► Show Top 10 Hot Links

Archive for the ‘Japan’ Category

Storm Drain Catch of the Day

by 1389AD ( 68 Comments › )
Filed under Food and Drink, Japan, Open thread at July 24th, 2015 - 5:44 pm

Strawberry-flavored frankfurters are sold in Japan.

On YouTube:

Published on Jul 24, 2015 by Science Channel
We thought only monsters lived in storm drains, but in Texas they’re pulling up fish. Or are they? | http://science.discovery.com/tv-shows/outrageous-acts-of-science

Catch OUTRAGEOUS ACTS OF SCIENCE Saturdays at 9/8c on Science!

Watch full episodes:

Subscribe to Science Channel:

Check out SCI2 for infinitely awesome science videos. Every day.

Download the TestTube app:

#Caturday, June 27, 2015: R.I.P. Tama, Japan’s beloved Stationmaster Cat

by 1389AD ( 36 Comments › )
Filed under Caturday, Japan, Open thread at June 27th, 2015 - 2:00 pm
Station Master Tama the Cat

We had the story on Tama back in 2011…

Daily Mail (UK): Death of CAT that saved a Japanese railway line and became a national treasure sparks mourning… and there will even be a funeral

Tortoiseshell-coloured cat Tama, better known as the Japanese railway tourist favourite, has passed away.

For almost a decade she has served as nominal stationmaster on an obscure Japanese train branchline, where she brought in thousands of tourists and even spurred a merchandising rush.

Credited by many with saving the provincial Kishigawa Line, the calico cat was appointed as master of the Kishi station just after the station’s last human employee was laid off in April 2006.

The railway was on the brink of closure at the time, but with the newfound attraction of Tama, who often even donned the formal uniform cap of the Wakayama Electric Railway, business was soon booming again.

A major hit with visitors, word quickly spread and sparked a deluge of media attention.

Within a year, the out-of-the-way station had received a good deal of fame, and even a bit of fortune, with ABC News’ 2007 study estimating that Tama’s presence had injected an additional 1.1 billion yen (or about £5,652,983) into the local economy.

In one year alone, an additional 55,000 people travelled on the Kishigawa Line – no doubt in hope of catching a glimpse of the world’s cutest stationmaster.

Wakayama Electric Railway spokeswoman Yoshiko Yamaki said that the cat, which passed away at the age of 16 (which is just over 80 in human years), had been ill for some time.

Still, she was frisky until the end.

‘She had a sinus infection since last month so was being cared for by her owner,’ Yamaki said.

‘But when we visited her with the company president a day before [she died], she stood up and meowed as if she was begging him to hold her.’

The cat’s funeral will be held on Sunday at the Kishi Station starting from 12:30pm.

Mourners have been leaving flowers at the station since Monday and even the governor of Wakayama, Yoshinobu Nisaka, sent a message of condolence.

‘Tama won a great popularity at home and abroad as a superstar of tourism,’ he said. ‘At the news of her loss, I express my deep sorrow and great gratitude.’

More here.

Caturday, June 20, 2015: Collect cats on your phone

by 1389AD ( 49 Comments › )
Filed under Caturday, Japan, Open thread at June 20th, 2015 - 2:00 pm

No, I haven’t played it. I’m just not into video games.

(View Twitter screen shot here.)

Vox.com: Inside Neko Atsume, the Japanese cat-collecting game taking over your Twitter feed

Anyone with an interest, however fleeting, in video games, smartphone apps, or pop culture has perhaps noticed their Twitter feed being slowly overtaken by images featuring cartoon cats, whimsical colors, and text in Japanese.
What you’re looking at is a game, which should be obvious. But what may not be obvious is what the game is, why it’s so popular, or even how to find it — especially because it’s in Japanese, and most Americans don’t make a general habit of searching for Japanese titles in their various app stores.

