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These traditional Japanese hairpins may be too beautiful to wear

These traditional Japanese hairpins may be too beautiful to wear

The traditional Japanese kanzashi hairpin is usually an elaborate affair meant to be worn in the hair when donning a kimono or yukata. Intricately detailed and beautiful, they’re like Japan’s answer to the corsage. But these particular kanzashi may just be too beautiful to ever wear at all on account of directing all the attention away from your kimono.

Sakae, a kanzashi specialty manufacturer, makes each kanzashi by hand from colored glass that’s been melted down and coated in resin to prevent breakage – and lord knows you wouldn’t want one of these shattering into a thousand pieces in your hair.

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Pirates, pink hair and temporary tattoos: The girls of Tokyo Game Show 2014【Photos】

Pirates, pink hair and temporary tattoos: The girls of Tokyo Game Show  2014【Photos】

Booth babes, show attendants, scantily clad PR persons; call them what you will, these girls are a big part of Tokyo Game Show, and they’re not going anywhere. They man woman the booths handing out flyers, goodies and company-approved advice and info, always dressed in a way that catches the eye, and it’s hard to imagine the event without them.

Those of you who are unable to attend TGS in person, or who are new to the concept of “booth babes” may perhaps be wondering what all the fuss is about. So for you, and for those of you who pretend to disapprove of such saucy shenanigans but secretly want to look anyway, we’d like to present our collection of photos of the girls of Tokyo Game Show 2014. You’re welcome.

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Pins, wire and crosses: How China’s military police prepare for parades

Pins, wire and crosses: How China’s military police prepare for parades

Becoming a member of any strictly regimented group or organisation requires tremendous discipline. In order to make the cut in the armed services or police, one must be prepared to dedicate themselves entirely and cast off any prior notions of entitlement or superiority. Each and every rookie is equal, and must be moulded into the exact same shape by their instructors.

Some, it would seem, more than others.

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Beautiful Toms: The manliest ladies in Thailand

Beautiful Toms: The manliest ladies in Thailand

Human sexuality can get pretty complicated–which is awesome if you ask us! We think it’s pretty great that more and more people have found the freedom to be themselves and express their (consensual) desires in a positive way.

And when it comes to complex sexuality, it seems that Thailand may be one of the most diverse places on the planet. While you may have any number of ideas about what sexuality is like in Thailand, we’re guessing you’re not familiar with Toms or Dees…

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“The best ryokan I’ve ever visited” – A photo tour of Akita Prefecture’s Miyakowasure inn

“The best ryokan I’ve ever visited” – A photo tour of Akita Prefecture’s Miyakowasure inn

The ryokan [traditional Japanese-style inn] in Akita Prefecture called Miyakowasure (都わすれ; “forget the city”), also known as Natsuse Onsen, is unquestionably the best in all of Japan–at least according to our Japanese correspondent Yoshio. Out of all of the ryokan that he has ever visited, he can confidently say that this is his number-one pick.

Yoshio has stayed at literally hundreds of hotels and ryokan across the country for both business and pleasure, but he recently experienced an unparalleled level of hospitality and overall quality during his stay at this particular inn. He even thinks that hotel managers from across Japan and the world should spend a night there to learn a thing or two! That’s how enthusiastically he praises his most recent visit.

Join Yoshio for an in-depth look at this spectacular ryokan in northern Japan after the jump!

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Invasion of the moon rabbits: the delicious tradition of otsukimi 【Photos】

Invasion of the moon rabbits: the delicious tradition of otsukimi 【Photos】

If you happened to be in Japan this week, you may have noticed rather a lot of rabbit-themed goods, particularly sweets. Not to worry, the Japanese haven’t gotten their dates for Easter spectacularly wrong, these lapine lovelies are part of otsukimi, a tradition celebrating the harvest moon.

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Pic of the Week, Round 5: Winner!

Pic of the Week, Round 5: Winner!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it’s finally time to announce our Pic of the Week!

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McDonald’s Japan offers Yo-Kai Watch cards with Happy Meals, traffic jams and giant lines ensue

McDonald’s Japan offers Yo-Kai Watch cards with Happy Meals, traffic jams and giant lines ensue

Last weekend, McDonald’s Japan launched a new Happy Meal, or “happy set” as they’re known here. As with all of the fast food giant’s kid-centric food boxes, these sets come bundled with a gift guaranteed to appeal to children so much that they’ll bug their parents incessantly to take them to the Golden Arches.

This time, however, the bundled gift was a little bit more special than usual, with McDonald’s securing a deal to offer sets of arcade cards for anime sensation Yo-Kai Watch. While that name not (yet) mean much to anime and Happy Meal fans in the West, this collaboration pretty much allows McDonald’s Japan to print money, and there were lines out of the door at dozens of locations from the moment the sets went on sale.

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Surgery, diet, and sunscreen transform heavy, swarthy Thai boy into slender, tan-free lady

Surgery, diet, and sunscreen transform heavy, swarthy Thai boy into slender, tan-free lady

We get that the whole point of cosmetic surgery is often to dramatically change one’s appearance, beyond what’s possible through ordinary means. Likewise, if someone’s had a sex change operation, we don’t really expect the before and after pics to show a strong resemblance.

Even still, those procedures don’t automatically change your skin tone or cut your body fat percentage in half, which is why the Internet is taking notice of this slim transgender woman from Thailand who used to be a pudgy boy.

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It’s time to vote, vote, vote for your favourite photo!

It’s time to vote, vote, vote for your favourite photo!

