New Shampoo Bar shop in Tokyo promises you a nap, or your money back!

Do you dread that feeling of drowsiness that creeps up on you in the afternoon? Are you sick of having to fight that urge to pass out at work? Well, maybe you should consider using your mid-afternoon break not to down another cup of caffeine, but to give in and catch some z’s–at the local Shampoo Bar!

In another one of Japan’s ingenious solutions to life, the “Shampoo Specialty Shop Shampoo Bars” aim to give their clients, most of whom are frazzled salarymen and office ladies, a few minute’s respite from the chaos of work with–you guessed it–a relaxing shampoo treatment and head massage! The chain has locations in both Tokyo and Fukuoka City, and a new shop just opened last week in Tokyo’s Akasaka district. In celebration, the Akasaka branch has been offering a new menu item since June 1 which is geared especially towards all of the exhausted office workers out there: a “Shampoo Napping” course!

And here’s the best part: If you don’t manage to take a snooze, your money will be fully refunded! 

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That’s not a rabbit, that’s Mother Nature’s version of Pikachu (also known as Viscacha)【Photos】

As the end of the week closes in, it’s time to slow things down a bit and unwind. It’s been raining in Tokyo for the past couple of days, and we all know what cool, rainy weather does to us, right? It makes us feel oh so sleepy… like these fluffy… real-life Pikachus…

W-what? Did I just say Pikachu? I mean, Viscacha! Just look at them dozing off on the rocks!

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Tomonoura: Where Ponyo and Wolverine crossed paths

With her unique mix of weird and cute, you’d be hard-pressed to find an animation fan who doesn’t recognize Ponyo, the fish-girl from legendary director Hayao Miyazaki’s 2008 film of the same name. On the other side of the Pacific, just about anyone with even a passing interest in comics at any point in the last 40 years knows who Marvel’s Wolverine is.

While one character is a symbol of innocence and whimsy, and the other of machismo and toughness, Ponyo and Wolverine’s paths have actually crossed, in a small fishing port called Tomonoura, where the mutant superhero made such an impression on the locals they named a rose after him.

And no, this isn’t fanfiction we’re talking about.

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Mr. Sato tries top secret rated-R fried chicken from popular Japanese convenience store

As we’ve declared before, convenience stores are one of the many things Japan gets awesomely right. And out of all the conbini in Japan, one of the greatest things housed within the walls of popular convenience store, Lawson, isn’t found on the shelves, but nestled safely behind the counter. Yes, their perfectly plump, consummately crispy fried chicken dubbed “Karaage-kun” costs a mere 210 yen (US$2.05) for hot, salty bliss. With a heart full of love for Karaage-kun, we could barely contain our jealousy upon learning that Mr. Sato, the most…unique reporter from our Japanese site, was invited to the Lawson headquarters to try out their new grilled Hokkaido corn-flavored Karaage-kun.

And so Mr. Sato marched down to crispy chicken HQ, still rocking his post-apocalyptic haircut, to try our most favorite convenience store snack. Little did he (or we) know that he would also be presented with an ultra-top-secret fried chicken unfit to be consumed by children younger than 15 years of age.

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What Sailor Moon characters would look like if they were born in the Western world

Have you ever wondered what Sailor Moon soldiers would look like if they travelled to an alternate reality and were drawn by a western hand? Well, thank goodness for fan art because one clever artist has delivered the fantasy. This unique collection of Sailor Moon pictures has the scouts looking more like Disney stars rather than sparkly-eyed anime characters, and with heartbreaking back-stories in each beautiful portrait, you’ll be seeing the girls in a totally new light.

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Japan slowly begins to openly discuss crossdressing men in heterosexual relationships

Crossdressing and genderbending are not only long-time staples of Japanese anime and manga, but also of TV and celebrity culture. From this, anyone would think that Japan was one of the most open and accepting countries when it comes to people who don’t fit into traditional gender roles or relationships. However, the reality outside of media and entertainment is often quite different. Family and work life are both still clearly divided down gender lines, and men who engage in anything that blurs or crosses these lines are generally shunned. But could the girl who dumps a guy just because he turns up to a date in a dress be the one who’s really missing out?

