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Andy Kavanagh

Gallery: 67th Annual Sapporo Snow Festival

Sapporo is the biggest city on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido and being so close to Russia, Sapporo is famous for being subjected to an annual hammering of snow in the Winter. Never a nation to waste an opportunity to make everyone else feel talentless, the citizens of Sapporo have, for the last 67 years, […]

Music Monday: AKB48

If you’re not familiar with AKB48, you probably don’t live in Japan. AKB48 are, essentially, an absolutely massive pop group with 48 members that rotate in and out of active duty based on popularity rankings and an annual general election. The group has been around basically forever, certainly as long as any J-POP fan can […]

Life In Japan: Life, Lies and Live Music

I’m usually hesitant to rely on cultural tropes or stereotypes, partially because they’re reductive and potentially offensive, but mostly because as an Irishman, I tend to live up to a lot my own. As the old saying goes, men in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. I don’t however, having lived in Japan for just over […]

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Announces Third World Tour, Best Of Album And More

J-Pop superstar Kyary Pamyu Pamyu has been relatively quiet of late, as quiet as you can be when you’re the most popular pop-star on continent, but she broke her silence last night at a bizarre press conference broadcast live across LINE, Japan’s most popular social network service, to announce her plans for 2016 – a […]

Life In Japan: Nippon New Year

As I mentioned previously in this very column (yes, you should be keeping up), the Japanese don’t really see Christmas as a very big deal. Certainly not in the same way us god-fearing western nations do, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a big winter celebration to look forward to as the cold weather […]

Final Fantasy XV Influenced By The Last Of Us

As if the staff list and trailers weren’t enough to get you excited about Final Fantasy XV, it seems like every week there’s a new quote or interview segment designed to fan the fanboy fervor even further. This week, Epicstream are reporting that the game’s director, Hajime Tabata, has name dropped Naughty Dog’s magnum opus The Last of […]

Life In Japan: A Reductive Guide To Japanese Christmas

Japan doesn’t really do religion in the same way the West does. The land of the rising sun, predominantly a shinto/buddhist nation, is also increasingly a land of rampant religious apathy. It’s pretty common to hear elderly folk complain quite vocally about how uninterested the youth of today are in ancient traditions, even though almost […]

Seriously, Calm Down About Final Fantasy VII

There was a moment during Sony’s conference at E3 2015 that drew the collective hearts of millions into their collective mouths. We watched in disbelief as the unreal became real, as dreams came true, as a PS4 Final Fantasy VII remake was confirmed to be in development. That kind of announcement creates the sort of […]

New Irish eSports Documentary Launches Kickstarter

eSports has taken off in a big way all over the world and like Pokémon cards, Pogs and Carly Rae Jepsen before it, it’s taken Ireland a little longer than anywhere else to give it much attention. The Irish scene has been growing steadily however, certainly more-so than Miss Jepsen‘s fanbase, and a new documentary, Good […]

Tokyo’s Plus-Size Maid Cafe Is Very Much Still A Work In Progress

Maid Cafe’s are, as I’ve written about before, a cultural institution in Japan. So much so that over the years, the conceptual offshoots that have opened in Akihabara’s back alleys range from cute and quirky to batshit bonkers. It’s difficult then to believe that the recently opened Shangrila is Tokyo’s first maid cafe staffed by […]