As a cat owner, I’m used to having cat hair on absolutely everything. But every so often in amongst the clouds of fur I find a dropped whisker lying alone on the floor, and for some reason it feels wrong to just throw it away. Turns out I’m not alone, and some people go a few steps further when it comes to storing these precious mementos of their feline friends.
As visual media, it’s in the best interest of most anime and manga to be aesthetically pleasing. After all, the warm, fuzzy feeling that comes from looking at something cute or pretty has kept fans coming back to Pokémon and the works of Studio Ghibli for decades. It’s also great for driving merchandise sales. After all, what anime fan wouldn’t sleep tight with a stuffed Pikachu or Totoro to cuddle as they doze off?
On the other hand though, if you’re trying to fight off drowsiness, we recommend decorating your room with a plush toy from the manga series Parasyte, which is so shockingly terrifying you may never close your eyes again.
- Casey Baseel
May 31, 2014
Since most sushi is served raw, the flavor can vary wildly depending on the freshness of the fish and even the season in which you eat it. Granted, most of what’s available in Japan is reasonably tasty, but when all the factors line up just right, the mix of surprise, joy, and satisfaction that come from popping a really good piece of sushi into your mouth can be a borderline emotional experience, almost like falling in love.
If you’re a sushi-loving lady looking to take your relationship with the dish to an even deeper level, there’s now a dating simulator that lets you romance handsome anthropomorphized pieces of sushi.
- Joan Coello
May 30, 2014
A couple of months ago, an ingenious cosplayer intrigued the internet with photos of his impressive low-cost looks created using nothing but kitchen utensils, toilet rolls and large helping of imagination, enabling him to look remarkably like Disney princesses, Harry Potter and more.
Just last month we discovered the creative genius pictured above, this time in China. Though her forte is not in replicating the looks of famous characters, this fashion designer-wannabe has shown extraordinary imagination and creativity in the items she creates out of plastic bags, cardboard, vegetables, and even seafood. Now, the fashion fairy is back, and she has even more funky photos to show off!
One day back in college, I was shopping for some clothes in Yamaguchi. I found a shirt that fit just right, but when I took it off and looked at the tag, I was surprised to see the size listed as “LA.” Curious, I asked the salesperson what it meant, and was told it was an abbreviation for “large athletic,” meaning it was cut for a person with large shoulders and a slim waist.
I’m not sure how much of that was really reflected in the design, but the unexpected written compliment put me in such a good mood I bought the shirt right away, and still have it to this day.
Of course, this sort of psychology can cut both ways, and I’m not sure how one Japanese clothing manufacturer expects to drum up sales by calling out its larger customers in the least delicate way.
- Casey Baseel
May 29, 2014
For the most part, guys hitting on girls isn’t really a part of Japanese culture. Thankfully, there are a number of social institutions that take its place, such as frequent student mixers, company drinking parties, and singles’ dinners organized by groups of friends with an exactly equal number of unattached men and women present.
All of this largely circumvents the need for a guy to go up to a girl that catches his eye in a book store or coffee shop with nothing more than a smile and a hello. It also means that if a man is out and about and spots an attractive woman, if there’s no one to give him a formal introduction, a glance at her pretty face, and maybe a moment where her eyes meet his, is about all that he can ever hope to take away from the encounter.
For some guys, though, that’s enough, and for them, there’s a new website featuring nothing but short videos of cute girls walking past you.
- Casey Baseel
May 29, 2014
I’m fortunate in that my wife and I have fairly similar tastes in movies and TV shows. We both agree that Modern Family is funny, seeing the Hulk beat up Loki in The Avengers is deeply satisfying, and that the anime Escaflowne is an extremely compelling take on the standard plotline of “boy meets girl, girl falls in love with other boy, and by the way both boys pilot giant robots.”
At the same time, we’re also mature enough to respect each other’s opinions when they do diverge. Unfortunately, not all spouses can agree to disagree when it comes to entertainment, as is the case with the woman in Japan who’s looking for a divorce because her husband isn’t a fan of Disney’s Frozen.
May 27, 2014
I have a little game I sometimes like to play where I compare Japanese people I see on the street with American celebrities and friends. I once had a Japanese acquaintance who was a dead ringer for Nathan Lane, for example, and a popular Japanese comedian reminds me a whole lot of a childhood friend.
Of course, it’s not like these guys were going out of their way to look like Westerners; they just happened to have similar features. But there’s a whole other class of Japanese, Koreans and other East Asians that spend an exorbitant amount of time and money trying to get that Hollywood look – from wardrobe changes to hair dying, even skin bleaching and plastic surgery.
