Say hello to the “Japanese Cotton Wife” who comes in two sizes and wears a suit of skin

Novelty goods manufacturer Bibi Lab has been outdoing itself lately. They’ve given us everything from pillows shaped like anime pigtails, mosquito net jumpsuits and even sailor-style schoolgirl uniforms for men.

Now they’ve redesigned the concept of the huggy pillow, giving it a feminine shape and calling it the “Japanese Cotton Wife”. Available in two sizes, the manufacturers have worked particularly hard on perfecting the lady’s nude bodysuit, saying they’ve done an excellent job of making it look like it contains human muscle and subcutaneous fat. Because that’s not creepy at all…

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Sailor Moon cloth masks are here to protect you from germs the magical girl way!

As we head into winter, you can spot more and more people out and about in Japan wearing cloth masks. The main reason is to prevent the spread of germs during cold and flu season, but recent research suggests that for women, wearing a pink mask could make them appear twice as attractive.

Based on that, we can only assume that anyone wearing one of these new Sailor Moon masks instantly becomes three times as good-looking.

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Cute but creepy exploration game set in Japan releasing in time for Halloween on PS Vita

Are you afraid of the dark? Most children are, but as we get older we get used to going out at night and start to realize that the world during the twilight hours is the same as during the day, only a bit darker.

But that lingering fear of the darkness often remains somewhere deep inside, forgotten but never entirely gone. Bring those fears back to the fore again this Halloween with Yomawari, a cute but creepy new game for the PlayStation Vita.

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Sailor Moon earns Guardian title with accessories that protect your smartphone jacks from grime

Although everyone just calls it Sailor Moon, the official title of the anime and manga franchise is Bishojo Senshi Sailor Moon, which translates out to Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon. A couple of years back, though, Sailor Moon’s producers decided they’d prefer for it to be called Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, a shift which irked anime purists and linguists alike.

Still, “Guardian” is a fitting title for the inspiration of these new smartphone accessories, which protect your phone’s plugs from dirt, dust, and grime while also adding a touch of Sailor Moon style.

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Yo-kai Watch’s Western debut is upon us, but have the Yokai already become lost in translation?

We’ve been telling our fine readers for literally years now about Yo-kai Watch, the Pokémon-esque game/manga/anime series that’s full of adorable yet mischievous collectible yokai monsters. And now that the series has been newly localised and adapted for the West, you’re finally going to see for yourselves what’s been driving Japanese kids to ritually torch bonfires of old Pokémon goods in favour of worshipping the new yokai overlords. Okay, we’re exaggerating, but only a little bit.

Of course, the success of any Japanese import into the Western market hinges on a heartfelt and thorough localisation process. It happened to Pokémon—Satoshi became Ash Ketchum, and many Pokémon were entirely renamed—and now it’s happening to Yo-kai Watch, too.

But is the very Japanese charm of the new franchise about to be seriously lost in translation?

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Thai university trials “mobile phone lane” in effort to increase student safety

I’m sure you’ve all been there: you’re walking behind someone who’s engrossed by their smartphone, constantly jabbing at its screen while strolling along, when suddenly they stop dead right in front of you and you have to take evasive maneuvers to avoid crashing into them.

You’d think that, as a country known for its impeccable manners, Japan would be immune to such inconsiderate behavior, but smartphone zombies are just as common here as anywhere else in the world. It really is a global epidemic.

One university in Thailand is taking steps to remedy the problem, however, introducing the first ever “mobile phone lane” for pedestrians who can’t seem to take their eyes off their cellphones while walking to and across campus.

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“Caterpillar Rugby” aims to level the playing field for people with and without disabilities

Sports are supposed to bring people together, giving a group a common goal to work towards and developing community spirit. Nevertheless, it can be difficult to find sports that everyone can enjoy, with many left out due to physical disabilities. However, the World Yuru Sports Association, which goes by Yuru Sports for short, has developed a game intended to level the playing field for everyone so people with and without disabilities get on the ground and play together.

And we mean get on the ground literally: the name of the game is caterpillar rugby and it’s incredibly accurate!

