Kabuki stagehand taxi service starts, offers silent cab drivers that’ll give you a story to tell

With their drivers’ faces hidden, these taxis are a peek into Japanese theater culture.

With their white-gloved drivers, automatically opening rear doors, and doily-decorated interiors, Japanese taxis are a unique slice of the country’s modern culture. But Yokohama-based taxicab operator Sanwa Kotsu, which also serves the Tokyo area, occasionally likes to add in a dash of traditional culture to its services as well.

Previously, Sanwa Kotsu let passengers engage in a bit of yabusame horseback archery-inspired target shooting from the back of its cars, and now it’s offering the pageantry of kabuki and other classic forms of Japanese stage art with its new Kuroko Taxi service.

Kuroko are the stagehands employed in Japanese theater productions, most commonly seen in kabuki and bunraku puppet plays (and, if you’re a fan of 1990s-era fighting video games, the Neo Geo hit Samurai Shodown). Dressed from head to toe in black, including a cloth face cover, kuroko’s monochrome outfits are supposed to be interpreted as not being part of the scene, and so audiences are supposed to ignore their presence and focus on the actors, scenery, and props. The irony, however, is that kuroko attire is so iconic as to be instantly recognizable.

▼ Sanwa promises that the drivers are always smiling, even if you can’t see their mouths.

Just like their stage counterparts, Sanwa Kotsu’s Kuroko Taxi drivers remain completely silent, greeting passengers with a written welcome to the cab.

As such, the company recommends the service not only for those who want a memorable, uniquely Japanese journey, but also those who just aren’t in the mood for small talk. But while the kuroko drivers won’t be doing any speaking, they are equipped to understand your words, as their cabs are outfitted with Google translation-compatible technology that allows them to understand more than 100 languages, including English, Sanwa Kotsu says.

▼ Keeping the car as clean as his clothes.

Oh, and don’t worry. When the car is in motion, the drivers remove their face covers in order to properly see their surroundings and ensure you get to your destination safely.

Given the niche marketing, Kuroko Taxis are available by reservation, with the online form found here.

Source: Sanwa Kotsu via IT Media
Images: Sanwa Kotsu

PPAP singer gets slapped on the butt by an idol in video for his newest song, “Vegetable”【Video】

Pikotaro teams up with idol unit Momoiro Clover Z as he releases the companion song to “Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen.”

It’s hard to imagine Pikotaro, the singer of “Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen,” as being a man of subtlety or restraint in his absurdist musical stylings. In his newest song, though, the just-released “Vegetable,” it takes about 45 seconds for the full weirdness, and catchyiness, to kick in.

For his latest endeavor, Pikotaro (also known as Daimaou Kosaka) has teamed up with four-member idol unit Momoiro Clover Z (themselves well-known for their lavishly offbeat aesthetics and performances), who’re credited under the name Momoclo-chan Z. Pikotaro is billing “Vegetable” as the companion song to “PPAP,” saying “After apple and pineapples, the only place to go is vegetables,” and that half-formed rationale is really about as logical as things ever get.

The video opens with Piktotaro flanked by the color-coded members of Momoclo: Ayaka Sasaki and Kanako Momota standing to the left (from the camera’s perspective) and Shiori Tamai and Reni Takagi to the right. The music opens with the sounds of a funk-inspired base guitar, which then fades away so that we can hear the five vocalists serenade us with lyrics of “Tomato, tomato, petite tomato,” and “Potato, potato.” This is accompanied by labelled on-screen arrows, none of which actually point to the vegetables in question.

▼ This seems like a good time to point out that the song’s composition, arrangement, and lyrics were all handled by Pikotaro, who, while being a comedian/musician, is not a comedian/musician/horticulturist.

But just when it seems like “Vegetable” is going to be content to take things slow and easy, the singers crank the weirdness up at the 45-second mark as everyone but Tamai turns their backsides to the camera so that she can walk down the line giving them each a slap on the butt as they all chant “Pumpkin!” Pikotaro even gets a double-handed special, but we’re sure it’s strictly for professional showmanship, since he’s already married to a beautiful woman.

▼ Pumpkin? More like rumpkin.

After a musical review of tomatoes, potatoes, and pumpkins, the group mixes things up by throwing in “parsley.” Some may say that parsley doesn’t really count as a vegetable, but the Piko/Momo team makes a convincing argument by dropping their voices and octave or two and doing their intimidating parsley dance.

