Chick-shaped pudding from Nagoya is so cute we’re tempted to keep it as a pet

Even though it doesn’t have anything close to the number of sightseeing options in Tokyo or Kyoto, should you find yourself in Nagoya, consider yourself lucky. The city is one of Japan’s underappreciated gastronomic gems, and if you have the chance, you owe it to yourself to try the chicken wings made from the regional fowl, called kochin.

This being Japan, though, if there’s the opportunity to make food cute, someone’s going to do it, which is where this adorable chick-shaped custard pudding, made with kochin eggs, comes in.

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Neat idea turns fast food tray and smartphone into functional football game

With the World Cup fast approaching, football fever (that’s soccer mania, for our American readers) is taking over fans everywhere, but perhaps nowhere more so than in already football-manic host country Brazil.

One fast food chain there has hit on a football-related promotion far more fun than the usual athlete endorsement: allowing customers to turn their food trays into a 3-D video game and shoot penalty kicks at a smartphone-sized goalie.

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“Recycling in Japan” or “Reasons to get it right and avoid eternal shame”

Is Japan’s recycling system the most complicated in the world? It sure feels like it sometimes. Household waste must of course be separated into burnable and non-burnable, but after that there’s a dizzying array of recycling categories to break your non-burnables into. Since Japan is a relatively small country without masses of land to use for burying waste, the vast majority of waste used to be incinerated. However, with increasing ecological awareness in the 1990s came new legislation to minimise the amount of waste being burnt, and promote recycling.

Public awareness of the need to recycle is high, but the system can be baffling for new foreign residents. The problem lies not only in the array of recycling categories, but also in the apparent overlap between them: the grey areas. Is an empty pizza box considered recycled paper? Or is it burnable? Paper packages? “Other”? And if a bottle is made of a different type of plastic to the standard PET, is still a “pet bottle”, or is it just “plastic”?

Today we bring you six reasons to learn what goes in what box, and a few hints for getting it right along the way.

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What everyday object has now been declared illegal to bring onto the Chinese mainland?

The People’s Republic of China has always been strict about what is  and is not allowed into the country. Now authorities can add one more thing to the list of forbidden articles after the emergence of this particular item. Some are even going so far as to say that the government fears it more than anything, and is consequently keeping certain unstable areas of the country under high surveillance.

Any guesses as to what this banned item could be?

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Check out these super-ultra-teeny-tiny bonsai! 【Photos】

We’ve showcased some pretty impressive photos of bonsai here recently, but this new batch takes the tiny proverbial cake. You probably know that bonsai is the traditional art form of sculpting miniature trees in pots, but these photos raise the question, “Just how miniature can you get?

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Fallen cherry blossoms make gorgeous “sakura carpet” at Hirosaki Park 【Photos】

Seeing a park full of cherry trees in full bloom is remarkable, much like walking through a cotton candy wonderland, but even after the delicate pink petals begin to fall, they continue to offer new perspectives, many so beloved they’ve got their own word in Japanese. There’s hanafubuki, or the blizzard of petals that engulfs you when the wind picks up. There’s hazakura, the young leaves of the tree revealed once the blossoms have fallen. And there’s hanaigata or flower raft, a gathering of fallen petals on water.

At one of the most famous sakura-viewing spots in Aomori, Hirosaki Park, the little pink petals from the park’s 2,600 cherry trees gather so thick and fast on the waterways that they’ve stopped resembling rafts and completely covered the surface of the water, leading to the coining of a new phrase: sakura no juutan or the cherry blossom carpet.

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We try churros from McDonald’s Japan

Churros are especially popular in Spain and Portugal, but those in Japan have encountered the delicious deep-fried snack at Tokyo Disneyland, Universal Studios Japan, and more recently, Mister Donut. Because of Japan’s familiarity with churros, the new McChurro from, you guessed, McDonald’s, has caught consumers off guard as it looks more like a flaky pastry. And so we headed to McDonald’s to check it out ourselves. Read More

The tiniest, most detailed Kamen Rider you have ever seen!

In the US, some of the most common roadside attractions are the “World’s Largest Whatever”: World’s Largest Ketchup Bottle, World’s Largest Ball of Rubber Bands, World’s Largest Rocking Chair, World’s Largest Golf Ball, World’s Largest Ball of Twine, all real and all in the United States.

But why go big, when you can go small…like, really small. How about a 1.5cm (0.6 inch) tall Kamen Rider figure? What’s more, you’ll be able to get one of them in Japan really soon!

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Japanese Twitter users weigh in on the high-waist bikini debate

Japanese fashion magazines seem to be serious in declaring the high-waist bikini the hot look for the upcoming swimsuit season. Of course, we’ve had unique fashionistas try to sell us on keyboard hats and sausage gloves, neither of which turned out to be the next big thing.

So, with just a little over a month before it’s time to hit the beach, how does the Japanese online community feel about the high-waist bikini?

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Delicious fried chicken or adorable puppies? You decide

Take a quick look at the picture above. Does it make you hungry? Or did you uncontrollably scream out “cuuute!”? One Twitter user has been gaining a lot of attention for getting a bit of a grumble in his stomach at the sight of this image. But we really can’t blame him…they look so delicious!

