Virtual reality Totoro? Project Morpheus team looking for artist with “Studio Ghibli” style

After more than a year since the last film from anime production house Studio Ghibli, the paint is rapidly drying on the writing on the wall. At the very least, it looks like animation fans are in for a long wait before the next Ghibli movie, and it may turn out that When Marnie Was There ends up being the last theatrical feature we ever see from the company co-founded by Hayao Miyazaki.

Still, that doesn’t mean that other artists, perhaps working in other mediums, won’t carry on the beloved anime studio’s spirit. As a matter of fact, if you’ve got the necessary video game production skills, that someone could be you, as a U.K.-based Project Morpheus team is looking for an artist to help add a Ghibli-like aesthetic to its game.

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Hokkaido’s “White Shell Road” is gorgeous, makes us want to take a road trip! 【Photos】

In Hokkaido, there is an area of hilly countryside along the Souya Cape in Wakkanai, with peaks reaching from 20 to 400 metres above sea level. The area, known as Souyakyuuryou, features an idyllic backdrop of the Soya Strait, and with its wind farm and rolling hills it’s said to be reminiscent of the Netherlands. (It also reminds some people of the Ghibli classic Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind!)

But by far the coolest thing about the area is that it also has a country road that used to be a plain old dirt road until they decided to make it pretty – with crushed white shells!

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Japanese college has specialized anime song program, scholarships for international students

Even within the world of Japanese pop music, anime songs are their own special breed. Unabashedly sentimental, bombastically energetic, or sometimes both, not just anyone can grab a mike and belt out a performance that will capture the hearts of legions of otaku, which is why one Japanese music college has just announced a brand new course, aiming to provide students with the education and training they need to become anime vocalists.

Oh, and the school also offers a scholarship for international students.

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Kissable coffee cup lids in South Korea bring extra love and awkwardness to every cup

Do you love coffee? Like, really love it? Are you running short on ways to express your true feelings to your latte every morning? Have you ever wanted to make out with your hot beverage friend?

Well now thanks to “Take Kiss Out” coffee lids, you can! Whether you need a pick-me-up peck in the morning, a mid-afternoon make out session, or a snogging at sunset, just snap one on to your coffee and enjoy a hot wet kiss anytime.

Will Take Kiss Out lids be the next big thing, or will we all be friend-zoned by our frappucinos? Read on to find out!

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Road shut down in China by hundreds of people who mistakenly thought they were picking up gold dust

There is an interesting phenomenon that we’ve seen in a few stories out of China. It appears sometimes when a transport vehicle spills some of its cargo, a group of people comes out of the woodwork to grab some of whatever landed on the road be it baby chickens, crabs, oranges, or grapes.

However, this time there’s gold in them thar spillages which of course led to sticky fingers on an unprecedented level. However, if anyone happened to notice a disturbance in the force recently, it was probably the sound of 100 or so voices crying out at once upon learning that their booty was not actually gold but something far stinkier.

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Japanese cosplayers share their “then vs now” photos, and the difference is eye-opening

Improvement and progress is something that gives us encouragement and motivation to keep doing something, be it at school, work, or leisure. Sitting for examinations or participating in competitions can give you a good gauge of your abilities, but if you’re just looking to enjoy a hobby with minimal stress, making video or photo records may be a good way of keep track of your progress.

Taking photographs may not be the most feasible method for every pastime, but a wide variety of hobbies can be documented with photographs, such as flower arrangement, baking, craft making, and of course, cosplay! Some Japanese cosplayers have been sharing their “then vs now” pictures on Twitter, and it’s amazing to see some of the changes they’ve made over time!

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Everything you wanted to know about girls’ school uniforms in Japan 

School uniforms bring back memories of our bitter-sweet childhood days. In Japan, however, they aren’t just clothes, they’re symbols of “seishun” (youth) and a big part of the country’s culture. Girls in Japan love their school uniforms, and there are fans of Japanese school uniforms all over the world.

