animals

Vroom-vroom, meow-meow! Driver mods his taillights into awesome “Toro” cat patterns

In Japan, all cars have to undergo a vehicle inspection called shaken every two years. The ostensible reason is to make sure each part of the car is in safe, working condition, but some motorists suspect the real reasons are to bilk additional streams of revenue from owners, as well as encourage them to trade in their current cars for new models, which can go three years before their first shaken.

The system does have one upside for enthusiasts. Since cars get officially inspected every other year, traffic cops in Japan aren’t nearly as zealous as their U.S. counterparts about issuing fix-up tickets for questionable modifications they spot on the street. This means that during the two-year period between shaken checks, you have a decent chance of getting away with illegal engine mods, non-compliant body kits, or awesome grey-area cat tail lights.

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It’s all about the isopod – Company pushes gifts and fashion featuring weird, sexy marine bugs

In Japan, where the market for character-based merchandise is intensely competitive, it’s not always easy to predict what’ll take off. Sure, it was easy to see Hello Kitty and Pikachu coming, since either one could serve as the accompanying illustration for the definition of “adorable” in the dictionary, but who’s going to be the next big star?

There’s a new dark horse entry to the character goods arena, with one company hoping Japanese consumers’ ravenous hunger for all things kawaii will lead them to embrace something so ugly it just might be cute, in the form of T-shirts, notebooks, and purses all featuring the humongous marine bug called the giant isopod.

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Eight-year-old boy gets stopped at the airport for a suspicious bulge in his pants

Anyone who has boarded an airplane has probably gone through all the typical scanning and beeping, and some of you might have even gotten a pat down before being allowed to board the plane. But how many of you have been checked for the contents in your pants?

A little boy was stopped for inspection at the Guangzhou Baiyun Airport due to an unnatural bulge and movement in the crotch of his pants. What could it be?!

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Doggy Bread figures are back, still so cute we could eat them up (if they weren’t plastic)

Last year, on one of our many Tokyo foraging expeditions for weird and cute toys, we picked up a selection of Doggy Bread straps. At least, we think we did. Honestly, the idea of little figures of cute dogs wrapped in baked goods is so simultaneously appealing and weird that we’re not sure it wasn’t some bizarre dream caused by falling asleep while fighting off a hot dog craving.

Not only is Doggy Bread real, though, it’s back! We recently stumbled across the newest series of these adorably strange toys and came away with two new plastic pets: a sweet bean bread pug and a Pomeranian cutlet sandwich.

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Cute puppy goes to grandmother’s house and finds dentures for toothy grin, hilarious photo op

Here’s a small but concentrated dose of silliness for those of you who need an afternoon (or morning, or evening) pick-me-up. And it’s a good opportunity to prove that canines can be monarchs of the World Wide Web too!

Did it take a moment for you to realize what’s going on in the photo on the right? No, it’s not another before/after photo of plastic surgery or a sad tale of a dog that auditioned for a Dentastix commercial and failed; it’s what happened when a Japanese Twitterer visited her grandmother’s house with her Pomeranian pup. Reactions ranged from “Cute!” to “Ew!” to “Scary!”, but as a beloved villain with the wicked grin put it, “Let’s put a smile on that face!”

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Guide dog stabbed while walking with owner

Police in Saitama Prefecture are looking for the person who stabbed a guide dog while it was with its 61-year-old visually-impaired owner in Saitama.

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Cute cat cakes captivate our culinary cravings

Some people say if something tastes good, it has to be bad for you. We understand that they’re usually talking about sugary, salty, or fatty foods, and nutritionally speaking, they’ve kind of got a point.

But while we definitely wouldn’t classify any of them as low-calorie, diet-friendly snacks, we still can’t bring ourselves to use the word “bad” in describing these adorable cat cakes and lattes.

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Dog-carrying accessory spotted on Japanese train is awesome, borders on animal abuse

You know those hilarious baby pouches that parents use to strap their kid to their backs, and the kid instantly falls asleep, because that’s what babies do? And then the baby’s limbs just wobble around while the parent walks and you have to do a double take because it kind of looks like the baby is dead at first?

Well, those pouches are apparently also being used on dogs in Japan lately.

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Online shop will make cute, custom-crafted cat earrings from a photo of your pet

For serious cat lovers, it’s hard to be apart from their beloved animals for even a moment, but there are some places, like offices or restaurants, where you just can’t take your pet with you. If you’re looking for a way to always feel connected to your kitty, we suppose you could make a sweater out of its fallen hair, but before you grab those knitting needles, there’s an alternative that’s a little less labor-intensive (not to mention a bit less crazy).

All you need to do is snap a photo of your cat, and have it made into a pair of custom-crafted earrings from this Japanese online store.

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Pair of goldfish play Street Fighter II, instantly become world’s coolest pets

Whenever I’m asked if I’m a dog or a cat person, I can always respond quite easily: “Neither.” I’m absolutely convinced fish make the best pets, since they’re quiet, relaxing, and never pee or cough things up on the carpet.

And just in case that wasn’t enough to sell you, consider one more thing fish can now do: play a game of Street Fighter II.