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Japanese Frozen fan transforms herself into Anna with amazing results

While people around the world are still in love with Disney’s Frozen, in Japan it’s all about Anna and the Snow Queen. The Japanese title for the animated movie puts the focus firmly on the two heroines at the centre of the story, and whether you’re a fan of Elsa, the Snow Queen with the X-Men-like ability to create snow, frost and ice, or Anna, the younger, darker-haired sister, you’ll be in awe of the dedication this Japanese netizen shows to her favourite Disney princess. With some clever hairstyling and awesome makeup, it’s like Anna stepped out of the frozen kingdom and into the real world!

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Akihabara’s first rental nerd looking to cash in on his jobless status

In a lot of ways, the NEET social phenomena is something that could only happen in Japan. The term stands for “not in education, employment, or training,” and refers to those individuals who are neither earning a living nor officially doing anything to approach that basic goal in life.

In many other countries, most people would conclude that a dose of tough love, or a few swift kicks to the backside, is in order. And while that’s the strategy Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino would recommend, in Japan, a large number of parents are willing to support their adult children’s NEET lifestyles for years on end.

Now, though, one man is putting a twist on the “not in education, employment, or training” label by renting out his services as a professional NEET.

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Western otakus’ top 10 sexy manga and anime girls all have one thing in common…

There are so many 2-D girls out there with different hairstyles and colours, body shapes, and personalities, although they do all share the same big googly eyes. And apparently the sexiest of them all share something else in common too. Did your waifu make this list of the top 10 sexiest female anime characters?

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Sapporo Breweries reveals Ginza Brown — the only beer in the world made from honey bee yeast!

Yes, we Japanese love our beer. In fact, many a drinking session in Japan is begun with someone literally saying, “Let’s start with beer, shall we?” So it’s not really surprising to see Japanese beer companies come up with interesting beers to catch the public’s attention.

But we have to say this particular beer produced by Sapporo Breweries is truly one-of-a-kind. The limited edition beer, which will become available for pre-order online later this month, is made using a very unique ingredient — obtained with the help of some small, hard-working winged critters. It’s the Ginza Brown beer, the only beer in the world made from honey bee yeast!

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Nation alerted to man asking where the nearest bathroom is

Whenever a suspicious person is reported to the police it gets up loaded to the Zenkoku no Anzen/Anshin Mail (National Safety/Security Mail) website accessible anywhere in Japan. However, every once in a while a “suspicious person” added seems suspiciously not suspicious.

Such is the case of a student who was approached by a middle-aged man and forced to go to the police after being asked “Where is a bathroom?”

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Soccer manga “Captain Tsubasa” introduces yet another delightfully ludicrous soccer move

The majority of popular manga and anime are filled to the brim with characters that have ridiculous special moves. But while fans with a reasonable grasp on reality know they can’t possibly recreate Goku’s Kamehameha beam or Attack on Titan’s gravity-defying leaps, part of the appeal of action sports manga and anime is in trying to recreate the awesome-looking (though usually wildly rule-breaking) special moves featured within. Think every North American kid that tried to recreate The Mighty Ducks’ infamous “Knuckle Puck,” but far more ludicrous.

But we’re a little concerned that we might soon be seeing a nationwide epidemic of Japanese kids turning up to hospital with all kinds of mangled limbs in the near future, because already pretty ridiculous soccer manga Captain Tsubasa just introduced this wildly dangerous and maybe physically impossible new special move:

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Japan’s 30 best travel destinations, as chosen by overseas visitors

It’s time once again for travel website Trip Advisor’s list of the best places in Japan, as chosen by overseas visitors to the country. One of the things that makes Japan such a fascinated place to travel is its extreme mix of historical and modern attractions, both of which are represented in the top 30 which includes shrines, sharks, and super-sized robots.

