Japanese Twitter users report an increase in ninja cat sightings as summer settles in【Photos】

Japanese Twitter users report an increase in ninja cat sightings as summer settles in【Photos】

It’s summer in Japan! How do you like to spend the season? Many Japanese enjoy going to the beach or having fun at the public pools and water parks to take a cool dip in the scorching weather. Natsu-matsuri (summer festivals) and fireworks displays held at various locations are also events that many Japanese look forward to in the summer.

Climbing on screen doors, however, seems to be the favorite summer pastime of these Japanese house cats!

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【TBT】Tipping in Japan: Yes, it exists and it’s confusing

【TBT】Tipping in Japan: Yes, it exists and it’s confusing

Flipping through any travel guide about Japan you will learn that Japan is a country where tipping is non-existent. Leaving your change on the table at a restaurant may result in the waiter chasing you down to give it back.

But in Japan there actually is a system of tipping that exists but is tangled in a mysterious system of formality that no one really seems sure of. In an interview with Yahoo! Japan, Nobuko Akashi of the Japan Manners & Protocol Association attempts to unravel this system so we can all know when and where it’s appropriate to tip in Japan.

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Luigi’s ‘death stare’ makes it into Japanese Mario Kart 8 commercial

Luigi’s ‘death stare’ makes it into Japanese Mario Kart 8 commercial

Luigi’s competitive dark side was discovered back in May with the release of Mario Kart 8. Dubbed “Luigi’s Death Stare,” the character achieved meme status after appearing in a multitude of fan videos on YouTube. Nintendo, perhaps intentionally, included Luigi’s now signature look in a recent Japanese Mario Kart commercial.

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Toyokazu Nagano’s “Magic Road” – the funniest, most adorable photos you’ll see today

Toyokazu Nagano’s “Magic Road” – the funniest, most adorable photos you’ll see today

Toyokazu Nagano is no ordinary photographer. Whereas most kinen shashinka, or commemorative photographers, will have their subjects don traditional attire and adopt the exact same poses as the hundreds of patrons before them, Nagano is instead on a mission to commemorate the moments in our lives that all too often go uncelebrated, building whimsical scenes around his subjects that let their true personalities shine out.

It should come as no surprise, then, to learn that the idea for setting up a portrait studio that celebrates life’s little moments and does away with the kimono, sombre expressions and set poses should have come from a series of genuinely adorable, laugh-out-loud-funny photos of his daughters taken on a place that quickly came to be known as the “Magic Road”…

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Gamer discovers his deceased father’s ghost on an old Xbox game, challenges it to a race

Gamer discovers his deceased father’s ghost on an old Xbox game, challenges it to a race

Aside from indirectly putting the phrase, “If you build it, they will come,” into the popular lexicon (the actual line in the movie is “If you build it, he will come”), the 1989 film Field of Dreams is remembered for the scene where the main character plays a game of catch with the spirit of his dead father. It’s a touching and emotional scene, but sadly the sort of thing that’s only possible with movie magic.

At least, that’s true if we’re talking about baseball. But for parents and kids who bond through a love of video games, it’s actually possible to play together after a loved one passes away, as one teen recently found out.

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Korean drama advances slap technology with ancient Korean recipe

Korean drama advances slap technology with ancient Korean recipe

Have you ever been slapped in the face? If you have a sibling it’s likely to have occurred, or if you’ve wronged someone in just the right way, you’ve likely seen the fingers a flyin’. That hand is all up in your face, and whether you know it’s coming or it’s totally unexpected, it’s surprisingly pretty painful. You can imagine our astonishment when a segment of the Korean drama Everybody, Kimchi! took slapping to a whole new orangey, messy level!

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Summer in China means crazy-crowded pools, which somehow mean fun for some easy-going swimmers

Summer in China means crazy-crowded pools, which somehow mean fun for some easy-going swimmers

As I type this, there’s a group of cicadas in the garden below the window next to my desk. The insects are earnestly whining away in an attempt to attract mates, like a group of liquored-up frat boys on their seventh round of the night calling out to every girl in the club to sit down and do a shot of Jaeger with them.

There’s not much I can do about it though, given that hordes of cicadas perch in Japan’s trees every summer. Unpleasant as they are at first, after enough time you get used to them, and eventually some people don’t even notice them.

