Dog’s startled reactions to hedgehog pal take over the Japanese Internet【Monday Kickstart】

22:09 cherishe 0 Comments

We can’t really blame the doggo for wanting to stay on guard around the walking pincushion.

Japanese Twitter user @harikai_chiri has some rather unusual taste in pets. While most people are content with a cat or a dog, her house is home to not only a dog, but two prickly hedgehogs as well.

Our first experience with the little guys wasn’t much more than watching a particularly speedy one with a penchant for gold rings zoom across our computer screens over two decades ago. But after seeing these two up close, even our stone cold hearts, which became jaded following the trendy cuteness of hamster butts a couple of years ago, melted just a tad:

 ▼ Meet Hana-chan on the left and Tawashi-kun on the right (Tawashi is albino).

▼ Here they are in an adorable formation:

While @harikai_chiri’s tweets about her spiny friends usually rack up a decent number of likes on any given day, a single video post from last week has since gone viral over the Japanese Internet, propelling its number of likes to over 105,000 as of this writing. This particular video co-stars her pet dog Guu-chan comically bouncing away every time Hana-chan approaches her. Guu-chan must have some unpleasant memories of getting poked!

Check out the clip below for a few laughs to start your week:

 “I uploaded this to Instagram but it was cut off in the middle, so here’s a slightly longer version. The scaredy-dog and the chill hedgehog”

Japanese net users couldn’t contain their giggles and took to the comments section as below:

“It’s so cute how the dog is super interested but is too scared to get any closer!”
“The balance of power was dog < hedgehog from the start, LOL”
“[dog’s voice] What is this thing?! It’s coming closer…GAH! Stay away!! But I can’t help myself…!”
“The video’s funniest with the sound on so you can hear the dog’s movements on the tatami mat.”
“Ahh…watching this is therapeutic. Even the sound of the tatami is soothing.”

If that adorable scene makes you want to go out and cuddle (er, whatever the proper term is) a hedgehog, you’ll definitely want to check out the Hedgehog Cafe in Roppongi, Tokyo. Just don’t take your pupper along for the ride!

Source, featured image: Twitter/@harikai_chiri



Bonrama combines Japanese bonsai-style scenery and railroad tracks to spiff up your room

21:04 cherishe 0 Comments

You can now own a little part of Japan to have in your own room!

Trains are the main mode of transport for many Japanese people. In fact, trains are so deeply integrated into Japanese society that the mere image of a sakura cherry blossom tree beside a railroad track will no doubt strike some nostalgic chords.

With this thought in mind, Tetsuo Kawakami, president of the Railway Diorama Studio in Kyoto City, tried combining the concept of bonsai and railroad tracks. Breathing life into the world of dioramas, Kawakami hopes to capture scenes that remind us of simpler times with his “Bonramas” exhibit, now being held in Saitama Prefecture.

These little box-like works of art create snapshots of the everyday lives of Japanese people. Even for those of us who may not fully appreciate the nostalgic kick they may bring to natives, we can at least have a piece of beautiful Japan in our living room. Because the railroad tracks in these Bonramas are sensitive to moisture, model plants are used instead of real bonsai.

They come in all sorts of sizes too. The impressive Bonrama found in the top image is set in a large dish 28 centimeters (11 inches) in diameter, and comes with a movable train! Priced at a steep 43,200 yen (US$390), only six of these are available at the Bonrama exhibition.

The next one below measures 19.5 by 8.5 centimeters. The rock, sakura cherry blossom tree and railroad track are so compact that the piece looks good enough to eat. You can sit your own toy train on the tracks too if you feel so inclined. With eight of these available and priced at a reasonable 3,240 yen (US$29.00), this seems to be the hottest pick.

▼ The Zen is strong in this one.

Crafted in 2.55-inch bowls, the two pieces featured below can easily fit into the palm of your hand! These are 2,160 yen (US$19) each and only 30 of them are available.

