Light-up Hikaru Skirt makes its Idol music video debut

The “wearable special effects” skirt project, “Hikaru Skirt,” made its big debut in the idol group Mōsō Collaboration’s newest music video, “Mahou no Juice” (lit. Magic Juice) on Sunday. The project’s website claims the skirt turns the “zettai ryōiki” (i.e. the “absolute territory” between where a girl’s skirt ends and her stockings begin) into “komorebi ryōiki,”or “territory where sunshine filters through the trees.” The members utilize the skirts’ different color options for each of their outfits.

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Enjoy your sushi with a dash of Star Trek flare with a U.S.S. Enterprise sushi set!

With the recent and unfortunate passing of the wonderful Leonard Nimoy and Harve Bennett (rest in peace you two), I’m sure Star Trek fans out there could use a lift right about now. So, we’d like to introduce to you this awesome sushi set designed after the U.S.S Enterprise, complete with warp-trail chopsticks!

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Sushi restaurant brings all the feels with commercial about dementia 【Video】

You wouldn’t think that bringing up the struggle of caring for a parent with severe dementia would be an effective sales technique, but sushi chain Gin no Sara has decided to go that route with this touching spot about what Alzheimer’s patients do remember.

I’m not sure if it will increase sushi sales, but boxes of tissues will definitely be flying off the shelves.

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Optical illusion, or mind game? Japanese website asks how many colors you see here

There’s a pretty standard progression that most people go through when they come across a optical illusion. Once the effect is revealed, you’re supposed to have a moment of disbelief, which gives way to wonder at the mysterious way our senses work, and a deeper understanding of and appreciation for how the complex human neurological system comes together.

Or, if you’re the stubborn type, you never get past the disbelief stage. If that describes your usual reaction, today you’re in luck, because it turns out there are actually two twists to this image making the round online in Japan, and possibly only one of them is intentional.

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First trailer for the live-action Attack on Titan movie just as smokin’ as the Colossal Titan

It’s been months since we’ve heard anything about the Attack on Titan live-action remake. Last we saw, the movie posters were just coming out, and they mostly just left us hungry for more.

But finally the first trailer for the movie has been released! There were some titanic expectations going into it, and so far the response has been… well, you can watch it and decide for yourself!

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Snack company Calbee recalls 140,000 tubs of Jagarico potato snacks for the weirdest of reasons

I love potato chips, don’t you? Except in the UK, where I’m from, we call them crisps because we already use the word “chips” to refer to those chunky morsels of potato commonly served with fish. Regardless, chips and crisps – whatever you want to call them – are totally delicious, and Japanese snack company Calbee has long since perfected the perfect marriage of both – their crispy “Jagarico” potato chips, which are shaped exactly like french fries. (Or chips. Wait. I’m getting confused.)

Anyway, Calbee has caused a bit of a scandal by issuing a product recall for approximately 140,000 tubs of their yummy snacks which they feel are not fit for human consumption. But what exactly is wrong with them?

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Japanese illustrators’ Pokémon mashups are probably the coolest thing you’ll see all week

Japanese users of Twitter have an instant advantage over English speakers, because the Japanese language is much more efficient in its use of characters. Take the word “book” for example. Write “book” in a tweet, and you’ve used up four of your characters. In Japanese, however, the word for book (本 “hon”) only takes up one character, so a 140-character tweet written in Japanese gives quite a bit more breathing space to the writer.

This, combined with the fact that Japanese doesn’t have spaces between words either, means the wonderful world of Japanese Twitter has another feature that’s not so common among English-language users: absurdly-long hashtags, like #1番目にリプがきたポケモンと2番目にリプがきたポケモンをフュージョンさせる (“reply to this with Pokémon and I’ll make a mashup combining the first two”), the hashtag being used by Japanese illustrators on Twitter recently. The results are glorious visual mashups of our favourite Pokémon – with some other shows’ characters sneaking in too.

