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Monday, 7 October 2019

My new book

Amazon (US, Japan, UK, and Canada) have started accepting pre-orders for my new book, Otaku Japan Travel Guide.
This is of course the sequel to my "Tokyo Geek's Guide" and covers the whole of the country.

Friday, 17 May 2019

Young Jump magazine celebrates 40 years of great seinen manga

Happy birthday Young Jump magazine!
(Don't forget to click on the link and watch the kickass video)

Friday, 3 May 2019

World Domination Enterprise

Ever wondered how many plastic Gundam models exist in the world?
(Photo by Domenico)
Over 500 million, apparently.
Gunpla first debuted in July 1980 with a 1:144 scale model of the original RX-78-2 Gundam. There are now over 2,000 variations, reports Mantan Web.
(Photo by Stefan)
According to Bandai Spirits, if you lined up the packages of every model sold to date, they’d wrap around the earth four-and-a-half times and weigh about 350,000 pounds. That’s a lot of Gunpla.
(Photo by Domenico)
There have been many improvements and variations on the line over the years, including in 1987, when Bandai released the first model that could snap together without glue.
In 2010, the number of units shipped reached 400 million.
Here’s looking forward to the next 40 years of plastic Gundam models.

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I'm the author of the Tokyo Geek's Guide.
Please check out my other main blog where I post other Japan-related news, articles and interviews.

Monday, 22 April 2019

Are anime and manga fathers really so bad?

A lot of manga and anime stories revolve around ridiculously strong and clever junior high and high school kids who save the day in a world where not only parents but adults as a whole barely count.
Many people have pointed out the conflicting father-child relationship in many such stories.
Although there are also fathers who try their best, and being myself a father, I prefer to talk about them:

Soichiro Yagami (Death Note)
 It is never easy being a parent, especially one that is raising a serial killer son and working as detective to solve the case. Any dad that can handle the pressure and still put their family first shows strength and determination. One could say Sorichiro Yagami is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Amidst the truth about who his son really is, Sorichiro still believes in his son’s innocence, which unfortunately ends tragically for this dad.

Tatsuo Kusakabe (My Neighbor Totoro)
Every father wants to keep their children happy and Tatsuo Kusakabe is the ideal example. He is a great person by the way he listens to his children, cares for his sick wife, and holds a career. While most parents laugh it off when children say silly things, he fosters his children’s curiosity and imagination with Totoro. A dad that is willing to give his fullest attention to a child deserves a Top

Shiro Fujimoto (Blue Exorcist)
A person doesn’t need to have biological children to become a parent. Adoptive parents deserve the love too like Shiro Fujiimoto! A risk taker, humorous, and tolerant individual, Shiro possesses the qualities of a great father. Especially when it comes to taking care of Rin and Yukio on their worst days. Because not everyone can be as saintly as Shiro Fujimoto when it comes to taking care of demons!

Kohei Inuzuka (Sweetness and Lightning)
As a single father, Kohei is a wonderful hardworking dad that puts his child first before his own needs. After the loss of his wife, Kohei wants to instill good values in his daughter to make sure she grows up right. His willingness to learn to cook proper meals for his daughter shows that he deeply cares for his child. This Anime dad represents all the dads that strive to give the best life for their children.

Goku (Dragon Ball Z)
Energetic, pure of heart, and though practically gone for half of his son’s life, Goku is still a top anime dad. He may be physically absent but he is emotionally present for his son. In times of trouble, he protects his family. Who can forget the special father and son moments when Goku saves Gohan during a fight against Recoome? Or teaching his son how to become the best fighter? Maybe the Goku wasn’t there for all the moments, but at least he showed up once in awhile to help kick butt.

Spirit Albarn (Soul Eater)
Nobody is a perfect parent and Spirit Albarn fits in this description. Due to his womanizing behavior, Spirit Albarn is highly unlikely to earn the “Best Parent of the Year” award, but he at least deserves the “A for effort” award. He continuously tries to bond with his daughter by showing love and support. Even when she denies him, he keeps striving for a daddy and daughter relationship. Any man that thinks his daughter is his number one girl, is a great dad.

Sojiro Izumi (Lucky Star)
A dad that loves watching anime, playing video games, and is a die hard otaku has the best qualities for top anime dad like Sojiro Izumi! Despite the challenges as a single dad, he shows strength to carry on and raise a great daughter, Konata Izumi! As any great otaku dad would, he teaches his daughter that the two most important things in life are Anime and Video Games. What kid wouldn’t want their dad to have these two great passions in life?

Naruto Uzumaki (Boruto)
Parents who go through many life experiences end up becoming great teachers to their children. In the beginning, Naruto was a naïve, immature boy, who eventually learns from his mistakes. As a man, he passes these important life lessons such as justice and accountability to his son. A dad that takes the time to be a mentor to his children is a loving father!