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View aquatic animals “alive without breath” in Singaporean artist’s take on 3-D painting【Photos】

Does “Goldfish Salvation” ring a bell? Japanese artist, Riusuke Fukahori, changed the way we look at goldfish with his super realistic 3-D paintings created by painting on layers of clear resin.

Inspired by Fukahori, Singaporean artist Keng Lye, too, started creating a series of intricate 3-D painting masterpieces which he has named “Alive Without Breath.” See his lifelike paintings after the break!

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Portuguese man-of-war creating beaches of sadness in Japan with its terrible toxic tentacles

With just a few weeks left before September, beach lovers in Japan are trying to sneak in a few last trips to the coast. A late summer trip to the shore means you’ll have to be on the lookout for jellyfish, but the good news is they don’t seem to be out in full force yet.

The bad news, though, is that Kanagawa Prefecture has something that looks sort of like a jellyfish but is even worse, with some people having spotted the Portuguese man-of-war.

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Owner walks Segway dog… or Segway dog walks owner?

While the dog you owned in your childhood may have been a total idiot that barked at its own farts, super smart dogs aren’t all that uncommon, and the Internet has done a beautiful job of giving us a one-stop shop for viewing all the glorious tricks and people-things canines are capable of.

Some dogs on the Internet are so smart, in fact, it’s hard to tell who is the owner and who is the pet. Such as this jogging man with casually Segway-riding dog that was spotted in China recently.

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Fighting like cats and dogs? Not these cute little guys! 【Photos】

Sometimes just keeping up with the news makes you despair for humanity. Between all the war, racially motivated killings, ethnic strife, and general meanness, you have to wonder if we will ever be able to get along.

It’s been one of those days and I needed a pick-me-up, so here is a collection of photos of dogs and cats getting along. Because if they can manage to overcome their differences, maybe we can too.

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【Monday Kickstart】Beat the weekly grind with these adorable ‘jamming baby owls’

Who‘s got to go to work, you ask? Not us!, is what these two adorable owlets seem to be saying as they lazily bob back and forth in this YouTube video. These fuzzy little guys have even been popping up on Japanese websites, so we thought we’d spread the kawaiiness some more. No matter how dreary your Monday may be, keep calm and ‘jam’ with these owls!

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Miffy found trapped in vending machine, may need help from ninja frog to escape

On the surface, being a beloved children’s character might seem like it’s all hugs and smiles. In the harsh world of reality, though, being so soft and cuddly, with no offensive capabilities, can have its downsides.

It was only a week ago, for example, that Sesame Street’s Elmo was discovered tied to a stake in the hinterlands of Japan, his mouth wide open as, we assumed, he screamed for help. Next on the list of cute captives: Dutch storybook bunny Miffy, who was found trapped inside a vending machine.

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Still a ways to go, but animal welfare in Japan is improving by leaps and bounds

We’ve covered some stories in recent months about the distressing state of animal welfare in Japan and shocking cases of animal abuse, but I wanted to let our readers know that isn’t the whole story. Granted, in comparison with many other developed nations, Japan lags behind in this area, but that doesn’t mean it’s stuck in the Stone Age either. Over the last couple of decades, through the hard work of their human advocates, the situation for dogs and cats in Japan has been improving.

In the interest of acknowledging those efforts, recognizing where Japan is getting things right, and just generally bringing some good news to the table, we wanted to share with you some of the positive changes happening in Nihon.

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Cute little kitty works its way into crevices of owner’s apartment, Internet’s heart【Photos】

Given the small size of many Japanese homes, by the time you get all your furniture and other belongs in, it’s not uncommon to wind up wishing you had more space for yourself. Eventually, though, you learn to maximize your apartment’s storage capacity.

Bulky winter coats get folded and boxed up during the summer. Space under the couch? Fill it with storage containers. Too many DVDs? Throw out all the cases and stick the disks in a compact travel case.

And that tiny empty patch on the shelf? Prefect for a cute little cat.

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Dog butts — Japanese netizens are going crazy for them!【Pics】

Certain animal parts, like the ever-venerated cat paw, seem to have a special place in our hearts. (Well, you can’t really blame us for finding cat paws, or even cat nuts, for that matter, irresistibly cute, can you?) Animal buttocks also seem to be a favorite around the world, based on their popularity on the web. Japan is no exception, and we have our fair share of animal tooshie lovers — even a following of hamster butt fans on Facebook. So it’s not really surprising that the Japanese online public has recently been swooning over a series of pictures featuring … dog butts! But darn it, nobody warned us canine bums were so lethally cute!

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Chiro the corgi talks, shakes hands, wiggles her bootie, and wins our hearts

Dogs have been human companions for tens of thousands of years, so it’s hardly surprising that we’re still such good buddies. After all, as cute as cats are, you’d be hard pressed to find many felines that would go to bat to protect their owners. They might keep the mice away, but they’re not likely to scare off any burglars.

Even so, some dogs just seem like better protectors than others. Corgis, for example, are apparently great alarm dogs. Though if you’re counting on your corgi to protect you, this video may give you second thoughts…

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