Sex, sushi, and suicide – Everything you need to know about Japan in infographics 【Video】

Hey, you! You’re a busy person! You have status updates to write; tweets about your lunch to send; videos of cats dressed as humans to watch. You don’t have time to read things like some kind of ridiculous, well-educated duck.

So instead watch this video, which tells you everything there is to know about Japan – covering population, annual food wastage, social awkwardness and much more – in just 10 minutes and 59 seconds.

Go! Time is of the essence!

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She’s a doll, literally — Sailor Moon set to delight fans in cute three-dimensional form!

Fans may be counting the days with anticipation until the launch of the new Sailor Moon anime series in July, but in the meantime, the good folks at Bandai have come up with yet another attractive product inspired by the series. Yes, the new “Pullip Sailor Moon” has just become available for pre-order, and it looks like Sailor Moon fans now have one more lovely product to seriously covet. And unlike some of the other Sailor Moon goods from Bandai, this one is not just a cute gadget, but a re-creation of the magical guardian warrior herself!

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Tohoku Rokkonsai to showcase northern Japan’s six biggest summer festivals all in one place

Kyoto, Osaka, Nara…southern Japan seems to get all the love from both international and Japanese tourists alike. But what about the rest of the country, like the six northern prefectures? Northern Japan, known as Tohoku in Japanese (東北, “the northeast”), is a hidden gem full of unique cultural traditions, unspoiled natural scenery, and some of the warmest people you’ll ever meet, despite the chilling winters.

This weekend is a better time than ever to hop on the bullet train up north to take part in the Tohoku Rokkonsai “mega-festival”. The festival began in 2011 to lift the spirits of the people of Tohoku after the deadly earthquake and tsunami just months earlier. The highlight of the festivities is a massive parade composed of segments from all six of Tohoku’s major summer festivals. Where else can you experience the excitement of SIX major festivals all at once FOR FREE??

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Test your nerdy knowledge with these Nintendo facts

Think you know your Nintendo? Our pals over at BuzzFeed have just released one of their famous “BuzzFeed Pop” videos which reveals a whole host of little-known facts about the House of Mario.

Join us after the jump to test your knowledge and find out how much of your life you’re wasting indoors.

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Learning Japanese? All you really need is this one word…

Japanese is not an easy language to learn. Though, we have to say, we’re not sure that any language is easy to learn when you’re a beginner! But for English speakers, Japanese is certainly one of the most difficult languages to pick up. Anyone who’s taken a class will surely remember the first time they opened their textbook and saw two massive charts full of squiggly lines and realized that they now had to learn two more alphabets! And then start on kanji…

However, it looks like one Japanese-speaking UK native has found the key to Japanese using just one word!

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Automatic tie tier ties ties for tie tying-impaired

Ties are serious business in Japan. Since all but the most informal businesses require all men to wear one during working hours (unless, of course, it’s “Cool Biz” time), it’s pretty much a necessity for every guy to own a few and if you know more than two or three ways to tie one, all the better.

But, surprisingly, it’s not uncommon for Japanese guys to have no clue whatsoever how to tie a tie. The stereotype goes that these mostly young sartorially-challenged individuals rely on their girlfriends or even dads and moms to knot their tie for them, and in a pinch they’ll just stash an already-knotted tie somewhere in their closet, tighten it on and dash out the door.

One such less-dexterous individual apparently took it upon himself to solve his problem by building an automatic tie tying machine, presumably so that he could finally stop relying on his dad for his wardrobe and move out of his parents’ basement:

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Ever get lonely and talk to your anime posters? Now they can talk back! 【Video】

Like a lot of sports anime, Haikyuu!! features a hot-blooded, unrefined but friendly protagonist. Likewise, the volleyball series, which premiered in April, doesn’t get any points for originality by pairing its lead up with a cocky, aloof partner.

A few years ago, the show’s commitment to character design that pleases female fans would have been unique, but shows about athletics with eye candy for the ladies have been done before with The Prince of Tennis, Kuroko’s Basketball, and not-immediately-evocative-of-its-featured-sport Free!, which focuses on high school swimming.

Haikyuu!! does have something that currently no other anime does, however, and that’s talking posters.

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Pleated skirts, Kewpie dolls, and death: The wild music and videos of Urbangarde【J-Tunes】

It’s been a good few months for weird music videos, hasn’t it? With BABYMETAL, Avril Lavigne, and Die Antwoord all confusing us in good and/or bad ways (seriously, Avril?), it might seem like there’s no room for crazy music left in your head. But you’d be wrong, because today we have for you the most recent offering of the electro-pop-rock band Urbangarde. And the video isn’t just visually striking–the music is guaranteed to get stuck in your head for the next couple of days! It’s a problem we haven’t figured out to solve yet.

Though, we have to admit that we’re not trying very hard.

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Woman falls down open manhole into excrement-filled drain, lives to tweet about it

It’s a scenario that has played out in so many cartoons: You’re walking along the street, minding your own business when suddenly – ZOINK! – you’ve fallen into an uncovered manhole.

