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Summer is coming! Stay cool with this retro-style shaved-ice maker!

The cicadas are chirping, the sun is shining, and we’re starting to get sweaty – it can only mean one thing: summer is coming! And with it all kinds of delicious treats like ice cream, ice cream, and, oh yes, ice cream.

But when you only really want to cool down and don’t want to consume too many calories, shaved ice is a much lighter alternative source of summer snack. But why rely on others to do your shaving for you? Why not shave it yourself in style with this awesome retro shaved ice maker?

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Japanese language test-takers flip out over Engrish bathroom sign, get correction-happy

The JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) is a test of Japanese as a second language knowledge and is held twice a year in Japan and many other countries around the world. Since the test is entirely in Japanese, it can be taken by anyone regardless of English ability.

Even so, the organization decided to put up English translations on bathroom signs at a test location in Japan, and some irritated English-speaking members of the Grammar Police decided to do a little editing work whilst sitting on the potty.

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Get a bird on your arm: The classic cuckoo clock will soon be available as a wristwatch

The cuckoo clock has been around for over 100 years, and has been enjoyed by generation after generation. Maybe your grandparents had one, or perhaps you even had one in your own home.

But now, watch maker SeaHope and a Japanese toy company have paired up to bring this classic to a new generation in a more portable size with: the Cuckoo Watch!

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Star Wars fever continues — we try out Darth Vader boots from UGG’s Star Wars Collection!

We recently reported on the exciting Star Wars Visions exhibit currently being held at Roppongi Hills in Tokyo and showed you some charming exclusive Star Wars themed goods available there. Today, we thought we’d follow through with an article featuring a plush and comfortable Star Wars fashion item that you may be able to purchase even if you’re not anywhere near Roppongi.

Say hello to the Star Wars Special Edition Collection of shoes from international fashion brand UGG, and they’re inspired by one of our favorite villains of all times, Darth Vader! Yes, that certainly caught our attention, because … well, they’re Darth Vader shoes — how could they not be cool, right?

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Here’s what angry girlfriends yelling at you in six different languages sounds like!

Even the happiest of couples has the occasional argument, and some people even genuinely enjoy a good squabble with the other half in order to keep things exciting and blow away the cobwebs every now and then. But what does it sound like to have an irate ladyfriend berate you in different languages?

In this video from YouTuber The World of Dave, poor Dave himself endures the screams of seven ranting ladies as they give his ear a good bending in their native tongues. Which would you least like to be on the receiving end of?

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We love Star Wars: Checking out the awesome “Star Wars Visions” exhibit at Roppongi Hills!

So, how excited are you about the new Star Wars movie coming out in December this year? Well, it may still be more than six months until the release of the film, but Star Wars fans in Japan have something to be excited about right now! Currently on show at the Tokyo City View observation deck in Roppongi Hills is the intergalactically cool “Star Wars Visions” exhibit.

There’s never been a shortage of Star Wars fans in Japan, and the exhibit promises to attract huge crowds throughout its duration. And we’re not kidding when we say huge crowds — the exhibit drew considerable media attention earlier this month on May 4, which is internationally recognized as Star Wars Day and which also happens to be a public holiday in Japan, when guests were allowed to enjoy the event in cosplay and the waiting time for entry to the exhibit grew to nearly six hours.

Naturally, we had to go and check out this event that was creating enough buzz to cause a disturbance in the force!

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Got cat tongue? Tongue tip training tip claims to help you drink the hottest of liquids

Japan has a zillion proverbs involving cats, probably because cats are awesome and add flavour and colour to everything in life. One such proverb is “nekojita” which literally means “cat tongue” and describes people who are unable to handle hot drinks and liquids making contact with their precious pink taste buds.

It’s pretty easy to see where the proverb came from – offer anything hot and edible to a cat and watch the look of horror on their face. But did you cat-tongued-people know that there’s a secret method you can use to train yourself to slurp the hottest of liquids with grace and ease?

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Combine your love of Godzilla, ukiyo-e and fashion with these fresh kicks from TeeFury

Recently, we brought you the news that you can now view an online animated sketchbook version of works by famous Japanese Ukiyo-e artist Hokusai. But what if you’re not content just looking at beautiful art online? What if you could see it every time you look down at your feet? Well, with these awesome printed sneakers from TeeFury.com, you can get some culture into your wardrobe while still looking cool!

Oh, and as an added bonus, they’ve stuck Godzilla’s ugly monster mush into the design, too!

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A clever new life-hack for selfies? We take a look at the new hands-free method of taking photos

Like them of loathe them, the invention of the selfie-stick has revolutionized how people all over the world are taking photos of themselves. If there is one drawback to this new invention, however, it would have to be that it still requires one hand to hold and snap the photo. But what if you want to strike a cute pose using both of your hands, like throwing up a couple of peace signs or doing cat paws by your face?

Well, a new selfie method has just started showing up, demonstrated by girls posting their photos on the Chinese social networking site Weibo. This might just be the next clever new life hack, but it does require a lot of pedal dexterity!

