia!
Jul 11
// Soul Tsukino
A new hotel in the trendy area of Akihabara is taking the idea of the capsule hotel to an all new level of luxury. While capsule hotels are known as low priced, cramped, one night layovers for drunks and tired salarymen. That image may change with the opening of the Anshin Oyado Luxury Capsule Hotel.
Sumo photo

NHK World to cover Sumo in English!

Now us gaijin can join the fun!
Jul 09
// Soul Tsukino
NHK World has announced that they will carry English language coverage of top league sumo wrestling on their channel and online.The show, Grand Sumo Highlights will air several times a day on NHK World, and also will be available on the NHK World On Demand  Youtube channel.
Ponytail Day photo
Ponytail Day

Today in Anime: Ponytail Day

A Questionable Holiday
Jul 07
// Anthony Redgrave
Japan likes to obsess over different things blowing up the ordinary and mundane to make them fantastic and exciting. Think about how many slice-of-life anime shows there are based on a high school. I don't think my high schoo...
Hearthstone photo

Brilliant Hearthstone ad pokes fun at Japanese corporate culture

Well Played
Jun 28
// Josh Tolentino
It's a cliche at this point to describe Japanese work culture as "quite hierarchical", but it is true that bosses, company officials, and executives are afforded a level of deference that's not as common in other cultures. Un...
Katana coaster photo
Katana coaster

Drink like a samurai with Kotobukiya's katana coasters

Way of the Alcoholic
Jun 19
// Salvador G Rodiles
If there's one thing that's similar about a katana and a drink on a table, it's that they both contain an important piece that serves as a means to protect something. The former's handguard makes sure that the person doe...
Gandalf x Fate/stay night photo
Gandalf x Fate/stay night

Here, let Gandalf lend some class to Unlimited Blade Works

I don't even care why
Jun 16
// Josh Tolentino
There are no words for this, besides "HOLY SHIT SIR IAN MCKELLEN JUST READ THE UNLIMITED BLADE WORKS INCANTATION". It's even funnier when you see the 77-year-old, award-winning British actor pause ever so slightly when he en...
Overwatch photo

Go full weeaboo with Overwatch's anime intros

Go further down this rabbit hole
Jun 13
// Josh Tolentino
Overwatch. It's all anyone can seem to talk about when it comes to hot new games, and with good reason: Blizzard's team shooter is kind of rad, and appeals to a lot of folks. Part of the reason for that is its deep bench...