And just when you’re thinking that the song is going to go for nothing but laughs all the way through, at 1:33 in the video Pikotaro launches into an auto-tuned-style series of soulful cries of “Vegetable-o-o-o-o-o” that sounds just like the sort of thing you’d hear at a club that charges nine bucks for a bottle of domestic beer.

As the song comes to a close, Momota excitedly yells “Pineapple!” before Pikotaro corrects her, telling her that this song is supposed to be about vegetables. Sasaki then asks about peaches (the “momo” in “Momoiro” being the Japanese word for “peach”), and the video ends with about 15 seconds of solid gibberish, which is really the only fitting conclusion imaginable.

Source: Comic Natalie via Otakomu
Images: YouTube/公式ピコ太郎歌唱ビデオチャンネル -PIKOTARO OFFICIAL CHANNEL-

Picture-perfect, totally accidental anime cosplay gives Japanese otaku a new friend【Photos】

Anime TV series Kemono Friends was an unexpected hit, and now it’s even got unintentional cosplay.

Over the last decade, cosplay has become an increasingly sophisticated part of otaku culture. Anime conventions and fan events have grown in scale lockstep with the rise of social media, and with the cosplay stage now being so big, we’ve even seen the birth of the professional cosplay industry, where top stars can earn huge paychecks.

But ironically, the latest cosplay to charm the Japanese Internet isn’t the result of a lengthy design process, official support from the source material publisher, or even ample bustiness on the part of the model. As a mater of fact, there doesn’t even seem to have been any real effort put into it, since it’s entirely possible that the dead ringer for sleeper hit anime Kemono Friends character Kaban-chan has never seen a single episode of the series.

For reference, here’s Kaban-chan, pictured on the right…

…and here’s the man who’s become known to Japanese Twitter users as “American Kaban-chan.”

Twitter user @kurokishi1945 says he was sent the photo by a friend, and so the identity of the accidental cosplayer remains unknown, as does whether or not he’s part of an actual military force or simply brandishing weaponry at a civilian firing range. Still, the wardrobe similarity to Kaban-chan’s outfit makes it hard to see his clothing as anything other than Kemono Friends cosplay if you’re a fan of the show, which quickly led to some high-quality American Kaban-chan fan art.

So let this be a lesson: Don’t let the rapidly rising level of top-end cosplay at anime conventions intimidate you, because there are still simple, iconic outfits that can be put together quickly and cheaply by cosplay newbies. And besides, even if someone else is cosplaying as the same character with a higher-quality costume, even then you stand the chance of getting shown up by someone who just happens to look exactly like an anime character in real life.

Source: Twitter/@kurokishi1945 via Otakomu
Featured image: Twitter/@kurokishi1945

Japanese chicken wing pub draws in gullible customers with sexy-legged lady trap

Restaurant serves all the food and drinks it promises, but the eye candy isn’t quite what it seems.

There’re really very few times in Japan where you have to be thirsty or sober. Not only is the country incredibly tolerant of drinking, bars and pubs are all over the urban landscape, often crammed into commercial spaces so small there aren’t even room for chairs.

But from a business owner’s standpoint, that presents a bit of a problem. How do you convince salarymen stopping off for a cold one on their way home from work to come into your bar as opposed to one of your countless competitors? If you’re the owner of Toriemon, a pub photographed by Japanese Twitter user @yukochi9118 in Miyazaki City, you let it be known that there’s not just alcohol to be found inside your bar, but also a leggy woman in a form-fitting minidress.

The site of the woman and her high hemline quickly had @yukochi9118 stepping though the cloth noren awning and into the restaurant, which specializes in chicken wings, one of Miyazaki Prefectures favorite foods. Once inside though, he found out he’d been tricked, as the legs and body didn’t belong to a flesh and blood woman, but a shapely mannequin, or possibly love doll.

Granted, after stepping past the noren and seeing that there in fact wasn’t a hot girl drinking at the bar, customers still have the option of turning around and walking right back out. But whether because they’re too embarrassed to admit what pulled them in, or out of impressed respect for the clever bit of marketing, several customers then decide to stick around for a drink or two. “Aside from myself, a few other people had fallen into the trap,” says @yukochi9118.

