Cosplay as Sailor Moon’s classmates with official uniforms of the anime heroines’ schools

When most anime fans think of the core cast members of Sailor Moon Crystal, they picture them in their sailor-style combat suits. But while they do indeed don those brightly color-coded getups when it’s time to do battle with the forces of evil, the teen heroines spend most of their week dressed in the uniforms of ordinary junior high students.

If you’ve ever wanted to cosplay not as Sailor Moon, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, or Venus, but as their alternate non-magical girl identities, now’s your chance, as you can now buy official uniforms of the schools attended by the Sailor Senshi.

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Former AKB48 idol’s crowdfunding campaign includes date rewards

The former AKB48 idol Anna Mori is crowdfunding her first photobook after recently turning 20 years old (the “age of majority” in Japan, similar to turning 18 in the U.S.) and quickly raised 2,000,000 yen (about US$16,957) with a little help from some unique backer rewards. Mori offered threedates for backers who paid 200,000 yen (US$1,695).

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Man attempts to create ancient moss-covered Gundam ruins: “It’ll only take a few years.”

Japan has an interesting relationship with moss. From the “Moss Covered Forest” that inspired Princess Mononoke, to the marimo “moss balls” found in Hokkaido, to MOS Burger that has tragically deterred foreigners for decades by its name alone.

But it’s one man’s quest to use moss in a new way that has recently piqued the interest of the internet. In the hopes of creating realistic figurines that look like they’ve been abandoned for centuries, he wants to get them covered in moss the old fashioned way: by waiting for years.

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Dragon Quest creator reveals secrets behind mysterious ending

The creator of legendary RPG series Dragon Quest has spilled the beans on the mysterious ending to the third game that still had fans puzzled over 25 years since its original release. Read on to find out, but beware – some things are best left a mystery.

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The Japan Self-Defense Forces have their own kind of Coming-of-Age ceremony and it’s pretty cool

If you haven’t heard yet, last week 20-year-olds all over Japan dressed up and gathered together on January 12 for their government official Coming-of-Age ceremonies. The event takes place every year for any young adult who turned 20 in the previous year. It’s an event that signifies their entry into adulthood and ability to legally drink alcohol.

However, there are some 20-year-olds who don’t get to celebrate the same way as their peers: those who joined the Japan Self-Defense Forces after high school and are off on duty somewhere. The forgotten few were not so forgotten this year, as some pictures of them were posted on Twitter. And you thought the guys in Okinawa were badass? Check out these soldiers.

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Haruki Murakami’s advice on how to be a great writer: Be born with talent

Among contemporary writers, there’s no Japanese author with a bigger international following than Haruki Murakami. The novelist and translator is also highly respected within his home country, as Japan holds an especially deep respect for any of its citizens who succeed in making a name for themselves on the international stage.

As such, we imagine one young graduate student was hoping for some sage advice when she contacted Murakami and asked him for pointers on how to become a better writer. The response she got was as surprising, unique, and challenging as Murakami’s books themselves.

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Aquarium provides fishy fun, horrifyingly awkward marriage proposals

If you’re as introverted as I am, then the thought of public marriage proposals (whether on the giving, receiving, or spectating end) fills you with a deep, visceral horror. Popping the question in front of a big crowd is supposed to be romantic, but it also smacks a bit of desperationwith all these witnesses, how can she possibly say no? But what’s even MORE embarrassing is when your proposal is undeniably, horrifyingly lame, like when that one dude confessed his love to his girl with 99 iPhones, or in this case, where people actually got an aquarium tank diver to hold up cards with their proposal on. Nooooooooooooo!

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Steampunk cosplay accessory that makes our heart go boom boom boom

What do steampunk fashion and a heart monitor have in common? Usually, nothing. But throw in a garter belt and you’ve got yourself a creative and original piece of fashion fusing seemingly incompatible objects. Read on to check out this awesome steampunk cosplay accessory!

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The surprisingly easy art of getting your hamster to “cosplay,” tonnes of cute guaranteed!

There are people in this world who like cosplay, and there are people who like cute little animals. Put them together and you’d get possibly the only kind of cosplay that has the potential to out-cute toddlers in tiny geeky costumescosplaying pets!

Sadly, not all pets like being put into costumes, but most of the pets I’ve seen have a common interest in putting their curious little heads into gaps and holes. One Japanese pet owner combines the two elements in a stroke of genius, and came up with the most brilliant hamster “cosplay” we’ve ever seen. Check out the geeky little pal after the break!

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The Sailor Moon wedding tiara: For when you take the step from magical girl to magical wife

Last month, we took a look at the wedding photos of an extremely passionate Sailor Moon fan who infused her love of the classic magical girl series into nearly every aspect of her ceremony and reception. Impressed as we were, there was more than pure otaku gumption that went into the wedding, as the new bride also employed the considerable skills she’s developed working as a professional event planner.

But there’s another way to add a dash of Sailor Moon to your walk down the aisle, even if you don’t work in a creative industry. Provided whatever you do pays well, soon you’ll be able to order an official Sailor Moon wedding tiara.

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Struggling with Japanese? Let Tako lend you a hand…or five

Yes, I know octopi have eight tentacles not six, but Tako of Takos Japanese has five. It’s the same cartoon logic that makes the Simpson family all have eight fingers. And yes, I know the name should probably read “Tako’s Japanese.” Really though, let’s not get bogged down in talk of appendages and apostrophes right now.

Today we’re here to look at a new Japanese study app released by Spain-based Giant Soul Interactive. A lot of Japanese study apps found online are either fun but limited in content or deep but boring and stodgy. Learn Japanese with Tako (recently changed from “Takos Japanese”) aims to strike a happy balance of a fun way to learn the language that’s also rich in content. Let’s find out if they succeed.

