AKB48 fan shows his love the only way he knows how: By buying $300,000 worth of CDs

It’s becoming more and more common for idol singer units in Japan to pump up their sales numbers by offering some kind of special prize to fans who purchase multiple copies of the same CD. Each disc might come with a raffle ticket for a chance to shake hands with the group, and at least one band will let you straight up go on a date with the member of your choice if you buy enough copies.

By far the most coveted prizes are those handed out by Japan’s biggest musical act, AKB48. The loyalty of the supergroup’s fans is legendary, but even with their reputation proceeding them, we’re shocked at just how much cash the unit squeezed out of one ardent supporter.

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Paul McCartney cancels Japan tour due to illness, netizens realize just how often it happens

Recent news of Paul McCartney canceling his Out There Japan Tour 2014 has Japanese fans a little upset, not because they won’t be able to hear “Eight Days a Week” in person, but because of just how often the singer/songwriter/legend doesn’t follow through. Even Paul admits how cool everyone’s been about the canceled concerts, stating, “I’d like to thank my Japanese fans for their love, messages of support and understanding.” Because who can blame the guy, when you’re sick you’re sick, right? And tickets are being refunded, the most expensive of which cost a whopping 100,000 yen (US$984). But it isn’t his sudden illness that has fans outraged, it’s a single photo that’s been floating around on the internet, showing that Paul has canceled on the country of Japan 51 percent of the time.

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Director of Gundam SEED thinks anime has too many regulations

Gundam Seed director Mitsuo Fukuda recently went on a bit of a rant regarding the nature of television in Japan these days via his Twitter account. What started off as an evaluation of the way the morning news is run eventually turned into a critique of what he thought was devaluation of the Japanese people’s interests and opinions. Fukuda remarked that he ended up eventually having to turn off the television, frustrated with what he called a nonsense spouting device.

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Transform!!! Toshiba unveils new laptop that can fold itself into every conceivable position

What with desktops, laptops, all-in-ones and tablets, we now have an enormous amount of choice when it comes to buying a new computer. While many of us enjoy the raw power that giant desktops have to offer, others prefer the simplicity and convenience of tablets with their slim designs and fingerprint-absorbing touchscreens.

With the Kira L93, Japanese electronics giant Toshiba is clearly hoping to cover all of its bases and please even the most indecisive computer buyer. With a 13.3-inch touchscreen that can be rotated 360 degrees, stand, detachable keyboard and stylus, the latest entry in the Dynabook series can be used up to seven different ways, making it one of the most versatile machines on the market.

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This pervert told women there was a cockroach on their clothes so he could grope them【TomoNews Video】

“There’s a cockroach on your shirt!” is the worst pick-up line we’ve heard in years…

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Can’t wait for Sailor Moon Crystal? The original series is now streaming for free on Hulu!

Sailor Moon Crystal, the remake of anime’s most successful magical girl series ever, is set to premiere on July 5. Most people would say this is pretty soon, but for truly dedicated fans of the franchise it’s not nearly soon enough.

If you fall into the second camp, you can now make the waiting a little easier by catching up on the original Sailor Moon series, which you can watch right now for free on video streaming site Hulu.

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We head to France to try Nutella sushi

We’ve brought you sushi doughnuts from Thailand and even cat sushi, but take a look at this Nutella sushi from France. Our office was so intrigued by the sweet Japan-inspired concoction that we sent one of our Japanese reporters over to check it out.

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Japanese fashion comes home: Interior design ideas for Lolita-style living

Japan’s distinctive Lolita fashion is a subculture that is known worldwide. While some wearers of the lace petticoats, bonnets and parasols may treat it as a hobby, dressing more conventionally in their day-to-day life but wearing Lolita outfits at the weekend, for others, Lolita fashion is a full-on lifestyle with principles that they adhere to day in, day out.

So if you want to make your life as Lolita as possible, or just feel that your home needs more cutesy ruffles and buttons, check out these pictures of the new Lolita furniture and homeware range from Japanese online store Romantic Princess. Warning: things are about to get frilly.

