Playing ‘League of Legends’ is way harder with your cat around【Video】

Three things about cats that everyone knows: they are super cute, incredibly contrary, and love to play League of Legends.

Er… Nope, we didn’t know about that last one either! But as this video of a kitty in South Korea fighting with his owner for screen time shows us, there may be (adorable) downsides to cat ownership we’d never even considered. It turns out, some cats love touchscreen games as much as humans do!

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Self-taught Chinese street photographer captures all the right moments on camera

Tao Liu has a knack for capturing split-second moments that reveal funny configurations or striking parallels, and embody the essence of the hectic and haphazard Chinese streets where he and countless others live and work.

His work has gone viral in China, and is now spreading across the world thanks to people sharing his images across the net. Street photography is about capturing poignant and fleeting points in time, which say something about the human condition, even if that something cannot be put into words, and Tao Liu’s photographs speak across languages and cultures.

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Latte art comes to life in this amazing stop-motion video

I recently spent five bucks for a latte at a zoo just because it had a panda stenciled on it. The chocolate powdered cartoon panda was gone the moment I stirred in my sugar and really, all I wanted was to Instagram it. The allure of the Latte Art boom constantly appeals to fascinated casual drinkers and caffeine addicts alike, and the art has evolved from elaborate manga drawings to adorable 3-D pop-ups. Japanese coffee maker AFG, however, recently took the art to a whole new level when it released a stop animation in which each frame is created with cups of latte art! Now that is some serious dedication!

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Mr. Sato goes to Tokyo Auto Salon 2015, forgets to take photos of the cars…

While Japan makes some rather unique cars, itasha aren’t the only custom cars in the country. From oni-kyan wheels for drifting to Chibatman, it sometimes seems like half of the vehicles in the country have been modified to extremes. But to get an idea of just how popular custom cars are in Japan, you’d need to head to Tokyo Auto Salon, which saw nearly 300,000 attendees last year!

This year, not wanting to miss out on all the fun, our brave Mr. Sato donned his most garish, chinpira outfit and headed down to look at some cars…and the women who get paid to stand next to them.

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Name Game: Finding the origin and prevalence of Japanese surnames just got easier

I love business cards, because I’ll admit it, I am not good with names. First names, last names, if you tell me, I will probably forget it. (Kirakira names are usually easier to remember though!) The good thing about living in Japan, however, is that despite there being over 100,000 different surnames, a really high percentage of people use only a few really common names.

To make it even easier for me, different areas of Japan often have higher densities of certain names. For instance, there are about 4,700 people in Japan with surname Maru (丸), but more than 50 percent of them live in southern Chiba. So, if you forget someone’s name in southern Chiba, Maru might be a safe guess.

A website and smartphone application called Myoji-Yurai Net allows you to find out the prevalence, origin and other fun information about the top 3,000 surnames in Japan. It’s actually quite fun!

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“Help, there’s no TP!” Japan’s emergency services plagued by nonsense calls

Back when I was working in city hall at a small rural town in Kyoto prefecture, one of my duties involved heading to the fire station a few times a month to “role play” with the firemen. (Hey, it beat pushing papers.) To help them gain some experience with handling potential emergency calls from foreign residents, I would play the part of the panicking gaijin, often trying to come up with weird and wacky scenarios for the emergency services guys to handle. The object was to train the (almost completely non-English speaking) EMTs to pick out essential keywords such as “fire”, “car accident”, “unconscious”, etc from a barrage of English, but mostly I just had a blast inventing crazy scenarios like “my Playstation 3 just blew up and set fire to my neighbour’s poodle!”

It’s not all fun and games, however. Time-wasting calls to Japan’s emergency services numbers 119 and 110 have been a serious problem recently, with increasing numbers of people abusing the service to ask for help with a range of ridiculous scenarios, ranging from running out of toilet paper to forgetting their smartphone password…

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Disney, Pokemon, Ghibli and more awesome handmade cosplay aprons and dresses for geeky girls!

