Nightingale floors: The samurai intruder alarm system Japan’s had for centuries

For centuries, Japan has taken pride in the talents of its craftsmen, carpenters and woodworkers included. Because of that, you might be surprised to find that some Japanese castles have extremely creaky wooden floors that screech and groan with each step.

How could such slipshod construction have been considered acceptable for some of the most powerful figures in Japanese history? The answer is that the sounds weren’t just tolerated, but desired, as the noise-producing floors functioned as Japan’s earliest automated intruder alarm.

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No need to ask for blood types – Find out personalities via first names

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could figure out someone’s personality type without actually sitting down and, you know, getting to know them? Who has that kind of time nowadays? Think of how much less small talk you’d have to go through if you could instantly know the personality of that cute guy over there just by asking his name. Momotaro? No, thank you. Ken? I’m interested.

An interesting chart from a magazine surfaced via Twitter the other day. It describes personality types based on the first sound of your name. It’s geared toward Japanese names, but it may work for non-Japanese names too.

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Live recording for Mario Kart 8 proves F-Zero’s soundtrack is still cool 25 years later【Video】

It’s been about a year since the release of Mario Kart 8, the latest installment of Nintendo’s popular all-star racing series. Well-received as the game has been, though, nearly 12 months on fickle gamers are no doubt starting to be tempted by newer titles from the Kyoto-based developer’s rivals.

That’s why Nintendo is getting ready to drop a new Mario Kart 8 DLC pack into the marketplace. Making a video game expansion doesn’t just involve a team of programmers and visual artists, but musicians too, as shown by this high-energy live performance of an awesome tune from Nintendo classic F-Zero.

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Chinese company Ninebot buys out Segway

It’s hard to imagine life before 2002 when the Segway standing scooter thing hit the scene completely revolutionized the way we get about, just like everyone predicted it would.

Its staggering success has made it an American institution. Like many of you, I have fond memories of making out with that special someone in the back of my Segway at the Segway-in movies during those hot summer nights.

But now, the vehicle we have all welcomed into our lives is entering a new chapter having been bought out by Beijing-based Ninebot Inc. I guess we won’t be able to use the old cliché “it’s as American as a Segway” anymore.

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Onsen in Nagano will now welcome foreigners with tattoos, as long as they patch ’em up

Many foreign visitors to Japan are curious about taking a dip in one of Japan’s many hot springs or sento public baths, but are deterred by two factors: the embarrassment of being naked in public, and the worry that even having a small tattoo – very much taboo in Japan – might result in being ejected from the premises. While the first issue is something that can be overcome with a little bravery, the second issue is undoubtedly a problem.

However, a resort inn in Nagano has now publicly stated that they will allow foreigners with small tattoos to enter, providing they cover up the offending ink with a patch.

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Do play with your food: “Dam curry rice” looks dam tasty to us!

Recently, we shared five tips for extra-yummy curry rice with our dear readers, because we believe that everyone should be able to enjoy the very best of this mildly spicy, sweet and hearty Japanese comfort food the right way. But one thing we forgot to mention is that presentation is an important part of the curry experience. You can’t just slop spoonfuls of the yummy brown stuff all over the rice and expect it to look appetising.

Luckily, we’ve now stumbled upon a new serving method that’s gaining popularity in Japan: “Dam curry”!

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Digimon Adventure tri. teases new info, but still no release date

Digimon Adventure tri. is one of the most hyped anime series this year, but so far not all that much info has been released. However, the official website has finally unveiled some tantalizing details … of when we’ll be able to find out more details.

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Cadcaptor Sakura renaissance continues with four dresses inspired by the anime heroine

As part of the Cardcaptor Sakura renaissance, we’ve previously looked at cosmetics, accessories, and no fewer than three pairs of shoes that pay homage to the beloved anime and manga character. Until now, though, you were on your own if you wanted to dress like the series’ star, but now you can add more than a half-week’s worth of Cardcaptor Sakura dresses to your wardrobe.

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Paying for nothing: Japanese burger chain’s latest sandwich doesn’t actually have a patty

It’s not unheard of for customers at fast food restaurants to discover that the burger they ordered is either missing one of its ingredients or contains something that they asked to be left out. It’s quite another issue entirely, however, to receive a burger that’s missing its patty and for that order to still be technically correct.

But that’s exactly what wacky Japanese hamburger chain Lotteria has done with its latest creation. Say hello the “No-Shrimp Burger”; a shrimp burger without the shrimp.

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Sith lord or samurai lord? Darth Vader becomes decorative doll for Boys’ Day in Japan

A long, long time ago, in a country far, far away (from English-speaking territories, anyway), Yoshitoku Taiko made its first doll. Founded in 1711, the company’s history goes back to a time when Japan was ruled by a shogun, and the country sealed off from the rest of the world.

More than three centuries later, Yoshitoku Taiko is still in business, but Japan is now part of the global community. That’s why the company’s latest offerings are two exquisitely crafted dolls of Darth Vader in samurai armor.

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I can’t believe it’s not cake! Bakery’s newest creation looks just like tuna-sashimi bowl

Is it just me, or are cakes these days starting to look less and less… cakey? With all sorts of techniques, tools, and ingredients at their fingertips, it seems like bakers can now turn cake into pretty much anything, as we’ve seen before from this cake shop in Shinjuku, that sells cakes disguised as Chinese food (you can even learn to make a bowl-of-ramen cake yourself here).

