Dark Souls Cafe opens to fans of punishing game series

Dark Souls Cafe opens to fans of punishing game series

After a month or so of breathless preview coverage, the brand new Dark Souls Cafe, based on the award-winning, but notoriously difficult, From Software action game is finally open for business.

The new cafe channels the next game in the series, Dark Souls 2, which is slated for a March 13 release in Japan.

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This Rilakkuma-themed sofa is soft on your bottom, hard on your wallet

This Rilakkuma-themed sofa is soft on your bottom, hard on your wallet

Rilakkuma, whose name is a combination of the words “relax” and “kuma” (meaning bear in Japanese), is one of Japan’s more deserving popular characters. Created back in 2003, the lazy little bear with a zip on his back became an instant hit with a series of picture books and cuddly toys, and continues to be adored almost 10 years on–a feat that few cute-for-the-sake-of-it mascots besides Hello Kitty could ever boast.

Now, a furniture maker in Japan is offering Rilakkuma fans the chance to purchase an original order-made sofa based on their favourite po-faced bear. But with a price tag of almost US$2,000, their bank balances will have to be just as healthy as their love of all things cute and cuddly to afford it.

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The evolution of one cat’s pestering skills 【Video】

The evolution of one cat’s pestering skills 【Video】

Meet Leo-chan, an American shorthair cat living in Japan who is a master at being both annoying and adorable at the same time. Check out this video of her adorable poses as she begs for food.  

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Town offers “Mayor for a Day” with tax payment of over one million yen, benefits include sake, pickles

Town offers “Mayor for a Day” with tax payment of over one million yen, benefits include sake, pickles

Starting this year, the town of Mamurogawa in Yamagata Prefecture is offering up their mayor’s office for those generous enough to hand over one million yen (US$9,600) in furusato tax (hometown tax). It’s the latest move in an increasing trend of offering premiums for tax revenue in rural areas struggling with decreasing populations.

Offering something in exchange for taxes seems like an odd concept without knowing what furusato tax is, so let start with that. Don’t worry it’s simple.

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Where Santa Claus buys his burgers: the world’s northernmost McDonald’s

Where Santa Claus buys his burgers: the world’s northernmost McDonald’s

Everyone, do you know where the world’s northernmost McDonald’s is? Here’s a hint: you can sometimes spot the aurora borealis from there. Our Japanese reporter recently headed up north to check it out and brought back some very cool photos that we wanted to share with you.

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The dreaded bounen-shinnen season: Netizens share their most embarrassing office party mistakes

The dreaded bounen-shinnen season: Netizens share their most embarrassing office party mistakes

The end of one year and the beginning of another is party time in Japan, particularly for workers. Before the winter holiday, many offices have a bounen-kai, literally a “forget the year party,” and after the holiday, there are shinnen-kais, or new year’s parties. Some offices even do both, and generally attendance and copious alcohol consumption are compulsory.

Of course, as we all know, adding booze to the office dynamic can be a recipe for disaster—or hilarity, depending on your point of view—so Japanese netizens have shared their most embarrassing office party stories for your edification or amusement.

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China’s “paper building” looks like it would topple over if we pushed hard enough

China’s “paper building” looks like it would topple over if we pushed hard enough

It’s no secret that the apartments and houses in Japan are incredibly small, especially in saturated areas such as Tokyo. But even Japan’s tiny homes are no match for this extremely narrow “paper building” in Shanghai, China! How do people even live in there?!
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Anti-Japan drama ironically borrows music from Japanese anime

Anti-Japan drama ironically borrows music from Japanese anime

It’s not too uncommon to hear similar pieces of music in entertainment; accusations of plagiarism seem to pop up every few months. This latest controversy, though, carries with it a heaping helping of irony.

Fans online have noticed a peculiar coincidence in the background music used in episode 33 of the Chinese anti-Japan war drama Blue Wolf… and Yasuharu Takanashi‘s “Man of the World” theme used in certain episodes of Naruto Shippūden.

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Yes, Mountain Dew flavoured corn chips are a thing in Japan – and they taste…

Yes, Mountain Dew flavoured corn chips are a thing in Japan – and they taste…

We see a lot of weird stuff on the internet, but corn snacks made to taste – and fizz, no less – like the carbonated soft drink Mountain Dew are undoubtedly the oddest thing to happen since millions of adults across the globe simultaneously lied to their children about a bearded man sneaking into their home and leaving gifts for having refrained from murdering anyone or punching an otter since the previous December.

Nevertheless, as the internet chatter suggests, Mountain Dew corn snacks really do exist here in Japan, and so despite imagining that they’d taste about as good as minty orange juice, we tracked some down and, along with a can of actual Mountain Dew (or “Mtn Dew” as it’s now being branded in the US, because who has time fr vwls?) for comparison, conducted a little taste test of our own.

Full impressions after the jump.

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New website lets artists post drawings that self-destruct in 24 hours

New website lets artists post drawings that self-destruct in 24 hours

There are lots of websites out there that invite artists to post their works for all to see. However, there are a great many artists out there, and over time a build-up of paintings, drawings, CGIs and photos can become too much for the average person to know where to begin, let alone anyone scouting for new talent.