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Gundam VS Evangelion: Women of Japan give their verdict (kind of)

What’s that you say? A survey that polled Japanese women about two of the country’s most popular anime series? I wonder what kind of questions they asked! Maybe we can learn how Japanese audiences feel about the female characters in Gundam! And does Shinsekai Evangelion really offer a “radical solution to the socio-environmental curses of patriarchy“? Maybe they’ll talk about female otaku being under-represented in mainstream media! And whether the word “otaku” still carries negative connotations…

But wait! Oh. What? This survey only has one question! “What kind of men do you like better”, the pollsters asked, “guys who like Evangelion, or guys who are Gundam fans?” Oh.

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Enough already! 10 all-too-common occurrences in Japanese anime

Let’s play a game. I’m going to say a word, and you have to say the first thing that pops into your mind. OK, ready? Here it goes: ANIME!

What was the first thing that you thought of? Maybe the stereotypical big eyes, or common visual aids like sweat drops? Regardless, chances are you weren’t alone in your thinking–even though there are some incredibly original and groundbreaking works of Japanese animation, there are unfortunately just as many series with incredibly clichéd story lines.  

It appears that an article covering this topic from last year on science and science-fiction-themed website i09 has recently been making the rounds online. Translated versions of the piece, titled “10 completely annoying anime cliches,” have just recently popped up on Chinese and Japanese websites under the tagline “10 conventions in anime that foreigners are fed up with.”

We bet you’ll have no problem recognizing them!

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Think you can finish seven Whoppers in 30 minutes? Burger King Japan wants you!

Burger King Japan has just announced the “60th Anniversary ‘B’iKing Battle,” inviting anyone with the stomach and speed for eating seven Whoppers in half an hour to apply. Sounds pretty sweet, right? Maybe…we have a feeling the grand prize is the last thing participants will want to receive after polishing off two-days’ worth of calories.

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Food art so cool you don’t want to eat it, but mmm…pancakes!!!

Food, although mostly delicious, doesn’t always look beautiful. But what if food that was tasty also looked cool? Something as simple as the humble pancake, always delicious, was turned into some pretty wicked art by a few artistic chefs on the Internet. It’s definitely making us impressed and hungry!

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Japan’s Rabbit Island – Yes, it really does exist

In some ways, the island of Okunoshima, in western Japan’s Setonaikai Inland Sea, seems like a terrible vacation spot. It’s already in an out-of-the-way region of the country, and with no connecting bridges, the only way to get there is by boat.

Then there’s its dark past. During the 1920s, ‘30s, and early ‘40s, Okunoshima was the site of a secret chemical weapons lab for the Japanese Imperial Army. The clandestine work being carried out there earned it the sinister nicknames Poison Gas Island and The Island Erased from the Maps.

Happily, the postwar years have seen a return to more peaceful, benign activities on Okunoshima. As a matter of fact, in the last few years it’s become one of the area’s most beloved tourist destinations, and the reason why is easy to see from the other name Okunoshima is called by, Rabbit Island.

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Japan takes notice of mad-muggin’ Luigi in Mario Kart 8

Luigi has always played second fiddle to his brother Mario and it seems all those years of pent-up jealousy and anger have surfaced in Nintendo’s eighth edition of Mario Kart. Scores of English-language sites have already reported on what many are calling “Luigi’s Death Stare,” and all that news coverage has finally made it over to Japan, inspiring a multitude of comments by surprised Japanese gamers.

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Attack on Thanksgiving! First animated Attack on Titan movie to open in November

Fans of Attack on Titan are sort of in the doldrums right now as far as developments go for the smash hit anime and manga franchise. The recent release of a new collected volume for the comic means there’s likely to be a long wait until the next is released. The live-action adaptation isn’t scheduled for release until 2015, and the 50 lucky participants of the package tour that involves filming the movie have already departed.

Thankfully, there’s still one thing to look forward to in 2014, and that’s the first of two upcoming animated Attack on Titan compilation movies, which now has a release date.

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