Free highway bus for students connects Tokyo and Fukushima for business or pleasure

In Japan, the job hunting season is under way. From late December to April or May, students who will graduate in the coming year search for jobs en masse. Companies are busy trying to recruit the best and the brightest to apply to their firms, while stressed students rush here and there attending loads of job fairs, company briefing sessions and employment seminars.

For companies in Fukushima Prefecture, still recovering from the 2011 disaster and subsequent nuclear meltdown, recruiting new applicants is doubly hard. They have to contend with the usual tides of urban migration as well as the negative associations now attached to the area, but one local company, Niraku Corporation, has hit upon an idea to help bring young job seekers in: bus them in for free.

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The humane (and adorable) way to make a flat hamster 【Video】

Like most kids, I went through a period where I incessantly bugged my parents to let me have a pet, and like most parents, once they said OK, they ended up doing most of the work taking care of it.

Perhaps they knew things would turn out this way, which is why when it came time to choose an animal companion, they steered me towards a hamster. They’re quiet, relatively easy to care for, and pretty happy to stay in their cages, which meant we wouldn’t have one running around the house and tearing up the carpet.

Another thing that makes hamsters great pets is that they don’t take up much space. But if you still think the cute little rodents are just too gargantuan, there’s a way to make them even more compact, at least while they’re sleeping.

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The 20 most popular manga of all time – How many have you read?

The spring holiday known as Golden Week is upon us in Japan, and if you would like to lay claim to the title of manga super fan, you may want to spend your days off reading these canonical series. Without further ado, here are the 20 most popular manga of all time, based on publication numbers!

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Apparently cats enjoy cherry blossoms as much as we do【Photos】

There’s something serene and elegant about cherry blossoms. Maybe it’s their soft color, or the way the delicate petals flutter in the breeze, but the sakura are at once aesthetically enticing and deeply soothing.

Unfortunately, the flowers are also incredibly fickle, suddenly blooming and gracing us with their presence for just a few short days, before coolly vanishing, often leaving their admirers wanting more. In a way, you could say they’re like a group of adorable but capricious cats.

In that case, why not combine the two?

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New Asian Godzilla trailer teases with extra monsters, footage 【Video】

We’re now just a couple of weeks away (unless you happen live in Japan) from the launch of Gareth Edwards’ take on the classic kaiju movie Godzilla, and distributors Warner Bros have launched a new trailer for Asia which treats us to a few extra snippets of the beasts the titular monster will be going up against. Check it out after the jump.

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Japanese online retailers looking for a change in the sales tax system before they “raise the white flag”

So, now that we’re one month in, how’s everyone enjoying the latest sales tax increase to 8 percent? Pretty awesome isn’t it? I’ve been getting a lot more use out of those one yen coins recently.

Not everyone is as lukewarmly amused as myself, however. A consortium of Japan’s online businesses, including ebook sellers and advertisers, met on 10 April to hash out some demands for the government before they get taxed right out of the competition since business such as segments of Apple and Google aren’t necessarily subjected to Japanese sales tax rules.

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China fostering spy rings at Australian universities to monitor exchange students

There are almost 100,000 mainland Chinese students studying at Australian universities, where they are no doubt exposed to ideas that might be censored at home. This fact has not gone unnoticed by Chinese intelligence professionals, some of whom have admitted to a reporter for the respected Sydney Morning Herald that they recruit networks of students to monitor the Chinese community.

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Big sisters in Japan dress their little brothers up as girls, with cute/hilarious results

It would seem that dressing your little brother up as a girl is one of the most enjoyed pastimes of elder siblings all around the world. In Japan, too, many elder sisters and brothers are putting their younger male siblings through extreme makeovers to make them pretty little ladies!

It’s kind of surprising to learn that many younger brothers, some already in their teens, seem quite willing to let their big sisters dress them up in skirts and dresses, but what’s even more surprising is that many of these “victims” actually look rather cute as girls!

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Uncanny Kim Jong-un cosplay as dangerous as it is hilarious

Normally, cosplaying isn’t something generally considered to put you at risk of bodily harm. Sure, there’s the odd horror story of a would-be Jedi’s lightsaber being confiscated at the airport or a Metal Gear Solid cosplayer nearly getting into an all-out gun battle with a SWAT team (who are only familiar with Call of Duty).

Well, we don’t actually know if that last scenario has ever happened, but we’re certain if there’s one thing you might want to think twice about cosplaying as, it’s a ruthless dictator and known human rights violator. Like, for example, if you’re going to the Comic Con as the sometimes adorable, sometimes terrifying leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, you might want to be careful the costume isn’t so good that people actually think you’re the real deal.

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Reebok trots out Gundam sneakers in classic colors

Mobile suits come in all shapes and sizes, but none are as more recognizable, perhaps, as the original RX-78-2 from Mobile Suit Gundam. Apparently the designers at Reebok thought so too, and are honoring the classic series with a new Gundam x Reebok collaboration.

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South Korean TV accused of faking footage of Sewol rescue diver

Further controversy has emerged surrounding the South Korean Sewol ferry disaster, as a TV crew is accused of setting up footage of a rescue diver. Korean media reports that a member of the rescue team who was not working at the time was put in a wetsuit and drenched in water to give the appearance that he had just come back from a dive. Media crews apparently said that a dry-haired diver would not be realistic and believable enough.

