“Sausage bread boys” – The heavy-set men set to become Japan’s most eligible bachelors

“Sausage bread boys” – The heavy-set men set to become Japan’s most eligible bachelors

For the past several years, the three most fashionably ideal body types in Japan have been ‘slim,’ ‘slender,’ and ‘easily tossed about by a light spring breeze.’ And while like most societies, Japan generally casts a sterner eye on women than men with a higher than average body-fat percentage, this “skinny is best” mentality has largely applied to males as well, as any guy who’s tried on a pair of pants at a fashionable Tokyo retailer can attest to.

Recently, though, a shift seems to be occurring, with a rise in popularity of heavier women who have been dubbed “marshmallow girls,” who’ve even formed an idol singer unit now and won legions of fans.

Next, it seems like Japan might be poised to show some big love for big guys, with one magazine heralding the upcoming age of what it’s calling “sausage bread boys.”

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New McDonald’s Japan menu item is lazy, looks suspiciously like dog food, says Japanese Net

New McDonald’s Japan menu item is lazy, looks suspiciously like dog food, says Japanese Net

Not everybody has time to cook a solid, healthy meal on their own every morning for breakfast. We get that. Hell, sometimes we’re forced to drink the leftover grease from last night’s KFC bucket just for some kind of nourishment as we dash out the door, so who are we to judge when someone opts for a fast food breakfast?

But imagine plopping down 619 yen (US$6) for the newest McDonald’s breakfast item you’d been waiting for, only for the cashier to present you with a heaping plate of random food bits that look like they were scraped together from various leftovers they found lying around in the kitchen.

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Capcom Japan’s April Fool is awesome, nyansensical

Capcom Japan’s April Fool is awesome, nyansensical

Ah, it’s been a great day for April Fools’ pranks this year, what with Google treating us to a worldwide pokémon outbreak and car maker BMW unveiling its “ZZZ” series sleep machine (any others I missed?). And now, Capcom – the Japanese company behind video game greats such as Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, and Mega Man – has announced that it is launching special dubbed versions of its top titles.

That’s right, folks, all of your favourite Capcom games are now available in neko-gocat language“, allowing Japan’s nyan population to join in the gaming fun.

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You won’t believe what’s at the end of this 4-hour line

You won’t believe what’s at the end of this 4-hour line

April 1 marks the beginning of the new fiscal year in Japan, and this year it also marks a big change for Japan: the consumption tax jumped from 5% to 8% starting at midnight. With that hike on the horizon, many Japanese spend March 31 stocking up on daily necessities, making big purchases and otherwise trying to save a few yen.

Twitter user @TYudai snapped this picture at Shin-Yurigaoka station that day. The sign reads, “The wait from this point is 4 hours.” Can you guess what high-demand item these people were patiently waiting to get their hands on?

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Simulation shows the chaotic consequences of walking in Shibuya while staring at your phone

Simulation shows the chaotic consequences of walking in Shibuya while staring at your phone

In recent years, Shibuya’s scramble intersection has shot to international fame as a symbol of the sheer energy and extreme congestion that can be found in downtown Tokyo. The five-road nexus is one of the busiest crossings in the world, and it’s not unusual to see as many as 1,500 people making their way across it – usually in opposite directions – when traffic in all directions stops.

With such a massive amount of pedestrians trying to get to the other side, navigating the scramble intersection without careening into anyone can be a tricky affair, especially with three giant video screens and several times as many mini-skirted legs pulling your attention away. But what if we added yet another distraction, in the form of every single person staring at their smartphone as they crossed? How many collisions would we see then? 10? 20? 50?

Try hundreds.

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The top overpriced products in Japan

The top overpriced products in Japan

Tokyo and its big city cousin to the south, Osaka, are consistently voted among the most expensive places in the world in international polls. Japan in general is notorious for its high prices, prompting many potential visitors to choose a different, more cost-effective destination. Sure, from an outside perspective, prices in Japan are more than most are used to, but what do those who actually live there think? Japanese website, Ameba News, asked 570 working Japanese adults to name any products they felt weren’t priced correctly, whether too expensive or too cheap. The results may surprised you.

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“Business Nail” – the latest trend among young Japanese businessmen looking to get ahead

“Business Nail” – the latest trend among young Japanese businessmen looking to get ahead

In a country where concepts like uniformity and social cohesion are praised from kindergarten to retirement, and where those who seek out their own paths are considered quirky at best and troublesome renegades at worst, it is difficult for young professionals in Japan to stand out and make a name for themselves. For men especially, who more often than not must don the same black suit, white shirt and neutral-coloured necktie combo as their millions of peers, it’s easy to become just another face in the commuter crowd.

But a new generation of young businessmen has recently started bucking social trends in order to do precisely what they were always discouraged from: stand out and get noticed. Known as bijinesu neiru (“business nail”), thousands of men working in industries from pharmaceuticals to video game design are now paying hundreds of dollars a week to have their fingernails prettied up with gemstones, pastel-pinks, hearts and even company logos, with many claiming that, since getting their nails done, they have been rewarded with pay rises and promotions, and now have more friends and lovers than they could ever have dreamed.