Akio Furukawa (Clannad)
Although he is rough around the edges, Akio is benevolent and sympathetic. He makes many sacrifices for his daughter, Nagisa. An example is when Akio quits his job as an actor due to Nagisa’s health and has no regrets about it. For him, as long his child is happy, then he is happy. Akio represents a great father, who makes hard choices that will foster good well-being for his children.

Maes Hughes (Full Metal Alchemist)
A proud father, Maes never wastes time bragging about his daughter and wife. His personality is considered to be trustworthy and amicable. He is protective of his daughter, especially around boys when they ask to play with her and he never fails to show that he is a devoted family man! His coworkers are often annoyed by him for showing pictures of his daughter and wife; but who doesn’t love showing off their children? Maes Hughes is the fun, strict, and lovable character that most of us can relate with our dads.

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Final Fantasy VII Concert Debuts in the U.S.

U.S. fans have been treated to a handful of video game concerts over the years, but none quite like this one.
For the first time in the region Final Fantasy VII is getting its own concert, which will mark 22 years since the fan-favorite RPG’s initial launch.
The concert is called FINAL FANTASY VII – A Symphonic Reunion, and it all goes down right before this year’s E3 on June 9 at LA’s Dolby Theater.
Wild Faery Company is producing the concert, which will have more than 100 musicians performing while a massive HD monitor showcases some of the most memorable moments from the game. Those interested in seeing it for themselves will be able to purchase tickets for an appropriate starting price of $77.77 beginning on Saturday, April 20.

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Friday, 19 April 2019

How to become rich with Pokemon cards

It’s always interesting to find out how much someone’s collection is worth, especially if it happens to be something you collect yourself.
Here’s one for the Pokémon card collectors out there. A man named Yoshiharu Takahashi recently went on Japanese program Kaiun! Nandemo Kanteidan (Good Fortune! The Group That Appraises Everything) with a collection of 31 Pokémon cards he estimated to be worth ¥1.2 million, which adds up to about $10,730. 
Fortunately for Takahashi, he was actually way off on his estimation. According to professional appraiser Yūya Satō, Takahashi’s collection is worth about ¥7.6 million, or $68,674.
The value comes down to a few seriously rare cards, including the Kangaskhan parent-and-child tournament entry card, 34 of which were distributed at a single event in Japan back in May 1998. Just one of these is worth ¥1.2 million on its own; Takahashi has four.
He also has a bilingual Lucky Stadium card that was only given to players who passed the qualifying rounds to be invited to a Hawaiian tournament. That one is worth a cool million yen.  
Speaking of trading cards, here's an excerpt from my Tokyo Geek's Guide:
Trading card games (TCG) (also called collectible card games) are big in Japan and their popularity goes well beyond the usual world-famous titles (Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Magic the Gathering, etc.) to include many anime-based games. The main TCG-selling chains (Yellow Submarine, Amenity Dream, and Big Magic) have many branches around Tokyo and are pretty similar. They sell both sets and singles, with sets collected in binders and rare and/or popular cards displayed in showcases. They even have quite a few English cards as apparently some Japanese players prefer to use them. If you are looking for something in particular you can make a list and give it to the staff. Just be warned that on average, singles in Japan tend to cost more than in other countries. One more tip on TCG good manners: You will rarely see the Japanese trade cards inside shops, and actually there are some that explicitly forbid trading on the premises.

Many TCG shops have tables to play games, and on their websites you can find information on upcoming tournaments. Most of them are small events. Signing up is quite cheap and if you do well you can get some cool prizes like deck boxes, card sleeves and binders. Obviously almost all participants are Japanese, but don’t worry because they are very welcoming and curious about foreign players, and even if you don’t speak Japanese, card language is rarely a problem. For more information on playing in Japan (especially Pokemon) check out Finnish champion Esa Juntunen’s blog (
TCG stores in Tokyo are typically close to each other, so if you don’t like the prices or selection at one store you can always try another one nearby. One of the more convenient places is Radio Kaikan in Akihabara. The 10-story building houses six トレカ (toreka, as they are called in Japan) shops including Yellow Submarine (sixth floor) and Big Magic (ninth). And if that’s not enough, in the building in front of Radio Kaikan there’s another shop, Cardkingdom. 

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Shonen Jump turns 50!

The Shonen Jump 50th Anniversary Exhibition, hosted in Roppongi, Tokyo, have virtually every volume of the magazine available for reading.
The exhibition is divided in three parts, and part 2 is currently under way. It covers the 1990s and runs until June 17

Meanwhile, a visual for part 3, which runs from July 17 to September 30 and covers manga released in the 2000s up to now, has been revealed. Of course, the two most prominent characters on the poster are Luffy from One Piece and Naruto.
The exhibitions and manga library are all found at the Mori Arts Center Gallery in Tokyo. The exhibitions cost ¥2,000 for general admission, while the manga library is free.