Pokémon fans can now get married with Pikachu marriage registration forms in Japan

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Document features newlywed Pikachu couple and, yes, the words “I choose you!”

There are a lot of big decisions life can throw at you. I think we can all agree, though, that two of the choices that stand to have the greatest influence on your overall happiness are “Who will you choose as your starting Pokémon?” and “Who will you choose as your spouse?”

Most fans get into the Pokémon franchise long before they reach marrying age, so as they prepare to take the somewhat scary plunge into marriage, they can now take heart that Pikachu is cheering for them, in the form of a brand-new Pokémon marriage registration form.

The August issue of Zexy, a popular and extremely comprehensive Japanese wedding planning magazine, goes on sale June 23. It’s sort of baffling for a periodical to hit newsstands two months before its officially designated time period, but readers will no doubt be quick to forgive the odd designation when they see that bundled with the August issue is a konintodoke (marriage registration form) with not just one, but two blissfully happy newlywed Pikachus, dressed in their wedding ceremony finery no less.

▼ Because of their permanently rosy cheeks, all Pikachu brides are blushing.

In addition, Zexy has a special something for one lucky couple. At the 11-second mark of the video announcement for the Pokémon konintodoke, Pikachu turns to the viewer and cheerfully says “Pikachu pika pikachu!”

Zexy is asking for a translation (into Japanese) of what Pikachu is saying. The first person to follow Zexy’s official Twitter account and tweet the correct translation along with the hashtag #ゼクシィピカチュウクイズ (“Zexy Pikachu Quiz”) will receive a just-married Pikachus welcome board for guests to ooh and aah over at their reception. In the event that no entry has the translates Pikachu’s words exactly, the prize will be awarded to whoever’s translation is closest.

▼ Apparently Pokémon: Battle Frontier’s Hiroshi has found love.

But while the welcome board is one-of-a-kind, all purchasers of the August Zexy issue will receive the Pikachu marriage registration form. Pick yours up before they’re sold out, then debate your married friends who used Sailor Moon, Hastune Miku or One Piece forms as to whose bonds of matrimony have the most otaku cred.

Source: PR Times via Anime New Network/Jennifer Sherman
Top image: YouTube/zexycm
Insert images: PR Times, Zexy



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Japanese artist cuts insanely detailed Alice in Wonderland-inspired kirie paper art by hand

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We’re pretty sure even a machine wouldn’t be able to cut finer lines!

Kirie, the Japanese art of paper cutting, requires only a piece of paper and a sharp blade. If you want to make an impressive piece of work though, you’ll also need a very steady hand, lots of time, and even more patience. Judging from her most recent work, which went viral shortly after being shared on Twitter, kirie artist @shi112 has all the above!

“I’ve focused on cutting the letters for three hours. I’m getting pretty tired of it.”

Over the course of a week, she used a cutting blade to carve out insanely fine lines and very intricate details into a sheet of black origami paper.

“Progress!”

The end result – a mind-blowingly beautiful work of art, featuring a passage from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland surrounded by details that seem too delicate to have been done by hand.

“I made lace-like kirie from a passage of Alice in Wonderland…”

The internet’s reaction was nothing short of awe and amazement:

“Amazing. Now THIS is art.”
“Are…are you sure you’re human?”
“I know I can’t sum it up in one word but for now all I can say is, awesome!”

“I’m blown away by how beautiful and intricate it is.”
“This is so amazing! I want to see the real thing.”

Well, if you will be in Tokyo around the end of July, you have the chance to see it for yourself! @shi112’s kirie will be on display at the Art Imagine Gallery from July 21 to 25 and from the 28 to August 1. Even if you can’t make it to the exhibition, be sure to follow @shi112 on Twitter to see more of her amazing work!

Gallery information
Art Imagine / アートイマジン
Address: Tokyo-to Kunitachi-shi Higashi 1-15-33 Hirose Bld 5F
東京都国立市東1-15-33 広西ビル5F
Open: 12 p.m. – 7 p.m. / Tuesdays 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. (Closed on Wednesdays)
Website

Source and images: Twitter/@shi112



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How to polish a knife: Watch as a rusty piece of Japanese metal becomes a sharp, shiny blade

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The story behind this traditional Japanese knife makes the dramatic restoration even more satisfying.

With a long history of blade-making that stretches back to the time of the samurai, Japan continues to be known as one of the best producers of quality knives.

