“Sushi Chic” is the new style trend we could really sink our teeth into

When your average Westerner thinks of Japan, what’s most likely to spring to the forefront of their minds? We’re betting that sushi, samurai, anime and geisha are up there in the top ten, with sushi being the best-known incarnation of Japanese food abroad. But it seems that stylish overseas consumers aren’t satisfied with simply eating their sushi – they want to wear it on their bodies, too, so everyone can see how cool and cutting-edge they really are. Join us as we take a look at some of the weird and wonderful sushi fashion items available for purchase right now.

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Red bean paste and cream cheese — a divinely sweet combination?

If you’re interested in Japanese foods, you may be aware that red bean paste, or anko in Japanese, features widely in traditional Japanese sweets. From soft daifuku rice cakes filled with the sweet paste to anmitsu jelly served with pieces of fruit or the dorayaki cakes that Doraemon loves so much, red bean paste is indispensable in making Japanese confections. But now, it seems that giving the traditional paste a bit of a western twist by combining it with a certain ingredient has become all the rage, as seen in a recent post on Japanese trend and information compilation site Naver Matome. Apparently, an increasing number of people seem to be recommending products and recipes online that mix red bean paste with … cream cheese!

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Hand-stitched cards are leading the trend in Korea this Christmas

What comes to your mind at the mention of a handmade card? Something drawn, painted, or put together with some form of paper craft? The latest trend for handmade cards in Korea incorporates an entirely different kind of handicraft to create personalised designs – sewing! Check out these stitch message cards!

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Christmas Eve is a big deal in Japan for couples. It’s the one night of the year when you’re supposed to go out on a romantic date and show the world you’re capable of being found attractive by another person. But for singles, it’s a hell that’s on par with Valentine’s Day in the west – canoodling couples everywhere, and all the corny marketing and merchandise that goes with it. So when this young man found himself without a date for Christmas Eve, he decided to skip the middle man (middle woman?) and date himself – in female form! Join us after the jump for some pics, but be warned – they’re a touch on the NSFW side!

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Vocaloid takes over teen karaoke scene, more than half of 2014’s top 20 songs synthetic

No matter where you are in the world, the end of the year is always fun because you get to look back on the last 12 months and reflect on the different trends, hits and big stories. Joysound, a company that is bringing karaoke and social media together, is doing just that, and recently released a list of the top 20 karaoke songs of 2014 divided by age, from teens to 60-year-olds.

For the older age groups the rankings are pretty similar, with tracks like Neon Genesis Evangelion‘s opening theme song, “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis,” being a particular favorite, and Frozen’s “Let It Go” managing to sneak into every single group’s list of most-sung tracks. The biggest anomaly, however, was the teen group, with 11 of their top 20 songs being vocaloid tracks, and the remaining nine from anime.

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Taiwanese sky can’t decide, splits itself in half

What do you do when the sky itself seems to divide itself right before your eyes? It’s like yin meeting up with yang, or a horrible dark and gloomy day facing off against a beautiful sunny one.

But why let the weather confuse you when RocketNews24 will explain it for you? Sit back and relax as we tell you why the sky is fighting itself in Taiwan.

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We love Daiso, but sometimes the weird products just amuse us

When it comes to Japanese 100 yen stores, there really isn’t anything you can’t find. Previously, we’ve looked into the most handy products, a consumer report of the must-haves and products to avoid, and we’ve even put together disaster preparedness kits using their wallet-friendly products.

The owner of Daiso, one of Japan’s largest 100 yen store chains, may not have the most confidence in his company, but for the most part it seems like people love Daiso. While most products are pretty awesome, some shoppers have been finding some really strange products and product displays. Join us after the jump for some weird amusement, 100 yen store-style.

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Looney Samurai Tunes! Fan artist reimagines the classic cartoon characters in feudal Japan

In the seven decades since the very first Looney Tunes cartoon, the franchise has never really set a specific time or place for its setting. Really, the madcap antics of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and all the rest of their pals/intended murder victims could be taking place just about anywhere, and even anytime.

So why not feudal Japan?

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Pokémon Dream Tomica arrives just in time for Christmas

Busy looking for a last-minute Christmas present for your Pokémon-obsessed significant other? Look no further! This special edition Pokémon x Tomica collaboration arrives just in time for the holiday season. Just look at the detail and that beautiful, familiar shade of bright yellow. I’m totally forwarding this article to Santa (my older sister).

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Big Hero 6 ads in Japan leave out the action, moviegoers surprised to find awesome robot flick

Last weekend, my wife and I decided to go to watch Disney’s Big Hero 6, which had just opened in Japan under the title Baymax, after its marshmallow-like central robot character. As we made our way into the theater, she asked me if I had a pack of tissues, adding, “I heard the movie is really touching.”

This kind of took me by surprise. Sure, most Disney films have a heartwarming side to them, but wasn’t this movie about a team of superheroes and their robot?

If you’ve seen Big Hero 6, you know by now that it does a solid job of handling both action and emotional scenes. You probably wouldn’t get that impression from the tender Japanese ads for the movie, though, which is why many Japanese moviegoers were pleasantly surprised to find that Baymax isn’t just sweet, but also pretty awesome.

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Former kimono painter turned ukiyo-e artist dazzles with exquisite modern-day paintings

Ukiyo-e, (浮世絵), or the “floating world pictures” synonymous with the woodblock prints and paintings of the rising merchant class of Edo period (1603-1867) Japan, include some of Japan’s most recognizable pieces of artwork to this day. Along with kabuki actors, sumo wrestlers, historical/mythological scenes, and landscapes, one of the most popular subject matter choices for ukiyo-e were portraits of beautiful women, also known as bijin-ga.