Remember the Sailor Moon lingerie sets that were co-produced by Bandai and Peach John? They were such big hits in 2014, even the pre-orders with an estimated delivery date of June 2015 were swept off of the virtual shelves of the Premium Bandai website. It’s no surprise how popular those cute undergarments were given the huge following the manga and anime series has, but let’s be honest, it’s a little underwhelming since those cosplay undies can’t be flaunted in public like your regular cosplay getup.

If the Sailor Moon lingerie sets caught your fancy, chances are you’ll love these totally adorable geeky pinafores and dresses created by Darling Army. Not only are they creative cosplay interpretations, some of them would look absolutely cute as daily fashion too! Be it anime or manga, comics or games, there’s bound to be something that fits right up your alley. Check them out after the jump!

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Pet treats from China pulled from shelves, suspected in the illness/death of thousands of dogs

Any pet owner will tell you that pets are undeniably a part of the family. Everyone wants the best for their furry four-legged friend, and it is emotionally painful to watch them when they get sick or when their lives end. Even worse is when their already too-short lives are cut even shorter due to illness caused by something that was believed to be good for them. So, in response to consumer concerns that jerky treats manufactured in China have been the cause of thousands of pet illnesses and deaths, pet-supply chain Petco has decided to stop all sales of Chinese-produced dog and cat treats.

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Nailed it: Thai man’s low budget cosplay is a gift to the Internet【Photos】

Taking up cosplay as a hobby takes a pretty significant time commitment to put together that perfect costume to dress up as your favorite video game, comic book or movie character. And for those of us without the, ahem, natural assets to boost our cosplay game, buying all those wigs, fashion accessories and snowman apparel can make the hobby an extremely expensive way to spend your free time.

However, this innovative cosplay enthusiast from Thailand doesn’t let his limited budget get in the way of making some creative, and frankly, kind of creepy costumes. We’ve spotted him before, but click below to see his latest creative, if not incredibly cheap, take on Dragonball Z, the Teletubbies, Taylor Swift and much more.

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Japanese Twitter trend of the week: Outfitting your cat with a regal boot-cover mane

What could be a better way to stave off boredom the cold than by dressing your kitty up with a regal lion-like mane?

That’s exactly how Japanese Twitter users have been entertaining themselves this past week–only the “mane” is actually made from the fluffy material of a boot covering purchased at one of Japan’s favorite 100 yen stores, Daiso. Whether the cats themselves are amused or not is a different story…

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You’ll never guess what these Chinese students are lining up for!

Ever since Mr. Sato returned from his annual overnight vigil to obtain an Apple Lucky Bag, we learned that humans are able to withstand adverse conditions in queues driven solely by their utmost desire for something. Just look at these Apple lovers who braved snow for their favorite brand! So when you see these students in China lining up, we bet your guess is that they are getting $1 TVs…or concert tickets for the latest K-pop star…or perhaps a free iPhone. The answer, however, is none of the above; these students are in fact lining up to…

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Nonsensical conbini crime: Incapable clerk vs. drunk guy’s money

When you get change after paying for something in cash, do you ever actually count it to make sure you received the right amount? I sure don’t. Maybe I’m just too used to Japan, where the person working the register will count out each bill and the coins in front of you before handing the change over. It’s just a simple measure taken to double-check that the person at the register isn’t short-changing the customer.

Thorough as it may be, it’s not a flawless method, leaving room for human error, like not being able to tell the difference between a 1,000 yen bill and 10,000 yen bill. But really, who would make that mistake?

Apparently a teenager working the register at a convenience store in Nara recently managed to make that very mistake, but instead of short-changing the customer, he ended up giving 46,000 yen (US$390) in change for a 13,000 yen (US$110) purchase. Fishy! Oh and then, the customer got arrested. Fishier!

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A brief history of shorthand in Japan

The video pictured above was posted on YouTube about five years ago and resulted in several comments wondering what the woman was scribbling onto papers at a furious rate. Some suspected it might have been Arabic or really sloppy Japanese when actually it was a demonstration of Waseda shorthand.