We know you love these cute school uniforms too, but do you really know everything about them? Here’s everything you need to know to be an expert on Japanese school uniforms.

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We explore the evolution of the toilet at Kitakyushu’s newly opened TOTO Museum

What would modern life be like without the humble toilet? Actually, we’d rather not think about that.

Many of us around the world should direct our thanks to TOTO Ltd., the world’s largest manufacturer of toilets and the very company that invented the washlet. In fact, Friday, August 28 marked the grand opening of the new TOTO Museum in Fukuoka Prefecture, where the company was originally founded in 1917.

Takashi Harada, our Japanese reporter who proclaims that he couldn’t survive a day without a washlet, immediately made a bee line to the new sanctuary to give thanks to the toilet gods and to learn a bit about the historical evolution of the toilet.

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Taiwan train pass cancelled after image found to have come from Japanese adult video

Japanese actress Yui Hatano has been big in Taiwan after her sexy role in the film Sashimi, which came out in January this year. As a result, she has been hard at work establishing her brand there by appearing on one of the nation’s most used train IC cards among other things.

In many ways her fame could be compared to that of Sola Aoi in mainland China. In fact she would be a good comparison because both women have made the often challenging crossover from adult video to more mainstream movies. Of course, when walking that line between acting careers it’s not surprising when one spills over into the other.

That’s what happened when one of the photos used for a series of IC cards featuring Hatano was found to have been lifted straight off the box of one of the actress’ more risqué works.

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Nagano Prefecture’s Mishaka Pond offers mirror-like waters, inspiration for art lovers

Mishaka-ike, or Mishaka Pond (御射鹿池), is a hidden natural jewel located in Chino City, Nagano Prefecture. The pond’s tranquil beauty inspired a famous painting several decades ago, and Japanese visitors have been increasingly traveling off the beaten path to view its waters for themselves, as it’s a place where the four seasons are distinctly and perfectly expressed.

Escape from the city for a relaxing moment with the following photographic collection of Mishaka-ike in the Japanese countryside.

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Love Livers spotted wearing biker-style coats at anime song festival, concertgoers not impressed

August in Japan is the month of summer concerts, from the internationally celebrated Summer Sonic series, to record label Avex Trax’s annual A-Nation festival. Of course, let’s not forget to mention the Animelo Summer Live series, known popularly as Anisama (an abbreviation of anime and the Japanese pronunciation of “summer”) by Japanese fans of anime songs.

This year’s opening day of the concert series saw an unusual display of love for hit anime series Love Live! in the form of a group of guys dressing up like old-school Japanese biker gang delinquents, complete with long coats depicting their favorite characters. However, it looks like a number of Japanese Twitter users are ready for the Love Livers to tone their passion down a notch, as the online critics were decidedly unimpressed with the outfits.

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Border patrol between China and Russia staffed by… scarecrows?

We all know that scarecrows can be terrifying. but are they really scary enough to keep humans at bay? Well apparently in Russia, scarecrows scare you!

On the border between China and Russia, stuffed scarecrows man the border patrol guard towers. Is this a case of budget failure, laziness, or just a joke gone hay-wire? Read on to find out!

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Our English writer rates 15 teas from Japanese conbini, is fully hydrated for the rest of summer

Walk in to any Japanese convenience store, and you’re bound to be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choices at your fingertips. Even taking a stroll through the drink aisle will leave you open-mouthed as you stare at the myriad interesting flavors and varieties to be tried.

Of course there’s green tea, barley tea, roasted tea and more, but how do Japan’s black and flavoured teas measure up? We decided we needed an expert’s opinion, so we turned to one of our English writers for help. With a sampling of 15 different teas, we put our parched taste-tester to work.