If you’re still on the fence about these works of art, the Bonrama exhibition is being held from April 26 to May 2 at the Omiya branch of department store Takashimaya. You can appreciate a range of Bonramas there, as well as take part in a Bonrama-making workshop led by Kawakami himself! The workshops are for only eight attendees and held three times a day at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., lasting 60 minutes each.

Event information
Bonrama Exhibition / 盆ラマの展
Address: Saitama-ken, Saitama-shi, Omiya-ku, Daimoncho, 1-32, Omiya Takashimaya first floor, front hall
埼玉県さいたま市大宮区大門町1丁目32番地大宮高島屋1階 正面ホール
Open: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

Source: Takashimaya via Japaaan Magazine
Images: Takashimaya



Studio Ghibli animator creates heartwarming new anime commercial in Japan【Video】

20:04 cherishe 0 Comments

The special release takes us through the love story of Cassis and Arles, a romance the animator has been developing for ten years.

Yoshiharu Sato is a talented Japanese animator best known for helping to direct and design the 1988 Studio Ghibli anime film My Neighbour Totoro. Having worked as a key animator on other Ghibli films like Porco Rosso and The Secret World of Arriety, Sato has also gone on to work for other greats in the industry, including Walt Disney Japan and game developer Taito.

For the last ten years, however, the experienced artist has been using his talents to help promote a local bread company called Francois. Based in Fukuoka, on Japan’s southern island of Kyushu, the bread company has a number of outlets exclusive to the region, and one of their best-selling ranges is the beautiful-sounding Slow Bread series.

The European style bread has been on the market since 2007, and Sato has been there from the very beginning, creating a series of commercials for the brand featuring the characters of 17-year-old Cassis, who works at her mother’s bakery, and the handsome Arles. The relationship between the two main characters has blossomed over the years, and now to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their collaboration, Sato has created a brand new commercial which takes a look back at their heartwarming love story.

Take a look at the beautiful commercial below:

The warm style of animation used in the commercials is reminiscent of a Studio Ghibli film, with stunning environments and beautifully illustrated scenes instantly drawing you into the world of the characters.

▼ There’s also a whole heap of tantalising food images too.

At the very end of the commercial, we get to see the adorable little leaven sprite which makes the Slow Bread so delicious.

While the Sato-produced Slow Bread commercials usually only air on local television stations in Fukuoka Prefecture, this tenth anniversary edition has been made a web-exclusive, allowing for a longer two-and-a-half minute look at the animated characters and their story.

The adventure isn’t over yet, either, as the company has just released a 30-second commercial for television, announcing that new stories will appear in the series.

We can’t wait to see where the newly betrothed couple will take us to in the next instalment! To get up to date with the story of Cassis and Arles, you might want to take a look here to view some of the commercials that have aired in the past, or head on over to the Francois website for more details.

Featured image: YouTube/francoisjp
Insert images: YouTube/francoisjp



Mr. Sato uses his new hairstyle to clean the bathroom

19:04 cherishe 0 Comments

Our reporter took one look at the top of his head in a mirror and knew what had to be done.

About a week ago, Mr. Sato lost a bet about crackers and had to get a punch perm, a somewhat outdated hairstyle once worn by only the rowdiest boys of Japan.

Readers were largely impressed with how well Mr. Sato sported the punch perm, declaring it an improvement to the ratty-looking Mohawk he had prior. However, that was only the beginning of the benefits this new hairdo would bring.

Being the sharp-eyed investigative reporter he is, Mr. Sato quickly noticed that his head bore an uncanny resemblance to a steel scouring pad. So why not see if it can perform just as well as one when it comes to tackling mildew and soap scum?

First, Mr. Sato began filling the tub for a bath, and passed the time doing professional wrestler poses, just like he usually does around this time.

Then he took his bath like any regular day.

Next, he shampooed his head using a little more than usual to work up an extra amount of lather.

Then he stopped scrubbing his head started scrubbing his stubborn ring-around-the-tub.

Up and down, back and forth, Mr. Sato made sure his hair reached into every corner of the tub for an even clean.

The tub was complete but his head was still quite frothy, so he decided to give the bathroom sink a once over too.