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Burn baby burn! The Shinto inferno of Japan’s Dondo Yaki ceremony

When entering the grounds of a Shinto shrine in Japan, it’s customary to first stop by the water basin near the gate and rinse your hands, and sometimes your mouth, in order to cleanse them. Water isn’t the only classical element held to have purifying properties in Shintoism, though, since the same can be said about fire.

Obviously, worshippers aren’t called upon to put fire on their palms or inside their mouths. Instead, Shinto priests light pyres of charms and decorations during the Dondo Yaki ceremony, with the towering blazes regularly reaching 15 meters (49.2 feet) into the air.

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Is “Ago-kui” the next “Kabe-don”?

Kabe-don” ranked among Japan’s top anime buzzwords of 2014. Facing a woman with her back on the wall, the man places his hand on the wall beside her with a “don!” (the Japanese sound routinely used to represent something hitting a hard surface), with his face close to hers. This situation common in girls’ comics is also frequently seen in TV dramas and movies, and many young women who watch this scene dream of finding themselves in a similar situation with the object of their affections.

But is the ago-kui set to be 2015’s kabe-don and among its most-used phrases?

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Secret backmasked message found hidden in Dragon Ball Z ending song

There are many urban legends of satanic verses hidden in popular music to subconsciously corrupt our children. While those claims may not always be true, there are definitely a lot of songs out there that feature backmasked messages (hidden messages revealed only when you play the piece backwards). So what could possibly be hiding behind the cutesy, bouncy Dragon Ball Z ending song?!

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The 6 volcanoes most likely to destroy, like, everything (guess which country has the most)

If volcanoes were comic or fantasy villains, they’d be more akin to Marvel’s cosmic entities or Lovecraftian horrors than the puny likes of Magneto or, uh… The Slug (I don’t know many Marvel villains). They strike only every few thousand years before slipping back into a long slumber, lurking for centuries as humanity slowly forgets the horrors they can inflict, inching closer to the looming mountains with each passing year, setting up cities at their very feet. Then, when mankind least expects it – just chillin’ ‘n shit as Dave Chappelle might say – the volcano strikes again, blasting molten rock and ash over miles and miles, smothering out whole cities in the (cosmically speaking) blink of an eye.

Yet, even as we know intellectually that volcanoes are kind of a big deal, we tend to look up at them less with abject horror and awe and more with shouts of, “Hey, check out that big-ass rock!”

Well people, we’ve got news for you: There are at least six big-ass rocks capable of blotting out not just entire cities, but entire civilizations and possibly humanity itself and you’ll never guess which disaster-prone island nation has the most.

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“There’s a cat in the window”: A giant compilation of the cutest peeping Toms you’ll ever see

Have you ever had the experience of pulling back your curtains, only to be met by a pair of luminous, unblinking eyes from the outside?

If you have, you’ll be able to sympathize with the following Japanese Twitter users who glanced up at their windows and happened to see one or more furry feline visitors staring back. Either way, you’re sure to enjoy this compilation of (the good kind of) peeping Toms!

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Frozen’s Anna is pregnant and needs a C-section…but don’t worry, there’s an app for that

Have you ever wondered what happened to Anna after the Disney movie Frozen ended? Well, according to one iPhone app maker, Anna married her new beau Kristoff and immediately got pregnant. She’s nine months in and in need of a C-section. But who will perform the surgery?! You will, with this silly new app available on the Apple app store. 

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Daiso wine, the super cheap vino from Japan’s largest chain of 100-yen stores 【Taste test】

If you’ve had the pleasure of shopping at Daiso, you know Japan’s biggest chain of 100-yen stores sells just about everything. An array of kitchenware, school and office supplies, and even basic articles of clothing such as underwear, neckties, and belts can all be yours for just 100 yen (US$0.84) each.

Daiso even sells food and beverages, with seasonings, snacks, and soft drinks lining the shelves. This is common knowledge among thrifty shoppers looking for a cheap place to stock up on snacks, but if you’re searching for something stiffer than a bottle of tea or cola, a trip to the convenience or liquor store is still in order, right?

Not necessarily, as we recently discovered that some Daiso branches now sell wine. As big of a surprise as that was, we were in for an even bigger one once we poured ourselves a glass, because it’s actually pretty good.

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A visit to Sushi Dai, Japan’s best sushi restaurant according to world travelers

A portion of Tokyo’s world-famous Tsukiji Fish Market is expected to move to the Toyosu neighborhood in 2016. While part of the retail market and many restaurants will be sticking around, the upcoming relocation of the wholesale operations makes 2015 the last full year to enjoy Tsukiji as the absolute center of the sushi world.

In other words, if you’re looking to make a trip to the area to see it at its peak, now’s the time. And while there’s always something to be said for discovering a largely unknown restaurant with delicious food, on our Japanese-language correspondent Nakano’s visit to Tsukiji, he decided to dine at what travelers have voted the best sushi restaurant in Japan, Sushi Dai.

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Edo era Samurai were pretty gay

Recently a Japanese TV program highlighted an interesting bit of historical trivia: The most common type of revenge killing in the Edo period was between gay lovers. It’s a statistic that shocked many viewers in modern Japan, but there is ample evidence to support that a whole lot of gay sex was going on in the country from between 1400 and 1900.

It was at first a playful fancy of the ruling classes but then grew into a cold yet efficiently run military system of battlefield man-pleasuring. However, as we can see from the previously mentioned little factoid, once guys start letting emotions get involved, the whole thing starts to fall apart.

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