Japan

Officials neither confirm nor deny rumor that Japanese support was denied for South Korean ferry disaster

Officials neither confirm nor deny rumor that Japanese support was denied for South Korean ferry disaster

During a meeting in a gymnasium on Jindo Island in South Korea between Coast Guard officials and families of those on board the recently capsized ferry, one family member brought up a circulating rumor that the South Korean government had refused search and rescue support from neighboring Japan.

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Advice from Japanese women on dealing with your boyfriend’s anime girlfriend

Advice from Japanese women on dealing with your boyfriend’s anime girlfriend

Early on in a couple’s romantic relationship, there’s still a lot the two individuals don’t know about each other. Each date is another step in the gradual process of discovering things about your partner while at the same time revealing a little more of yourself.

Sometimes the surprises are happy ones. Your new boyfriend turns out to be a great cook, or have a wonderful sense of humor. Other times, though, the things you learn are much less pleasant. You notice he’s a heavy drinker. He mentions he blows half his paycheck on pachinko. You learn the bone-chilling reason all the turtles have gone missing from the park behind his apartment.

Or, maybe, that he has a crush on an anime girl.

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Japanese researcher develops glasses to replace eye contact, turn you into emotional cyborg

Japanese researcher develops glasses to replace eye contact, turn you into emotional cyborg

In the physical and mental fields, technology is constantly evolving to assist humans, but what about in the emotional realm? Technology is often blamed for deteriorating social skills, but perhaps there is some way that it could be harnessed to improve our personal interactions. Dr. Hirotaka Osawa of the University of Tsukuba has developed a wearable device called AgencyGlass that may be the first step in assisting in “emotional labor.”

Just don’t think you are going to look cool using it.

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Cat greets its returning owner with so much warmth we’d swear it was puppy love

Cat greets its returning owner with so much warmth we’d swear it was puppy love

As someone who generally judges the value of animals based on their flavor, I tend to stay out of the whole cats vs. dogs argument that pet lovers so often engage in. If, for some reason though, you told me that my life depended on picking one or the other, I’d probably say I’d prefer a pooch, and then ask what kind of oddly specific sorcery you’d placed me under that cursed me to die if I didn’t choose between the world’s two most popular pets.

When you come home, you can expect your dog to run to the door, wag his tale, and slobber all over you. While I can’t say I really see the appeal of that last one, I can understand that it’s nice to have a pet that gives you a reaction when you come through the door, which is totally unlike the aloof reaction that’s so much more common in cats.

Except, of course, if you’re talking about this friendly feline.

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Hop on over to Ginza for adorable bunny rabbit parfaits and cream puffs

Hop on over to Ginza for adorable bunny rabbit parfaits and cream puffs

Ginza’s history as one of Tokyo’s playgrounds for the well-to-do stretches back further than relative upstarts like Harajuku or Roppongi. While this means you can almost always find an elegant café to stop into for a refined mid-day snack, some of these establishments can be a little intimidating with their blue-blood atmosphere.

There is at least one place in Ginza, though, where you can indulge your sweet tooth without feeling any social tension, as nothing is so far removed from stuffiness as a bunny rabbit parfait.

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One baby capybara not cute enough for you? Chiba zoo has five【Photos】

One baby capybara not cute enough for you? Chiba zoo has five【Photos】

For most groups of animals, making them bigger doesn’t make them any cuter. For example, regular spiders? Not cute. Giant spiders? Still not cute, and now terrifying.

Somehow, though, rodents are the exception to this rule, as the capybara, the world’s largest rodent, is adorable. But you know what’s even cuter? The babies of the planet’s biggest rodent, like the litter of five recently born in Japan.

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With the stuffed characters of the Moomin Café, you’ll never dine alone!

With the stuffed characters of the Moomin Café, you’ll never dine alone!

Theme restaurants can be a lot of fun. Whether you’re munching on Final Fantasy desserts or knocking back a cocktail while surrounded by witches and monsters, a little break with reality can be just the secret ingredient you need for a satisfying meal.

Except, what do you do if you can’t round up a posse to go with you? Playing make-believe in a group can be fun, when everyone is egging each other on and having a good laugh, but most people feel awkward enough eating in a normal restaurant alone, let alone one that’s recreating a fictional world.