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Drew Barrymore arrives in Japan, begins quest to eat all of Tokyo’s delicious food 【Photos】

We recently looked at a commercial in which model Miranda Kerr gives in to the temptation of a mouth-watering tonkatsu pork cutlet lunch. Kerr isn’t the only celebrity with a craving for Japanese cuisine, though.

Drew Barrymore is in Japan right now, and while we’re sure she’s got some sightseeing and interviews on her schedule, what she seems most fired up about is the food, as the actress looks to be on a mission to sample all that Tokyo has to offer her taste buds, from cheap ramen joints to Michelin-ranked fine dining.

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Japanese Netizens (and the rest of the world) confused by America’s imperial measurement system

Last year, one of our Japanese reporters went on an extended visit to the United States. While he had plenty of nice things to say about the country, he also had some complaints, and, as an American myself, I can’t really say that I blame the guy. Having to drive literally everywhere unless you live in one of maybe three specific cities is a major hassle and a huge drain on your budget, certain services seem staffed entirely by people who are barely even aware of your existence or what’s going on more than a few inches on either side of their smartphone, and yes, the police are a little on the brutal side and drunk on their own power a lot of the time no matter how you slice it (annnnnd… now I’m on an NSA watchlist. Hi, guys!).

But, there’s one complaint our reporter had that I just can’t relate to: how crazy America’s systems of measurement are.

I mean, I grew up with feet, inches, pounds and whatnot, so I can’t really speak to our reporter’s profound confusion. Is it really so bad? We had to find out, so we donned our troll-proof vests and dove deep into the smelly, dark recesses of 2chan to see what other Japanese Netizens thought of America’s wacky measurement systems:

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Japanese teens dress differently from usual for graduation; people freak out, call police

Since the Japanese school year starts in April, graduation ceremonies usually happen around mid-March. There are tearful speeches, young adults dressing up in traditional graduation outfits, and of course only the most heartfelt thanks and gratitude given to teachers, parents, and everyone else in the community.

But not in Okayama City. For the past few years there’s been an unofficial tradition of the recent middle school graduates gathering outside Okayama Station and wearing *gasp!* long jackets. And not just that, but they’re wearing them in different colors! The horror was so much that police officers were immediately dispatched to keep an eye on all the horrible delinquents.

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Drive ‘em wild with flame-grilled beef scented perfume! Just be careful not to get eaten alive

April Fools’ Day, every prankster’s favorite event of the year, is just around the corner, but what kind of amusing tricks will we see this year? Fast-food chain Burger King seems to be well prepared already, announcing a delicious meaty smelling perfume for their burger-loving customers, to be sold exclusively on April 1.

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Poop quietly: One-room Tokyo apartment’s toilet has only a curtain for privacy

When hunting for an apartment in the Tokyo area, it’s important to keep in mind what you’re really looking for in a living space. Housing is expensive in general in Japan, and that goes double for the neighborhoods in and around its biggest city, so after picking out a few features or aspects you have to have, it’s best to be willing to compromise on other factors.

For example, you might have your heart set on a corner room, but don’t mind tatami reed floors. Maybe you can deal with having a wall-mounted water heater if your living room gets a lot of natural light. Or perhaps being less than a 15-minute train ride from downtown Tokyo will instantly seal the deal, even if the trade-off is that the apartment’s bathroom doesn’t have any walls.

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Universal Studios to open theme park in Okinawa, in case you get bored of the beaches

For folks in the Kanto area, theme parks tend to mean Tokyo Disneyland, and for people in the Kansai area, they mean Universal Studios Japan, or USJ for short. But what about Okinawan residents? We suppose they could just fly to Osaka or Tokyo if they get bored with their beautiful beaches and old-lady idol groups, but they don’t have much actually in the prefecture.

However, it looks like things are going to change for theme-park-ride-starved Okinawans: It was revealed today that USJ is planning to open a second park on the tropical island!

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After adorable morning stretch routine, chipmunk is ready for day of dancing, video games 【Video】

There are certain animals that Japan has an established soft spot for. Cats and dogs are at the top of the list, which includes adorable dark horses like capybaras and rabbits too.

