Vine Boin Bounce: In which we start a new dance craze and have a punny good time

Vine Boin Bounce: In which we start a new dance craze and have a punny good time

While most of the articles you find on our lovely site are about Japanese news–be it current events in the anime world or photos a hundred years old–sometimes we like to just kick off our shoes and have some fun too.

For example, four of our colleagues from the Japanese side of the site (great for reading practice in case you’re studying the language!) decided to make these, shall we say unique Vine videos. We won’t say that they’re the weirdest thing you’ll see today…but only because we never know when some deep sea divers are going to find new, bizarre fish.

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See what 13 stuffed toys look like after a wash at the home spa

See what 13 stuffed toys look like after a wash at the home spa

People in Japan love their soft toys. And with so many cute characters to choose from, it’s easy to understand why. But with love comes a sense of responsibility, which means there will eventually come a time when your favourite stuffed character will have to face the wash. The only thing is, with their adorable, life-like expressions, a wash-and-dry for a stuffed toy ends up looking like a day at the spa followed by a visit to the amusement park!

Check out the adventures of some crazy Japanese plushies, as documented by their owners, after the jump.

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Japanese constitution nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Japanese constitution nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

The 2014 Nobel Peace Prize has an unprecedented nomination: the Ninth Article of the Japanese constitution. The Ninth Article renounces the right to engage in war or to maintain a military. The group advocating the nomination, the “Constitution’s Ninth Article for the Nobel Peace Prize,” is based in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture.

Housewife Naomi Takusu (37) came up with the idea. She started an online petition last May and garnered 1,500 signatures in just five days. She contacted the Nobel Committee, from whose response she learned that candidates can only be nominated through certain channels and must be individuals or groups. She changed her strategy and tried again for 2014.

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Drivers spill the beans while saving the planet with Nissan’s two-seater electric vehicle

Drivers spill the beans while saving the planet with Nissan’s two-seater electric vehicle

In October last year, Yokohama City joined forces with Japanese automobile manufacturer Nissan for a special project dubbed Choi-Mobi Yokohama. Furnishing the historic port city with a small fleet of rentable, ultra-compact electric vehicles, Nissan set out to examine the feasibility of making such modes of transport commonplace in urban centres. Allowing anyone with a valid license to zip around the city – emission free, of course – for just 20 yen (US$0.19) per minute of use, ultra-compacts like the Choi-Mobi are tipped to be a useful replacement for taxis and private vehicles in urban areas in future years.

The concept alone was enough to have tech-heads and environmentalists alike grinning from ear to ear, but on April 1 this year, Nissan asked a group of Choi-Mobi renters to use their time together inside the vehicle to convey important messages to one another, telling not April Fools but “April Truths”.

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BABYMETAL invasion of the West marches on, everyone welcomes new kawaii overlords【VIDEOS】

BABYMETAL invasion of the West marches on, everyone welcomes new kawaii overlords【VIDEOS】

It’s been less than a year since we interviewed BABYMETAL and prophesied their coming domination of the globe, and in that time they’ve released a new, full-length album, racked up over five million views on one video alone, and made plans to invade England. While the UK probably isn’t the best target for a military attack–we hear they get pretty grumpy and call the RAF on you–the country seems particularly susceptible to cultural aggressions, making the group’s British debut at Sonisphere Festival UK the perfect opening offensive!

But the group’s popularity isn’t limited to the metal community. They’ve gotten attention from major media outlets around the world–it’s only a matter of time before we see the girls jumping around on Oprah’s coach, declaring their love for chocolate.

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Hamster babies steal our hearts, leave us begging for more

Hamster babies steal our hearts, leave us begging for more

Everyone loves hamsters. From the Internet masses cooing over their adorable keisters to snakes who refuse to eat them, there’s something about their furry round bodies that reduces us to piles of squealing glee. They’re just so cuuuuuuuute!

And what’s the only thing cuter than a hamster? Well, if you said “Baby hamsters,” then you are clearly psychic! We’d tell you to get out of our heads, but we’re too busy “awww”ing over these photos.

