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Me want Great Wave: Cookie Monster takes his cookies to 1830s Hokusai ukiyoe woodblock painting

The Great Wave off Kanagawa by legendary ukiyoe artist Hokusai is well-known around the world as one of Japan’s most iconic pieces of artwork. Featuring Mt Fuji in the distance, a smattering of ocean spray and a mammoth breaking wave, this is a scene that’s been admired by millions for well over a century.

And where there’s an audience, there’ll also be a star trying to steal the spotlight. Providing poof to the theory, we present you with Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster, who’s taken his favourite baked goods back in time, all the while singing, “Sea is for cookie, that’s good enough for me ♫ Cookie, cookie, cookie starts with sea”.

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Shia LeBeouf’s weird “TED Talk” rant reminds Netizens of Japanese celebrity’s similar pep talk

It’s easy to look at (former?) actor Shia LeBeouf‘s weird transition from child actor to adult superstar everyone assumed would be “the next Tom Hanks,” to an aspiring performance artist who wears bags on his head, stares at journalists in silence for hours and gives frightening “motivational speeches” in front of a green screen, and assume that we’re watching yet another celebrity slowly break down and lose his sanity under the public’s constant gaze.

It turns out, though, that weird green screen one – which was later turned into a TED Talk parody by the Internet – actually seemed bizarrely similar to a different motivational speech given on camera by widely loved Japanese celebrity and retired tennis player Shuzo Matsuoka.

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Which anime characters do you share a birthday with? This website will tell you

A pretty major difference between anime and western animation is the amount of detail Japanese productions put into character profiles and backstories. For just about any significant anime character, you can be sure the creators have decided on things such as a family name, exact height in centimeters, favorite food, and, in the case of sex-appeal female characters, bust, waist, and hip measurements.

If nothing else, characters almost always have an official birthday, even if there’s never an episode highlighting it or any other part of the story affected by, for instance, Attack on Titan’s Levi being born on December 25. Now, a fan-produced website has compiled a database of anime birthdays, allowing you to plug in your own to see which characters you could conceivably share a cake with.

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The Shinkansen image that’s got Japanese Twitter users giggling

The N700 series Shinkansen trains have been in operation since 2007, and reach maximum speeds of 300km/h (186 mph). While not quite as speedy as Japan’s upcoming maglav train, these babies can get you from Tokyo to Osaka in just 2 hours and 25 minutes – they’re basically a miracle of modern engineering.

But it seems that some people out there do not respect the beauty of the Shinkansen. In fact, they look at all that shiny, white metalwork and see only one thing.

Can you guess what it is? Join us after the jump to find out if you, too, have the mind of an eighth-grader…

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Three potentially fatal flaws with the facial recognition ATMs soon to be introduced in China

We’ve all seen how facial recognition software can go badly wrong. But it seems that China hasn’t gotten the message, since they’re going forward with a new plan for ATMs which rely on face-scanning technology.

The new machines will reportedly snap a quick picture of the person trying to access each account, and cross-reference their facial features with a database to find a match.

We can see at least three fatal flaws with this plan. Can you guess what they are?

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Watch “Sh*t Koreans Say” for an interesting take on Korean stereotypes about foreigners

In the past we’ve brought you Sh*t Japanese Girls Say and Sh*t My (Japanese) Mom Says, both of which really hit home for me as a former Japanese home-stay student and expat in Japan. Still, I often find myself wondering what life is like for other expats around the world, especially those living in other Asian countries like Korea.

Thanks to Sh*t Koreans Say, the latest addition to the ever popular Sh*t ___ Say meme by Korean Junkies, I feel like I now have a slightly better idea.

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Traps and Christmas cakes: What type of female characters do you like?

Everyone has their own tastes and preferences for, well, just about anything. From food to fashion to members of the opposite sex, what might repel one person could make the next one a drooling, love-struck mess.

A poll taken recently on well-known web forum 4chan asked readers what sort of female characters made them swoon, and while some of the replies were really nothing out of the ordinary, others might leave you scratching your head, trying to figure out what on earth type of girl would someone call a Christmas cake?

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Japanese people aren’t happy with their looks, ranked world’s lowest in self-confidence

One of the first things you notice when you come to Japan is how great everybody looks. The guys all know how to wear a suit, and the ladies dress conservatively and stylishly. In fact, it’s a well-known phenomenon that many foreigners who arrive in Japan for a prolonged stay will, within a few weeks, start smartening themselves up as a direct result of the example set by fashion and beauty-conscious Japanese.

But a shocking and kind of sad survey has revealed that in terms of being happy with their looks, the people of Japan are actually ranked bottom in the world

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World’s energy problems solved! Pikachu’s problems just beginning

Nuclear disasters, noxious gas emissions filling the air, and with no way for major corporations to make obscene amounts of money from any of the other sources of power, it would seem the world still can’t find a great way for clean and renewable energy sources to change our lives for the better.

“But then I thought, hey look at all these little electric mice we got running around,” remembers Kanto Power’s head-engineer and former pokémon breeder Buraku Takeshi. “Why, I bet if we’d slap some jumper cables on just one, we could light up 10 square blocks.”

And so, a new way to power our lives have been born. But at what cost?

