Cats transform into bears, bats, and more, impress and enchant Japanese Internet users

In the debate of cats versus dogs, the canine camp usually points to dogs’ energy and overt affection as proof of the superiority of their pet of choice. Feline fans fire back that cats are more sophisticated and cleaner than their low-brow rivals.

Now, it seems another factor in cats’ favor has been discovered: some of them are versatile enough to act as stand-ins for other members of the animal kingdom, as shown in this series of photos that’s delighting animal lovers in Japan.

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No peripheral vision – Japan’s gamers sound off on hardware add-on nightmares

One of the reasons I’ve done most of my video gaming with a console instead of a PC is the simplicity, on the consumer end, of the hardware. After plopping down the money for the system, you’re pretty much good to go, without the need to continually tinker with and incrementally upgrade it in order to play the latest games.

Still, that doesn’t mean everyone is satisfied to leave well enough alone in the console and handheld world, as evidenced by the piles of hardware add-ons that have been released over the years. Not every addition is a good one, though, as illustrated by the Japanese gamers who flocked to website Niconico News to share their video game peripheral horror stories.

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Dreamed of living in a “Phil Collins” mansion? Come to Japan and you can!

Engrish, the comedic results when non-native speakers utilize English, is hilarious and when used on products and signs, the results are shared far and wide with great enjoyment. But sometimes it’s not just incorrect English that is really funny, sometimes it’s just the seemingly awkward usage of perfectly normal English. What do we mean exactly? Take apartment building, for example, which are notorious for sporting some of the most ridiculous names. Perhaps it’s for the best though, because sometimes it turns your modest accommodations into a luxurious palace! Would you like to live like British superstar Phil Collins? Would you like to live IN Phil Collins?!?

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Pikachu’s dramatic decline in popularity captured in photos

Back in the day, Pikachu was just the best. He was cute, bold and dangerous all at the same time, had a cute voice and said nothing but his own name. People the world over loved him. Then Pokemon got like 5,000 other collectible monsters and Pikachu kind of took a backseat to the cooler new kids in class.

For a while, Pikachu clung to his fame like an aging Hollywood star exhibiting a little too much potbelly and affinity for sub sandwiches, but now, like a DJ part-timing as a kid’s birthday party clown, he’s stooped to new lows – showing up for any random appearance with five to ten audience members and the promise of some Tauros meat.

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Hanahana are some of the most elegant and expensive sparklers ever made

Walking through the fireworks rack at a store you can see various rickets and sparklers all decked out in loud colors and cartoon graphics promising the noisiest of evenings in the park. Given the nature of the product, it seems a reasonable marketing course to take.

However, surely there are those among us who enjoy burning things up in a more demure atmosphere – perhaps with some Polonaise in A-flat major playing in the background and sipping on a glass of Brunello.

For that we present an exquisite pack of sparklers handcrafted from all-natural and all-domestic materials. They’re called Hanahana and are selling for the price of 10,000 yen (US$98).

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Looking for a unique job environment? This could be as unique (and isolated) as it gets in Japan!

Iwo Jima — the name may conjure harsh images of the famous Battle of Iwo Jima, which took place on the small island during World War II in 1945. It belongs to the Ogasawara Islands, a group of tropical and sub-tropical islands known for unique wildlife and flora, and is officially a part of Ogasawara Village, which is administered by the Tokyo Metropolitan government, which means technically, it’s part of Tokyo, although the island is located roughly 1,200km (about 745 miles) south of the Japanese capital city. While it isn’t inhabited by civilians, Iwo Jima is home to an air base that’s used by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force.

Well, it so happens this base has been the subject of some attention on the Japanese Internet recently — as a possible workplace! When you hear the job description, you’ll see just how unique a workplace it is, and you’ll never guess what kind of employee they’re looking for …

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Chinese mall’s large pink parking spaces for women seen as sexist by some, wonderful by others

China’s World Metropolis Center (WMC) has become the center of controversy recently over their decision to lay out 10 parking spaces intended for women only. As a result, what we assume was a well-intentioned gesture by the shopping center has seemed to upset some people online drawing cries of discrimination. On the other hand, visitors to the mall seemed pleased with the initiative.

