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Give a stranger a flower: Art exhibit & a Parisienne in Tokyo leads to smile seen round the world

If you’re sad that December is coming to a close and aren’t quite ready to stop basking in the holiday spirit, here’s a story (albeit a non-Christmas one) from the heart of Tokyo that’s sure to give you the warm fuzzies. Originally made popular in English on the image-hosting site Imgur, this tale of a stranger’s unexpected act of kindness traveled back to Japan where it happened, thanks to the Internet, and subsequently brought smiles to scads of Japanese netizens’ faces.

Read their reactions at the end of the article, after learning about how Lee Mingwei’s participatory art installation and 22-year-old Alice’s seemingly small yet impactful act of courage brightened the day of a metro worker named Daisuke and reddened his ears. As one online commenter put it, “I bet this guy never imagined that his smile would spread joy all around the world!”

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US actor Misha Collins meets “Santa” in Japan, tweets about it in Japanese

When American actor-director Misha Collins, who you might know from roles in Supernatural and 24 or appearances in CSI and ER, visited Japan recently, his tweets sparked excitement online. Mr Collins tweeted several snaps of his time in Japan, including his encounter with a very eccentric Santa Claus!

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Grown man hits No. 1 on Vine by playing with action figures in front of his mom

Say what you will about the evils and pitfalls of social media, but if nothing else, it’s at least made it easier than ever for people to enjoy a small taste of fame. Social media like Facebook, Twitter and Vine democratize what becomes popular and what doesn’t, what people want to see and what they don’t.

In this case, the viewers of Vine have spoken: They want to see people playing with action figures in front of their moms.

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Mediocre comedy The Interview’s biggest fan is… North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un?

After a long and arduous production, terrorist threats from North Korea, a snap decision to pull the film and then, finally, a half-baked release both online and at independent theaters not fearful of sudden SCUD missile attacks, the much-talked about film The Interview is finally upon us and reviews are lukewarm at best. “Acceptable!,” “Moderately Chuckle-Worthy!,” and “More Dick Jokes Than You Can Shake a Sausage Link At!” seem destined to adorn the box art of the eventual Blu-ray release.

But there appears to be one very unexpected mega fan of the film, if one surreal photo is to be believed…

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Should this Japanese game developer be annoyed with “similar” release by other studio?

As someone may have once said, “Great artists steal.” Then again, someone else probably said, “I’ll catch that hack who ripped me off and teach them a lesson or two,” so maybe we should just say that sometimes people “borrow” inspiration to make great things. And sometimes pirates come up with better titles than the original!

Of course, in the world of mobile games, “similar” and “inspired-by” games are the norm–but one Japanese game developer isn’t exactly happy about someone making a game just a bit too similar to his own. Is he overreacting or does he have a good point?

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Looking for a job in Japan? Try a convenience store!

There are many “symbols of Japan”–from Mt. Fuji to Akihabara, the country has numerous faces to the outside world. But regardless of what comes to mind when you think of the country, there’s a good chance that you’ll stop by one of its many convenience stores on the way to your destination. In many ways, the army of small shops that squat on half the corners from Hokkaido to Okinawa are the perfect symbol of the country. But it looks like the convenience stores of Japan are now facing a serious problem: They can’t find enough employees!

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See? Not all My Little Pony fan art is erotic fan fic! Anime-loving MLP fans pony-fy anime stars

Artistic talent, creativity and pop culture geekery seem to overlap way more than to call it all a coincidence. Super fandom in one or another or more pop culture franchises seems to inspire a lot of creative energy.

This would all seem to fly in the face of everyone’s disappointed parents who insist we stop wasting our lives and talents on video games and go out and get a job. No, no, go out and get a real job instead of just bloggertweeting about Japanese anime and cats and OKAY MOM I HEARD YOU THE FIRST HUNDRED TIMES!

Anyway, the point of this meandering lede is that some My Little Pony fans (possibly the much-talked about Bronies and possibly their female counterparts… My Little Pony fans?) have been doing a pretty swell job of turning their favorite anime characters into MLP characters and we thought we’d share some:

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Naruto fans turn message maker system’s interface lemons into ninja lemonade with awesome artwork

Manga artist Masashi Kishimoto’s ninja saga Naruto finally came to a close last month. But after 15 years of being on the receiving end of the awesome artwork and heartfelt words of the Naruto cast, fans now have a chance to send some of their own with a nifty message-writing tool on the franchise’s official website.

Unfortunately, it isn’t very user-friendly. But just like how Naruto’s titular blond ninja never gives up in the face of adversity, so too have fans found a way to work around the clunky interface and come up with some powerfully cool creations.

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“Sushi Chic” is the new style trend we could really sink our teeth into

When your average Westerner thinks of Japan, what’s most likely to spring to the forefront of their minds? We’re betting that sushi, samurai, anime and geisha are up there in the top ten, with sushi being the best-known incarnation of Japanese food abroad. But it seems that stylish overseas consumers aren’t satisfied with simply eating their sushi – they want to wear it on their bodies, too, so everyone can see how cool and cutting-edge they really are. Join us as we take a look at some of the weird and wonderful sushi fashion items available for purchase right now.

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Looney Samurai Tunes! Fan artist reimagines the classic cartoon characters in feudal Japan

In the seven decades since the very first Looney Tunes cartoon, the franchise has never really set a specific time or place for its setting. Really, the madcap antics of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and all the rest of their pals/intended murder victims could be taking place just about anywhere, and even anytime.

