General Japan

Five Line sticker creators who deserve more attention

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    LINE_icon01
    One of the greatest things about the Line instant messaging application is its ever-growing library of stickers (or “stamps” in Japanese). Line allows users to create and sell their own sticker sets through its Creator’s Market. There are thousands upon thousands of stickers available, with new sticker sets added every week.

    Unfortunately, Line’s sticker market has a huge problem: it is a disorganized mess. Naver basically just lets sticker creators write a short text description of stickers and throws the stickers into very general categories. This kind of system would work for a market that had a few hundred stamp sets, but in the “Cat” category alone, there are over 15,000 sticker sets. The search function is also pretty crappy. Searching for the English term “cat” turned up only 835 creator stickers, while the Japanese terms “猫”/ “ねこ”/”ネコ” resulted in differing numbers between 932 and 944. Searching for certain stickers often involves a guessing game about what keywords are in the description, and often the words have little to do with the actual appearance of the stickers.

    When a sticker set becomes popular, it will be seen and purchased by thousands of users, making serious cash for its creator. However, if a creator fails to get attention, his/her stickers will almost never be seen by users. While many of the top-selling stickers are quite cool, there are no doubt hundreds or even thousands of similarly great stickers that don’t get the attention they deserve because Line’s sticker market is a disorganized mess.

    Over the past few years, I have come across a few Line sticker creators who I feel deserve more attention for their works. I tend to prefer silly, stupid, and disgusting stickers, so this list will be biased towards artists who create stuff like that. In the future, I hope to introduce more artists, but today I’ll start with five.

    1. Seishiro Matsuyama

    via creators line
    Artist Seishiro Matsuyama currently has four sets of wonderfully bizarre stickers on the creator’s market. My personal favorite is “Kemono My House,” but all of the sets feature the same weird characters. Matsuyama also has an instagram account, where you can check out some of his non-Line artwork.

    2. Shimisan

    shimisan
    The concept behind many of Shimisan’s stickers are pretty simple. Weird human-like facial expressions are drawn onto the faces of animals, transforming what would normally be a cute character into something satisfyingly disgusting. My favorite is “Kawaii Dogs” – which has a dog that wears braces and a couple stickers with dogs peeing (which is apparently okay with the Line censors).

    3. Trock

    trock
    Trock doesn’t seem like the most-skilled illustrator, but there he/she has produced some masterpieces of weirdness. I can’t say I like all of Trock’s stickers, but I do particularly enjoy the “Ugly Rabbits” and “Ugly Cats” sets.

    4. Sky Blue

    skyblue
    Some people say that some of the stickers in the “Jolly Nozun” set look like something other than noses. What do you think?

    5. Hiroyuki Ishida

    hiroyuki-ishida
    Ishida’s “Pleasant friends and Mr. Haru” stamp set is one of my absolute favorites. It’s hard to complain about such a great combination of weird drawings and weird English.

     

    Poll: Which of these creators do you like the best?

    Seishiro Matsuyama
    28 Vote
    Shimisan
    17 Vote
    Trock
    14 Vote
    Sky Blue
    15 Vote
    Hiroyuki Ishida
    23 Vote

    If anyone has their own suggestions for cool stickers or if you are a sticker creator and want us to see your work, please leave a comment and let us know!

    Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by James - February 29, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    Categories: General Japan

    Photos: Super cheap hotel in Osaka – 800 yen ($8) per night

    cheap hotel osaka

    A Japanese 2channel user recently posted some photo highlighting his experience staying at Osaka’s Hotel Diamond, which offers some of the cheapest rates in Japan.

    800 yen hotel

    The receipt, stamped by a hotel staff person, shows that it did indeed cost a mere 800 yen for a single night’s stay.

    hotel diamond osaka room

    The room is simple, and while not super clean, doesn’t look too terrible, especially when you consider the price.

    welfare consultation

    A sign on the hotel room tells guests that the those who are having trouble making ends-meet can go to the front desk for some advice. Presumably the hotel staff can provide some information about applying for government assistance of finding work.