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Toy maker offers new toy storage and safekeeping service so you can buy more toys

Bandai is giving otaku (especially of the fourth category) all over Japan yet another reason to be grateful. The mother of all toy, video game and anime distributors is introducing their new figure storage service. That’s right, if your living space looks like an anime convention storage locker, Bandai’s got your back.

For a small monthly fee, you can now store your goodies by the box, which means you no longer have to sleep with your beloved figures in your bed—that is, unless, you choose to.

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Denny’s Japan to serve ‘the most delicious food in the world’

From May 27 you will apparently be able to eat ‘the most delicious food in the world’ at family restaurant chain Denny’s! Are they just blowing their own horn here? Well, not exactly.

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Preorders begin for Attack on Titan iPhones cases

We can’t imagine a more dedicated way to show off your love of hit anime Attack on Titan than by strapping on a pair of replicas of the heroes’ giant-killing swords whenever you step out of the house. What we can imagine, though, is the blades clashing with the rest of many peoples’ wardrobes, not to mention earning them the unwanted attention of their local police department should they happen to live in a municipality where defending yourself from 60-meter tall monsters isn’t a daily concern.

Thankfully, if you’re looking for anime accessories that are less bulky/deadly, the makers of the Attack on Titan iPhone case have announced they’ve started taking orders.

Price, details, and lots of delicious photos after the jump!

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Hey! Somebody parked their Gundam car in the middle of this Tokyo theater!

Believe it or not, the anime with a character named Full Frontal isn’t an animated porno, as Mr. Frontal is actually the villain in Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn

As with most installments of the Gundam saga, Unicorn isn’t really a direct sequel to any of the more than two dozen pre-existing anime to bear the Gundam name. Still, there’re plenty of winks and nods to fans who’ve been around since the franchise’s start. Full Frontal’s blond hair, penchant for masks, and complex psychology closely mirror that of the original 1979 Mobile Suit Gundam’s antagonist, Char.

So it’s only fitting that since last year Char got his own car, now Full Frontal has a customized ride too.

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An Indian company is using a cartoon of the shooting of a 14-year-old girl to sell mattresses

In 2012, at the age of 14, a Taliban gunman climbed onto a bus Malala Yousafzai was riding in and shot her in the head. Though she nearly died in the attack, Yousafzai recovered, and courageously returned to advocating on behalf of girls’ education rights. She has become internationally famous for her activism in favor of allowing women the same educational opportunities as men, both in her native Pakistan and abroad.

Unfortunately, the Indian mattress company Kurl-on decided to use the shooting incident as fodder for one of its latest print ads.

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Welsh onion umbrella is perfect for vegetarians and Hatsune Miku fans alike

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine gave me an umbrella with a handle that looks like the hilt of a katana. It’s actually really well-made, while I’ve never had to use the crosspiece to protect my hand from rival swordsmen’s strikes, it does provide a nice bit of extra grip during typhoons and lesser storms with gale-force winds.

There is one problem, though. When it’s closed up, and all you can see is the handle, it looks a little too much like a samurai blade, and I feel a little self-conscious carrying it in public. So maybe it’s time I switched to something a no less unique but a whole lot more innocuous: like an umbrella shaped like a giant Welsh onion.

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Photo captures epic lightning strike to Tokyo Skytree

At 634 meters (2,080 ft), Tokyo Skytree is not only the tallest building in Japan, but also the tallest broadcasting tower in the world and second only to the Burj Khalifa in tallest structures. With all that height and no small amount of metal, a building is bound to get some serious love from lightning strikes, but catching that moment on film is easier said than done as a strike usually lasts between 1-2 microseconds.

This week, Twitter user @KAGAYA_11949 managed to get a great shot nonetheless.

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VR setup now lets you kiss Hatsune Miku, sort of

An enterprising engineer has tinkered with the Oculus Rift, a head-mounted virtual reality device, to make it possible to kiss Hatsune Miku… or at least, a CGI version of her. By attaching infrared sensors to each side of the device, the engineer made it possible to communicate with the Wii remote’s infrared sensor bar. Four infrared lights attached to each corner of the device track your head movements. Two servomoters beneath the device let Miku’s face move in tandem with yours. And as for her lips… those are approximated by a gummy replica between the motors.

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Edward Snowden’s work in Japan motivated his leak of classified material according to new book

The Japanese translation of a recent book by Glenn Greenwald covering his involvement in the events surrounding Edward Snowden’s release of thousands of classified US government documents is set to hit stores on 14 May. As a result, an excerpt from the book was released to the Japanese media, whetting readers’ appetites by mentioning the role Japan played in his decision to turn himself into what some consider an enemy of his state.

On the surface, Japan’s role was fairly incidental. However, the slightly new info helped to reignite an older dispute over the nation’s lack of any sort of substantial anti-espionage laws.

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Kim Jong-Unhealthy? Media reports North Korean leader stress eating, “getting fat”

Usually it’s the Hollywood starlets and sea monsters that get scrutinized for every centimeter their waist expands, but this week, it’s North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un who is under the fat-o-scope.

Free North Korea Radio is reporting the diminutive dictator has ballooned by about 20 kilos (44 pounds) since he became top dog, lending credence to rumors that he has been gorging himself on food and booze to deal with the stress of running his country and executing family and friends.

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