sad

A surprising number of Japanese youth get most of their income from their parents

The world economy has taken a pretty big hit since 2007, and every country is doing what it can to recover. Some have been able to do better than others, but for most people, they haven’t gotten back to pre-crash numbers, whatever that may be.

While unemployment numbers have steadily decreased in the US, Japan has its own unique set of economic problems to deal with. With an unemployment rate sitting at 3.6 percent as of September 2014, an entirely different sort of problem is rearing its ugly head here. How can a low unemployment rate cause problems? For that answer, we have to turn to the parents.

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Shocking, snowy commercial is the saddest ad we’ve seen this fall

Last year, we found terror in an unlikely place: a tire commercial. Wheel and tire retailer Autoway, in an effort to remind us all about changing to winter tires before driving down snowy roads, reminded us all that “Winter roads are scary,” especially when they’re haunted.

Now, Autoway is back with a new ad, and while it doesn’t deliver the fright of last year’s video, it’s no less shocking.

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Does this video about an abandoned dog leave you wiping your eyes or shaking your fist?

Generally speaking, I’m not the biggest fan of abstract personality tests. Every now and again, though, something comes around that really seems to shed light on how an individual’s mind works.

For example, if you’re extremely pure-hearted, you might see this short video of a dog reminiscing about the happy days with his former owners as a moving, even tear-jerking story. On the other hand, if you’re a bit more cynical or strict in personality, it might make you want to punch your monitor.

So which camp do you fall into? Read on and see.

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Legendary anime voice actor Iemasu Kayumi passes away at 80

If you’re into anime – like really into anime – you’re almost certainly watching your favorites in their original Japanese rather than dubbed in English. In which case, we have some sad news for you: Legendary voice actor Iemasu Kayumi, responsible for lending the charm and gravitas to many of the most memorable characters both in anime’s 80s and 90s heyday and in more modern works – has passed away at the age of 80.

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A sad turn of events at a butterfly exhibition in China

The beautiful butterfly, nature’s own lesson about the cycle of life. What starts as a lowly caterpillar, given enough time, transforms into a majestic winged beauty. Everyone loves the butterfly, as they flutter through the air, their brightly colored wings are a feast for the eyes. Which is why it’s so disheartening to hear of a butterfly exhibition going horribly wrong in China.

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Dear Hikers: Stop pooping on Mt. Fuji if you want it to keep its UNESCO status

There are a few things people hope to find while hiking to the top of Mt. Fuji. Almost everyone looks forward to the breathtaking vistas. Others hope for the added bonus of comradery with their fellow hikers. Some may even expect to gain some insight into the Japanese spirit or national character by reaching the country’s highest peak.

But you know what no one goes to Mt. Fuji for an eyeful of? Feces. Unfortunately, visitors are becoming more and more likely to run across a pile of poo on the mountain, and that’s not only costing Mt. Fuji some of its cultural luster, it might also mean the end of its UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

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Kanji fail – Even Japanese people don’t know the true meaning of this term!

In Japan, the start of the calendar year for schools and jobs is around April 1, so right now is an extremely important time for soon-to-be graduates to get out in the world and present their skill set to the multitude of companies. Students are scouring the “For Hire” magazines and attending as many job fairs as they can. For many job hunters, it is extremely important to do their research into the companies they want to work for. They will analyze every detail for the companies such as working hours, number of vacation days, and days off in a week.

Much to the surprise of these job hunters, they’ve been interpreting a set of kanji for “days off in a week” completely incorrectly. If it wasn’t for a train advertisement from a job website, some fresh new workers would have been in for a nasty surprise.

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Hiroshima begins recovery projects following tragic, deadly landslides

In the early hours of the morning on August 20, Hiroshima City was hit by severe thunderstorms. As the downpour continued, the ground gave way in the Asanami and Asakita Wards, triggering landslides that have caused the deaths of dozens of residents.

With the storm finally passed and clean-up projects beginning, we visited the disaster site where we saw just how long the road to recovery is going to be.

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Fear Factor meets Next Top Model in China’s modeling competition extravaganza

Modeling is a tough business. You need the body, the face, and perhaps the most difficult thing to achieve: the walk. All the top models must combine these three components perfectly. In an industry that is so difficult to break into, a reality TV competition where the winners are whisked off to Italy for a potential professional modeling career could be just the chance an aspiring model is looking for! But these contestants will have to show off more than just their good looks to win this competition. What do these model wannabes have to do to prove their worth for this Chinese TV show? It might just bug some people.

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Beautiful 400-year-old garden in Okayama about to be replaced with condominium complex

Japan loves to devise top three lists, and Okayama City’s Korakuen is held to be one of the country’s three best gardens. Anyone who’s visited will tell you that it’s indeed beautiful, but Korakuen isn’t the city’s only garden, or even its oldest.

Okayama is also where you’ll find Tokoen, a garden with a history that stretches back to the early days of Japan’s feudal Edo era. Tranquil and easily accessed by public transportation, Tokoen would make an ideal spot for history buffs and nature lovers looking for a less crowded, quieter urban oasis than Korakuen.

Sadly, though, after roughly four centuries, Tokoen has closed down, and is soon likely to be demolished and replaced with a condominium complex.

