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Sushi and tempura stamps will spice up your New Year’s cards, probably still taste like glue

With just two weeks to go until the end of the year, people across Japan are scrambling to finish up writing their New Year’s Cards, or nengajo, as they’re called in Japanese. While traditions have softened and it’s becoming a bit more acceptable to send tidings by email, many still choose to send physical cards, since receiving personal mail is something of a rare treat these days.

That means most people need to make a trip to the post office to pick up some stamps, and Japan Post is happy to oblige with special New Year’s varieties. And though the ones for the upcoming Chinese zodiac animal are undeniably cute, the designs that really caught our attention were the sushi and tempura stamps.

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Cosplayers visiting Japan, this is your wonderland! Over 40 realistic backdrops in one place!

Anybody can cosplay, but achieving beautiful cosplay photos raises the difficulty level by quite a fair bit. You can tailor the perfect costume, create the most realistic props, complete the look with impeccable makeup, and practice to get every pose spot on, but a suitable backdrop isn’t always easily available.

Finding an appropriate backdrop to compliment your cosplay would be much easier if you were in Japan though. HACOSTADIUM is a mega photography studio that has over 40 different backdrops ranging from Japanese rooms to gothic chambers, and even prison cells! More details and photos of the actual studios after the jump!

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Attack on Titan, Dragon Ball and more now in pseudo 3-D thanks to the magic of white lines【GIFs】

What do you think of 3-D movies? Personally, I’m not a big fan as they somehow tire my eyes. While I have to agree that the effects do make some action and fantasy scenes more dramatic and exciting, I’m totally happy sticking with the 2-D versions, not to mention that those are cheaper to watch at the cinemas too.

But I’m sure there are people out there who love the extra impact and wished that every movie was available in 3-D. It’s probably impossible to remaster every past production in 3-D, but some imaginative cyber citizens have found a low-cost method of eye-trickery that makes 2-D animations appear as if they’re coming through the screen. It’s eye-opening what a few white lines can do!

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Pikachu meets Godzilla: 6 Pokémon get the kaiju movie monster treatment

As two of Japan’s most well-known cultural ambassadors, it’s about time that the worlds of Pikachu and Godzilla collide. And we found some fake movies posters that do just that by combining the imagery of Japanese kaiju movie monsters with six classic pokémon. Click below to see Pikachu and five of his friends destroying cities, crushing buildings and causing quite a mess.

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16 years after his death, new song by X Japan guitarist hide released with vocals by…hide?!

The Japanese music scene doesn’t have quite the lengthy list of young deaths that its Western counterpart does, but that doesn’t mean J-pop hasn’t lost some of its biggest stars while still in their prime. In 1998, 33-year-old hide, who rose to fame as guitarist for the band X Japan and had also established a successful solo career, was found dead in his apartment, hung by a towel attached to a doorknob.

Ruled a suicide, his death came as a shock to his legions of fans, and while he left behind a large body of work, it seemed they would never get to hear the song “Ko Gyaru,” which hide had been putting the finishing touches on before his passing. So it’s come as a surprise that a video for the song was recently released on YouTube, with vocals that sound as if they’re being provided by the deceased musician himself.

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Avengers assemble! In a Chinese college student’s house【Photos】

Once you finally finish your years of study in high school and get into a good university, it’s party time! Or…do nothing time. Some people occupy their new-found free time with Netflix queues, watching the latest and greatest television shows and movies. Others take the opportunity to let their creative juices flow and make some really awesome things. One college senior in China decided that just watching super heroes on a screen was not enough, he figured he could become those heroes instead. How awesome would it be to punch the great evil known as homework when you look like Captain America?

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Full-size Godzilla head to terrorize moviegoers and hotel guests in Tokyo starting next spring

When it comes to skyscrapers, Godzilla has a lot more experience tearing them down than building them up. Honestly, we can’t think of a single notable example from his six decade-long body of work in which the King of the Monsters drafts and submits a successful architectural design.

Nevertheless, the world’s most famous kaiju is about to dip his toes in the construction world, by rearing his head, in full-size, above a new building going up in Tokyo’s Shinjuku neighborhood.

