Time to get wet: Underwater photos of girls in sailor suits and… plastic exoskeletons?

Underwater photography can produce some pretty spectacular images of everything from exotic fish to magnificent submerged landscapes. It can also give us a new spin on old ideas–like the images of girls in knee-high socks underwater that were so popular last year.

In anticipation of a new photo collection of more models underwater in knee-high socks, photographer Manabu Koga has posted more photos of an underwater model–this time wearing a school uniform.

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Holiday travelers in China get sleepy, creative and frisky on trains 【Photos】

Here in Japan, we’ve still got a couple of weeks to go until our next public holiday, when Sports Day comes up on October 13. Workers in China, though, can look forward to a day off much sooner with National Day of the People’s Republic of China on October 1.

The holiday marks the founding of the nation, and many people choose to spend their time off by visiting family members. The travel rush seems to have already started, but with a country as large as China, some passengers are in for a long ride back to their home towns. But when you’re spending hours upon hours on a train how do you get some shut-eye without springing for a sleeper car? By being inventive and literally flexible, as these photos show us.

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Fan offers theory that Ghibli’s Tombo grew up to be another beloved children’s character

While the settings of Studio Ghilbi’s anime are filled with whimsy and fantasy, their characters can at times seem remarkably real. Even if you’ve never found a forest serviced by a network of Cat Buses, for example, the emotions that Totoro’s Mei and Satsuki deal with feel so genuine that you can’t help but think of them as real people who’ll eventually grew up and continue their lives long after the movie ends.

The same goes for the cast of Kiki’s Delivery Service. But while it’s easy to imagine titular witch Kiki continuing to work in the magical courier industry throughout her adulthood, what about her friend, Tombo? One fan recently offered his theory on what the future holds for the bespectacled lad.

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Akira’s Katsuhiro Otomo to design giant mural featuring cyborg fish for Tohoku’s Sendai Airport

With works like Domu and Akira to his name, screenwriter and manga-ka Katsuhiro Otomo is universally well-known and respected. He is, however, not exactly the most prolific artist in the world, often leaving fans waiting for years on end for his next project or collaboration.

So although we’re thrilled to announce his next work will in fact be completed by March of next year, you should know that it’s going to take a little traveling to get a good look at it. You see, the currently untitled Otomo public art piece will hang in all of its 24-square-meter (258 sq ft) glory in the lobby of the terminal building of Tohoku’s Sendai Airport.

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Did a Dragon Quest slime car just appear on the expressway in Japan?

As fun as it is to step into the shoes of a video game RPG hero for a few hours, imagine how it would be to live your whole life, day in and day out, under the in-game rules and systems. Some of the differences would be pretty inconvenient, such as a mysterious force preventing you from ever going anywhere with more than three friends at a time. Others would be a definite plus, though, such as working hard at your job periodically making you not only more intelligent, but stronger, faster, and luckier, too.

But perhaps the weirdest change would be knowing that anytime you left your neighborhood and wanted to go from Point A to Point B, there was a chance of monsters randomly appearing, like two Japanese businessmen thought was happening to them when they spotted what looked like a Dragon Quest slime car on the expressway.

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Happy Monday! Here’s the cutest cat fight you’ll see all day

As adorable as cats are, they’re aren’t exactly known for their patience in suffering the presence of fools–especially when said fools try stealing even a tiny bit of their napping space. Even if it’s a cat’s housemate and best friend, sharing is simply out of the question! And that’s when the claws and teeth come out.

And that’s exactly how this video of the greatest kitty rumble you’ve ever seen starts–though the ending is more Disney than Expendables 3.

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Woman on train groped by two men at once, suspects apparently unrelated

Japan is known for many great things from its delicious food and unique culture to its abundance of anime, manga, and video games. Unfortunately, it has also earned a reputation for being packed with skeevy perverts, which is actually an extremely unfair characterization–the average Japanese citizen is no more perverted than the citizens of any other country. But that doesn’t change the fact that many women still have to put up with both discrimination and sexual harassment, as a story that broke on Friday demonstrates.

A young woman in her twenties was allegedly groped while riding the train. That on its own would be bad enough, but this woman was allegedly molested by two different men at the exact same time.

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Miranda Kerr’s newest photoshoot for Vogue Japan stirs up controversy

Geisha, samurai, manga. Those are the three themes that Peruvian photographer Mario Testino used in his recent photoshoot with Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr for the special 15th anniversary November issue of Vogue Japan. While Kerr is no stranger to Japanese television commercials (need laundry detergent, anyone?), her recent photos have been stirring up controversy due to the ‘vaguely ethnic-looking style’ of the fashion used in the shoot.

Take a look at the photos and then decide for yourself what’s going on here–is it cultural appropriation, or cultural appreciation?

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McDonald’s Japan celebrates Halloween by joining the dark burger revolution

It’s been just over a week since the release of Burger King’s two pitch-black hamburgers, which might have left some fast food fans in a bit of a bind. On the one hand, they’re definitely eye-catching and intriguing, but their buns owe (and cheese) their sinister shade to an infusion of bamboo charcoal.

While it’s perfectly edible, we imagine some people are just a tad averse to eating charcoal. So if your palate isn’t quite that wide, but you’re still adventurous enough to eat squid ink, McDonald’s has got you covered with their own dark burger.

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On a serious note: Here are middle-aged Chinese men jumping rope while wearing padded bras

If I might have a moment of your time, I’d like to explain to you why this picture of two balding Chinese men jumping ropes while wearing padded bras is something worth thinking about.

These two shirtless men with their spare tires jiggling about represent something that has or will likely affect someone you care about at some point in your life: breast cancer.

