Tottori City’s starving mascot makes waves and suddenly disappears

From December of last year until this February, Tottori City held an open call for mascot ideas for a character to represent the Tottori Castle ruins. The ruins were named one of Japan’s 100 notable castles and have enjoyed an influx of tourists.

The mascot idea which came in second place was Katsue-san, the starving farm girl. When the announcement of Kazue hit, the internet lit up with excitement. However, she mysteriously disappeared from the Tottori City website soon after.

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Tokyo Gas commercial gets taken off the air for being too cruelly realistic

As any young Japanese college graduate can attest, Japan’s hellish job hunting process can be one of the most stressful and demotivating periods of a person’s life. Numerous rejections, along with that feeling of isolation after seeing those around you get job offers, is enough to make anyone severely depressed.

So what does that have to do with a gas company, you ask? A commercial by Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. which features a girl in the midst of the job hunting process has been stirring up controversy and was even taken off the air. Why? Apparently, its portrayal of the painful job hunting process was so accurate that it left people feeling a little too miserable after seeing it. 

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Taiwan’s newest boy band is painfully uncool, painfully popular【Videos】

Pop idols and boy bands are ten a penny these days, with multi-million-dollar enterprises built on farming young talent, putting it on stage in matching outfits and telling it to follow a routine. Japan has more than its share of floppy-haired boy bands and short-skirted songstresses, many of them decidedly awful and with as much charisma as an emphysemic squirrel with a penchant for racism, but a new group from Taiwan called Ice Man is raising eyebrows all over Asia this week, not just because they’re “painfully uncool”, but because they have nevertheless garnered quite the following and are already making stacks of cash.

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Japanese people react to reading that “pizza is a vegetable in America”

If you live in the States, you may remember a few years ago when Congress blocked a proposal that aimed to make school lunches for children healthier. One of the provisions which stirred up considerable debate involved increasing the amount of tomato paste necessary to be considered a full serving of fruits and vegetables, but the proposal was eventually nixed, effectively maintaining that the tomato sauce used on pizza could count as a serving of vegetables.

After a Japanese news site broke the story fashionably late last month, Japanese people were incredulous to hear that from a legal standpoint, “pizza is a vegetable” in the U.S. Read on to learn more about the ongoing debate and some reactions of readers.

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21 hauntingly beautiful photos of deserted shopping malls

Hundreds of shopping malls across the U.S. have been forced to shut down following years of debilitating declines in consumer traffic.

In many cases, the shuttered malls are left to decay for years before developers or local governments raise the funds to bulldoze or renovate the space.

Pseudonymous photographer Seph Lawless traveled the country for years to find these forgotten malls and document their decay from the inside.

The photos he captured are haunting and apocalyptic, featuring dead trees and abandoned shopping carts against landscapes of broken glass and crumbling walls.

He compiled the photographs in a new book, “Black Friday: The Collapse of the American Shopping Mall,” and shared some of them with Business Insider.

You can also see his work on Facebook and Instagram.

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Sailor Moon Crystal gets one million views on Niconico in two days

Niconico‘s stream of the first episode of Sailor Moon Crystal has been viewed more than 1 million times in two days, and has approximately 250,000 comments. The Japanese simulcast stream on Niconico had approximately 140,000 viewers alone. Niconico is streaming the series in 12 countries.

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Does the way you cross your arms say anything about your personality? Japan thinks so

Everybody, go ahead and cross your arms right now. Done? Alright. Now, try to cross them the other way. If you’re currently crossed with right forearm on top, try to switch position so that your left forearm is on top. Feels incredibly awkward and unnatural, doesn’t it?

It turns out most people have a natural bias for arm-crossing direction, with slightly more than half of most global populations preferring the left-forearm-on-top approach, although the two preferences are basically 50-50. Some people apparently cross their arms either way without even thinking about it, although this population is exceedingly small.

So why do we humans find one way so natural and the other way so incredibly weird-feeling? It may have something to do with your psychological composition, according to the (admittedly somewhat unreliable) Japanese Internet.

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Hatsune Miku will protect your eyes from the dangers of staring at her for too long

Just when you thought they couldn’t possibly come out with any more Hatsune Miku merch…someone finds a way to get the teal-haired songstress’ face on yet another new product!

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Man’s image of the ideal female body is shockingly skinny even by Japanese standards

Happiness in the real world is largely the result of prioritizing what’s really important for you, going after those things, and not being too picky about everything else. Of course, when you’re talking about fantasizing, you can have it all, as we’ve seen previously when men are asked for the characteristics of their ideal woman.

So when a men’s magazine in Japan recently published the results of a similar survey, we weren’t surprised that the compiled average of the physical parameters were pretty strict. What was shocking, though, was the response given by one man, whose image of the perfect female figure isn’t just largely unattainable, it’s downright unhealthy.

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These repainted dolls look so good they’ll knock your miniature socks off! 【Photos】

In Japan it is not uncommon to be standing outside a restaurant, drooling over what you think are actual dishes made in the kitchen, when you remember that they’re just pieces of plastic. At times these plastic dishes look so real that you wonder whether the restaurant really did put plates of its food in the window, but more often than not it’s simply that the person who made them is genuinely skilled.

if you’ve never see this fake plastic food with your own eyes, it may be hard to imagine the uncanny feeling it can create. But you might get an idea of what it’s like when I tell you that the photo of Angelina Jolie as Maleficent up there is in fact a painted doll.

