17-year-old professional shogi player Beni Taketama has netizens’ hearts locked in checkmate

For some reason it seems that net users in Japan are fascinated by the sight of beautiful women doing perfectly normal things. Whether it’s creating art, playing sports, or working in the news or government, netizens are shocked every time an attractive woman actually does something rather than just staying home all day being beautiful.

And the latest in the women doings things obsession is Beni Taketama, a professional shogi player. Although we do have to mention that she is still only a 17-year-old high school girl, so some of the comments like “she really filled out nicely” and “I’d buy a photobook of her” are a little on the creepy side.

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Dogs in Japan keep sticking their noses where they don’t belong, are adorable, Akita puppy shows

We tend to think of silly Internet and photo memes as being strictly a human pastime, but is it possible that our pets, in an attempt to further increase their influence over online culture, have decided to get in on the act? The answer may be yes, since after a pair of Shiba Inu captured our hearts by squeezing themselves into narrow garden spaces, this member of the breed’s domestic rival, the Akita dog, is getting in on the trend with a bit of Tetris-style contortionism as he pops out from a garden wall.

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Ghibli characters gather together in 8-bit form to thank their creator【Video】

Tributes to world-famous Hayao Miyazaki have been pouring in from around the world this past year. They all show a deep appreciation for the great director and are maybe even trying to persuade him to work on another film, but since Miyazaki is currently planning his nature preserve off of Okinawa, we will have to tide ourselves over with more beautiful tributes to him. Today’s is a fantastic 8-bit pixel video that features the characters from all our Ghibli favorites.

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Japan Tourist Bureau unveils new “Japanese wedding-themed” vacation packages

The JTB corporation, established in 1912, has been planning and booking vacations for hundreds of thousands of Japanese citizens and foreign visitors for decades. Although many in the west now prefer to book online, in Japan it’s still quite common to call up your local travel agent and have them book your vacation on their behalf.

With the constant exportation of culture through anime and manga, more and more people are looking to make their Japanese vacation dreams come true. And now, JTB is excited to introduce a brand new tour package that includes all the things newlyweds and betrothed couples are looking for in a vacation: exotic locations, cultural immersion and even a wedding.

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Japan’s Mt. Aso currently erupting, Kyushu residents capture dramatic photos

Japan’s beautiful mountainous scenery and relaxing hot springs are all thanks to volcanic activity, and even today there are still a handful of active peaks to be found in the country. One of the most famous, Kyushu’s Mt. Aso, is even a popular tourist destination. We don’t recommend visiting today, though, because the 1,592-meter (5,223-foot) volcano is currently erupting, as seen in these photos taken by locals.

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Foxy kitsune socks will have you looking Shinto-chic

Much like “humdinger” and “roughneck,” “foxy” is one of those words that’s far past its golden age. But really, why shouldn’t it be used to describe an attractively fashionable woman, especially is she’s sporting a pair of these cute knee-high socks decorated with Shinto-style kitsune fox spirits and other culturally quirky touches?

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Attack on Titan reveals its newest collaboration: public toilets on the Osaka loop train line

In the lead-up to the release of the first Attack on Titan live-action movie, we were inundated with all sorts of fantastic collaborations. There was the tie-up with an epilation salon in Shinjuku, a campaign against illicit substances with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and even “Advancing hot dogs” at Aeon cinemas.

Since the film’s release, the giants have been quiet for a while but it seems they’ve just been gathering steam for their next amazing project: destroying public restrooms at stations on the Osaka train line.

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Is Japan itself dying of old age? Premium city real estate auctioned off for next to nothing

It’s no secret that Japan’s elderly population is on the rise while the younger population is on decline. Though everyone from the government to economists is trying to figure out what the ramifications of such a top-heavy population will be, Japan is already feeling some of the consequences.

No place is this more apparent than in Japan’s northern prefecture of Aomori. What was once a thriving area a few decades ago is now by all accounts a snowy ghost town.

The most recent event to highlight just how bad things have become is Aomori City practically give away prime real estate. Why has this happened and just how bad are things in Aomori? Read on to find out!

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Automated Godzilla coin bank will make you King of the Moneysavers

Itazura Banks are a series of cute little Japanese coin banks that look like cardboard boxes, each with an adorable animal hiding inside. You place a coin on the edge of the box and a sweet little kitty’s paw pops out to grab your money and keep it safe in the bank for you.

But if that all sounds a bit too cutesy for your liking, never fear—the newest Itazura Bank doesn’t contain a kitten or a panda, but Godzilla himself!

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We visit Tokyo’s Reversible Destiny Lofts, the apartments designed to make you live forever【Pics】

Incongruous in their grey surroundings, these multicoloured buildings looks like something in a children’s playground, or perhaps an outsized set of toy building blocks. But these colourful constructions are Reversible Destiny lofts—rental apartments in Tokyo’s Mikata City. And the inside of these eccentric properties is just as extraordinary and confusing as the exterior.

But what is “Reversible Destiny” anyway? And how is living in a playful apartment supposed to make you immortal? We sent a reporter from our Japanese sister site Pouch to find out.

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Kobe City firefighters ask you to stop calling emergency numbers for trivial stuff like sunburns

We’ve all heard stories about absurd calls to emergency lines, from people calling about a bat in the house to a missing newspaper delivery. We like to think that these people aren’t stupid so much as too frustrated to think clearly…though we may be wrong.

