Japan

Too busy to wrap Christmas presents? Not if you’ve got 12 seconds, Japanese store shows【Video】

I honestly don’t remember the last time I wrapped a Christmas present. Due to a lack of time during the busy period at the end of the year, plus a lack of manual dexterity during…my life in general…I usually just put everyone’s presents into a gift bag.

However, if you want to give someone the gift of satisfaction that can only come from tearing through some festively patterned paper, and you’re got more aptitude for arts and crafts than me (trust me, you do), there’s no need to let your hectic schedule stop you, as this video shows you how to wrap a present in just 12 seconds.

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Six non-traditional osechi New Year’s meals in Japan

New Year’s in Japan is usually celebrated with family huddled under the kotatsu while munching on mikans, and sharing a dinner of traditional food, called osechi. Each component of the meal retains an auspicious meaning, granting the eater with good fortune, health, or fertility, among other things, during the coming year.

However, in recent years, an increasingly large population of Japan’s youth have chosen to forgo eating osechi. There are many reasons osechi has been disappearing from Japanese homes during New Year’s, but these changing tastes have given rise to a smorgasbord of strange, unique, and, frankly, comparatively tastier pre-made osechi meals. From cooked isopods to a box full of meat, let’s take a closer look at six modern day osechi.

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This amazing Weipa recipe tastes every bit like fried rice without frying rice

For the uninitiated, Weipa is a fried rice condiment that is popular in the Japanese interpretation of Chinese food. Even if you’re not in Japan or China, you’re sure to be able to track this down in a Chinese supermarket near you. Weipa is used to add flavor to the Chinese fried rice that has become a staple in Japan’s Chinese cuisine – and believe us when we say it’s delicious.

To introduce everyone to the wonder of Weipa, we have a super simple recipe that involves mostly just rice, with results so amazing you wouldn’t be able to stop!

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Terrorize your figure collection with a fully articulated titan model

In case your figure collection needs more naked people or angry titans, Kotobukiya is releasing a 160 mm (~6.3″) figure of Attack on Titan‘s Eren titan.

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Kobe Luminarie illumination creators ditched LED for the warmer light of normal bulbs

Tokyo may be trying to take the throne of “City of Lights” from Paris and we’ve seen some dazzling lights in Mie Prefecture, but inKansai, nothing says holiday spirit better than “Kobe Luminarie.” The light display is entering another year of brilliance, as it was originally a display to honor the victims of the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995, pray for the revival of the city, and reintroduce tourism into the region.

In an effort to save energy after the Tohoku Disaster in 2011, Kobe Luminarie changed their lightbulbs to LED lights. Smart move, right? You would think people would be happy with the economically and environmentally savvy improvement, but apparently the results were a little more sparkling than they’d hoped, in the bad way.

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Love sweets, hate Frozen? Solution: repurpose your Olaf bun into Bert from Sesame Street!

Remember when we recently had a little fun with the Disney’s Frozen pastry buns that have gone on sale all over Japan? You know, the ones oozing with cream and chocolate (mmm) and featuring the annoying face of that goofy snowman (grr) that’s absolutely everywhere right now? While we certainly enjoyed mangling Olaf’s face with a big knife whilst maniacally humming “Let it Go”, it seems that one Twitter user has an even better idea for dealing with that pent-up Frozen frustration. An idea that involves re-purposing the buns into something more aesthetically pleasing! Since we’re all about that silver lining (and since generally, we enjoy our food more when it doesn’t look like a murder scene) we had to investigate! It turns out that it’s actually pretty simple to change goofy Olaf into another character with a little more pedigree behind it – Bert from Sesame Street! Read on for the step-by step guide!

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Blogger offers four pieces of advice for foreign women looking for love with a Japanese guy

Blogger Madame Riri often writes about her experiences as a Japanese woman in an international relationship who’s spent a considerable amount of time living abroad. Recently, though, she took a look at women in the opposite situation.

Sifting through the writings of Grace Buchele Mineta, a Texas-born expat married to a Japanese man and living in Japan since three years ago, Madame Riri pulled out four pieces of advice for non-Japanese women in or looking for a romantic relationship with a Japanese man in Japan.

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Video of crafty cat’s escape from behind bars shows no simple cage can hold him

Japan’s comparatively cramped housing means there’s not only less room for a home’s human occupants, but for its animal residents as well. Because of this, you may sometimes see pets spending a few hours a day in cages that, in other countries, would ordinarily be able to run free around the house.

But if the sight of a cat behind bars makes you feel a little sad, you’ll be happy to know that at least one Japanese feline can apparently escape whenever he feels like it.

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Japanese website wishes users a Happy Xmas with sweet animation【Video】

Get into the Christmas spirit with this festive video featuring flip-book style animation and a Japanese rock rendition of “Happy Christmas”, put together than none other than master animator Tekken.

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Japan’s biggest online retailers now have more smartphone traffic than desktop site users

Japan’s most visited sites saw PC traffic decline by between 10 and 20 percent in 2014, while access from smartphones rose rapidly, according to a Nielson survey published this week. Online retailers saw the most marked changes, with some experiencing as much as a 60 percent rise in mobile internet traffic.

It’s easy to see this shift to mobile as part of a wider global trend – after all, Americans already spend more time accessing the internet via mobile and tablet apps than with computers. But smartphone use in Japan looks a little different. When Japanese consumers use smartphones to access the internet, it is mostly via mobile web browsing, rather than dedicated apps.