Here to prove that point is a story from Jun, one half of well-known YouTube couple Rachel and Jun, who often shares cooking tips from his experience as a professional chef through his YouTube channel Jun’s Kitchen.

According to Jun, he recently purchased a rusty old knife from a man who was trying to sell it to a second-hand store. The man initially told the store he would sell it to them for 30 yen (US$0.30), but after they refused, and Jun offered to buy it, the man ended up charging him 300 yen for the knife instead.

Jun felt duped after paying the extra money for the blade, so he went home extra determined to make it as sharp, shiny, and beautiful as possible. He succeeded in his goal, with absolutely stunning results, so take a look at the video to see how he transformed the knife from a rusty old knife to one that looks brand new.

With close to 8 million views in just four days, the video is striking a chord with people everywhere, who have been amazed at the results. Surprisingly, Jun’s tricks of the trade include just a few steps, although a lot of time and effort was taken with each of them.

▼ Firstly, Jun cleaned the rust off the metal using a cream cleanser.

▼ He then used a variety of sharpening stones to grind and hone the edges of the steel.

The end result is a knife so sharp it can cut through paper, leaves and all sorts of vegetables with the greatest of ease.

Curious to find out what type of knife this was, Jun did a bit of research online and discovered it’s called a “Hakushi (White Paper) Steel 180 mm Thin Blade”. According to the producer, this is the highest-grade steel tool you can buy in its price range.

Given that the knife normally retails for 10,480 yen, Jun needn’t have worried about feeling ripped off by the blade’s previous owner. At 300 yen, Jun definitely walked away with a bargain!

Source, images: YouTube/JunsKitchen



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Samurai chef serves ramen with a side of history at awesome restaurant in Japan

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Ramen and samurai, two of Japan’s biggest cultural icons, combine forces.

Ramen has seen its prestige soar over the past few years. Once strictly salty sustenance for salarymen and starving students, it’s now widely considered one of Japan’s tastiest dining options by locals and international foodies alike, with even the Michelin guide recognizing its potential for sublime deliciousness.

But even with all their newfound respect, ramen restaurants mostly maintain their accessible, casual atmosphere. For example, most ramen chefs work their magic wearing a simple T-shirt and headband…but not at this restaurant in Sapporo, Hokkaido.

Ramen Kabuto’s owner has two great passions in life: ramen, and the Sengoku feudal period of Japanese history. So when customers step into his restaurant, they’ll see him making their meals dressed in a full suit of samurai armor.

Ramen Kabuto (kabuto being the Japanese word for “helmet”) opened four years ago, and from the start the owner wanted to go about his work wearing a suit of lamellar. However, samurai armor was designed for the battlefield, not the kitchen, so he’d need to make some alterations to the design. After extensive consultation with traditional armorers, he found a craftsman who could make a suit for him that offered better mobility than a purely authentic construction. Taking a page from the suits of armor used in filming samurai movies and TV dramas, the ramen chef’s armor is made of aluminum, making it much lighter than the iron protection actually worn in the Sengoku period.

Starting this month, the chef has been donned in armor during working hours, bringing a smile to patrons including pro wrestlers Ryota Hama and Yasufumi Nakanoue.

▼ “Two pro wrestlers walk into a ramen restaurant and see a samurai” sounds like the setup to a joke, but it’s just another day at Ramen Kabuto.

Ramen Kabuto actually has two branches, but if you want to see the samurai in action, you’ll need to head to the original location in the Sumikawa neighborhood. Oh, and the ramen itself looks absolutely mouthwatering.

▼ The house specialty, miso ramen

But hey, would you expect anything less from a chef who so clearly understands the importance of visuals in the complete dining experience?

Restaurant information
Ramen Kabuto (Sumikawa branch) / らーめん兜 澄川本店
Address: Sapporo-shi, Minami-ku, Sumikawa 3-2-5-17, High Tree Building 1st floor
札幌市南区澄川3条2丁目5-17 ハイツリービル 1F
Open 11 a.m.-3 a.m. (Tuesday-Saturday), 11 a.m.-11 p.m. (Sunday)
Closed Mondays
Website

Source: @Press
Top image: @Press
Insert images: @Press, Ramen Kabuto



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Japanese Twitter user inspires horror stories with freaky apartment photo

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Is this an ordinary apartment building, or is the water trying to tell us something?

Japanese Twitter users have brilliant imaginations, especially when it comes to horror and suspense. They can take almost any scene and warp it into something absolutely soul-chilling. For example, Twitter user @nomorehole2 uploaded this snapshot he took while out on a walk.

