Promotion offers perfect one-week living space for otaku: An apartment pre-stocked with manga

The first time I went apartment hunting in Japan, I was shocked by how bare-bones some of them are. The lack of centralized air conditioning means often you have to go to the appliance store and buy your own AC unit, and oftentimes lighting and even a cooking range aren’t included either.

As a result, it’s always a relief to find an apartment that has any sort of amenities already included. And while a mini fridge or ceiling lamp is a nice freebie, neither one is anywhere near as cool as an apartment that comes pre-stocked with a library of manga.

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Fending off unwanted Kabe-don: A guide

As we’ve talked about before, kabe-don is the trendy new way for Japanese bad boys to soft sexually assault their crush. It consists of a guy approaching a girl he (presumably) has a thing for, who is ideally leaning against a wall, then suddenly smacking the wall with their palm and getting in reaaaaalllly close so the girl can smell his garlic breath.

Oddly enough, a lot of Japanese girls go absolutely wild for the idea of the kabe-don, in the same way guys love the idea of owning a Weird Science-esque sexbot; It’s sexy and cool on paper, frightening and creepy in real life.

Luckily for any girls who find themselves the unwilling recipient of an ill-advised kabe-don, someone has created an illustrated self-defense guide:

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Spongebob and friends get stunning human makeovers, are surprisingly eye-candylicious!【Pics】

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? Spongebob Squarepants!

As much as I’d like to continue the whole song, we have some amazing art to share! The long-running American hit cartoon series, Spongebob Squarepants, is popular in many countries across the world, including the giant of Asia, China. A Chinese artist recently created some pretty awesome personified illustrations of Spongebob and his friends. If you’re curious to find out what a yellow sponge, a pink starfish or a green plankton would look like as humans, dive in!

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Already got your box set of Sailor Moon DVDs? Then how about a box set of anime accessories?

For anime fans, there’re aren’t many things more frustrating than single volume releases of a series they want to collect. Instead of a slow, expensive trickle of DVDs or Blu-rays with one or two episodes per disc, fans are always happier when they can get the whole series, or at least an entire season, in a nice box set.

Now, merchandiser Bandai is applying that same crowd-pleasing tactic to accessories, with a series of boxed collections of pins and charms inspired by the four seasons of the original Sailor Moon.

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Fermented soybean shaved ice pushes the envelope of summertime sweets

One of Japan’s favorite summertime treats is a bowl of shaved ice, or kakigori, as it’s called over here. While the most popular and common flavors are things like strawberry, melon and lemon, every now and again someplace will get really creative, like the restaurant in Kyoto that’s offering shaved ice covered with whiskey.

So now that we have nightcap-style kakigori covered, how about the opposite: a bowl of shaved ice covered with the Japanese breakfast staple natto, also known as fermented soybeans?

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Jerome Le Banner walks old lady across the street even though it would’ve been easier to toss her

Jerome Le Banner is one of K-1’s most prominent fighters. The 190cm (6’3″) and 120kg (265lbs) mountain of muscle is intimidating looking to say the least. With nicknames such as Hyper Battle Cyborg, you might expect him to pump ice water through his veins as he knocks out opponents in pursuit of numerous kickboxing titles.

However, while training in Japan the fighter recently won the hearts of Japanese people everywhere when he showed great compassion by tenderly holding the hand of an elderly woman as he helped her cross the road.

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Attack on Titan and Evangelion coming to Universal Studios Japan

Running Universal Studios Japan has to be a pretty tough job, since it’s never quite been able to step out from the shadow of Japan’s theme park juggernauts, Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea. You have to figure part of that stems from Universal’s weaker portfolio of beloved characters and settings. Whereas a trip to the Disney parks means a chance to rub elbows with the cast of Aladdin, Toy Story, and The Little Mermaid, visitors to USJ have had to settle for Jaws, Water World, and Backdraft.

But Universal Studios Japan has a new plan that involves not minding the first two-thirds of its name, but that last word, as the park is planning to add new attractions based on Attack on Titan, Evangelion, and other hit franchises from Japan.

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Rare emoticon sun spotted in the sky, brightens our day

Earlier this week, one lucky Twitter user sure was in the right place at the right time to get this gorgeous shot of the setting sun…pretending to be an emoticon?! Wait a second, what’s going on here?!

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Japanese farmer uses terrifying scarecrow, traumatizes children

Twitter user @amatou320 posted a photo online of a rather, ah, innovative scarecrow on a Japanese farm. If you ask us, it’s far more terrifying than your standard straw-stuffed shirt and it probably elicits some tears from passing children too, but we’re not sure if it will really work on crows…

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Unagi pastries contain no eel, tons of cuteness

Even though I was an extremely finicky eater growing up, my palate has broadened quite a bit since moving to Japan. In the years I’ve spent living in Tokyo and Yokohama, I’ve become convinced that cooking a cut of tuna is the quickest way to ruin its flavor, spicy cod roe makes an excellent pasta sauce, and that chicken cartilage isn’t just something you can eat, but should.

Still, I’m not entirely sold on unagi, or freshwater eel. Honestly, the flavor is surprisingly mild and not unpleasant, but I still have a hard time getting past the mental image of the snake-like appearance for something that, in my opinion, tastes just OK and is a little on the expensive side.

On the other hand, unagi-shaped chocolate pastries make a much more compelling argument.

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Dark manga meets music — It’s Death Note the Musical!