And if you think that sort of aural acclimation is amazing, consider this: some people don’t seem to mind the crazy crowds that pack into China’s public pools each summer.

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Japanese critic shares his (kinda weird) views on Japanese vs Western adult entertainment

Japanese critic shares his (kinda weird) views on Japanese vs Western adult entertainment

If you’re a person who uses the Internet, there’s a good chance that at some point you’ve come across that other thing (i.e. not cats) that accounts for so much web traffic. You know, pictures and videos of naked people. Trust us, we were as shocked as you must have been when you first stumbled upon these people and their antics, but it’s out there in its droves.

We were also surprised to learn that those videos are apparently not only very popular but noticeably different depending on whether they’re made in places like the US and Europe or in Japan. Or at least they are according to this Japanese guy, who works in the industry and spends a lot of time critiquing the videos…

This article probably isn’t entirely safe for work. Which really shouldn’t be a surprise, but just in case, you might want to read this one on your phone in the bathroom instead of at your desk.

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Cats transform into bears, bats, and more, impress and enchant Japanese Internet users

Cats transform into bears, bats, and more, impress and enchant Japanese Internet users

In the debate of cats versus dogs, the canine camp usually points to dogs’ energy and overt affection as proof of the superiority of their pet of choice. Feline fans fire back that cats are more sophisticated and cleaner than their low-brow rivals.

Now, it seems another factor in cats’ favor has been discovered: some of them are versatile enough to act as stand-ins for other members of the animal kingdom, as shown in this series of photos that’s delighting animal lovers in Japan.

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No peripheral vision – Japan’s gamers sound off on hardware add-on nightmares

No peripheral vision – Japan’s gamers sound off on hardware add-on nightmares

One of the reasons I’ve done most of my video gaming with a console instead of a PC is the simplicity, on the consumer end, of the hardware. After plopping down the money for the system, you’re pretty much good to go, without the need to continually tinker with and incrementally upgrade it in order to play the latest games.

Still, that doesn’t mean everyone is satisfied to leave well enough alone in the console and handheld world, as evidenced by the piles of hardware add-ons that have been released over the years. Not every addition is a good one, though, as illustrated by the Japanese gamers who flocked to website Niconico News to share their video game peripheral horror stories.

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Dreamed of living in a “Phil Collins” mansion? Come to Japan and you can!

Dreamed of living in a “Phil Collins” mansion? Come to Japan and you can!

Engrish, the comedic results when non-native speakers utilize English, is hilarious and when used on products and signs, the results are shared far and wide with great enjoyment. But sometimes it’s not just incorrect English that is really funny, sometimes it’s just the seemingly awkward usage of perfectly normal English. What do we mean exactly? Take apartment building, for example, which are notorious for sporting some of the most ridiculous names. Perhaps it’s for the best though, because sometimes it turns your modest accommodations into a luxurious palace! Would you like to live like British superstar Phil Collins? Would you like to live IN Phil Collins?!?

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Pikachu’s dramatic decline in popularity captured in photos

Pikachu’s dramatic decline in popularity captured in photos

Back in the day, Pikachu was just the best. He was cute, bold and dangerous all at the same time, had a cute voice and said nothing but his own name. People the world over loved him. Then Pokemon got like 5,000 other collectible monsters and Pikachu kind of took a backseat to the cooler new kids in class.

For a while, Pikachu clung to his fame like an aging Hollywood star exhibiting a little too much potbelly and affinity for sub sandwiches, but now, like a DJ part-timing as a kid’s birthday party clown, he’s stooped to new lows – showing up for any random appearance with five to ten audience members and the promise of some Tauros meat.

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Hanahana are some of the most elegant and expensive sparklers ever made

Hanahana are some of the most elegant and expensive sparklers ever made

Walking through the fireworks rack at a store you can see various rickets and sparklers all decked out in loud colors and cartoon graphics promising the noisiest of evenings in the park. Given the nature of the product, it seems a reasonable marketing course to take.

However, surely there are those among us who enjoy burning things up in a more demure atmosphere – perhaps with some Polonaise in A-flat major playing in the background and sipping on a glass of Brunello.

For that we present an exquisite pack of sparklers handcrafted from all-natural and all-domestic materials. They’re called Hanahana and are selling for the price of 10,000 yen (US$98).

