Cara Clegg

After discovering anime in her early teens, Cara decided she wanted to live in Japan. Of course her parents thought it was just a fad... but 11 years, a university degree in Japanese Studies, and a whole lot of culture shock later, here she is. She currently works a day job whilst writing and translating otome games in the evenings. Her hobbies include anime, manga, sci-fi & fantasy TV shows, and starting countless things that will never get finished.

All Stories by Cara Clegg

10 weird and wonderful things you can find in a Japanese drugstore

As we all know, Japan is full of many weird and wonderful things. A simple trip to the supermarket can turn into hours of wondering what this is and what that does, and the same goes for the drug store. We picked up 10 things from our local drugstore that might shock, amuse, or confuse foreign visitors.

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Have you foresaken sleep and completed Bloodborne already? Now you can move on to PvP mode!

The much-hyped PlayStation 4 title Bloodborne has finally hit the stores and the overwhelming reaction has been that it’s bloody hard, and incredibly addictive. But what do gamers make of the less-talked-about player-versus-player mode?

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How washing your itasha makes it look more dirty than clean

If you’re one of the people who already finds the whole concept of itasha creepy, then you’re about to get a whole lot more skeeved out. But if you enjoy borderline-inappropriate pictures of anime girls, then you’ll probably enjoy these automobile images. (Possibly NSFW)

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Can you find the image hidden behind these bugs?

This lovely artwork of bugs and slugs is hiding something, but can you tell what it is? Take a good long look, and then if you really can’t figure it out then you can find the answer below!

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Get ready for the rainy season – water droplets are the latest trend in nail art

Between the spring cherry blossom season and the hot, humid summer is Japan’s rainy season, which can leave everyone feeling a little blue, not to mention soggy. But the rain can also be an inspiration for fashionistas, and these Japanese girls (and guys!) certainly don’t mind getting their nails wet (although the same probably doesn’t go for their hair).

Japan is always in the lead when it comes to nail art, with western countries only just starting to catch on to techniques that have been common in Japan for years, particularly when it comes to gel nail designs. Just like with clothes, new trends come and go all the time, and the latest one doing the rounds here is water droplet nails.

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Champagne sake is a bubbly glass of East meets West

As imports of Western drinks increase, interest in Japan’s native alcoholic beverages has been declining. There have been efforts to bring drinkers back to traditional drinks such as sake and shochu, but they face tough competition from the likes of wine and champagne, which evoke fashionable, sophisticated images in the minds of Japanese drinkers.

One way to revive interest could be to apply Western fermentation techniques to Eastern beverages such as sake, Japan’s “rice wine”, to create unique twists on traditional drinks. “Champagne sake” is an example of this done deliciously right.

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Frills and poofy dresses galore at an international lolita fashion tea party in Tokyo

Is there a place for tea parties and frilly dresses for women in the 21st century? The answer is a resounding yes from these lolita fashion ladies!

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Emoji break out of their chat boxes to tell story of Disney’s Frozen

With the upcoming Disney animated short Frozen Fever set to debut in theatres on March 13, you might be in need of a recap of the original film, so check out this two-and-a-half-minute video of Frozen as told through emoji.

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The top 10 manga Japanese people want to see turned into anime

Every season there’s a wave of new anime shows, many of them based on some other form of media such as a manga or light novel series. Most reasonably popular manga titles seem to make it onto the screen in animated form at some point or other, so it can be galling when your favorite series is passed over by the animation studios time and again in favour of yet more giant robots and impossibly large and buoyant chests.

Read on to see which manga series Japanese readers most want to see animated, and let us know what your own picks would be.

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The power of anime: Man quits smoking, turns his life around thanks to Love Live!

Anime changes lives, and we have the photographs to prove it. Who doesn’t love a good tale of transformation complete with shocking before and afters? One man showcases his change from chain-smoking drunk to dedicated otaku, but was it really a change for the better?

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Was Katy Perry’s Super Bowl flame dress inspired by boob-headed Pokemon?

Ever since she fired whipped cream from her boobs, the world has been aware that Katy Perry isn’t afraid of crazy costumes. Compared to that, her outfits for her half-time performance at the Super Bowl XLIX were actually comparatively tame. And yet, dancing sharks aside, one in particular has still sparked interest online with people spotting similarities between it and a multitude of other unexpected things.

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Noto Peninsula shows us how to keep warm during the Japanese winter 【Photos】

I recently had the opportunity to travel to the Noto Peninsula, an outcrop that sticks out from Japan’s main island of Honshu into the Sea of Japan. The area relies heavily on fishing and agriculture, and is famous for its delicious seafood and beautiful scenery.

Noto’s not so popular as a tourist destination in winter, but I went along on a trip to see what the place has to offer when it’s coooold outside. As it turns out, Noto out of season is about as chilly as I’d expected. But it was also very cool.

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Fraudsters in China set up entirely fake bank, scam millions out of unsuspecting customers

Most people like to think that they’re wise to scams and cons, particularly financial ones, and would never be stupid enough to fall for one. But even the most suspicious of us could have been caught out by this intricate scheme which involved setting up a whole physical bank complete with ATMs and staff to make it seem completely legit.

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When nature is so beautiful you can’t tell whether it’s real or a painting

There are some places on earth that are so stunningly beautiful it’s hard to believe they really exist, especially when you’re just looking at photos of them. China’s “rainbow mountains” are one such example that needs to be seen to be believed.

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Learn how to drink with Japanese people in this funny and informative YouTube series【Videos】

MOVIE LIFE KYOTO is a video series which aims to introduce Japanese culture to foreigners in a light-hearted and humorous fashion. With English narration and Japanese subtitles, they’re filled with little factoids and hilariously on-point observations that will be of interest to foreign visitors and a source of much ‘that’s so true!’ amusement for Japanese people, too!

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Dragon Quest creator reveals secrets behind mysterious ending

The creator of legendary RPG series Dragon Quest has spilled the beans on the mysterious ending to the third game that still had fans puzzled over 25 years since its original release. Read on to find out, but beware – some things are best left a mystery.

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Secret backmasked message found hidden in Dragon Ball Z ending song

There are many urban legends of satanic verses hidden in popular music to subconsciously corrupt our children. While those claims may not always be true, there are definitely a lot of songs out there that feature backmasked messages (hidden messages revealed only when you play the piece backwards). So what could possibly be hiding behind the cutesy, bouncy Dragon Ball Z ending song?!

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High-speed rail in China just got moe-fied

Taiwan has their cute rail mascot, and now China’s getting in on the act, too. Originally doujinshi characters, these anthropomorphised moe anime versions of high-speed trains have now made their debut at an official rail event. Read on to see the cosplaying cuties and their 2-D counterparts.

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Why is Japan such an unpopular tourist destination?

You would think that a country like Japan, rich as it is in both traditional culture and technical innovation, as well as plenty of weird and wacky things you’ll never see elsewhere, would be a huge hit with tourists. But as it turns out, Japan is actually not such a popular destination for people traveling abroad. Join us after the jump to find out why.

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Artist gives the finger to famous characters from fiction and real life

Our fingers are each a special snowflake, the ridges and whorls on the pads creating a unique pattern that sets us apart from anyone else. Criminals go to great lengths to make sure not so much as a pinky touches the scene to leave incriminating evidence, but if they get careless and leave a print behind perhaps they could give some of the following disguises a try.

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