It appears fans of the hit manga and anime Death Note may now have something exciting to look forward to, and apparently it’s going to involve some singing and maybe dancing as well. Yes, while it may not be what you would expect from the visually stunning yet dark-themed series, the world of Death Note will be recreated on stage next year as a musical! Although the popular manga has already been brought to us in several forms, including a TV anime and multiple live action feature-length films, seeing the characters, especially the completely non-human looking shinigami (death gods), come to life and sing on stage should definitely prove interesting.

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London’s Sumo Run has Japanese confused, kind of offended

This week the annual charity event known as the Sumo Run took place in London’s Battersea Park. To raise money for education in sub-Saharan Africa, participants don inflatable sumo suits and run the 5km course around the park, no doubt delighting passersby in the country that gave us Monty Python.

But when media outlets in Japan reported on the event, the audience here was not universally pleased, with some people calling it racist cultural appropriation.

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Cat paw parasol keeps you cool, changes color to remind you to put on sunscreen

I used to think it was kind of strange how every summer so many women in Japan carry parasols, as though the whole country suddenly slipped back in time to the 19th century. I soon came to understand that this isn’t due to any sort of classic image of propriety or fashion sense, but simply because Japan can be mercilessly hot in the summer, when high temperatures and humidity can make walking around a concrete heat island like Tokyo for too long not just uncomfortable but dangerous.

In light of how much walking you have to do in urban Japan, parasols are actually a pretty smart idea. Still, sometimes they can do their job a little too well, since being insulated from the harsh sunshine can sometimes make you forget about the importance of putting on sunscreen.

There’s now a cute new way to remedy this, though, with a parasol that uses cat paws to tell you how strong the UV rays are.

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Cute Cardcaptors, titanic females, and the other cool anime figures of Wonder Festival【Photos】

While we spent plenty of time at this week’s summer Wonder Festival snapping pictures of the awesome cosplayers, they’re really not what the event is about. Wonder Festival is actually Japan’s biggest modeling convention, with hundreds of displays of the latest figurines and garage kits.

We sent our Japanese-language reporter Meg out to the Makuhari Messe convention center, and she brought back a batch of photos sure to have anime fans clearing off space on their desk for one more figure.

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BABYMETAL plays first ever US show, bootleg videos leave us wowed

Continuing their meteoric rise to international stardom, BABYMETAL has checked off another box on their world conquest to-do list: Playing a headline show in the US!

The show this weekend has even made waves in Japan thanks to a fan video uploaded to YouTube shortly after the group’s LA tour. Check it out below!

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Peaches packaged in pairs of panties provoke protests in PRC

It’s summer which means it’s the season for peaches! These sweet and juicy fruits are believed to have originated in China and thrive there to this day, with the Asian nation producing over half of the world’s supply. But inside the People’s Republic, this level of familiarity has locals disinterested, inspiring growers to look for ways to spice things up between consumers and peaches. And so, to reignite people’s passion for the fuzzy fruits, they slipped on pairs of sheer panties.

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McDonald’s Japan just released Tofu Nuggets, and they taste… 【Taste Test】

Just days after the taking Chicken McNuggets off its menu in the light of the China food scandal, McDonald’s Japan has unveiled a brand new, rather unusual product: Tofu Shinjo Nuggets and Ginger Sauce, a combination of bean curd, fish and vegetables shaped into bite-size pieces and deep-fried.

Turning to tofu–a food that has long been a favourite in Japan and known for its health benefits–is certainly a wise move, and McDonald’s is undoubtedly in need of something new to entice customers back with, but while we’ve no doubt all craved deep-fried chicken at some point in our lives, we’d hazard a guess that very few have ever longed for a box of tofu nuggets at the end of a night on the town.

Curious cats that we are, we headed over to our local McDonald’s to grab a few boxes of the new nuggets. Join us after the jump to find out how they taste.

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Mysterious fire materializes inside Saitama train station on Tuesday

On Tuesday evening, commuters at Urawa Station in Saitama Prefecture were in for a bit of a shock when an abandoned piece of corrugated cardboard suddenly burst into flames. The fire was soon extinguished by station attendants, but the question remains: what caused the mysterious incident?

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“I know how it’s done!”: Japanese TV guest learns what not to say to a magician on live TV【Video】

If the first rule of magic is that the illusionist must never tell an audience how a trick is done, the second rule must be that you never interrupt a magician live on air to yell, “I’ve seen this one before! I’ll tell you how he’s doing it…”

Obviously, no one told studio guest Airi Taira that, because that’s exactly what she did during a live TV broadcast featuring Japanese-American magician Sero (セロ) on Tuesday night. Join us after the jump for one flying hoverboard, one defensive peeved magician and more awkward smiling than you can shake a stick at.

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Want a bit of One Piece magic? This real-looking Devil Fruit is sure to set the right mood!

If you’re a fan of the hit manga and anime series One Piece, chances are you’ve at least fantasized at some point about getting your hands on one of the mystical Devil Fruits that can give you great magical powers. Well, since a real Devil Fruit is, shall we say, not exactly easy to come by in the world we live in, Japanese toy manufacturer Bandai has come up with the next best thing — a realistic looking figure of one of the magical fruits. Yes, you can now own your very own Flame-Flame Fruit, or Flare-Flare Fruit, as the Devil Fruit is sometimes known, and for a toy figure, we think it looks pretty awesome!

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