Results are typically mixed, but one South Korean woman apparently hit the jackpot in her quest to look like Australian model Miranda Kerr – because, after numerous plastic surgeries, she’s pretty well on her way to looking like Kerr’s long-lost twin.
In general, men have a very simple formula they use when determining how much female skin they like to see on display: the more, the better. This of course leads to the corollary, even more skin = even better.
One notable exception to this, however, is Japan’s love of knee-high socks, which leave a small patch of skin on display them and the hem of the skirt. Known as zettai ryouiki, or “absolute territory,” it’s become such a cultural phenomenon that it’s led to the creation of a smartphone game and not one, but two special days celebrating the look.
Now, one Twitter user in Japan claims to have discovered the male version of zettai ryouiki.
We love all of the unofficial holidays in Japan. From Fundoshi (also known as Japanese loincloth) Day to Cat Day, people all over the country have special events (and discounts) to look forward to all year round.
But May 23 marked Kiss Day in Japan and netizens all over the country celebrated the seemingly romantic occasion with some decidedly strange drawings in a bizarre illustration battle on Twitter.
- Casey Baseel
May 23, 2014
Japan’s desire to look at attractive women is more or less insatiable. Despite having sizable swimsuit modeling, adult video, and animated pornography industries, the country still finds itself with not enough eye candy.
So now, model maker Kotobukiya has gone looking for female beauty in the most unlikely of places, by turning the iconic villains of slasher movies franchises Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street into sexy girls.
An Indian friend once told me that India is a country where “third world” and “first world” meet. You’ve got places that can generally be described by Westerners as “everyday,” and places that are a little more, er… interesting.
In many rural and poor areas – just like in parts of the U.S. – India sees a lot more jury rigging, improvisation, and otherwise unorthodox sights that are reminiscent of one of those “In Russia, hamburger eat you,” memes.
So, in no particular order, here are twenty photos we picked up on the Interwebs that supposedly describe India in a nutshell. Certainly, there’s a lot of cherry picking going on here, so take these pics with a grain of salt. Not all of India is like this. But, to be fair, “20 photos of regular Indian people enjoying brunch” would probably make for a much less interesting compilation.
Funny things, names. In Japan, I am lucky enough to share mine with a delicious kind of stick-chocolate treat, which not only means that I can introduce myself as such: “Fran – you know, like Pocky, but not as cheap”, but also means that I often get given chocolates with my name on the packet, which I can confirm is something of a win-win situation.
My family name, however, is a terrifying mix of Rs, Ls, Ys and Ws that tends to provoke confusion and mild panic here in Japan. I have a good stock line for accurately communicating its spelling and pronunciation in the UK (“Wrigley, like the chewing gum”), and another one for Americans and/or baseball fans (“like Wrigley Field”). I’ve never come up with a good line to use on Japanese people, though, except to awkwardly mutter “um… yeah, sorry, it’s kind of a difficult name. Don’t worry, people in England can’t pronounce it either.”
But what if your name means something embarrassing or just downright odd in another language? Today, we bring you five kinds of Japanese names that make English speakers do a double-take, or a little snort into their coffee.
If you’re tired of lace-up sneakers and boring fluffy house slippers, there’s a new type of footwear that’s sure to shake up the shoe industry. Inspired by 1960s house party cuisine, Fondue Slippers are a thin replica of your foot that combines the satisfaction of not wearing shoes with all the fun of melted cheese. They’re kind of like those barefoot running shoes, just without all the false health benefit claims and they’re coming to you straight from (of course) Japan.
- Casey Baseel
May 20, 2014
In Japanese schools, it’s customary for the students to start the day with a formal greeting. The teacher walks in, the students stand, bow, and say good-morning. It’s a fairly somber ritual, in keeping with the general attitude in the country that education is serious business.
One elementary school, though, does things a little differently, with a morning greeting that’s packed with more energy than most people show all day.
Most couples would jump at the chance to have a free professional portrait taken, but what if the price for the picture was being put in a vacuum-sealed bag by someone you just met in a bar?
Seems like that would be a hard sell, but apparently Haruhiko Kawaguchi, otherwise known as Photographer Hal, has a way with words, because he’s photographed hundreds of strangers sealed in plastic on his search to capture the greatest theme in human life: love.
When you think about fashion, there’s a good chance that the first place you think of is Paris–and with good reason! France is certainly one of the leading fashion centers in the world, but Tokyo isn’t far behind. Though it may not be at the very top of the list of fashion cities, we’d reckon that the Japanese metropolis is at least in the top ten. So, it’s hardly any surprise at all that Hermès, one of France’s most celebrated fashion companies, has over ten locations in Tokyo proper alone, with a few more in Narita and Haneda airports as well.
