Craving ramen, but can’t find decent noodles? Transform your spaghetti with this pasta hack!

For those living outside Japan, a good bowl of ramen is almost impossible to find unless you’re in a big city like New York or London, and even then the options can be a bit of a let-down. And for many, the only ramen available is the dried variety that frankly has made some of our Japanese culinary experts gag.

But all is not lost, dear ramen lovers around the world. We’ve found a kitchen hack to turn ordinary everyday pasta into noodles fit for a delicious bowl of homemade ramen.

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Incredibly responsible seven-year-old spotted driving drunk father home in China

We’ve got a new candidate for the “Worst Father of the Year” award. And trust us–he’s got a very good chance at winning that title. What responsible parent would make his seven-year-old son drive him home after getting drunk and passing out??

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Track the stylistic evolution of Eiichiro Oda’s most famous One Piece characters

It’s hard to believe that One Piece, Japan’s best-selling manga series in history, will be celebrating its 18th anniversary this July. With 76 collected volumes of manga, a mega-popular anime television adaptation, an upcoming theme park, and hordes of international fans, the series is stronger than ever after almost two decades.

A recent post by a Japanese internet forum user showed the evolution of series’ creator Eiichiro Oda’s artwork by comparing older pictures of the Straw Hat Pirates with more recent ones side-by-side. While most of the changes are fairly subtle, the slight differences were still enough to spark an online debate about which of the two drawing styles is better. Which is your personal preference?

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Video of Thai soccer team’s gorgeous passing play leaves us amazed

I’ll be completely honest with you here–I don’t know much of anything about soccer. I hate to fit the dumb American stereotype, but when it comes to sports, soccer is one that I definitely never got into.

I have nothing against it, of course! Partly, it’s just exhausting watching the ball bounce back and forth between players, changing directions like a whip. But on the other hand, I have to admit that it’s easy to see why some call it a “beautiful” game, and this video of a Thailand soccer team ably slipping through a Malaysian team’s defenses is nothing less than amazing.

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Giant maguro donated to shrine of fishing-god Ebisu

The start of a new year means it’s time for hatsumōde, the year’s first visit to a Shinto shrine or Buddhist temple. You pray for good luck in the new year, throw some spare yen into the saisenbako (big offering box), get some omamori (good luck charms), and hope that the omikuji (fortune) you get is dai-kichi (great luck) and not dai-kyō (you’re screwed).

While most people are satisfied donating a few yen coins in the donation box when they visit their shrine, the Nishinomiya shrine in Hyogo Prefecture does things a little differently. They want to make sure the gods hear them loud and clear, so they lug a massive frozen maguro onto the donation box and leave it there for three days.

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How do Japanese cats stay warm and accessorize during winter? With tail scarves, of course!

Though spring is only a few months away, Tokyo is still downright cold these days. Of course, if you’re from a colder climate, you probably annoy your friends by running around in shorts asking why they’re shivering, but for many people here, it’s still pretty cold. Whether it’s the sea breeze zipping through the streets or some sort of reverse heat island effect, we’re not sure, but it is enough to make mornings downright brutal.

And people aren’t the only ones cursing the cold–our furry feline friends are none too fond of winter either! But unlike humans, they come with built-in scarves. Check out some of Japan’s cutest cats wrapping themselves up nice and warm with their tails.

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Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon together? This talented artist says, “Yes!” 【Pics】

For most of us growing up in the US in the early 2000s, there was one thing we looked forward to after school: episodes of Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon. While DBZ glued us to the TV with its excruciatingly long but always awesome fight scenes, Sailor Moon gave us powerful girls with prism power. These shows were the gateway to the land of anime, where love, sacrifice and training for more power had us positively transfixed for more hours than I’d care to count.

Is it any wonder that there is an entire fandom dedicated to Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon crossovers? What’s the story behind the Saiyans and the Sailor Soldiers? Do these two series secretly belong together? Find out this time on Dragon Sailor Ball Soldiers…Z!