Join us after the jump as we take a closer look at the what and why of these suprising survey results.

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Model and TV star Kayo Police went to Singapore to wish you a hot Christmas from the beach

One of the most envied perks of being famous has to be international travel. So while we’re sure being a model is just as hard work – if not more so – than heaps of other jobs, we can imagine that opportunities to escape the recent cold weather in Japan and jet off to warmer climes goes some way to make up for it.

So forgive us for being more than a little jealous of these pics from Kayo Police’s trip to Singapore. Sure, posing for pictures is work. But she also got to go to Universal Studios and go to a bubble spa. Merry Christmas!

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We head to the Snickers Hungry Barber for a free haircut, worth every penny

The other day we reported that the people behind chocolate, peanut and nougaty munch-fest Snickers was opening up a barber shop in Tokyo’s trendy Omotesando. Dubbed the Snickers Hungry Barber, the shop boasts some of the strangest hairstyles in the world, and they’re all free of charge!

Our Japanese correspondent Yuichiro Wasai decided to take Snickers up on the offer and ordered an Omakase (“I’ll leave it to you”) from the shop’s scissor-wielding staff. Little did he know that he would receive a hair style so potent with animal magnetism that everyone he passed on the street seemed to want a photo of him.

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Wish you could check out Tokyo’s Christmas illuminations? Well now you can! 【Video】

We appreciate that while many of you are interested in Japan and Japanese culture, not all of you are able to visit the Land of the Rising Sun quite so easily. But Christmas is a great time of year here in Tokyo, what with all the lights, decorations and hand-holding couples, so in order to share the various seasonal sights with you we took the liberty of putting together a little slideshow.

Join us after the jump for a photo tour of Tokyo’s best Christmas illuminations!

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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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Melt your lover’s heart with these limited edition Valentine’s Day Krispy Kreme donuts

Krispy Kreme Japan is shooting Cupid’s arrows again this year. Apparently the 2014 limited edition Valentine’s Day donuts were a hit because they are not only coming back, they’ll be better than ever. The donut powerhouse has created four new delectable, chocolatey selections and as V-Day tends to be a girl-confessing-her-love-to-boy-by-giving-chocolates kind of holiday in Japan, there are inevitably going to be a lot of guys with happy tummies this coming February 14. Luckily for all the singles and ladies out there, we don’t have to wait for our suitors to give us delicious chocolate donuts, we can start enjoying them starting January 7, 2015.

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Sailor Suit Old Man’s mobile game just as cute and fun as the man himself

After learning about the famous Sailor Suit Old Man, the first thing any normal person would want to do is find him so they can hang out and be kawaii together. That used to mean buying a plane ticket to Japan and getting strange looks from people when you asked where “the old guy dressed in a schoolgirl outfit” was. But now, thanks to a newly released free mobile game, you can have fun with him from the comfort of your own smartphone.

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Dumplings that’ll make you pretty! “Gyoza for girls” is the new food trend hitting Japan!

When you think of gyoza, those traditionally Chinese parcels of meaty, vegetable-y goodness that go so perfectly with a frosty mug of beer, do you imagine they’re more likely to appeal to dainty, health-conscious ladies, or undiscerning, ravenous salarymen? Whilst undeniably delicious, gyoza are generally seen as an unrefined food option – good for a quick stuffing, but hardly haute cuisine. That’s all set to change with the invention of “Happy Maru“, a range of colorful boiled gyoza “dumplings” infused with beautifying collagen and polyphenols for the health and beauty-conscious modern woman. But just what’s so different about them?

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Cotton Wife and Cotton Husband aren’t huggy pillows, they’re life partners for the lonely!

Novelty goods manufacturer Bibi Lab would like to get one thing straight. Despite appearances, its life-sized, humanoid-shaped stuffed Wata Yome and Wata Danna are not hug pillows. And while the English text in the product logo may refer to them as “body pillows,” really, the company would prefer you to think of them as “partners for lonely people.”

Let’s look at what constitutes the freaky difference.

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Lonely Japanese life hack: Make your empty apartment look like a party (at least in the entryway)

The holidays can be a lonely time if you live alone. Sure, having a little time for yourself is nice and all, but there are only so many nights in a row you can spend silently sipping bourbon and staring out at the falling snow before it starts to become legitimately depressing/arguably alcoholism.

That vacuum of isolation when you step inside, shut the door behind you, and realize you’re totally alone can be a serious downer. So today, we’re sharing an extremely easy life hack to, even if just for a second, make you feel like instead of coming home to an empty apartment, you’ve got a group of friends waiting for you.

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CosBox: A rentable room in Tokyo for creating cosplay masterpieces

Just the other day, we brought you news of HACOSTADIUM, a photography studio equipped with over 40 backdrops to create all of your dream cosplay scenarios. But let’s take one step back now–just where are you supposed to design those fabulous costumes in the first place?

Introducing CosBox (コスバコ), a rentable room outfitted with all of your costume-making needs. It just opened this month in the Akihabara district of Tokyo, and its managers are offering some serious opening month deals. Whether you’re a diehard cosplay fanatic or are just breaking into the hobby, CosBox may be the perfect place to prepare for your next big convention!

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