Ali vs. Inoki: A look at the Greatest of All Time's crazy trip to Japan

Jun 12 // Soul Tsukino
In the life of a man known for his zany stories, this one may be the craziest. This story starts in April of 1975. Ali was at a party and happened to be introduced to the head of the Japanese Amateur Wrestling Association, Ichiro Yada. Ali famously said, "Isn't there any Oriental fighter who will challenge me? I'll give him one million dollars if he wins". Almost certainly meant to be another of his bragful boasts, Yada took it more seriously and brought the comment back to Japan with him and to the Japanese media. One person who happened to take notice of the quote was Antonio Inoki. Inoki was one of the biggest name wrestlers in Japan in 1975. He had been a star of the JWA promotion in the 60's and had started his own company, New Japan Pro Wrestling, 3 years earlier where he was the big star. He also had trained with Karl Gotch a famous catch wrestler and grappler. So Inoki wasn't just some goof who made himself the star, he could actually handle himself in a real fight. His combining of Gotch's grappling and martial arts style hand strikes and kicks was what invented "Strong Style" in the first place. When he read about Ali's challenge, he and his investors in New Japan put up $6 million for the fight. It took a while for things to be put together. Ali had fights with American Rob Lyle, Englishman Joe Bugner, The famous "Thrilla in Manilla" fight with joe Frazier that damn near killed him, and Belgian Jean-Pierre Coopman before the fight could be locked down by promoter Bob Arum for June 26, 1976, at the famous Budokan in Tokyo. Between March when the fight was finalized and June, Ali kept himself busy. He had two boxing matches, beating American Jimmy Young and Englishman Richard Dunn. He also got himself involved in some tune-up matches with wrestlers. See, once this mixed match was signed, wrestling promoters all over The United States were tripping over themselves to cash in. The fight would be carried via closed-circuit television (the precursor to Pay-per-view) to arenas around the country. So a number of promoters scheduled their own shows, with the advertised main event being able to see the fight on the giant screen. Vincent J. McMahon's WWWF held the second "Showdown at Shea" card that also featured Andre The Giant vs. Chuck Wepener live there in the arena, and the Georgia territory held an event with both mixed rules matches being shown after a card featuring Jack Brisco vs. Dory Funk jr..  [embed]35089:5686:0[/embed] But I'm getting ahead of myself. Ali had picked up famous wrestling manager "Classy" Freddie Blassie for his wrestling foray and made two stops in Chicago for the promoter (and top star of his own territory) Verne Gagne for two matches. First, he fought jobber wrestler "Sodbuster" Kenny Jay, and then he fought "The Hackensack Mauler" Buddy Wolfe.  [embed]35089:5687:0[/embed] [embed]35089:5688:0[/embed]  He also made a stop in Philadelphia and a taping of WWWF Championship wrestling where he ran across Gorilla Monsoon.  [embed]35089:5689:0[/embed] As you can see, these were all a work. Jay and Wolfe were actually sparring partners for Ali to prepare on how to work a fight. He was having the time of his life. Except no one told Inoki the fight was a work. This is where things get a little tricky. There are two sides of what happened in the 2 weeks or so leading up to the fight. One story has it that the match was going to be a work all along. Supposedly the planned finish was to have Ali accidently knock out the ref. Ali would stand over the ref concerned and Inoki would run up and give him his finisher, the enziguri kick to the back of the head, and knock Ali out. The ref would be revived and count Ali out, giving Inoki the win in his homeland, but having Ali save face since it was an illegal move for the fight and that the ref got knocked down. Supposedly Ali balked at this idea and the fight was made into a shoot. The other story goes that Ali thought the match was going to be a work, but Inoki did not. When Ali and his group went to see Inoki's training and saw him using his deadly kicks and strikes, Ali wanted to know when they were going to go over the finish. When Ali's camp learned the fight was going to be a shoot fight, they panicked and demanded that a bunch of rules was placed on the fight or they would pull out. And according to former world champion Bret Hart who was in Japan at the time, The Black Muslims vowed to kill Inoki if their most visible member got hurt. And although he wasn't linked to them (at the time anyway) the Japanese Yakuza probably had something to say about the fight as well. Whatever the case, Ali's camp wanted several rules to be implemented so that their fighter (and cash cow) wouldn't get killed. The rules included: No grapple/submission holds, No tackles, No kicks unless Inoki had one knee on the mat (eliminating the enziguri), and no dropkicks. No headbutts, No knees below the belt, no kicks above the belt, and no open handed attacks to the eyes. These rules were also not to be made public to protect Ali's image. Basically, they were trying to set up Inoki to stand up and trade punches (and some low kicks I guess) with the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time.  Inoki is smarter than that, though. [embed]35089:5691:0[/embed]  As you can see, Inoki literally took the low road and went for the legs with kicks. Ali didn't expect this offense and spent most of the fight avoiding contact.  Ali didn't even throw his first punch until the 7th round. He only threw 6 punches the whole fight. The only bit of excitement for most fans came at the beginning of the 8th round when Ali's trainer Angelo Dundee demanded Inoki tape up his boot because one of the eyelets at the end of his shoelaces had come loose and were digging into Ali's already swollen and bleeding legs. After 15 rounds the match was called a draw. Supposedly Inoki would have won the fight on points but had 3 points deducted after he elbowed Ali in the face during the 6th round. Believe what you will. Fans across the US thought it was a joke and the Japanese fans were pissed (which is an accomplishment considering the usually mellow attitude of Japanese fans). The fallout of the fight was hard on Ali. His legs were massively swollen and he ended up having two blood clots removed from his legs and nearly had to have one amputated when an infection set in. Ali took part in a couple of exhibition boxing matches against doctor's orders and then had his big fight against Ken Norton. He could still punch but his mobility went downhill thanks to this fight and the damage it caused. Inoki on the other had just kept on going. He would have other shoot fights against guys like Willie Williams and even some match that were supposed to be worked matches but ended up going shoot like his infamous fight against The Great Antonio. He would keep on being the big star for NJPW until 1997 and would run the company up until a few years ago. He had a few rounds as an elected politician in the Japanese senate. The fight itself would have its own transformation as well. Considered largely a joke for decades, it wasn't until mixed martial arts became popular that the fight would get another look. Of course,  the details of the rules changes also helped the fight's stature as well. Nowadays MMA experts find the fight to be a huge inspiration fo the sport, and even Inoki's defensive posture during the fight is used a lot nowadays (although most MMA refs would tell the guy to get up after a while). Most importantly Ali and Inoki became friends. All these years later they kept in touch and respected the hell out of each other. Ali was ringside for both Inoki's match with Ric flair in North Korea that drew over 150,000 fans and was at Inoki's retirement match against MMA fighter Don Frye (which really was a work. Frye made a great pro wrestling heel). In the days after Ali's passing Inoki held a press conference to extend his condolences. So while many view this fight as a joke and a lowlight of Ali's magnificent legacy, I'm not completely sold on that. Sure, things came off the rails and the fight itself is hardly any good. But at the same time, he ended up making a lifelong friend and earned the respect of one of the toughest people in the world. How many of use can say that?   Farce? No. It was just another way Muhammad was way ahead of his time. We'll miss you champ.  
Muhammad Ali photo
Mess or Magnificent, you be the judge.
It's now been over a week now since the world lost Muhammad Ali. For a week I've seen all the tributes, all the video packages, and watched the procession through Louisville leading up to the wonderful service where we got to...