Other Twitter users chimed in with:

“Yep, that’d totally fool me.”
“Is that one of Oriental Industry’s love dolls?”
“I’ve got a thing for mannequins, so I’d totally have to go inside.”
“I wonder if this will also make more women feel less self-conscious about stopping in for a drink here by themselves?”

Luckily, @yukochi9118 says that the food and drinks were tasty and reasonably priced, so while the eye candy he’d been expecting turned out to be a ruse, at least this bar delivered on what bars are actually supposed to supply. As for those who simply can’t entertain the thought of dining or drinking without beautiful women in their immediate vicinity, maybe they’ll have to make the trip up to Tokyo’s breast slash café when it opens next month.

Restaurant information
Toriemon / 鳥衛門
Address: Miyazaki-ken, Miyazaki-shi, Tachibana Nishi 3-5-4, Takayama Building 1st floor
宮崎県宮崎市橘通西3-5-4 高山ビル1F
Open 5 p.m.-1 a.m.
Website (Tabelog)

Sources: Twitter/@yukochi9118, Tabelog
Featured image: Twitter/@yukochi9118

Japanese Twitter user may have discovered why they’re forever alone

According to one little sister, the key to getting a girlfriend or boyfriend? Loneliness, and not going to amusement arcades on your own.

There are apocryphal tales about how the birth rate jumped up nine months after a power cut in a major city like New York, Paris or Tokyo as people robbed of the chance to watch TV found another way to keep themselves and their partners entertained. Maybe the television, and its successor as procrastinator general, the Internet, has a hand in the decreasing number of children and relationships in developed countries. According to one partner-less Japanese Twitter user’s younger sister, there’s another culprit in Japan that might explain why their brother is still alone: ramen shops and amusement arcades.

“People who have boyfriends or girlfriends are people that get lonely when they go somewhere on their own. So, people like you who can go and have ramen or go to an amusement arcade on their own can’t get a girlfriend”.

While @Cherry_ogt‘s little sister doesn’t exactly get full marks for tact with that fairly brutal explanation, maybe she’s on to something. While coming across as overly desperate may work against you in the dating game, you need some desperation at least to shrug off the inertia and put yourself out there, something that is even harder to do with a sated belly full of ramen and blistered hands (from excessive taiko arcade game drumming, obviously).

Other Twitter users were quick to see the merit in the wise-beyond-her-years girl’s words, with many believing that she could as easily have been talking about them as about her older brother. Others thought quite the opposite, that those who were happy in their own company made better boyfriends or girlfriends and so would find it easier to find someone to be with.

“Now, I get it!”
“Next time I’ll have to make an effort to go with someone else (it might be a bit late).”
“I’m proof that’s not true – on our honeymoon my wife and I did everything separately and we’ve been happily married ten years now.”
“It’s the other way around; people who can’t get a girlfriend or boyfriend have no choice but to go alone.”
“Your little sister’s really smart.”
“I like going for ramen, or Chinese food, or steak, or to theme parks on my own, and I’m married.”
“Are you talking about me?”
“I know what you’re talking about; some of my work colleagues who are married say that if they’re at home on their own they get lonely and have to turn the TV on to have some noise on in the background.”
“What your sister is really thinking is that you’re ugly and that’s why you can’t get a girlfriend.”
“Huh, I’m always going to the amusement arcade on my own, maybe that’s why…”

While the sagacious dating guru sister may have identified a factor, there might be a bit more to it than that. If her older brother is happy, fair play to him. In fact, at a certain incredibly popular ramen chain, going with other people can be more awkward than going alone. If worst comes to worst though, he can always look for a cafe holding a special virtual girlfriend event, or go for the low budget option and just invest in some stockings.

Source: Twitter/Cherry_ogt via jin115
Top image: Pakutaso

Japanese mom finds diabolically clever way to crack down on son’s excessive video gaming

Worried your kids will find a way around parental hardware locks? Then get a lock from a hardware store.

When I was growing up, my parents never felt the need to forcibly set any limits on how much time I could spend playing video games. “Finished all you homework and chores, Young Casey? Then sure, go slay as many Final Fantasy bosses as you want,” seemed to be their attitude, perhaps they realized it would serve as critical preparation for my future career.

