Are you ready? Curry’s ready!

While in Akihabara I had the chance to try lunch at the IdolM@ster themed Good Smile Company Cafe. At first I had to admit that like at any themed Cafe I was reluctant to spend hard earned Yen on questionable food. However, this was the Akiba Good Smile Cafe and I’ve eaten delicious food at another GSC Cafe location, so I decided to try out this location too.

The inside was certainly a lot larger than the other location, large enough to have 4 different themes in one location, and as many goods on display, but mostly Idolm@ster art and figurines. It wasn’t as magical as the Fate/Zero theme, but the food, yes the food, actually caught my attention! It actually looked good, much better than the Fate/Zero food, which seemed minimal. First of all, what I noticed was the White Curry, which looked like it’d dance in my stomach much like the Idol’s in Idolm@ster would try to dance on stage. Then there was the dessert, which was healthy looking, and I like healthy desserts so, I ordered that as my friend, who came in for the second time that day, accompanied me for this treat by ordering the drink/dessert set.

My friend got his set first, and we learned that they forgot to write down my order! When they finally corrected it they gave me my placemat, which of course I didn’t eat on because I wanted to save it, as well as two collector cards. One card was Idolm@ster and the other was an anime called Accel World. While we waited, we talked about Idolm@ster and the idol’s, especially my favourite idol, Miki, and my experience at the other GSC cafe. When the curry arrived it didn’t come with a spoon, but a spoon in the shape of a shovel! Yukiho, which the dish is based on usually uses a shovel to dig herself a hole to hide in due to embarrassment and what not. It was so awesome that I asked my Japanese friend if I could keep it to dig my own hole, but he said the price for the curry would have been much higher if you could keep it. Feeling dejected I took my first bite, and my mouth had literally never taken curry so sweet, so much like a dessert, and yet at the same time not overly too sweet, and I was in love. It tasted a bit like white chocolate and also a bit like cheese, and I’d really like another one right now!

I ate it quick, not because my dessert got here immediately after and I was afraid of it melting, but because it was just so good. The desert was also super delicious. It came with a frozen Kurogoma pudding and fruits all around. I am allergic to cherries however, and promptly removed it along with the whipped cream using the shovel. The ice dessert with condensed milk was large and the fruits juicy, and like the curry its something I would definitely come back for. After eating I toured the area a bit like most other customers and took pictures of the posters, toys and area.

So if you want great eats that won’t break your wallet and comes with a lot of free goodies to see come to the Good Smile Cafe in Akihabara, and I promise you that you won’t be let down!

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Visual Arts Concert in Yokohama

Visual Art’s, known for publishing the visual novels Kanon, Air, Clannad and several other big titles, celebrated their 20th Anniversary this weekend. To celebrate they held a concert at Yokohama Dome and invited all of the big name artists related to singing the opening themes and ending themes to these titles. Outside the arena were cars decorated in Visual Art’s characters for people to snap pictures of. Around the side were hour long line ups for Visual Art’s goods, the most popular T-shirts were sold out quick. Inside they checked our bags for any forbidden goods, and handed us a gift package which included a free CD with 2 tracks! We were welcomed in by two giant characters which stood a few dozen feet tall. It was amazing to see the singers of your favourite game up close and personal, even though I sat quite a ways from the main stage. What was even more amazing than the singers themselves were the fans. The fans were synchronized with the singers using many of glow sticks in one concert, and in some cases a glow stick for every finger! This was my first time at such a large concert hall in Japan. The only other concert I had been to was LiSA’s GIRLS DEAD MONSTER concert on a smaller stage in Nagoya and that one didn’t have seats like this one, but seats would become important for this concert would run for over 5 hours! The concert started with Kotoko and I’ve singing a variety of songs I knew, but others that were before my time. The first song I recognized was “Close to me” by Kotoko, and it sounded much better live. The artists would usually introduce themselves and Kotoko told us that unfortunately Mell couldn’t make it to the concert for certain reasons. However, just to see Kotoko was definitely nice since she had a big impact in my life when I started getting into Japanese music. Afterwards, a few artists I didn’t recognize came up to stage including a boy band and during that time I made my way to the bathroom and some of the exhibits outside, including a room with all the Visual Art’s game to demo. After a few more unknown names the concert was in intermission.After the intermission came a video that previewed a new Visual Art’s game, a sequel to Rewrite. There would be a few commercial in between artists, the best one however was the first trailer to the Little Buster’s anime by J.C. Staff. There were also commercials that featured their past games, which also sent chills, these definitely got the crowd going.After the commercials came one of the best parts of the concert, GIRLS DEAD MONSTER featuring Marina and LiSA.  Marina would sing Alchemy, and LiSA would sing a couple other songs, before another artist sang Ichiban no Takara Mono. Afterwards, a few more unknown artists came on to sing and I used this chance to use the bathroom, and thankfully I did because there were no more intermissions. One of the unknown artist included a new member of the singing staff and she asked us to give her our support. Rita, the singer to the opening of Little Buster sang Ecstasy, and another song. The most disappointing thing was that Eufonius only sang one song! She was one of my favourite singers, but she didn’t do as many songs for Visual Art’s compared to her work for anime. She did however record a song under the name Riya called Love Song, and it was definitely a beautiful CD and It was disappointing she didn’t sing anything from it.However, as the concert came close to ending Lia finally appeared! I was getting sad that I didn’t hear any of the songs to my favourite anime and game openings, but she came in and gave us exactly what they wanted, singing Tori no Uta. She would also sing Dango Daikazoku, and My Soul, Your Beats! All of the songs were so much more powerful live than on CD, especially Dango Daikazoku. The bass that shook the room sent more chills down my spine, it was almost like a dream listening to it. She was definitely a show stealer, and the applauses she got definitely proved she was a top quality singer. Her English was also fluent and fantastic as she described the musicians behind her. The concert finished with two songs sung by I’ve, who came out together in a group and sang Last Regrets from Kanon, asking everyone to sing along with the karaoke on screen. Before they sang the last song, they introduced their president of the company, and proceeded to sing Orpheus, the theme song of the concert, before saying their thanks and ending their 20th anniversary celebrations.

