Oona McGee

All Stories by Oona McGee

Japanese netizens go crazy for a kitty who wants a bath

If you’ve ever owned a cat, you’ll know just how much some kittens love to follow their owners around, checking on their every move to make sure their attention is not foolishly lavished on anything else. One owner in Japan has tweeted photos of their possessive cat, who seems irked at the fact that bath-time can bring a person so much pleasure. This kitty peering over the bathtub with its what-about-me? eyes has everybody aww-ing in Japan. But it’s what happens next that has everybody squealing in delight.

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How to fail at hide-and-seek: A cat’s guide

It’s a well-known fact that cats think they’re cleverer than us. Even when it comes to playing one of our popular childhood games, hide-and-seek, cats think they’ve got us beat. This collection of hilarious photos shows that cats should really come down off their proverbial high horses and take a lesson or two from the human world because when it comes to hiding, these kitty cats really have no idea. Ten points for trying, especially with their creative and body-defying efforts, but no points for hiding because when it comes to hiding, peek-a-boo we see you!

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New Disney Princess Lego on sale in Japan from March 7

From fierce legends to masculine superheroes, a lot has been said about Lego and its gendered marketing to boys. Now it seems the heroes on the more feminine side of the scale are finally getting a look-in, with the new Disney Princess line set to hit stores in Japan from March 7. We take a look at Cinderella, Rapunzel, Ariel and Merida in impressive Lego form and check out their adorable homes and accessories. These goodies will have your inner child squealing with delight!

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Heroes in Japan post harsh reviews for a Hero’s Sword on Amazon Japan

Tales have oft been told of the mythical items to be found when journeying through the maze of shopping aisles in Japan’s online realm. From unusual manga characters to riot shields, it seems anything might be possible once you’ve entered through the magical portal known as Amazon Japan. Now it seems that visitors who stop by to make purchases are just as interesting as some of the items on offer, as self-proclaimed heroes and brave warriors from across the nation are buying swords from the marketplace and providing feedback on the efficacy of their items. Latest reviews are aimed at an innocent-looking plastic sword, which is said to be under-performing when it comes to vitality levels and magic ability.

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Celebrate the release of live-action Kiki’s Delivery Service with these limited edition treats!

With the live-action version of Kiki’s Delivery Service set to hit cinemas in Japan on March 1, it’s time for the celebrations and tie-in promotions to commence! Japanese bakery chain, Little Mermaid, is one of the first to step up to the plate, paying homage to the movie with this collection of delightfully cute offerings. Available only for a limited time, the three new baked varieties are named in honour of Kiki, her black cat Jiji, and Ms Osono, Kiki’s mother-figure and resident baker. Can you guess which design is which?

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Man jumps into tiger enclosure in China and asks to be eaten

On February 16, horrified onlookers watched as a Chinese man jumped into a bengal tiger enclosure at Chengdu Zoo in Sichuan province, south-west China. The man taunted the two tigers for twenty minutes, offering his flesh to them and asking to be eaten.

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Valentine’s Day chocolate found to be the cause of a train delay in Tokyo

Valentine’s Day in Japan is an all-chocolate affair, as millions of women around the nation stock up on the sweet treats for their friends, partners and colleagues. Lately, women have even been extending the offering to the inanimate world, with handsome anime characters receiving large amounts of gifts from their fans.

Now it seems someone in Japan may have developed a soft spot for a train on the Tokyo Chuo Line as chocolate was found to be the cause for a door jam that delayed commuters during morning rush hour on the most romantic day of the year.

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You’ve got tail: Write any message with an alphabet of cat tails!

There’s something about cats. Whether they’re leaping through the air in cute GIF form or popping up in edible delights, the feline species have got us well and truly eating out of the palm of their spongy little paws. In Japan, one cat lover has paid homage to their cute ways with an alphabet made up entirely of cat tails! Now you can mesmerize your friends from A to Z with messages cute enough to print out and paste on your wall.

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Artists use SD cards and Febreeze to create Japanese crests for the modern age

There’s a lot of art enmeshed in everyday Japanese life. From the pictographs of the kanji writing system to the aesthetics of traditional practices, it’s easy to take for granted the visual symbolism on which a lot of the culture is based. One of the most striking examples of Japanese design is the kamon, or family crest, used for centuries to signify a family name or clan and often seen on the sleeves of formal kimonos and ceramic roof tiles of traditional homes. It’s estimated that there are as many as 30,000 family crests in Japan, and while many Japanese would struggle to identify a large number of them, some crests, such as the chrysanthemum Imperial crest and the Tokugawa shogunate hollyhock design, are easy to identify.

Artists are now using the digital medium to create a number of new kamon to the delight of netizens nationwide. What makes these unique is the fact that the images inside the crest are not flowers or scenes of nature but more modern logos and tools familiar to us through advertising and the digital age. The crest above, for example, might look like a cross design made up of four stylised rectangles, but if you look closely you’ll see something more commonly used in digital cameras: SD memory cards. Featuring everything from Twitter logos to Febreeze bottles, these unique crests are perfect for the tribes of today.