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Photobook of cats in Japan goes beyond kawaii, beautifully captures many sides of feline life

For those of you who need a little break from Japanese cute culture and pampered internet stars from the animal kingdom, French photographer Alexandre Bonnefoy’s photobook may be just the ticket. Neko Land: Une vie de chat au Japon (A cat’s life in Japan) reveals the many faces of street cats, communally owned cats, pets, and cat café residents found all over Japan, from Okinawa to Hokkaidō.

Read on to view a large sample of the elegant and expressive work that resulted from his two-year stay, which portrays cats from many walks of life in a frank, but no less loving, manner. As Bonnefoy gives equal importance to their unadorned surroundings, let these felines guide you and immerse yourself in the often overlooked nooks and crannies of the varied communities around Japan.

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Creative problem solving: Vending machine dispenses cans with 5 yen coins taped to them

One cool thing about living in Japan is that, whether you’re in a bustling city or the open countryside, you’re never too far from a vending machine. True, you won’t find any canned ramen in many machines outside of Akihabara, but so long as there’s power to run one, you’re pretty much always within a few hundred metres of a machine selling both chilled and hot drinks.

We’ve seen some unusual things turning up in Japan’s vending machines over the years, but cans of peach juice with money taped to them is definitely a new one.

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Adorable miniature sewing tools inspire the craftmaker in all of us

I have never thought I’d be gushing over sewing tools, but here I am, 30 minutes into staring at pictures of this new set of gashapon toys titled “The Shugei Miniature Mascot” (The Handicraft Miniature Mascot) because they are simply too adorable. Who would’ve thought you could turn things typically associated with grandmothers into such desirable collectibles by shrinking them to palm-size? Click to see more of these super cute toys!

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12 fabulous tights from Japan

Now that the summer shikke (humidity) has died down, it’s time to bust out your tights! Squeezing our legs into sheer pantaloons was the last thing any of us wanted to do in August, but now that September is nearly over and fall is right around the corner, we’re starting to like the idea of extra warmth. What better way to welcome in autumn than with a legging shopping spree? Check out these 12 fabulously crazy, colorful tights from Japanese artists and designers to add to your cool-weather wardrobe!

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Online “Population Decrease Map” of Japan paints a bleak, womanless future for the country

There has been a lot of discussion over the shifting demographics in Japan with the average age steadily rising and birthrate slipping year by year. These changes leave people wondering what will happen in the decades to come.

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun website posted an interactive map of Japan which provides among other information the changes in the female population in Japan 26 years into the future. If you can’t tell by the scorched Earth color-coding used above, it doesn’t bode well for the country. In fact, it’s causing some analysts to predict the “annihilation” of 896 municipalities (a little over half of them) by 2040 due to depopulation.

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Tokyo ice cream stand’s colossal eight-flavor cones might be the biggest we’ve ever seen

Tokyo’s Nakano Broadway is mainly known for its anime specialty shops, but that’s not all you’ll find if you make your way to each corner of the shopping center’s labyrinthine interior. Inside you’ll also come across an old-school video arcade, suit tailor, watch store, and painting workshop for tabletop role-playing game lead miniatures.

But what we’re talking about today is what awaits visitors in Nakano Broadway’s basement: just about the biggest ice cream cones we’ve ever seen.

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In Japan, a wide variety of bento, onigiri and other ready-cooked food are commonly available in convenience stores and supermarkets, in addition to the vast selection of instant and frozen choices. With such food readily available at wallet-friendly prices, not to mention they taste rather decent too, it’s little wonder why there is an increasing number of Japanese youngsters who don’t or can’t cook.

As seen in previous attempts, cute illustrated girls are effective in gaining the interest of the younger generation. Combining cute illustrated girls in skimpy lingerie and suggestive poses, with girl-on-girl action and hints of incest, and matching said illustrations with cooking instructions, however, would probably not appeal to the wide masses. Bizarre as that may sound, such a cookbook does in fact exist. We’re just not sure if the illustrations are actually supposed to whet or kill our appetite.

As you might expect, some of the illustrations are NSFW…

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Awesome treehouse café in Yokohama satisfies our longing for bagels, beer, and nature

Not too long ago, I ate ramen from a can on a Tokyo backstreet. It didn’t taste half-bad, but between the barkers for maid cafes and the homeless guy raiding the surrounding vending machines’ recycling bins for cans, it really didn’t make for the most elegant dining ambience.

But the great thing about Japan is the contrasting extremes you can find, and if eating in the middle of Tokyo’s concrete jungle by the soft glow of neon signs isn’t to your liking, you can always come on down to Yokohama, which has a café with plenty of natural sunlight thanks to the restaurant actually being an awesome treehouse.

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Japanese buzzwords and regional dialects keep Kumamoto drivers safe 【Photos】

Japan loves its popular trends. They will grab a hold of something that is gathering steam and spread it all over the country. This is especially true in TV. Millions of viewers tune into variety programs to see the current comedy darlings and their catch phrase over and over again. Generally these phrases are popular for a while until the next “funny” punch line takes over. You have to milk your 15 minutes of fame for as long as you can! Just ask Kojima Yoshio or Tanoshingo.

One prefecture is using these popular phrases in a more noble way…to get drivers to pay attention to traffic safety signs! If you ignore these signs it’s dame yo~ dame dame!

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Kirin promotes new alcohol by filming rural people with pigeon-shaped drones… because they can

Japanese brewery Kirin unveiled a new campaign for their Off White brand of imitation beer products known as happoshu. To help promote their cheaper beer substitute, Kirin will be dispatching six drones painted like pigeons to fly around and record the people of Taketa City in Oita Prefecture.

We can’t promise you we’ll succeed but we’re sure as heck going to try and find a link between drones, a rural community, and an alcoholic beverage produced to take advantage of a tax loophole.

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