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Broccoli bonsai and sweet sushi: Japanese culture’s evolution abroad【Photos】

Broccoli bonsai and sweet sushi: Japanese culture’s evolution abroad【Photos】

Bonsai and sushi are two of Japan’s most well-known cultural exports with fans all over the world. But while Japan may cling to the traditional presentation of these two icons, globalization has taken these Japanese icons and turned them into something new. Not just happy with tiny trees and raw fish on top of vinegar rice, these cultural hybrids have evolved into something far beyond their origins in the Japanese archipelago. Click below to see some very creative bonsai as well as some food that really stretches the definition of “sushi.”

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Nine celebrities who speak Japanese… or some variation of it

Nine celebrities who speak Japanese… or some variation of it

It’s no surprise that in the field of entertainment many talented individuals have found work in Japan and many more have expressed an interest in Japanese culture. But beyond those who stop by Japan and utter a simple “oishi” in a beer commercial or create a music video wearing a cupcake skirt, are a select few who have learnt or are well on their way to learning the Japanese language. Here are a few of them representing the fields of film, sports, and music.

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The country that sent the most foreign visitors to Japan in 2013 was…

The country that sent the most foreign visitors to Japan in 2013 was…

In 2013, a grand total of 10,363,904 foreign tourists visited Japan! That number surpasses the goal of the Visit Japan Campaign, which began in 2003 with a goal to increase the number of overseas visitors to 10 million.

The Japanese language version of popular travel planning and information website TripAdvisor was quite excited by this news, and recently produced their own visual graphic detailing some fun facts about foreign tourists in the Land of the Rising Sun during 2013. Can you guess which country most of the visitors came from, or which country had the highest percentage jump in visitors? How about the most popular tourist destinations for foreigners traveling in Japan? Find out all that and more after the jump.

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Slow News Day Special: We cook pasta with Tokyo Bay seawater

Slow News Day Special: We cook pasta with Tokyo Bay seawater

Given that there were no murders, Abe gaffs, North Korean human rights violations or major Attack on Titan events today, we decided we’d do something a little fluffier and… saltier with our reporting today. After hearing that professional chefs claim pasta should be boiled in a combination of water and salt that closely resembles seawater, we wondered: Why not just use, you know, actual seawater?

Since it’s essentially an unlimited and free resource, it seems like a waste to go out and buy pure water and sea salt and combine the two when you can just head on over to Odaiba on Tokyo Bay and fill up an empty bottle with real seawater.

One of our Japanese reporters did just this, with… somewhat mixed results.

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Upcoming Vita game Murasaki Baby is delightfully dark and cute in equal parts 【GIFs】

Upcoming Vita game Murasaki Baby is delightfully dark and cute in equal parts 【GIFs】

There’s a word in Japanese that people use to describe things that are at once cute and grotesque: kimokawaii. Upcoming side-scrolling adventure game Murasaki Baby is just that. Featuring an adorable protagonist with an upside-down face and a world populated with enemies like giant, hairy-nostrilled noses and razor-toothed bunnies, the game is a blend of the kimochi warui, or gross, and kawaii cuteness, and is due for release sometime this year.

Ahead of the E3 trade fair, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe has revealed a series of animated GIFs showing off the game’s otherworldly visuals, which we can only describe as a mix between The Nightmare Before Christmas and merciless indie platformer Limbo.

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Here’s how the military would actually fight Godzilla

Here’s how the military would actually fight Godzilla

When “Godzilla” roars into theaters this Friday, cinema’s greatest monster will go up against the world’s largest military, the U.S. armed forces.

But how much of a chance would the U.S. military actually have against a 355-foot tall radioactive Godzilla?

To find out, we spoke with the film’s Military Technical Advisor, retired Sgt. Maj. James Dever and asked how the U.S. military would hypothetically take on the monster, and, more importantly, whether they could do it.

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Check out these super-ultra-teeny-tiny bonsai! 【Photos】

Check out these super-ultra-teeny-tiny bonsai! 【Photos】

We’ve showcased some pretty impressive photos of bonsai here recently, but this new batch takes the tiny proverbial cake. You probably know that bonsai is the traditional art form of sculpting miniature trees in pots, but these photos raise the question, “Just how miniature can you get?

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Panasonic invents genius USB wall outlet, makes us realize we’ve been living like cavemen

Panasonic invents genius USB wall outlet, makes us realize we’ve been living like cavemen

Japanese electronics giant Panasonic recently unveiled an invention so awesome and totally logical we can’t help but wonder why it took so long for someone to introduce it.

Behold, the USB wall outlet; a riff on the standard two-prong outlet that features an extra socket for USB devices. In an age where probably more than half of the devices we use on a daily basis are USB-powered, it’s a wonder that it took until now for someone to come forward with a product like this.

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9 futuristic jobs we could see by 2030

9 futuristic jobs we could see by 2030

With technology moving faster than ever, it’s hard to imagine what careers will look like 20 years from now. But The Canadian Scholarship Trust Plan (CST), a not-for-profit foundation dedicated to helping Canadian families save for their children’s post-secondary education, wanted to find out.

With help from foresight strategists, CST took a look into the future to find the jobs that may be commonplace by the year 2030.

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Why is sushi outside of Japan so happy?

Why is sushi outside of Japan so happy?

We’ve already gone over a few signs that you might not be in a real Japanese restaurant, including the location’s name. We can’t say with certainty, but we’re pretty sure there aren’t any “Happy Sushi” restaurants in all of Japan. So why are there so many abroad? Japanese website Naver Matome wondered the very same thing and compiled a list of the most elated raw fish from all around the world. It just makes us wonder, why does the world associate sushi with being happy?