Thankfully, the Moomin Café has a solution to the solo-dining dilemma: they’ll seat stuffed versions of the beloved cartoons’ characters at your table to keep you company.

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Climbing cats: The cuteness that rises to the occasion

Climbing cats: The cuteness that rises to the occasion

Though it’s not exactly the first thing that springs to mind when we think of cats–that would be cheeseburgers–our furry feline friends are certainly excellent climbers. While they can’t hold a candle to a mountain goat, their built-in climbing hooks, indomitable sense of curiosity, and incredible flexibility make them extraordinary climbers. Just ask anyone who’s tried to remove a cat after it’s scaled half way up their leg–these little cuties will stick to anything.

The above photo, which has been retweeted well over 6,000 times in the last day alone, is a perfect example of feline desire to go up!

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Honda’s little robot that acts like a human is something you have to see

Honda’s little robot that acts like a human is something you have to see

Fourteen years ago, Honda introduced the first generation of Asimo, a humanoid robot designed to be an assistant to people with limited mobility. It was also something of a public relations push to get people interested in studying science and mathematics. You’ve likely seen it before — it looks like a short, all-white astronaut.

A lot has changed since its first unveiling. Honda just showed off its latest Asimo build on “Live with Kelly and Michael,” and we’re impressed by what we saw:

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IKEA Japan plans to overhaul workforce to promote equality among staff

IKEA Japan plans to overhaul workforce to promote equality among staff

The Japanese division of Swedish furniture chain IKEA recently announced that they will make large changes to their job descriptions including the elimination of fixed-term contracts for part-time workers.

The new job descriptions are said to begin this September and aim to create equal treatment for their 3,400 employees in Japan. Reports suggest that they may raise the salaries of all part-time staff who make up 70% of the company’s work force.

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“Daaangerrrr!” Fukuoka town experiments with new road markings

“Daaangerrrr!” Fukuoka town experiments with new road markings

Road signs are a dime a dozen out there. The typical driver usually only focuses on what is directly in front of their car, oblivious to almost everything else. Advertisers know though, that it is possible to catch the eye of the driver. They choose strange images or bold words to catch their attention. It really works! How many times can you remember looking at a sign because it was abnormal?

A small town in Fukuoka Prefecture has been taking notes and have come up with their own unusual traffic signs to help slow down cars on some of their dangerous roads.

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Visit Kiki’s Bakery at a unique fairytale village in Japan

Visit Kiki’s Bakery at a unique fairytale village in Japan

In Kyushu, Japan, there’s a tiny little village that’s drawing in visitors from across the world. Part Ghibli fantasy, part English Cotswolds, the town houses an Alice in Wonderland store, a Peter Rabbit petting zoo, and a bread shop modelled on the bakery in Kiki’s Delivery Service. And if you can’t bear to tear yourself away from the gorgeous shop-fronts and blossoming gardens, there’s a hotel where you can stay and gaze out at the cluster of cottages from the comfort of your own room. We step into the fantasy world and take a closer look at the shops, restaurants and services on offer in this special little town.

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Fighter discovers Japanese giant hornet in his apartment, hilarity ensues 【Video】

Fighter discovers Japanese giant hornet in his apartment, hilarity ensues 【Video】

When people talk about Japan, they usually talk about its beautiful landscapes, rich culture, and delicious food. They talk about the cherry blossom in spring, the soft, powder snow in winter, the deep red autumn leaves, and the summers that, while swelteringly hot, go perfectly with a big glass of cold Japanese beer.

What they don’t talk about are the bugs.

Although Japan has nothing on “Don’t Touch That, It’ll Probably Kill You” Australia, it nevertheless has its fair share of creepy-crawlies, and the oosuzumebachi, or Japanese Giant Hornet is perhaps the worst of the bunch. It’s still only April, but it would seem that the Japanese branch of Satan’s striped servants are already out and about, and getting into people’s apartments, no less…

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Professor Mega Man! Legendary game producer Keiji Inafune to lecture at Osaka college

Professor Mega Man! Legendary game producer Keiji Inafune to lecture at Osaka college

Despite working for video game publisher Capcom for over 20 years, Keiji Inafune didn’t really achieve international name-recognition until the tumultuous tail end of his time with the company. Even if they didn’t know his name, though, gamers everywhere were familiar with his work, as Inafune was involved with some of Capcom’s biggest hits, including Mega Man, Resident Evil, Onimusha, Street Fighter, and Dead Rising.