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Celebrate Korea’s loneliest holiday with black noodles for one 【Recipe】

Celebrate Korea’s loneliest holiday with black noodles for one 【Recipe】

Valentine’s Day is known all around the world and many of our readers will be familiar with the East Asian tradition of following it up with White Day. In Japan and Korea, women are expected to give chocolates to the men in their lives, in some cases to every man they know (referred to as giri choco, or “obligatory chocolate” in Japan). White Day arose as a way to balance the inequity (or maybe just to sell more sweets). On March 14th, men are supposed to give sweets to the women they return feelings for. Sadly for the women, they are usually white sweets like marshmallows, hard candies, white chocolate or something else similarly boring. While men are not obligated to give sweets to women they do not have feelings for, they are expected to spend 3-4 times as much as the gift they received was worth.

South Korea has innovated a new holiday along the same theme: Black Day! Black Day falls on April 14th and is celebrated by people who didn’t receive anything for either of the more well-known love-themed holidays. On Black Day, single people all over the country get together to eat a dish of black noodles called jjajangmyeon, which is a well-known Korean comfort food. It consists of noodles in a sauce made of black soybeans with veggies and protein (typically pork or seafood). Similar to curry udon, it’s not incredibly healthy but is extremely satisfying!

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Calling all ladies out there: How to win the heart of a man with AB blood type

Calling all ladies out there: How to win the heart of a man with AB blood type

In many Asian cultures, blood type is said to determine one’s personality or unique characteristics. If you’re not familiar with the traits associated with each blood type, check out our handy guide here (and see if what it says about you is accurate or not!). That said, people with AB blood type are known to be slightly mysterious and the most creative thinkers of the bunch. They may engage in unique hobbies, display genius tendencies, and continually startle you with unexpected surprises the more you get to know them.

So what’s a lady to do when the object of her affections happens to be a gentleman with type AB blood? Perhaps the following handy tips will help you snag his heart if nothing else does!

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We try “Bubble Soccer,” body slam and laugh the entire time

We try “Bubble Soccer,” body slam and laugh the entire time

Bubble Soccer, as you might have guessed from the image above, is a game in which every player wears a giant plastic bubble while playing soccer. It’s like any normal soccer game, except you bounce off of your opponent and crash wildly to the floor. But it’s cool, you’re in a bubble so it doesn’t hurt too much. April 4 saw a very special event, one of only a few ever held in Japan, at the Ramos Ruy Indoor Futsol Field in Tokyo. Participants were invited to try their hand at this crazy sport and we showed up for the occasion.

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How to take a bath for only 0.0000076 yen using ordinary plastic bottles

How to take a bath for only 0.0000076 yen using ordinary plastic bottles

With Japan entering the new month with a higher sales tax, people are beginning to feel the squeeze. In addition, April is the time of year when many people make big changes in their lives such as moving out on their own. This is already an expensive time made even more so by the economic climate.

One such person is Omocoro writer ARuFa. He feels that he has successfully come up with a way to reduce your water bill drastically by taking baths that would only cost 0.0000076 yen (US$0.000000075). This is his story.

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A ribbiting new style for an age old item

A ribbiting new style for an age old item

Ask any group of Japanese people what animal they don’t like to touch, and overwhelmingly the answer you get back is going to be…frogs! Which is why it may seem very strange that costume maker @Shin_1223 has designed a unique backpack that is made to look like this wet and slimy creature.

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Doraemon in Nirvana: Chiang Rai’s White Temple like a beautiful, bad pop culture pipe dream 【Photos】

Doraemon in Nirvana: Chiang Rai’s White Temple like a beautiful, bad pop culture pipe dream 【Photos】

Approaching Wat Rong Khun, Chiang Rai’s so-called White Temple, is a surreal experience. It looks like a massive sculpture of ice and snow shimmering through Thailand’s tropical heat. But that effect barely scratches the surface of the weird at this Buddhist wat, where Doraemon hangs out with the Buddha, bushes are decorated with the decapitated heads of Freddie Kruger and Pinhead, and the penalty for smoking is eternal damnation.

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We try Wazen, Suntory’s new beer specially designed to drink with Japanese food

We try Wazen, Suntory’s new beer specially designed to drink with Japanese food

Eating and drinking are two of our favorite necessary life functions, since they’re both so much more fun than sleeping and breathing. So when we heard, back in January, about a new beer from Suntory that’s specially designed to go well with Japanese food, our three months of anxious waiting until it was scheduled to go on sale started right away.

