“Do they think we’re stupid?” McDonald’s Japan’s new, unappealing strawberry shortcake and donut

Much like the rest of the world, fast food in Japan is a war of franchises trying to one-up the other. When McDonald’s announced it was getting rid of large-sized fries, Lotteria announced they’d give customers “whatever size they wanted.” When McDonald’s was struggling with the morning crowd, Mos Burger seized the opportunity to strike by offering a traditional Japanese breakfast.

Now that Mister Donut has upped the ante by rolling out a strawberry-chocolate-marshmallow pizza, McDonald’s has answered back with its new strawberry whipped cream donut and shortcake. Who will emerge the victor? Well, so far, it’s looking pretty one-sided.

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Gunma Prefecture automat diner serves surprisingly delicious hamburgers with a side of nostalgia

From corn soup to gold soda cans to stag beetles, you can find almost anything in vending machines situated on approximately every street corner in Japan. And not too long ago in Showa-era Japan, it was pretty common to see restaurants staffed entirely by vending machines serving bland, but hot food at an affordable price. Some savvy business owner decided to cash in on this nostalgia and recently opened up an automat diner where customers can relive a time when “dining out” meant putting coins into a vending machine and waiting for your food to pop out!

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Still got Club Nintendo points? New Zelda and Mario shirts, pouches, and more available in Japan

In January, video game giant Nintendo, which usually sleeps atop a well-padded mattress stuffed with the customer goodwill it’s earned over three decades of providing quality titles, sadly announced it would be discontinuing its Club Nintendo loyalty program. With only months to go before Club Nintendo points (also called “coins” or “stars” depending on the region) become worthless, gamers have been scouring the catalog to see what prizes they want to redeem theirs for.

To help loosen their virtual purse strings, Nintendo has just announced a huge new batch of rewards, including some very stylish T-shirts and pouches based on its legendary library of games.

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Japanese netizens stare at red dot for 30 seconds, freak out when they see what happens

Quite often Japan is ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to things like technology, convenience stores, and even shoes. But surprisingly it can lag behind everyone else in the most random areas.

This time around, Japanese Twitter users have only recently discovered “the negative photo illusion,” where you stare at a photo for 30 seconds, look away, and see something “magic.” If you’ve seen this before, don’t spoil it for the thousands of Japanese Twitter users going crazy over it. And if you haven’t seen this before, well then click to see more! You’ve been missing out for years.

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Adorable little kitten auditions for her own cooking show, charms us all

Pets are an extremely important part of our lives as they provide us with companionship that can’t be compared. People will try to do pretty much everything with their pets: walk, talk, bathe, cook (not like that!), the list just goes on and on! If you’ve never seen a pet cooking then let us remind you of YouTube veteran Francis, who hosts the cooking show “Cooking with Dog”.

Perhaps this show has inspired this kitten to start up her own cooking venture. They might want to work out a few tiny details first, but for now let’s introduce Meow, the cooking kitten sensation!

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Jealous girlfriend erases game from boyfriend’s phone, destroys relationship in process

As a girl who has been playing video games almost since birth, it’s sometimes annoying to be pigeon-holed along with other girls who have no interest in or understanding of video games. As just another medium of entertainment – and one with vast scope for artistic expression at that – I’ve never quite understood people who claim that they “don’t get” games. That’s like saying that you don’t “get” movies, books, or music; there’s bound to be some genre out there for you! Still, it’s probably fair to say that more guys play video games than girls, and there are a lot of girls out there who really don’t like it when their boyfriends pay more attention to their games than to them.

Today we’d like to bring you the comic tragedy of a ridiculous couple in Japan whose relationship ended up in the toilet, all over something as simple as a mobile game…

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Osaka shop owner in trouble for advertising “100-yen Molotov cocktails”

Police paid a visit to an eatery in the America Mura area of downtown Osaka after several images of a restaurant advertising improvised incendiary bombs known as Molotov cocktails began floating around on Twitter.

