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  • Thursday, 11th February 2016
    In Japan Entertainment News,

    Anime screenwriter produces new puppet show

    Acclaimed anime screenwriter Gen Urobuchi is now moving to the puppeteering industry and has partnered with Taiwanese puppeteers to produce a truly unique show called Thunderbolt Fantasy. 

    Many of the anime sector’s most famous figures are artists or vocal performers, though Urobuchi is one of the few who has a strong reputation across the anime industry. He has produced a number of excellent shows including Magi Madoka Magica and Psycho-Pass. 

    After visiting Thailand and being fascinated with puppeteering in the country, Mr Urobuchi was encouraged to make a show that mimicked the style seen in the nation. He was impressed by the style of shows from Pili International Multimedia and decided to work with them on Thunderbolt Fantasy. 

    As part of the production, the visuals will have computer-generated enhancements added to them, while there are practical effects included on the physical models.  The show was covered at the recent Wonder Festival in Japan. 

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  • Thursday, 4th February 2016
    In Japan Entertainment News, Japan Travel News,

    Smartphone app for underground areas around Tokyo Station being tested

    Tests are now being carried out by the land ministry on a smartphone app to help travellers navigate the underground areas around Tokyo Station.

    Smart Navi has been developed due to the problems with navigational tools below ground where GPS signal cannot reach, reports the Japan Times.

    Android phone users can download the free app until March 6th, as it is tested with the view to roll it out to the general public.

    The current test takes in areas around Tokyo Station, such as the Marunouchi, Yurakucho, Ginza and Yaesu districts.

    It has set up 300 beacons that allow mapping of the indoor facilities to take place and provide an accurate picture of layouts.

    Users can discover the best routes to get to their destination and how long it will take, as well as where ticket gates and coin lockers can be found.

    On top of this, information about the closest restaurants and other businesses will also be presented to the visitor.

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  • Wednesday, 3rd February 2016
    In Japan Entertainment News, Japan Travel News, Japan Travel News,

    Yamaguchi Prefecture claims to be the new Australia

    If you look at a map of Japan very carefully you may spot a prefecture that has a somewhat familiar shape.

    Yamaguchi Prefecture is taking advantage of the fact that its outline is reminiscent of Japan and can therefore be compared to the antipodean country.

    In a fairly tongue-in-cheek campaign, the region is hoping to entice visitors to this part of the world instead of travelling Down Under, reports ABC Online.

    There are some 1.5 million people who call Yamaguchi home and some of the sights featuring in promotional materials will be all too familiar to them.

    For example, the 300-year-old Kintai Bridge, which stretches across the Nishiki River, has been compared to the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

    Unlike Australia, which can only be described as gigantic in size, it only takes around an hour to drive from one side of Yamaguchi to the other.

    The marketing department for the prefecture is choosing to see this in a positive light, however, as precious time can be saved without the need to sit in a vehicle for hours on end.

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  • Tuesday, 2nd February 2016
    In Japan Entertainment News, Japan Travel News, Japan Travel News, General Japan News,

    Hamamatsu takes gyoza dumpling crown again

    The coastal city of Hamamatsu in Honshu has been crowned Japan’s number one gyoza dumpling centre for the second year in a row.

    It beat arch-rival Utsunomiya in the sheer volume of the pork and cabbage dumplings consumed by households throughout 2015.

    Despite missing out on the top spot, Utsunomiya is still considered an important place for gyoza and is the perfect destination for those wishing to try the delicacy.

    There are around 80 restaurants in the city that specialise in the dumplings, making it one of the must-do activities for those travelling to this part of Japan.

    An annual festival in honour of gyoza is held in Utsunomiya and will go ahead as usual in May, bringing together regional varieties of the dumpling from across the country.

    Akihiro Suzuki, secretary general of Utsunomiya Gyoza kai, a group that represents the city’s gyoza restaurants, told Japan Today: “We will join hands with other regions to further gyoza culture.”

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