Cuddly koalas pose in business class as part of trip to celebrate Singapore’s 50th birthday

To celebrate Singapore’s 50th birthday, Australia sent four koalas to the Singapore Zoo for what is possibly the best birthday present ever. As one of Australia’s national animals, these four fuzzy marsupials were given top-notch treatment as they were upgraded from the cargo hold to “Koala Class”. Pictures appearing on Qantas’ Facebook page showed exactly how good people and bears have it in business class.

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Disney Pixar’s new movie attracts criticism again in Japan

Other than a brief trial separation, Disney and Pixar have been working hard together to make some of the best family-friendly movies over the past two decades. Their success has been practically unrivaled in the industry. Huge movies like Toy Story 3 and Monsters University always attract big audiences and with sequels to The Incredibles in the works and Finding Dory on the way, fans can’t wait for the next Pixar movie to come out.

But when the trailer for Inside Out hit Japan, millions of people were wondering, “Didn’t we see this already somewhere else?

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We spend a morning with an expert wagashi chef creating no-bake traditional Japanese sweets!

If you’re someone who enjoys making treats like cakes and pastries, then perhaps you have first hand knowledge of how baking can sometimes be a tricky affair. Well, in Japan, we have a whole category of wagashi, or traditional Japanese sweets, that aren’t baked at all, called namagashi (literally, “raw confectionaries”). Namagashi are typically made from various colorful bean pastes and often crafted into delicate seasonal-themed shapes.

Earlier this month, we participated in a seminar to experience what namagashi-making is like. Join us as we see how a master chef creates beautiful flowers from bean paste, and then try our not-so-expert hand at creating our own confections!

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Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ opens – We attended screening with voice actors, Momoiro Clover Z

Okay, folks! Remember what day this past April 18 was? Well, here in Japan, April 18 may be Invention Day, but this year, it was also the opening day of the movie Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’! Since we’d already reported a fair bit of information about the new Dragon Ball movie, we thought it was only appropriate that we go see it on opening day and give you our impressions.

This time, fortunately, we didn’t have to wait 17 years for a new Dragon Ball movie like we did for the previous film, Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods. What’s more, we managed to get a ticket to a screening with special appearances by voice actors and idol group Momoiro Clover Z! Join us for our take on the movie and a report on all the excitement on opening day.

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Introducing the new PikaChu! Amusing character mash-ups bring the Japanese internet to giggles

Ever wondered what Pikachu would look like fused with other familiar characters from manga, anime, and video games?

Neither have we, to be honest, but now we can see what the love-children of those amalgamations would look like thanks to Japanese company Mountain Graphics, a maker of t-shirts and other apparel. “Cardcaptor Zakura,” “Wapire-chan”…their series of character mash-ups are sure to tickle your funny bone!

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New anti-chikan cellphone stickers let you mark train gropers with sign of shame

As you probably know, Japan is infamous for chikanpeople who grope others in crowded areas, like crowded trains and buses. As you also probably know, Japan has a long history of doing things in bizarre and not-very-effective ways.

So what do we get when the two come together? Ridiculous anti-chikan stickers for cell phones put out by the Saitama Prefecture Police department. And these aren’t just stickers you’re supposed to use to keep potential chikan away, these are stickers you’re meant to use offensively! Ka-pow!

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Japanese Netizens think that European Central Bank protester looks like an anime character

Although the protester that managed to infiltrate the European Central Bank’s monthly press conference recently got plenty of media attention with her clever deployment of a so-called “Glitter Bomb” – that is, she scattered the notoriously-difficult-to-remove, fabulous substance everywhere – her protest method of choice came a few months too late.

Everyone knows, of course, that the disruptive substance du jour now is the dial-a-bag of dongs. Glitter is just so yesterday. But, our intrepid protester is still getting her due time in the spotlight in Japan because of her resemblance to a certain anime character.

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McDonald’s Korea gets customers doing crazy things to show their love for the Big Mac【Videos】

Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions – on a sesame seed bun!

What are we talking about? McDonald’s Big Mac, of course! We’re assuming you’re familiar with McDonald’s – after all, they are the biggest fast food franchise in the world, but do you know the Big Mac Song? These Korean fans know it at the back of their hands and are jazzing things up with some eye-popping renditions as they take part in McDonald’s Korea’s third season of their ever-popular Big Mac Song Competition.

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Red skies and mud rain in China as apocalypse begins earlier than expected

Listen guys. I have some bad news. You might want to sit down for this.

The apocalypse is clearly happening right now, and if you’re in China, Mongolia or that general region, you may want to go ahead and kiss your loved ones goodbye, because Cthulhu himself, or some other terrible dark deity, is already sending warning of the end times in the form of blood-red skies and freaking black stuff raining from the heavens. Sorry, guys, but we’re clearly all doomed.

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Nine tips for surviving Japan’s hellishly crowded trains

If you have ever ridden a train during rush hour in Japan, you know it takes a certain amount of fortitude to survive it. If you are just visiting the country, sometimes you can avoid those super stuffed trains, buy if you live or spend an extended length of time in any big city in Japan you just can’t avoid taking a packed train. Whether it’s rush hour in the morning, rush hour at night, or the last few trains home, you will often find yourself in a position where you have to give up the luxury of personal space in exchange for a ride home.

It takes a certain amount of skill to stay upright as well as a bit of creative ingenuity to pass the time and avoid feeling claustrophobic in order to survive the crowded train. We’ve collated nine of the best tips to help you get through a hell-like train ride.