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Capybara enjoying a meal at Ueno Zoo treats us to the herbivore’s version of “Hana Yori Dango”

Capybara enjoying a meal at Ueno Zoo treats us to the herbivore’s version of “Hana Yori Dango”

As our readers may be well aware, we Japanese have a passion for the sakura, or cherry trees, turning it into a huge social event when they’re in bloom each spring, even though they last for only about a week. We’re also quite fond of capybaras, as you can tell from the way we delight in pampering them in hot spring baths, and also creating mascot characters out of them as well. Well, we’re right in the middle of sakura season in Tokyo now, and we’ve found a cute little picture that combines these two seemingly unrelated subjects in a delightfully unexpected way. Yes, straight from Ueno, one of the most famous sakura-viewing areas in Tokyo, we bring to you this lovely photo that has captured the hearts of Japanese netizens and gives renewed meaning to the Japanese expression, “hana yori dango.”

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Are Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and The Little Mermaid all dating the same prince?

Are Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and The Little Mermaid all dating the same prince?

If we’re going strictly by the Disney versions, most people could tell you that the respective heroines of The Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White are respectively Ariel, Aurora, and Snow White. A tougher trivia question, though, is to name their three princes.

As the most recent of the bunch to appear on the screen, Ariel’s Eric might not be too hard to recall, but how many remember that Aurora’s betrothed is named Phillip? And as for Snow White, we never learn the name of the man who wakes her with a kiss, as not once in the movie is he referred to as “Prince Charming.”

Actually, if we go back further, to the original fairy tales these Disney classics were based on, many times the male lead is simply called “the prince.” While it’s possible this is because of their relatively small and interchangeable roles in those stories, one mother in Japan has another theory: the same prince stole the heart of the Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White.

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Is North Korea really forcing its young men to get Kim Jong-un’s haircut? Probably not…

Is North Korea really forcing its young men to get Kim Jong-un’s haircut? Probably not…

When it comes to North Korea it is almost impossible to tell the difference between truth and rumor. And, you know, the reclusive country really has to shoulder some of the blame here–it’s hard to do fact checking when your subject responds to questions with poorly aimed missile launches!

However, when news broke last week that Pyongyang was now requiring all male university students to cut their hair like Kim Jong-un, we couldn’t stop an eyebrow from rising and thinking, “Wait, really?” As for whether or not it’s true, well, we think we have a solid answer…or as close to a solid answer as you can get when it comes to North Korea.

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Google kicks off April Fools’ Day with a Google Maps Pokemon Challenge that’s actually real…kinda

Google kicks off April Fools’ Day with a Google Maps Pokemon Challenge that’s actually real…kinda

As you might expect, Google is up to its usual pranks in honor of April Fools’ Day, but this time, they’ve created something that’s actually playable that allows any Google Maps user to be the very best, like no one ever was.

The Google Maps Pokemon Challenge was announced in the form of an awesome YouTube video, with specific details on how to gain the coveted title of any 90s kid: Pokémon Master. Brian McClendon, Vice President of Google Maps, explains, “Now using the technology created by the Google Maps team, we’ve prepared the most rigorous test known to man to find the world’s best Pokémon Master.”

But this year, Google has one extra trick up their sleeve, allowing anyone to actually catch Pokémon on Google Maps.

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Cat shoes – so you’ll always land on your fashionable feet

Cat shoes – so you’ll always land on your fashionable feet

With feline-inspired marshmallows, lattes, and confectionaries, you could actually spend the whole day in Japan consuming nothing but cat-shaped treats. But while that diet would easily help you meet your recommended daily requirements of cuteness, there’re also a lot of calories in those feline-inspired delicacies.

Still, there’s nothing wrong with the occasional indulgence, as long as you also get enough exercise to balance the scales as opposed to tipping them. Going for a nice, after-dessert walk can be a great way to burn off some of those calories you just took in, and it only makes sense that if your love of cats is what got the cycle started, it should be there with you for the next step, too, with these cat-shaped shoes from online retailer Rakuten.

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Japanese convenience stores set to somehow get even more awesome this year

Japanese convenience stores set to somehow get even more awesome this year

Japanese convenience stores are – as we’ve spoken about before – so awesome that if they offered to let you sleep on a cot in the backroom, you could live in one for your whole life and basically never want for anything.

In addition to all the delicious junk food, the endlessly flowing booze, coffee and other drinks, the ready-made meals (that have a sort of “slithery” quality and are one of the few things in a convenience store you should stay away from), and various daily necessities odds and ends, you can also withdraw cash, buy tickets for soccer matches, concerts and events, make copies, print photos, and probably clone your pet or something.

But, starting in 2014, things are about to get even more awesome. Check out the things you’ll soon be able to do at your local combini!

