Super Mario 3D Land leads 3DS to big sales in Japan

Things have been a little dark for Nintendo lately, with an unprofitable year along with a goofy, poorly-introduced peripheral, but now that the first of its big holiday releases is hitting stores things are starting to look better for them… in Japan at least. Last week the 3DS and Super Mario 3D Land both took the top spot in the Japanese sales charts in a big way.

After slashing the price on the 3DS system, hardware sales had been up in a big way, but software sales had remained, well, soft. Apparently in October total games sold for 3DS games in Japan were at the surprisingly low 122,000.

Read the rest of the story: Super Mario 3D Land leads 3DS to big sales in Japan last week, Super Mario 3D Land DS News.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie Visit Japan to Promote “Moneyball”

Hollywood power couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie held hands and posed on the red carpet Wednesday in Japan to promote Brad’s lates baseball movie, “Moneyball.”Jolie, who wore a classic low-cut red dress and nude heels, upstaged her beau at his movie premiere.The couple along with their six children in tow, arrived, Tuesday, at Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport, where hundreds of fans had been waiting for hours to greet the couple.

Read the rest of the story: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie Visit Japan to Promote “Moneyball”.

Steve Jobs book sales top 1 million copies in Japan

In its first week on sale in Japan, Walter Isaacson’s biography of Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs is flying off the shelves. Japan’s publisher Kodansha announced that sales of the book, titled “Steve Jobs,” has exceeded 1 million copies as of November 2.

“It sold at an exceptional speed,” said a spokesman for Kodansha. “It is Steve Jobs’ ability, strength and appeal that attracted readers.”

Volume 1 of the book that came out on October 24, has sold 550,000 copies, and Volume 2 has sold 470,000 copies.

Read the rest of the story: Steve Jobs book sales top 1 million copies in Japan.

Suzuki Ami finds love in new relationship

The weekly tabloid FRIDAY reports that singer and actress Suzuki Ami (29) is in a relationship with a 41-year-old man who is not in show business. The magazine spotted the two together on several occasions, including a night spent at Suzuki’s apartment.

In mid-October, Suzuki and her boyfriend were seen leaving her apartment under a single umbrella, with the man’s arm around her shoulder and her arm around his waist. On a separate occasion, they had a meal together with two friends, then later went back to Suzuki’s apartment and spent the night there. It is also reported that the pair went on a trip in late October to Korea and Shodoshima.

A source familiar with the couple says the man works at an impressive restaurant in Tokyo. He is described as being 180 centimeters tall and having a refreshing face. He and Suzuki were introduced to each other by a friend, and they have been dating since this summer. It is said that there is no talk of marriage so far.

Suzuki has not been the focus of a relationship rumor since 2001, when she was believed to be dating Tackey & Tsubasa’s Takizawa Hideaki (29).

Suzuki’s agency was contacted for confirmation, but it declined to comment on her personal life.

More of the cast revealed for upcoming “Shokuzai” mini-series – Aoi Yu, Koike Eiko, Ando Sakura, Ikewaki Chizuru

The upcoming drama mini-series “Shokuzai,” starring Koizumi Kyoko, had more of its cast revealed today. Actresses Aoi Yu, Koike Eiko, Ando Sakura, and Ikewaki Chizuru have been officially added to the show.

“Shokuzai” is based on a novel by “Kokuhaku” author Minato Kanae. The story revolves around a mother seeking revenge for the murder of her young daughter Emiri 15 years ago, confronting the four women who had witnessed the killer at the time.

The four women are being played by Aoi, Koike, Ando, and Ikewaki. 15 years earlier, when they were elementary school students, they had been playing with Emiri up until just before her death. They were the first to discover her body, and although they saw the culprit’s face, they were unable to remember it well enough to identify the person. As a result, Emiri’s mother (Koizumi) demanded that they find the killer, or else find a way to atone for themselves to her satisfaction. Now grown up, those women find her words coming back to haunt them as tragedy begins to befall them.

The story is being told in five episodes on WOWOW Prime, starting on January 8. The first episode will be broadcast for free.