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This awful woman stealing a little kid’s foul ball will ruin your day

If Hell were a real place, there would probably be a special extra Hellish corner there for people like this.

While exact details are sparse as far as our Internet research has turned up, there’s a gif making the rounds on the Japanese Interwebs depicting a woman mercilessly wresting a foul ball from the hands of a small boy who will likely never know happiness again because of the woman’s selfish actions.

Join us after the jump to feel that little bit worse about humanity.

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Five amazing Japanese Starbucks locations that let you keep sightseeing as you take a break

Unless you’ve got the deep pockets to take taxis everywhere or the ample patience necessary for a bus tour, sightseeing in Japan means a lot of walking. As exciting and fascinating as the country can be, hour after hour on your feet is enough to leave anyone looking for a place to sit down and have a drink, which is part of the reasons why you can always find a Starbucks near Japan’s major travel destinations.

Still, vacation only lasts so long, and many tourists don’t want to waste their time in a new city sitting in a boring old coffee house that looks just like the one in their hometown. Thankfully, the world’s most popular coffee house has gone all out with the design of these five Japanese Starbucks locations, making them sightseeing attractions in and of themselves.

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Pikachu, we eat you! – A visit to Tokyo’s Pokémon restaurant

In the almost 20 years since the first Pokémon title was released for Nintendo’s Game Boy, the franchise has grown to include toys, anime, and even clothing. But while we’ve played, watched, and worn Pokémon, earlier this month we found out we’d be getting a chance to eat it as well, when we heard about a Pokémon restaurant opening in downtown Tokyo.

Curious to see if the most famous Pocket Monster tastes as good as he looks, we paid a visit to the Pikachu Cafe to see for ourselves.

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Chinese bus gets lined with artificial turf for World Cup, may never go back

In an effort to ride the wave of excitement caused by the FIFA World Cup championships, a bus in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region had artificial grass layered throughout its flooring. However, according to the driver, the benefits of this promotional scheme went far beyond stirring up a little soccer-fever.

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Fashion advice – Almost half of Japanese women say they don’t like guys wearing tank tops

Last week, Japan’s CyberAgent invited women to share their thoughts regarding men’s summer fashion via a survey on anonymous online bulletin board GIRL’S TALK. While the poll in itself was in no way earth-shattering, the results showed that guys who are wanting to impress the ladies may want to think twice before putting on that tank top or swimsuit before heading out for the day.

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J-Pop group Tokio suspected in the sudden construction of a super-long noodle slide

If you’ve ever experienced summer in Japan, you are familiar with the swampy hell-like conditions that force the entire country to be extremely creative with ways to stay cool. One of the most delicious ways to escape the temperature is to enjoy some summer Japanese treats like ice-cold somen noodles.

But why just eat your cold noodles in a little cup when you can grab them while they barrel down at high speeds down a bamboo slide? It’s called “nagashisomen” and a city in Hiroshima Prefecture recently woke up to discover a gigantic one constructed at a local temple. And rumor had it the noodle slide was built for an upcoming TV shot by the J-Pop superstar group Tokio.

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Crepe made with Kyoto sweets and green tea is the perfect treat after a day of temple hopping

With its quiet gardens and tranquil temples, you might think that Kyoto is strictly the domain of serious ascetics. Japan’s former capital is a city with well over a million residents, and attracts visitors from all over the world. With so many people milling about, there are plenty of people looking for a little indulgence, and while for some that means a stiff drink served by a monk, others are looking to satisfy their sweet tooth.