▼ “This apartment building looks peaceful at first glance, but it looks like a picture that would be shown when some horrific event happens inside.

If you only glance at the top of the photo, yeah, it seems perfectly normal. But when you look into the water, you see something totally different. That, paired with the amount of space (where no one can hear you scream) around the building unsettles the soul.

In all probability, it’s just wind blowing across the surface of the water in front of the building, distorting the otherwise normal reflection. But, of course, that explanation isn’t satisfying enough for the imagination. That’s when other Japanese Twitter users stepped in.

▼ “If this was used as a book cover, this is probably how they’d do it.” (Image text) “Bla bla bla

▼ “How about something like this?

▼ “It looks like the Mario & Luigi 3 title screen.

Some Twitter users even went so far as to create the start to this horror story in the making.

▼ “You haven’t been able to get a hold of your friend in a few days. Worried, you go over to the apartment where he lives. It stands in the center of the lot. Nothing in particular looks different.

Maybe we’re all thinking into this a bit too much. But, who knows? This could indeed be the inspiration for Japan’s next great horror story.

Source: Togech
Featured image:  Twitter/@nomorehole2



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How You Can Talk About Using Sex Toys In The Bedroom With A Guy

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Rihanna DMed A Fan The Most Perfect Heartbreak Advice, Is The BFF We All Need

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5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Decide You Want A Serious Relationship

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Serena Williams Shines Light On A Form Of Domestic Abuse People Rarely Notice

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8 Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Go On A Second Date With Someone

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This Guy's GF Has The Same Name As His Fav Sports Team, So Of Course He Married Her

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Ryan Holton Murphy, from Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, lived out pretty much every Green Bay Packers fan's dream when he married his wife, Marie.

What's so great about Marie, you ask?

Well, aside from being the love of his life, her last name also happens to be the same as his favorite football team's name. Yep, that's right. Marie's last name is Packer.

So that means, when they tied the knot, he obviously just had to take her last name instead of the other way around.

On the decision to break tradition by taking his bride's last name, Ryan told CBS58’s Kate Chapell,

I've had some questions. I've had some people look at me. For one, I love her and number two, I love the Packers so for me it was a slam dunk. It was an easy choice. I can handle a little bit of grief.

The couple met in Madison, Wisconsin, and Ryan converted his Michigan-born wife into a diehard Packers fan.

Now, Marie's totally on board with the whole Packers-mania thing. She said, “I love the idea of us being the Packers. Packer family, signing the Christmas card the Packers, all that stuff. I'm all for it.”

So that means she must have been extra excited when he surprised her with a full-on Packers suit on their wedding day.

Obviously, sports publications went crazy for this union, dubbing it every sports fan's dream come true.

And then, there were some Office fans who got a kick out of it for other reasons.

Anyone remember Michael's annoying “friend,” Todd Packer? Let me refresh your memory:

The internet is going crazy making jokes about making him part of the new Packer family.

The happy couple very well might be working on making their little baby Todd Packer right now. They're enjoying a vacation in Turks and Caicos for their honeymoon.

Needless to say, they came prepared with a Packers flag.

Here's to hoping, one day, all of us love literally anything as much as Ryan Holton Murphy Packer seems to love his Packers… and his wife.

But mostly the Packers.

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This Guy's GF Has The Same Name As His Fav Sports Team, So Of Course He Married Her



Credit: Dating – Elite Daily

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Emerging LGBT Symbol The Babadook Is Now A Dildo Because Reasons

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With no real basis behind its sudden rainbow placement, dark closet-dweller The Babadook still remains as the reigning LGBT icon we never knew we wanted.

After discovering that Netflix mistakenly placed the film in its LGBT section, it seems gays across the world took that as inspiration for a valiant stream of memes, tweets, and social media posts upon the commencement of this year's Pride Month.

A swarm of Babadook-inspired images, mixed with other parts of popular gay pop culture like RuPual's Drag Race and Looking, along with some serious reading into the plot, made people believe The Babadook was this stylized figure of homosexuality.

And now, The Babadook is making its way into more sexual territory — specifically sex toy territory.

But first, a brief explanation for those unfamiliar with the 2014 Australian psychological horror flick, The Babadook.

You see, the titular creature only exists purely out of belief.

After uncovering the demented childish pop-up book The Babadook is featured in, a mother and son begin to read through the poems, get creeped the f*ck out, and are unable to shake the long-clawed, top-hatted ghoul from their thoughts.