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Cakes that bring a giant Totoro-sized smile to any Studio Ghibli fan’s face【Photos】

It’s so easy these days to try something new and creative since tons of people post really cool things to Instagram and Pinterest. A person can get a million fantastic ideas for their next project just by browsing for a few minutes. What’s especially helpful is that people will often post DIY tutorials and step-by-step pictures to allow even the commonest of folk to get their creative juices flowing. Whether your final product turns out as well as the instructions you are following is a bit of a crapshoot, it’s still extremely fun/funny just to try it for yourself.

So for a Studio Ghibli fan’s next big day, why not try and make one of these amazing Totoro cakes? Check out dozens of spectacular sweet treats featuring one of our favorite Japanese characters after the break.

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Luigi hits the streets on a longboard, tries to best Mario again【Video】

Anyone who has spent a lengthy session playing Mario Kart will know what it’s like to start imagining elements of the game in their daily lives. Any time you’re controlling something with four wheels, you almost wish you had some in-game items to make the drive a little easier. Driving around and some jerk cuts you off? Red shell! Some idiot driving two feet from your rear end because he wants to go faster? Banana peel! Stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic and about to be late for work? Boom, Starman!

For this longboarder, he might not need special items to clear his way, but he certainly imagines his cruising life like a Mario Kart game as he battles his brother for speed supremacy.

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Super Mega Important Debate – Japanese TV: is it just plain awful? 【Poll】

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, Super Mega Important Debate is back! This weekend, we’re putting Japanese TV under the spotlight and asking you, our good-looking and never-shy-to-venture-an-opinion readers, whether you think the TV shows broadcast in Japan are wonderfully entertaining or a big bag of steaming horse poop.

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The Pokémon Company sues organizers of Pokémon-themed party for copyright infringement

The Pokémon Company International (TPCi) filed a lawsuit against two Seattle residents on Wednesday, claiming that the Pokémon-themed party they were organizing allegedly infringed upon TPCi’s copyright.

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Online shop’s anime character personal seals look awesome, can be used for legal paperwork

Even now, most legal documents in Japan don’t ask for your signature, but rather that you stamp your inkan, or personal seal, to show approval or confirmation. Also called a hanko, the stamp, customarily used with red ink, leaves behind just the bearer’s last name, at least in the case of ordinary inkan.

But if that’s just too solemnly boring for you, you can also spice things up with a personal seal made that’s decorated with characters from hit anime series such as Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Clannad, and Fate/stay night that not only lets you display your love for those franchises, but is also legally binding.

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Toyota ad about lonely father and dog has a twist ending, will tug at your heartstrings 【Video】

At this point it’s probably no exaggeration to say that Toyota Japan is the master of making automotive commercials. Their commercials thus far have been heartwarming, bizarre, even more bizarre, and are more like minute-long movies than advertisements.

And the same thing goes for the most recent Toyota commercial. It’s about a man whose daughter leaves to go to college, and suddenly feels a lot lonelier at home with only his pet dog. What’s the twist ending that has Japanese netizens talking? And how does this all tie back to making us want to buy a Toyota? Read on to find out!

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Metal Gear cardboard box wedding ad full of crazy, bittersweet belly laughs, just like the games

For months, there have been rumblings of discord between video game publisher Konami and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain director Hideo Kojima. First Kojima’s name, one of the most respected in the industry, was scrubbed from the game’s packaging, and now the popular opinion seems to be that once The Phantom Pain is a completely done deal, Kojima will pack up and leave the company where he’s worked for decades, meaning someone else would be tasked with carrying on the legacy of Metal Gear, a franchise so ground-breaking and successful it literally changed the industry.

But none of this drama seems to have adversely affected The Phantom Pain’s development, as advance reviews of the title have been glowing. And perhaps even more baffling is that even as this might be the end of an era, the series has in no way lost its sense of humor, as seen in this bizarre yet emotional Metal Gear Solid V TV commercial starring an about-to-be-wed bride and groom, dressed in their finest Metal Gear-style cardboard boxes.

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