Chipmunks, though, don’t have such a huge following in Japan, probably due to the fact that the animals just aren’t that common in the country. But while most Japanese people don’t often get a chance to see them in the wild, plenty of them have been watching this chipmunk who’s become a rising Internet star thanks to the video of his adorable morning stretching routine.

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Teacher attempts to show hamsters’ innate abilities, hamster has other plans

When most of us think of hamsters, we imagine cute little balls of fluff running in their exercise wheels, stuffing their cheeks full of food, or burrowing in people’s sleeves. Yes, they’re adorable and make great pets, but hamsters can also be found in the wild, and are burrowers by nature.

One teacher tried to show her class how flexible hamsters can be, telling them that if a hamster goes the wrong way into a tunnel, it can easily twist its little body around and come back out. But this particular hamster just wasn’t having it that day…

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Cats sitting politely outside Japanese convenience stores restore our faith in felines

It was around this time last year that a 7-Eleven in east Japan posted a desperate plea for help in stopping the ravages of a feline shoplifter. This came on the heels of an earlier article in which we covered a number of concessions granted by convenience store workers to similar furry intruders, no doubt having been coerced under threat of scratches.

These incidents might well lead one to believe that Japan is some kind of modern-day Wild West where cats run unchecked without regard for the law or common decency. While cats certainly do roam freely in some parts of the country, a recent batch of Twitter photos showing cats waiting politely outside convenience stores suggest that manners are alive and well among our feline friends. Or are they? Might these cats be harboring ulterior motives?

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Who is this mysterious sumo wrestler and why has he “sunk” Japan?!

It’s no secret that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover–but anyone who says they never do is probably a liar (or at least prone to exaggeration). After all, if you’re not a fan of fantasy, a Dragonlance cover illustration should be all you need to know to stay away. By the same turn, if you’re looking for some Japanese fiction, grabbing a book with a sumo wrestler on the cover seems like a safe option.

Though that doesn’t make the cover any less absurd if it’s actually a science fiction novel, though, as these Japanese Twitter users discovered!

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Experience Japanese culture in a new way, inside a glass teahouse at an ancient temple

Imagine yourself nearly floating in the sky, surrounded by green trees and fluffy clouds. Now you sip some green tea and feel completely at peace. Does this sound too good to be true? It isn’t, because now you can actually experience this in Kyoto.

At the Blue Dragon Hall of Shorenin Temple, artist Tokujin Yoshioka has designed a clear glass teahouse sitting amongst the trees of Higashiyama, one of the city’s famous mountains.

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Kindergarten class plays Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 better than most adults ever could

Dmitri Shostakovich wrote his Symphony No. 5 in D minor at a time of great tension in Soviet Russia. The looming threat of World War II was nothing compared to the Great Purge being conducted by Joseph Stalin in which 1,000 people were executed each day. Shostakovich too felt he was in the crosshairs for his previous “subversive” works.

And so it was something of a musical miracle that his Symphony No. 5 was unanimously well received by both the government and survivors of their brutality alike. Still today conductors and their orchestras struggle to properly capture all of the emotions such as irony, sympathy, and pride that Shostakovich may or may not have intentionally layered in this rich piece.

Taking a crack at it here are the kids of Isesaki Asuka Primary School’s kindergarten class.  To see whether they succeed is up to you, but I think we can all agree that they’re not just good for a kindergarten class – they’re just good.

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Swiss otaku is as crazy as he can be, and his Twitter followers can’t get enough

There are “impressive” people in every fandom, but Japanese anime, manga and game fans certainly know how to take things over the top. There are more volumes to read, more episodes to watch, and more merchandise to buy than for just about any other fandom out there. You never knew you wanted a mint case cover adorned with your favorite character until you saw it there in the store.

If you have the money to spend, Japan will have made something for you to buy. A self-proclaimed Swiss otaku seems to have some extra cash, and he often uses it to take his fandom beyond anything you could possibly imagine. His recent set of tweets are causing a ruckus on the Internet and most people can only muster one simple question: Why???

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