Science photo

Mazin Go: Atomic element 113 is now called nihonium

Is Japan close to making Super Alloy Z?
Jun 09
// Salvador G Rodiles
Whenever a new scientific discovery is made, I can't help to be impressed by the hard work that people put into the research-- especially when we see them come up with a name for the fruits of their labor. With element 1...
Odin Sphere Leifthrasir photo
Odin Sphere Leifthrasir

Try out Odin Sphere's long-lost 8-bit ancestor

Or is it?!
Jun 06
// Josh Tolentino
I've always said that the games of Vanillaware feel like they came from an alternate history where 2D graphics continued to reign supreme instead of being supplanted by ever more realistic 3D tech. Now, with Odin Sphere Leift...
History of Japan photo
History of Japan

Learn a bit of Japan's history in a fun 9 minute video

Why isn't history class this fun?
Jun 03
// Red Veron
Learning is fun but school can be boring and monotonous at times when information is just dumped onto you in a continuous stream that you don't get to digest any of it. But how about we turn that large info dump into a short ...
Missing boy photo
Missing boy

Hokkaido Lost boy found!

Little guy found by SDF forces
Jun 02
// Soul Tsukino
After spending nearly 5 days alone in the bear-infested woods at the base of Komagatake, a volcano in southern Hokkaido, 7-year-old Yamato Tanooka has been found alive and unhurt! As we posted a few days ago, the or...
Missing boy photo
Missing boy

Parents try to teach kid lesson by losing him

Search ongoing for missing boy
May 31
// Soul Tsukino
While in the United States a mother is coming under fire after her three-year-old climbed into a Gorilla exhibit, leading to the endangered animal being shot and killed, a Japanese couple are showing that bad ideas in parenti...
R-Type photo

Feast your eyes (but not your ears) on this awesome R-Type tribute

No one dies on the first boss
May 22
// Josh Tolentino
Animation savant Paul "Otaking" Johnson has struck again, following up his great, '90's-style anime tribute to TIE Fighter with a similar tribute to the classic shooter game R-Type. Once again, Johnson's mastery of the ...
Yuko Mizutani photo
Yuko Mizutani

Veteran voice actress Yuko Mizutani passes away

Gone too soon
May 20
// Josh Tolentino
Deaths may be a fact of life, but it's always sad when someone is taken too soon. That's the case for Japanese voice actress Yuko Mizutani, a veteran of Japan's voice acting scene who was best known for playing Sakiko Sakura,...
Idolmaster/Civil War photo
Idolmaster/Civil War

Get Lady for idol-on-idol violence in this Marvel-Idolmaster mashup

Pick a side, Producers!
May 20
// Josh Tolentino
Putting anime in my superhero comics? It's old hat. But putting The [email protected] in my blockbuster Hollywood hero brawls? Now that's something I can get behind! From the galactic heroes at Bin1 Pro...
Anime Expo photo
Anime Expo

Uh-oh: Anime Expo could be harmed by sudden regulations

Why now?
May 16
// Josh Tolentino
I think we can all agree that youths need protection from creeps and other predators, but what's happening at this year's Anime Expo in the name of protecting the children seems to be a bit...undesirable. Last week, the ...
Waterscape photo

Haruka Misawa's aquariums deliver a new take on fishes and plants living together

If only they were for sale
May 15
// Salvador G Rodiles
There's something wonderful about seeing people using their creativity to improve their pet's living space. When done right, the new environment gives the animal the ability to frolic in a manner that grants them more freedo...
Rickshaw Pullers photo
Rickshaw Pullers

Japanese ladies love them some rickshaw-pullers

Women love a Shafu
May 07
// Soul Tsukino
When the single women of Japan are asked about the types of guys they are into, you get the usual answers of rock singers, pilots, and of course Foreign men, but the men of one particular occupation have seen their stock in the eyes of women rise in recent times. That of the hardworking rickshaw puller.
Corpse Hotels photo
Corpse Hotels

Book your dearly departed at a Corpse Hotel today!