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International Court of Justice orders halt to Japanese whaling

International Court of Justice orders halt to Japanese whaling

It’s no secret that you can buy whale meat in Japan. It’s served in schools to young children and even offered up 16 different ways at this shop in Tokyo. In fact, the Japanese have had a history of whaling that dates back to the 12th century. In recent history, however, Japan’s whaling program has been condemned by the international community and its practice of consuming whale meat proven unhealthy. But both whaling and the eating of whale meat, whether you agree with it or not, may be a thing of the past as a result of a recent ruling by the International Court of Justice.

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Final Fantasy café puts spirits within you with materia cocktails, chocolate buster swords

Final Fantasy café puts spirits within you with materia cocktails, chocolate buster swords

With well over 20 years since the original Final Fantasy was released, everyone who was old enough to enjoy developer Square Enix’s hugely successful video game franchise from the very start is legally old enough to drink in Japan. So when we heard tale of a realm/café run by the company, called Artnia, where we could combine our passions for role-playing games and alcoholic beverages, we were intrigued, and when rumors reached us of chocolate buster swords, we were out the door.

Our journey took us through pitch black tunnels, subterranean cities, and secluded forests, but we persevered, and have returned to tell all of our adventures.

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Step aside, Hachiko! Yamaguchi’s Cat Temple offers a samurai tale of feline fealty

Step aside, Hachiko! Yamaguchi’s Cat Temple offers a samurai tale of feline fealty

Nearly every guide book for Japan mentions Hachiko, the dog who patiently waited every day for nine years in the 1920s and ‘30s in front of Shibuya Station for his master to come home, never knowing that the man had passed away at the office. It’s a touching story of devotion, and one so well-known Hachiko now has his own statue near his waiting spot.

However, some argue that Hachiko didn’t come to the station every day because he was hoping for his master to return, but because of the free handouts of food he got once he became a local celebrity. Could it be that the friendly pooch actually isn’t the epitome of animal-human loyalty?

Maybe that title would be a better fit for a cat that lived hundreds of years before Hachiko was even born, and displayed such fealty to its samurai master that its entire species is honored at their own Cat Temple.

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Take your love of touching imitation breasts out on the go with Puni Puni Case For iPhone

Take your love of touching imitation breasts out on the go with Puni Puni Case For iPhone

Of course we all enjoy the mouse-pads with silicone filled breasts that we have at home. Like a scene you might find in a Norman Rockwell painting, there’s nothing more wholesome than an otaku bathing in the glow of their monitor in a darkened room, pinching those little sacs with an anime girl printed on it, is there?

But this enjoyment can only be had in our homes. In the hustle and bustle of the modern world it’s hard to find such enjoyment outside. Luckily, now with Puni Puni Case for the iPhone 5 and 5S you can enjoy a fulfilling life without having to sacrifice the freedom to pinch cartoon boobies.

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Banish the Monday blues with bunnies! 【Monday Kickstart】

Banish the Monday blues with bunnies! 【Monday Kickstart】

Yep, unfortunately it’s Monday again. It just doesn’t take the hint, does it? It’s like that kid no one ever wants at the party, but who just keeps turning up anyway.

So to ease you on your way into the week, we’ve got some cute little bunnykins who are all dealing with the dreaded Monday in their own special ways.

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We try renowned patissier’s honey-sweet creation available for just one day

We try renowned patissier’s honey-sweet creation available for just one day

Tokyo, as you know, is a huge metropolis where millions of people work in countless offices. But did you know that there are also some winged critters keeping busy every day in the middle of Tokyo to provide us with sweet nourishment? Yes, there are honey bees actually being cultured here in Tokyo for honey production, and at the shopping/dining/entertainment complex Hikarie in Shibuya, some special honey products were recently offered in connection with the date of March 28, which they designated honey bee day (because the numbers three, two and eight can be called mi for three, tsu for two in English and hachi for eight, which when combined sound like the word mitsubachi for honey bee in Japanese).

One of the items was a very special cake called the Miel Baum, created by renowned Japanese patissier Toshi Yoroizuka. And what made this cake so special? For one thing, it was made using honey collected right there in Shibuya, and secondly, it was sold on one day only — March 28. A cake made by a famous patissier using Shibuya-grown honey and available for just one day? Now that, we just had to try!

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What do a zebrafish and Dragon Ball’s Krillin have in common?

What do a zebrafish and Dragon Ball’s Krillin have in common?

The zebrafish is an interesting member of the minnow family for a number of reasons. They cute, fairly cheap, and relatively easy to take care of as pets making them great for warming up the old homestead. On the other hand, they are widely used in labs due to their speedy reproduction and development along with their fully sequenced genome.

Krillin, meanwhile, is an interesting recurring character of the Dragon Ball series. The most popular fully human character, he has developed the power of flight and powerful energy disc. He’s also one of the more versatile dressers of the series sporting outfits and hairstyles beyond his fighting gear.

So what is it that connects this fictional fighter to the freshwater fish?

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