Gear up for Valentine’s Day with this lipstick…chocolate!

At a glance, these lipsticks look like any other you can find at your local drugstore. However, this Valentine’s Day, you can buy a whole set of them for your loved one and watch them chomp down on these deliciously colorful lipstick-shaped chocolates!

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The City of Angels is now the City of Samurai with Los Angeles museum’s awesome armor exhibition

Like clockwork, every winter I get a serious bout of home-sickness. It’s usually triggered by a call or email from someone back home telling me about taking a drive with the top down, watching football on ordinary broadcast TV, going out for some Vietnamese sandwiches, or one of the other things I miss about life in Los Angeles.

“But,” I remind myself, “Japan has lots of cool things too! Where else can you go to the museum and see massive collections of samurai armor, huh?”

Oh, right now you can do that at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art? Touché, L.A.

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Out of this world Valentine’s chocolates are (almost) too gorgeous to eat

Chilly January is drawing to a close and that means that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Here in Japan, Valentine chocolates are big business, which means shops pull out all the stops to create delicacies as easy on the eyes as they are sweet in your mouth. We’ve picked our favorites for this year, so whether you are buying for your lover or yourself, check out these dainty nibbles!

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We try beer with whipped cream on top…because we’re fancy

It’s been said that younger generations of drinkers in Japan just aren’t that into beer anymore. With them opting instead for cheaper and sweeter cocktails, good old ale (or ale-flavored stuff) is gradually being pushed aside.

However, our intrepid reporter Meg has found a way to reinvent beer to younger folks appealing to their sweet-tooths. It comes from South Korea where it’s called “Saengkeulim Maegju” or “Cream Beer” and is basically beer with some whipped cream on top. It’s so easy you can make it at home…so we did!

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No more photo retouches! New makeup for cosplayers claims to create photo-perfect skin

Makeup is one of the most important factors that could make or break a cosplay outfit. Cosplayers sometimes spend hours exposed to sunlight or strong lighting in a photoshoot or at conventions, and it means a great deal to them to have makeup that lasts and delivers the photogenic results that they want.

Want your skin to look effortlessly flawless in photos? The good news is, the cosplay-loving Japanese have just released a lineup of base makeup items designed specifically to cater to the needs of cosplayers! The greater news is, these products are not going to burn a hole in your wallet, and non-cosplayers can use them for regular makeup too!

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New video claims one Japanese ISIS hostage killed, authenticity of video under investigation

Earlier this week, a video that is thought to have been produced by Islamic State militants surfaced, demanding that Japan pay a ransom of $200 million within 72 hours for the release of two Japanese hostages, Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who had recently visited the Middle East and pledged $200 million in non-military aid, vowed to not give in to terrorism. The 72-hour time limit came and went, and on Saturday a new video was posted claiming that one hostage, Yukawa, was killed. While Abe and the Japanese people are angry, experts are taking a closer look to verify the authenticity of the somewhat questionable video.

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Huge six-meter (19.7-foot) anime hug pillow will prove you’re a great big otaku 【Video】

When you look at them a certain way, huggy pillows with pictures of cute anime girls on them are kind of creepy. Well, actually, they’re creepy in several ways, but for right now, let’s limit our discussion to one way in particular.

Even if we accept that there’s nothing wrong with consensual love between a man and his pillow, their relative sizes make the situation kind of weird. After all, a person’s height is far greater than a pillow’s length, so wouldn’t Miss Anime Pillow feel a little awkward cuddling with her much larger otaku owner?

It’d probably be a little like squeezing a gigantic anime pillow that’s six meters (19.7 feet) long. Of course, if that sounds like your personal vision of bedtop bliss, there’s a company giving away just that.

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Evangelion couple rings let you tell your sweetheart you love him or her like Shinji loves Kaworu

The Japanese fashion world doesn’t hold any stigmas against guys who enthusiastically accessorize. As such, it’s not uncommon for couples to buy what’re called “pair accessories,” usually rings or necklaces with similar designs, meant to evoke a sense of closeness even when the two lovers are apart.

Considering the recent boom in anime-inspired fashion and accessories, it’s not such a big shock that one jewelry maker has created a set of pair rings based on Evangelion, one of the most popular franchises in the history of Japanese animation. Nor is it surprising that the designers chose to model the rings after two characters who, even if they don’t directly show such feelings, are considered by many fans to be sweet on each other.

What is getting attention, though, is that the two character, Shinji and Kaworu, are both guys.

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Yokohama’s adorable hedgehog dumplings are packed with spikey cuteness and creamy custard

Located about a half hour south of downtown Tokyo, the city of Yokohama has a couple of big tourist draws, like its gigantic Ferris wheel and bayside parks with panoramic views. If you’re hungry, though, you’ll want to head to Yokohama’s Chinatown, which is one of the biggest in Japan and is made up almost entirely of places to eat.

As a matter of fact, you don’t even have to grab a seat in a restaurant to fill your stomach, since the streets are lined with stalls selling all manner of munchies. Some of these you might see elsewhere in Japan, like the steamed pork buns that are also convenience store mainstays. But there’s at least one treat you can’t find anywhere but Yokohama’s Chinatown, and that’s these adorable sweet dumplings shaped like tiny hedgehogs.

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Fly-kicking good?! KFC Malaysia apologises after employees brawl in front of customers

KFC Malaysia has launched an investigation after a fist-fight broke out between employees in a branch of the restaurant in Kuala Lumpur. The fight, which happened directly in front of customers, was captured on camera and uploaded Facebook, where it has been shared and viewed thousands of times.

