Seven examples of truly lame merchandise that even hardcore fans don’t want

For hardcore fans of a certain band or TV show, part of the fun is amassing a collection of tie-in products designed to meet your exact needs and interests. Nowhere does this ring true more than in Japan, where geeking out over a variety of goods relating to your most beloved anime or music group is basically all part and parcel of fandom.

But sometimes the companies who produce these products tends to go a little too far, attempting to dupe devoted fans out of their hard-earned cash in exchange for, well, a heap of junk. Read on to view seven of the worst offenders!

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After a long dog day, treat your pet to a glass of fresh goat’s milk from this Japanese dairy

If you’re a doting dog owner, odds are you occasionally give a special treat to your canine companion, but what about liquid refreshment? Just like you might reward yourself with a cup of gourmet coffee or a craft beer at the end of a long day, don’t you think your dog would sometimes enjoy something other than H20 in his water dish?

For all of those answering yes, this might be just the thing: fresh-squeezed goat milk, specifically sold for dogs.

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Japanese celebricat Maru becomes fashion icon with fetching Starbucks frock【Video】

His Royal Roundness, Maru, is one of the most famous cats in Japan, a country with no shortage of beloved feline stars, in part because of his extensive oeuvre. We’ve seen his majestic jumping, his moving efforts to squeeze his girth into tiny boxes, his awe-inspiring agility, and even his benevolent patience with lesser beings. Now Maru has taken the fashion world by storm with an upcycled frock and some serious attitude.

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Guangzhou City to allow co-workers and neighbors to give consent for other people’s organ donations

On 3 April Guangzhou City in Guangdong Province, China, announced some changes to their organ donation laws. These changes will allow people beyond the immediate family to give permission to harvest a deceased person’s organs.

This is expected to be bad news for Guangzhou’s paranoid population, who must now expand their sphere of people likely to murder them in their sleep well beyond their wife and kids to include co-workers and other members of their community.

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Treat your cat to this tiny IKEA bed and they might just love you for it 【Pics】

IKEA is the go-to place for anyone looking to furnish their home on a budget, while keeping it stylish and homogeneous. And they don’t just cater to humans anymore!

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Kids rejoice! Universal Studios Japan to get Yo-kai Watch attraction this summer

No trip to the Kansai region is complete without a visit to Universal Studios Japan. With a wide range of attractions featuring beloved franchises from Harry Potter to Resident Evil, it’s got something for everyone, and it’s definitely not just for kids!

Having said that, we’re betting that kid-favourite mega-series Yo-Kai Watch‘s attraction is going to be bringing in a lot of little ones and parents when it opens this summer! (Hey, it’ll free up the other attractions for the rest of us!)

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Spotted in Japan: seriously stylish Japannequins

Someone in this store has been having a bit of fun with the mannequins; or should we say Japannequins. These mannequins seem unusually flexible, even boasting poseable fingers, and have been contorted into poses that many Japanese people would recognize – but do you?

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NEET “recruitment” video pokes fun at Japan’s laziest

It’s April, and in Japan that means a whole new crop of young, fresh-faced workers politely inching their way onto packed trains and nervously trotting into office buildings while wearing suspiciously clean and pressed office attire.

But what of the lazier portion of the population? The folks who are no longer in education, have yet to secure gainful employment or are undergoing training to become something worthwhile? These NEETs, as they’re known in Japan, have a busy schedule ahead of them as they settle into a daily routine of doing “sweet FA“, as my mother might say. But being a true slacker involves a surprising amount of work, as this great little parody video tells us.

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Haruki Murakami’s solution to the nuclear power debate in Japan: Actually call it “nuclear power”

You may have heard that legendary Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami runs a blog where he answers questions sent in by readers. He’s tackled subjects ranging from the meaning of life to how to become a writer to what animal ability he’d like to have.

In one of his most recent questions, Murakami gives his opinion on a very touchy subject in Japan: nuclear power. Instead of calling out for reform or regulations though, he suggests one very simple change: that Japanese people refer to what they currently call “atomic energy power plants” as “nuclear power plants” instead.

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Chinese man juggled 17 girlfriends, until they all found out at once (or did they?)

It would be every adulterous man’s worst nightmare to wake up to find out that both of his girlfriends not only crossed paths, but realized his infidelity at the exact same time. But that’s nothing compared to what one Chinese man – whom we’ve dubbed “The Master of Cheating” – probably went through after all 17 of his girlfriends got wind of his antics simultaneously.

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Ghibli anime director Isao Takahata receives France’s prestigious Ordre des Arts et des Lettres

Anime fans around the world were disappointed in February when The Tale of Princess Kaguya, which all signs point to being the final directorial effort from veteran filmmaker Isao Takahata, failed to capture the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

Still, it’s unlikely the low-key Takahata himself got too worked up over the result, given the many accolades he’s received over his almost 50-year career. Besides, this week Takahata had another honor bestowed upon him, as he was given the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French government.