It’s that time again, folks: the polls are now open for this week’s Pic of the Week!

Join us after the jump to see our 10 favourite photos and to choose the one that you think most deserves to win.

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A diner’s guide to oden: Japan’s weird-looking, super-popular winter dish

A diner’s guide to oden: Japan’s weird-looking, super-popular winter dish

When it comes to Japanese food, everyone and their grandmother knows the classics like sushi, noodles and tempura. But one food that always takes visitors to Japan by surprise, and which has just this month started showing up in convenience stores again, is oden. Rarely seen outside of Japan, many of the ingredients in this incredible savoury pick ‘n’ mix look almost alien to non-Japanese eyes, and so visitors are often wary of trying it for themselves.

With this in mind, today we’d like to introduce you to a handful of typicaloden ingredients, teaching you their names and telling you a little bit about each of them, so that the next time you pass a food cart or duck into a conbini and get a waft of that unmistakable aroma, you won’t be afraid to order some for yourself.

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Xbox One finally launched in Japan today, but you’d be forgiven for not noticing

Xbox One finally launched in Japan today, but you’d be forgiven for not noticing

Gamers in the West have been barking orders at and toppling Titans on their Xbox One consoles for the best part of a year now, but today marks the first time Japanese consumers can purchase Microsoft’s newest console without importing.

Industry pundits have long speculated that Xbox One may struggle to gain a foothold in Japan due to the comparatively poor sales of its predecessors and Nintendo and Sony’s hold on the territory. We’d like to believe that this new generation of hardware might help shake things up a little, but if the distinct lack of people waiting in line outside Akihabara’s stores early this morning is any indication, the sceptics could well be right.

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Pic of the Week, Round 4: Winner!!

Pic of the Week, Round 4: Winner!!

Ladies and gentlemen of das internets, we have a winner!

This week’s contest was the closest yet, with just one percent of the vote between the photos that claimed first and second place. Our Pic of the Week, plus two honourable mentions, await you after the jump.

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Photo feature: Space Brothers exhibition in Kyoto

Photo feature: Space Brothers exhibition in Kyoto

The Museum of Kyoto is hosting an exhibition for Chūya Koyama‘s Space Brothers franchise until September 23. The exhibit, which takes up two floors of the museum, features more than 200 pieces of original art from the manga as well as story summaries, anime storyboards, information about JAXA and space exploration, models of spacecraft, and of course, a very large inflatable Apo. ANN had a chance to go to the museum and take some pictures of the exhibition.

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It’s time to vote for this week’s Pic of the Week!

It’s time to vote for this week’s Pic of the Week!

It’s Monday evening here in Japan, and that can mean only one thing – it’s time to vote for our Pic of the Week! Join us after the jump for 10 superb photos taken by our very own readers and to vote for the one you think deserves to be crowned Pic of the Week.

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New Sony Cyber-shot: a perfume bottle camera specifically designed for selfies

New Sony Cyber-shot: a perfume bottle camera specifically designed for selfies

Recently, a weekend stroll around Tokyo took me to Roppongi, where I stumbled upon a giant replica of Godzilla, emerging waist-up from the grass next to a busy road. What ended up stopping me in my tracks was not the menacing monster with fluorescent blue spikes but the gaggle of girls running around his waist, holding up strange-looking perfume bottles as if to calm the beast with a spray of Chanel No. 5.

What the fashionable young ladies were actually doing came as a bit of a surprise; they were taking photos of Godzilla with iPhones in cases that resembled perfume bottles. It’s the hot new trend in China at the moment, and from the looks of things, we all might be following them soon as Sony has just released a perfume bottle that’s more than a case - it’s an actual Cyber-shot camera.

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

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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Badass cats blow up the internet, leave adoring humans in their wake

Badass cats blow up the internet, leave adoring humans in their wake

Since the dawn of social media, cute cats and adorable kittens have been getting all the attention online. But what about the cool cats of the feline world? The rebels who walk their own walk and do things their own way, with no regard for consequences?

Finally, there’s a collection that pays homage to the badass cat – the one that tears up your stuff, hangs out with a weird crowd of animals, and gives you the finger while sitting in your favourite chair. These hilarious pictures prove that naughty cats can be just as cute as their goody-two-shoes counterparts.

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Pic of the Week Round 3: WINNER!

Pic of the Week Round 3: WINNER!

Babies and gentlephlegm, noise and churls, it’s time to announce the winner of our weekly photo contest!

This week, we mixed things up a little by asking you, our dear readers, to vote for which of our 10 favourite photos you thought most deserved to be crowned Pic of the Week, and the results are in! Join us after the jump for our overall winner and two very special mentions!

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Philippine netizens do the makeup transformation meme to mixed results

Philippine netizens do the makeup transformation meme to mixed results

Memes tend to come and go (other than the almighty Shibe Doge), sometimes blink-and-you’ll-miss-it fast, so it’s always a little hard to keep track of what’s really popular and cool on the Internet and what isn’t. Right now, the meme of the nanosecond is “Makeup Transformation,” where Net users pose for a few photos in a tiled frame putting makeup on, and are then “miraculously” transformed into a celebrity, or a movie or video game character.

So quick is the turnaround on Internet memes that by the time people in the Philippines caught on to the Makeup Transformation phenom, it was already pretty much played out – despite it only having been in vogue for, like, a day or two in the U.S. For what it’s worth, Philippine netizens are doing a pretty good job of keeping the meme going, despite stupid people like this writer having basically no idea who most of the transformations are supposed to be.

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