On 6 January, a new website called Slash Temp (stylized “/temp”) was opened that lets illustrators freely post whatever creation they like on one condition: a ticking timer will be attached that deletes the image in 24 hours. This isn’t just some random image dump though. There is a way to preserve drawings that get a rise out of viewers for better or worse…

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Guy takes a dump in the middle of the road, refuses to move even for fire truck 【Video】

Guy takes a dump in the middle of the road, refuses to move even for fire truck 【Video】

OK, we’ve all been there. Maybe it was the venti coffee this morning or maybe you’ve caught a bug, but one thing is certain: you need a bathroom right now or a change of pants is going to be in order. Most of us manage by hook or crook to find a toilet or at least a concealing clump of trees in this situation, but one guy decided that the middle of the road seemed like a nice place to drop a deuce and he wasn’t going to let anything – even an emergency vehicle – disturb him.

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Five special edition snacks for entrance exam prep in Japan

Five special edition snacks for entrance exam prep in Japan

Exam season in Japan is brutal. Not only do college hopefuls have to study in order to get into the university of their dreams, those hoping to go to high school also have to endure a rigorous examination process as compulsory education in Japan ends with junior high. As thousands of anxious students slave away at their desks until late at night, only to wake up, go to school, then study all over again, many companies in Japan have released special edition examination season versions of popular snacks in order to ease the torture of studying, if not for a brief moment. Let’s take a look at —- new packages, flavors, and designs of these exam season snacks.

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Michael Bay loses it on stage, pretty much ruins Samsung’s CES presentation

Michael Bay loses it on stage, pretty much ruins Samsung’s CES presentation

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2014 is currently underway over in Las Vegas, giving the industry’s big players a chance to flaunt their wares and drum up publicity for the coming year. With so much shiny new tech on show, it will be difficult to pick an overall winner, but Samsung’s presentation earlier today with special guest world-famous director Michael Bay will no doubt go down as most memorable, though not as the South Korean company might have hoped.

There to discuss Samsung’s gorgeous new 150-inch curved TV set, the Transformers director fluffed his lines and promptly marched off stage, leaving executive vice president Joe Stinziano with little left to do but ask the audience to thank Mr. Bay for coming, prompting one of the most awkward rounds of applause in CES history.

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We try Häagen-Dazs’ special edition Forêt Noire ice cream found only in convenience stores

We try Häagen-Dazs’ special edition Forêt Noire ice cream found only in convenience stores

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! Especially for everyone’s favorite, Häagen-Dazs. Even in the middle of winter, we can find happiness by eating ice cream in a warm room. We were curious what Häagen-Dazs’ new, hard-to-pronounce flavor Forêt Noire tasted like, so we tried it ourselves. Prepare to be tantalized by the following enticing photographs.

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Our Japanese reporter checks out a public bath in Budapest

Our Japanese reporter checks out a public bath in Budapest

With the winter days getter ever so colder, many Japanese people take refuge in onsen (hot springs) or sento (bath houses). Slipping into a pool of warm water and letting it soak deep into your body is a great way to beat the cold weather.

Even though Japan has thousands of onsen and sento, the experience might get a little tedious after repeated use. So, to take a dip in something totally new, our reporter went to the Szechenyi Thermal Bath in Budapest, Hungary to see how its done on the other side of the world and whether it can compare to Japan’s own incredible offerings.

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This lightning fast cat has us laughing out loud【Video】

This lightning fast cat has us laughing out loud【Video】

Okay, who gave this cat coffee!?

Watch this short video to get your daily cat fix and start your week off on a (caffeine?) high – it’s sure to bring a smile to your face and dazzle your feeble human eyes.

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Traditional hot spring dance reminds us of locker room fights, 3rd degree burns

Traditional hot spring dance reminds us of locker room fights, 3rd degree burns

Kusatsu Onsen is a hot spring resort town in the mountains of Gunma Prefecture. Its spring is famous for both its prodigious daily output and its high sulfur content, which makes the entire town smell of rotten eggs but is said to cure a host of bodily ills. In fact, the locals say the hot springs in Kusatsu cure any sickness but love sickness.

Whatever its healing properties, you wouldn’t want to jump into the spring at the source, as it comes bubbling out of the ground at up to a scalding 95°C (203°F). You could add cold water, but that would dilute the beneficial mineral content, so the locals use a traditional method called yumomi, which involves splashing the water around with big tongue depressors while singing and dancing.

I love Japan.

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Holy cow! This leggy beauty is actually a guy! 【Photos】

Holy cow! This leggy beauty is actually a guy! 【Photos】

If your new year’s resolution is to stop believing in the cute girls you see online, here’s something to test you right off the bat! Once again, the internet has proven that “if she’s too cute, she must be a guy“. Not only does this cross-dressing beauty have a mesmerizing smile, she has such long slender legs that leave girls green with envy! I mean, he! Oh, whichever… On to the photos!

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Sagawa Electronic’s newest robot suit in production, looks to be taller with bigger claws

Sagawa Electronic’s newest robot suit in production, looks to be taller with bigger claws

A few months ago, we brought word of the Powered Jacket MK3 by Sagawa Electronics, a fully functioning robot suit valued at around US$125k. It was undeniably cool and even came with a funny promotional video, but I think I could take it in a fight, which is rarely a good sign as far as mecha exoskeletons go.

However, work is currently underway to produce its successor, the MK4. Although still in development it appears to be getting some upgrades in size and intimidation.

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North Koreans reportedly forced to memorize Kim Jong-un’s entire 26-minute New Year speech

North Koreans reportedly forced to memorize Kim Jong-un’s entire 26-minute New Year speech

All around the world, people celebrate New Year’s Day in different ways, most with a sense of optimism that a new year means a new chance at achieving their dreams. However, in North Korea it’s a time of enormous anxiety for the people. Reports out of China claim that North Korea’s New Year is rung in with a speech by Kim Jong-un, and by his order everyone in the country must commit the entire speech to memory.

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