It's essentially like what his re-emergence upon the LGBT community has done to the world. The guy is EVERYWHERE.

As one of the film's rhymes states, “If it's in a word, or it's in a book, you can't get rid of The Babadook.”

Well, it seems The Babadook is branching out. Since expanding from books, he's gone on to brand himself with shirts, pins, candles… and large black dildos.

Because it's 2017 and literally anything can happen (Sashay away, President Trump), an LA-based special FX artist decided to try his luck raising money to create hundreds of — you guessed it — BabaDongs.

Babadook dildos in front of aa rainbow background

Billy Raygun/Indiegogo

“Behold the BabaDong, a high quality silicone dildo,” it says in the details on his Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign page. “The BabaDong has a sturdy base, so you can strap it on and take it anywhere! Don't worry if it gets dirty on your adventures (which it most likely will…) because the BabaDong is dishwasher safe!”

The BabaDong is listed as being 7.5 inches long (from base to tip), with an intimidating girth of 5.75 inches around.

But don't get your hopes up just yet! If the minimum goal is not met on this campaign, BabaDongs will not go into production.

While its current $88 raised may sound some alarms about it ever reaching its $15,000 goal, I will repeat that it's 2017, and everything is actually the worst. I expect BabaDongs in the hands of patrons across the globe before Labor Day.

You won't be able to get rid of The Babadook when he's shoved up your butt.

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Emerging LGBT Symbol The Babadook Is Now A Dildo Because Reasons



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Three heroes honored for miracle intervention in a highway accident in Chiba

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The combined talents and bravery of three individuals narrowly prevented a traffic disaster from getting out of hand.

Luck or fate is something that swings both ways. One day you find some money on the ground only to accidentally leave it in a vending machine another day. Sometimes these swings are so intense one can only watch in amazement of them.

For example, at about 7:50 a.m. on the morning of 23 May along National Route 464 running through Shiroi City in Chiba Prefecture, a truck driver had a heart attack while on the road. With its driver having lost consciousness, the two-ton vehicle continued down the highway out of control.

▼ Approximate site of the incident

Coming up behind the truck was Keizo Nagahara in his passenger car on his way to work at an automobile company in Inzai City. Nagahara noticed clouds of white smoke coming from the truck as it scraped against the wall on the side of the road.

He pulled up alongside and noticed the driver slumped over and not holding the steering wheel. Nagahara also realized an intersection lay about 500-meters (1/3 mile) in front of them. Quickly, he did what some would consider unthinkable and pulled directly in front of the truck.

At this point it should be noted that as part of Nagahara’s work, he happened to have acquired a “Driving Safety Manager’s License,” qualifying him to instruct his company’s drivers on avoiding accidents. In order to get the license he had to watch and study numerous videos on traffic accidents.

▼ Driving Safety Manager’s License

This made him aware of both the horrific damage that the truck could potentially cause, and that at the speed it was traveling, he was able to stop it…at the expense of his own car.

By applying his breaks he was able to create a controlled crash between himself and the runaway truck that brought both to a stop. Nagahara quickly got out of the car to check on the truck driver, but as her neared the cab he noticed a wave of rush-hour cars approaching. He swiftly grabbed a flare from the truck and ignited it, guiding the approaching cars safely through while also dialing emergency services.

One of the cars driving past the stream of smoke from Nagahara’s flare was Miyako Ito, a 50-year-old nurse on her way to a shift at Secomedic Hospital in Funabashi City. Sensing someone was hurt, she pulled over and ran back to the truck. While Nagahara continued to manage traffic, Ito climbed into the truck and found that the driver had stopped breathing. However, he was too big for her to move by herself.

Luckily at the same time, 39-year-old Satoshi Kobata had also passed by and saw his co-worker Nagahara standing on the highway. Pulling over he too rushed out and, seeing Ito struggling with the large driver, helped pull the man out of the cab.

Ito was well aware that without oxygen the driver’s time was quickly running out. With no good options she immediately began to perform CPR while desperately talking to him in an effort to bring him back to consciousness. However, there was no response after 20 minutes.

By this time, paramedics arrived and the driver was rushed to a Nippon Medical School Chiba Hokuso Hospital in Inzai City by helicopter.

According to recent reports, the doctor in charge said that in cases like this, “a patient even being resuscitated into a vegetative state would have been a miracle.” However, the truck driver was able to regain consciousness and can even speak. This was all thanks to Ito’s efforts which the doctor described as “perfect CPR.”