Japan has a long-standing love affair with crepes, and during our recent visit to Kyoto we found a uniquely tantalizing version of the rolled pastry that incorporates both green tea powder and Kyoto’s most famous traditional Japanese sweet, yatsuhashi.

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Teacher accidentally supports the armament of Japan with flawed cartoon reference

On 16 July Sapporo Attorney Ayako Ito made a visit to Sapporo Kotoni Technical High School to assist the social studies teacher Shiego Kawahara in an important lesson regarding the right of collective self-defense. It’s a thorny issue that can be difficult enough to explain to adults let alone teenagers.

So the pair constructed a highly illustrated lecture on the topic using the classic manga and anime series Doraemon as an analogy. During the talk the teacher posed the question using the clumsy protagonist of the story: “If you gave Nobita a gun you could say he’s stronger, but could he really protect himself?”

As the question was posed a Asahi Shimbun reporter was in attendance and noticed that all of the students heads lifted up. Although it would seem the largely anti-war lecture had struck a chord with the kids, hardcore fans of Doraemon picked up on the fact that Kawahara had just accidentally made the most pro-militarization rhetorical question possible.

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Touching Final Fantasy X cover on the violin takes you “To Zanarkand”【Video】

If you love classical music, and you love Australia, then the name Ayako Ishikawa, is a name you are familiar with. However, if you aren’t familiar with “Devils Ayako”, you’re missing out on an artist that has been given the honorary title of “The Best Performer in Australia“. Already a phenom on the classical music stage, she has recently been making a name for herself on the Internet. Since she began posting her videos to Niconico back in 2013, her popularity has blossomed into a real fan following and she is just hitting her stride now with a string of well-known songs in Japan. Today she takes you “To Zanarkand”…

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Man questioned by police after building “girl” out of plastic bottles, taking her out on a date

Inventor and performance artist Showta Mori has been getting a taste of internet fame recently for his videos featuring his quick-draw, arm-mounted iPhone sleeve gun, but that’s far from his only creation or even his weirdest creation. That honor goes, in my opinion, to Lisako, his so-called “PET bottle lover,” his date on a series of adventures that would have David Lynch scratching his head and saying, “Now, that’s just weird.”

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Second episode of Sailor Moon Crystal brings its second accessories with Usagi’s earrings

For more than a year, Japanese toy maker and merchandiser extraordinaire Bandai has been pumping out merchandise inspired by the original 1992 Sailor Moon anime. With the veil of secrecy finally lifted with the premiere of the new Sailor Moon Crystal anime, however, the company is now turning its attention to the most recent iteration of Japan’s most popular magical girl.

Coinciding with the premiere of the new series. Bandai released a series of five rings, one for each of the five Sailor Senshi. Now, fans can complement their fashionable fingers with a set of Sailor Moon Crystal earrings.

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Making a “fart cannon” is simple and cheap, says Japanese comedy site

So, farts are still the pinnacle of physical comedy. I mean, they cover all the comedy bases: They’re smelly, they make a funny noise, and they make people around you feel very uncomfortable. Farts are pure genius. Proof that God loves and hates us equally.

But sometimes you want to fart on someone but they’re just a little too far away to reach with your offensive bodily odors, no matter how hard you try to project your poo gas. That’s where the – obviously – Japanese invention of the Fart Cannon comes in. With this simple device, you can launch your fart gas at unsuspecting targets several meters away.

All you need is a box, some tubing, and a willingness to insert said tubing into your anus.

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Man kidnaps, imprisons 11-year-old to raise her to be his “ideal girl”

If you’ve been in Japan over the last week, you’ve no doubt heard about the young girl in Okayama Prefecture who disappeared on her way home from school on the 14th. While a story like this all too often ends in tragedy, in this case, the girl was found unharmed five days later, confined at the home of a 49-year-old local man, Takeshi Fujiwara.

Fujiwara was arrested on charges of kidnapping and illegal confinement and now details are beginning to emerge from the questioning about his creepy, creepy motives.

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