Tanabata Festival at Shopping Arcade

Summer is here and this is Tanabata weekend.  The people celebrate Orihime’s love story, which is of course myth, but is still loved by and celebrated by many here in Japan. At these events you can find traditional and modern performances and dances, as well as a lot of food booths and games for kids.  This year appears to be bigger than the previous year as there were many, many more floats!  Thankfully, I live nearby where the event took place, and I always bike home around here. The discovery was fortunate because if you weren’t a local of this area I’m not exactly sure how one would know about this wonderful festive event, which spans a dozen blocks!

A lot of floats seemed to be based off of traditional and newer manga, anime and game characters, for example Kirby, Mario, and some newer ones like Naruto, Yotsubato and Natsume Yuujinchou. While other ones were original, for example the giant one with seafood!  There was of course Takoyaki, chocolate banana’s, and meat on a stick.  There was even a live monkey on stilts performing.

Salty Watermelon is more like melted slurpee

Pepsi has yet to give up on their new soft drink flavouring campaign on this side of the Earth. In Japan,  the summer season is the peak season for soft drink sales. According to Japanese reports, people spend up to a thousand yen a day on drinks in the summer! It’s no wonder that drinks in stores have been changing quicker than a chameleon’s colours to cash in on the bucks. Orangina had an early start on the rest of the competition this year, winning over many alike for its fizzy orange taste. There’s no root beer here on the main island either, so it leaves for the emergence of some strange favors or spinoffs to take over. I for one however miss Pepsi Blue, it was the best flavor I’ve ever tasted. I’m guessing the insect that provided that tinge of blue went extinct or something because all we’re left with now is something that tastes like melted red watermelon slurpee, carbonated and packaged as Salty Watermelon by Pepsi.

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WonFest, Visual Arts 20th anniversary concert this Sunday

I’m going to be in town, but unfortunately at a different event! I’ll be at the Visual Arts concert in Yokohama. I can’t wait to see LiSA again and Lia, Kotoko, as well as Euphonius for the first time!

Meanwhile, those a wonfest will see some Nendoroids I’ve been anticipating!

The prototype of Gumi, Sakura Miku and the almost finished Hakase from Nichijou! Head to Chiba to see the gigantic Nendoroid, Figma and Scale Models this Sunday!

More by Mikatan!

The Visual Arts event theme song sung by your favourite Key Sound Label artists!

More information on Visual Arts’ 20th anniversary celebration this Sunday July 29th at Yokohama Arena!

Copyright: Not my Photos.

Tiger and Bunny film trailer

Did anybody watch this wonderful series? No? Even though it has the feelings and ramblings of the old Batman and superhero cartoons? Well if you’re still into superheroes after that last Batman movie (which still hasn’t hit Japan yet) then give this movie a spin! Its the first of two planned for this series which ended all too short a few seasons ago. The movie premiers on September 22nd.

Japan’s extremely low gun crime rate explained

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Give me all your…songs?

Crime isn’t absent in Japan, although it may feel like it is, but gun crimes are almost nil. Japan isn’t perfect in any aspect, and common every day situations where knives are used to massacre people on streets, most notably Akihabara and most recently in Osaka (where Super Sonico’s creator, Minamino of Nitroplus, was brutally stabbed to death) are as common in Japan as any heavily populated metropolis’, but to go out and acquire a gun to kill someone is inconceivable here.  Watch any news story and you will see that the gun is the very last resort in subduing a criminal, even in those recent knife crimes, police did not shoot the suspects!  According to PRI the Japanese police were reluctant to carry guns, until it was made a law in the late 50’s!

If you’ve seen Rurouni Kenshin, you’ll remember the sword ban passed by the Meiji Government where many Samurai had to unwillingly give up their swords. Many continued to keep swords and resisted fiercely, much in the same way most Americans may react if the government tried to ban guns. However, Japan having already gone through that baby bottle phase, and a devastating war, were readily willing to give up these dangerous domestic weapons, which would threaten a society already facing many 20th century problems in the 21st century.

