Turn your cat’s toilet trips into day-spa visits with this adorable “onsen” litter box

While dogs have no trouble emptying their bladders and bowels on busy streets in broad daylight, proudly locking eyes with you as they let rip right there on the pavement, members of the feline world are much more reserved when it comes to answering the call of nature. Even in the comfort of their own homes, kitties need their own space to do their business; no self-respecting cat would want the eyes of their human on them while they’re trying to go.

So it’s no wonder this clever new idea is getting a lot of attention in Japan. It’s the cat onsen, which houses your pet’s kitty litter box and comes complete with a cute spa-style noren curtain to provide some much needed privacy. Once your cat finishes using the kitty litter “sand bath” inside, they’ll emerge looking as fresh as a daisy!

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High school students’ teacup ride blows up online, looks more fun than the Disneyland one

For many of our readers, the “culture festivals” held at high schools and colleges will already be familiar thanks to their prevalence in anime and TV dramas produced in Japan. Even if you’ve never been to Japan yourself, you probably already know that the classes turn their rooms into fun little shops, offering food and entertainment for their families, friends, alumni fellow students and teachers.

While most of them aren’t particularly elaborate, every now and then, a class with will show up with a project that goes above and beyond. This year, one of those projects exploded online, capturing the attention of thousands of Twitter users. The idea? The students made their own “tea cup” ride! It’s just like what you’d see at Disneyland, but entirely mechanical and way, way more awesome!

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How do people in Japan feel about eating whale? We asked five people for their opinions

If you hail from one of the many developed nations that comprehensively frowns on the practice of whaling, you may have the image that an appalling number of people in Japan eat whale meat. And while that may be true in relative terms compared to extremely low number of people who regularly eat whale meat in several parts of North America and Europe, whaling can be a divisive topic even within Japan. Some Japanese have no problem with dining on whale from time to time, treating it like just a meatier, gamier fish. Others think eating whale is a custom that’s long past its time and needs to be rethought.

To get a preliminary understanding of some of the many different opinions on the issue that exist in the country, we interviewed a number of Japanese people and asked them whether they were in favor of or opposed to whaling and eating whale meat.

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Kimutaku to star in Blade of the Immortal live-action film directed by Takashi Miike

When one of Japan’s most controversial directors teams up with one of its sexiest actors to make a film about the manga world’s most cursed samurai, the ripples of excitement that usually surround a live-action movie announcement turn into a veritable tidal wave.

The upcoming film adaptation of Hiroaki Samura’s manga Blade of the Immortal is set to be one of the most anticipated films of 2017. Until then, fans of the original manga series will have to wait to see what lies in store when 42-year-old boy band member and heart-throb actor Kimutaku takes on the role of a masterless samurai living in an immortal body.

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Baked Sweetness from London arrives in Tokyo as Lola’s Cupcakes opens shop in Harajuku!

The Harajuku/Omotesando district in Tokyo is already a mecca of sweet shops from around the world, but things in the area just got even sweeter this past weekend as another internationally loved bakery opened its very first shop in Japan. Yes, we’re delighted that London’s celebrated LOLA’S cupcakes now has a shop in Tokyo, and as you may have guessed, we weren’t about to miss out on trying the sweet creations from one of London’s best-loved baking outlets, so there we were on opening day.

We already knew from the pictures that their cupcakes look simply amazing; now we couldn’t wait to try some for ourselves, and there were even going to be four original Japanese flavors too — Yum!

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These “Fuchineko” cat figures from Caffe Veloce will make any drink a hundred times cuter

One of the few good things about mornings is the coffee. There’s nothing quite like a jolt of caffeine after rolling out of bed! It’s hard to improve on the formula of coffee, but Chat Noir may have found the perfect ingredient: Cat figures!

Now, for a limited time only, the company is offering adorable cat figures to customers who buy three drinks, so be sure to stop by Caffe Veloce or any of the company’s other cafes for your morning cup of joe and earn yourself one of these awesome black kitties!

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Sword Art Online anime movie announced, will feature all-new storyline from creator Reki Kawahara

Japanese fans of the Sword Art Online light novel series know all about the importance of attending the seasonal Dengeki Bunko festivals in Tokyo. This is the main stage on which Japanese publisher ASCII Media Works and its Dengeki Bunko imprint make all their big announcements regarding the series, and it was no different at the Dengeki Bunko Autumn Festival held in Akihabara on Sunday, where it was revealed that Sword Art Online will be made into a new anime movie, with an all-new storyline from its creator Reki Kawahara.

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Sweet and fruity taste of autumn comes to Starbucks Japan — we try the new Fruit Crush drinks!

Starbucks never ceases to delight us with their tempting seasonal creations, and here in Japan they’ve done it again this autumn with two new beverages that they released on October 1, the “Fruit Crush & Tea” and “Fruit Crush & Cream Frappuccino“. Both are fruit infused tea-based drinks that should be prefectly relaxing as the weather gets cooler heading into fall. Naturally, we had to try these, and we sent one of our Japanese reporters to a Starbucks the day the drinks were released!

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Hotel offers guests the chance to experience the 1,000-year-old lifestyle of the Heian Period

Japanese history can be a lot of fun to explore, from the Sengoku era to the modernization of Japan in the Meiji Period. We’re sure everyone has their own favorite time period, but one that doesn’t always get the respect it deserves is the Heian Period. Lasting roughly from 794 to 1185, the period was a relatively peaceful time in Japan that saw a blossoming of culture in everything from literature to music.