However, at a ceremony held at the Inzai Police Department, Ito deflected the praise, saying that without any equipment she could only rely on her own hands to help the victim, and she couldn’t have focused on that it weren’t for the other two who had responded to the crisis.

Kobata expressed modesty at his own small but crucial role saying, “The most important thing is that he is recovering without any adverse effects. It’s good we could help.”

Nagata reflected on the incident saying, “I’m more happy learning that the man had a family. I think life is strange how we three were there by chance.”

Surely just as a random stroke of luck caused the driver to go into cardiac arrest in the middle of operating a truck, an even more improbable fluke brought skilled individuals to his aid. But even more powerful and important than luck were their unreluctant decisions to get involved.

Source: Yahoo! News Japan via My Game News Flash
Top image: Wikipedia/Koishikawa Masaaki
Inset images: Wikipedia/Kirin Remon, Wikipedia/Abasa



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Porn But For Crying

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Kelly Clarkson Makes This Beautiful Couple's Proposal Dreams Come True — WATCH

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ATTENTION ANY AND ALL KELLY CLARKSON FANS!

One lucky dude just copped your dream proposal.

Alex Malerba and his boyfriend, Justin Blake, both big Kelly Clarkson fans, were at a meet and greet with the pop star after a show in Las Vegas, and started to take what Blake likely assumed was just a casual picture with Clarkson.

However, when they went to pose for the picture, BOOM, Malerba dropped down to one knee and popped the question to his lucky (and absolutely shocked) BAE.

The proposal is obviously followed by lots of tears and joy and hugs from everyone, including Kelly herself, who seemed so excited to be a part of something so special.

(YES, Malerba and Blake got to group hug and jump up and down with Kelly Clarkson. Try to contain the jealousy you're feeling right now.)

Honestly, you could even watch that video with no noise, and it would still be adorable. Everyone is just so obviously moved by it. Ugh, so heartwarming.

Malerba talked to TooFab about how this all went down:

I said [to Kelly], ‘My boyfriend is out here and I was planning on proposing to him and I want you to help.' And she was like, ‘You should have told me! I would have done it during the show' and I was like, ‘Well he's out there. Can I go get him and we can do that now?' And she was like, ‘Yes we are gonna do it. We aren't waiting another minute!'

As you can see, Malerba posted the adorable video on Twitter yesterday, and it's already been taking the internet by STORM ever since.

In addition to the almost 10,000 favorites and almost 2,000 retweets, people from all over the place have been reaching out to the happy couple via Twitter to send them their warm wishes.

People are congratulating the happy couple on their engagement.

And obviously, they're noting how cool it was that Kelly Clarkson got to be a part of their special moment.

The news is even bringing some Kelly fans to tears.

It's bringing joy to all sorts of people.

Because, obvi, it's adorable.

Looks like their first dance song at their wedding is already taken care of.

In the end, all our standards for proposals just went, like, way up.

OK, now time for us all to blast “Behind These Hazel Eyes” on repeat all day today while we cry because Kelly realistically won't be at any of our proposals.

Ugh, I wish I had hazel eyes.

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Kelly Clarkson Makes This Beautiful Couple's Proposal Dreams Come True — WATCH



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Japanese publisher sparks backlash over plan to have anime voice actresses pose for bikini photos

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Japan usually has no complaints about swimsuit modeling, but this time is a little different.

Generally speaking, Japanese society is quite happily appreciative of swimsuit modeling. The gravure/gurabia sector of the modeling industry, which focuses on women in skimpy bikinis and other revealing outfits, is as robust as ever, and even coming up with innovative new ways to please fans.

So ordinarily you’d be forgiven for assuming that a magazine announcing a photo spread of six young bikini-clad women would be met with a warm reception. However, that’s not the case for Seiyu Paradise R, a monthly periodical from Tokyo-based Akita Publishing.

As indicated by its name, each issue of Seiyu Paradise R features photos of and articles about voice actors (seiyu in Japanese) who work in the anime industry. In an upcoming volume, set to go on sale July 14, Seiyu Paradise R will be putting the spotlight on a group of six voice actresses who will appear as “swimsuit gravure models” within the issues pages.

▼ A tweet from Seiyu Paradise R announcing the gravure photos

Posing for the photos are voice actresses Aguri Onishi, Hitomi Sasaki, Mayu Sagara, Erika Momota, Junna Amako, and Shu Uchida, who have been grouped together because they’re be performing in a drama CD to be released in conjunction with the seventh collected volume of manga Yomekura, which is currently being serialized in Akita Publishing’s Monthly Shonen Champion comic anthology.