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Can This Idol Save J-Pop

A recurring theme in the Strange Boutique column has been the question of what has gone wrong with pop music in Japan. Amid discussions of the pernicious influence of advertising agencies, record industry conservatism in the face of declining sales, and the faceless, self-replicating Eurobeat monstrosity from out of Akihabara, there was one fundamental thing that Japanese pop seemed to have lost: The ability to make you go, "Wha…?"

For many, however, a pinprick of light emerged from the shade of not-quite-as-influential-as-it-was Tokyo fashion hub of Harajuku this July with the release of "Ponponpon," a song by fashion model-cum-singer Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (her label, Warner Music Japan, refuses to confirm her real name). Largely passing underneath the mainstream media’s radar at first, it was a viral smash hit that annoyed people who deserved to be annoyed but delighted teenage girls, Belgians (where, along with Finland, it topped the iTunes electronic charts) and bemused netsurfers everywhere with the Technicolor blizzard of candy canes and eyeballs that made up its video, and its idiotically catchy "pon pon wei wei wei" chorus, courtesy of capsule/Perfume producer Yasutaka Nakata.

Read the rest of the story: The cute ‘n’ kooky world of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Japan’s newest pop idol.

AKB48 breaks a million single sales record on first day for the second time

Idol group AKB48 has once again set a new sales record. Their 23rd single, “Kaze wa Fuiteiru,” officially went on sale on October 26, and in its first day it sold 1,045,937 copies. This surpasses their previous single “Flying Get,” which sold 1,025,952 in its first day.

AKB48 is not only the first group to sell 1 million copies of a single in one day, but now they are the first to do so twice in a row.

“Kaze wa Fuiteiru” is the group’s fifth single to sell more than a million copies, and their fourth in a row. All of their singles released so far this year have broken the million mark.

“Gaiji Keisatsu” to be movie in 2012

NHK’s 2009 action/suspense drama series “Gaiji Keisatsu” is returning with a theatrical film, to be released next year. Watabe Atsuro (43) reprises the starring role. The supporting cast also includes Korean actor Kim Kang-woo in his first Japanese movie.

The “Gaiji Keisatsu” drama series revolved around a secret police division tasked with combating international terrorism and espionage. The movie is partly based on Aso Iku’s novel of the same name, produced by the same main staff that worked on NHK’s hit series “Hagetaka.” About a year and a half was spent on research and putting together an original script.

Filming started in Chiba on August 21, but three weeks were also spent shooting overseas in Seoul and Busan from September 20. It is said that Watabe spent about a month taking lessons on Hangul and Korean before filming overseas.

Other cast members include Maki Yoko, Ono Machiko, Tanaka Min, Im Hyeon-jun, Endo Kenichi, Yo Kimiko, Ishibashi Ryo, Kitami Toshiyuki, Takito Kenichi, and Shibukawa Kiyohiko.

“Gaiji Keisatsu” is scheduled for release on June 2, 2012.

Matsuda Shota dating model Kuroda Eimi

According to this week’s issue of FRIDAY, actor Matsuda Shota (26) and model Kuroda Eimi (23) are in a romantic relationship.

The magazine published a photo of the pair leaving a bar together a few days ago. They later got in a taxi with another couple and got out at Matsuda’s apartment.

It is said that Matsuda and Kuroda’s apartments are within walking distance, so Kuroda has been visiting Matsuda once or twice a week. The two were also seen together at Matsuda’s mother’s birthday party on October 8.

A friend of Matsuda’s mother says that the two have been dating since 4 years ago, though it is also said that they broke up at one point. Rumors of their relationship were first reported by a tabloid in January 2010.

Matsuda’s agency says that Kuroda is just a good friend. Kuroda’s agency gave no comment.

Cheating Boyfriends? In Japan There’s an App for That.

They don’t just sneak around, they sleep around. And if they’re already in a relationship, they’re called cheaters. In Japan, tech has helped them get away scott free for years. That’s changed.

With new smartphones and GPS tracking, it’s now possible to find phones—and presumably their owners. But what about privacy? And the law? Ha!

On Aug. 30 in Japan, an Android smartphone app called Kare Log ("Boyfriend Log") launched, allowing girlfriends to track smartphone GPS data via PC as well as the phone’s remaining battery life and call history.

Read the rest of the story: Cheating Boyfriends? There’s an App for That..