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It’s time to vote, vote, vote for your favourite photo!

It’s that time again, folks: the polls are now open for this week’s Pic of the Week!

Join us after the jump to see our 10 favourite photos and to choose the one that you think most deserves to win.

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“Hate summer homework, kids? We’ll do it for you!” A disturbingly booming business in Japan

The following is a typical scene that many families in Japan will have recently experienced, and probably not for the first time: It’s August 31, the last day of summer vacation and the fall semester is starting in less than 24 hours. The kids who played all month suddenly realize that they have to do 40 pages of kanji and math drills, write a book report for a book they haven’t read, and fill in 30 days’ worth of journal entries–an assignment that they dutifully kept up with for all of the first week of summer break. They clamor for help, and despite the scoldings and I-told-you-so’s, “nice” parents and the more responsible siblings reluctantly pitch in.

Sure, the above isn’t an exemplary approach to avoiding bad grades, but recently an even more dubious method has been getting a lot of attention: online businesses have been offering to do your child’s homework and school projects for a fee! While the homework-by-proxy racket is nothing new, recent media coverage of the growing enterprise has brought to light this questionable practice and its appalling popularity among elementary and junior high school students.

What does this teach, and not teach, future adults? Why are parents taking advantage of these services for their young children? One twisted reason will probably surprise you.

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New world record set for highest score in arcade classic Donkey Kong

Ever since the 2007 documentary film The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, the world record score for 1980s arcade hit Donkey Kong has been kind of a big deal. For years, the existing record seemed nigh-on unbeatable, with players pouring their hearts, souls, and stacks of quarters into ageing arcade machines in the name of claiming the title for themselves.

But now there’s a new score to beat, and it comes from a relative newcomer, no less.

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10,000 anime fans pick Psycho-Pass 2 as the most anticipated fall anime

Charapedia asked 10,000 what anime series they’re most looking forward to this Fall. The sequel to Gen Urobuchi‘s futuristic, dystopian crime-drama Psycho-Pass took the top spot with 2,015 votes. Here’s the Top 20ranked based on all votes, followed by Top 10 by gender.

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Pic of the Week, Round 4: Winner!!

Ladies and gentlemen of das internets, we have a winner!

This week’s contest was the closest yet, with just one percent of the vote between the photos that claimed first and second place. Our Pic of the Week, plus two honourable mentions, await you after the jump.

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Move over Beats, there’s a new overpriced set of headphones on the market

So, you love to blast your music wherever you go, but you can’t find any headphones fashionable enough to match your wardrobe. While that’s not likely a problem many of us have, someone has found a solution! Chanel–yes, Chanel–will be releasing their newest fashion accessory–headphones–mid-September. And, don’t worry, fashionistas, they are exactly as expensive as you would think they are!

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It’s time to vote for this week’s Pic of the Week!

It’s Monday evening here in Japan, and that can mean only one thing – it’s time to vote for our Pic of the Week! Join us after the jump for 10 superb photos taken by our very own readers and to vote for the one you think deserves to be crowned Pic of the Week.

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New Sony Cyber-shot: a perfume bottle camera specifically designed for selfies

Recently, a weekend stroll around Tokyo took me to Roppongi, where I stumbled upon a giant replica of Godzilla, emerging waist-up from the grass next to a busy road. What ended up stopping me in my tracks was not the menacing monster with fluorescent blue spikes but the gaggle of girls running around his waist, holding up strange-looking perfume bottles as if to calm the beast with a spray of Chanel No. 5.

What the fashionable young ladies were actually doing came as a bit of a surprise; they were taking photos of Godzilla with iPhones in cases that resembled perfume bottles. It’s the hot new trend in China at the moment, and from the looks of things, we all might be following them soon as Sony has just released a perfume bottle that’s more than a case - it’s an actual Cyber-shot camera.

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Cute puppy goes to grandmother’s house and finds dentures for toothy grin, hilarious photo op

Here’s a small but concentrated dose of silliness for those of you who need an afternoon (or morning, or evening) pick-me-up. And it’s a good opportunity to prove that canines can be monarchs of the World Wide Web too!

Did it take a moment for you to realize what’s going on in the photo on the right? No, it’s not another before/after photo of plastic surgery or a sad tale of a dog that auditioned for a Dentastix commercial and failed; it’s what happened when a Japanese Twitterer visited her grandmother’s house with her Pomeranian pup. Reactions ranged from “Cute!” to “Ew!” to “Scary!”, but as a beloved villain with the wicked grin put it, “Let’s put a smile on that face!”

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Did Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto just call casual gamers “pathetic”? Well, yes and no

In the latest issue of long-running UK gaming magazine Edge, industry legend and creator of Super Mario Bros. Shigeru Miyamoto sits down to talk about the direction in which Nintendo is heading. During the interview, which spans several pages and touches upon subjects ranging from upcoming title Splatoon to the lack of young talent at the company, the veteran game designer is quoted as saying that casual gamers are “pathetic” for not wanting to delving and getting the most out of video games.