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Can’t make it to the Rurouni Kenshin musical in Japan? Preview video gives a taste of the action

We recently took a look at the first photos of the upcoming Rurouni Kenshin stage musical cast in costume, and looking at the comments for that article, more than a few fans of the hit anime and manga franchise are wishing they see the show in person. But if a trip to the Takarazuka theater in Tokyo or Hyogo Prefecture doesn’t fit into your schedule, there’s still a way to get a taste of the all-female performing troupe’s live-action spectacle, as the theatre company has released a preview video of the cast showing off their fighting moves and crossing swords!

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Japanese kids’ show a big hit overseas for strangely moving Rube Goldberg machine story【Video】

I often enjoy watching the educational programming of NHK’s E-Tele in the mornings with my family while we get ready for the day. It’s full of fun and educational shows that teach everything from English to geography, and Pitagora Switch (Japanese pronunciation of “Pythagora Switch”) is a big crowd favorite. It showcases cute little machines similar to Rube Goldberg devices where a ball travels along an array of painstakingly arranged cups, springs, ramps, pulleys and whatever else they can cram in to get to the other end.

My two-year-old daughter always gets a kick out of its blend of physics and fun, and now apparently so does much of the Western world after a segment of the show posted onto YouTube has received rave reviews on Reddit for its unique combination of story-telling and Rube Goldberg machinations.

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Happy Java sparrow Day! Pet owners celebrate their adorable birds on Twitter【Photos】

October 24 may be seven days before Halloween to most people, but for those in Japan with a Java sparrow (called buncho in Japanese), it’s the day to celebrate your cute little buddy.

Last year the hashtag #文鳥の日2014 (#buncho no hi 2014) was trending and owners all over the country shared pictures of their pet birds. Luckily, this year we were treated to even more pictures of Java sparrows as proud owners wanted to share their joy with the Twitterverse.

Enjoy the best selection of these adorable little guys, after the jump.

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Yamaha shows off Motobot, the motorcycle-driving robot created to surpass us, at Tokyo Motor Show

With all the companies working on self-driving cars right now, it can be difficult for companies to differentiate themselves from competitors.

Yamaha, however, is sure to stand out from the crowd with their newest project Motobot, a robot designed to ride a motorcycle on its own. But simply riding a motorcycle isn’t enough—the company’s hope is to eventually create a machine that can “surpass” humans!

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Class up your backyard with your very own Nazca hummingbird that smells so good!

Over the summer, people around the world were really excited over a mosquito coil from Japan that gained notoriety because it was shaped like the Nazca Lines in Peru. Unfortunately, it only looked like a mosquito coil and was actually made from wood, but people still clung to the idea that if it was a real product, it would be really awesome.

Months rolled by, and no more news was released about this uniquely shaped mosquito repellent. Many people thought it would be impossible to make a coil in such a shape without it crumbling to pieces. But where there’s a will, there is always someone industrious enough to try to figure it out. It only took them until the seasons had changed, but we are finally seeing the release of “Nazca’s Summer, Peru’s Summer” right in the heart of fall. You won’t be repelling any mosquitoes with this coil, but everything will be smelling fantastic!

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We check out Japan’s zecOO, the black-and-gold electric “Akira bike”, at Tokyo Motor Show【Pics】

The zecOO electric bike made a splash online when it officially went on sale earlier this year, though it’s been known by people all around the world as the Akira bike for a few years now.

It’s still a little pricey at 8.88 million yen (roughly US$73,600), so we doubt any of our staff will be cruising around town on this bad boy until we’ve filled up a few more piggy banks, but fortunately the electric vehicle was on display at the Tokyo Motor Show and our very own Mr. Sato was able to check it out in person.

Take a look at his photos below and find out what clever new addition the bike is now sporting!

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Citrus-packing “Pepsi White” coming to Japan for the winter snow season

When it comes to limited-edition beverages, Pepsi continues to rise to the occasion year after year. And just when we thought we’d seen the last of Pepsi’s seasonal releases for 2015 with their mystery-flavoured Halloween range, they go and announce a special Christmas present, with the release of a new Pepsi White Cola for this year’s winter season.