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20 signs you might be in India, according to the Internet

An Indian friend once told me that India is a country where “third world” and “first world” meet. You’ve got places that can generally be described by Westerners as “everyday,” and places that are a little more, er… interesting.

In many rural and poor areas – just like in parts of the U.S. – India sees a lot more jury rigging, improvisation, and otherwise unorthodox sights that are reminiscent of one of those “In Russia, hamburger eat you,” memes.

So, in no particular order, here are twenty photos we picked up on the Interwebs that supposedly describe India in a nutshell. Certainly, there’s a lot of cherry picking going on here, so take these pics with a grain of salt. Not all of India is like this. But, to be fair, “20 photos of regular Indian people enjoying brunch” would probably make for a much less interesting compilation.

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These cats have a new favorite pastime: Getting their ears cleaned【Video】

A very common scene in Asian dramas and movies is where the doting parent or significant other fetches an ear pick and starts poking away in the other person’s ears. This event is commonplace in Asian families for reasons ranging from “it’s a lover’s ritual” to simply “I need to get that earwax out of your ear” (BTW: The earwax of Europeans and Africans is apparently different to the earwax of Asians and Native Americans).

Typically, the person getting their ears cleaned has their head in the other person’s lap, their eyes closed, enjoying the ear pick getting to places a finger can never reach. And it turns out that our ever-curious furry feline friends have taken notice of this relaxing event and have decided that they too want their ears cleaned.

And what’s even stranger is, they seem to like it!

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Japanese pop singer’s arrest on drug charges delays Hayao Miyazaki Blu-ray collection

Having grown up in Los Angeles, where celebrity drunk driving arrests are only slightly less common than rainy days, I’m generally not shocked when I hear about an entertainer being in trouble with the law. Things are very different in Japan, though, and whether it’s because those in the public eye are better behaved, more skilful at covering their tracks, or have a cozier relationship with the mass media, stories about major transgressions by performing artists are few and far between.

So when pop musician Aska was recently arrested, it sent shock waves through the country. Of course, if you’re not a fan of Japanese pop music from two decades ago, you probably think the 56-year-old singers legal problems are none of your own.

That’s not the case, though, if you’re a fan of Studio Ghibli anime.

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Alleged hacker Yusuke Katayama publicly confesses to spree of bizarre crimes

It’s been a long, weird ride for Yusuke Katayama. The former IT worker made national headlines this week when he announced he was changing his plea from “not guilty” to “guilty” on all charges including obstruction of business.

The charges against Katayama stem back to a string of threatening online messages that sparked a convoluted investigation full of eccentricities, with the criminal at one point using everything from a Final Fantasy language to a stray cat with key evidence strapped to its neck to taunt the authorities.

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This is probably the best acoustic Super Mario Bros. cover ever 【Video】

The Super Mario Bros. theme, also known as the “ground theme,” “overworld theme,” or perhaps just “da-da-da-dada-da-da!” is arguably the most well-known piece of video game music in the world. First recorded for the NES game in 1985 by Nintendo’s in-house musician Koji Kondo, the track was designed to fit the action and pacing of the platformer, and added a light, whimsical accompaniment to gameplay that might otherwise have felt entirely different without it.

Thousands of people have attempted to tweak and cover this iconic track over the years, tackling it with a variety of instruments. More often than not, the result is the same – a great track is a great track regardless of the person playing it, after all – but occasionally someone with real talent comes along and blow us all away with a rendition that we almost wish Nintendo would include in their next Mario adventure.

Russian guitarist Igor Presnyakov’s cover of the overworld theme is one such rendition.

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Everyday Japanese names that make English speakers chuckle

Funny things, names. In Japan, I am lucky enough to share mine with a delicious kind of stick-chocolate treat, which not only means that I can introduce myself as such: “Fran – you know, like Pocky, but not as cheap”, but also means that I often get given chocolates with my name on the packet, which I can confirm is something of a win-win situation.

