THE BEST Japan

The Koeyoshi

The Koeyoshi

This NHK World documentary focuses on ornamental chicken breeds. At 5:08 it talks about the Koeyoshi, a Japanese breed whose roosters have an exceptionally long and deep crow, like an empty faucet or a creaky door.

The Kuroki Home Garden

The Kuroki Home Garden

Mrs. Kuroki was devastated when diabetes took her eyesight. Her husband created a vast flower garden in their yard, hoping that she will enjoy its scent as well as the company of visitors that it would attract. Their house is now a popular tourist spot. Photo by Morimori.

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The Vending Machine Restaurant

The Vending Machine Restaurant

The awesome Only in Japan tries out the Automat Diner in Isesaki City. The restaurant has no staff or kitchen; instead it has three old vending machines. It’s not fine dining, but it’s affordable, clean and unique. Funny thing is, the U.S. used to have lots of automats.

Ice Diamonds & Classic Cocktails

Ice Diamonds & Classic Cocktails

Munchies dropped down Ginza, Japan’s Bar High Five to get a look at owner Hidetsugu Ueno’s perfectly balanced and artful cocktails, and his ability to individually carve chunks of ice into glimmering diamond shapes. Ironically, Hidetsugu doesn’t even drink.

History of Japan

History of Japan

(PG-13: Language, Flashing lights) Comedian Bill Wurtz teaches us an abridged and mostly accurate history of the Sunrise Laaaand using knock knock jokes with lethal punchlines, rainbow-colored type and the power of music.

Comiket Crowd Control

Comiket Crowd Control

YouTuber munya munyaka captured this 10-hour time-lapse of the crowd at the 2011 Comic Market or Comiket, a convention in Tokyo for self-published fiction. As munya munyaka notes, the attendees’ discipline was a big help to the Comiket staff. Sunrise is at 1:25.

2015 Motorhead Hakone Hill Climb

2015 Motorhead Hakone Hill Climb

Motorhead magazine’s second parade at Japan’s famous drifting spot features Lotus and Benetton Formula One racers, a Toyota GT84, an Evora 400 and of course a handful of Nissan GT-R R35s. We think last year’s video was better, but we really can’t complain.

The Zero Waste Town

The Zero Waste Town

We’ve seen how one person produces only a handful of trash. This town has been doing the same thing for over a decade. The residents of Kamikatsu in Tokushima, Japan recycle, reuse or compost 80% of their waste. They hope to do that to 100% of their trash by 2020.

Biking Down a Volcano

Biking Down a Volcano

Downhill mountain biker Stevie Smith recently took on one of the more awe-inspiring locations we’ve seen – riding along the edge and side of Japan’s Miyake-jima volcano, which last erupted back in 2000. Check out the behind-the-scenes photos over at Red Bull.

Mustang vs. Murcielago Drift Battle

Mustang vs. Murcielago Drift Battle

Vaughn Gittin Jr. and his 550hp 5.0L V8 Mustang RTR challenged fellow drifting vet Daigo Saito and his 650hp V12 Drift Lambo on the winding roads in and around an abandoned village in Niigata, Japan. Another awesome video from Luke Huxham.

Taxi Ghost Prank

Taxi Ghost Prank

“Why… why are you in a taxi?” A Japanese variety show filmed voice actor Tomoko Kaneda visiting haunted houses. Little did she know that the actual show was the taxi ride in between, in which the driver pretends not to see the “ghost” in the front passenger seat.

Japanese Sword Scissors

Japanese Sword Scissors

Nikken Cutlery sells a line of scissors that look like Japanese swords. They have blades lined with hamon, handles that look like wrapped hilts and scabbards for storage. The top-of-the-line model is based on the sword of the warlord Oda Nobunaga and costs over $300.

Don’t Worry, I’m Wearing

Don’t Worry, I’m Wearing

A ridiculous Japanese video in which the scantily clad host demonstrates a series of poses which make him look like he’s naked, even though he’s wearing underwear. Despite us being completely confused, we still laughed.

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Ultimate Rugby Battle

Ultimate Rugby Battle

Fist of the North Star villains Souther and Raoh rally their armies in a…rugby match? Perhaps feeling giddy with its resurgent national squad, Japan already released a promotion for the next Rugby World Cup, which it will host in uh, 2019.

Biisuke’s Big Ball Adventure

Biisuke’s Big Ball Adventure

When was the last time a Rube Goldberg machine made your heart race? Because this classic from Japanese children’s show Pitagora Suichi is as exciting as an Indiana Jones flick. Plus it has an awesome theme song. “I’ll be there brothers, hang on, almost there!”

Yakuza: Inside the Syndicate

Yakuza: Inside the Syndicate

Photographer Anton Kusters was allowed to photograph and mingle with a Yakuza family from 2009 to 2011. The Economist interviewed him about his one-of-a-kind experience. Learn more here.

School Lunch in Japan

School Lunch in Japan

CafCu Media shows us what lunchtime is like for the children in an elementary school in Saitama, Kanto, Japan. The students are assigned tasks – carrying the food, serving, cleaning – and each class eats and cleans together – and always thanks the kitchen staff.

Gesu no Kiwami Otome

Gesu no Kiwami Otome

Gesu no Kiwami Otome (ゲスの極み乙女。, Girl at the Height of Rudeness) is a prog-pop band formed from sharply-dressed friends from other successful Japanese bands. The drummer’s alias is Hona Ikoka. We hope she notices us.

Hotel Okura Tokyo: End of an Era

Hotel Okura Tokyo: End of an Era

Since it opened in 1962 the main wing of Hotel Okura’s Tokyo branch has largely remained the same, and as such stands as a living relic of modernist Japanese art. Sadly, the building will be demolished this month. More at Monocle.

Japan’s Straw Monsters

Japan’s Straw Monsters

Every year, Japan’s Niigata Prefecture takes leftover straw from the rice harvest into art. The Wara Art Festival showcases these impressive creations, which take the form of huge animals and monsters. Photos by @amymauscd, @kiyukatawani, and @waraartmatsuri.

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Squidercise

Squidercise

We have no idea what’s going on here, but it’s from Japanese television, so that can mean only one thing: a guy dressed in a squid suit doing calisthenics. Dude needs to join Katy Perry’s tour with Left Shark.

Tiny Airport

Tiny Airport

There are tons of tilt-shifted, time-lapse videos out there, but the tiny toy effect is especially effective in this video by Darwinfish105, as he makes the airplanes and ground crews at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport look like living miniatures.

World Order: Multipolarity

World Order: Multipolarity

Genki Sudo’s well-dressed bandmates visit Yokohama’s Chinatown to pretend they’re jiangshi, eat dumplings and noodles, have their fortunes told and do their robot dance in front of a pagoda.

Explosive Juicing

Explosive Juicing

A weird Japanese video in which they demonstrate how to turn vegetables into juice by setting off underwater explosions. The cool part is that the juice remains inside the veggies, as their innards are pulverized by the shockwave.

Nissan HKS R35 vs. R32

Nissan HKS R35 vs. R32

Motorhead teases its “Japan Tuned” issue with a video of the HKS GT-R R35 GT1000 and the legendary HKS R32 Group-A tearing up the Gunsai touge. Get the magazine to access bonus raw in-car footage. Score by Tatreal.

KiKi

KiKi

Like the Yoshida Brothers, instrumental duet 輝&輝 (Ki&Ki/KiKi) use the Tsugaru-shamisen to create modern music, in a style that we can only call virtuoso country rock. See more of them on NakTKY’s YouTube channel.

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