Unfortunately, we can’t just hop on a plane and go back in time to see everything for ourselves. But there is a hotel in Shikoku where you can experience a bit of the Heian life for yourself complete with period costumes, games, and architecture! So whether you’re a history buff or just need a major change of scenery, you’ll want to check out Gosho Yashiro no Mori!
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10 stories of Japanese high school girls and their puzzling, laughable behaviors

High school girls. In all seriousness, are they aliens??

Japanese Twitter users delight in sharing the perplexing, nonsensical, contradictory, or downright outrageous behaviors that they observe high school girls engaging in around the country. Below, we’ve gathered together a sampling of some such anecdotes for your reading pleasure. What strange escapades are the girls up to now?

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New Evangelion lingerie and roomwear range features five favourite characters and a penguin!

The world of intimate apparel has taken an animated turn recently, with online fashion retailer SuperGroupies creating bra and panty sets inspired by the female pilots’ plugsuits from Neon Genesis Evangelion and popular lingerie and women’s apparel brand Peach John releasing Sailor Moon lingerie.

Now Peach John is coming out with its own Eva-inspired line of roomwear and intimates, featuring matching bras and panties with gorgeous Evangelion details, a nightie and even a Pen Pen onesie to lounge about the house in.

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Join the hordes of net users giggling at GIFs of sumo wrestlers performing comedic moves【Videos】

Unless you’re striving to become one of the big guys yourself, you may not have much connection to the world of professional sumo. As an ancient sport with plenty of ritual elements, the wrestlers, known as rikishi in Japanese, have a highly regimented training lifestyle. With all those rules, it’s certainly easy to overlook the comedic side of sumo.

Wait, there’s a comedic side to sumo?

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Government’s Cool Japan Project to fund AKB48 sister group in Philippines

It’s been recently announced that AKB Group, the idol conglomerate responsible for AKB48, NMB48, SKE48, HKT48, NGT48, JKT48, and SNH48, will be adding another serial number to the roster in the form of MNL48, which is planned to operate out of Manila in the Philippines.

This new group will be formed through a project by the publicly funded Cool Japan initiative which, contrary to what Gackt may think, appears to be doing something tangible with all their funding after all. In fact, this is especially tangible as yet another source of revenue for Yasushi Akimoto, the head of AKB Group who also just happens to be the chairman of the Cool Japan Council.

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Anime figure collector who can’t pay his taxes with money has to give up what he cares for most

The two things in life that are always guaranteed are death and taxes. Death can come out of nowhere, and it’s the most surprising ones that hurt us the most. Taxes, on the other hand, should never be a surprise. You have to file and pay your taxes every year at the exact same time, so you can’t really say that you didn’t see them coming. In Japan, if the government finds out that you are withholding money from them, trust that they will be coming to collect that cash. As one citizen found out, if you can’t pay them what you owe, they will just take away your precious collection of anime figures.

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Parental advice not always as astute as we’d like to believe: Japanese netizens share

Often, in hard times, kids turn to their parents for guidance and advice. While we’d like to believe that our parents are always full of wisdom, sometimes the advice we get is not quite what we were seeking.

Thanks to the Internet, people can share the great (or not so great) advice they receive from their parents with the rest of the world. Today we bring you a collection of Japanese parental advice with varying degrees of usefulness and entertainment.

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Angry university student knocks classmates’ drone out of the sky, throws a hissy fit【Video】

We’ve already seen what happens when a pack of square-dancing ladies go after a drone carrying around coupons for cakes. But what happens when a similar scene occurs on a university basketball court with what appears to be a spoiled, entitled student having a tantrum thrown into the mix? The sight is not very pretty, to say the least.

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This compilation of teas from around the world is making us thirsty! 【Video】

While coffee may be the world’s favorite caffeinated beverage, tea has a much longer history, and is still deeply ingrained in many cultures. How people in each country take their tea is as varied is the types of tea available, and even personal preferences within each country.

Whether you like your tea black, green, white, hot, iced, served straight or with yak butter, take a look at this video compilation of teas around the world and see how many you have tried!

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Bali style: Is that a penjor or are you just happy to see me?

Penjor were pretty much the first thing I noticed about Bali. As soon as we left the airport, they began towering over our car from both sides of the street: long-necked, graceful swoops of bamboo arching and bobbing over the road, their strips of paper and coconut leaves fluttering in the air.

But what were these charming decorations? What was their significance? That took a little longer to find out. And to be honest, I’m still not sure I know.

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Breaking research from Japan: wearing a pink face mask makes you more attractive

In Japan, it’s quite a common sight to see people walking around or going to work wearing surgical masks. The reason is so they don’t spread germs to others, or potentially catch others’ germs, and they’re all over the place this time of year when people tend to get colds.

However there’s another reason you might see women wearing a surgical mask: research from Hokkaido University says that wearing a mask makes a woman appear significantly more attractive. And if they’re wearing a pink mask, then they basically turn into a supermodel.

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Chinese mushroom picker discovers monstrous beehive

Now that it’s October, fall is slowly beginning to creep up on Japan, which means seasonal favorite dishes including pumpkin, sweet potato, and mushroom will again be arriving on dinner tables across the land in no time. As for the lattermost, people from the countryside are more likely to pick or grown their own rather than buy mushrooms from the supermarket, and some varieties like matsutake can easily retail for a few hundred dollars.

Unfortunately matsutake and other kinds of mushrooms don’t fetch quite as high of a price in China, but while one man was gathering mushrooms, he stumbled across something that was worth much more: a giant bees’ nest.

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