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How to make a Whack-a-Mole game your cat will love in just 60 seconds【Video】

Part of the appeal of cats is their air of sophistication. Compared to dogs, their simple-minded and eternal rivals, felines seem to exhibit a deeper appreciation of the finer things in life. Just like humans, they appear to understand the intrinsic value of gourmet food, luxurious surroundings, and, as this video shows, the most cultured pastime of all, whack-a-mole.

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Freelance illustrator wows Twitter users with daily pictures of high school girls

One of the great things about the Internet is giving freelance and independent artists the opportunity to connect with audiences who might otherwise not have been able to access their work. Whether it’s mind-melting masks or fabulous Final Fantasy fan art, there’s something for everyone and a market for nearly anything.

Kazuharu Kina might just be one of the best examples of a niche Japanese artist making it big on the Internet–and once you see his illustrations, you’ll probably understand why.

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Asada sisters nail it with “Let it Go” figure skating routine

It can’t be overstated just how in love with Disney’s Frozen Japan is. The return to classic “princess tale” Disney form was received especially well by the Japanese – notorious consumers of all things cute that they are.

Of course, this means that you can’t go five minutes in Japan without hearing either the English or popular Japanese version of the film’s hit single, “Let it Go.” It’s long since become grating to hear and we really wish they’d just, er… stop.

But if there’s one way to send the song out with a bang before everyone mercifully, um… gives it up, it’s this awesome figure skating routine by Japan’s Asada sisters.

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Just in time for 2015! Hoverboard becomes reality, proves Back to the Future was legit

Remember that scene in the classic 80’s movie Back to the Future Part II, where Marty McFly escapes a group of bullies using a floating skateboard known as a hoverboard? If you do, you probably spent your childhood longing for one of those bad boys and wondering when technology would catch up to the 2015 depicted in the film. Well, it looks like we’ve managed to make it a reality, and just before the cut-off date, too! Join us after the jump for video evidence!

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Pepsi reboots Japan’s Peach Boy with 3 action and monster-filled ads that’re 8 kinds of badass

The story of Momotaro is one of Japan’s oldest folktales, but a lot of its elements seem a little silly. For starters, the hero’s name translates as “Peach Boy.” His companions are a monkey, a dog, and a pheasant, who he wins over by giving them some sweet dumplings in exchange for their help against the story’s villains, who all have outie bellybuttons.

Goofy as these details may sound, though, the core of the tale is absolutely epic. A young hero who harnesses the power of wild beasts, then sails into the heart of demon territory to rumble with them on their island fortress? In a world where every literary and comic character is a candidate to become a darkly stylish action hero (heck, even Batman’s gritty reboot is getting its own gritty reboot), why hasn’t someone revamped Peach Boy into something closer to Peach Man?

Actually, someone already has, but you won’t find the new Momotaro in theatres, and while you might catch him flipping through the channels on TV, you can’t find his adventures scheduled in the program guide. That’s because this amazingly awesome version of Momortaro is actually a series of commercials from Pepsi.

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Japanese convenience store’s registers play Final Fantasy victory theme for special items 【Video】

Although video game developer Square Enix had dabbled in a few direct follow-ups here and there, whenever the counter for its Final Fantasy role-playing franchise rolls over to a new numbered sequel, the company completely ditches the old cast of heroes and villains, and even the previous game’s world.

But even if the narrative is starting from scratch each time, that doesn’t mean the games aren’t connected. For example, every Final Fantasy has scenes where the player rides on airships or horse-sized flightless birds called chocobos. The cursor is always a white glove with a pointing index finger, and major victories in battle are marked by the sounds of the series’ instantly recognizable “Victory Fanfare.”

Gamers have already heard the short but sweet melody played by the NES, Super NES, and PlayStations 1 through 3, and this month, they can look forward to hearing it someplace new: at the register of Lawson convenience stores when they purchase special items.

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Japan introduces a new kind of needleless injection, you won’t believe how it works!