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Looking for a unique job environment? This could be as unique (and isolated) as it gets in Japan!

Looking for a unique job environment? This could be as unique (and isolated) as it gets in Japan!

Iwo Jima — the name may conjure harsh images of the famous Battle of Iwo Jima, which took place on the small island during World War II in 1945. It belongs to the Ogasawara Islands, a group of tropical and sub-tropical islands known for unique wildlife and flora, and is officially a part of Ogasawara Village, which is administered by the Tokyo Metropolitan government, which means technically, it’s part of Tokyo, although the island is located roughly 1,200km (about 745 miles) south of the Japanese capital city. While it isn’t inhabited by civilians, Iwo Jima is home to an air base that’s used by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force.

Well, it so happens this base has been the subject of some attention on the Japanese Internet recently — as a possible workplace! When you hear the job description, you’ll see just how unique a workplace it is, and you’ll never guess what kind of employee they’re looking for …

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Chinese mall’s large pink parking spaces for women seen as sexist by some, wonderful by others

Chinese mall’s large pink parking spaces for women seen as sexist by some, wonderful by others

China’s World Metropolis Center (WMC) has become the center of controversy recently over their decision to lay out 10 parking spaces intended for women only. As a result, what we assume was a well-intentioned gesture by the shopping center has seemed to upset some people online drawing cries of discrimination. On the other hand, visitors to the mall seemed pleased with the initiative.

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This awful woman stealing a little kid’s foul ball will ruin your day

This awful woman stealing a little kid’s foul ball will ruin your day

If Hell were a real place, there would probably be a special extra Hellish corner there for people like this.

While exact details are sparse as far as our Internet research has turned up, there’s a gif making the rounds on the Japanese Interwebs depicting a woman mercilessly wresting a foul ball from the hands of a small boy who will likely never know happiness again because of the woman’s selfish actions.

Join us after the jump to feel that little bit worse about humanity.

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Five amazing Japanese Starbucks locations that let you keep sightseeing as you take a break

Five amazing Japanese Starbucks locations that let you keep sightseeing as you take a break

Unless you’ve got the deep pockets to take taxis everywhere or the ample patience necessary for a bus tour, sightseeing in Japan means a lot of walking. As exciting and fascinating as the country can be, hour after hour on your feet is enough to leave anyone looking for a place to sit down and have a drink, which is part of the reasons why you can always find a Starbucks near Japan’s major travel destinations.

Still, vacation only lasts so long, and many tourists don’t want to waste their time in a new city sitting in a boring old coffee house that looks just like the one in their hometown. Thankfully, the world’s most popular coffee house has gone all out with the design of these five Japanese Starbucks locations, making them sightseeing attractions in and of themselves.

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Pikachu, we eat you! – A visit to Tokyo’s Pokémon restaurant

Pikachu, we eat you! – A visit to Tokyo’s Pokémon restaurant

In the almost 20 years since the first Pokémon title was released for Nintendo’s Game Boy, the franchise has grown to include toys, anime, and even clothing. But while we’ve played, watched, and worn Pokémon, earlier this month we found out we’d be getting a chance to eat it as well, when we heard about a Pokémon restaurant opening in downtown Tokyo.

Curious to see if the most famous Pocket Monster tastes as good as he looks, we paid a visit to the Pikachu Cafe to see for ourselves.

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Chinese bus gets lined with artificial turf for World Cup, may never go back

Chinese bus gets lined with artificial turf for World Cup, may never go back

In an effort to ride the wave of excitement caused by the FIFA World Cup championships, a bus in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region had artificial grass layered throughout its flooring. However, according to the driver, the benefits of this promotional scheme went far beyond stirring up a little soccer-fever.

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Fashion advice – Almost half of Japanese women say they don’t like guys wearing tank tops

Fashion advice – Almost half of Japanese women say they don’t like guys wearing tank tops

Last week, Japan’s CyberAgent invited women to share their thoughts regarding men’s summer fashion via a survey on anonymous online bulletin board GIRL’S TALK. While the poll in itself was in no way earth-shattering, the results showed that guys who are wanting to impress the ladies may want to think twice before putting on that tank top or swimsuit before heading out for the day.

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