Why aren’t there more female entrepreneurs in Japan? Pull up a chair… 【Women in Japan Series】

According to the Global Entrepreneur Development Index (GEDI) that measures favorable conditions for women entrepreneurs, the US and Australia are ranked first and second respectively, while Japan places fifteenth, just behind Peru. Yet Japan fulfills many of the requirements to create a successful female entrepreneurial environment such as education, skills and access to capital.

In addition, women in Japan can overcome obstacles such as low salaries, long work hours and scant child-rearing options by owning their own businesses and calling the shots. So, what’s holding Japanese women back? It turns out that a large part of it may be Japanese women themselves.

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A farewell to fries: Twitter users document their last meal of L-size Mcdonald’s potato snacks

As we recently reported, McDonald’s has made the crushing decision to end the sale of its medium and large size fries. The controversial decision was made due to fears of a potato shortage, meaning that the days of gleefully ordering obnoxiously large amounts of fries with reckless abandon are now well and truly over. The potato cull prompted several Twitter users to head to McDonald’s for one last order of M and L size greasy, salty fries, in order to document their “last meal” for posterity.

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Station in China reminds us to kindly “wait outside a noodle”

In an effort to make facilities foreigner-friendly or simply to enhance the style of an advertisement Asian governments and businesses will often add English translations. However, many don’t feel it’s worth the effort to do a proper translation and simply rely on automatic ones. The results are often sure to put a smile on the face of English speakers in the rest of the world.

Now, Xi’an North Station has put another feather in the cap of gloriously wrong translations…and this time they called it macaroni.

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Dating websites offer advice on how to land a famous Japanese boyfriend (or at least stalk him)

Recently, Japanese media has coined a new term: “pro girlfriend.” While it might sound like a freshly-minted euphemism for women working for Japan’s highly specialized titillation/borderline prostitution providers, it’s actually pretty benign, as pro girlfriends are women who date or marry men from the professional entertainment or sports worlds, without being part of those industries themselves.

One reason they’ve captured the imaginations of celebrity-watchers is because of their ability to turn the heads of high-profile eligible bachelors, such as actors Hidetoshi Niishijima, Tetsuji Tamayama, Ryuta Sato, all of whom recently married their pro girlfriends. Just as compelling a question, though, is how pro girlfriends manage to meet their famous beaus?

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Shippers rejoice! 10,000 anime fans pick their favorite same-sex pairings

There’s a whole side of anime fandom dedicated to pairing their favorite characters together in romantic relationships, be it a male harem lead with one of his five adoring female friends, or two volleyball players who can’t stand each other (I’m talking about you, Haikyu!!). The pairing of two male characters is considered the realm of fujoshi, and series creators aren’t ignorant of their female fan’s hobbies, sometimes playing up subtext to increase a series’ popularity. The poll did have a higher turn out of female voters (66% overall).

Charapedia asked 10,000 fans what their favorite same-sex pairings are and got a lot of interesting results. While these couples aren’t always canon, they’ve accumulated their fair share of admirers.

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The Holy Grail of Sailor Moon merchandise will help your room smell as nice as Princess Serenity

As cool as the collection of magical items used by Sailor Moon are, you have to admit that most of them wouldn’t exactly be the most practical things in your daily life. For example, a tiara that transforms into a disc of monster-killing energy when you throw it? That’s handy if you’re an anime heroine, but what if you’re just an ordinary fan who’s not running into evil creatures at a pace of literally once a week?

So while your first reaction to the news that merchandiser Bandai’s new Rainbow Moon Chalice replica does not, in fact, transform you into a more powerful version of your preexisting alter ego, in the long run, you’ll probably appreciate the fact that it instead fills your room with a pleasing smell.

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Hate Frozen? Then you’ll love these photos of the Disney hit’s Olaf being murdered in pastry form

If Frozen struck a deep chord with you, it’s been a good year. Even now, months after the film’s home video release, it’s still got a hold on the imagination of animation and musical fans, and this week Japanese convenience store Family Mart started selling steamed buns filled with chocolate and shaped like Olaf, the Disney hit’s comic relief living snowman.

