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

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!

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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Google Maps Offers Rare Look Inside Abandoned Fukushima Town

Google Maps Offers Rare Look Inside Abandoned Fukushima Town

Google Japan has announced that it is now possible for Google Maps users to access street view images of Namie, a coastal town in Fukushima that was severely affected by the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami before being completely evacuated when the nearby Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant went critical.

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Pensioner Dies After Being Denied Treatment at 25 Different Hospitals

Pensioner Dies After Being Denied Treatment at 25 Different Hospitals

A 75-year-old man from Saitama Prefecture, Japan, has died after being refused treatment as many as 36 times at 25 different hospitals in an around the prefecture, Japanese website The Mainichi has revealed.

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Woman Despairs Over the Size of Her Son’s Penis, Drowns Him in the Bath

Woman Despairs Over the Size of Her Son’s Penis, Drowns Him in the Bath

In by far the saddest news story of the day so far, a 38-year-old Indonesian woman has been arrested after drowning her son in the family bathtub, giving the reason that his penis was “too small” for him to possibly enjoy a happy life.

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Student Misses Out on School Trip After Teacher Misplaces Passport

Student Misses Out on School Trip After Teacher Misplaces Passport

If there were ever a reason to hold a grudge against your homeroom teacher, losing your passport right before the big school trip aboard and forcing you to stay behind and study would be a good one.

On the lead-up to their school trip, a high school teacher in Saitama Prefecture, Japan, collected his 28 homeroom students’ passports for safe-keeping and to ensure their smooth check in at the airport on the day of their departure. When the time came to make final preparations for leaving, however, he discovered that one unfortunate student’s passport was missing…

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Sad Tweet from Sharp Galapagos Touches Japanese Twitterverse

Sad Tweet from Sharp Galapagos Touches Japanese Twitterverse

Official corporate Twitter feeds are generally boring affairs.  Unless you’re really into the product or service mentioned and need to know immediately when something new happens there’s not much entertainment in them – certainly not anything that would move you.

So Japanese Twitter users were taken aback by a surprisingly heartfelt and candid tweet from the official account of Sharp’s line of computer tablets Galapagos.  The tweet was a lament over recent downsizing in part due to the poor sales and economy.

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