Hot Pulse

YouTube’s #DearMe campaign looks back to look forward

March 5th, 2015 by

With International Women’s Day right around the corner, YouTube launched its #DearMe campaign, encouraging women to reflect on their past and post video messages with advice to their younger selves. The project became the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter within an hour after its launch.

YouTube recruited a range of women from a variety of countries, backgrounds and professions, including blogger Grace Helbig, actress Felicia Day and the band Pentatonix. The selection also included many women living in Japan. Here are a few of the #DearMe videos highlighted by YouTube.

Bilingirl — YouTuber

Subscribers:  383,324

“As I lived each day of my life, trying new things and gaining new experiences, I discovered that there was more to me than just small eyes and a flat face. I learned that confidence comes from my accomplishments and not my appearances.”

“The best make-up is a girl’s smile, so don’t forget to smile!”


Rin Rin Doll — model, blogger, TV personality

Subscribers: 5,570

“Your achievements aren’t defined by other people. Wear what you want to wear. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Don’t be afraid of obstacles coming your way — you’re going to be OK. You’re strong, and I believe in you.”

CONTINUE READING about YouTube's #DearMe campaign →

Seeking pollen protection in Japan with sprays, apps and nose plugs

March 4th, 2015 by

While spring in Japan might seem like a time for cherry blossoms and warm weather, for allergy sufferers it means hay fever and everything that comes with it.

This year in particular, Japan seem to be unfairly hit by a harsh combination of high pollen counts along with the particle-laden smog (PM2.5).

Experts say Japan’s high pollen count is most likely due to the country planting countless cedar trees after WWII. And the PM2.5 smog comes from the Gobi Desert, where yellow dust picks up dirt and pollen from China and carries it over to South Korea and Japan. Put these two phenomena together, and this equals weeks of itchy eyes and running noses.

Here are a few examples of how people in Japan combat, or endure, the allergy season:

Read the rest of this entry

Mister Donut went berry picking for its newest line of treats

February 25th, 2015 by

mister donut strawberry

Spring is the sweetest time of the year, and Mister Donut is celebrating with its Strawberry Donut Fes.

From now until May, the dessert chain will have a special selection of five sugary sweets for customers, including a custard-filled strawberry croissant donut and a strawberry and whip pie.

mister donut strawberry donut

The standout of the collection though is its strawberry donut, created in the shape of a real strawberry. The treat is topped with green-colored chocolate to resemble a strawberry stem.

The move comes at a time when Seven-Eleven is rolling out its own line of donuts, including a strawberry flavor.

With all treats under ¥200, there’s no excuse not to indulge your sweet tooth. Plus, some of them are covered in real freeze-dried strawberries, meaning there are a few vitamins hidden among all of those calories.

I wanna rock ‘n’ roll all night, and be kawaii, ev-er-y day

January 26th, 2015 by

After the major success of Babymetal, who fused Japanese idol culture with head-banging metal and opened for the likes of Metallica, Slayer and Lady Gaga, another J-pop unit is setting their sights on overseas fame and getting a helping hand from rock giants.

The teen idol group Momoiro Clover Z just released a new song, “Yume no Ukiyo ni Saite Mina,” with the help of legendary rockers . . . Kiss.

What? The Satanic pantomimes? The subterranean lizards of Detroit Rock City? Yes, that Kiss.

On Jan. 19, the two released a music video that is high on Japanese tack and low on coherence, more or less taking every possible traditional Japan cliche, putting them in a blender and turning it up to 11. Kiss — who are old enough to be their fathers — provides backup vocals and instrumentation while Momoclo do their thing with “Power Rangers”-esque transformations and sumo dance moves. The ukiyo-e-inspired video features the bands facing off with their signature brands of kowaii (scary) and kawaii (cute). After several back and forths, the leaders of each band eventually shake hands, so the world (and concertgoers) are safe for now.

While this combo might seem a bit random (a fated industry party hook-up perhaps?), the collaboration is actually cross-promotional effort as Kiss is scheduled to tour Japan with — surprise, surprise — Momoclo opening their Tokyo show. In addition, the same day that Momoclo released its newest video on YouTube, they also released an enthralling English introduction video, which includes choice quotes such as such as: “On stage, their ‘Power’ and ‘Performance’ unite the audience regardless of their age or gender.”

Kiss also plan to release their own version of “Yume no Ukiyo ni Saite Mina,” so this video is just the beginning of their budding marketing synergy. Will the aging Kiss Army happily lap up the sugarcoated sounds of J-pop? Or does this PR campaign signal more left-field J-pop collabs to come? Kyary Pamyu Pamyu vs Journey? AKB48 vs Blink 182?