Despite the passage of time between the end of the Edo period and the modern day, at least one artist still incorporates traditional ukiyo-e elements into her pictures of beautiful women with a subtly modern flair. Get ready to feast your eyes on these exquisite modern-day paintings of kimono-clad beauties by artist Haruyo Morita!

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Coming to Harajuku? Check out this new tourist booth for maps, Wi-Fi, crêpes and more!

Long before Gwen Stefani was inspired by the Tokyo neighborhood, Harajuku’s status as the center of Japanese fashion and pop culture had been well solidified. From strange footwear to unbearably cute cuisine, a visit to Harajuku is never dull and is a must-see for any tourist coming to Tokyo.

But the crowded streets, small shops and the language barrier might be a bit daunting for a first-time visitor. So to make that trip more worthwhile, a tourist organization is opening up a bilingual information booth in the heart of Harajuku to make sure visitors get the most out of their time in the exciting neighborhood.

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4 Things women are banned from doing in Japan 【Women in Japan Series】

Women have been prohibited from doing certain things (entering places, using facilities, etc.) for as long as civilization has existed. Restrictions are still common, albeit usually in religious contexts only. While religions themselves evolve and change with the times and bans are lifted, it doesn’t mean all of them get an update.

As women, we all know the purported reasons behind these bans: women are “impure” because we menstruate (the same impure biological process that allows us to give life to men), we are the physically weaker sex, and we distract men with our beauty. Yada, yada, yada.

Today, in our Women in Japan Series, we take a look at four things women are still not allowed to do in Japan. I’ve divided them into bans and semi-bans. Bans allow no women; semi-bans allow women–but only sometimes.

Of course, it’s high time these restrictions were lifted. While much headway has been made in the past, such as the lifting of the rule preventing women from climbing Mount Fuji, other bans are proving more stubborn despite protests by Japanese women’s groups. Will these restrictions be lifted anytime soon? Only the Japanese people can decide.

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One Piece becoming a kabuki play with the Straw Hat Pirates taking the stage in Tokyo

Between the huge success the One Piece franchise has found in comics, animation, video games, and associated merchandising, you wouldn’t think there’d be too many more avenues for it to expand into. And honestly, it doesn’t have to, as Eiichiro Oda’s manga, the starting point of the tales of pirates, treasure hunting, and friendship, is still going strong, with its 76th collected volume being released later this month.

But just like the Straw Hat Pirates don’t have to embark on grand adventures, but choose to do so anyway, One Piece is about to head into uncharted waters, as the anime and manga franchise is set to become a kabuki play.

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Sharp’s awesome new display tech licensed to Nintendo… who may not even use it for games

When you picture the evolution of TVs and other electronic displays, it’s hard not to be in awe at just how far they’ve come, getting thinner, more lightweight and portable than ever, with higher definition and brightness to the point that real-life basically looks pretty dull in comparison. But they’ve never really been able to shake that same boring shape: a flat rectangle.

So when Sharp announced it had developed a “Free-Form Display” that could be manufactured in virtually any shape, a lot of people more technically oriented than I am – and thus able to more easily imagine the many uses of a display shaped like a shoe or something – instantly proclaimed it a game-changer.

And when Sharp boasted about the technology, among those companies listening was Nintendo, who promptly snapped up a license for the tech and became the first company to officially announce it would use it for a future product.

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Toilet slides and turd hats: welcome to Tokyo’s crappiest exhibition

Imagine crowds of Japanese families donning poop-shaped plush hats and sliding into a huge toilet. No, this isn’t a scene from a dream brought on by a questionable bowl of ramen, this is just one of the many surreal exhibits from a Tokyo educational expo that organizers hoped would inspire visitors to “gain an increased appreciation of toilets.”

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Why making kids cry on camera never gets old

It was a viral hit in China back in 2010, but with 12 million views and counting, ‘Cute Little Chinese Girl Scared To Death On TV Show’ is a video that shows no sign of going away. The video of a little girl’s frightened reaction to a fake criminal, which recently resurfaced on the Japanese internet after being reposted to Liveleak, wasn’t the first funny crying kid video to stack up hits online, and it won’t be the last. From Charlie Bit My Finger Again, to the Reasons My Son Is Crying tumblr, to the recent video of a toddler left inconsolable after she realises a newborn can’t come to her birthday, it seems we just can’t get enough of weeping toddlers.

So why are videos of kids crying so popular?

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Mayonnaise and takuan sandwich proves disgusting food combinations are big business in Japan

If you’ve lived in Japan a while or even just visited, you may recognize the word “takuan” – a type of Japanese pickle made from radishes and served as a side dish – and you’ll almost certainly recognize mayonnaise as that thing that is incongruously glopped on just about everything in Japan.

You’ll probably also recognize that these two items have absolutely no business together, especially if just stuffed unceremoniously into a loaf of bread, but, you see, this combination was almost inevitable because, as we’ve proven time and time again, gross food combinations are just the bee’s knees when it comes to prepackaged foods in Japan.

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Toyota’s Prius c Journeys through Dragon Quest and Monster Hunter

While the Prius c (sold in Japan as the Aqua) has always been marketed towards city-dwellers, Toyota assures road trip aficionados that it’s great for lengthy road trips and grand adventures, too. Especially the kinds of journeys you’d experience in Dragon Quest or Monster Hunter.

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Truck driver hailed as “hero” for cutting off car on wet highway

There is perhaps no greater feeling of anger and frustration than getting cut off on an expressway. To have your pleasant cruising speed shattered by some jerk-off who can’t tilt their head an extra inch or position their mirrors properly is usually an unforgivable act in the driving world.

However, this one truck driver in particular has earned the acclaim of everyone who watched the harrowing video of it cutting off a car as they both drove along at high speeds on a rainy highway. After watching the video we’re pretty sure you’ll understand why.

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