Dude for a day – Japanese women describe the things they’d most like to do if they were guys

What would you do if you could be a member of the opposite sex for a day? I for one would make it my first priority to get on those “women only” cars on Tokyo’s rail network and see how sweet it really is, as well as observe how all the female commuters act without men around. Next, I’d walk into any store frequented by hardcore otaku and freak the guys out just by being there, then I’d spend the evening hitting the bars I usually frequent and see how many free drinks I can score.

Posed with the same question, a group of 300 women in Japan aged 21-33 shared their thoughts on the matter, their answers ranging from the usual “pee standing up” to some surprisingly saucy suggestions.

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Japanese women discuss the pros and cons of being a guy’s first girlfriend ever

Most socializing in Japan is done in groups, and while there’s definitely something to be said for the “the more the merrier” philosophy behind it, that same social norm can sometimes work against a person’s love life. Sure, a guy might have a thing for a girl who he’s in the same school club with, but it can be hard to take the relationship to the next level if they never have any time alone together. On the opposite side of the scale, if there’s no one who strikes a man’s fancy in his immediate social circle, expanding his network of acquaintances, and with it his dating pool, can be a tricky endeavor to pull off.

The end result is a number of men in Japan who don’t enter into a serious romantic relationship until they’re well into adulthood. Luckily, this isn’t a complete deal breaker for them, but that lack of experience does change the playing field, as shown in a survey of 206 Japanese women in their teens, twenties, and thirties who shared their hopes and concerns about being a guy’s very first girlfriend.

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Study shows broccoli sprouts may regrow hair, and not just on Chia Heads

Whoever coined the phrase “Vanity, thy name is woman,” clearly was not a balding man. From implants to Rogaine, men (and some women) with thinning hair are willing to pay a lot of money to keep their cranium covered. A recent study suggest they might be better off making a trip to the greengrocer to return their locks to lusciousness.

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Underground pipe explodes, creates a 10-metre man-made geiser in Kanagawa Prefecture

Japan’s Kanto region just can’t catch a break recently – first heavy snow brings the capital city to its knees (and this writer given the X of denial as he was told “Sorry, sir, the flight has already departed” after it took five hours to reach the airport in it), and now giant columns of water are spurting up out of the ground.

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Tokyo’s eight favorite places to get dorayaki, Japan’s favorite sweet bean cake

While green tea ice cream and the chocolate snack sticks called Pocky are some of the most famous Japanese sweets abroad, they are both fairly recent additions to the cultural landscape of Japan. The history of Japanese confectionaries stretches back for generations before the introduction of those two modern treats, and one favorite of Japanese residents with a sweet tooth is the sweet bean cake known as dorayaki.

But while the upside to the popularity of dorayaki is that you’re never far from a store selling them, with so many suppliers, how are you supposed to pick one, especially when your stomach is growling and your mouth is watering? Simple, by consulting this guide to eight of the best dorayaki shops in Tokyo.

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Japanese company builds giant robot you could be piloting right now

Chiba Prefecture’s Wonder Festival is a bi-annual figure and model expo. The event’s bread and butter is figurine of anime and video game characters, in both frighteningly realistic and sexily unrealistic varieties.

But while the first thing most people associate with the event is toys, if your model is made of metal instead of plastic or urethane, and it’s self-propelled to boot, you’ve crossed the line of three-dimensional art and moved into straight-up engineering. Of course, Wonder Festival’s exhibitors aren’t going to stray too far from their fanciful roots, so what do you get when you combine technology with science fiction? You get this amazing giant robot, which is so easy to pilot that attendees could test drive it.

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Japanese amateur wrestling champion finds fame online for his taste in nerdy hobbies

The man pictured above is Tomoyuki Oka basking in the glow of winning the All-Japan Sambo Championships. Having excelled in the Russian grappling sport, he exhibits all the features of supreme manliness: a square hair-lined jaw, steely and dominant glare, burly muscles that dwarf his first place trophy (the Putin Cup), and a half-hearted effort at those “V” fingers that Japanese people usually pose with in pictures.

But wait a minute… What’s that under his sambovka?

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The Ogasawara Islands: Tokyo’s tropical secret

After seeing all the pictures of Tokyo’s record snowfall over the weekend, it may surprise you to learn that some Tokyoites live in a place where snow, or even frost, is completely unheard of. And that’s because there are a chain of islands 1,000 km south of the densely populated Japanese megapolis under the same political jurisdiction officially known as Tokyo Metropolis. So while the word “Tokyo” may conjure up images of gleaming skyscrapers, bright city lights and bustling train stations, get ready to learn about Tokyo’s tropical side and its huge role in World War II.

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Do try this at home! 5 foods that you can recreate in taste by combining other foods

Have you ever had an experience when you ate two different foods at once, and the resulting flavor tasted like a completely different food? If yes, then don’t worry, because apparently your taste buds aren’t going crazy. Kyushu University in Japan recently publicized a list of different food combinations that mirror this phenomenon based on actual scientific research. Some of them are so outrageous that you won’t believe it until you actually try making them yourself!

