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Did a Japanese high school student stop 350,000 people from getting home by throwing a bag?

Imagine you’re taking the train home from work at 7 p.m., finally getting to leave after being there for almost twelve hours. You can’t wait to just eat some dinner, relax, and then get some much-needed sleep.

But then bam! The train stops and the electricity goes off. You’re stuck, and you’re not getting home for a long, long time.

That’s exactly what happened on August 4 to many passengers in the Tokyo/Yokohama area. An accident shut down entire lines, affecting over 350,000 people’s commute home.

What caused it, you ask? The answer may be a single high school student and his friend’s bag.

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Cosplaying as an ultra-pale character? Japanese Twitter users have found the perfect product!

It’s no secret that for many people in Japan, paler skin is better. In fact, you’ll often seen women strolling down the street on sunny days with parasols open wide and long sleeves pulled over their forearms. But what about all our cosplay-loving friends who often find themselves standing out in the sun for hours at a time?

Many of them are also trying to replicate the look of characters who may be as white as Casper the Friendly Ghost, but that’s difficult to maintain after roasting all afternoon. And that’s where Oneday Brightening, a cream that does exactly what its name says, comes in. The cream has made a splash online recently with cosplayers posting photos of the difference this product makes!

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Gotta catch em’ all, especially if they’re “Free!”

Birds of a feather flock together, so the saying goes. And that concept applies to non-humans as well; it’s not uncommon for pets and their owners to act, and sometimes even look, somehow similar after spending years together. Even in the super popular anime and game series Pokémon, where the aim of the game is to collect as many pokémon as possible, many of the pokémon trainers in the series use pocket monsters that somehow resemble them.

But what the characters of the anime series Free! were pokémon trainers? Which creatures would they have under their well-toned wings? Find out as this Japanese fan puts her imagination to work in a series of awesome Pokémon x Free! crossover illustrations!

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7 more things foreigners do that Japanese people find amusing

As a foreigner in Japan, have you ever experienced a slightly awkward yet somehow humorous interaction with a Japanese person? Perhaps you were curious to know more about some aspect of Japanese culture and asked someone a rather random question, or conversely, a Japanese person was curious to know something about your culture and came to you for all the answers. Or maybe you were just out on the street and happened to witness an amusing exchange between some natives and the local gaijin.

Last year, we brought you 10 such tales of comical intercultural interactions, and today we’d like to introduce seven more fun, quirky, and interesting anecdotes as shared by Japanese Twitter users about their exchanges with foreigners. Have you ever been in a similar situation to one of these yourself?

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Creative shark exhibit ad for Osaka aquarium goes viral on Twitter

Thanks to movies like Jaws and the rare instances of human shark attacks, most people don’t conjure up images like the friendly-looking guy above when they think about sharks.

To clear up much of the misconceptions and misinformation surrounding these sea creatures, the Discovery Channel began airing a weeklong marathon of shark-based programing, named Shark Week, in 1988. Celebrating over 15 years of annual shark science documentaries and mockumentaries in the summer, it’s gone on to be the longest running cable television event in history.

But this July, after the Discovery Channel finished up its Shark Week marathon in the U.S., Japan soon took up the baton with the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan’s Shark World event that began July 17. In order to attract attention the aquarium has been putting up a number of poster advertisements around stations and on trains, leaving those that spotted the ad feeling consumed by surprise.

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Forget the flowers, these Japanese households are growing potted felines! 【Pics】

Don’t be alarmed if your kids aren’t exactly enthusiastic at your suggestion to grow vegetables in the backyard this summer. After all, why would you grow cabbage or tomatoes when you could just as easily grow a potful of kitties, like these Japanese families are doing?

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Japanese Twitter celebrates new “Muslim Lolita fashion” trend 【Pics】

Japanese culture has spread throughout the world with food, anime, video games, and more. But one region that hasn’t taken in as much of what Japan has to offer as the rest of the world is the Middle East and other Muslim countries.

Until now. Pictures of young Muslim women incorporating Japanese Lolita fashion with their traditional hijab head scarves have been exploding in popularity online. Could this start a new trend toward Muslim idol groups and cosplay conventions?

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Want a souvenir from the ocean? Take part of it home with a realistic resin replica!

We’ve seen some amazing things Japanese artists have created out of resin before, but the one problem with them is just that: they’re too amazing. They’re all miniature masterpieces that you’d be too scared to touch, much less carry around with you.

But now artist and Twitter user @tokibo has come up with a solution: creating beautiful, realistic resin replicas of the ocean that you can put in your pocket to feel like you’re at the beach anytime you want. Skeptical? Take a look at some of the pictures; if they don’t make you feel like you’re in an underwater paradise, then your (unspent) money back!

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Slow news day special: Pigeons who think they’re people spotted in Japanese McDondald’s

Another slow news day, another bird-themed Japanese Twitter picture making the rounds.

To put it lightly, Japan’s major cities have a bit of a pigeon problem. According to Japan’s National Institute for Environmental Studies, the pigeon (or, holy crap, technically the “feral rock dove”), is an invasive species to the Japanese mainland that now inhabits essentially every speck of land, including, even, some distant islands belonging to Japan.

As with invasive pigeons in other cities throughout the world, Japanese pigeons have largely adapted to an urban environment, losing their instinctive fear of humans, nesting in and among buildings and, apparently, even frequenting McDonald’s.

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Conan the Barbarian’s “Wheel of Pain” now available for Japanese toddlers

You might not recognize the name Wheel of Pain, but it’s a TV trope so common you’ve certainly seen it: struggling slaves push a giant capstan around and around under the watchful eye of the slavemaster, who is clearly a capital-b Bad Guy for using such a brutal method of… well, of doing something.

