Interurban car 1207

A look back at the interurbans

Even though the Downtown Historic Railway is out-of-service, you can still experience the heritage interurbans online. Browse through pictures and brush-up on the routes these versatile rail cars took on their journeys through the Lower Mainland.

Anime Conventions

What is an anime convention?

Curious about what goes on at an anime convention? Ever wondered why people wear costumes to these events? Where can I find one that’s nearest to me? It’s my first time, what do I need to bring? Answers to these questions and more can be found in the all about anime conventions and the convention checklist articles.

Welcome to Vancouver

A quick look at Vancouver

Perhaps you know the story behind Vancouver’s founding. How about the salty snack that ran for the mayor’s office? Or the only time that one of the city’s early hockey teams won the Stanley Cup? Read all about them and more in the Quick Facts of Vancouver.


China lights up English Bay during Honda Celebration of Light

The threat of rain and dark clouds didn’t dampen the thousands of people who came out to take in the first night of the Honda Celebration of Light. First on the list for the 25th anniversary of the fireworks festival was Lidu Fireworks for Team China. With spectacular colour and form, China’s performance drew many oohs and ahhs from the crowd.

Couldn’t make it out or wanted to avoid the throngs of people? Catch some of the best shots from the pyrotechnics display on Gallery!

There’s still two more nights of the colourful explosives: Brazil on Wednesday, July 29th, and Canada on Saturday, August 1st. The show starts promptly at 10:00 pm, so get there early!

Anime Evolution 2015 photos

The new Student Union Building at the University of British Columbia was packed with people for this year’s Anime Evolution convention. All sorts of people were dressed up in outfits from their favourite anime, video game or pop culture series for the three day event.

Here’s a small selection of Saturday’s cosplay from Anime Evolution. View the complete day’s photos on Gallery.

Sora and Biyomon from Digimon! Reese and Cyrus take a break from running ReTail in Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Robin from the New 52 spreads his wings.
Pokémon's Mudkips can't believe he found The Legend of Zelda's Midna! You poor unfortunate soul. Crona and Ragnarok are ready for battle!

Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ coming to Canadian theatres this August

The latest Dragon Ball Z movie is hitting Canadian theatres for one day only this summer! On August 6th, select Cineplex locations will be screening the English dub of Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’.

Goku’s greatest nemesis is back! Following the epic battle against Beerus in Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, Frieza has been revived and seeks revenge on Goku and his friends on Earth. In an unlikely alliance, Goku partners up with Vegeta in hopes their combined strength will be enough to stop Frieza once and for all, while protecting the planet.

Check the Cineplex web site for available locations, show times and to purchase tickets for Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’.

Cool down with Tea Sparrow’s Iced Tea Festival

With summer is already in full gear, beat the heat by stopping off at Tea Sparrow’s first annual Iced Tea Festival. Sample many loose-leaf iced teas from Germany, Canada, and the United States on Sunday, July 19th between 11:00 am and 6:00 pm at the Heritage Hall in Vancouver.

There will be 16 variations of tea available, each having passed stringent quality and taste tests before being served up. Individual teas will be available for purchase, and new Tea Sparrow subscribers will be able to choose their first four teas at 40% off regular price.

Tea Sparrow is a monthly tea club where subscribers receive a box containing a new selection of high quality, chemical-free teas through the mail. The leaves are critiqued and scored by Tea Sparrow’s staff; only the best gets passed along to its members.

Admission to Tea Sparrow’s first annual Iced Tea-Off can be purchased in advance, with 2 for $10 or $10 at the door on Sunday, July 19th. Further details and tickets can be found on Tea Sparrow’s web site.

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata passes away at age 55

Satoru Iwata

Satoru Iwata

Satoru Iwata, the president of Nintendo Co., Ltd., has passed away at age 55 on July 11th, 2015. Nintendo issued a brief statement of Iwata’s death from a bile duct growth on their web site.

Iwata was a visible face for Japanese gaming giant, appearing in many promotional videos announcing the arrival of new gaming systems or titles. He joined the company in 2000 as a director for the Corporate Planning Division before being promoted to president in 2002, a title he held to his death.

Born in 1959, Iwata started his career in the video game industry with HAL Laboratory, Inc. working on Balloon Fight, EarthBound, and games in the Kirby series before becoming its president in 1993. He also had helped out with the coding in a number of Pokémon series titles including Pokémon Gold and Silver and Pokémon Stadium.

After joining Nintendo, Iwata was involved with a number of the company’s popular franchises including Mario, the Legend of Zelda and Animal Crossing. Under Iwata’s tenure, Nintendo released the Wii, Wii U, Nintendo DS and 3DS consoles.

Sources: Nintendo, Kotaku, Wikipedia

Revival of The Raccoons could see a return to television

The popular Canadian 80s’ cartoon The Raccoons could be on its way back to television after 30 years according to series creator Kevin Gillis.

In a briefing with Canadian media, Gillis has “…been thinking about it for the last four or five years…” and has pitched the idea of returning the animated show with Canadian broadcasters. Gillis has even given thought to having another country handle co-production.

Gillis is now considering how best to restart the show. “If I take Raccoons into a brand new relaunch, do I do the obvious and age it up? Is it Raccoons 10 years later?” he ponders.

Although The Raccoons is based around the daily life of the audacious Bert Raccoon, his adventures are not alone as they include his close friends Ralph and Melissa, the son of the wealthy and villanous aardvark Cyril Sneer, Cedric, and the sheepdogs Schaeffer and Broo.