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Buddhist monks cultivate cat haven at Fukui Prefecture’s “Kitty Temple”

Here’s a familiar saying: “In Ancient Egypt, cats were worshipped as gods; they have never forgotten this.” Certainly in Japan, cats are still given a huge amount of respect, with entire islands of moggies being given free roam to peacefully exist in their own little kitty ecosystem. Of course, things aren’t perfect, and stray and abandoned cats are a sad reality in Japan as much as they are in many other countries. But today we’re here to appreciate the happy cats of Gotanjo temple in Fukui Prefecture, who are lovingly tended to by Buddhist monks and fawned over by the adoring tourists who come to visit. You can even get a special kitty cat fortune and see what’s in store for the coming year!

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Facing obscurity, Pikachu smuggles himself in a Youkai Watch UFO catcher bag

We’ve talked a lot recently about how Youkai Watch has now definitely overtaken Pokémon in the popularity stakes, at least among Japan’s young’uns. With Youkai Watch replacing Pokémon as McDonald’s yearly calendar stars and with Pikachu himself being shunted into the background on anime convention posters in favour of Jibanyan and pals, 2014 really hasn’t been a good year for all things Pikachu. Still, with Pokémon’s legion of worldwide fans and entertainment-world pedigree, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Pikachu would be taking this all on the chin. Instead? He’s exposed himself as a desperate has-been, clinging on to relevancy by whatever devious means he can turn a paw to, and that includes smuggling himself into some unsuspecting kid’s life by disguising himself as a Youkai Watch product! For shame!

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These stockings should keep fans of naruto happy — but we’re not talking about the manga!

Yes, naruto stockings have arrived! But before you get all excited, we’re not talking about the hit manga and anime here, but about a different naruto — these stockings actually feature naruto the food. That’s right, these stockings are all about the naruto fishcakes commonly used as ramen toppings, and their unique design is sure to catch everyone’s eye!

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Drinking sake just got more convenient with convenience store Family Mart’s new canned brews

Like with wine, there are variations in flavor between different types of Japanese sake. However, it can be kind of tough to pick up on the subtle differences unless you’re drinking them back to back. Unfortunately, it’s not unusual for prices for anything other than the house sake at restaurants to start at about 800 yen (US $6.75), so putting together your own sampling set can get pricey.

But if you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to dip you toes in the wide, wonderful world of sake, convenience store Family Mart is here to help, with its new lineup of affordably priced canned sake.

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Aw snap yo! JR Kyushu’s really cheap “Gachi Ticket” is in the hizzouse!

Wassup young people, I’m speaking your language today to tell you about to totally tubular deal from JR Kyushu! They’re offering some super-rad discounts of up to 40% off on train fares around the island of Kyushu for a seriously limited time.

It’s called the Gachi Ticket, where “gachi” is a new word the kids in Japan are using that’s hard to translate to English but somewhere along the lines of “for realz!” and “aww psssht it’s on!”

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Pervy anime character mouse pads…butt for ladies! 【Photos】

Not too long ago, we took a look at an anime girl figurine with its butt lovingly crafted out of soft, pliable silicon. Clearly, this is a sign of the hyper-sexualized nature of certain Japanese animated series, and the depressingly horny psyche of many male otaku.

Except, the fact of the matter is that everyone loves butts. As proof, feast your eyes on these pervy mouse pads for female anime fans.

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Japanese woodwork: A tradition hundreds of years old, but still as cool as ever 【Video】

One of the beautiful aspects of Japanese culture is the dichotomy between, yet the harmony of, modern technology and steadfast tradition. On one hand they create things like smart toothbrushes and virtual girlfriends, yet their hundreds-of-years-old temples and homes are cherished and preserved, as are many of their age-old customs. Structures such as the Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto and Todai-ji in Nara have stood for hundreds of years thanks to more than just preservation, however; it’s at least partly down to the careful craftsmanship that went into them to begin with.