Sure enough, in front of the restaurant sat a plastic box with eight beer bottles stuffed with cloths and a sign that read Molotov Cocktails: One for 100 yen (US$0.84).

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Mini-sized Hong Kong? These photos by French photographer will make you look twice

Take a look at this picture. At first glance, it looks like a miniature diorama of a city street, with little cars, little street lights, little people… But it’s all so beautifully detailed, it can’t be just a replica right? What sorcery is this?!

Join us after the jump to see more of this amazing photography magic and cute miniature cityscapes by French artist Harold de Puymorin.

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Pretty kitty says “Good morning” in Japanese, not just a doting owner’s imagination!

You’d be forgiven for thinking, “Not another ‘talking pet’ video!” YouTube is positively overflowing with them, after all, despite the fact that most of the time it’s only the owners who are able to decipher what their pets are supposedly “saying” before the camera.

Many netizens agree, however, that YouTuber luckersingo’s gorgeous cat Māya is actually meowing out the three-syllable Japanese greeting for good morning, “Ohayō!” Don’t believe us? Watch this talkative kitty in action and decide for yourself!

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Artist’s new posters for classic movies will inspire you to watch them all over again

Making movie posters is tough. You not only have to catch the eye of people passing by, but also get them excited and inform them on what the movie is about, all at the same time. When a poster is done well, it can be just as memorable as the movie itself. And when it’s done badly, well, it can be memorable in a different kind of way.

Artist Olly Moss however, whom we’ve met before with his amazing video game-inspired ceramic plates, is a master of the poster medium. He’s recently been picked up by Japanese websites for creating new posters of classic movies, including Studio Ghibli films. Get ready: your nostalgia meter is about to be cranked up to 10, and you’re going to go hunting through your old DVDs very soon.

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Can’t find your glasses? Bust out your smart phone’s camera and see clearly!

Those of us without 20/20 vision suffer from a catch-22 that can be extremely aggravating: If you can’t find your glasses, you can’t see, but if you can’t see, you can’t find your glasses. How many collective hours have we all spent searching for those pesky frames? Damn you, ocular deficiencies!

But our days of squinting to see and blindly feeling around to find our glasses are over, my friends! We all have Japanese Twitter user @zzzdecozzz to thank for this incredibly simple, yet genius idea: Use your smartphone’s camera as a magnifying glass.

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Deodorizing toilet paper hits the Japanese hat trick of cute animals, cleanliness, and puns

Isn’t it infuriating when you run into one of those completely pompous people who strut around like their poo doesn’t stink? Seriously, there’s just no excuse for that sort of behavior, because everyone’s poo stinks. Even in Japan, all that delicious food doesn’t make anyone’s toilet deposits smell any better.

Thankfully, that doesn’t mean your bathroom has to smell bad, too, especially with these two new types of deodorizing toilet paper, which come in adorable packages decorated like cats and dogs.

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Here’s a newly-revealed character list for the 2015 Dragon Ball Z movie to geek out over

Much to the delight of series fans, Dragon Ball Z is still going strong in the form of feature-length animated films released sporadically over the years since the original series ended its run way back when people still wore Hammer pants and JNCOs.

Fans were surely pants-wettingly ecstatic, then, to learn recently that the 19th feature-length film in the series will hit theaters in 2015 and will apparently be only one of the two films personally supervised by series creator and lover of food-themed character names, Akira Toriyama.

Now more details are being released about the film, Dragon Ball Z: Fukkatsu no F, in the form of a detailed character cast sheet.

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A road runs through it: China’s first over-water highway almost complete

If you’re like me, you’re probably more accustomed to seeing bridges cross rivers rather than run along their length. But this stretch of highway which was recently completed in Xingshan County of China’s Hubei Province does just that. Are the bridge’s creators crazy, or crazy like an ecologically minded fox?

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Japan’s craziest ad ever? English school commercial as likely to make kids terrified as bilingual

The very first job that brought me to Japan as a gainfully employed adult was teaching at a private English school. While most of our customers were in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, we also offered kids’ classes, even for preschool-aged children.