More from theworld.org

By gtr06 Posted in Japan

Deco*27 – Love Calendar released

Deco*27’s third album was released today. It comes with 13 songs, most of which were featured in their most recent singles. The special edition comes with a DVD video of 8 tracks including a documentary. Tracks like Ego Mama, Light Love and Long Distance Love affair top my chart. This is the first album release to not focus any Vocaloids but instead Marina and Topi dominate the tracks. Their wonderful voices make the lack of Gumi and Miku forgiven.

Some of the songs:

Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki

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A recent popular studio collaboration, appealing to younger, more internet savy individuals, is giving Studio Ghibli a run for their money. While few Studio Ghibli movies have mature themes, most of their movies are relatively more family friendly and most of their movies usually steers away from a modern, more technological world for more of a fantasy aspect. Hayao Miyazaki, director and owner of Studio Ghibli, has on numerous occasions made it apparent he was not a fan of cellphones and technology replacing good old fashion chatting and newspapers on the subways. During this time, Madhouse Studios, responsible for Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo, Summer Wars and the most recent Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki, has been captivating the hearts of teens and adults in Japan because of its more relatable themes in an era of smart phones and shorter attention spans.

The movie began airing on June 25th in Japanese theatres and the reception has been warm. While Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo focused on time travel and romance, and Summer Wars on family, technology and romance, Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki features a wide variety of situations stemming primarily from being different, specifically being half wolves, in a modern, conformed society. Family and change are the big topics in Ookami Kodomo, with light hearted romance and comedy filling in the gaps. The movie focuses on a family with a human mother and half-wolves who, under difficult circumstances, must leave the city to find a safe refuge from society’s unaccepting eyes. The result is that in their new (old) home, safe from a tougher city lifestyle, the daily challenges don’t disappear but continue to persists. The challenges include trying to accept who they are both in nature and human society and who they aren’t. These are similar issues that many foreigners and people with challenges, like single mothers, face today in Japan, one of the world’s most conformed modern societies.

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Animation

Madhouse Studios and others, under Chizu Studios in this movie, have really outdone themselves with this movie. With director Mamoru Hosoda returning to direct, you can see the influence from his previous movies. This includes such things like the urgency created by well animated running sequences, and time slowing down was brought to life with detailed, slow moving facial changes and body movements. The environment feels lush and alive, room shadows and the environment aren’t just tones but dictate the mood by taking advantage of colors from the natural environment of the scene. The Raindrops are detailed, falling and changing just as quickly as the colors do. Camera angles zoom in to show a farmer’s body movements and zoom out to show their hard work lit by a setting, rouge sun. These details make the movie much more elaborate and takes advantage of the limitless possibilities of animation. I felt like I was a kid watching Totoro again, but this time my childhood was taking me for an adventure in a far away land known as the countryside. Having visited some more rural areas in Japan, I can say the feelings that the art conveys is true to the reality. The wolves are nowhere as detailed or as real as Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke, but they look simple enough to remind you the children aren’t pure wolves. The characters are drawn simple, and cute compared to Ghibli’s intimidating or potentially scary/weird characters they sometimes have in shows like Spirited Away and Mononoke Hime. This is a good thing for it helps kids understand difficult topics through candy colored glasses.

Sound

The music never really stood out as something powerful in this movie, but the sound effects were especially present during times of crisis. The falling of rain, the traffic around the city and the animals in the forest made sounds just as beautiful as any symphony. Compared to previous movies the music doesn’t do much to stir up emotions, except during happier moments, but nowhere near as impressive as Studio Ghibli’s usual masterpieces. The lack of music during a lot of the scene actually helps create more natural tension, but may be too serious for younger children. The ending theme by Ann Sally, Mom’s Song, wasn’t as catchy as the songs in Summer Wars and The Girl who leapt through time, but the lyrics probably had something nice to say about mom. The voice acting was well done, especially Yuki’s voice. As a child. She showed the most energy and even now I can hear her strange childhood laugh, which helped lighten the mood whenever characters were conflicted. As she grows up, her more mature voice also has a lot of impact, sounding more like a mother figure to her little brother. Her younger brother, Ame, has a more mysterious voice, rarely speaking, but when he does you can feel his fear and anxiety.

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Summary

Overall it’s an exciting movie by a fine collaboration of studios that runs for about two hours. Despite my limited knowledge of Japanese and long work day I could easily understand what was going on. The movie also felt like some of the recent popular “origins” and prequel movies. It spends enough time setting up the characters and back story that many other movies lack. They could easily make a sequel focusing on the younger characters, who grew up with their powers still physically within them but ultimately this movie was made to be more like a slice of life movie without an overly bearing central or moral theme.

Earthquake Support Cheerful Nendoroids

Many have tried to do their best to collect donations for last year’s disastrous Earthquake. While some do it the traditional way, others put forth their creativity and the end results are support Nendoroids! Created by Good Smile Company, a chunk of the profits go to the Red Cross funds to help rebuild Tohoku!

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Go Miku!

Your last chance to get some GSC Cheerful goods is over =( .