No, a bridge didn’t collapse – Tokyo’s crazy Hakozaki highway junction really looks like this

Being a guy who likes driving but has a pretty bad sense of direction, when I lived in Southern California I kept a copy of the local Thomas Bros. road atlas in my car. Having grown up with cheap, easy-to-use paper maps made GPS seem like a nice but exorbitant luxury, and when I first moved to Japan I couldn’t understand why navigation systems were so universally considered a must-have by drivers here.

Then I saw things like the crazy Hakozaki Junction of the Tokyo expressway, and the need for some high-technology guidance started to make sense.

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Schoolgirls’ “Frozen” lip-sync is hilarious, terrifying

Most countries in the West are finally coming to the end of their own “Let it Go” boom, with the song from Disney’s hit animation now only being played, sung, and hummed about as often as other songs at the top of the charts as opposed to on loop every single minute of the day. But due to the animated film’s late release in Japan, the craze is still going strong over here, and Frozen is still pretty much everywhere.

Thankfully, some Japanese fans are giving our ears a break by opting to sing some other songs from the film, and couples lip-syncing to “Love is an Open Door” have become an increasingly common sight on YouTube. The pair pictured above, though, took a slightly different approach and opted not for sickly-sweet smiles and acting like prim and proper princesses, but for manic hair-whipping, giant flared nostrils, rolled eyeballs and enormous mouths.

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Bluebeard!?!? Oh, blue BEER? Yeah, that’s still weird…

Green beer is a staple of St. Patrick’s Day, much to the chagrin of the Irish. White beers, amber beers and dark beers are all pretty common, but blue beer? Thought that was just a one-off kind of thing. We’ve got blueberries, blue fins, bluegills, bluegrass, blue balls, blueprints and blue men. Blue beer is not all that common, and unless you live in Hokkaido (or are a curious internet shopper) you probably haven’t tried it either. Fear not! While the Ryuhyo Draft reviews were not all that positive, a Kirin beer garden in Tokyo wants you to sample their blue beer until the end of July!

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Should you put your kid on a leash? Japanese mothers weigh in

We’re not entirely sure who invented child leashes, but they have found their way to Japan and the controversy that surrounds them has been imported right alongside. Discussed widely on Japanese online parenting forums, the disputed child gear are dubbed maigo himo (literally, “lost child cord”) and have become increasingly available at online shopping sites such as Rakuten.

But no matter what you call it – be it lost child cord, leash, harness, tether, or reins – one thing’s for sure: No one can agree if they are an embarrassment or proper parenting tool.

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Super Mario Bros. theme gets an amazing jazz cover

While thoughts of the Roaring 20s typically conjure images of flappers and raucous parties, now it can also remind you of Super Mario BrosLos Angeles jazz musicians, The Handy Dandy Boys, recently recorded a mean, jazzy version of the “Overworld BGM” theme from Super Mario Bros., complete with banjo plucking, a brass section, and a silent film-inspired, mustachioed music videothat will put a pep in your step.

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The top 20 most eagerly anticipated anime of summer 2014, as chosen by fans!

Summer is almost here! In Japan, that means it’s almost time for fun summer festivals, wearing cute cotton yukata, chowing down on kakigōri until inducing brain freeze, smashing watermelons on the beach, and just generally lazing about the house with fans on full blast and complaining about the insufferable heat.

In the anime world, summer means a whole new season of shows to look forward to (and the obligatory “boobikinis-at-the-beach-swimsuit-episode”). In fact, popular anime informational website Charapedia asked 10,000 fans to pick their most anticipated anime show of summer 2014, and we’ve got the results.

Which series do you think made the No. 1 spot?

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New Face Grand Prix lets the public vote for the cutest freshman in Japan

With a new school year comes new students, new possibilities, and a new round of beauty competitions.

“Wait,” you’re asking, “Beauty competitions? Shouldn’t that be ‘roommates’ or ‘textbooks’ or ‘professors?'” And, yes, those are just a few of the new experiences that come with starting college, but thanks to New Face Grand Prix, new Japanese female college students can also “compete” to be the cutest freshman in Japan.

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North Korea “invents” performance-enhancing drink from mushrooms, Nintendo lawyers remain silent

In North Korea‘s latest desperate attempt for attention from the rest of the civilized world, the dictatorship – perhaps tired of tossing missiles around for now – bragged through state media that its scientists have discovered a way to extract enzymes from a certain mushroom grown in the region to create a miracle super drink that makes athletes better, faster and stronger.

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Tokyo Tower celebrates Tanabata with a beautiful case of the summertime blues

Since the opening of the Tokyo Skytree in 2012, Tokyo Tower is no longer the tallest or most fashionable structure in Tokyo. Still, the 56-year-old steel giant has managed to hang onto its reputation as one of the city’s most romantic locales, thanks in part to its location in quiet, sophisticated Shiba-koen as opposed to the boisterous Shitamachi district where the Skytree stands.

This month, Tokyo Tower is doing a little more to set the mood, with a beautiful light display that ties in with Japan’s Tanabata star festival.