My family name, however, is a terrifying mix of Rs, Ls, Ys and Ws that tends to provoke confusion and mild panic here in Japan. I have a good stock line for accurately communicating its spelling and pronunciation in the UK (“Wrigley, like the chewing gum”), and another one for Americans and/or baseball fans (“like Wrigley Field”). I’ve never come up with a good line to use on Japanese people, though, except to awkwardly mutter “um… yeah, sorry, it’s kind of a difficult name. Don’t worry, people in England can’t pronounce it either.”

But what if your name means something embarrassing or just downright odd in another language? Today, we bring you five kinds of Japanese names that make English speakers do a double-take, or a little snort into their coffee.

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Hatsune Miku and Pharrell Williams team up in new remix music video

All-around music guru Pharrell Williams can’t possibly get any “happier” as he continues to ride the waves of last year’s worldwide hit “Happy” into Japan. He released a special Japan-version music video for the song on May 13, and even appeared as a special guest on May 16th’s episode of popular Japanese music variety show Music Station, where he performed in front of an ecstatic Japanese crowd. And the fun doesn’t stop there, because he has yet another treat for his Japanese fans–a collaboration with everyone’s favorite Vocaloid, Hatsune Miku!

Miku, who made a splash for herself last month when it was announced that the virtual idol will be performing as the opening act for part of Lady Gaga’s upcoming world tour, stars alongside Williams in the music video for a remixed version of a Livetune song. The original song serves as the theme song for prolific Japanese artist Takashi Murakami’s directorial debut film. Just wait until you see the adorable avatar version of Williams dancing alongside Miku in the video!

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Dip your feet into some Fondue Slippers

If you’re tired of lace-up sneakers and boring fluffy house slippers, there’s a new type of footwear that’s sure to shake up the shoe industry. Inspired by 1960s house party cuisine, Fondue Slippers are a thin replica of your foot that combines the satisfaction of not wearing shoes with all the fun of melted cheese. They’re kind of like those barefoot running shoes, just without all the false health benefit claims and they’re coming to you straight from (of course) Japan.

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The demise of traditional Japanese tatami flooring?

If you imagine a Japanese room, chances are you think of something like the picture above: a simply furnished room with sliding shōji doors, a tokonoma with a hanging scroll, and a tatami mat floor. These are examples of the virtues of traditional Japan that many foreigners often hear extolled (along with futon, sushi and judo). When they occupy such an important part of Japanese identity, you wouldn’t think they would be in danger of disappearing anytime soon.

However, the demand for tatami mats has gone down by one third in the last 20 years and many artisans are worried the trade will soon be lost, as more and more of them find themselves rapidly aging with no successors to continue the business. Why is it that tatami floors are becoming rare now, after enduring for so long?

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Newsflash: Wii U Zelda hack ‘n’ slasher Hyrule Warriors arriving in Japan on August 14

It may not be the Zelda game that fans of the series are truly craving, but Dynasty Warriors-inspired hack and slasher Hyrule Warriors, or Zelda: Musō (“unparalleled”) in Japan, will reportedly be hitting Japanese shelves on August 14.

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Traffic accidents kill over 300,000 per year in SE Asia, Toyota calls in Taylor Swift to help

For many people around the world, it’s an automatic reaction to buckle up whenever you get into a vehicle. However there are still many countries where, despite having the laws in place, there isn’t much of an awareness of the tragic consequences failing to strap yourself in can have…that’s where Taylor Swift comes in.

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These Disney princess live-action movie posters aren’t real but we’d pay for them anyway

Do you find it slightly disappointing that after all these years, Disney has never made a live-action film featuring the much adored Disney Princesses? I certainly do.

Well, as common nobodies we might not have the ability to start a production for live-action Disney Princess movies, but there is something we all have – our imaginations! Indonesian graphic designer Thomas Kurniawan combined his imagination with some nifty photo-manipulation skills to create these convincing live-action Disney Princess “movie posters”! Check them out!

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