So why not feudal Japan?

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Truck driver hailed as “hero” for cutting off car on wet highway

There is perhaps no greater feeling of anger and frustration than getting cut off on an expressway. To have your pleasant cruising speed shattered by some jerk-off who can’t tilt their head an extra inch or position their mirrors properly is usually an unforgivable act in the driving world.

However, this one truck driver in particular has earned the acclaim of everyone who watched the harrowing video of it cutting off a car as they both drove along at high speeds on a rainy highway. After watching the video we’re pretty sure you’ll understand why.

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Flipping the kanji for “husband” upside-down reveals slightly worrying double meaning

The common stereotype about women among sexually frustrated, mostly parents’ basement-dwelling, men is that girls only go for attractive, rich guys, and never the nice, tender guys with warm hearts and chic fedoras.

Well, when it comes to one of those observations, anyway, there appears to be at least one cultural precedent of a diabolical hidden message that seemingly proves the stereotype right in one of the very words that defines men and women’s relationship in Japan…

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Japan’s premier beatboxer sets YouTube ablaze, annoys fans with lack of beatboxing

We’ve talked about Japanese YouTubers before, and there certainly are a lot of awesome ones out there! One of the most famous is the beatboxing Hikakin, who was even featured in YouTube’s 2014 Rewind video. His musical skills have even caught the attention of the world at large, and Hikakin has performed with (and wowed) foreign artists, like Ariana Grande. There are plenty of folks around the world who are fans of the bespectacled YouTube star’s skills, but it looks like some of them are losing patience with his seeming lack of actual beatboxing.

As if he’d heard all of those complaints directly, Hikakin just released a new video with none other than Ne-Yo! Click below to check out the two artists make beautiful music with nothing more than their sexy mouths!

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Pokémon fans’ heads exploding over guy’s classic Game Boy makeover video

There was a time not too long ago when smartphones didn’t exist and the best and only way to game on-the-go and/or avoid actual social interaction with your peers was to lug around a slightly clunky, black-and-white-only Game Boy that sucked down ungodly amounts of batteries and played just-below-NES-standard games.

Of course, the Game Boy remains a fond memory for most gamers that grew up on it, despite the fact that the device itself looked ancient even back in its heyday and had a massive library of games, many of which were really bad. But for fans of Pokémon – one of the few franchises spawned on the console – the Game Boy is like some kind of holy relic.

So imagine the head-explosions that must be happening all across Pokémon fandom following a netizen’s brilliant video of his Pokémon Game Boy makeover.

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Sick of BABYMETAL? How about some sumo metal!

Japan has a few, shall we say, unusual commercials that have raised eyebrows around the world. While you may laugh, when you think about it, it just shows that Japan’s marketers really know how to get the audience’s attention–and isn’t that the job of a commercial, to get people’s attention? We’d say so, and we think we may have found our favorite new eyebrow-raising Japanese commercial!

An exhilarating, upbeat sound track? Check. A simple, direct message that makes almost no sense at all? Check. Half naked people? Oh, holy hell, yes, check! 

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11 never-ending hypnotic GIFs that just made a portion of our weekend disappear mysteriously

We all know GIFs are images set in a motion loop, but many of these moving images have a short story to tell, and we can somewhat tell that there is an “end” at a certain point before it loops back to the start of the sequence.

This series of GIF images we found today, however, simply goes on and on… for an eternity and beyond. We can’t tell how it starts or how it ends as there is no particular message or story, and the image transitions are simply flawless. If you’re the type of person who prefers to spend your weekend doing nothing in particular and spacing out, these hypnotic moving images could possibly keep you occupied for hours!

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Fox Japan to release ultimate edition of Commando, announced in series of possibly drunken tweets

People look to Japan for many reasons, from the rich heritage of samurai or tea ceremonies to pop culture phenomenons such as anime. But the one thing I truly love about Japan is its people’s taste in film.

Classics such as Die Hard and Robocop are widely accepted as the cinematic gold they are, and now Arnold Schwarzenegger’s greatest rocket launcher-wielding performance in Commando is getting the royal treatment by 20th Century Fox Japan in honor of the 30th anniversary of its release here. Far from a simple added commentary track, this special release is chock-full of exclusive features befitting a monumental specimen of the art from such as this.

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Ninja-cat poised for attack, puns and a difficult dismount

We recently learned about some ninja tools and techniques that made use of cats, but maybe cats are actually the original ninja. This picture is more than enough evidence to prove that this theory is spot-on.

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Pixel’s film posters feature Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Donkey Kong, Galaga, more

Sony Pictures Entertainment revealed its tie-in film posters its upcoming action comedy film Pixels. The film will feature the video game franchises Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Centipede, Galaga, Frogger, Q*bert, and Space Invaders. Several video game companies and license-holders — including Atari, Konami, Bandai Namco Games, Nintendo, Columbia Pictures Industries, Taito, and Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment — are collaborating with Sony Pictures on the film.

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Commercial reminds Japan’s tired commuters about the drawbacks of living far away from work

Mouth agape, eyes rolled back, head bobbing – when home is an hour or more away and work continues late into the night, the only place for many Japanese office workers to lay their weary head is against a train car window. This phenomenon is not unique to Japan, but the combination of overwork and limited affordable housing in big cities like Tokyo give rise to crowds of sleepy commuters just trying to get to their futon. If you have never witness the varied sleeping positions of Japan’s overworked commuters, take a look at the following video created by real estate website HOME’S.

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