According to police reports, there are still more than 16 million people living in refugee shelters after last month’s earthquake as of April 4th.

The shelters, though a step up from complete homelessness, are far from bastions of comfort. Hundreds of people are living under the same roof, their privacy guarded only by makeshift cardboard partitions. Thanks to relief efforts some basic necessities are made available, but people continue to struggle in the absence of everyday goods.

While those displaced by the earthquake have nothing to do but wait for a return to a normal lifestyle, a website designer known as NOSIGNER has created a wiki called OLIVE for users share practical ideas to help with life in the shelters.

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Café Latino sits in the quiet residential area of Asakusa, and seems to be your average urban curry restaurant with cozy, modern decor. Certainly, one wouldn’t expect to find something like ‘Strawberry Curry’ on the menu.

Part of Café Latino’s spring-only menu, Strawberry Curry is available from late December to mid-March and requires a reservation for customers who wish to order it. We put in ours, and made our way to the restaurant to see how this unlikely combination holds up.

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Koreans Upset with Tshirt Meant for Charity

American apparel brand, J. Crew, sold t-shirts meant to benefit those people affected by the recent disaster in Japan, however they ended up generating controversy over the design. The design consisted of a map of Japan that included a reference to the “Sea of Japan”. The reference angered Korean customers, who argue that the geographic feature should be renamed the “East Sea”, and they then complained vociferously on the internet. In response, J. Crew removed the t-shirt from shelves.

J.Crew announced that they stopped the sales of the shirt and had made plans to change the design. The product page cannot be found anymore on their website. In response to the changes, Korean internet users posted declarations such as, “They should have acted faster”, and “We should keep an eye on their new design too”.

In March the Japanese Ministry of Health announced that it had detected radiation levels exceeding safety standards in vegetables from Fukushima and the neighboring prefecture of Ibaraki. Despite government efforts to assure the public that no contaminated products had been shipped to supermarkets, consumers across Japan have been spooked from buying produce from the affected areas. As a result, farmers in Fukushima and Ibaraki—even those whose crops remain uncontaminated—are struggling to cope with financial insecurity as they face a sudden drop in demand.

In response, a farmer’s market-like event titled “Blow Away Restrained Buying! Support Fukushima and Ibaraki Farmers!” has been launched to calm public radiation fears by inviting farmers from these regions to Tokyo to sell their produce directly, and have customers test for radiation themselves.

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SOFTBANK CEO Donates $120 Million Plus Entire Salary Until Retirement to Earthquake Relief

Japanese telecommunications and media conglomerate Softbank Group announced on its website that its CEO Son Masayoshi will personally donate US$120 million, as well as his entire salary until retirement, to assist the victims of last month’s earthquake and tsunami.

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A young mother’s blog containing entries of her inability to love her four-year-old daughter is creating controversy in Japan.

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The neighborhood of Ximending is located in the Northeastern part of Taipei, and is the Taiwanese hub of fashion and Japanese culture. Often referred to as the “the Harajuku of Taipei,” many fascinating sights can be seen just by walking up and down the streets, looking around at the numerous shops, and observing the customers that fill them.

Your reporters in Taipei recently stumbled across a food vendor that sells a corn dog-like concoction made by baking a sausage, coated in hotcake batter, in a special iron grill shaped like a penis.

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The 2001 comedy film “Shaolin Soccer” caused a sensation at Hong Kong box offices, becoming the highest grossing film in Hong Kong cinema history at the time. The film tells the story of a group of six Shaolin monks who draw on their acrobatic and martial arts skills to play soccer and spread the word of Shaolin kung fu to the masses.

While the superhuman ability of the monks in the movie is something confined to the realm of fantasy, the real warrior monks of the famous Shaolin Monastery are currently training to make ‘Shaolin soccer’ a reality.

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With a death toll exceeding 2000, the coastal town of Ishinomaki, Miyagi was one of the hardest hit during the Tohoku Earthquake and resulting tsunami. Here, in the aftermath of the disaster, 15-year-old Shuuya Kikuchi spent hours wading through ice-cold water and rescuing elderly people trapped in their cars.

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Following the Texas Burger 2, the next in McDonald’s Big America 2 series was the Idaho Burger, offered from January 28th to February 11th. With the Idaho Burger, McDonald’s Japan aimed to create a flavor that represents the “meeting of beef hamburger and the blessings of American soil.”