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First Santa, now this?! Heartbreaking photo of garbage truck debunks “Teddy Bears’ Picnic” myth

“Every time a child throws away a teddy bear, an angel molests a kitten.” Ok, I don’t know if there’s any truth to that, but we do know one dismal fact: reliable sources confirmed, once and for all, that not every bear that ever there was gets to gather for their picnic. On the bright and cruelly sunny morning of June 24, a vigilant Twitterer in Japan happened to take this arresting photo of a dejected teddy bear, being carried away to its fate by a waste management truck.

But dry your eyes, gentle readers, because a fellow Twitterer’s comment may offer a glimmer of hope!

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10-year-old letter arrives from daughter lost to tsunami (you might need tissues for this)

‘I wonder if you’ll have a grandchild when you get this letter?’  These are the words written by a woman 10 years ago, before she lost her life in the March 2011 tsunami. Her mother and father were shocked to find the letter containing them arrive in the mail this January. While there was no Hollywood movie ending where their beloved daughter turned up alive and well, the letter has at least given them a chance to hear some of the things she never had the chance to tell them in life.

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Seoul anti-suicide initiative backfires, deaths increase by more than six times

Like many of the world’s largest and oldest metropolises, Seoul owes part of its development to its location on the banks of a river. In the case of the Korean capital, being situated along the Han River contributed to the flow of goods and resources necessary for a large community centuries before the development of trains or automobiles.

The Han River still flows through Seoul today, where the body of water is crossed by the Mapo Bridge. But while the bridge was built with the purpose of serving as a transit artery, it’s also been darkly co-opted by those looking for a place to end their own lives, and the site sees more suicides than almost any other in Korea. Unfortunately, a public service campaign looking to reverse the tragic trend has had the opposite effect, with suicides at Mapo Bridge increasing more than sixfold since the campaign began.

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Girl who lost father in last year’s deadly Hokkaido blizzard pens heart-wrenching thank-you letter

While Tokyo’s recent blizzard showed us the lighter side of natural disasters with amusing snow sculptures and insane images of overly panicked urbanites, these kind of storms have the potential to be very deadly and serious if you are caught outside. Last March, a violent storm hit the northeast part of Hokkaido and took the lives of nine people.

One of the most tragic stories to come out of this storm was a young girl who lost her father after he used his own body to protect her from the freezing temperatures and strong winds. On the one-year anniversary of the tragedy, the girl asked one of Japan’s biggest newspapers, the Yomiuri Shimbun, to publish a heart-breaking letter thanking the country for the huge outpouring of support over the past year.

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Autopsy of deer in a Chinese zoo reveals startling cause of death

While the silly news last year about a Chinese zoo trying to pass a dog for a lion made headlines around the world, the story this time is a lot more disturbing. A zoo in Xiamen (also known as Amoy) on the southeast coast of China reported earlier this week that one of its male fallow deer had suddenly died. As if its death wasn’t already tragic enough, upon conducting an autopsy, workers were surprised to discover the unexpected cause of death, something that could easily have been prevented. Keep reading to learn the unfortunate details.

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Intel’s surprising new commercial hits us right in the feels – we dare you not to cry

For a company that deals solely with all things cold, technical and inorganic, it turns out that computer chip maker Intel actually has a surprisingly soft, feeling heart. In what we can only describe as a genuine tear-jerker of a commercial, Intel Japan tells the tale of a young boy dealing with the loss not of his favourite laptop, tablet or gaming rig, but of his best friend–to cancer.

You might want to get the tissues ready for this one!

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A mother’s cell phone: Probably the most moving story you’ll read today

Filial piety isn’t just an empty phrase–it’s a very important cultural concept throughout Asia and, if we’re being honest with ourselves, the rest of the world. While not all of us have the best relationships with our parents, most of us would probably admit, under pain of torture if nothing else, that we do love them. Even with all the embarrassment they put us through in our teens!

While most of our readers are still young enough that your parents are likely still healthy and spry, it’s never too early to take some time to stop and appreciate them and everything they do. If you’re thinking we’re being melodramatic, then we’d challenge you to take a look at this incredibly moving story…

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Behold: the saddest Christmas tree in all of Japan

Lonely this Christmas? Shiga Prefecture’s Pieri Moriyama shopping mall most certainly is.

Although technically still operating, the once thriving shopping centre is now home to just 14 stores after the local economy took a nosedive and businesses started pulling out in their droves. In the spirit of Christmas, however, the mall’s operators evidently decided to pop a tree up for visitors to enjoy. But as this Twitter user’s photo shows, when surrounded by naught but vast expanses of nice shiny floor, this tiny tree is possibly the loneliest Christmas ornament we’ve ever seen.

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Here’s your heart-breaking short story of the day, written on a 1,000 yen bill

Perhaps one of the saddest things ever written is Hemingway’s famous six-word story: “For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.” Though short in the extreme, it’s amazing how much emotion and information can be packed into six small words. Of course, Hemingway isn’t the only writer known for brevity, and the last 1,300 years of Japanese poetry have been full of brief but beautiful and poignant verses. But when it comes to terse (some might say inelegant) narrative, Hemingway was certainly a master.

However, we may have found someone who’s outdone the old drunkard! Too bad this one seems inspired by utterly real events…

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Giant rubber duck bursts at an art festival in Taiwan

The world’s favorite giant rubber duck was reported to have burst while making its stop at Taoyuan, Taiwan. The cause of this unfortunate accident is, it seems, a case of failure to adapt to its new surroundings.

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