You expect to see the Wheel of Pain in pretty much any historical or fantasy movie with human chattel. You don’t expect to see it in a children’s toy catalog.

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Japanese Twitter users can’t help but respond to suggestive-looking starfish with crude humor

It’s hard being an adult sometimes. Once you become a grown-up, the world starts expecting you to possess a certain level of maturity, which includes things like powering through your Aunt Virginia’s special turnip casserole without gagging, not engaging your Uncle Ted about his uninformed political views on Facebook, or trying not to turn everything you see or hear into something sexually suggestive.

But there are some situations where the lattermost just can’t be avoided. Like when Japanese Twitter user Kojiro decided to take a trip to his local aquarium and came across this curious-looking starfish that, no matter how you look at it, looks like a certain part of the male anatomy. Well, to some dirty-minded folk anyway…

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Cash, chickens, and other bizarre things blown in by the typhoon in Japan

Imagine that a typhoon is raging outside and you’ve just settled in for a nice cup of hot tea, when all of a sudden you hear a smack! on your veranda door. Taking a cautious peek outside, you discover that a plastic chicken has come to visit!

This is just one example of a strange object blown around by the current Typhoon 11 in Japan. Check out some of the other bizarre things that Japanese Twitter users have found outside their homes in this real-life case of cloudy with a chance of meatballs!

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McDonald’s France serving up a McFlurry mess, Japanese customer not impressed

McDonald’s Japan has seen its profits tumble over the last year especially, mostly due to safety concerns after tainted meat was found to be have been used in some of its products. The situation is not nearly as dire over in Europe, but if the following tweet is to believed, it seems McDonald’s staff in France could work on their food presentation skills.

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Popular cosplayer’s school photos reveal amazing transformative powers of cosplay

Over the past just half decade or so, cosplay has gone from being a niche hobby that some people found intolerably nerdy at best (and a sign of social dysfunction at worst), to being not only accepted by most, but even celebrated, with some of the best and most frequent cosplayers even enjoying a sort of minor celebrity status.

Cosplay’s growing popularity no doubt has a lot to do with the ongoing explosion of superhero films and the growing mainstream acceptance of other “nerdy” hobbies like video games, comic books and even anime and manga. Suddenly, the idea of using cosplay to escape your own skin and explore other identities on a regular basis is nearly as socially accepted as donning your Robo Pope costume for Halloween.

And some masterful cosplayers have used the medium to explore such drastically different identities that seeing them sans costume can be a shock, as Japanese Netizens learned recently when a popular cosplayer revealed some old yearbook photos.

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Beautiful, tear-jerking tributes to late Nintendo president Satoru Iwata

As you’ve no doubt heard by now, Nintendo’s president and CEO Satoru Iwata passed away on July 11 at the age of 55. He was much beloved by the public, both for his warm, friendly personality, as well as always being a gamer first and businessman second.

Since Iwata’s death, there has been an outpouring of support from those who have been touched by the games he personally worked on and the projects he oversaw during his lifetime. Many fans have created stunning – and in some cases downright heartbreaking – tributes to Mr. Iwata, and tweeted them to share with others affected by his passing.

Here we have a compilation of some of the tributes we’ve seen, so you can get the same gut-wrenching smiles of sadness from looking at them that we did.

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“What would happen if all Japanese people could speak English?” Net users duke it out

Who doesn’t love debating hypothetical scenarios about the future of a country, especially in the anonymity of the internet?

In fact, a recent Japanese Twitter exchange has led to such an economic debate. One Twitter user with a large following sparked the initial discussion by posing the question “What would happen if everyone in Japan learned how to speak English?” That post has now been retweeted thousands of times, with hundreds of people eager to share their own opinions on the topic.

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These 19 photos of dogs waiting for their owners showcase a range of emotions

A new Twitter trend in Japan has people tagging their tweets with #machibouken (#待ちぼう犬), or “waiting dogs.”

We’ve all seen that familiar sight of a dog tied to railings outside the neighborhood store, waiting patiently for its owner to pick up a few groceries. While some dogs become excited by the constant attention from passersby, others slump into a depression for fear that they’ve been unceremoniously abandoned. The following photos show both ends of that spectrum–and quite honestly, we’d scoop all of these waiting pups up in a heartbeat!

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Mama cat’s breastfeeding pose perfectly encapsulates stress of new motherhood

I don’t have kids myself, but I’m at an age when a lot of people around me are having their first child. Boy, does it look stressful!

Even something as natural as breastfeeding brings up a whole host of worries. Am I making enough milk? Is he latching on correctly? Am I nursing too much? Not enough? Am I eating the right foods? Why won’t he stop crying?!

It’s enough to make a new mother want to cry herself, but perhaps they can find comfort in the idea that maybe other species get overwhelmed too.

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Super cute cosplaying Shiba Inu duo is here to make your day 2x happier! 【Pics】

We’ve heard that too many cooks spoil the broth, but we’ve never heard of anyone complaining about having too many cosplaying dogs, especially not when they’re as adorable as these happy pooches.

Cosplaying Shiba Inu, and there’s two of them to boot. Need we say more? More pictures after the jump!

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First gorillas, now horses – Google Photos app really needs to get its act together

In case you missed it, large news agencies such as The Telegraph reported a few days ago that the new Google Photos application was discovered to have been mislabeling some photos of black people with a “gorilla” tag. Although not quite as racially insensitive as that incident, one Japanese net user also discovered that the software similarly mislabeled his father as an animal–only this time, of the equine variety. 

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