Instagram Photo

Mr. Sato was overjoyed that he could save time by cleaning his hair and bathroom at the same time.

The bathroom became so clean that he decided to tackle the kitchen sink as well. After all, it was just outside the bathroom door in his tragically cramped Tokyo apartment.

Mr. Sato would like to remind anyone trying this at home to be very careful. Bathtubs are slippery places and rubbing your head on them raises the risk of slipping, so exercise extreme caution.

Also, he figures other hairstyles would probably work, but the punch perm is ideal for this job. The tight curls work up a hearty amount of foam and help protect the head from bumping up against the sides of the tub.

In other words, you’ll likely end up with a headache if you try this with anything other than the super-tight chemically treated curls of a punch perm.

So why not go out and get a punch perm of your own to make yourself look great and be more efficient?

Okay yes, it’s only available in Japan and even here it’s really hard to find someone who will do it nowadays… but give us one more reason not to go out and get one. It’s certainly a lot more practical around the house than Mr. Sato’s Steve Jobs haircut.

Photos: ©SoraNews24



One Japanese prefecture’s bubbly message to drivers who refuse to use their turn signals【Video】

18:04 cherishe 0 Comments

When you need to get the message across, use more bubble wrap.

Perhaps one of the most annoying things in life is dealing with rude drivers on the road. Whether it be incessant tailgating or reckless cutting in, being on the receiving end of such behavior can make you spew expletives you never knew existed.

Japanese drivers are generally polite, turning on hazard lights when you let them into your lane as a sign of thanks. Even animals sometimes abide by traffic rules. Not every motorist in Japan is so careful, though, and researchers in Okayama Prefecture report an average of one traffic accident occurring every 50 minutes.

As part of a campaign to promote safer driving, Okayama Prefecture teamed up with automaker Toyota to create a video highlighting the importance of road safety, and demonstrating a bizarre, bubble-based measure people could take to protect themselves from careless drivers.

The video tells a story of a man who is heading towards Okayama to find a new home. Driving his car packed with all his precious belongings, he stumbles across an astounding sight.

The city and its residents are covered entirely in bubble wrap! Even pets and children aren’t spared the treatment. It slowly becomes evident that such garments serve to protect the citizens from harm. Specifically, from recklessly-driven cars.

▼ That sure looks fun. Just look at those smiling faces!

Residents get smacked around by cars without any care in the world. Seems fun doesn’t it? For the inhabitants of Okayama Prefecture, such bubbly measures may be necessary indeed. Nevertheless, the message in the video becomes evident if you take away the cushioning: use your turn signals.

Viewers had a few things to say about the video.

“A rare commercial that makes sense.”

“As expected of Okayama Prefecture. I don’t even want to step foot in there.”

“What I got from this video is that I shouldn’t move to Okayama.”

“This may have been over the top, but it does accurately reflect Okayama’s traffic conditions. Bicycles are scary too, running without lights and against traffic.”

▼ The making of the “Bubbletown” video

Whether this resonates with the residents of Okayama Prefecture remains yet to be seen. We can only hope that Japan makes more awesome commercials like this.

Source: Okayama Toyopet Zero Project
Images: Youtube/Toyopet Okayama



Japanese movie promos are the best! Twitter shows off the most enticing anime movie freebies

09:04 cherishe 0 Comments

Japan gives moviegoers some pretty cool reasons to watch movies in the cinema.

With the advent of huge TV screens and great audio systems, moviegoers have been able to avoid high prices for cinemas by recreating a theater experience right in their own homes. Who can blame them? Why should we sit in a crowded room with sticky floors while people text and talk their way through an entire movie?

But Japanese movie studios are doing a pretty good job of enticing people to go to a movie theater by offering some really great promotional goods. This practice has really excelled with anime movies as viewers have received amazing tie-in materials often made by the creator of the series.

Take the recent Naruto movie Boruto – Naruto the Movie as an example. The first two million viewers across Japan received an official movie book titled Naruto – Hiden・Zai no Sho by Masashi Kishimoto and featured the story of the day Naruto became Hokage.

