Entry-level ninja needed to teach kids in Japan

Have you spent years mastering the arts of ninjutsu and poring over ancient scrolls, learning secret techniques and studying under august masters, and practicing stealth tactics over and over and over again…. only to find out, to your horror and despair, that there just aren’t any jobs out there for a ninja? Well, don’t worry! The Japanese government has a job for you.

You could teach elementary school kids!

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71-year-old driver of 2-ton truck arrested in Kobe, “never had a licence” in 50 years of driving

Police in Kobe arrested a 71-year-old man on suspicion of driving without a valid licence on Monday this week after a local police officer recognised the vehicle’s number plate following a prior incident. When questioned about the offence, however, it transpired that the wily old truck driver had not simply forgotten to renew his documents, but had never held a licence in the 50 years he’d been behind the wheel.

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Revolving sushi comes to, and around and around, your house with this home-use set

For me, one of the darkest days of 2013 was when the revolving sushi restaurant near my apartment closed down. Sure, I could always hop on the train and ride to another neighborhood for my fix, but that’s small comfort for those times when I want a selection of delicious raw fish and vinegared rice parading past me right now.

On that day, building a revolving sushi experience of my own replaced “supermodel grotto” and “garage filled with classic Mazda sports cars” as my eccentric millionaire daydream. But it turns out I actually don’t need such a hefty bank balance to fulfill this ambition, thanks to this sweet home-use revolving sushi set.

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Japan Railways looking for love in all the weird places again with the Love Love Bench

Last month, the East Japan Railway Company (JR East) installed a single pair of heart-shaped hand straps on one of its lines in hopes of sparking romance among their passengers. However, with Valentine’s Day behind us it seems they aren’t through playing matchmaker.

This time JR Shikoku is strapping on some cupid wings by installing “Love Love Benches” in two of their stations. The seat of the bench slopes inwards so that no matter how two people sit on it they will quickly be brought together thanks the marvel of gravity.

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South Koreans view arch-enemy Kim Jong-Un more favorably than Shinzo Abe

Here’s a striking example of how strained the relationship is between South Korea and Japan: The latest survey from Asian Institute for Policy found that among South Koreans, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un scored higher in favorability ratings than Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

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Kiki’s Delivery Service side story being written by original author – online now and free!

Recently, my wife and I went out to see the live-action Kiki’s Delivery Service. As we waited for the film to start, we swapped impressions of the 1989 anime version of the story, which like the live-action version is an adaptation of author Eiko Kadono’s 1985 children’s novel of the same name.

My wife mentioned that one of her favorite characters was Osono, the owner of the bakery where witch-in-training Kiki boards. Osono’s actually got quite a few fans, due to her tough yet kind personality and mature outlook on life.

How exactly Osono managed to acquire those admirable traits is the subject of a new serial by Kadono, a coming of age story focused on the baker who would eventually serve as Kiki’s mentor.

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Beautiful Disney princess greeting cards fit for any regal occasion

Japan still hasn’t gone all-in on the concept of digital communications, and in many situations there’s still a lot of value attached to physical, paper documents. Sometimes this can be puzzling, like the time I applied for a job at a prestigious technological institute which required a hard copy of my resume, as email applications weren’t acceptable.

For personal relationships, though, it’s nice to see so many people in Japan still willing to put pen to paper in order to write a heartfelt message to a friend or loved one. Many even take great care in selecting the perfect stationery, and those looking to add a touch of classic femininity to their correspondence will be hard-pressed to find a better choice than these elegant Disney princess greeting cards.

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Japanese 7-Eleven asking public’s help in stopping feline crime

To help combat the steady wave of shoplifting in Japan (360 reported cases a day), authorities remind shop staff to stay vigilant and know that anyone who enters their store – whether a little school girl or her 89-year-old grandfather – is a potential criminal just aching to take your hard-earned merchandise.

Just look at the kitty pictured above. Cute lil’ guy doncha think?

Wrong! That pilfering feline has stolen hundreds of yen worth of cat food from a helpless major convenience store… possibly to sell on the street for crack-cocaine.

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This 10-year-old schoolgirl’s “sexy” photos went viral – who’s to blame?

Photos of a 10-year-old girl posing in her underwear have been causing controversy online in Asia this week, with netizens quick to blame poor parenting and the influence of the media and social networking on children.

In the pictures, which were uploaded to Chinese micro-blogging site Weibo, the girl is pictured in her underwear, or sitting so her underwear is showing. Her face has been concealed by Japanese cartoon characters or toys. The photos are sexualised and shocking enough to make a huge storm on social media, but not hardcore enough that the mainstream media won’t print them. The perfect combination, therefore, for a troubling viral hit.

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Is cola-flavored soy milk the answer to our prayers? We find out

A while back, food conglomerate Kibun and soy giant Kikkoman announced a couple new flavors for their popular Tonyu Inryo line of soy milk. In and of itself, this wasn’t too surprising, as new varieties are regularly swapped in and out of the Tonyu Inryo lineup.