Inafune got his start as a character designer before moving up to a position as a producer. Now, he’s set to add one more title to his resume: college professor.

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10 Japanese expressions that sound delightfully strange and funny when translated

10 Japanese expressions that sound delightfully strange and funny when translated

A little while ago, we introduced you to the Japanese expression “hana yori dango” (dumplings over flowers), using a picture of one of our capybara friends at the Ueno Zoo as a living example of the phrase. Well, that article got us thinking about Japanese idioms/expressions that may sound strange or funny in a different language when translated literally, and we thought it might be interesting to share a few of them with you. Here are some common phrases that we use in the Japanese language as a matter of course, but could make you laugh if you visualize their literal meaning in your mind. And yes, some of them involve cats!

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Tokyo’s coin lockers to be out of service for week in effort to prevent terrorism

Tokyo’s coin lockers to be out of service for week in effort to prevent terrorism

Notices like the one above, which was posted on Twitter, have been popping up at major stations around Tokyo such as Shinjuku. It notifies commuters that coin lockers will be unusable from 19 to 25 April as a terrorism counter-measure.

How exactly does shutting down coin lockers prevent terrorism? The answer is quite simple… but a little confusing.

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We’re not going to lie…these sausage people currently trending in Japan freak us out

We’re not going to lie…these sausage people currently trending in Japan freak us out

A new trend is hitting the bento boxes of Japan right now and we are scared. Young children and hardworking spouses across the nation are sitting down at lunch time only to be visually assaulted by what they call “sausage people.” To most, these little weiners cut up to resemble a person seem harmless and most message boards in Japan praise the invention, with virtual screeches of the Japanese equivalent of “OMG, it’s so cute!” Well we have a newsflash for you, Japan. These sausage people, or “so-se-jin,” an adorable play on words of the Japanese word for “sausage” (so-se-ji) and “people” (jin), are down right terrifying. Don’t believe us? Just take a look at this photo compilation of sausage people found on sites across the web. Just be warned, you’ll never look at a sausage the same way again.

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Space sakura have returned to Earth with cherry blossom superpowers

Space sakura have returned to Earth with cherry blossom superpowers

Rather than wading into the debate as to whether a tree covered in beautiful cherry blossoms or a piece of cutting edge technology is the more representative symbol of Japan, you could split the difference by awarding the title to one of the sakura cherry trees grown from seeds that were taken into space. Not only do they combine the country’s admiration of both nature and innovation, their seeds’ journey to the stars seems to have imparted some of them with the amazing ability to bloom in just half the time of regular cherry trees.

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Krispy Kreme Japan makes the dessert of our dreams: Doughnut ice cream sundaes

Krispy Kreme Japan makes the dessert of our dreams: Doughnut ice cream sundaes

I don’t know about you, but whenever I walk by a Krispy Kreme doughnut shop, I always peek at the “Hot Doughnut” sign to see if they’ve just recently finished making a batch of those delicious glazed doughnuts. And if that orange beacon is lit up, my wallet is going to be a few coins short while my tastebuds thank me through every last bite. Because, let’s face it, even if you’ve just had a massive lunch, there’s always room for a piping hot doughnut, fresh from the fryer.

And what makes warm baked goods even better? Ice cream of course. We can only assume that’s why Krispy Kreme Japan has unveiled a new doughnut ice cream sundae…but why hasn’t anyone thought of this before?

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Cassette tapes making a comeback with youth in Japan, entire generation officially becomes “old”

Cassette tapes making a comeback with youth in Japan, entire generation officially becomes “old”

For those of a certain age, hearing the term “cassette tape” harkens back to a simpler time of making a super special mix-tape for a loved one using a Frankie Goes to Hollywood Greatest Hits with scotch tape over the holes because it was cheaper than a blank cassette.

It’s this kind of feeling that kids today lack with the distant and impersonal music downloading business going on these days. Perhaps that’s why Japanese youths have been taking to the nearly extinct medium of magnetic tape more and more in recent years.

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