The Raccoons made their appearance in 1980 in the televised special The Christmas Raccoons, with Raccoons on Ice in 1981, The Raccoons & the Lost Star in 1983, and The Raccoons Let’s Dance in 1984. The actual series began its televised broadcast in 1985 on the CBC.

Source: Global News

Live-action Attack on Titan movies coming to North America

Watch out America; the titans are headed for our shores! The rights to the two live-action Attack on Titan movies based on Hajime Isayama’s popular manga series of the same name have been acquired by Texas-based FUNimation. FUNimation currently holds the license to the animated television version of Attack on Titan.

The first movie, Attack on Titan, premieres in Japan on August 1st, but the Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles will have a special screening on July 14th, 2015. On hand to attend this special event will be Haruma Miura and Kiko Mizuhara, the actors who portray Eren Jaeger and Mikasa Ackerman. Director Shinji Higuchi will also be in attendance.

Much of the human population has been decimated by roving groups of titans that devour men, women and children indiscriminately. Forced to live behind massive stone walls to protect against these attacks, what’s left of the humans try to return to normal life. All that changes upon the arrival of the colossal titan whom damages a portion of the wall allowing other titans to enter and feast upon the frightened mortals. Relying on the military to protect the civilization, Eren Jaeger and his friends fight to stop the giants before they take away all that’s precious to them.

Attack on Titan: End of the World, the second film, will open September 19th, 2015 in theatres in Japan.

No dates for when Attack on Titan and Attack on Titan: End of the World will be in North American theatres for general release.

Source: Comic Book Resources

Canada Day events for 2015

Crowds enjoying the festivities during Canada Day at Canada Place in downtown Vancouver.

Crowds enjoying the festivities during Canada Day at Canada Place in downtown Vancouver.

Celebrate Canada’s 148th birthday with events all around the Lower Mainland this July 1st. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of our national flag, the red and white maple leaf. There will be plenty of things to do for the whole family including parades, live music, food and fireworks displays. Don’t forget to check your local community calendar for any that may not be on the list.

New trailer for Boruto: Naruto the Movie with English subtitles

Naruto passes the torch to his son Boruto as he gets his own full-length animated movie, Boruto: Naruto the Movie which is to be released in Japan August 7th, 2015. A new teaser for the upcoming film includes English subtitles to shed more light on the story.

Yes, Naruto is father to a child that is just as energetic and troublesome as he was at the beginning of the shinobi’s own titular anime series. Upon learning that his own dad achieved a lot to become hokage, Boruto seeks out Sasuke Uchiha in hopes that he will train him and thus eclipse Naruto’s own feats.

Editor’s Note
The original video was removed from YouTube, but Madman Entertainment, Australia’s largest anime distributor has uploaded a copy as they will be be bringing the Boruto: Naruto the Movie to Australian theatres in 2015.

Sources: Kotaku, Madman

Kintaro serves up authentic Japanese-style ramen

Kintaro Ramen

Kintaro Ramen on Denman Street.

The thought of ramen shouldn’t stir up memories of dried packets of noodles and boiling water from a kettle. It should be long noodles served in savoury broth with chunks of meat and real vegetables. Kintaro does just that and like a traditional Japanese noodle-house, specializing in tonkotsu, or pork-bone broth ramen.

Situated just off the corner of Robson and Denman Streets in Vancouver’s West End, Kintaro is as close to a traditional ramen shop without having to cross the Pacific. It’s small and almost always busy; a good sign. On some days it’s not surprising to see line-ups outside, occasionally stretching up to the Robson Street intersection. If there’s a line, the ever-attentive waitresses are out with menus and taking orders, so as soon as you’re seated there’s no additional waiting for the food.

The menu may seem limited, but its because it keeps the kitchen focused on providing a consistent and delicious product. The soups themselves are are all made with pork-bone stock and customizable with a rich, medium or light broth and fatty or lean pork cutlets. There’s four main bowls available: shoyu made with soy sauce, shio made with pork stocks and sea salt, miso with a combination of soybean pastes from around Japan and twelve different spices, and spicy garlic with a hot miso broth and ground garlic. Specialty soups are available, with a cold ramen available in summer (June-September), and a ramen with two kinds of cheese.

Shoyu Ramen

A bowl of fresh shoyu ramen.

I usually order the shoyu ramen in medium broth and fat barbecue pork; the fat has all the flavour. Garnished with a heaping pile of bean sprouts and bamboo shoots, diced green onion, a paper-thin square of dried seaweed and a tender slice of pork. The noodles themselves are thin and soft, but not mushy; the sprouts counter this with a bit of a crunch. With the soy sauce mixed in, the broth is a little salty yet not overpowering. The pork can be a little chewy, but that delicious flavour brought out by the barbecue makes up for it. The bowls are big and I’m left with a sea of broth that will slosh around inside me after all the noodles, meat and vegetables are gone. It’s not a bad feeling, it just leaves me full, satisfied and slow-moving.

In addition to ramen and should still be hungry, Kintaro also serves up gyoza (dumplings), hanpayaro (small pieces of barbecue pork), slices of pork meat, kimchi (spicy Korean-style vegetables) and rice.

Prices are relatively cheap – $8.95 for most bowls, increasing to $10.45 for specialty soups. Additional toppings are a dollar extra, with pop at $1.85, local beer at $4.75 and imported beer at $5.75.

Kintaro is located at 788 Denman Street in Vancouver, is open 11:30 am – 11:00 pm Tuesday through Sunday and closed Mondays. Methods of payment accepted are limited to cash and debit; no credit cards. Dine-in only.

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