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Okaasan, you shouldn’t have! Japanese netizens show the contents of their wackiest care packages

In Japan, millions of people flock to the capital each year for school or work from all over the country. As a result, a lot of people live away from their parents and relatives, who remain back in one’s jikka, or family home in their hometown.

One way people stay in touch is through exchanging care packages. It’s a great way for parents to show their love for their offspring by providing little treats and mementoes of home. But sometimes, parents just go a little nutty, pouring all their love into random boxes of stuff which serve to amuse and baffle their unsuspecting recipients…

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Liquid-filled Disney iPhone cases give us another reason to play with our phones

What do you get if you cross Disney, an iPhone, and a snowglobe? These new liquid-filled Disney iPhone cases, of course!

Not only are these things functional (preventing your precious phone from getting scratched) they’re also a source of constant fun as you can flip the phone upside-down and watch all the characters float around on the back.

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Check out that fluffy belly! Donguri the cat loves to lounge around on his back

A while back we investigated what our sleeping styles say about our personality. One of the things we found out is that if you tend to sleep on your back, you’re more likely to be assertive and possibly even a little self-centred – two words one might use to describe Donguri (acorn) the pussycat, who’s been spotted cat-napping all over his owner’s house flat on his back!

Warning – this post contains extreme amounts of fluffyness!

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Splatoon dominates Japanese video site, makes us wonder if everyone is eating properly

While the Wii U hasn’t exactly been the biggest success in Nintendo’s history, we can’t help wondering if newly released game Splatoon is going to help turn things around. The game currently has a score of 81 on Metacritic (and an 8.3 out of 10 from users), so it’s certainly getting some appreciation from gamers and game critics alike overseas. Someone in Europe even stole a truck full of copies of the game and Amiibo!

But how about in Japan? We already know that there seems to be a lot of younger people excited about it, but it’s not just kids who are loving the game…

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Nine cats + fifteen boxes = CATastic fun 【Video】

Any cat owner knows that it’s not the awesome new toy that’s exciting for your pet, but the cardboard box that the toy comes in. No matter how much you spend on the toy, you might as well have just gone to the grocery store and picked up a dozen cardboard boxes. So why not set up a fort of boxes and just let the cats play?

That’s because the mayhem is too cute for words.

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You won’t believe your eyes! Old opthalmologist’s shop in Taiwan is now an ice cream shop

One of the best things about taking a holiday abroad is basking in the glory of all the historical architecture of the area. Another amazing thing about it is eating delicious food and buying tons of yummy goodies to bring home. So if you’re thinking of visiting Taiwan any time soon, you’d be crazy to pass up an opportunity to visit this olde-world opthalmologist’s shop that’s been turned into a swanky ice cream, cake and sweets shop!

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Look into our crystal ball; we see a Pokémon that’s right for you!【Pics】

Every pokémon trainer has their special pokémon. Whether it’s one of the starter pokémon that you kept with you all over the Kanto region, or one of the hundreds of pokémon you can catch along the way, there is always that one particular friend that you just can’t bear to leave in storage.

If you’d like to immortalize your poképal, or if you are just a fan of the Pokémon anime or video games, then you have to take a look at these one of a kind pokéballs on Etsy that will crystallize the memory of your pokémon forever.

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Tokyo illustrator’s animated GIFs will get you up and excited about everyday life

Sometimes it’s hard to get your butt in gear. The regular old mundane chores in life just aren’t that inspiring. Don’t you wish you could inject a little bit of excitement into your daily life? Perhaps a little magic?

Luckily, we have found an artist from Tokyo that captures our dull and dreary moments and spices them up with a bit of artistic flare. These whimsical and playful animated GIFs will get your engines running for the day, or trap you as you stare endlessly captivated by their movement.

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Japanese toymakers collaborate on amazing Hulkbuster you can call your own

Superhero movies mean big business for toy makers, and whenever Marvel releases a new movie, a slew of action figures are made to fulfill everyone’s toy needs. There are the cheap small figures that anyone of any age can play with, and there are also the larger, more expensive, but extremely poseable figures for those who want to seriously play. Then there are the really expensive versions that boast incredible detail and size. This Hulkbuster is one of those ones.

Many toy makers are producing their own version of the Hulkbuster from Avengers: Age of Ultron, but Bandai is taking its time and attaching all the bells and whistles including LEDs and real metal parts.

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A new frontier of random cute girls: Beautiful evacuees from arson standoffs (with manga fan art)

While people all over the world love spotting a cute girl, Asia seems to get a special kick out of finding an attractive woman in unexpected places. We’ve seen the online community go gaga over pretty teachers, badminton players, and even butchers, but now we’re entering the new frontier: Beautiful evacuee from a bank taken over by an attempted arsonist.

And of course, there’s also manga fan art of the captivating temporary captive and her equally dramatic-looking coworkers.

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Tweet all the things! Japanese vs American reactions to earthquakes

You might have heard that we experienced a magnitude-5.6 earthquake last week, which got everyone in the area a little shaken up (except for this super chill gorilla, of course). While Japan experiences earthquakes incredibly frequently, this one was a little bigger than usual, and had many in Japan diving for cover.

Oh, no, wait, they dived for their smartphones instead…

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