When it happens in the real life, though, like it did to this poor woman who documented the experience via Twitter, it’s a far more grisly scene.

As you might expect from a story involving personal injury and a trip to the sewers, this post contains images that some readers may prefer not to look at while enjoying their lunch.  

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Free at last? Japanese government mulling over doing away with cell phone SIM locks

When my brother and his family moved back to America, leaving my wife and I as the last Baseels in Japan, he graciously offered me his practically new iPhone. Sadly, despite the tempting opportunity of upgrading from my old-school flip phone, I had to turn down his generous offer.

Being happily married, this wasn’t because I needed the boost in attractiveness that comes from an outdated cell, but simply because my brother and I had different providers, and his iPhone was SIM locked, like all mobile phones in Japan have always been.

However, that might be changing soon.

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【TBT】Pigeon people flock to Google Street View in Tokyo

If you happen to be looking for directions around Mitaka Station in Musashino, Tokyo you might be in for an eerie surprise. As Google’s Street View camera strapped to a guy’s back passed through the quaint tree-lined path alongside the Tamagawa Aqueduct, it was momentarily surrounded by a group of people standing around wearing pigeon heads.

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“If only I could get that on a t-shirt…” – Now you can thanks to Uniqlo!

How many times have you been at a friend’s house, or eating out with someone and you see a really fantastic T-shirt but thought, “if only it was a little different?” You’re jealous, to say the least, because that’s the kind of T-shirt you’ve always wanted to own, with a few changes. The colors, the graphics, the way it looks like it was randomly splattered with other things, it all rocks. Of course, you could go to a T-shirt design shop and work with them to make your own, but it’s too time-consuming and let’s face it, you’re lazy.

Uniqlo, the store that seems to be expanding to more parts of the globe every day, has your back. And it’s really as simple as swiping your finger across the screen of your smart phone. Oh, and of course, shaking it.

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Japan’s Kinki University decides to change its naughty-sounding name

Sometimes, a name that’s perfectly normal in one language can sound funny, or maybe even offensive in another. One day in college, for example, my friend Gary and I volunteered to show some visiting Japanese students around campus. We met them in the student union, and as soon as Gary introduced himself, one of them couldn’t suppress a tiny chuckle.

You see the name Gary sounds an awful lot like geri, which means “diarrhea” in Japanese. So when my classmate said “Watashi wa Gary desu,” they didn’t hear “I’m Gary;” they heard “I’ve got the runs.”

Of course, the same thing can happen in reverse, too. Just ask the students and faculty of one of Japan’s proudest institutions of higher learning, Kinki University.

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Two boys beaten and robbed of puffy pants, Osaka slammed for being trapped in the past

On 20 May, Osaka Prefectural Police announced the arrest of four boys ages 14 and 15 on charges of assault and robbery. The victims were two other male students caught in the act of bontan hunting” which is ganging up on and attacking someone to steal their particular style of puffy pants.

In addition to this heinous crime, as news hit the internet the rest of Japan came down hard on Osaka for having teens who wear fashion and engage in activities that have been out of style for decades.

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Travel agency gives vacationers the chance to be extras in upcoming Attack on Titan movie

Japan loves package tours. For many of them, you meet up with your tour guide and fellow travelers, hop on a bus for the countryside, then spend a few days relaxing in a hotel with some occasional shopping or sampling of local delicacies. It’s more or less the definition of safe and convenient, if not exactly exciting, travel.

If you’re looking for a trip with a little more adrenaline, though, there’s a tour next month that includes an activity set to get any anime fan’s pulse racing: helping to create the Attack on Titan live-action movie.

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Scooter girl becomes internet sensation with her ballsy driving, epic stink-eye 【Video】

One of the golden rules of the road revolves around the right-of-way. Dig up memories from high school driver’s ed, and you’ll recall that the manual says something like, “the right-of-way is something you give, not take.” In Japan, a term often used to instill defensive-driving skills is yuzuri-ai no seishin, which can be translated as “the spirit of compromise/yielding”.

But we all know people who think that’s crap.

So today, we’re introducing you to a video of a vehicular standoff in Taiwan that is fast racking up hits online. There are no guns or flaming crashes here; rather, the scene is a quiet, humorous one, the like of which probably plays out across the globe on a daily basis.

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What does this Japanese candy have to do with the Red Sox? Quite a lot, actually

The Boston Red Sox have consistently had Japanese players since 2007, when they signed Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima. There’s one thing Japanese players bring to the team that’s been overlooked until now, though: delicious imported Japanese candy.

People around the world love Japanese candy, be it endless varieties of Kit Kat flavours, or do-it-yourself candy sushi. There are even companies that will mail it to you monthly for a small fee (or a hefty fee – choose wisely, readers!). And it seems that recently, Red Sox players and staff have been going crazy over Japan’s long-standing fruit chew top-sellers, Hi-Chew.

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Dog thinks she’s a cat, is gorgeous either way【Photos】

Meet Tally. She’s definitely a dog, and a very beautiful dog at that. And yet she’s often found in some suspiciously cat-like poses…

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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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