We tracked down the creator of this incredible work online and have a bunch of photos after the jump that you really have to see.

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You go, girl! Ancient game of Go reaches out to Japan’s youth with trendy magazine

The Chinese strategy game called Go or Igo in Japanese has been around for millennia. The rules are among the simplest in existence but the underlying theory to winning is so vastly complex it takes a high degree of experience, patience, and observation to succeed.

Perhaps it’s that same complexity that’s keeping younger generations in Japan from picking a bowl of stones. However, that’s not stopping Igo associations who have developed the ultimate stratagem for hooking new players: a Go-themed free girls’ magazine with topics such as extreme go and finding your dream Go-playing soul-mate.

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Cry into your Mega Man cushion while you wait in vain for a new game in the series

Despite the reluctance of video game publisher Capcom to green-light any new titles, there’s a lot to love about the Mega Man franchise, including creative boss battles, catchy music, and tough but fair challenges. The defining characteristic of the series, though, is the ability to acquire the weapons of your fallen foes, upgrading your starting buster gun so that it fires flames, saw blades, or that weird circle of leaves from Mega Man 2.

Mega Man only has a limited number of shots with each weapon, though. Thankfully, he can restock his health and weapon energy by picking up containers called E Tanks during each level. Still, there never seem to be enough E Tanks about when you really need them, so if you’re a trigger happy Mega Man fan, you might want to keep one lying around your living room in the form of this cool E-Tank cushion.

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Hayao Miyazaki spends retirement from anime by…spending every day at his animation studio

Some people have a hard time adjusting to life after retirement. Whether it’s the stockbroker who can’t stop checking the market reports or the English teacher who feels the need to correct his grandchildren’s grammar, sometimes old habits die hard.

Maybe that’s why even after announcing his retirement from making feature films, anime legend Hayao Miyazaki has been making frequent visits to Studio Ghibli, the production house where he served as director for so many years.

And by frequent visits, we mean that the guy is there every single day.

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Despite success abroad, even Sony’s PlayStation 4 can’t inject life into Japan’s console market

There was quite the uproar when Sony announced that it would be releasing its newest console in its homeland months after going on sale in other territories. Judging by the reception the console has received, though, it looks like Sony may have been right to put Japan last when it came to PlayStation 4.

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GPS-lacking Gundam gets lost on the streets of Taiwan, asks locals for directions

With all of the cool, capable characters in anime, it’s not too hard to see the appeal of cosplay. For many fans, literally spending a few minutes in the shoes of their favorite hero or heroine lets them feel every bit as strong, smart, or beautiful as the costume’s usual 2-D inhabitant.

Confidence boost aside, though, slipping on a costume sadly still leaves you with all of the shortcomings you have when you’re wearing an ordinary T-shirt and jeans. Dressing up as Attack on Titan’s Mikasa won’t really transform you into a highly skilled acrobatic swordswoman. Wearing the same nondescript school uniform of the newest harem series’ blank slate male protagonist make you irresistible to women.

Likewise, all the fictional computer power behind Gundam still won’t prevent you from getting lost in the real world.

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The magic of Ghibli comes to life in these amazing moving movie posters!【GIFs】

If you’ve seen or read Harry Potter, you’ll probably be familiar with how things such as newspapers and paintings move in that magical world. Wouldn’t it be awesome if those were for real? Imagine having a glimpse of a movie trailer packed within a movie poster!

We’re not here to discuss Harry Potter today though. A hardcore Studio Ghibli fan recently cast their own magic on the world-famous Studio Ghibli productions, creating some amazing animated “movie posters” that took our breath away! See them after the break!

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New Happy Meal in Japan lets you play with your food — and comes with a Pokémon toy to boot!

Sure, we know we’re not supposed to play with your food, but the temptation can be great when there are gadgets around like the Direct Food Printer that lets you draw and write as you choose directly onto food. But now, for a limited time starting this week, McDonald’s Japan will be offering a new menu item that allows you to draw directly on your food using … chocolate sauce! It’s the “Oekaki Happy Hotcake” (Draw and Happy Hotcakes) set, and if you think drawing on hotcakes with chocolate sounds like fun, we completely agree! What’s even better,  the set can be ordered as part of a Happy Meal that comes with a Pokémon toy — now, what kid can resist that?

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Oklahoma farmer loses his cellphone in 140 tons of grain — 9 months later gets a call from Japan

Kevin Whitney of Chickasha, Oklahoma, was working on his farm last October when his iPhone fell out of his shirt pocket and up a grain elevator, where it was deposited into a pit containing 280,000 pounds of grain.

“I never expected to see that phone again,” he told KFOR-TV. It was a reasonable conclusion.

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More Mario trivia than you can fit in King Koopa’s castle

Super Mario Bros. is arguably one of the greatest games in the history of pixels moving around on-screen–if nothing else, it has the kind of sales that would make anyone sit up and pay attention. And with fans from around the world, it’s hardly surprising that the game has been played nearly to perfection. At this point, Mario may be almost as famous as Mickey Mouse–but there are probably still a few things you don’t know about the plumber and the worlds he’s adventured through.

In any game, there are bound to be easter eggs hidden somewhere by bored programmers and wily designers, but Mario practically explodes with them. Here are some of our favorite Mario trivia facts; see how much you know!

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Disney fans go crazy for new character at Tokyo DisneySea

Tokyo DisneySea mascot Duffy the Bear has a brand new friend! And that means new character goods now on sale at the park, and of course hundreds of Disney fans eager to get their paws on them.

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