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You should visit Osaka’s first rescue cat cafe so I don’t have to

I’m going to confess something that, this being the Internet, I’m almost certain is going to make me deeply unpopular and possibly get me fired from my writing job: I hate cats.

I hate ’em. I hate them so much that, apropos of nothing, the very idea of cats and how much I hate them pops into my mind a few times a day even when there are no cats around to spur my ire. I hate them when the three or four strays in my neighborhood wake me up in the middle of the night with their incessant mewling and fighting. I hate them when they get too close and trigger my allergies. I hate them in a box, I hate them with a fox, I hate them with a mouse, and I certainly hate them in my house.

That said, I think the new rescue cat cafe, SAVE CAT CAFE, which opened in Osaka on April 1, is just the cat’s meow.

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Nurse cosplay: Would-be Hiroshima City Councilwoman’s innovative campaign tactic

With over a million people living in Hiroshima, we imagine at least a few residents are still undecided about who to support in the upcoming city council elections. But with less than a month until they cast their votes, it’s time for them to start narrowing down their selection.

The multitude of political parties in Japan means that sometimes candidates can start to blur together in voters’ minds, though. Standing out from the crowd isn’t a problem for Naomi Kikuura, however. After all, when was the last time you saw a would-be city councilwoman appear in her political ads doing nurse cosplay?

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Russian illustrator wows with bold, simple art in tribute to Studio Ghibli【Pictures】

The characters and scenery of Studio Ghibli movies inspire all kinds of artwork by fans, from impressively detailed posters to super-minimalist art. Russian artist mr von ungarn has been delighting and perplexing Japanese netizens with his adorable, naive-style depictions of our favourite Ghibli characters. Check them out after the jump/

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Snow sakura! Spring and winter collide as frost and cherry blossoms mingle in Japan 【Photos】

As I sit here writing this, it’s been a solid four days since I’ve seen a patch of blue sky. That’s hard enough on someone who grew up in sun-drenched southern California, but what makes it worse is that right now the cherry blossoms are blooming across Japan, and the week-long forecast of cold and precipitation isn’t what many were hoping for as they made plans to head out and admire the short-lived flowers.

But while sakura in the sun are always preferable to sakura in the rain, once the temperature dips down low enough, the flowers become captivating in a whole new way, as shown in these beautiful photos of cherry blossoms in the snow.

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Glassware for dining at the V? Panty-clad cups selling fast 【Photos】

Sometimes a story comes across your desk that is so wacko, you just sit and stare at it for ages trying to wrap your brain around it. That happened to me this morning when I saw that an unusual item at the built-to-order site Dwango.jp was selling fast. That item? Hand-blown panty-wearing drinking glasses at a whopping 8,640 yen (US$72.12) a pop.

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Fear of failure could be behind the extremely low happiness rate among Japanese men

Recently the world got a look at the busy world of salarymen in Japan via a viral video, but there were also some slight reassurances that these company men didn’t necessarily hate their lives. We may have been a bit too optimistic, however, because a study done last year found that less than 30 percent of Japanese man can confidently say, “I am happy.” Well… that’s some statistic.

What’s behind the unhappiness factor among Japanese men? Bad marriages, work problems, convenience store diets? Accomplished Japanese author Reiko Yuyama gives her two yen on the root of the problem.

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Sailor Moon Silver Crystal magnet paper clip chalice helps maintain order in Moon Kingdom, desks

Out of the many magical artifacts Sailor Moon comes across during the course of her adventures, few can match the power of the Illusory Silver Crystal. Maybe that’s why when merchandiser Bandai offers some new anime trinket that includes the gem, it seemingly feels that the replica Silver Crystal also needs to have some sort of innate power.

Previously, fans could use the Illusory Silver Crystal to keep their homes smelling nice. Now, the crystal that helped Queen Serenity maintain order in the Moon Kingdom will help you maintain order on your desk, with this Rainbow Moon Chalice Sailor Moon paper clip case.

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The times they are a-changin’: Snapshots of Tokyo 50 years ago vs. today【Photos】

Once upon a time, Tokyo was nowhere near the sprawling megalopolis that it is today. Long ago, it wasn’t a sure thing that the small fishing village known as Edo would someday become one of the most bustling cities in the world.

But let’s skip Tokyo’s early years and fast-forward to a slightly more recent age. Ever wondered what the city looked like half a century ago, before the towering skyscrapers and iconic neon lights? Today, we are proud to present a visual comparison of Tokyo, 50 years ago versus the modern day!

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Pint-sized string quartet Joyous String does an awesome Smooth Criminal

Tiny, adorable, and blessed with bags of musical talent – meet Joyous String, a four-kid string quartet with musical aptitude way beyond their years. They’ve been playing together since they were just four years old, and have progressed to the point where they can produce a flawless rendition of the Michael Jackson classic “Smooth Criminal” without even breaking a sweat. These are some seriously talented kids!

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