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Surreal samurai art exhibition mixes the historical with the bizarre

The Asahi Beer Oyamazaki Villa Museum of Art is located in Yamazaki, a place of historical significance in Japan since medieval times when it served as a field of battle for Toyotomi Hideyoshi to avenge the betrayal and murder of his lord Oda Nobuaga. The museum is currently hosting an exhibition that pays homage to the samurai of those ancient times, in a very modern and surreal fashion.

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16 facts about China that will blow your mind

The vast scale of China’s landmass and its population means that China produces and consumes copious amounts of natural resources and food. It also means that China houses a large chunk of the world’s billionaires. We dug around to find some interesting statistics. Did you know that China’s railway lines could loop around earth twice? Here are some interesting facts about the world’s second-largest economy, which could soon eclipse the U.S. to become the world’s largest this year.

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Japanese netizens think this soggy doggy looks like seaweed

The thing about fluffy dogs is they look a lot bigger than they actually are. Take this little pomeranian for example – he looks more like the cousin of a rodent than a canine once he’s been robbed of his voluptuous mane. But the most interesting part of this photo is what Japanese netizens think this soggy doggy looks like.

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Woman murdered by “cult” at fast food restaurant in China after refusing to give her phone number

On May 28 at a McDonald’s restaurant in China, six members of an alleged religious cult attacked and beat to death a 37-year-old woman after she refused to give them her phone number. The incident was caught on security cameras and filmed by fellow diners as they fled, but no one attempted to intervene.

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Sturdy enough to survive a bomb and 9 other facts about the Game Boy【Video】

Approximately 25 years ago the world was blessed with the Game Boy and the ability to play Tetris practically anywhere. And while video game technology has far surpassed the loveable green-and-black display (though Twitter is still fair game), it’s hard not to hold a soft spot in your heart for the humble Game Boy. To celebrate this quarter century-old game system, the trivia masters at DYKGaming/Normal Boots put out a video recently highlighting some pretty interesting facts about the Game Boy. Click below to read 10 Game Boy facts and watch the video about the origins of the portable machine, its creator and how much a gold-plated Game Boy costs!

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Stunning murals bloom in an impoverished Indian school with the help of Japanese artists

Each year, volunteer artists from Japan travel to one of the poorest regions of India to share their talents with schoolchildren at the Niranjaya Public Welfare School. They join local artists at the annual Wall Art Festival to collaborate with the students on amazing works of temporary art in their school.

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Pizza Hut Japan’s caramel marshmallow pizza tastes great, but does it need hot sauce? We find out

Japanese candy maker Morinaga’s Milk Caramel line has been around for 100 years, which is essentially an eternity in the fiercely competitive, constantly evolving Japanese snack food arena. To celebrate the milestone, Morinaga is partnering with a number of restaurants to bring caramel to bold, baffling new worlds.

We recently talked about the caramel banana and caramel mayonnaise corn sushi that started the ball rolling, and now Morinaga has teamed up with Pizza Hut to create a caramel pizza. Not unique enough? Don’t worry, it also has marshmallows. Still not weird enough for you? You’ll be happy to know it also comes with chili sauce.

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20 bizarre fast food items from Japan

Japan has always had a knack for taking Western ideas and turning them on their head, churning out some weird and wonderful gems in the process. So it’s not surprising that the fast food world in Japan is an absolute goldmine of unusual creations and bizarre taste sensations. From towering burgers to chocolate sauces, we take a look at some of the most mind-boggling limited edition releases we’ve seen in Japan over recent years.

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“I tape them to my monitor” – Weird things people in Japan do with their cat’s fallen whiskers

As a cat owner, I’m used to having cat hair on absolutely everything. But every so often in amongst the clouds of fur I find a dropped whisker lying alone on the floor, and for some reason it feels wrong to just throw it away. Turns out I’m not alone, and some people go a few steps further when it comes to storing these precious mementos of their feline friends.

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Video proves how much Japan loves its pastries

Few who have not visited the country would ever imagine that Japan is practically overrun with bakeries. When people think of food in Japan, they usually think of things like rice, sushi and ramen, but the truth is, while Japanese supermarkets may not carry anywhere near as many varieties of bread as those in the West, dedicated bakeries can be found all over city centres, with pretty much every station, shopping mall and supermarket having its own shop or dedicated corner offering up freshly baked pastries, and the variety is astounding.

Check out this video to see 30 typical pastries available at Japanese bakeries.

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Japan’s hellish job hunting process “shuukatsu” gets animated, terrifies netizens 【Video】

During Japan university students’ final year, many go through a long, physically and mentally draining process of finding a job before they graduate; a process known as “shuukatsu.” Students don matching black suits and attend job fairs, company briefing sessions and employment seminars en masse in the hopes of obtaining a job offer, or “naitei.” Young people often complain about the soul-sucking system and how difficult it can be to land a job offer without completely abandoning your personality along the way.

Recently, an animated short film has been making waves among Japanese netizens for the horror movie-like way it portrays the difficult and often depressing job hunting process in Japan

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