The movie One Piece – Strong World, which came out in 2009, gave the first 1.5 million people a tie-in manga called One Piece – Zero written by series author Eiichiro Oda.

▼ Pictured here on the left with the promotional manga
from the One Piece movies Z and Gold as well.

In 2017 people who watched Fairy Tail – Dragon Cry walked away with a 200-page booklet by Hiro Mashima that featured the storyboards used to make the movie.

For the 2016 Detective Conan – The Darkest Nightmare film, series creator Gosho Aoyama wrote a thank you letter for the release of the 20th movie. Viewers also received a special serial code with an illustration as well as autographs and messages from the main cast on the back.

The animated Genocidal Organ movie handed out bookmarks with the main characters and key visuals in three different varieties. Viewers were also able to download phrases said by characters via a QR code.

And Nintendo showed off their mastery of these giveaways during the theatrical release of Pokémon the Movie – Hoopa and the Clash of Ages back in 2015.

Attendees who brought their 3DS could receive Hoopa in either Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire or Pokémon X/Y. The first three million people also got a Hoopa original Pokémon card and a Hoopa for the arcade game Pokémon Tretta.

▼ Raise your hand if the only reason you went to see
Pokémon the Movie 2000 was to get the Ancient Mew promo card!

With these types of goods offered at the movies, we could definitely see why people are willing to go out to watch their films. Seems like a win-win deal, especially if these giveaways will basically guarantee at least three million people see a movie.

Although it probably helps if the movie is any good. We couldn’t imagine even giving out freebie Attack on Titan beauty masks could have saved that film from disaster.

Source: Naver Matome
Featured image: Twitter/@iRis_a_himi



Foreigners in Japan sound off on the top four quirks of the Japanese job-hunting system

06:04 cherishe 0 Comments

Looking for a job here in Japan? You better prepare yourself for these four quirks.

After years of grueling study, fresh graduates in Japan get to emerge from their caves into the big working world. Most of us can remember our first baby steps towards a future that doesn’t involve drinking ourselves silly into the wee hours of the morning. Those first steps can be daunting, particularly for foreign students in Japan who have to navigate a myriad of customs as alien to them as the local cuisine.

Japanese research organization Disco, which conducts surveys on job-hunting foreign students in Japan every year, recently polled them on what the biggest oddity of the Japanese job-hunting system was.

What stood out the most, being cited by 38.9 percent of the respondents, was the observation that all job-hunters wear what is known as a “recruit suit”. While you might think it’s an ultimate weapon of a suit guaranteed to land you a job, it is essentially a standard black suit with a white shirt.

▼ You’re good to go.

In Japan, blending in rather than standing out is the social norm. There’s even a Japanese saying that goes “The nail that sticks out gets hammered down”. Some of the foreign students couldn’t help but wonder why everyone was dressed the same way, and that there should be a bit more personality involved, especially since you’re trying to stand out among your competitors. Even in a socially conservative country like Japan, where conformity is often the norm, there are students who dislike such “recruit suits,” but on the bright side, you won’t end up stressing out on what to wear for interviews.

The second-highest ranked quirk (chosen by 38.5 percent of respondents) was the notoriously rigorous job-hunting season. April is the time when companies welcome new employees in troves with open arms, but the groundwork has already been done long before. University students in their junior years attend job seminars at prospective companies, and those in their senior years go through interviews while school is in session. Such a serious approach to work and perhaps the lack of fun in general probably irked some foreign students.

The third peculiarity (chosen by 33.1 percent of respondents) was the recruitment of students into companies in huge batches just once a year. Systematic training of new employees in April occurs simultaneously in an almost factory-like manner. This is in stark contrast to western companies, where hiring takes place throughout the year. Missing the April intake drastically reduces your chances of attaining a job, and many students who fail to find full-time employment in the primary hiring period end up working part-time jobs or just spinning their wheels for a year to catch the next recruitment wave.

The fourth quirk (chosen by 31.9 percent of respondents) was written examinations. The examinations vary by company and can range from personality to general knowledge tests. They are quite demanding, and there are loads of books and applications to get you prepared for them. A common complaint is that the Japanese written exams don’t necessarily seem to prove your job capability.