Traditional Japanese carpentry is not just a trade, it’s also an art and a science. Carpenters are able to build tables, houses, even great temples, without the use of a single nail, screw or other metal hardware− giving it strength and durability. China Uncensored, a web series devoted to bringing serious issues about the Chinese Communist Party to light in a parodical style, took a break from their communist offerings to show a video about Japanese carpentry from an unaired show called Journey to the East. In the 25-minute video we learn about the art and its place in the modern day, specifically modern-day New York, thanks to a traditional craftsman named Hisao Hanafusa.

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Sandwiched Between Twintails Pillow: For if you don’t know to hug your pillow or let it hug you

We’ve talked before about Japan’s love affair with gigantic hug pillows. Even if they’re not covered with pictures of your anime or celebrity crush, dakimakura, as they’re called in Japanese, have a number of physiological advantages, as well as the psychological benefits some people reap from having something to hold as they sleep.

Of course, some people also feel more secure and relaxed being held as they sleep, which is why Japan has a new, double-pronged huggy pillow that can hug you back.

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Some snuggly bunnies to warm your heart and soul this winter【Video】

As much as I hate being cold, I love the wintertime. There’s nothing better than coming home after being out on a blustery day to sit down under the kotatsu (those wonderful creations – low, Japanese tables fitted with a blanket and a heater underneath) and curl up with mounds of blankets and a hot cup of tea.

While rabbits can’t really curl up under a kotatsu with a cup of tea (though I’m sure they would if they were offered!), they certainly have their own way of weathering the winter chill, and these particular bunnies at a park in Japan’s Kanagawa Prefecture are warming the hearts of park-goers in the process.

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Now you can decorate anything with gyoza with the new tape from DecoRush!

DecoRush is a series of decoration tape that looks like correction tape, except instead of white-out, you’d usually get cute flowery patterns or Disney characters on them. Very appropriate for increasing the girl power on your love letters or secret diary. However, DecoRush’s latest release had netizens baffled because really, when are you ever going to send someone a birthday card with colorful borders of…gyoza?

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Five haunted places in India, as told by a local

For decades people have been trying to determine the existence of the supernatural. While science is inclined towards denying the actuality of subjects such as ghosts, psychic powers or celestial beings, I was taught at a young age that it’s better to believe in them than to not. After all, it’s undeniable that there have been spine-tingling events that science has yet to explain even to this today.

If your New Year’s resolution is to certify the existence or inexistence of supernatural spookies, to lead an exciting spook-busting lifestyle like Scooby-Doo and friends, or more simply, to visit an exotic Asian country, this list of haunted locations in India might just be the thing to get your plans started.

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American man builds perfect, tiny Japanese house that could be yours for $70,000【Photos】

In this consumerist culture of ours, it seems like the never-ending scramble to acquire more and bigger worldly goods and possessions is becoming increasingly futile as economic issues tend to scupper every attempt we make at achieving those perhaps impossible ideals. It’s no wonder, then, that people are increasingly turning to minimalism and simplicity in their lives and in their homes. The Japanese aesthetic concept of wabi-sabi extols the virtues of living a life that is simple, rustic and close to nature, and we’ve been seeing elements of this start to crop up increasingly in the west, with the recent adoption of tiny, eco-friendly houses providing a possible alternative to an energy-guzzling modern pile of bricks.

Today we’d like to show you around one such teensy home, modelled around a traditional Japanese house and encompassing only 10 x 20 feet of space. Perhaps the most interesting thing about this mini-house, though, is that it was all made by the hands of one man – American Chris Heininge.

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A deep conversation about women and fetishism! Monthly publication talk event for “Underwater Knee-High Girls” to be held

Manabu Koga, who received recognition for his photo ablums “Underwater Knee-High Girls” and “Underwater Knee-High Girls Plus”, will begin holding a regular talk event, titled Monthly Underwater Knee High Girls, beginning on January 14.

This series, which also received a great response, is a fetish series focusing on women wearing knee-high socks and bathing suits underwater.

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