Skip to content

Tag: Japan

Many Japanese workers told by workplaces during missile scare: “Please come to work as usual”

My pick for the SoraNews24 article this week is the groan-worthy: Many Japanese workers told by workplaces during missile scare: “Please come to work as usual.”

Earlier this week when North Korea shot a missile over northern Japan, many Japanese people were alerted via an automated government message on their phones to take immediate shelter. Shortly after, a few others received another message… from their workplace telling them to get to work already.

Reading the e-mails that were sent to people, and listening to their reactions online, is pretty amazing. The worst part is everyone nearly unanimously agreed that taking shelter and being a little late for work (but potentially saving their lives in the event of another missile or something), was worth it… but they all still went to work on time anyway.

It’s a bit of a culture shock for sure, but at the same time we should ask ourselves: would we have done anything different in our country?

Featured image: PAKUTASO

New Japanese augmented-reality service lets you meet with deceased loved ones at their graves

My pick for the SoraNews24 article this week is a glimpse into the future of cyberpunk death: New Japanese augmented-reality service lets you meet with deceased loved ones at their graves.

The service allows you to pick any place in the world, and visit your deceased loved ones there via augmented reality on your smartphone (like Pokémon GO). And if they’re currently alive, they can record videos of themselves talking and interacting with you too, making the “visit” even more realistic when the time comes.

Honestly I’m surprised that this hasn’t been done yet, and I expect it will become much more mainstream. The current generation will probably be much more inclined toward being preserved digitally instead of rotting away in an overpriced box in the ground.

Featured image: PR Times

Yokohama government trash-helper app gives poignant philosophical advice to depressed citizens

My pick for the SoraNews24 article this week is something you’d probably only ever see out of Japan: Yokohama government trash-helper app gives poignant philosophical advice to depressed citizens.

I was not only impressed that the Yokohama City government created an app to help people figure out when/where to put out their garbage (especially helpful since it can be so complicated in Japan), but the programmers went through with the extra effort to put in amazing answers when people ask how to throw away their “husbands” or “hopes.”

If you want to see how the app responds (spoiler alert: it’s apparently quite a well-read app), then be sure to check it out.

Featured image: SoraNews24

Stingray devours tank-mate squid at Japanese aquarium, shows what nature is really like 【Video】

Nature isn’t all flowers and kittens, as my pick for the SoraNews24 article this week shows: Stingray devours tank-mate squid at Japanese aquarium, shows what nature is really like 【Video】.

As soon as I saw this tweet, I knew I had to write an article about it. It’s not so much the shock of the video that made me want to do it, but rather the message behind it: nature is brutal.

As humans, we live in houses with air conditioning and refrigerators, and it’s very easy to detach ourselves from the world around us. Zoos and aquariums especially are specifically engineered to make nature look more appealing to us humans.

So when we come in contact with something that’s actually natural, like a stingray preying on a squid, it scares us. But in nature, things that are horrible atrocities to humans — things we call murder and theft — are common. In fact, they’re how most species survive.

I enjoy things that poke at our sense of cognitive dissonance, and this video does a great job of it. Plus that little girl’s face at the end is priceless.

Featured image: Pakutaso

Sticking cheeseburgers through soft drink straws now a thing on Japanese Instagram 【Pics】

My pick for the SoraNews24 article this week is this confusing culinary delight: Sticking cheeseburgers through soft drink straws now a thing on Japanese Instagram 【Pics】.

When I first saw this popping up on Japanese sites, I immediately knew I wanted to write about it. It’s just so bizarre, but also so simple that anyone could do it themselves. Not that I could really see why anyone would want to.

There’s so many questions here: Aren’t the burger bits stuck in the straw gross? How do you get the burger through the straw in the first place? Do you push the straw through it? Then how do you line the straw back up into the drink? Maybe you slam the burger like you’re impaling it through a spike? But doesn’t that make a mess? And, of course, what are the advantages of doing this at all?!

If you’re a brave soul willing to try this yourself, I’d love to hear some answers.