Yomekura

However, many online commenters in Japan have noticed something else the six actresses have in common: none of them are particularly successful or established within the industry. Amako, whose voice acting resume goes back to 2014, is the most experienced despite her relatively short time in the voice acting game. Sasaki and Uchida only made their voice acting debuts last year, and none of the women have more than a handful of credited roles to date. This has sparked an online backlash against the Seiyu Paradise R photo shoot by those who feel it’s a distasteful way to drum up publicity for underperforming/unproven voice actresses, with critics making comments such as:

“Putting them in swimsuits is really going too far.”

“Do NOT make voice actresses take off their clothes.”

“Are the people planning this morons? They’re morons, aren’t they.”

“I could see if they were also trying to make it as gravure idols, but how is this going to help them get voice acting roles in the future?”

“Is there any point to having people who work a voice actresses wear swimsuits?”

While there’s a lot of surface logic to the last two comments, there’s also the fact that the voice acting industry in Japan has changed dramatically over the last decade. Whereas anime voice acting was once largely anonymous work for anyone other than A-listers, the rise of Internet culture and boom in fan meet-and-greet events has come to the point where voice actors often appear before their public, either in-person or through videos and photos released online. So while voice actors may remain invisible to fans during the anime itself, an attractive appearance has become a marketing asset, much like it is in the live-action acting and pop music industries.

It’s not like the spheres of gravure modeling and anime/manga never come into contact with one another, either. For decades, numerous manga anthologies have reserved the majority of their cover space for gravure models who appear on some of the few non-advertising color pages to be found in the issue. While the vast majority of these models are not directly involved in the anime industry, there have been cases of popular voice actresses appearing in manga anthologies’ gravure photo spreads, although generally in more modest swimwear than their dedicated gravure model counterparts.

Seiyu Paradise R might even have a legitimate story-based reason for putting the six Yomekura actresses in swimsuits. The announcement tweet says that the photo shoot will “recreate the world of [Yomekura],” and given that it’s a harem series about a teen who transfers into an elite high school where a number of his female classmates claim to be his fiance, some sexy poolside (or hot spring, judging from Seiyu Paradise R’s tweeted photo) seem well within the trusty playbook of the genre.

▼ The cover art from Yomekura’s third and fourth collected volumes.

Nevertheless, Japanese Twitter users aren’t well pleased with the plan. “How about if we stop trying to market voice actresses with their looks?” says one detractor, and it seems like he’s not the only one who’s experiencing a bit of fatigue over the encroachment of visuals into what was once a purely audio-based line of work.

Source: Otakomu
Top image: Gatag/makani5



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W.T.F. Japan: Top 5 odd ways Japanese people beat the summer heat【Weird Top Five】

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Try some of these out the next time you need to cool off.

Summer in Japan can be brutal. High temperatures combined with high humidity can make you not want to leave the confines of your air-conditioned apartment… for the next three months.

Luckily the Japanese people themselves have come up with some pretty ingenious (and sometimes hilarious) ways of staying cool in the summer. The techniques vary by region, and what may be perfectly normal in one prefecture may be off-the-wall crazy in another. The hotter a place tends to get in the summer, the crazier ideas its residents tend to use.

That’s why today we’re counting down the top five odd ways Japanese people beat the summer heat. Aside from the obvious — drinking mugicha (barley tea) and eating kakigōri (shaved ice) — what other ways might you see people in Japan avoiding the sun’s burning hugs?

So let’s get to it! Starting off with…

Honorable Mention: Covering up to the max

When I lived in Okinawa, one of the biggest culture shocks I had was seeing how much people covered up in the brutal, nearly-tropical summers. (And that’s saying something, considering some of the other culture shocks we’ve talked about before.)

I distinctly remember one time walking down the street and seeing someone walk toward me who looked like she was bundled up for a winter snowstorm. She had on a big floppy hat, sunglasses, scarf around her face, long-sleeved jacket, gloves, and long pants. It was one of the few times I felt like I might’ve been on another planet and not another country.

▼ And you better believe those gloves were
the kind that went all the way up to her shoulders.

While all this covering up may seem counterintuitive at first, it makes sense if you think about it. With such intense heat, it only takes a few minutes in the sun to get burned, and putting on sunblock can be sticky and uncomfortable, especially if you’re only going outside for a little while.