With young learners, the first hurdle to get past was for them to not freak out about talking with someone from a different country. While that might sound horribly racist, there just aren’t that many opportunities to meet people from other cultures in Japan, especially in a child’s daily life, and the first meeting was usually a little intimidating for them (the company policy that didn’t allow foreign staff to speak Japanese in front of the customers probably didn’t help in this regard).

Thankfully, it usually only took a couple of minutes for the kids to see that non-Japanese instructors aren’t terrifying monsters. Unfortunately, this startling commercial for a chain of children’s English schools in Japan only takes 15 seconds to visually imply that, yes, actually, they are.

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Tiramisu soil and a moss parfait: We dig into bonsai treats at Tokyu Hands Cafe

Tokyu Hands is known for its amazing array of goods. From bicycles to Kabuki face masks and everything in between, this is a company that’s built their brand with a focus on providing unique and innovative Japanese products to the local and international market.

Now, the cafe on the top floor of their Shibuya store is also showcasing its creative credibility, by transforming its space into a pop-up Bonsai Cafe, in collaboration with the Omiya Bonsai Museum in Saitama. With miniature trees and special goods on display, here it’s the unusual menu that’s really taking centre stage.

After seeing photos of their special matcha latte, an unusual tiramisu and a parfait served in a bonsai pot, we pulled on our gumboots and headed out on a rainy afternoon to give these treats a try. Come with us as we treat our taste buds to an enchanted walk through a delicious miniature garden.

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Famed sleeper train to be retired, turned into luxury mobile hotel “Twilight Express Mizukaze”

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that Japan is kind of the King of Trains. In addition to the well-known commuter trains, there are also popular sightseeing trains, and believe it or not, head-down-lower-than-your-shoulders and drooling-on-the-guy-in-the-seat-next-to-you aren’t the only ways to sleep while riding the rails in Japan, because the country actually has some pretty great sleeper trains too!

Train fanatics will soon be mourning the loss of one such train, however, as Japan’s longest running sleeper train, Twilight Express, is scheduled to do its final run on March 12 from Osaka to Sapporo. Sad as it is, there is a silver lining to this story as the retired train is going to be replaced by a new train that would frankly run its senpai off the tracks, the “Twilight Express Mizukaze.”

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Staggered by historical preservation survey costs, Kyoto turns to anime girls to save its subway

With over 300,000 people piling into its trains each day, you’d think the Kyoto Municipal Subway would be sitting pretty financially. That’s actually not the case, though. The city’s status as the former capital of Japan is both a source of local pride and a huge draw for travelers, but being literally built atop the foundations of Japanese history means that any subterranean construction can only take place after extensive surveys ensure that no cultural artifacts would be damaged in the process.

As such, maintenance and expansion costs for the Kyoto subway are more than double what they would be in a similarly sized, less historically significant city. So in order to help raise the revenue necessary to treat Kyoto’s past with the respect it deserves, the subway’s operators are turning to something with more modern appeal: cute anime girls.

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The 11 wittiest tweets from Japanese netizens

Sometimes the Internet can be such an immense collection of humorous netizens that we are unable to take our eyes off it. In this endless battle of the wits, we came across a selection of some of the best from the Japanese Twitterverse. Check out these sharp but hilarious jabs at what would otherwise be mundane daily life, and let it brighten up your day!

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This video of Tokyo shrouded in fog is the most beautiful commercial you’ll see all week 【Video】

When it comes to beautiful landscapes, one of the best is anything with rolling banks of thick fog. Now, we imagine some people who live in places like Seattle or London might not agree with the sentiment, but for many of us, the heavy mist of a spring morning is like meandering through a dream. Maybe not the best way to get yourself ready for a day of work, admittedly, but it’s definitely affecting.

Of course, many in Japan would agree–from 12th century emperors to contemporary filmographers. Just check out this stunning video titled “TOKYO DENSE FOG” to see how something as simple as the weather can turn Japan’s modern capital into a mystical realm.

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