    Such cheap hotels exist in certain areas of Osaka and Tokyo, and primarily cater to people who are in desperate circumstances. Hotel Diamond is located in Osaka’s Nishinari ward, an area known for its large number of day laborers and homeless people. A lot of the guests at the hotel are probably living from day to day on temporary jobs.

    The photos in this post don’t look so bad, but some guests have had bad experiences with the hotel in question. A google search revealed that one non-Japanese YouTuber thought the Hotel Diamond was “The Scariest Hostel in Japan”:

    Reviews on Booking.com also provide some details:

    Rooms are the size of closets with just enough space to lay two very thin mattresses on the floor. You can literally reach out and touch the walls. Very limited space beyond the two mattresses and around 1m squared to put your bags. Advertised are TV and bar fridge but they may as well not be there – Dirty linen and questionable whether rooms are cleaned regularly – Smoking smell throughout the establishment but better on the higher floors – It was very difficult to get a decent night sleep on the thin mattresses and the sandbag pillows. I spent the night tossing and turning and did not get a good night’s sleep – Located in a somewhat ‘dodgy’ suburb of Osaka, with lots of homeless around on the streets. It’s meant to be ‘dangerous’ by Osaka standards, although this is laughable when compared to Western dangerous suburbs. I’ve stayed in this suburb 3 times now without an issue.” – Ashleigh from Australia

    The hotel is as advertised. The accommodations are as you imagine them for the price. There are lots of cockroaches, mosquitos, poorly maintained bathrooms, and so on. It is extremely uncomfortable during the summer. I suggest spending a little bit more to gain a significant amount of comfort.“- Dustin from America

    A traveler from Uruguay provided a more simple review. For the positives, he listed “the price.” For the negatives: “The rest. The cheapest part is horrible!!”

    2 comments - What do you think?  Posted by James - February 22, 2014 at 11:01 am

    Categories: General Japan

    Hundreds of people remain stranded in snowed-in trains after Valentine’s Day blizzard hits Kanto region

    Yamanashi Snow

    For the second week in a row, a large snow storm hit the Kanto region of Japan. For most Tokyoites, life is returning back to normal. Snow doesn’t block the roads in the city, and a lot of the snow from Friday and Saturday is already melted.

    Yamanashi from the air

    (An aerial view of Yamanashi – click to view full photo)

    However, in nearby Yamanashi prefecture, things are much more serious. As opposed to the 27 centimeters of snow that fell in Tokyo, Yamanashi got about 114 centimeters (45 inches), and it has completely crippled the prefecture’s transportation system and left convenience store shelves bare.

    empy shelves

    According to news reports today(the 17th), hundreds of people remain stranded inside trains on the Chuo line. JR is apparently distributing emergency food, so they have been able to eat something since Valentine’s Day.

    Members of the Ground Self-Defense Forces have been deployed with shovels and snow-clearing equipment to clear roads and rescue people whose cars were stranded on snowy roads. It seems that it will be at least a few more days before life is back to normal in Yamanashi…

    Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by James - February 17, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Categories: General Japan

    Photos: Two trains collide on Toyoko Line

    Tokyo Yokohama train collision toyoko line

    Last night, two trains collided on one of Tokyo and Yokohama’s major train lines:

    At around 12:30 a.m., a train on the Tokyu Toyoko line linking Tokyo and Yokohama bumped into another train that was standing at Motosumiyoshi Station after overrunning the stop line by about 30 meters.

    Here are some photos of the aftermath (via 2channel and twitter):

    toyoko line

    Train collision in Tokyo

    Tokyo train crash

    Tokyo line crash

    Toyoko line crash

    crushed train

    And a photo of the bent floor inside the train car, posted by an Instragram user

    inside the train

    The cause of the accident is still being investigated. Luckily, nobody was seriously injured.

    Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by James - February 15, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    Categories: General Japan

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