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Snowfall in Tokyo sees customers clearing shelves across the region

If you’re in Tokyo today you’re probably indoors staying warm and gazing out the window at a very different scene thanks to Tokyo’s first real snowfall of the season. Hopefully you’ve stocked your kitchen with more than a battered bottle of Kewpie mayonnaise and stray packets of ramen seasoning because if you’re thinking of heading out to the shops for a quick snack, there’s a good chance you won’t find anything there. It seems the city is full of nervous shoppers acting like bears going into hibernation, hoarding stocks despite an abundance of 24-hour convenience stores and fully-functioning delivery services. After seeing these photos, we’d hate to see supermarket conditions in a blizzard or even worse, in a major catastrophe.

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Keep warm this winter with cosy knitted sweaters for your nails!

Chunky cable knits might not seem like a natural choice for fashionistas, but when it comes to winter nails, there’s nothing hotter than a knitted design. The new trend sweeping through Japan has us thinking about mugs of hot tea and romantic evenings by the fire. The varieties we’ve found will warm you up just by looking at them!

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Life-sized 3-D maneuver gear goes on display at Osaka’s new Attack on Titan museum

The wildly popular manga and animated series, Attack on Titan, continues to charge on, picking up speed and treating us all to a bevy of fan-related events before its live-action film debut in 2015. Now, for a limited time only, Osaka will play host to a very special “Survey Corps Museum”, with original illustrations, exclusive merchandise and awesome, life-sized 3-D maneuver gear. If you’re a fan of Attack on Titan, then take a look at what’s waiting for you in Osaka for the next 16 days…

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Unusual flat-pack daruma voted Japan’s most fascinating souvenir

If you’re looking for a unique Japanese gift that’s light in your luggage but heavy in tradition, then this is the item for you. It’s called the KD Daruma (Knock-Down Daruma) and it’s modelled on the centuries-old, round, good-luck talisman which symbolises Bodhidharma, the founder of the Zen sect of Buddhism. This modern take on the daruma features a flat-pack design and clever assembly so unusual it’s just been awarded first prize as Japan’s most fascinating souvenir in a competition held by the Japan Tourism Agency. We take a closer look at the details to see what makes this little novelty so charming.

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Suntory to release new beer designed specifically for consumption with Japanese food

There’s been a lot of research into the mystery of umami, the mild, pleasing savoury flavour that’s said to exist at the heart of Japanese cuisine. Often referred to as “the fifth taste”, alongside sweet, sour, salty and bitter, umami was first discovered by a Japanese professor and only officially recognised as a proper scientific term in 1985. Now, almost thirty years later, the delicate flavour is finally set to meet its perfect partner in a beer called Wazen (lit. Japanese meal). Due for release on April 8, the beer is being billed as “the beer for Japanese food”.

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Grated radish art from Japan brings the cute to your favourite dishes

If you’ve been keeping up with the amazing 3-D latte art trends going on in Japan’s barista world right now, then you might want to take a look at their savoury counterparts popping up in grated radish form. Instead of swimming in cups of coffee, these adorable home-made creations are taking dips in winter hot pots and stews. Join us as we take a look at some of the cutest critters on offer, from Ghibli characters to sleeping cats, and see just how easy it is to cook up some edible cuteness at home.

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FamilyMart cancels release of foie gras bento due to complaints over animal cruelty

Popular Japanese convenience store chain FamilyMart has cancelled the release of a foie gras and beef patty bento ready meal due to customer complaints. While news of the cancellation will no doubt please animal rights supporters, some Japanese netizens have opposed the decision, arguing that the consumption of foie gras is no worse than the consumption of beef.

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Rika-chan finds a playmate in cute Kumamoto character Kumamon

If you’re a girl who grew up with Japanese relatives, then this Rika-chan doll probably brings back some childhood memories. Created in 1967, her popularity in Japan rivals that of Barbie in the West and her impressive accessories collection contains all sorts of Japanese-related goods including futons, Hello Kitty hats and kimonos. Now Rika is adding to her collection by collaborating with one of Japan’s newest and most popular characters, Kumamon, the official mascot for Kumamoto city in Kyushu. The new friends, with their matching black, red and white outfits, will be released on February 1 by Takara Tomy.

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Wander into the magical land of Ghibli in this fairytale forest town

The only thing more gorgeous than the characters from Studio Ghibli’s animated movies would have to be the magical lands in which they live and play. And if you’re looking to play in a forest town where Totoro might be lurking, this unique shopping town in Japan’s Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, is the perfect location.

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Attack on Titan characters come alive in awesome new Subaru TV commercial

If you’re waiting anxiously to catch a glimpse of the live-action Attack on Titan film slated for release in 2015, then this is a TV commercial you won’t want to miss. It’s the latest ad for Subaru Forester and while the car looks pretty flashy, all eyes will be darting around the vehicle to check out the awesome titans in action. Screened tonight, with a lot of hype around its debut between the hours of 9:00pm and 10:30pm in Japan, the ad is like a teaser for the live-action film to come. In a country full of weird and wonderful collaborations, this tie-in promotion with a car and people-guzzling giants is the one joint venture we’ve all been waiting for.

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Love Japanese sake? These 10 breweries recommended by Japanese alcohol enthusiasts will wet your whistle!

There are three requirements for brewing up a perfect batch of Japanese sake: rice, water and cold weather. Now, with many breweries opening their factories for a limited time during the winter months, it’s the ideal time for visitors to Japan to learn more about the national tipple. Tours walk you through the brewing process as it happens, with tips and information often provided by the master brewer, or tōji, himself, followed by a sake tasting to top off the experience. If you’d like to get far away from the well-worn tourist path and into the heart of some fantastic drinking experiences, we’ve got the list for you.

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