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Nintendo’s first smartphone app creates a virtual you that does social networking all on its own

Last month it was announced that the Pokémon franchise would be coming to smartphones in Pokémon GO, an ambitious augmented reality mobile title. But while Pokémon is often associated with Nintendo, the brand itself is managed by The Pokémon Company, a semi-independent subsidiary of the video game hardware and software giant.

Today, Nintendo revealed the first stage of plans for its long-awaited Nintendo-branded smartphone apps, but those hoping for a new game starring Mario or Link are going to have to keep waiting. As a matter of fact, Nintendo’s first official smartphone release isn’t a game at all, but a system by which to make a virtual recreation of yourself that will autonomously talk about you in the social media sphere.

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Don’t call it Boys’ Love! Japanese fujoshi finds a new term for her favorite anime trope

The international anime fan community has adopted a number of Japanese loanwords for concepts that originated in Japan and don’t have succinct, ideal vocabulary equivalents in other languages. English-language discussions between foreign fans are peppered with terms like otaku (fans whose enthusiasm for their hobby is so strong it affects their life balance), tsundere (a person whose expressions of emotion towards an object of affection run hot and cold), and moe (a feeling of devotion and protectiveness, often in response to a display of innocence or purity), just to name a few.

Now, though, the shoe’s on the other foot, as one woman in Japan with a soft spot for anime showing deep, emotional bonds between male characters is calling for the popularization of an English loanword to help her avoid being mistaken for a fan of homoerotic anime and fan fiction.

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Top violinist Ayako Ishikawa to release major label debut album with anime covers 【Videos】

Although a number of Japanese music labels have been hesitant to embrace YouTube, over the last few years uploads from independent Japanese artists and personalities have reached higher numbers than ever before.

For some, like BABYMETAL, Ladybaby, and these adorably cute kiddos, the popular video sharing site is the ticket to instant Internet fame. For others, like top violinist Ayako Ishikawa, the road is a little longer, but nonetheless rewarding, with the recent announcement of her major label album debut featuring re-worked anime covers.

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Kagawa’s Udon Monster joins Japan’s other local kaiju to help save the environment

Did you know that each of Japan’s 47 prefectures has a designated monster that represents their region? The larger-than-life beings were born from the “Gotouchi Kaiju” (“Local Monsters”) multimedia project helmed by Professor Hiroshi Sagae, who’s worked on a number of kaiju-centric films such as Godzilla Millenium, Ultraman Saga and Gamera the Brave.

Now there’s a special crowdfunding campaign that’s calling on the masses to support the plight of the monsters as they strive to protect nature and promote greenery in their towns. Patrons who contribute to their favourite beast will be rewarded with cards, T-shirts or even a 3-D kaiju figurine but best of all, the funds raised for each prefecture will go towards supporting environmental projects in the region.

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Maru the cat enthrals us with his adorable animal costumes【Video】

Gearing up for Halloween, we’ve already seen our share of humans dressing up like cats, but how about some costuming felines? Of course, as we’re sure all you cat people out there already know, getting kitty dressed up in a ridiculous outfit is a lot easier said than done.

…Or is it? Turns out the owner of Maru, “the most famous cat on the internet” has devised an easy way to get even the most stubborn of felines to get into the Halloween spirit with these cute animal costumes.

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“Smash Bros. and chill” is disturbing, borderline not-safe-for-work【Pics】

Ever since Twitter user @itsIsaaaaaaac tweeted those famous words, “Netflix and chill“, internet meme-dom, and indirect invitations to have a “good time” with it, were forever changed.

As a result, the internet is now packed full of hilarious and awkward examples of what can happen when one puts out that particular call. But what if, mused one net user, instead of offering to Netflix and chill one was to make a similar offer to “Smash Bros. and chill“? What would that even look like?

Thanks to the work of the Internet masses, we now have the answer. And it’s hilariously inappropriate.

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