Now, that same shop, called Maplies, has come out with yet another tricky treat that looks exactly like maguro-don, a rice bowl with slices of tuna sashimi on top!

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Hestia anime ribbon being given away for free in Akihabara, fostering international friendship

Anime series Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, also known by its Japanese nickname Danmachi, looks like the breakout hit of this TV season. What’s the secret to its success? Well, it could be the way it fuses video game conventions onto its fantasy setting, or the popularity pump-priming light novels and manga that preceded the animated adaptation.

Or it could be the outfit of female lead Hestia, which is inventive even by the already outlandishly sexy standards of anime costume design with its boob-lifting ribbon that’s become known as rei no himo, or “The String” among fans in Japan.

It’s already making inroads into the cosplay world, with anime shops selling replicas, or sometimes handing them out for free. So strong is The String’s appeal that it’s also serving as muse for talented otaku costume crafters, and even helping foster international friendship on the streets of Tokyo.

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Divination will never be the same with these gorgeous fan-illustrated Sailor Moon Tarot cards!

Some believe that our fate is written in the stars. Do you believe in things such as astrology and divination? We have no idea in what way the celestial bodies influence our fate, but we do know of something related to stars and planets and moons… the Sailor Moon series!

All right, that eas sort of corny, but hey, check out these awesome fan-created tarot card designs inspired by Sailor Moon and company!

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R-rated movie “Chappie” gets severely nerfed for Japan release, director knew nothing about it

Chappie, an R-rated science-fiction film directed by Neill Blomkamp (of District 9 and Elysium fame), has been out in U.S. theaters for over a month now, but it still hasn’t been released in Japan due to the time it takes to be translated and dubbed.

During that time a storm has been brewing over the film, starting a few days ago when Sony Pictures Japan released a controversial statement: the movie will be censored and edited down to a PG-12 rating.

Japanese netizens who were looking forward to the film are upset over the watered-down version they will be getting, and even though Sony claims to have the support of the director, Neill Blomkamp himself insists he knew nothing about any such cuts.

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Fetishes as art?! Joint photo exhibit “Ambiguous☆Bishoujo Art Exhibit” opens

TODAYS GALLERY STUDIO (Asakusa) will hold their second free gallery event, “Ambiguous☆Bishoujo Art Exhibit,” for artists from April 29 until May 10. If you’re in Tokyo and into cool, sexy, and unusual art, you won’t want to miss it.

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“Sexy” Taiwanese cheerleading routines don’t seem to have much to do with sports 【Videos】

Not that Western cheerleading really has all that much to do with football or anything, and – last I checked – baseball in the US didn’t even have cheerleaders at all, but the logic goes that cheerleaders are there to get the crowd pumped up and into the competitive spirit. At least on paper, anyway.

In Taiwan, on the other hand, the cheerleaders at baseball games just kind of dance around in skimpy outfits like booth babes that got lost on their way to the auto show or something. It almost looks like they’re doing the exact opposite of what cheerleading is (ostensibly) all about, actually diverting spectators’ attention away from the game and pretty much guaranteeing that the men in the audience will need to remain seated (that’s a boner joke, you guys).

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Mochi hot cakes: The Japanese pancakes you don’t even need a rice cooker to make!

There’s a reason we say “selling like hotcakes”, and that reason is that hotcakes are awesome. These fluffy, light little circles of joy were sent to make snack time delightful and fill the world with rainbows and sunshine.

But if you’ve ever looked down at your little pancakes and thought “hey, this just isn’t Japanese enough for me!” then we have the answer for you. Mochi, Japan’s favourite rice cake, is said to make hot cakes even fluffier and even more awesome. But how do you add a solid, square block of mochi to a bowl of pancake mix anyway?

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Did this guy really get his girlfriend to gain 40kg before asking her to marry him?

The Internet is full of stories, some true and some false. Some tales are so bizarre that we’re not sure which end of the spectrum they lie on, such as this one, in which a man in China allegedly met a girl, fell in love, and then got her to nearly double her body weight through massive amounts of food.

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Is this the coolest kindergarten in the world? Probably 【Pics & Video】

Does the architecture of a building have an effect on the lives of the people inside of it? One famous Japanese architect thinks so and we’re pretty convinced now too.

Takaharu Tezuka, a Tokyo-based architect, designed a revolutionary kindergarten building that not only lets the kids run free, but also teaches them about life.

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Japanese Twitter user attempts British cuisine, ends up with monstrous fish dish from hell

As a British person living overseas, you get to hear a lot of negative stereotypes about your country’s cuisine. Generally, people think that we eat nothing but fish and chips, washed down by copious amounts of tea, and that the rest of our food is bland, unappetizing and poorly presented. But this couldn’t be further from the truth – British people are actually crazy about food and cooking, we’re obsessed with celebrity chefs and cooking shows, and Britain has plenty of Michelin-starred restaurants to be proud of.

Still, there’s certain aspects of British cuisine that are hard to defend, like the disgusting fish dish known as Stargazy Pie, which one Japanese Twitter user recently attempted, to horrifying results and plenty of ridicule…

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