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Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the baldest of them all? Japan top for male baldness in Asia

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the baldest of them all? Japan top for male baldness in Asia

There are a number of theories regarding the causes of male pattern baldness. Some suggest that one’s diet and stress levels play key roles. Others feel that regular exercise will help keep locks thick and plentiful until well after retirement. Most would agree, though, that our genes hold the most sway, and if a man loses his hair then chances are his son, too, will have increasingly more face to wash as he ages.

Baldness affects some more than others, however, and a survey by Trip Advisor Japan has revealed the countries where male baldness is most common, with Japan found to have more bald men than any other Asian country.

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Baskin Robbins Japan gets into the FIFA World Cup spirit — with colorful Brazilian-themed sherbet!

Baskin Robbins Japan gets into the FIFA World Cup spirit — with colorful Brazilian-themed sherbet!

So, is everyone excited about the FIFA World Cup in Brazil coming up next month? While Japan is practically on the opposite end of the world from Brazil, there’s sure to be plenty of devoted soccer fans here who will be watching the World Cup games intently. And just to make sure everyone in Japan gets even more excited about the event than they already are, Baskin Robbins Japan is coming out with a new, colorful sherbet flavor — the “Trio de Janeiro“!

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YouTuber combines original and latest Godzilla in cool mashup trailer

YouTuber combines original and latest Godzilla in cool mashup trailer

With the release date of Gareth Edwards’ new take on Godzilla fast approaching, there’s been a lot of chatter on the Net comparing the original kaiju with his latest incarnation in terms of his size, his abilities, and even the amount of pee he would produce.

YouTuber Broad Strokes wasn’t interested in comparing the two, though. He wanted to combine them, and the result is a mashup trailer for a Godzilla movie we would very much like to see.

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This gorgeous remake of the classic Nintendo System is like nothing you’ve ever seen before

This gorgeous remake of the classic Nintendo System is like nothing you’ve ever seen before

The nostalgia of a classic Nintendo Entertainment system is like nothing else.

I remember when I first got a Nintendo. I didn’t get the bundle with the gun, so no “Duck Hunt” for me, but that didn’t stop me from playing “Super Mario Bros.” for hours with my friends. Then I’d go to their houses and play for hours more. It was the first real game system I had (before that I had a Commodore VIC-20 — don’t mind me as I date myself) in a long line of game systems that followed.

I think back on those games and that system fondly, but I never considered buying one today, or even one of the mods people have made, such as this one, called the Hyperkin Retro 5.

Usually it’s because the graphics on these systems is pretty weak compared with what we’re used to from systems like the Xbox 360, and especially newer systems like the PS4 and Xbox One.

Until now, that is.

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New Godzilla clips identify flying monster

New Godzilla clips identify flying monster

A new series of movie clips and screenshots for Gareth Edwards Godzilla remake film began streaming on Friday. A clip confirms that the previously shown flying monster is known as a “MUTO” or “Massive Unidentified Terrestial Organism.” Another video shows Godzilla set to do battle with it.

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Oculus Rift will finally go on sale to consumers next year

Oculus Rift will finally go on sale to consumers next year

An Oculus Rift virtual reality headset for consumers could go on sale next year, a company representative told Business Insider at Facebook’s F8 developer conference today.

Management at Oculus VR, the Irvine, Calif.-company that Facebook bought for $2 billion earlier this year, will be “disappointed” if it doesn’t have a headset available at retail for ordinary people by 2016, according to an Oculus spokesperson.

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Rising sea levels could cause staggering damage to these cities

Rising sea levels could cause staggering damage to these cities

Sea levels may rise by about one meter by 2100 if carbon emissions continue unchecked, according to a recent survey of experts, and the effects on coastal cities could be devastating.

2008 report from the OECD ranked the most exposed cities, identifying areas that would be exposed if sea levels rose 0.5 meters by 2070 and there was a once-in-a-century storm, accounting for larger storms in some areas (raising water an additional 0.5 meters to 1.5 meters), natural and artificial land shifts, and urban growth.

Calcutta, India could be hit hardest, with 14 million people and $2.0 trillion in assets exposed in 2070 — and the problem could get even worse by 2100.

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Japanese photographer captures tiny whimsical water worlds in macro【Photos】

Japanese photographer captures tiny whimsical water worlds in macro【Photos】

Photographer Miki Asai lives in Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan’s four main islands. It’s an area known for its expansive natural beauty, and although Asai does sometimes turn her lens to the broad vistas Hokkaido has to offer, some of her most engaging work focuses on much, much smaller subjects like beads of water, bits of dandelion fluff and even the humble ant.

Says Asai, “Through a macro lens, I am trying to show the beautiful world of the small. I am always surprised when I look through the camera’s viewfinder to see things normally unseen.”

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New Asian Godzilla trailer teases with extra monsters, footage 【Video】

New Asian Godzilla trailer teases with extra monsters, footage 【Video】

We’re now just a couple of weeks away (unless you happen live in Japan) from the launch of Gareth Edwards’ take on the classic kaiju movie Godzilla, and distributors Warner Bros have launched a new trailer for Asia which treats us to a few extra snippets of the beasts the titular monster will be going up against. Check it out after the jump.

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Reebok trots out Gundam sneakers in classic colors

Reebok trots out Gundam sneakers in classic colors

Mobile suits come in all shapes and sizes, but none are as more recognizable, perhaps, as the original RX-78-2 from Mobile Suit Gundam. Apparently the designers at Reebok thought so too, and are honoring the classic series with a new Gundam x Reebok collaboration.

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