Grab some tissues: Beloved cat lost in Tohoku disaster comes home over three years later

The Tohoku disaster of March, 2011 continues to impact the daily lives of the people of the region even to this day. We have no doubt that its effects will linger in Japan for decades to come, so it’s easy to see why nearly every story related to the disaster leaves us teary-eyed. This story will also likely have you reaching for the tissues, but at least they’ll be happy tears.

On Friday last week, one elderly couple in Ofunato City, Iwate Prefecture was reunited with the beloved cat they’d lost in the 3/11 disaster — just over three years since the adorable feline went missing and was presumed dead.

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Food by Fujitsu: Rise of the super veggie!

With Vermont becoming the first state in the US to require labels for genetically modified organisms, more and more people are turning towards natural, organically grown food. People want to know where their food comes from and they want to have the choice to choose foods that don’t use pesticides. But genetically modified food has been paramount to feeding every mouth on this planet. What if there was a way to combine the benefits that science provides but still ensure a natural growing environment with no pesticides used? Fujitsu is taking great strides towards that goal and their first product has been making its way to consumers.

And yes, we really are taking about food by Fujitsu.

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Meet the most unmotivated Sanrio character ever — Gudetama, the lazy egg!

We’ve introduced an anthropomorphized food character from Sanrio before on our site, but we now have another one that we’re keen to share with you, just because his personality (although we’re not quite sure if that word applies even when the subject isn’t a person, or even an animal) is so unconventional and unexpected. That’s right, if you thought all Sanrio characters were good and cheery, you may have to think again. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Gudetama, the lazy egg who doesn’t seem to want to do anything at all!

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Good news, Nara residents! You’re in the middle of a huge upside-down pentagram!

The pentagram is a simple shape with deep meanings. No matter what faith or race we come from that little star seems to conjure up thoughts and feelings more than mere circles or dodecahedrons could ever do to the masses.

So when someone tweeted an image from Google Maps with a pentagram laying upside-down over much of the Kansai Region of Japan, it generated quite a bit of buzz along with 13,000 retweets. It was created by joining several religiously significant locations in the area and has Japan’s ancient capital of Nara smack dab in the center.

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Let’s learn Japanese through terrible “American jokes”

If you’re an English-speaking foreigner living in Japan and are prone to cracking jokes, it won’t be long before someone responds to something you’ve said with a shrug of the shoulders and the phrase “American joke”. This used to confuse me immensely (“but, but, I’m not American!”) before I realised that an Amerikan Jōku doesn’t have to be told by an American, or be related to the United States in any way. It’s just what you say in Japan when you have the feeling the person you’re talking to is making a joke, but you don’t really understand what’s funny – and want to avoid the potential awkwardness of explicitly saying so.

Today we bring you 10 “American jokes” posted to Japanese website 2channel. Impress and appall your Japanese friends in equal measure by trying out one of these painful puns on them. Who says humour doesn’t translate?

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Easy peasy lemon squeezy: Our writer attempts to make salted lemon

Did you know that salty things have gotten really popular in Japan in recent years? The Japanese word for salt is shio, and these days you can find shio yakisoba (buckwheat noodles), shiokouji (a kind of condiment), shio nabe (hotpot), and the new fad shio tomato. And now it’s even extending into the world of sweets with shio vanilla ice cream and shio chocolate. I’ve had sea salt chocolate before, and I can tell you it’s actually much better than it sounds! The latest addition to the ranks of salty goodness is shio lemon, which you can make at home yourself with just two basic and obvious ingredients.

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Who do Japanese women want to care for them when they get sick? (Hint: it’s not their boyfriends)

As the new business and academic year takes its toll and Japan collectively sniffles with a case of the May blues, people all over the country are hiding under their blankets and calling in sick (probably using paid vacation days rather than actual sick leave, but that’s another story). When you’re feeling under the weather, it’s always nice to have someone to fluff up your pillows, cook you comfort food and generally feel sorry for you.

Japanese website My Navi Woman surveyed Japanese women in their 20s and 30s, asking them: “When you get a cold, who do you want to be by your side looking after you?” You may – or may not – be surprised to hear that boyfriends came in at a measly third place, with only 22 percent of women saying they’d want their man to care for them.

Let’s take a look at the rest of the rankings, and at what reasons Japanese women gave for wanting (or rejecting!) someone’s love and attention.

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It may look like a tool shed, but one of Japan’s fastest trains passes through this station

Two phrases sum up a distinct dichotomy of life in Japan. The first is gambaru, to do one’s best, and it lies at the root of so many of the country’s academic, economic, and scientific achievements.

On the other hand, you’ve also got gaman suru, to put up with things, which is why the same country which produces so many handy gadgets still seems largely fine making do without things such as garbage disposals and clothes dryers.

These two equal but opposite attitudes seem to have collided at Toge Station in Yamagata Prefecture, a distinctly low-tech structure with a connection to one of Japan’s most impressive engineering feats.

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If you thought Japanese lunches couldn’t get any cuter, you were wrong

If you’re at all familiar with bento, you’ll probably know that a lot of people will go all out to create adorable (or just plain amazing) meals for their children— or inner otaku, for that matter. I’ve heard that there is fierce competition to make the cutest lunches (especially for special events like Sports Day) so it’s no wonder that techniques and trends are continually changing, and it seems that the latest fad in lunches is the humble dinner roll.

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These beautiful temple gardens are…15 minutes from Narita Airport?!