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PS4s with Silent Hills demo selling for over US$1,500

When the mobile game Flappy Bird was taken off the market last year, sales of mobile phones with the game installed were quickly put on auction sites to the tune of US$300 to US$90,000. The sales on eBay technically violated the site’s Terms of Service, which required smartphones and tablets to be restored to their factory settings. Many were pulled by eBay before anyone was able to drop cash on the listings.

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Samsung’s latest ad is eerily similar to recent Apple ads

Samsung just released its latest ad for the Galaxy S6 Edge, and it looks eerily familiar.

In April, Apple made this ad for the Gold Edition of Apple Watch. When you look at Samsung’s ad and the Watch spot side by side, the similarities border on ridiculous.

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Breathe easy – Toyota redesigning Prius plug-in hybrid to double car’s all-electric range

Toyota’s Prius is designed for one purpose, and it’s not to deliver the sort of exciting performance that will seduce you into taking a spirited drive through a moonlit mountain pass (that’s another car’s job). No, the Prius promise is that it will get you from Point A to Point B in the most energy-efficient way possible.

But while the standard hybrid Prius remains a popular choice for eco-conscious motorists, sales of its plug-in variant have been stagnant. Toyota is hoping to change that, though, with an updated Prius that can travel roughly twice as far under purely electric power than the current model.

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Super Mega Important Debate – Natto: is it nom or vom? 【Poll closed】

Sometimes our modern lives lack conflict. Let’s remedy that today by having a massive fight about something that doesn’t really matter.

This week, we’re talking about the fermented soybeans known as natto, and there’s one question we need you all to answer: is this dish “nom” or is it decidedly “vom”?

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Pro gamer reveals the unexpected activity that takes up to 15 hours a week

Diego “Quas” Ruiz, 23, plays video games professionally for Team Liquid, where he specializes in League of Legends — the world’s most popular competitive game.

He also spends a chunk of time promoting products like Red Bull, HTC, and Alienware.

Ruiz competes in the League Championship Series (LCS), the top professional league in North America, earning between $60,000 and $100,000 per year from his base salary, product sponsorships, and revenue from streaming on live-steaming video platform Twitch.

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You know what? An Alice in Wonderland/Spirited Away mashup actually kind of works!

Artist and T-shirt designer Saqman, who, despite his pen-name inadvertently reminding this writer of genitals, actually seems like a pretty wholesome guy, recently put together this spiffy and kind of spookily appropriate-looking mashup of Spirited Away and Alice in Wonderland, and it really works on a level we never really thought about!

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Perovskite promises power-producing paint for pennies per pint

Back in 2009, a research team from the University of Tokyo led by Professor Tsutomu Miyasaka found that a substance called perovskite had the potential to generate solar power. However, at the time it only had a very weak power conversion efficiency (PCE) of about four percent and would break down in just a few minutes.

Because of these sizable flaws, not could practical use could be made of perovskite and the discovery lay dormant for a few years. Then, after a Korean team managed to double the PCE in 2011, research into the material was reignited. Now as scientists around the world continue to work on it, the PCE has become well above 20 percent and comparable with the standard silicon-based solar panels that we see today.

With perovskite being drastically cheaper to produce, more flexible to use, and now as efficient as regular solar panels, could we be on the verge of a solar energy revolution?

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Gunkanjima and 22 sites of Japan Meiji Industrial Revolution up for World Heritage award

Congratulations, Japan; you’re on your way to being awarded yet another UNESCO World Heritage honor!

This time around the honor will be going to “Sites of Japan Meiji Industrial Revolution,” which includes Nagasaki’s legendary (and awesomely spooky) “Battleship Island” among others, granted it passes the final approval stage.

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Listen to Idina Menzel, the original voice of Elsa in Frozen, sing “Let It Go” in Japanese!

Disney’s Frozen is, of course, mega-popular in Japan, as it is in many other countries around the world. But over here it’s known as Anna and the Snow Queen, and the movie’s famous song “Let It Go” is known as “Ari no Mama de” (“the truth/as I am”).

Obviously, we’ll always have a soft spot for the original version no matter how many times we hear it, but of all the many versions of the song in different languages, the Japanese version is especially beautiful. Sung by hugely popular veteran actress and singer Takako Matsu, “Ari no Mama de” is a slightly sweeter, softer around the edges version with some perfectly translated lyrics, which, as in the original, are all about self-acceptance.

But what would it sound like if “Ari no Mama de” was sung by the original English-language version’s voice of Elsa, Broadway actress Idina Menzel?

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Age-identifying app tells you how old you look, also how many ghosts are in your vicinity

How-Old.net, the age-guessing website from Microsoft, has been gaining huge amounts of attention online recently, with some people pleased by the app’s flattery, and others incensed by the suggestion that they might look a little more crumbly than they really are.

But the app also has a much creepier, darker side to it – it can (apparently) detect the faces of ghosts, and tell us what age they were when they passed on…

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Japan Post, IBM, and Apple to develop senior-friendly tablets

On 30 April, a joint announcement was made by Apple, IBM and the nation’s private postal service Japan Post regarding a new project that aims to change the lives of Japan’s aging population.

The three companies are combining their expertise to develop a line of iPads with specialized apps for senior citizens. Designed by IBM in conjunction with elderly care services in the works by Japan Post, it is hoped that the tablet computers will help to reduce the burden on younger generations as they care for an increasing number of aged family members.

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