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Sony shows off PlayStation 4 augmented reality with rubber ducks, dinosaurs, and Hatsune Miku

As we’ve said before, the PlayStation 4’s PlayStation Camera is a woefully underused device. Gamers who enjoy streaming footage of the games they play often use their cameras to capture their own expressions and add real-time commentary, and upcoming virtual reality headset Project Morpheus will make use of the unit to provide additional head tracking, but otherwise it gets relatively little love.

Fortunately, Sony Japan looks to be working on content that will inspire a few more PlayStation 4 owners to plug in their cameras. In two videos released last week, Sony staff show off their experiments with augmented reality, which combines real-world footage with computer-generated images that respond to a number of stimuli. These may only be tech demos, but the sight of a miniature T-rex hiding in the darkness, a man decanting water (complete with rubber duck!) between two virtual boxes, and even a short performance from a tiny Hatsune Miku on the living room rug left us thirsty for more.

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“Cool Japan” mall set to open in China

The “Cool Japan Promotion Organization,” an organization dedicated to bringing traditional and popular Japanese culture to countries overseas through various business projects, has announced their plans to open a Japanese mall in the Chinese city of Ningbo, Zhejiang. The mall will provide shoppers with a unique Japanese shopping experience, including clothing stores and anime theaters, alongside other distinctly Japanese businesses.

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Japanese fans: New American Godzilla is “too fat”

Fans of monster movies or big Hollywood blockbusters are no doubt aware that a reboot of the famous Godzilla franchise is due to hit theaters next month. As you might imagine for a movie featuring one of their most beloved pop culture icons, the Japanese are deeply interested in how America is going to bring their national kaiju to the screen.

When clear pictures of the creature hit the net this week, the response was probably not what studio execs were hoping for. Some Japanese fans are apparently calling this incarnation of Godzilla “fat”. Ouch.

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What if Sailor Moon characters were lingerie models? They’d look stunning like this 【Photos】

Remember the Sailor Moon lingerie that lingerie brand Peach John released in Japan earlier this year? Thanks to them, we were able to feast our eyes on both lovely models and amateur Twitter users posing in the novelty lingerie.

But now the tables have turned! Chinese artist SoudWrong has created a series of illustrations featuring Sailor Moon characters as lingerie models instead. If you’ve ever wondered what the ladies from Sailor Moon would look like posing in their undies (for whatever reasons, we don’t wanna know), now’s your chance!

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Live otter-cam to be broadcast for 33 hours — will otters’ secret lives be revealed?

Okay, we’ve already shown you in the past how utterly adorable otters can be. Now, Miyajima Public Aquarium in Hiroshima Prefecture is offering the public a chance to learn more about their oriental small-clawed otters by giving us a unique, 33-hour live feed look into the otter exhibit. That’s right, it’s a live internet otter-cam that will let you see how the critters spend their days and nights, and we’re sure  it will be a total delight for otter fans!

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8 ways Kim Jong-Un has blindsided the US

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un guides a flight training of KPA Air and Anti-Air Force Unit 188, honored with the title of O Jung Hup-led Seventh Regiment on Monday, in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency, April 22, 2014.

When Kim Jong-un took power in December 2011, many experts saw his ascent as an opportunity for the West to transform the last bastion of hard-line communism, believing that the untested leader would shy away from confrontation with the U.S. and even South Korea.

Instead, North Korea’s leader — believed to be about 30 years old — has “proved to be more ruthless, aggressive and tactically skilled than anyone expected,” Peter Sanger of The New York Times reports.

Here are a few things North Korea’s supreme leader has done in the past 18 months to surprise and unnerve the U.S.:

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River overflowing? Got to get to school? Don’t forget your plastic bag! 【Video】

Bad weather holidays were the greatest reason for not going to school. Sometimes, though, the severe weather isn’t quite enough to force a closure. The wind isn’t quite strong enough or the rain or snow isn’t dangerous enough. So, if the school says classes are on, you do what you can to get there. A city in Vietnam has “schooled” everyone with the incredible lengths they will go to get students to their classroom.

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Zooey Deschanel’s trendy new bag makes her look like she mugged a Japanese grade schooler

As dyed-in-the-wool Japanophiles, we’re always happy when something from Japan catches on overseas. Not too long ago, if you lived outside of Japan and liked your fish raw, or your music Japanese, you were part of a pretty small group. Now, though, it seems like every coastal city in the U.S. needs at least one good sushi restaurant in order to claim a respectable dining scene, and J-pop acts go abroad to play in front of adoring, passionate fans.

So when the writers at our Japanese-language sister site told us a new fashion trend with Japanese roots was winning over American fashionistas, including actress and musician Zooey Deschanel, we thought maybe we were about to get the inside line on the summer’s hottest look.

Then, we found out what she was wearing, and we got a chuckle instead.

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LEGOLAND: Not just for kids anymore (not that it ever was…)

Do you love Lego? Are you an adult living Tokyo? Don’t you wish that “no admission to adults unaccompanied by children” rule didn’t exist so you could stop “borrowing” kids from the local playground just to hang out at the LEGOLAND in Odaiba?

If so, we have some excellent news for you! Starting in May, the LEGOLAND Discover Center in the Decks Mall will host an adults-only night once a month!

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