cute

Those freaky Hello Kitty contact lenses are back, and this time she brought friends!

Those freaky Hello Kitty contact lenses are back, and this time she brought friends!

As cute as we thought they were, when we first heard about Hello Kitty contact lenses last summer, we weren’t entirely sure they’d catch on. Was there really a market for this kind of thing, particularly at the contacts’ price point of 5,800 yen (US$57) per set?

You should never underestimate Japan’s queen of licensed merchandise though, as Kitty-chan’s making a return trip to people’s irises, and this time, she’s even bringing a couple of her Sanrio pals with her. And it’s not just fashion that marches along, but technology and production techniques, too, as the new contacts cost less than half what the old ones did.

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Disney cakes are adorable, artistic, and only available for a limited time

Disney cakes are adorable, artistic, and only available for a limited time

With the string of holidays known as Golden Week coming up in early May, all of Japan is looking forward to a couple of days off to spend with friends and family. Whether you’re visiting a friend’s apartment or going back to your hometown for a couple of days, Japanese manners dictate that you should bring a gift, with food being the most popular choice.

If you’re stumped for what kind of food to bring, here’s an easy way to play the percentages. Almost everyone likes cake, and almost everyone in Japan likes Disney characters, so odds are this set of Disney cakes will make just about everyone happy.

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Japanese pig farmer shows the world how pigs should be treated

Japanese pig farmer shows the world how pigs should be treated

A pig farmer in Japan is warming hearts around the world, thanks to a photo collection that documents his life with some 1,200 pigs. Whether he’s tending to the little piglets, sleeping with the sows, or serenading them all with tunes on his guitar, this is a farmer who loves spending time in the pen surrounded by his animals.

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We visit Tokyo’s rabbit café to celebrate Easter in the cutest way possible 【Photos】

We visit Tokyo’s rabbit café to celebrate Easter in the cutest way possible 【Photos】

My wife, who’s always interested in learning more about foreign culture (no doubt in an effort to better understand her insufferably baffling husband), recently asked me how Easter is celebrated in America. “We usually hunt for Easter eggs and eat chocolate rabbits,” I told her, which quickly presented us with two problems. First, our apartment isn’t nearly large enough for a proper Easter egg hunt, and while you can get special Easter donuts in Japan, bunny-shaped candies are surprisingly nonexistent.

Stumped as to how to spend the holiday, my wife offered a suggestion. “Why don’t we go to the rabbit café?”

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Enjoy a view of Mt Fuji from anywhere in the world with these new ice souvenirs

Enjoy a view of Mt Fuji from anywhere in the world with these new ice souvenirs

Ever since Mt Fuji earned World Heritage status in 2013, designers and artists have been marking the occasion with a flurry of creative merchandise featuring the famous landmark. The latest product to hit shelves shows the celebrations are continuing well into 2014, this time with moulded ice mountains that sit perfectly in your favourite drink! The attention to detail is particularly impressive, with the concentrated tip of ice perfectly resembling the famous snow-covered peak of Mt Fuji.

We take a look at the unique mould that makes them and see why this is one of Japan’s latest must-have souvenirs.

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Miss Todai/weather forecaster Ayaka Sawada’s adorable drawings

Miss Todai/weather forecaster Ayaka Sawada’s adorable drawings

Twenty-year-old Ayaka Sawada has a lot going for her. To begin with, she’s currently a junior in the Faculty of Education at the University of Tokyo (Todai for short), the most prestigious university in Japan. Secondly, she is the newly appointed weather forecaster on NTV’s Sunday morning program Shuichi. Thirdly, she’s drop-dead gorgeous, and was even crowned “Miss Todai 2013″! Is there anything this girl can’t do?

It’s also safe to cross art off that list, because it turns out that Ayaka’s also talented at drawing. Her profile lists drawing as one of her special skills, but we were still impressed by the following adorable sketches made by her!