One of the new flavors caught the eye of our junk food loving team, though: healthy cola. Ordinarily, the words “healthy” and “cola” are in such direct opposition that we expected the package to be contain a paradox-induced black hole, or to at least be completely empty inside. To our surprise, though, Kibun was indeed able to develop its healthy cola soy milk, and we wasted no time in trying it.

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Dove’s “Real Beauty” commercial a big hit in Japan

Sex, as the saying goes, sells. What exactly that means seems to be somewhat up to interpretation–we don’t think you’d want to buy a couch after watching a couple…um…”frolicking” on it–but it’s hard to deny that a bit of sexiness goes a long way in boosting sales. Even something as boring as shampoo can seem exciting when you film a young, perky model showering.

Of course, not everyone thinks that this is the best way to hock merchandise. Last year Dove earned a bit of respect from consumers with their “Real Beauty” campaign aimed at bolstering women’s self-images and emphasizing seeing the natural beauty we all have. Though the main commercial hit the shores of Japan last spring, it seems that it’s recently gotten a lot of attention over here. Click below to see what Japanese commenters are saying about the video!

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Costume of Sanrio’s newest character lets you look like a fish without smelling like one

In its never-ending quest for new, cute things, Japan sometimes latches onto things that the rest of the world might not apply the adjective to. It’s understandable when someone sees Hello Kitty or Totoro and squeals “Kawaii!, but by some twisted criteria, The Nightmare Before Christmas’ Jack Skellington and the rabbit Usavich, with his creepy drugged-looking eyes, are als considered “cute”.

So perhaps it’s not too surprising that you can now get a costume that turns you into the latest character from adorable mascot king Sanrio, despite that character being a filet of salmon.

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Close call – Passenger plane passed through North Korean missile trajectory just 6 minutes later

At approximately 4:17 p.m. on Tuesday this week, North Korea fired seven short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast into the Sea of Japan. While this in itself is not especially unusual for the world’s most secretive and hardline dictatorship, a genuinely unsettling detail later emerged that reflects the seriousness of the situation and just how close one group of civilians came to danger: Just six minutes after its launch, a China Southern Airways passenger plane passed directly through the path one missile had taken.

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Horror bar Sacrifice has spirits of both the haunting and drinkable kinds

I’ve never fully understood the appeal of horror movies. After all, what’s the point in paying good money for something that’s going to make you want to pee your pants? On the other hand, purchasing beer always seems like a wise financial decision, despite its similar bladder-assaulting properties. Now, there’s a place where both fright fiends and fans of fermented barley can get their fix, the horror bar Sacrifice.

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【TBT】HEMORRHOIDS! The best of comically bad Japanese T-Shirts on non-Japanese torsos

Everyone loves Engrish, and everyone enjoys lampooning the machines that create it and the silly humans who wear it.

But is it as funny when the tables are turned? What happens when non-Japanese deck themselves out in clothing with unintelligible characters on it, only to have the true meaning outed on the web for all to see?

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Taiwanese school boy finds real grenade while playing war, presumably wins

The modern dilemma over whether it’s okay for young boys to play games based on warfare was seemingly put to the test in Taiwan recently as two very young boys happened upon a real and unused grenade near the park they were playing in.

The event, which was reported in Searchina based on New Taipei media, resulted in the military getting called in and opened up a slew of legal and sociological debate.

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Fan sews amazing felt versions of Totoro, Sailor Moon, Final Fantasy Black Mage and more

As someone who learned to drive a car before he could ride a bike, there are a couple of things that slipped through the cracks on my path of acquiring basic life skills. Sewing, for example, is still an arcane art to me. After all, why go to the hassle of making my own clothes, when there are plenty of stores perfectly willing to take my money in exchange for a new shirt or pair of jeans?

But maybe I’m missing the point. After all, knowing how to sew doesn’t just mean you can design your own wardrobe, it also means you can create awesome anime and video game figures made entirely of felt.

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Hong Kong sushi parlor’s creations so wrong they might be brilliant

At serious sushi chains in Japan, you can usually order sushi pieces one by one off of a menu at your seat, or put your fate in the hands of the chef by asking for the omakase course. Sushi purists know that omakase basically translates as “leave it to you” and that’s exactly what you’re doing when you order omakase; you’re giving the chef free license to make whatever creations he’d like.

It appears there’s one sushi shop in Hong Kong, though, where omakase might not be such a good idea: Akimasa Sushi features a variety of sushi options so bizarre, strange and downright disturbing that ordering omakase is like looking into the eyes of the cosmic entity Cthulhu him/her/itself.

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10 GIFs of incredibly patient dogs and needlessly mean cats to get you to the weekend

Thanks to the magic of rotating spheres in space and flaming balls of gas in just the right position it’s now Thursday afternoon in Japan and we’re already getting excited for the weekend. But if Friday still feels a long way off, or if you’re on the opposite side of the world where it’s still technically Hump Day, then perhaps this collection of cute/pitiable GIFs from Japanese cat site Nekomemo will cheer you up.

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SMAP×SMAP variety show features Colossal Titan on his first day at work

With today’s economy, even colossal titans need extra work. Luckily, their tall statures make them a perfect fit for construction.

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