But this game comes by its cult appeal honestly. Falling somewhere between “The Sims” and Tamagotchis (the briefly popular “electronic pets” from the 1990s), it makes you the best pal of a bunch of neighborhood cats, who visit your home to eat the cat food and play with the cat toys you leave out for them. It’s addictive, adorable, and completely free. And it will only take up a few spare seconds of your time, whenever you need to check in — though you just might find more and more excuses to check in as you coax more cats into your virtual home.

Potential virtual cat owners, meet the felines of “Neko Atsume.”

What is “Neko Atsume”?

Designed by the Japanese company Hit-Point, “Neko Atsume” is a mobile phone game that gives the player a small backyard area (which can later be expanded with an indoor area as well) where the stray cats of the neighborhood come to visit. The cats will only drop by if there’s food, but if they like the food you give them, they’ll stay to play with any cat toys you might have laying about. These toys can range from simple balls and stuffed mice to more elaborate cat jungle gyms.

Here’s what “Neko Atsume” looks like when you have a bunch of cats hanging around:

Neko Atsume: Lots of cats
Hit-Point: More cats than any one person would know what to do with.

After they’re done feasting and playing, the cats will leave you some number of sardines. These offerings will either be normal gray sardines (which they leave with great frequency) or precious golden sardines (which they leave much more sparingly). You can buy more golden sardines with real money, but the cats are generous enough that you shouldn’t really have to. Occasionally, the cats will also bring you a special gift they’ve found in their scrounging.

The fish function as the game’s currency, allowing you to buy more and more elaborate cat toys, which will attract more and more cats, who will bring you more and more fish. And on and on it goes.

The game, in its current incarnation, features more than 40 different cats. Some of them are standard cats, but others wear costumes. There’s a baseball player cat, a samurai cat, and a giant fat cat who eats all your food in one go.

And what does “neko atsume” mean? Roughly translated, it means “cat collecting,” according to GamesIndustry.biz.

How did people even come to know about this game?

“Neko Atsume” has climbed the charts in Japan, where there are enough mobile games about cats that Apple was able to run a promotion early in 2015 that centered on February 22, an informal holiday called “The Day of the Cat.” It is so named because 2/22 can be spoken as “nyan nyan nyan” in Japanese, which is roughly similar to saying “meow meow meow” in English. (Yes, now you know where the name “Nyan Cat” comes from.) Though not an official holiday, enough people know about it that Apple’s promotion proved a success and boosted “Neko Atsume” into the top 10 of all games sold in the country.

“Neko Atsume’s” slow-building popularity in other countries stems from the American video game press discovering it. Video game writers, who always keep an eye on what’s going on in the Japanese gaming industry, were quick to praise the game, which is fairly easy to play even if you don’t speak any Japanese.

One of the earliest US-based posts about “Neko Atsume” was on the site Destructoid. The game later received writeups from outlets like Kotaku, Vice’s tech site Motherboard, and Boing Boing’s gaming site Offworld. Soon, the game even earned itsown subreddit.

Recently, the game has begun to cross slowly but surely into the mainstream, especially thanks to this story on the Billfold, which satirizes the game’s economics.

Much more here…

#Caturday, 1/24/2015: Employees at this Tokyo office have 9 cat coworkers

by 1389AD ( 77 Comments › )
Filed under Caturday, Japan, Open thread at January 24th, 2015 - 2:00 pm

Rocket News has the story:

9 cats at Ferray Corporation in Japan

When you live in a cramped city like Tokyo, owning a pet is a luxury many people cannot afford. Apartments usually come with strict no-pets policies, and the only way Tokyo dwellers have been able to get their pet-fix is by visiting cat cafes. Sure, it’s nice to sip on a delicious drink while petting a purring kitty, but you can’t stay there forever. What are you supposed to do during those other, horrible cat-less hours of the day?

One company in Japan has come up with a solution. They’re bringing the soothing cat cafe experience to the office by filling their workplace with adorable cats.

The cat-populated workplace is the brainchild of Ferray Corporation, an internet solutions business which mainly deals with webpage construction, application development, and other IT work. The company own nine loveable rescue cats that are allowed to roam the office on a daily basis, sleeping, causing adorable trouble as cats will, and just generally being cute little balls of stress-relief.

Much more here…