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Cat greets its returning owner with so much warmth we’d swear it was puppy love

Cat greets its returning owner with so much warmth we’d swear it was puppy love

As someone who generally judges the value of animals based on their flavor, I tend to stay out of the whole cats vs. dogs argument that pet lovers so often engage in. If, for some reason though, you told me that my life depended on picking one or the other, I’d probably say I’d prefer a pooch, and then ask what kind of oddly specific sorcery you’d placed me under that cursed me to die if I didn’t choose between the world’s two most popular pets.

When you come home, you can expect your dog to run to the door, wag his tale, and slobber all over you. While I can’t say I really see the appeal of that last one, I can understand that it’s nice to have a pet that gives you a reaction when you come through the door, which is totally unlike the aloof reaction that’s so much more common in cats.

Except, of course, if you’re talking about this friendly feline.

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Hop on over to Ginza for adorable bunny rabbit parfaits and cream puffs

Hop on over to Ginza for adorable bunny rabbit parfaits and cream puffs

Ginza’s history as one of Tokyo’s playgrounds for the well-to-do stretches back further than relative upstarts like Harajuku or Roppongi. While this means you can almost always find an elegant café to stop into for a refined mid-day snack, some of these establishments can be a little intimidating with their blue-blood atmosphere.

There is at least one place in Ginza, though, where you can indulge your sweet tooth without feeling any social tension, as nothing is so far removed from stuffiness as a bunny rabbit parfait.

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One baby capybara not cute enough for you? Chiba zoo has five【Photos】

One baby capybara not cute enough for you? Chiba zoo has five【Photos】

For most groups of animals, making them bigger doesn’t make them any cuter. For example, regular spiders? Not cute. Giant spiders? Still not cute, and now terrifying.

Somehow, though, rodents are the exception to this rule, as the capybara, the world’s largest rodent, is adorable. But you know what’s even cuter? The babies of the planet’s biggest rodent, like the litter of five recently born in Japan.

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With the stuffed characters of the Moomin Café, you’ll never dine alone!

With the stuffed characters of the Moomin Café, you’ll never dine alone!

Theme restaurants can be a lot of fun. Whether you’re munching on Final Fantasy desserts or knocking back a cocktail while surrounded by witches and monsters, a little break with reality can be just the secret ingredient you need for a satisfying meal.

Except, what do you do if you can’t round up a posse to go with you? Playing make-believe in a group can be fun, when everyone is egging each other on and having a good laugh, but most people feel awkward enough eating in a normal restaurant alone, let alone one that’s recreating a fictional world.

Thankfully, the Moomin Café has a solution to the solo-dining dilemma: they’ll seat stuffed versions of the beloved cartoons’ characters at your table to keep you company.

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Climbing cats: The cuteness that rises to the occasion

Climbing cats: The cuteness that rises to the occasion

Though it’s not exactly the first thing that springs to mind when we think of cats–that would be cheeseburgers–our furry feline friends are certainly excellent climbers. While they can’t hold a candle to a mountain goat, their built-in climbing hooks, indomitable sense of curiosity, and incredible flexibility make them extraordinary climbers. Just ask anyone who’s tried to remove a cat after it’s scaled half way up their leg–these little cuties will stick to anything.

The above photo, which has been retweeted well over 6,000 times in the last day alone, is a perfect example of feline desire to go up!

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Visit Kiki’s Bakery at a unique fairytale village in Japan

Visit Kiki’s Bakery at a unique fairytale village in Japan

In Kyushu, Japan, there’s a tiny little village that’s drawing in visitors from across the world. Part Ghibli fantasy, part English Cotswolds, the town houses an Alice in Wonderland store, a Peter Rabbit petting zoo, and a bread shop modelled on the bakery in Kiki’s Delivery Service. And if you can’t bear to tear yourself away from the gorgeous shop-fronts and blossoming gardens, there’s a hotel where you can stay and gaze out at the cluster of cottages from the comfort of your own room. We step into the fantasy world and take a closer look at the shops, restaurants and services on offer in this special little town.