▼ Just when you thought you took your last examination of your life in university.

The Japanese government aims to accept 300,000 foreign students by 2020, placing great emphasis on their smooth transition into Japanese companies to boost the current aging workforce. There has been a recent surge of newly graduated job-hunting foreign students in Japan. In 2015, foreigners who have successfully switched from student visas to working visas exceeded a record 15,000. The reality, however, is that only about 50 percent of job-seeking foreign students manage to find jobs here.

From a foreigner’s perspective, there are indeed many weird customs to get used to in Japan. Job-hunting is no exception, but perhaps further measures to make the job-hunting process smoother are in order.

Source: Sankei News via Otakomu
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Pakutaso (1, 2)



Pigeon that looks like a Nike shoe spotted in Japan

02:24 cherishe 0 Comments

Has the clothing brand has done the unthinkable and permeated the lucrative animal kingdom market?

The business world was shocked this week when a pigeon was spotted wearing the famous swoosh symbol of sportswear maker Nike. Although ever-present on various walks of life from professional athletes to Mafiosi, this may the first time an animal has donned the swoosh as a part of its natural plumage.

The image was captured by Twitter user Akihiro Tomiyama on 26 April with the caption “This pigeon totally looks like a Nike shoe.”

Perhaps its shoe-like appearance provides a Darwinian example of why pigeons have not embraced the Nike swoosh in the past. After all, doing so runs a higher risk of being stepped on by overzealous sneaker fans and crushed. However, there is possibility pigeons have shunned Nike in the past on ethical grounds.

To find out, SoraNews24 asked the pigeon if it agreed with wearing the brand of a company notorious for its exploitation of developing countries, thus reducing jobs in the countries that they primarily do business leaving a negative economic impact.

The pigeon refused to comment, and instead walked around in circles nervously bobbing its head at the ground.

Taking that response to mean that the pigeon community may not be 100-percent behind the Nike pigeon, it’s difficult to say whether this look will catch on or not, but the bird’s sudden fame seems to suggest it may.

And it’s about time. With the pop-pom pigeon craze dying out and Hatoful Boyfriend pigeon-dating-simulator having run its course, pigeons are in serious need of a new gimmick to offset the occasional crapping on our heads.

Source, top image: Twitter/@Tom_0816



Curry incense lets you reach Nirvana deliciously

22:04 cherishe 0 Comments

Achieving enlightenment doesn’t usually stimulate your appetite, but it just might with this special incense!

It is no secret that aromatherapy does wonders for your mental well-being. You can use it while meditating, doing yoga, or to cover the nasty smell emanating from your kitchen. Who doesn’t want to spend an evening reading a book with mellow lavender scents wafting on the breeze? Before you know it, you’ll be drifting off to Kirby’s Dream Land, and assuming the book you were trying to read has nothing to do with your academic performance at university, you’ll wake up feeling more refreshed than ever before.

In some parts of Asia, paying respect to your ancestors is performed by burning incense. Offerings (food) are provided to appease or request blessings. Borrowing from that traditional custom, one company offers to combine the spiritual and culinary world through their “collaboration incense”.

Kameya, which manufactures candles and incense, has just released a delicious addition to their strong lineup: a curry aroma incense.

▼ Opening the box releases a potent whiff of curry fragrance.

So as not to betray your expectations, Mini Curry Fragrance Incense, as it’s officially called, uses  real Indian curry spices such as cloves, cinnamon and sage to craft an authentic fragrance. The spicy aroma carries with it a hint of sandalwood, much like a good old-fashioned incense. It’s now available through Rakuten for just 680 yen (US$6.10) for a 50-gram (1.8-ounce) package.

▼ Tingles your nostrils but leaves you salivating.

Whether it’s used for meditation, paying respects, repelling mosquitoes or testing the limits of dieting, you can be sure the recipients will be sent into curry-heaven. Just be careful not to use it to supplement a lack of ingredients when cooking dinner.

Source: PR Times
Images: Rakuten/Anshindo