Here’s a little question to get you started: What two food items should you combine in order to produce the flavor of corn soup? The answer and four more recipes after the jump.

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“Are you married yet?” – Chinese ad attempts to guilt-trip young women into trying the knot

Chinese dating company Baihe.com has taken the unusual step of producing an ad that attempts to guilt-trip young women into marriage. In it, an elderly woman who is steadily inching closer to death pesters her granddaughter to find a man and tie the knot, constantly asking, “Are you married yet?”

Eventually – and we swear we’re not making this up – the troubled young woman resolves that she should stop “being picky” and decides to marry right away.

The full WTF? video after the jump.

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Pokémon train brings smiles to Tohoku kids’ faces

The Pokémon with YOU Train is a collaboration between JR East and Pokémon that’s been bringing smiles to the faces of kids affected by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, and this week it made a special appearance in Chiba!

We’re not kids any more, but having seen how awesome it is, we really wish we could take a ride on this thing!!

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Insult or homage? Lady (Taking a) Liberty toys have us scratching our heads

We’ve covered the strange world of gachapon toys on this site before. They are those vending machines that spit out an item in a plastic egg, and any bank of gachapon machines in Japan is sure to have a few bizarre offerings. Twitter user @dradon3 recently spotted this mystifying toy depicting the Statue of Liberty feeling free enough to let it all hang out. Says the ad copy, “Be free from all restraints that bind you.”

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12 tales of true hospitality from Japanese hotels and inns

Japan takes customer service very seriously, something that’s easy to see when even convenience store clerks are so dedicated to their job they’ll ask if you want your hot and cold purchases bagged separately, or else build a protective barrier between them. Hospitality standards are no joke, either, as illustrated by the tasks traditional innkeepers are expected to perform, such as carrying the dishes and utensils for full-course meals into and out of guests’ rooms.

It’s no surprise, then, that travelers in Japan have plenty of stories to tell about attentive inns and hotels, such as the 12 below from an online survey by web portal My Navi Woman in Japan.

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You can look at this life-size Super Sonico anime figure, but you can’t touch

Last Sunday, while the Tokyo area was still blanketed in white from the previous day’s snowstorm, we braved the cold and made the trip out to Makuhari Messe in Chiba Prefecture for the winter installment of Wonder Festival. The bi-annual model expo is packed with the latest anime and video game-inspired figurines, including a fully-operational robot suit and hyper-realistic sculpture of one of Attack on Titan’s monsters from the torso up.

But the Attack on Titan figure wasn’t the only giant bust on display, as there was also a life-size statue of voluptuous anime character Super Sonico. In keeping with her exotic dancer-quality figure, though, her display area had some strip club-style rules, such as no groping allowed.

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The Wind Rises U.S. TV spots streamed

The official channel for Hayao Miyazaki‘s final feature film, The Wind Rises began streaming two English television commercials on Monday.

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Poisonous pufferfish sales blow up as prices drop

One of the more notorious items of Japanese cuisine has got to be fugu (pufferfish). It’s well known for its delicious taste and texture, its traditionally high price tag, and of course the lethal poison stored in its meat.

In Japan’s fugu industry, February 9 is known as “Fugu Day” in yet another Japanese pun-inspired holiday. This Fugu Day in particular has seen some rock-bottom prices for the once pricey fish thanks largely to government deregulation. But is it safe?

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3D animated gifs will take your brain to another dimension

Animated gifs have been knocking around on the Internet since the early ’90s; it’s about time they had an update, really. Well as luck would have it, these gifs have gone 3D! The effect is achieved by the simple addition of two vertical white lines, meaning you don’t even need your 3D glasses to enjoy them! We take a look at six of the best, as animated gifs leap into the 21st century.

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Man in India viewed as a god for his really long butt hair

They say America is the land of opportunity, but India seems well on its way to taking that crown. Where else can a man acquire a group of followers for having a 37cm (14.5 inch) tail of hair growing just above his butt crack?

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Breakfast art: Instagramer photographs beautiful morning meals

Kei Yamazaki is a graphic designer in Japan who is a self-proclaimed breakfast lover. Her Instagram account is positively bursting with gorgeous images of her homemade morning meals that will make any challenged cook or hungry late-riser jealous. And we hear you, “Yeah yeah, it’s just breakfast, so what!” But 232,238 followers can’t be wrong; these are breakfast plates you’re going to want to see (and eat)!

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Nippon or Nihon? No consensus on the Japanese pronunciation of “Japan”

As any student of Japanese will tell you, its use of Chinese characters known as kanji can be a nightmare at times. And although they can be really useful at deducing the meaning of complex words, they give little in the way of clues as to how one should pronounce them.

Take the kanji for Japan (日本) for example. Even a first grader can tell you what it means, but ask a group of adults how to pronounce it and you might get a mixture of “Nihon” or “Nippon” and maybe even an occasional “Yamato” if one of those people happens to be a smart-ass.

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