Of course this is only an honorable mention since the people covering up are only technically “staying cool” in the same way you’re technically “cooler” if you don’t have a sunburn than if you do. But add on the fact that pale white skin is seen as beautiful in Japanese society and you end up with people sometimes looking like this when they go outside in the summer:

“Taking precautions against the sun
made me end up looking like a farmer.”

“Going full-on sun protection this year. Last year too, I went to work like this every day. I look like an old woman or criminal, but I can deal with it.”

#5. Body sheets

No matter how many precautions you take against the heat, eventually you’re going to sweat. And if you’re anything like me, that sweat doesn’t come in little droplets, but more like waterfalls of hot, liquid misery.

▼ Actual photo of me walking to work in the summer.

PAKUTASO

Every morning I arrived drenched after walking to work in Okinawa, and I would have to change into another set of fresh clothes. But even then, I couldn’t shake the uncomfortable hot feeling that would permeate the office all day as the sun tried to force itself through the windows and into our skin.

Thankfully one of my coworkers introduced me to “body sheets,” basically just moist wipes that you can rub on yourself when you’re feeling hot and sweaty to cool yourself down. I was skeptical at first, but pretty soon I was rubbing them on my arms, neck, face, and anywhere else I could reach, just like my coworkers.

▼ Actual photo of me using a refreshing body sheet.

GAHAG

While the wipes are great at cleaning sweat and giving you a brief respite, unfortunately their coolness doesn’t last very long. Just a few minutes after wiping, the heat starts to come back, and then you start craving another one. Before you know it you’ve spent all your summer salary on chasing after that sweet, sweet body sheets high.

▼ I may not have any more money…
but at least now I’ve freed up some pocket space for more body sheets!

GAHAG

#4. Parasols

PAKUTASO

I don’t know what it’s like in other countries, but in the U.S. I’ve never seen anyone use an umbrella aside from when it’s raining. In Japan though, sun parasols are almost as common as rain umbrellas, and on days when it’s really hot out, you can see them everywhere.

▼ No rain here, unless you count raining sunbeams of death!

Usually it’s only women who use sun parasols, to keep their skin from being directly hit from the sun and getting tan (it’s a lot easier than doing the full cover up we saw before). But when I lived in Okinawa, and on days when the sun was especially intense, I had no scruples about breaking out the parasol to try and get any amount of relief from the oppressive sun rays.

▼ And as this guy shows, it’s perfectly possible to look
like a badass dude while holding a parasol.

#3. Ice pillows

Ice pillows may sound like something you’d get at a Hokkaido ice hotel, but when summer comes around in Japan, you can pick them up at must drugstores. They’re perfect for people who either don’t have air conditioning in their home, or people too cheap to turn theirs on

▼ I can do it… I can sleep without the AC.
I just need another cup of shaved ice and body wipes….

PAKUTASO

The ice pillow is basically exactly what it sounds like. It’s an ice pack that slides inside a pillow, keeping your head nice and cool as you try to get to sleep. Cold heads tend to produce more melatonin (the hormone that regulates sleep), so it might be something to try if you’re tossing and turning on those sweaty summer nights.

There are a variety of different ice pillows, but most of them follow the same pattern: an ice pack you drop into the freezer in the morning and pick up at night, and something slightly more soft and nice to insert it into to actually lay your head on.

▼ This ice pillow aficionado puts a towel around the ice pack’s soft container,
preferring a cool soothing feeling to an outright igloo.

#5. “Green curtains”

In Japan, air conditioners get a pretty bad rap. Up until recently, most air conditioners used CFCs (ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons) as their cooling agents, though they’ve largely been replaced by HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons) which do 95 percent less damage to the ozone.

Despite that though, Japan is always looking for the most “eco-friendly” ways to stay cool in the summer, and it’s hard to be more eco-friendly than with a “green curtain” — an outside curtain made of natural plants, usually goya (“bitter melon”).

▼ Goya may be a bit of an acquired taste,
but the coolness it provides certainly isn’t!

PAKUTASO

Goya are chosen over other plants because their vines and leaves grow quickly, fairly thickly, and most importantly, naturally climb as they grow, latching on to the green-curtain lattice and staying there.

Once fully grown, a green curtain, generally grown right outside a window, blocks direct sunlight coming into the room, reducing the temperature indoors by up to 30 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius). And even if a green curtain doesn’t go that far, it can still reduce the temperature by a couple degrees, thus making the air conditioner work less and save energy.

▼ Ahhh, I’m feeling cooler just looking at it.