For many visitors to Japan, their image of the city of Narita begins and ends with Narita International Airport. As such, most people plan their itineraries with the goal of spending as little time in the town as possible, unless they’re the type of odd sorts who just can’t get enough of waiting in airline check-in or customs lines.

In their rush to get into Tokyo or back home as soon as possible, though, they’re missing out on one of eastern Japan’s most visually impressive temples, Naritasan Shinshoji and its attached gardens.

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Japanese Twitter user discovers the perfect Halloween decoration in the form of…a flower?!

Who’s afraid of the big bad…flower?! Sure, we’ve seen the pitch-black Turkish rose that would harmonize perfectly with the home decor of any hardcore heavy metal fan…but we never thought that a flower could be downright terrifying! The following pictures posted by one Twitter user prove that Mother Nature has cooked up some pretty creepy recipes. You might even have nightmares after seeing what this certain kind of flower looks like after wilting. On the bright side, you can make a veritable Halloween bouquet!

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In a shocking twist, some idol singers really will go out with you if you buy their albums

When you really stop and think about it, the concept of idol singers is a little strange. At its core, the idea is to leverage the performers’ good looks into higher sales than they could achieve through their musical talents alone.

We realize that in face-to-face dealings, there’s very little a guy won’t do for a pretty girl, if for no reason other than to raise his chances of getting a date with her by even the tiniest fraction of a percentage. But does it really make sense for hard-core fans to try to impress their idol of choice? Regardless of how many copies of your favorite singer’s albums you buy, it’s not like she’s going to go out with you or anything.

Unless, of course, you’re talking about the idol group AeLL.

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Why your cat hates baths, but is fascinated by the bathtub

If there’s one thing internet videos have taught us, it’s that cats can be skittish around water. But why do animals that spend seemingly all day grooming themselves freak out when their tail gets a bit wet? And why do some cats seem to be obsessed with the bathtub?

Japanese site My Navi put their investigative hats on and came up with a three-part theory for cats’ apparent love of the shower room, but fear of water. Today, we take a look at their findings, and add a few suggestions of our own!

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North Korea calls US the ‘World’s Worst Human Rights Abuser’

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (C) guides the multiple-rocket launching drill of women’s sub-units under KPA Unit 851, in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA)

North Korea called the United States “a living hell” while offering a comprehensive listing of criticisms against the country it called “the world’s worst human rights abuser” in a news report from state-run media Wednesday.

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

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“Neko nabe” – Cute cats napping in pots and pans 【Photos】

Anyone who has ever owned a cat will know of their fondness for boxes, pots, pans, and bags — if an object can in any way become a bed, fort, or platform to sit on, they’ll claim it. They are also, as cat owners will no doubt have noticed, at once both deceptively long animals (when they stretch out or are held vertically, they magically unfold like some kind of fur-covered extendable ladder) and yet can squeeze into some of the smallest spaces imaginable.

With that in mind, and because a) it’s the weekend and b) they’re just so cute, here’s a little selection of photos of cats making pots their own.

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BuzzFeed’s image of post-beer ramen in Japan is soberingly off base【Video】

A few months ago, BuzzFeed posted a video titled What Does the World Eat for Breakfast? The video’s representative morning meal for the United States – pancakes, eggs, and bacon – was an old-fashioned if not inaccurate choice, but we couldn’t say the same thing about the funky menu selected for Japan, which was unlike anything anyone on our team, Japanese natives included, had ever started their day with.

So when we heard the same crew was back with a new video about post-drinking foods from around the world, and that once again Japan was featured, we were both a little honored to be included, and a little worried about what would end up on the plate this time.

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Internet falls in love with Chinese cosplaying beauty, disappointed to hear she’s a guy 【Updated】

Love-struck netizens across China, Taiwan and Japan have been voicing their disappointment after finding out that the exceptionally cute girl pictured above is actually an exceptionally cute boy. This isn’t the first time this kind of switcheroo has happened (it’s quite common actually) but netizens seem to be especially upset this time around. Maybe it’s this young man’s choice of outfit (characters from the light novel The “Hentai” Prince and the Stony Cat.) or maybe it’s just how different his before and after photos are, but one things for sure: this cosplayer is a total hottie.

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Import immediately! The top 3 Japanese chain restaurants

The first McDonald’s opened in 1940 and since that time it has grown to 35,000+ locations worldwide. Its popularity is international with people craving their “Mackers” or “McDs” or “Maccas”, so it’s no surprise how popular McDonald’s is in Japan. Would it work in reverse? What chain restaurants from Japan would be popular in the States? Our famous friend Ike, from the comedy group Choshinjuku tells us which three chain restaurants he loves the most in Japan.

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Is British food really that bad? Our Japanese writer tries her hand at some UK dishes

Japanese people seem to love telling me that British food is terrible, and the only good thing we have going for us is fish and chips. No one can believe that I actually get a bit tired of Japanese food and pine for my favourite dishes from home! Perhaps to try and change this perception, the British Embassy has been undertaking a campaign called ‘Food is GREAT!’ (for Great Britain, geddit?), and our Japanese writer decided to put some of their recipes to the test.

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Disney XD to run Doraemon anime in U.S. this summer

The financial news source Nikkei reported on Friday that the American media conglomerate Walt Disney will begin running the quintessential Japanese anime Doraemon on television throughout the United States this summer. 44 years after the original manga about a robotic cat from the future debuted, the anime has already aired in 35 countries and territories in Southeast Asia and elsewhere. However, this will be the first television showing of Doraemon in the United States.

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