A video of the punch-up, which appears to show one member of staff verbally abusing another before a third employee dives in with a flying kick, was uploaded on January 17. KFC Malaysia was surprisingly quick to respond.

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Fancy a cuppa? We explore the UK’s unusual takes on Japanese green tea

In the UK, where I’m from, people get really passionate about tea. It’s the first thing you offer someone who is a visitor to your home, and remembering how someone likes their tea made is one way of showing that you care about them. We’re also fussy about the ritual behind making tea (you should see what happens in my house when someone puts the milk in first). In this way, we’re kinda like the Japanese.

In Japan, they drink green tea rather than black tea, but their attitude towards it matches ours. It’s both something for all-day long refreshment, and for special occasions. They’re also really into the ceremony behind it, with chadou, or tea ceremony, being a celebrated art in Japan.

So, what happens when the tea companies try to make green tea happen in the UK? A whole lot of added flavourings, that’s what! Join us after the jump for a taste test!

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Japanese food blogger makes fried chicken poodles: “They’re too cute to eat!”

Whether our parents like it or not, food is an art form. Playing with food is awesome, and we’ve seen some spectacular examples of shaved-ice masterpieces, printed designs onto food, or corgi omelets.

But if you’ve been looking for a quick, easy artistic recipe you can do at home, look no further. Get ready to make the cutest little appetizers you’ve ever seen: fried poodles.

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Attack on sobriety! Attack on Titan teams up with plum wine maker for new anime alcohol

Along with its naked giants and high-flying fight scenes, anime and manga mega hit Attack on Titan is defined by its oppressively bleak atmosphere. Its world is one in which not only do rampaging monsters want to eat you, the ruling aristocracy is ready to kick you out of the walled city if you’re too big a drain on its resources.

Compelling as its story may be, after spending enough time in that setting, even fans of the series could find themselves needing a stiff drink. If so, they might want to reach for a glass of the soon-to-be-released Attack on Titan plum wine.

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Japanese village converted into gorgeous open-air museum makes an easy day-trip escape from Tokyo

There’s a lot to love about Tokyo. Aside from the sheer energy of being the most bustling metropolis in Japan, it’s home to some amazing modern attractions, like the Skytree, Ebisu Beer Museum, and RocketNews24 offices.

Still, even we can appreciate the occasional longing for a simpler, slower-paced time. Thankfully, even if you don’t have a time machine, as long as you have access to the capital’s outstanding public transportation network, you can catch a glimpse of Japan’s traditional rural lifestyle at this beautiful open-air museum of thatched-roof houses that’s an easy half-day trip from Tokyo.

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Nikko beyond Toshogu: What to see once you’ve seen it all

The city of Nikko in Tochigi Prefecture, home to the impressive Toshogu Shrine and its famous evil-averse monkeys, is a popular choice for day trips from Tokyo, what with its World Heritage sites and easy train connections. But if all you’re doing is popping in for an afternoon of temple hopping, you are missing out on a lot of what Nikko has to offer. Take our advice and take a couple of days to check out what everybody else is missing.

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Here’s how a 2000-year-old Chinese art can make you more productive

When Anthony Minko was designing his new office in Brooklyn, the estate planning attorney knew that it needed to feel calm and supportive.

After all, a place where people talked about what will happen after they die should feel secure.

So Minko — who had studied the spend idly slow martial art tai chi — hired RD Chin, a New-York based feng shui architect.

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Six Japanese business terms you already know, even if you didn’t realize it

We’ve talked before about handy Japanese words and phrases we wish we could toss around in English. This kind of linguistic jealousy doesn’t flow in just one direction, though. Japanese businesspeople regularly make use of a number of English phrases, either because they’re more concise, precise, or just sound cooler to their ears than their Japanese counterparts.

Sometimes, though, knowing English isn’t enough to understand these loanwords, since their pronunciations can get pretty garbled in the transition from English to Japanese speakers. Feeling confident in your ability to translate English translated into Japanese back into English? Read on and see how many you can decipher.

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People from around the world share surprising quirks of their country in enlightening video

Did you know that in the United States, you can buy an apple, literally eat it all the way down to the core, and then return the core for a refund? It’s like free apples every day.

Okay, so that’s a little far-fetched; pretty much everybody in the US would go out of business if you could just return everything when you were done using it. But it’s true that, comparatively speaking, return policies stateside can heavily favor the consumer. With the exception of certain goods, you can return most things still in decent condition as long as you remembered to keep the receipt.

And that’s just one of the quirks about various countries of the world revealed in this adorably peppy Taiwanese video:

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Creating your own custom etched glass is a lot simpler than you think

Having a hard time coming up with a cool gift idea? Wanting to create something fun and uniquely yours? Why not try your hand at glass-etching! It might sound a bit daunting, but as some Twitter users in Japan are finding, it’s a lot easier than expected, and a lot of fun to make your own anime (or anything!) goods. All you need are a few basic items, a steady hand, and some helpful tips to make your own awesome, customized etched glass! Follow us after the jump to get started.

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Eat for free at this restaurant in China…but only if you’re beautiful enough!

It is common for such establishments as restaurants and movie theatres to offer student discounts, senior discounts, and the like to its patrons, and one Tokyo bar even offers balding gentlemen money off their booze. But one restaurant in China has decided to offer a free meal only to those deemed beautiful enough.

Each person has their own tastes and preferences of what they find attractive, so if beauty is in the eye of the beholder, how does the restaurant go about judging who gets their dinner gratis?

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