Needle phobia all boils down to “Needles? No thank you!” This seemingly innocuous fear makes many things in life quite difficult. Drawing blood, injections…sewing…are just some of the things that become very problematic. Needle(ss) to say, science fiction has been ripe with alternative injection systems, the most famous is probably the hypospray from Star Trek. While needle-free injections have existed for a while now, a Japanese research team is ready to release their invention into the world, a new kind of needle-free injection that works on the magic of bubbles and is pain FREE!

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Japan’s awesome drinkable cookies in a can mean there’s no need to pour yourself a glass of milk

For the most part, cookies in Japan are crunchy little things. One very notable exception, though, is confectioner Fujiya’s Country Ma’am line, which are soft, chewy, and also absolutely delicious.

What makes Country Ma’am cookies so good is how moist they are, and now confectioner Fujiya is taking that one step further by turning them into a drink! We got our hands on a few cans of this miraculous beverage, and while it’s still early in our relationship, we think we may be in love.

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Popular TV show’s awe-inspiring Mario dance number is geektastically cool

Quick, what is the geekiest thing you can imagine ever possibly happening? Is it four grown adults dressed like Mario characters dancing a Mario-themed, choreographed dance to classic Mario music, on a stage replete with several thousand-dollar Mario-themed props, in front of a crowd that is only passively aware of the Mario franchise at best, plus those guys from Duck Dynasty and some shirtless guy?

Well, if you were thinking of that oddly specific scenario, you are way off base, because one couple on Dancing with the Stars just made Mario-themed dancing about the coolest, most mainstream thing around with a beautifully choreographed routine that is proving a major YouTube hit.

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World’s simplest build-it-yourself toy train set may also be the cleverest with just three parts

With less than a month until Christmas, hopefully you’ve been working your way through your holiday shopping list. Still, come December 24, you may find that your hectic schedule of professional and scholarly pursuits means you’ve forgotten to get a present for one of the little tykes in your family.

Rushing to the store on Christmas Eve, your spirits may fall as you find the toy department picked clean. Don’t give up hope, though! As long as the hardware section is still stocked, you can make a pretty cool “toy train” with just three incredibly common items.

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Ghibli character shoes: Perfect for a stroll through your nearest forest or anime convention

While every Studio Ghibli anime film has memorable music, the one piece that just about anyone in Japan can sing along to is “Sanpo” from My Neighbor Totoro. Meaning “A Stroll,” it opens with the lyrics, “Let’s walk! Let’s walk! I’m full of energy. Let’s keep going!”

Not exactly the most profound message, admittedly, but there’s no denying the infectious tune will get you in the mood to strap on your kicks and head out the door. And if you’re going on a walk to look for your very own local forest spirit, we can’t imagine a more appropriate set of footwear than a pair of shoes decked out with Ghibli characters.

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Clean your SLR ASAP with this cool fan that blasts dust out of your camera in just 60 seconds

Aside from the higher quality photos they generally take, the great thing about SLR cameras is their modular nature. Being able to swap lenses in and out means that you can always be equipped with the best setup for the differing needs of properly photographing scenic mountainscapes, quietly nesting waterfowl, or provocatively posing swimsuit models (or provocatively posing waterfowl, because hey, it’s your camera to do with as you please).

The downside, though, is that the freedom to remove lenses comes with the risk of dust and other debris being introduced through the connectors and marring your photos. Now, though, there’s a quick and easy way to keep your pictures looking top-notch, in the form of a snap-on fan that’ll keep your camera’s interior bits as clean as the images you’re looking to capture with it.

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12 creative packaging designs to loosen your purse strings

What makes or breaks your decision to purchase something new and unfamiliar? For some shoppers it may be the peculiarity of a product that loosens their purse strings. Others may be won over by the low price or high quality of an item. And then there are those who have a weak spot for clever packaging.

Of course, price and quality matter, but the packaging of a product plays a significant role too despite the sad fact that it usually ends up in the trash soon after the product has been taken home. If you’re fond of interesting, creative, unique packaging designs, take a peek at this little collection!

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