Green curtains are most popular in goya’s native Okinawa, where the summer heat is oppressive, but it’s a trend that’s started to spread to the rest of Japan too. It may seem a little strange at first, but you get to save money on energy, help the environment, and even have some fresh goya to cook when it’s grown.

▼ And you can use them to make goya chanpuru, Okinawan stir fry
made with goya, egg, SPAM… and basically anything else you want!

And the #1 odd way Japanese people beat the summer heat is…

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1.The Okinawa yaki-imo (baked sweet potato) truck

The yaki-imo truck is exactly what it sounds like: a truck that slowly drives around the neighborhood selling hot baked sweet potatoes cooked right in the back, all the while blaring their hypnotic song to entice customers.

While yaki-imo trucks are a thing in the rest of Japan, they’re usually associated with fall/winter, which makes sense — a nice hot food when it’s starting to get chilly out.

But in Okinawa (the land of green curtains!), the yaki-imo trucks are at their peak during the last time of the year you’d expect: summer.

▼ Here’s a video of an Okinawan yaki-imo truck, constantly repeating its song:
“stone-baked sweet potatooooes, stone-baked sweeeeet potatoes!”

When I first encountered the hot potato truck in Okinawa, I was kind of at a loss for words. Why on Earth would someone want to buy a hot potato from a truck in the middle of the sweltering summer?!

I asked my friends in Okinawa, and they always told me the same thing: eating the potato makes them feel cooler. Some of them say the hot potato makes them sweat which cools them off, some of them say they feel cooler after they eat it (presumably because they’re not eating a hot potato anymore!), and some of them just said the sweet potato flavor cooled off their insides.

To be fair, it kind of makes sense. Even though the baked potato didn’t really work as a cooling method for me when I personally tried it, I can see how it’s a “summer” food for them. It’s kind of like how grilled hot dogs, hamburgers, and corn aren’t exactly the coolest foods in the world either, but we still associate them with summer and want to eat them then.

▼ Which helps make video titles like this make a lot more sense: “It’s summer,
so I cooked a hot potato in my yard.” You do you, buddy. You do you.

So there you have it, the top five odd way Japanese people beat the summer heat. Did we miss any of your favorite ways to stay cool in the summer in Japan? Let us know in the comments and hey, getting some cool airflow in the bathroom is yet another item to tag onto the list of the top five reasons Japanese squat toilets are awesome.

Top image: PAKUTASO (edited by SoraNews24)



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Bath transforms Japanese Twitter beauty’s appearance…and seemingly gender too!

06:05 cherishe 0 Comments

Twitter user goes from girliest of girls to manliest of men in two minutes flat.

Japanese Twitter, and its Chinese equivalent Weibo, have seen more than a few photos that appear to show cutesy childlike cosplaying girls but turn out to be guys (potentially even your own teacher) with a penchant for cross-dressing. The photos are convincing enough to warrant scores of fans, and even the occasional marriage proposal. The latest one to cause a storm on Japanese twitter is slightly different.

The male stars of previous photos have been, I’d say, more than a little effeminate in appearance. Androgynous enough that in dim light, and through the altered vision of a strong pair of beer goggles, they could be mistaken for a member of the fairer sex even in their day-to-day wear. This time with Twitter user @1293Maron, wash away all the makeup with a good hot bath and what do we have left?

A man, but more than that, a somewhat grizzly manly man. While we’ll never know for sure, perhaps he was inspired by the stunning results of one of our reporter’s first steps into the world of crossdressing.

▼ With just a little bit of makeup, perfectly applied

Were the netizens of Japan outraged, lambasting those duplicitous cosplayers tugging on their fragile heartstrings? Hardly, most were impressed by his makeup skills in character, and his flawless skin out of it with guys and girls asking for makeup tips. At the time of writing there were no marriage proposals, but surely it’s only a matter of time.

▼ Allegedly convincing enough to pass a hostess club interview

Those who commented were fairly evenly split as to which of the two they found more attractive, with @1293Mason seemingly happy either way. Best of all, the post can be considered a public service announcement as @1293Mason graciously gave permission to use his images in tweets should you ever find yourself with a need to tell your followers “my girlfriend got into the bath and out came this old guy.”

The moral of the story, when even a guy with a (bit of a) beard can look like an attractive young lady, is never trust anything that looks too good to be true. Well, you can trust us here at SoraNews24; we’ll steer you right.

Source, featured image: Twitter/@1293Mason



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