Well, spring is finally here, and we’ve just recently experienced the joys of stepping outside without an overcoat and admiring the cherry blossoms, so now it’s time for the last item on our checklist of vernal pleasures, as we sample a can of Suntory’s new Japan-centric brew, the all-malt Wazen.

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The extreme lengths Samsung must go to make sure your Galaxy phone works perfectly

The extreme lengths Samsung must go to make sure your Galaxy phone works perfectly

The last thing you want when you drop a few hundred bucks on a new phone is for it to fail on you within a few days.

That’s why manufacturers go through lengthy testing processes to make sure every aspect of their devices work. Samsung does the same with its Galaxy line of phones, including the new flagship phone the Galaxy S5.

We visited Samsung’s testing facilities at its headquarters in Suwon, South Korea. There, engineers test everything from how well phones can survive a fall to how many times you can push the home button before it breaks.

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Who needs a ship in a bottle when you can have a kitchen in a bottle!

Who needs a ship in a bottle when you can have a kitchen in a bottle!

That’s right, you read that title correctly. While some people enjoy constructing ships inside bottles, it seems that popular beverage company Kirin has taken up a new hobby- building unbelievably tiny kitchens inside of plastic bottles! In a new advertisement for a line of soft drinks, Kirin showcases some incredible craftsmanship at a minuscule level. You’ll be blown away by the minute details of these models!

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Chinese celebrity caught cheating on his wife triggers rush for “love insurance”

Chinese celebrity caught cheating on his wife triggers rush for “love insurance”

We’ve heard of celebrities and famous athletes spending insane amounts on insurance for their body parts, but it would seem that in China, the trend now is to buy insurance for love.

Recent reports of the infidelity of popular Chinese actor Zhang Wen not only set flame on Chinese social media networks, they also triggered off a rush for “love insurance”, generating more than a thousand new clients solely in Xiamen of Fujian Province. How does this “love insurance” work? Details after the break!

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Adorable puppy hasn’t quite got the hang of drinking milk, but that’s not stopping him

Adorable puppy hasn’t quite got the hang of drinking milk, but that’s not stopping him

It’s the weekend! And one of these things is not quite like the others…

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Sad breakfasts the morning after a fight【Photos】

Sad breakfasts the morning after a fight【Photos】

“Never let the sun set on an argument”, they say, but we’re all guilty of going to bed angry sometimes. And what if, on waking up the next morning, you want to show your loved one you’re still really, really mad… but you also need to ensure they go to work on a full stomach?

It’s this awkward situation that’s led to one unfortunate soul in Korea getting up the morning after an argument to find one of these hilariously miserable meals for one waiting on the breakfast table. Join us after the jump for breakfasts that say “I love you – but I hate you a little bit, too”.

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Sega’s video game consoles to live again as cute anime characters in Sega Hard Girls

Sega’s video game consoles to live again as cute anime characters in Sega Hard Girls

Perhaps it says something about the fundamental goodness of the human heart that once someone is no longer with us, we tend to remember the good things about him or her. Even though the memories of petty differences and irritants tend to fade with time, the happy moments often remain with us, sometimes picking up an even warmer aura as nostalgia colors them.

The phenomena doesn’t just happen with people, though, but video game hardware too. This partially explains why Sega, which discontinued its most recent console well over a decade ago, is seeing a new anime being produced in which the main characters are cute, anthropomorphized versions of the company’s defunct video game systems.

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We finally get to meet Goku’s mother — and we think she’s a real cutie!

We finally get to meet Goku’s mother — and we think she’s a real cutie!

As many of our readers are well aware, the powerful and spiky-haired Goku from Akira Toriyama’s manga and anime series Dragon Ball is one of the most recognizable icons of Japanese culture not just in Japan but across the world. Since the manga first appeared in the magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump in 1984, Goku’s entourage and family have grown to include an impressive number of unique and memorable characters. It so happens, however, that in all that time, we have never seen Goku’s mother in any of the stories — until now.

Yes, Dragon Ball fans were delighted with the news earlier this month that Goku’s mother would be making an appearance for the first time in the 30-year history of the series in the new comic by Toriyama, Jaco the Galactic Patrolman. Now that the comic has been released, we’ve finally been able to come face to face with the mother of the superhero we’ve come to know so well, and we think she’s a real cutie! Ladies and gentlemen, meet Gine, wife to the Saiyan warrior Bardock, and of course, Goku’s mom.

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