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A recent Taiwanese fad involves photo studios that offer a special ‘transformation’ service. Women have their hair and makeup done professionally, choose from a selection of fancy clothes, and have their own glamorous photo shoot. These studios are known for being popular with female travelers, but in the city of Gaoxiong there is a certain photo studio that specializes in glamming up men to look like women.

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Ramen is an extremely versatile food, and you’d be hard pressed to find a flavor and topping combination that doesn’t please the tongue. Many people enjoy putting this all-purpose dish to the test, adding increasingly more unconventional ingredients to see how the taste holds up. One such novel ramen dish has recently caught our attention: ice-cream cone ramen.
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“We all are in hardship, but hang in there”

This is from a handwritten note posted onto the entrance door at the City Hall building in Natory City, Miyagi prefecture. The note was written by Takuya Saijo, a government employee who worked at City Hall. He lost his 8-month old son Naoto in the tsunami of March 11, 2011. His wife Yuriko is still missing. Read More

Most custom gaming keyboards are designed to give the user an edge by allowing for more efficient control. However, Japanese game maker Circus saw an untapped market, and decided to produce their own customized keyboard with focus on aesthetics over functionality. Read More

Responding to the ongoing devastation caused by last Friday’s earthquake, popular Japanese actress/gravure model Asami Tada has updated her blog (NSFW) with an appeal to join her in donating an “Adult’s Thousand Paper Cranes.”

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Convenient Store Prioritizes Food Distribution to Disaster Areas, “In Accordance With Our Mission as a Convenience Store”

Major chain convenience store, Lawson, has stated that it is prioritizing the delivery of food from distributors across over the country to refugee shelters and stores in the earthquake-affected Touhoku region.

The initiative was announced on the Lawson website, stating: “We wish to offer our deepest sympathies to everyone affected by this disaster. We pray that those who lost their lives may find happiness in the next world, and that rescue may reach those who need it as soon as possible. We at Lawson, in accordance with our mission as a convenience store, will be maximizing priority of food distribution to stores in disaster-stricken areas.

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Panic in Shinjuku Area of Tokyo after the Big Shake

・A long queue for a public phone, due to jamming of the mobile network.

・There was no sign of breaking windows.

・Public transportation such as JR commuter trains and subways stopped

・People tried to catch taxis to return home, but there were not enough available.

・Shinjuku Gyoen Park usually charges for entrance, but they opened for free as an evacuation shelter.

・Some people went to their Kobans, which are neighborhood police sub-stations, to gather more infomration.

・Technologies like WiFi worked well, although the mobile phone network became flooded. Some people used their computers on the street to get news or communicate with their families via Skype.

・A crowd tried to get the latest news from a big screen on a building near the Shinjuku South Exit.

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Wanna Try Frog Ramen?

Have you ever eaten frog meat? Frog is a common ingredient in the cuisines of some of the world’s cultures, but would you think of frog meat as a topping for Japanese food such as ramen?

A ramen restaurant in Nagoya does exactly that. The owner loves the taste of frogs so much that he started using fresh frog meat for his main ramen dish. He even changed the same of his restaurant to “Kaeru”, the Japanese word for frog.

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Ah, the peaceful city of Kamakura. Only an hour train ride south of Tokyo, its abundant temples, shrines and other historical landmarks make it a fantastic getaway from the turbulent life of the nearby metropolis.

Near Kamakura Station sits the small crêpe shop Kokuriko, which holds a reputation among the locals for serving the most delicious crêpes in the area. It’s known in particular for its characteristic thin and crispy crêpes; though rather flat without any extra fillings, the combination of savory batter and a medley of rich sauces compensate volume with zest.

Naturally, Kokuriko is popular with many tourists who often eat their crêpes as they stroll toward their next sightseeing destination. Let’s say you order a Whipped Cream and Banana Crêpe (450 yen) and decide to make your way to see the Great Buddha.

And then, tragedy.

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Social network service Twitter provides users with a legitimate platform to casually write whatever thoughts may come to their head. Unsurprisingly, there have been many instances of people posting thoughts they probably should have kept to themselves. The fallout from these cyber-gaffes is usually limited to people having a few laughs at the poster’s expense, or some loss in credibility for those with more celebrity.

However, several ‘tweets’ on Chinese Twitter clone Zuosa have recently caused an uproar among the Internet masses for their cold-heartedness, and the utter lack of common sense requisite to post them.

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