A handful of gaming news sites immediately leapt on this statement and ran with it, hinting that Nintendo may be about to turn their backs on the very people who made products like the Nintendo DS and Wii the hits they were. But did Miyamoto honestly just diss the casual gaming public? We really don’t think so.

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Your turn, Samsung – Mr Sato returns the Ice Bucket Challenge to Korea’s electronics giant【Video】

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is still going strong, thanks to its mix of suspense, physical comedy, and contributions for a worthy cause. Business and entertainment moguls from around the world have participated, and recently even inanimate objects have started taking part with Samsung’s Galaxy S5 smartphone being doused by the Korean conglomerate’s U.K. division.

As per the rules of the challenge, Samsung then exercised its right to pass the dare onto someone else, and it designated rival Apple’s iPhone 5s. A quick comparison of the spec sheets for the two competing phones has some people crying foul at singling out the iPhone 5s, though. Today, we’re offering Samsung a chance to make things right.

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A skeptic’s guide to anime – Five series to ease you into Japan’s most popular export

Viewed from afar, Japanese animation may appear to be populated entirely by giant-eyed, squeaky-voice schoolgirls and young men who suffer from frequent nosebleeds. Their plots, too, can seem awfully convoluted at first glance, and so anyone who didn’t grow up with anime or have the chance to catch popular series when they were just getting started may feel completely out of their depth when trying to get into it.

If you’re the kind of person who, like me, despite being into Japan and Asia, never really understood what all the fuss was about anime, or who would like to give this strange medium a chance but doesn’t know where to start, then we have a special treat for you today: no fewer than five anime recommendations from members of our very own writing staff, guaranteed to be easy for even anime-skeptics to get into. Who knows, these might just be the gateway shows you’ve been looking for!

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Pic of the Week Round 3: WINNER!

Babies and gentlephlegm, noise and churls, it’s time to announce the winner of our weekly photo contest!

This week, we mixed things up a little by asking you, our dear readers, to vote for which of our 10 favourite photos you thought most deserved to be crowned Pic of the Week, and the results are in! Join us after the jump for our overall winner and two very special mentions!

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Are Chinese “dama” masks actually fashionable now?

After saving global gold prices in 2013, Chinese dama, or middle-aged women, have found another claim to fame: Influencing world fashion trends.

While most think of going to the beach as an excuse to wear as little as possible, many of these women prefer to stay covered up. But don’t start calling them prudes, since, for them, it’s a matter of practicality and beauty!

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Are Women-Only train cars illegal in Japan?

File this one under things we hope don’t fall into the wrong hands: Those Women Only train cars in Japan aren’t actually enforceable under the law.

All foreign men in Japan can recount their first harrowing experience of obliviously stepping onto a train, only to find that literally every single other passenger was a woman. There’s a moment of confusion and, if you’re lucky, a good Samaritan politely explaining that wieners don’t belong here, followed by the terrible realization that you’ve broken not only an official rule set forth by the train company but also an unwritten social rule, which is kind of almost worse. But, from here on out, you can rest assured that even though you’re committing a social taboo, you’re not breaking any laws!

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New research suggests even low-level radiation in Fukushima negatively impacting wildlife

Dr. Timothy Mousseau, professor of Biological Sciences at the University of South Carolina and researcher for the Chernobyl and Fukushima Research Initiative, presented new findings to the International Ornithological Congress in Tokyo last week that suggest radiation contamination around Fukushima Daiichi, even at low levels, is negatively impacting biodiversity and wildlife populations.

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“Pirates” challenge Asian leaders to ALS Ice Bucket Challenge; Monkey D Luffy not invited

As of August 25, 2014, the ALS Ice Bucket Donations have reached a whopping US$70.2 million. The challenge has made it across the globe, with participants ranging from Benedict Cumberbatch to Kumamon. While the challenge is raising awareness of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), new participants are finding their own ways to make the challenge more interesting.

One Korean-American rock band has challenged the leaders of three Asian countries to pick up that bucket and do their part to raise awareness and money for the neurodegenerative disease.

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Rumour: Super Smash Bros. character list leaked? 【Update: Pretty much confirmed】

If you’re the kind of person who likes video games and isn’t dead inside, chances are you’re looking forward to Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U, due to release later this year. The comic fighting game’s creators have been teasing us for what feels like decades now by slowly revealing which characters will be available to play as, talking of trimming the fat while simultaneously revealing what appears to be every Nintendo character under the sun.

If the following “leaked” screenshots and video are to be believed, however, Nintendo’s character roster-teasing days are about to come to an abrupt end.

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How many references can you find in these bustling hidden object images?

How would fourteen of the world’s most vibrant cities look if you asked an artist to cram everything that represents them into one explosive image? Read on below for all the wonderfully diverse pictures, and see if you can spot the hidden passenger.

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Pic of the Week: Hey you, it’s time to vote! 【Update: Poll now closed】

As mentioned at the end of last week’s Pic of the Week, we’ve decided to open the contest up and make it as fair as possible by asking you, the good-looking, intelligent, art-appreciating people that you are, to decide this week’s overall winner.

So join us after the jump to see this week’s photos and vote on which you think deserves to win the right to be called Pic of the Week.

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