But other parents are not so lenient, which is why some video games and consoles, including Nintendo’s shiny new Switch, have parental lock controls to cap kids’ playing time. The problem with such systems, though, is that tech-savvy kids can often find ways to disable them, and even if they don’t. But Japanese gamer and Twitter user @sasamipicata recently ran into a hardware lock he couldn’t get past…because it was literally a lock.

Apparently @sasamipicata’s mom thought he’d been spending too much time playing games, and so they ran the loop of a padlock through the prongs of his console’s AC adaptor, preventing him from plugging it in and powering it on. “Speaking as a kid,” he @sasamipicata tweeted, “I’d like to say to parents in Japan with kids who play games for a long time that this is going too far.”

And this wasn’t the only electronic device of @sasamipicata’s that his access to was suddenly cut off.

That second cord looks to be for an iPhone charger, which would be keeping with his mom’s frustration since @sasamipicata says he’s also a fan of mobile games such as the phenomenally profitable Fate/Grand Order.

Other Twitter users were quick to express their sympathy for @sasamipicata plight, as well as their frightened admiration of his mom’s methods:

“Having the cord right there, but not being able to do anything with it…that’s like emotional abuse.”
“I’m gonna have to keep an eye on my mom from now on.”
“Think I’m gonna go out and but a spare cord, just in case.”
“You could always go to the hardware store and get some bolt cutters.”

While that last one would be an effective unilateral solution in solving the immediate problem, given the willingness @sasamipicata’s mom has shown to play hardball on this issue, he might just want to wait until she’s agrees to unlock his gadgets, lest she dream up some even more inventively diabolical form of parental control.

Source: Twitter/@sasamipicata via Jin
Featured image: Twitter/@sasamipicata

Breasts into animals – Japanese sports bra video puts critters in bras strapped on men【Video】

Video about inertia and gravity garners baffled and mixed reactions.

As a country with a penchant for fashion and an unabashed love of breasts, Japan spends a lot of time thinking about cute and/or sexy lingerie. But while there’s definitely an aesthetic element to intimate apparel, the primary purpose of a bra is to support the wearer’s breasts, the importance of which is being driven home in a very unusual way in a new video.

The video opens with a women in a lab coat asking if we know the weight of a woman’s bust. She assumes we don’t, since the nature of videos means she can’t hear us, and thus begins a procession of otherwise topless mean wearing bras. But these are no ordinary bras, because their cups hold not breasts, but small animals.

According to the video, the breasts of a woman with an A-cup bust weigh as much as a pair of cockatoos. Other equivalents are Guinea pigs for B cups, hedgehogs for C cups, rabbits for D cups, and chickens for E cups.

With that explanation out of the way, the woman then asks us to consider what will happen to all that extra torso weight during vigorous exercise. So the men begin running, jumping rope, boxing, and playing tennis and volleyball. For each, slow-motion close-ups show the animals bouncing and swaying within the bra compartments as inertia wants them to stay in place as the men’s upper bodies twist and go through other sudden motions.

After examining a multi-dimensional representation of the cups’ movement and remarking on how extensive the jostling is, the researcher peels off her lab coat, revealing that she’s wearing an extra-supportive sports bra from Japanese lingerie-maker Wacoal.

The video definitely makes a dramatic point about the discomfort that women can experience from insufficient bra support. Some online commenters, though, are also concerned about how the animals in the ad felt. While the close-ups could mean there’s some sort of camera trickery going on here, if those are indeed real, live animals being bounced around like that, odds are they’re not too happy about it.

However, even if actual animals were used in the manner implied, Wacoal might be off the hook. The video doesn’t appear on the company’s website or official YouTube channel, and only attracted attention in Japan after a Twitter user shared screen captures and a link to the video on LiveLeak. There’s also the fact that while the woman in the video is speaking Japanese, and the large-font text that names the animals and sports is Japanese as well, the video’s hard subtitles are in Chinese.

As such, even though the video is touting the benefits of Wacoal’s sports bras, there’s a chance that it’s not actually a Wacoal advertisement, and is instead one of those outlandish concept videos that marketing firms sometimes create to show off their talents without actually being commissioned or endorsed by the company whose products are featured. If that’s the case, then as strange as the video is, Wacoal’s oddest marketing maneuver would still be the time they encouraged us all to buy panties for our moms, and the weirdest official breast weights the ones from this anime.

Sources: Twitter/@Kan_TORI, LiveLeak via Hachima Kiko
Top image: LiveLeak