culture smash

The Japanese Military Recruits With Anime Girls

The Japanese Military Recruits With Anime Girls

In the past, there was a tradition in the U.S. military to paint pin-ups on aircrafts. Today, that tradition lives on in Japan. But there’s an important difference: they’re not cheesecake pin-ups.
How Halloween Became a Thing in Japan

How Halloween Became a Thing in Japan

When I first came to Japan in 2001, Halloween was not a thing. At all. Well, it was if you were foreigner, but Japanese people just didn’t really get it. Read more...
Japanese Idols Dress As Nazis For Halloween [Update]

Japanese Idols Dress As Nazis For Halloween [Update]

Sigh. Another year, and another group of pop idols dressed as Nazis. Read more...
Tokyo Comic-Con Bans Men From Cosplaying As Women Characters [Update]

Tokyo Comic-Con Bans Men From Cosplaying As Women Characters [Update]

This December, the Tokyo Comic-Con kicks off. The event should be similar to its San Diego counterpart, attracting celebrity guests and hordes of cosplayers. However, at the Tokyo event, there’s a
The World of Japanese Vending Machines

The World of Japanese Vending Machines

For decades now, Japanese vending machines have served up an array of interesting, mundane, and useful things. Things like manga. Or bread in a can. Or illicit substances. Or video game piracy
Japan Now Has Black Friday, For Some Reason

Japan Now Has Black Friday, For Some Reason

And that reason is money. Read more...
Japan's Most Intense Rock, Paper, Scissors Competition

Japan's Most Intense Rock, Paper, Scissors Competition

Leave it to Japan to make a friendly game of rock-paper-scissors into an event, complete with cosplay, cheering, and crying. Read more...
Japan's Most Intense Rock, Paper, Scissors Competition

Japan's Most Intense Rock, Paper, Scissors Competition

Leave it to Japan to make a friendly game of rock-paper-scissors into an event, complete with cosplay, cheering, and crying. Read more...
In Japan, There's A Freaky-Looking Way To Relax

In Japan, There's A Freaky-Looking Way To Relax

This is called “otona maki” (おとなまき) or “adult wrapping.” Read more...
Japanese Vigilante Group Picks Shitty Acronym

Japanese Vigilante Group Picks Shitty Acronym

Surely, there were better options available than “SHAT.” You know, “shat” as in the past tense “to shit.” Read more...
Let's Talk About Japan And Sickness Masks

Let's Talk About Japan And Sickness Masks

First time visitors notice them right away: Sickness masks. People in Japan wear them for numerous reasons, including to prevent illness. Some even don them because they think the masks make them more
Japan's School Bags Are Expensive and Fashionable

Japan's School Bags Are Expensive and Fashionable

Grade schoolers across Japan carry leather backpacks called “randoseru” (ランドセル). Traditionally, kids have carried one of two colors: black for boys, and red for girls. In recent years, however, that’s
Explaining Japanese Geek Slang: "Babumi"

Explaining Japanese Geek Slang: "Babumi"

Recently on Japanese television, the anime slang babumi (バブみ) was introduced. For many, it was the first time they’d heard it. Read more...
The Most Infamous Swimming Pool in Japanese Pornography

The Most Infamous Swimming Pool in Japanese Pornography

Ask anyone who’s ever seen an adult movie in Japan. Or, at least, anyone who has ever spent some time on the internet. More than likely, they’ll know this swimming pool.Read more...
Do Not Come To Japan This Week

Do Not Come To Japan This Week

Did you just arrive in Japan? Oh dear. Bad timing. I’m sure you’ll have fun, but there are better times to visit. Why, you might ask. Because this is Golden Week, when the entire country goes on
Anime's Bloody Nose Trope Isn't Backed By Science

Anime's Bloody Nose Trope Isn't Backed By Science

In anime and manga, when characters get excited—often sexually excited—blood dribbles, or squirts, out of their noses. But is this backed by medical science? Nope! Read more...
Korean Slang For PlayStation, Xbox, And Nintendo Fans

Korean Slang For PlayStation, Xbox, And Nintendo Fans

A few years ago, Kotaku introduced online nicknames for Japanese fans of the three gaming platforms. Now, let’s take a look at monikers given to Korean fans of Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. Read
Body Paint Makes For Colorful Japanese Fashion

Body Paint Makes For Colorful Japanese Fashion

Welcome to the world of “ishoku-hada” (異色肌), which can mean “unique skin” or even “remarkable skin.” It’s inspired by the otherworldly characters who appear in anime, movies, and video games. Read
The Coolest-Looking Capsule Hotels Outside Japan

The Coolest-Looking Capsule Hotels Outside Japan

The first capsule hotel in the world opened in Osaka, Japan in 1979. Since then, capsule hotels have not only spread to across the country but around the world. Here are some of the coolest-looking
How Folks In Japan Get Their Gaming News In 2017

How Folks In Japan Get Their Gaming News In 2017

It’s actually not too different from the way people outside the country get their gaming news, but there are a few local twists. Read more...