Featured image: Instagram/im_mmoe

Flight attendants help man transporting wife’s ashes, move Japanese Twitter to tears

Since W.T.F. Japan is no longer a weekly series but a whenever-I-have-an-idea-that-I-think-you’ll-like series, I’ll instead use my weekly SoraNews24 update to pick the favorite of my own articles from the past week.

This week’s favorite article is “Flight attendants help man transporting wife’s ashes, move Japanese Twitter to tears.”

As soon as I saw this article on the Japanese source site, I immediately thought of one of my most popular articles: “Japanese dad teaches daughter how to handle alcohol, has Twitter in tears.” It’s been a while since I’ve have a chance to do an “emotional story translation” article, and this one really hit me in the gut when I read it in that special kind of way that makes you want to smile and cry at the same time.

I really enjoy writing articles like these because they bring something from the Japanese side of the internet to the English-speaking side that probably would’ve never made it over without some help. As a translator, it makes me happy to give new life to a story just by changing the language the words are written in, even if it is just a Twitter photo of a short magazine editorial.

Featured/top image via GAHAG (edited by me)

W.T.F. Japan: One year anniversary special! Top 5 W.T.F. Japan articles 【Weird Top Five】

This week for my SoraNews24 W.T.F. Japan article, I wrote about the top five W.T.F. Japan articles.

Wow, has it really been a year already? I wasn’t sure how long the W.T.F. series would last when I first started it, but people really liked it, and now, one year later, it’s fun taking a look at which articles were liked the most.

Honestly the popularity of some of the articles on this list was a complete surprise. Maybe I should take them as hints for what to write more of…?

 

Either way, make sure you’ve seen the best W.T.F. Japan had to offer this year by clicking below!

Read the article here.

W.T.F. Japan: Top 5 kanji with ironic meanings 【Weird Top Five】

This week for my SoraNews24 W.T.F. Japan article, I wrote about the top five kanji with ironic meanings.

In English, words can be broken down into smaller parts. For example, “biology” is “bio” (meaning “life”) plus “ology” (meaning “the study of”). The same thing goes for Japanese too, and sometimes you can even break down the kanji themselves to figure out how their parts come together to give their meaning.

Except sometimes, when you look at the individual parts of a kanji under a microscope, they don’t really come together in the way you’d expect. In fact, they might even end up giving you the complete opposite meaning that the kanji actually has!

Who are the worst of these “ironic kanji” offenders? Only one way to find out!

Read the article here.

W.T.F. Japan: Top 5 Japanese foods for people who don’t like seafood 【Weird Top Five】

This week for my SoraNews24 W.T.F. Japan article, I wrote about the top five Japanese foods for people who don’t like seafood.

Pretty much every time I tell someone that I live in Japan, one of their first comments is something along the lines of: “Oh you must enjoy such great food! Fresh fish, sushi, sounds like heaven!”

And it would be… if I liked any of those foods.

Unfortunately I’ve just never liked seafood, and when I first came to Japan I was worried that I’d have to live on a diet of nothing but vegetables.

Of course that’s not the case, and since I’ve been here I’ve found that there is a whole beautiful rainbow of Japanese food that has never been anywhere near the ocean.

So to help any others out there like me, here’s a list of great, authentic Japanese food you can get while in the country, broken down by restaurant type from easiest to hardest. Good luck, fellow unfortunate picky eaters!

 

Read the article here.

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

This week for my SoraNews24 W.T.F. Japan article, I wrote about the top five odd ways Japanese people beat the summer heat.

Summer in Japan can be brutal. With high temperatures and high humidity, if you’re used to more mild summers then you may find yourself surprised when you’re covered in sweat after just walking to the local convenience store.

But thankfully the Japanese people have adapted to these sometimes-brutal temperatures with a variety of interesting methods. Some of them are similar to things done in other parts of the world, but others are in a complete league of their own.

Which ones are the craziest? Only one way to find out!

Read the article here.