Even with English’s relatively simple letters, shorthand was in big demand before the digital era in order to take down information quickly. It shouldn’t be a big leap to assume Japanese with multiple character sets and kanji would welcome a faster writing system. Thus several styles of Japanese shorthand were developed over the 20th century. Let’s take a look at a few.

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Net user recreates Japan’s islands and prefectures in this twist on a winter tradition

New Year’s in Japan is a quiet affair. While the holiday period is usually spent with family, enjoying traditional food and activities, there’s one particular pastime that brings the family together in a special way every winter. To indulge in this very Japanese affair, you’ll need two of the items pictured in the image above. Can you guess what they are?

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Can you figure it out? Japanese man creates puzzling perpetual motion machine from paper【Video】

Have you ever woken up in the morning and thought, “I’m going to achieve the impossible today and build a perpetual motion machine!”? Well, Niconico user LupinIII didn’t exactly think that, but earlier this month he uploaded a video of what seems to be an impossible object on a Japanese video-sharing site: a deceivingly simple, Escher-esque structure with four slopes, upon which a marble continuously rolls. The video quickly garnered over 250,000 views, reaching number one in the science and technology category.

Read on to watch the mystifying video at the end of the article and learn a bit more about how the crafty paper structure was designed and built!

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Craving ramen, but can’t find decent noodles? Transform your spaghetti with this pasta hack!

For those living outside Japan, a good bowl of ramen is almost impossible to find unless you’re in a big city like New York or London, and even then the options can be a bit of a let-down. And for many, the only ramen available is the dried variety that frankly has made some of our Japanese culinary experts gag.

But all is not lost, dear ramen lovers around the world. We’ve found a kitchen hack to turn ordinary everyday pasta into noodles fit for a delicious bowl of homemade ramen.

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Incredibly responsible seven-year-old spotted driving drunk father home in China

We’ve got a new candidate for the “Worst Father of the Year” award. And trust us–he’s got a very good chance at winning that title. What responsible parent would make his seven-year-old son drive him home after getting drunk and passing out??

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Track the stylistic evolution of Eiichiro Oda’s most famous One Piece characters

It’s hard to believe that One Piece, Japan’s best-selling manga series in history, will be celebrating its 18th anniversary this July. With 76 collected volumes of manga, a mega-popular anime television adaptation, an upcoming theme park, and hordes of international fans, the series is stronger than ever after almost two decades.

A recent post by a Japanese internet forum user showed the evolution of series’ creator Eiichiro Oda’s artwork by comparing older pictures of the Straw Hat Pirates with more recent ones side-by-side. While most of the changes are fairly subtle, the slight differences were still enough to spark an online debate about which of the two drawing styles is better. Which is your personal preference?

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Video of Thai soccer team’s gorgeous passing play leaves us amazed

I’ll be completely honest with you here–I don’t know much of anything about soccer. I hate to fit the dumb American stereotype, but when it comes to sports, soccer is one that I definitely never got into.

I have nothing against it, of course! Partly, it’s just exhausting watching the ball bounce back and forth between players, changing directions like a whip. But on the other hand, I have to admit that it’s easy to see why some call it a “beautiful” game, and this video of a Thailand soccer team ably slipping through a Malaysian team’s defenses is nothing less than amazing.

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Giant maguro donated to shrine of fishing-god Ebisu

The start of a new year means it’s time for hatsumōde, the year’s first visit to a Shinto shrine or Buddhist temple. You pray for good luck in the new year, throw some spare yen into the saisenbako (big offering box), get some omamori (good luck charms), and hope that the omikuji (fortune) you get is dai-kichi (great luck) and not dai-kyō (you’re screwed).

While most people are satisfied donating a few yen coins in the donation box when they visit their shrine, the Nishinomiya shrine in Hyogo Prefecture does things a little differently. They want to make sure the gods hear them loud and clear, so they lug a massive frozen maguro onto the donation box and leave it there for three days.

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