Family Mart did a fine job recreating Olaf’s look, and we’re sure moviegoers who were tickled by his antics are thrilled to have the character seemingly leap off the screen and into the palm of their hands. Plus, in a rare case of simultaneously being able to please a movie’s fans and detractors, the Olaf bun’s uncanny resemblance to its inspiration means it’s the perfect effigy for Frozen haters to unleash their resentment of the film’s success on.

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The cold getting to you? Have a warm drink — from a vending machine!

Much has been said on the subject of the ubiquitous vending machines in Japan. Yes, vending machines seem to be lurking around every street corner here in Japan. And while hot beverages may not be among the most unusual products available from a vending machine, they can certainly offer you great comfort when you’re facing the bitter cold during the winter months.

And it turns out there’s quite a variety of hot drinks out there that you can buy from a machine, as a recent post on Japanese trend and information compilation site Naver Matome shows us. Let’s take a look at their selection of beverage options that may come in extremely handy when you’re caught outside in freezing weather.

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Yo-Kai Watch 2 continues to dominate video game sales in Japan

On December 13, the third edition of the mega-popular Yo-Kai Watch 2 Nintendo 3DS game, subtitled Shin’uchi [真打], was finally released in Japan. The franchise has gained so much popularity that people have even taken to calling it “Pokémon for the newest generation.”

As you can probably imagine if you’ve been keeping up with our site, a frenzy of people rushed to buy the new game both in stores and online. But even we couldn’t prepare ourselves for the actual numbers–just wait till you read how many units of the game have sold so far!

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Awkward: Official PlayStation montage features image taken from Wii U game, Pixiv user’s fan art

Take a quick look at the character-packed image above. That’s a whole lot of faces, right? And in the 20 years since Sony’s first video games console was released, they’ve all appeared on some PlayStation platform or other. Even if you’re more of an Xbox kid or a PC gamer, you have to admit that’s an impressive lineup, and for older PlayStation fans especially it’s bound conjure up a lot of happy gaming memories.

But in creating this image in honour of 20 years of PlayStation, it would seem that someone over at Sony Europe struggled to source one or two character images that really fit in with their vision. You’d think that being on the inside, an artist working for Sony would have access to a whole host of officially licensed images, but it looks like they decided to turn to the internet for help, using an image of Mega Man as he appears only in Nintendo’s latest edition of Super Smash Bros, and even borrowing a piece of fan art created by a Japanese Pixiv user, who later spotted their work on Sony’s official site. Awkward.

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Artist magically transforms Sailor Moon characters into black women

As a huge fan of Sailor Moon, one artist decided to reimagine the characters in a fresh new way that resonated with them. In the resulting fanart the Sailor Senshi have undergone a magical transformation into black African women – check out these amazing illustrations below.

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Real-life Olaf takes Twitter by (snow)storm

Whether you sing Let it Go as a daily ritual, or just the thought of hearing that song one more time gives you brainfreeze, you can’t deny the pervasive popularity of Disney’s 2013 hit movie Frozen. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Japan, where Frozen can be found on everything from water bottles and chips to reasons for divorce.

For some people though, that’s not enough: they need to recreate Frozen with their own hands.

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Evacuation orders issued as town in northern Japan is flooded by rising tidewaters

Residents of Nemuro City, the easternmost point on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, have a close relationship with the sea. Fishing is an important industry for the town, which is known for its salmon, saury, and shellfish, and being located on a long, thin peninsula means at any spot in Nemuro, you’re never far from at least two coastlines.

Unfortunately, this also means Nemuro has more angles from which to be flooded, and huge stretches of it are currently underwater due to rapidly rising tides, as dramatic photos from the city show.

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From the internet to your conbini! Ritz debuts new Peach and Mozzarella snacks

Back in August, we brought you the news that Japanese online foodies were going crazy over a new and unusual flavor combination. Apparently, eating mozzarella cheese along with sliced peaches and a touch of pepper makes for a delicious taste sensation. At the time, we thought this was just one of those weird internet foodie fads that you might try once just to see what the fuss is all about, before discarding in favor of more tried-and-tested snack options. So imagine our surprise to find that food company Nabisco has decided to roll with the mozzarella/peach hybrid taste and make it the new flavor for their Ritz Bits Sandwich range of munchy snacks!