Stranger things have happened — including this video.

Rewinding some of Japan’s top YouTubers

December 22nd, 2014 by

At the end of 2014, YouTube took a look back at some of the fun, freaky and unforgettable videos that went viral over the past year. Titled “YouTube Rewind,” the official retrospective (which has 50 million views) gave special recognition to dozens of online personalities, including Kid President and Jenna Marbles, who YouTube decided were the top of class in 2014.

Japan was well represented with 14 YouTubers joining the global ranks. Their talent ranges from makeup tutorials and video game walkthroughs to clever pranks and English lessons. Without much further ado, here are the top YouTubers from featured in Rewind 2014:

1. Aichi Ono (7,000+ subscribers)

  • Aichi Ono, aka Spinboy, has a pretty thick skull. He is a performer that does dances and tricks while spinning on his head. He also gives behind-the-scenes looks at breakdancing practices.

2. Bilingirl (300,000+)

3. Hajime (900,000+)

4. Hikakin (1,475,000+)

  • Human beatboxer Hikakin has drummed up more 300,000,000 views on YouTube. He usually makes beatbox covers of hit songs including Disney’s “Let It Go” and even collaborates with pop stars like Ariana Grande.

CONTINUE READING about popular YouTubers in Japan

J-blip: Doraemon hard boiled eggs soften your heart

December 11th, 2014 by

Doraemon1

Doraemon, everybody’s favorite blue robot cat, could be coming to a salad near you in the not-too-distant future.

Doraemon2

Anyone can turn a hard boiled egg into the shape of the Japanese icon, and the good news it doesn’t require Doraemon’s magical gadgets, nor high tech.

The simple four-step process is:
1. make a hard boiled egg
2. peel off the egg shells
3. put the egg in the Doraemon-shaped mold
4. leave it inside cold water for 10 minutes.

Voila! There you have it.

The special mold will be released, in Japan only, on Jan. 30, for ¥100 and will come in both Doraemon-shaped and Dorami-shaped (Doraemon’s little sister) versions.

#pulsepresents: gift idea grab bag

December 4th, 2014 by

Stumped about what kind of Christmas gift to give the Japanophile in your life? Here’s a grab bag of possibilities, prepared by Japan Pulse’s elves. And you can follow us on Twitter for more #pulsepresents, tweeted daily.

Commemorative Tokaido Shinkansen KitKats

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Trainspotters will love you forever if you can track down a package of these cool limited edition KitKats, sold in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of the Tokaido Shinkansen. The packaging, depicted a number of classics, can be folded into a mini train. The flavor is, inexplicably, frozen mikan.

Jagarico Panic

In this hot potato-style game, which requires the actual potato snack, players take turns opening up the container to remove a crunchy potato stick. The loser has to draw a penalty card which, in this video, includes a tissue nose probe. Ew.

“The Art of Setting Stones”

For your stressed-out friend, we suggest “The Art of Setting Stones” an overview of traditional Japanese gardens, which describes how the gardens are both “a microcosm of the natural universe and a clear expression of our humanity.”

Ki no Kami Snap Animals

The “Wooden Paper” Snap Animals series lets kids build their own toys by snapping together shapes to construct various animals.

Cardcaptor Sakura Cosmetics

Card Captor Sakura Cosmetic Kit

Cardcaptors of the Clow, expect the unexpected blemish now! A new cosmetic kit featuring Sakura’s magical tools doubles as cute trinkets from the anime and manga series, as well as lip balm and foundation.

Funagata Bags

Designer Kazumi Takigawa has created a new type of canvas bag that has a similar look of the typical brown paper bag but with the functionality and durability of a tote. Each bag is handmade in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Hello Kitty, Hello 40

On her anniversary, 40 fans — from comic artists to toy creators — pay homage to world’s most famous mouthless feline.

J-blip: cat montage

December 2nd, 2014 by

If you’ve been keeping your eyes open, you might have caught a glimpse of the “cat montage” meme that has been spreading through Japan and beyond.

The gist: A human draws a set of cartoon eyes for its furry friend and creates a funny collage.

Credit for this simple yet viral idea goes to Twitter user Shirotamaaaa, who sparked the trend in early November. His original post has been retweeted more than 4,500 times.

Spilling over into Instagram and YouTube, the meme is also gaining traction overseas.

The joke has even spread further into the animal kingdom with pictures of dogs, rabbits and hamsters.

Ora! Ora! Ora! Ora! Ora! Ora! Ora! Ora! Ora! Ora! #猫モンタージュ

Pro tip from cat montage experts: snap it when your feline is sleeping.

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