A place you REALLY don't want to be
May 06
// Soul Tsukino
If you watch anime or pay attention to Japanese culture long enough, the subject of hotels inevitably comes up. Be it either Mountain hot bath retreats, hourly love hotels, and those ever quirky capsule hotels. But there is a new type of hotels that is on the rise, especially in Tokyo. Corpse hotels. And it's not what you think.
Hokkaido photo

Hokkaido is taking the air out of tourism

Hold on to your gas!
Apr 29
// Soul Tsukino
A downloadable guide put out by The Hokkaido Tourism Organization to help foreigners understand the customs of Japan's northernmost island sparked a bit of an outrage recently when it was found it to be offensive. C...
WTF Fridays photo
WTF Fridays

WTF Fridays: Every Anime

Apr 15
// Red Veron
Below is the fan remix
Godzilla Resurgence photo
Godzilla Resurgence

Check out the Studio Ghibli Kaiju short that inspired the new Godzilla

Prelude to Resurgence!
Apr 14
// Josh Tolentino
If you've just seen the trailer for the new, Japan-originated Godzilla movie, Godzilla Resurgence, you might have been surprised to find that none other than Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi are collaborating on the film. Tha...
2020 Tokyo games photo
2020 Tokyo games

2020 Tokyo Olympics new logo search down to final four

Replacement logo on the way
Apr 09
// Soul Tsukino
At least one of the major issues that have plagued the 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo will be resolved later this month as the search for a new logo has narrowed down to four. As we've posted before, The Olympic games of Tokyo h...

BABYMETAL rocks the Late Show in their US television debut

Apr 07
// Red Veron
If anyone remembers when Hatsune Miku showed up at the Late Show back in in late 2014, it was a bit of an awkward affair. I don't think anyone bothered to explain properly about Miku and her popularity in Japan, but earlier t...
Sword Art Online VR photo
Sword Art Online VR

Virtual Reality Sword Art Online actually works, it turns out

Well...sort of.
Mar 19
// Josh Tolentino
When IBM announced its intention to Make Anime Real™ by producing a Sword Art Online-based virtual reality experience, I was a tad skeptical. After all, even the most advanced VR tech in the world can just barely convi...
GDC 2016 photo
GDC 2016

GDC pays touching tribute to the late Satoru Iwata

Not a dry eye in the house
Mar 17
// Josh Tolentino
One of the sadder events in recent memory for gamers was the passing of former Nintendo President Satoru Iwata. Aged 55, he played a key role at Nintendo for many years, contributing to the development of games like Balloon ...
White Day photo
White Day

Give back to Women on White Day!

Repay that Valentine's Chocolate
Mar 14
// Red Veron
Exactly a month after Valentine's Day, Japanese men try to repay women who've given them chocolate during the oddly named "White Day". Also celebrated in other nearby countries such as China, South Korea, and Taiwan; this hol...
Cat Island photo
Cat Island

Japan's Cat Island gets lots of love to fight food shortage

A Purr-ty big response!
Feb 29
// Soul Tsukino
Aoshima is a small island in a remote part of the Ehime prefecture of Japan. It's the kind of small island you mind find a martial arts master residing, or the kind of place you'd take a high school class for a trip (don't forget the commemorative metal collars!). The whole island is only about 8 miles around and is occupied by about 16 people- -and oh yeah... Aoshima
Today in Anime photo
Today in Anime

Today in Anime: Happy Valentine's Day!

Get lovey with your Waifu and Husbando!
Feb 14
// Anthony Redgrave
No matter the country, the day of love and romance will always fall on the 14th day of the second month of the year. Valentine's day is a day dedicated to being with your loved one and is common practice to exchange heart-sha...
Ramen photo

Chocolate Ramen is here for Japanese Valentine's Day

Savory and Sweet
Feb 12
// Red Veron
Japan is one of those places synonymous with odd and interesting food science with their culinary products and here we are again reporting on just that. Chocolate is the common staple for Valentine's day in Japan, and now swe...
WTF photo

WTF Fridays: Kabe-don & don'ts

A little sekuhara with your blouse?
Feb 05
// Hiroko Yamamura
Girl, that dress would look better on my bedroom floor

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