Of course, Japan isn’t free of these kinds of silly emergency calls, either. In fact, a recent article received a lot of attention online when it listed some of the simply absurd emergency calls that have been made in Kobe City. Check them out below…

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University students create giant artwork of an octopus attacking a temple, now seeking a buyer

Tokyo University of the Arts, a school founded in 1949 through the combination of a music and fine arts school, is one of the most popular art schools in Japan. It has produced a host of famous alumni, including numerous artists, directors, musicians, and designers, so it’s not entirely surprising to see the university making headlines.

But one of the pieces created for this year’s art festival is nothing short of amazing! This massive work of art, which features a giant octopus wrapped around a Greek-style temple, has captured the attention of people across Japan. Now that the festival is over, though, the students are asking if anyone wants to buy it! If you’ve ever wanted a piece of art to decorate your entire front lawn, hurry because supplies are definitely limited.

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This is how a Japanese pro wrestler’s breakfast looks: Huge! 【Photos】

If you’ve grown up eating bacon and sausage for breakfast, a Japanese morning meal can be refreshingly light. Generally consisting of a slice of grilled fish, small bowl of white rice, miso soup, and some vegetables, Japan’s take on the most important meal of the day will give you enough energy and nutrients to kick-start your body while leaving out excess fat and calories that can have you ready to crawl back into bed for a nap.

But not everyone in Japan has such a modestly sized breakfast. In fact, pro wrestler Manabu Nakanishi’s breakfast looks more like dinner…for a family of four!

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Lone Wolf and Cub creator says being an otaku for life is wonderful, key to happiness in old age

Although he’s one of the most respected figures of all time in the manga industry, Kazuo Koike isn’t typically associated with the otaku subculture. When his most popular creation, Lone Wolf and Cub, was translated into English it attracted as many international fans from among Western comic readers as from those who favored Japanese manga, and in general his works have a gritty, somber tone to them, unlike the brightly colored daydreams and self-insert power fantasies that are often associated with otaku-pandering fare.

There’s also the fact that Koike was born in 1936, and being old enough and of the corresponding gender to fill two-thirds of a “grumpy old man” bingo card, you might expect him to have harsh words for Japan’s legions of hobby-obsessed individuals, like those that often sputter forth from Studio Ghibli founder Hayao Miyazaki.

But it turns out that not only is Koike accepting of the otaku life, but he thinks that being an otaku from the cradle to the grave makes for a beautiful life.

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Drummer for visual kei band evokes smiles online with photos of adorable rescue kitten

Whether people like to admit it or not, a big part of being in a successful band is maintaining an image. Sure, we know deep down that most of our favorite musicians are just normal people with very specific talents, but we still love to see them as their over-the-top personas. David Bowie may be a great singer, but a good chunk of his success comes just from being so flipping weird all the time.

For visual kei bands in Japan, the “visual” aspect—and thus the image—can be almost as important the music for fans, and visual kei band The Black Swan are no different. But despite the dark, often graphic nature of their videos and general image, their drummer has revealed himself to be a big ol’ softie by posting a plethora of photos of his rescue kitty on Twitter…and winning the hearts of Internet users throughout Japan!

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How to make one of the most complicated but awesome themed sushi rolls【Video】

Many of us are willing to toss around the word “cook” when we are messing about in the kitchen. Food shows, Internet recipes and even the paper cookbook provide us with a ton of ideas about what to prepare for dinner. So while some of us are pretty handy in the kitchen, it takes a whole different class of cook to take on the name “chef”. These food artists take seemingly common (or uncommon) ingredients and turn them into some crazy dishes that they claim you can do yourself at home!

Let’s take a look at your next contribution to the Japanese pot-luck dinner, the Tiger Sushi Roll!

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Following flooding in Japan, Twitter users debate the history of the river’s “Angry Demon” name

The flooding in Japan has been absolutely awful, without a doubt, and the news has rightly been focused on the resulting devastation. But there is one aspect of the flooding that’s become a bit of a hot topic online, aside from all the rescues and damage. The overflowing river has an…unusual name: Kinu River or the Angry Demon River.

Obviously, the name has proven to be quite apt this year, but it sparked a lot of discussion online as people have wondered: Where the heck did this name come from?!

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Foreign worker in Japan fends off armed robber with single word, gets no respect from local media

At some point in life, someone is going to ask you a question that makes you feel uncomfortable. How much money do you make? How many people have you slept with? Just what did happen to all of your political rivals from the junior high student body president election?

Quite often, though, you can get out of answering by asking in return “Why do you want to know?” As a matter of fact, the question “Why?” is so disarming it can even prevent armed robbery, as one foreigner working in Tokyo just found out.

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Lone crayfish stands in defiance of floods

Various areas across northeast Japan have been struggling to cope with the massive amounts of rainfall that have led to flooding and landslides. The scenes of destruction have dominated the news in the past week leaving many concerned about their fellow citizens, friends, and family in the region.

However, one young woman in the area found a little message of hope from an unlikely ally, a crayfish standing tall in the middle of a flooded road with its claws raised to the sky and refusing to back down.

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Japan’s netizens weigh in on singer Gackt’s new look: “He looks like a video game boss!”

As western stars who’ve been in the entertainment industry since we were nippers could tell you, reinvention is the cornerstone of a long and successful career. Just like Madonna and David Bowie, Japan’s mega-popular musical powerhouse Gackt loves a good makeover, and his newest incarnation has gotten Japanese netizens all riled up and excited. Why? Because he looks like a total badass!

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