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Can you guess the second Japanese inspiration behind this Polish artist’s beautiful illustration?

As someone who’s been a fan of anime and manga since long before they were as internationally popular as they are today, I’m always kind of happy when I see their visual cues show up in artwork from other countries. Sometimes it comes in high-profile productions, like when The Simpsons gave a tip of their animated hat to Studio Ghibli, but at the same, there are countless less well-known designers and artists whose styles can be traced to Japan’s cartoons and comics.

Take Polish illustrator Magdalena “Meago” Kania, for example, and her drawing of a blond with exquisitely thick, wavy hair who also sports the facial features and proportions commonly associated with anime and manga. But those aren’t the only Japanese inspirations the illustration contains, as we can spot one more when we take a step back and look at the whole picture.

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Cosplayers visiting Japan, this is your wonderland! Over 40 realistic backdrops in one place!

Anybody can cosplay, but achieving beautiful cosplay photos raises the difficulty level by quite a fair bit. You can tailor the perfect costume, create the most realistic props, complete the look with impeccable makeup, and practice to get every pose spot on, but a suitable backdrop isn’t always easily available.

Finding an appropriate backdrop to compliment your cosplay would be much easier if you were in Japan though. HACOSTADIUM is a mega photography studio that has over 40 different backdrops ranging from Japanese rooms to gothic chambers, and even prison cells! More details and photos of the actual studios after the jump!

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Catatsu is one of the ridiculous new “hot” items for your pet to wear (yes, wear) this winter

As you may have already heard, winter is cold in Japan. Maybe not as cold as some other more northern countries, but it’s still very chilly even indoors because many people still choose to only heat one room in the house at a time, or live in buildings made out of lightweight materials in an effort to make them as earthquake-safe as possible. This proves to be a bit of an issue for pet owners. Many pets are built to resist some amount of cold (because duh, fur!) but others aren’t equipped to deal with the cold daytime weather.

Perhaps this is why Japan sells some pretty ridiculous pet clothes! UNIHABITAT has a couple of new pet outfits that are going to turn some heads, but will also keep your pets warm and cozy this winter season.

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It’s almost Christmas! Time to buy a sexy, freaky, or inexplicable costume!【Photos】

Bells are jingling, gift lists are daunting, and snow is…not falling in Tokyo. That can mean only one thing: Christmas, Japan’s favorite romantic holiday, is almost here! While your crazy uncle might tell you that Christmas is apparently under siege in some parts of the world, the only holiday worry you’ll find in Japan is getting the right present for your girlfriend.

But don’t be fooled by all the lovers roaming the streets and tormenting lonely single folks, it’s not all romance. There’s more to the season that kissing atop Tokyo Tower–there are also parties and cosplay! Join us after the jump to check out some of the typical outfit offerings on sale in Japan this Christmas.

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Smartphone games turns mushrooms into cute anime girls, still gives foreigners wacky accents

There aren’t many foods I hate more than mushrooms. I’ve got issues with both their taste and texture, and, to my eyes, they just look kind of gross, no matter which variety we’re talking about.

But while I don’t think I’ll ever completely come around on the idea of eating fungi, it’s nice to at least have a different visual image for them, thanks to a new smartphone game that’s turned a half-dozen types of mushrooms into cute anime girls.

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‘Parasyte’ opening gets re-animated in the style of the original manga【Video】

When the anime adaptation of early-nineties horror manga Parasyte hit the small screen in Japan this year, the contrast between the artwork of the original manga by Hitoshi Iwaaki and the updated new-style character designs of the anime left some fans disappointed.

Inspired perhaps by this same sentiment, Niconico user kurobaru has hand-drawn the opening sequence of Parasyte -the maxim-, staying as close to Iwaaki’s original old-school manga style as possible. Join us after the jump for a look at how it turned out!

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