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Extremely well-behaved Chinese dogs “say Grace” before daily meal

Extremely well-behaved Chinese dogs “say Grace” before daily meal

I can’t even remember the last time I “said Grace” before a meal. It must have been before my teens, when my parents realized I was a Godless, hopeless heathen that shoveled food into my mouth so fast I couldn’t even taste it.

Which, I guess, puts my manners one level below four Chinese dogs that dutifully bow and lower their heads as their owner/trainer says a few words of thanks for their meal.

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【TBT】In Japan, even cute animals obey the law

【TBT】In Japan, even cute animals obey the law

We’ve all no doubt heard of the polite deer in the city of Nara that have learned to bow their heads to tourists in order to get food, but did you know that they also obey the law and know how to cross the road properly?

Check out these photos for one incredibly cute example of how to use a pedestrian crossing!

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Cute and talented Taiwanese singer is actually a boy, Netizens no longer find this shocking

Cute and talented Taiwanese singer is actually a boy, Netizens no longer find this shocking

The most popular images on the ‘Net are probably cats and cute girls, and the latest lovely ‘lady’ to draw the appreciative gaze of netizens is Lao Wan, the lead vocalist of a Taiwanese band called Green! Eyes. But of course, nothing is ever quite as it seems. Prepare to leave your gender preconceptions at the door.

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Cute girls are universal! Japanese netizens rave over a Chinese girl who is “too cute”【Photos】

Cute girls are universal! Japanese netizens rave over a Chinese girl who is “too cute”【Photos】

Japan has never ceased to fascinate us with their truckloads of girl idol groups, gravure idols and, well, just cute girls in general. The Japanese population seem to be rather satiated with their ever-increasing troops of idols too. However, there has been some hype on some Japanese websites recently, with netizens uploading photos of a Chinese girl whom they think is “too cute”.

And the good news is, no “traps” are involved this time!

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Sulky Shiba can’t hear you… or can he!? 【Video】

Sulky Shiba can’t hear you… or can he!? 【Video】

Unlike cats, dogs are usually pretty easy to win over. Constantly seeking praise and approval, with a few “good boy”s and a scratch behind the ear they’ll immediately cheer up and want to be friends again. You can praise a cat until you’re blue in the face – it neither wants nor needs your approval, and if it’s not in the mood, you’ll soon know about it.

This little shiba inu, though, looks especially irked, and is making no secret of the fact that he’s cross by ignoring his owner no matter what she says or does. All until…

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Japan’s pets approve of Muji bean bags, put on a masterful display of laziness 【Photos】

Japan’s pets approve of Muji bean bags, put on a masterful display of laziness 【Photos】

Last week, we brought you Japanese retail company Muji’s guide to getting nothing done thanks to the comfort and unparalleled lethargy inducing qualities of the mighty bean bag chair. Well, it seems that some of our canine and feline friends have been paying close attention, and no sooner had their owners picked one up, immediately began showing us all how to use Muji’s popular bean bag chairs properly.

Judging by these photos, these little guys are clearly the true relaxation ninjas of the land.

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See what 13 stuffed toys look like after a wash at the home spa

See what 13 stuffed toys look like after a wash at the home spa

People in Japan love their soft toys. And with so many cute characters to choose from, it’s easy to understand why. But with love comes a sense of responsibility, which means there will eventually come a time when your favourite stuffed character will have to face the wash. The only thing is, with their adorable, life-like expressions, a wash-and-dry for a stuffed toy ends up looking like a day at the spa followed by a visit to the amusement park!

Check out the adventures of some crazy Japanese plushies, as documented by their owners, after the jump.

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Hamster babies steal our hearts, leave us begging for more

Hamster babies steal our hearts, leave us begging for more

Everyone loves hamsters. From the Internet masses cooing over their adorable keisters to snakes who refuse to eat them, there’s something about their furry round bodies that reduces us to piles of squealing glee. They’re just so cuuuuuuuute!

And what’s the only thing cuter than a hamster? Well, if you said “Baby hamsters,” then you are clearly psychic! We’d tell you to get out of our heads, but we’re too busy “awww”ing over these photos.

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