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McDonald’s Japan faces largest deficit ever, closing 190 stores and retiring 100 HQ staff

We have said it many times: 2014 was not a good year for McDonald’s in Japan. Ever since being involved in an expired chicken scandal last summer, the Japanese public at large has held a grudge so deep against the restaurant you’d think Ronald himself left a flaming bag of dog poop on everyone’s doorstep and keyed their cars on his way off the premises.

Now as the new fiscal year in Japan begins we can see that this anger wasn’t limited to mere online whining either. Japanese people seem to have united and hit McDonald’s where it hurts most: the bottom line.

In an announcement on 16 April, McDonald’s Holdings Company Japan President Sarah Casanova announced that the company currently sits on the largest deficit ever at a super-sized 38 billion yen (US$319M).

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The reason those “how not to use this toilet” signs exist in Asia…

Did you ever hear stories about people in horribly embarrassing or awkward situations and thank whatever deity you believe in that it didn’t happen to you? Well you can say your thanks again that you weren’t the man who had to be taken to the hospital for injuries sustained after the toilet he decided to stand on as he… did his business… collapsed underneath him.

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Compared to the U.S., Japan has different cultural standards about revealing female fashions. That’s not to say women in Japan show more or less skin than their American counterparts, just that they show it in different places.

So while you’re likely to see more cleavage in L.A. or New York, a stroll through Tokyo or Osaka will turn up more women in very short shorts. Honestly, after spending enough time in Japan, its easy to become desensitized to hot pants, until something comes along that pushes the envelope by offering less coverage from some angles than a pair of panties.

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Heartbreaking photos inside the bedrooms of children who died in last year’s South Korean ferry disaster

A year ago Thursday, a ferry carrying 476 people sank off the coast of Incheon, near Seoul, South Korea, during a routine trip to the island of Jeju.

In all, 295 people aboard the Sewol perished, many of them high-school students and teachers who were on a field trip. Many of the bodies still have not been recovered.

Since the disaster, controversy has centered on the South Korean government’s response. Some argue the government attempted to whitewash its accountability in the incident; others have called for a thorough investigation.

Parents of the students who died in the catastrophe are still reeling from their loss a year later. Many still keep their children’s rooms intact to keep their memories alive. Reuters photographer Kim Hong-Ji visited their homes and documented the families and the rooms.

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Apple would rather you not blow up teen couples on your iPhone, asks developer to edit video game

In a lot of ways, digital distribution of video games is a great thing, as it allows developers to easily add new content to a title after its release. It’s a double-edged sword, though, and that same streamlined pathway from programmer to player can also be used to quickly make changes that take things away.

A few weeks ago, we took a look at a smartphone game whose lonely, jaded protagonist and his mystical, jaded companion use their powers to make affectionate couples meet with a host of calamities, including straight blowing them up. Apple, however, is not cool with this sort of vengeful fantasy, and so the iOS version of the game is being toned down and given a new name since the original title, Explode, Real Types! no longer describes the game’s contents.

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New “magic powder” turns any liquid into flavored lubricant, also perfect for thickening up curry

Think about the last time you had a nice big bowl of lubricant for breakfast. Could the taste have been a little better? Was the texture not smooth enough going down?

Well you’re in luck! The Japanese lubricant company Pepee just recently released “Pepee Gelee,” packets of “magic powder” that you can put in any liquid – from water to juice to alcohol – and transform it into lubricant. What you do with it after that is up to you: you could share it with a friend, spread it over a ground sheet for some slip-slidin’ action, or simply enjoy a nice dinner for one.

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(Not so) cool beans! Watch these horrified US kids try natto for the first time!

Despite being slimy and smelly and stringy, fermented soybeans, or natto, are actually really good for you. We’ve spoken before about how even lots of Japanese people have to resort to special measures in order to stomach swallowing down a bowl of these stinky beans. So it’s no surprise that these US kids have such a hard time when they were presented with a bowl of natto for the first time.

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R2-D2 jet takes to the skies in the most dramatic airline commercial we’ve seen all year

As you might have heard, that little indie film Star Wars is getting a squeal or something like that. And, like Pokemon and Hello Kitty before it, the franchise is getting its own themed plane with the R2-D2 jet, set to start flying international routes this fall.

As you may expect, a project this big demands a big announcement. And ANA (All Nippon Airways), the company bringing this themed jet to the skies, is more than happy to oblige! Check out the commercial, complete with the jet soaring majestically through cloudy skies, below.

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Live-Action Attack on Titan films’ poster, 2nd movie title unveiled

The official website for the two Attack on Titan live-action films unveiled a new poster for the movies on Friday. Theaters in Japan will begin displaying the poster on April 25.

The first movie will open on August 8, and the second movie will open on September 19.

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e.l.f. Cosmetics delights Frozen fans with an Elsa makeover in a book

I subscribe to a handful of beauty gurus on YouTube, and the moment Frozen turned out to be such a mega hit, I knew I had to brace myself for a rush of Elsa-inspired makeovers taking over my subscription list. True enough, the Elsa-themed tutorial videos came in like a wrecking ball and suddenly my YouTube feed was flooded with women sporting blonde braids and smokey purple eyelids.

The thing about these makeup tutorials is that many of these YouTube beauty gurus have a rather extensive collection of makeup palettes and tools, so they can easily create different looks, but the average person might not own products in all the colors required to replicate Elsa’s look. That, was until e.l.f. launched their Disney Elsa makeup series that provided the full package at affordable prices. Check out the lineup after the break!

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