Of course, high fashion is an art form, so it’s only fitting that Hermès stores also feature eye-catching displays to match their mesmerizing goods. But we think they might have gotten a bit too eye-catching with a few of these showcases…
- Philip Kendall
May 17, 2014
Cat owners concerned that they might suddenly forget the existence of their pet or who wish to gross out potential lovers may be pleased to hear of the arrival of two new products on Amazon Japan. The “Cat Whisker Case” and “Cat Milk Tooth Case“, which retail for 1,580 yen (US$16) each, are the perfect way to commemorate your pet’s growth into adulthood and treat them as a true member of the family.
That’s right, you too can have a small box full of cat teeth or whiskers on your dressing table or mantlepiece, just waiting for some hapless visitor to stumble upon before suddenly remembering that they’ve left the oven on at home and have to leave.
Aside from tasting great, ice cream conjures up all sorts of happy mental images. While it’s pleasing your taste buds, the frozen treat can bring back reminiscences of childhood family outings or innocent high school dates in the park.
Or, in the case of one brand of ice cream from Shikoku, sucking on some boobs.
- How to properly pronounce “Ghibli” and other fun trivia about the legendary animation studio1
- Basement Jaxx’s bizarre Japan-based music video freaks us out, makes us want to dance2
- Some flights are more cramped than others – 29 sumo wrestlers pack into one tiny plane3
- “I know how it’s done!”: Japanese TV guest learns what not to say to a magician on live TV【Video】4
- Amazing Game Boy smartphone wallpaper brings out the Nintendo fanboy in us all5
- McDonald’s Japan just released Tofu Nuggets, and they taste… 【Taste Test】6
- Pikachus overrunning Yokohama in the cutest rodent invasion ever 【Video】7
- Hairy armpit selfies have invaded China’s biggest social networking platform【Photos】8
- Live-action Attack on Titan confirmed for 2 films9
- Mysterious fire materializes inside Saitama train station on Tuesday10
- Little kid causes a stink after parents tell him to poop in his seat during Delta Airlines flight1
- 16-year-old girl arrested for beheading classmate in Japan’s Nagasaki Prefecture2
- This watermelon might be the most disappointing thing you see today3
- Gamer discovers his deceased father’s ghost on an old Xbox game, challenges it to a race4
- Internet survey sheds light on how Japanese women deal with the hair ‘down there’5
- Vietnamese man, angry at wife, hatches bizarre revenge scheme: Cut off his own penis6
- Pikachus overrunning Yokohama in the cutest rodent invasion ever 【Video】7
- What turned Tokyo Disneyland into the Loneliest Place on Earth last weekend?8
- Hairy armpit selfies have invaded China’s biggest social networking platform【Photos】9
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker10
- Nailed it! The shape of your nails may reveal the type of person you are!1
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker2
- Life’s not perfect? Says who? This woman’s life is too perfect to be true!3
- Japanese politician screams and cries at press conference as he defends expenses claims【Video】4
- Japan’s Glico lets snackers turn their empty boxes into augmented reality sets for Doraemon!5
- “Retweet if you thought I was a girl”: This beautiful young man, in his own words【Photos】6
- Little kid causes a stink after parents tell him to poop in his seat during Delta Airlines flight7
- Japanese giant salamander caught taking a stroll on land8
- German team hero Mario Gotze wins World Cup, later loses dignity thanks to gross pic9
- These anime mascots are just what the World Cup has been missing!10
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker1
- Nailed it! The shape of your nails may reveal the type of person you are!2
- Samurai in Brazil shows off incredible freestyle football skills ahead of World Cup3
- Doggy gets upset over his new haircut, walks around on hind legs like a boss for two days4
- Russian crocodile hospitalized after woman falls on it5
- Internet falls in love with Chinese cosplaying beauty, disappointed to hear she’s a guy 【Updated】6
- Not your average Bulbasaur: Mayan-style Pokemon7
- Chinese student asks for cooked sushi at Sukibayashi Jiro, gets flamed by Chinese netizens8
- The official Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist trailer just made our day【Video】9
- This amazing water cake just may be the most delicate sweet ever created!10
- McDonald’s Japan just released Tofu Nuggets, and they taste… 【Taste Test】
- Pikachus overrunning Yokohama in the cutest rodent invasion ever 【Video】
- Hairy armpit selfies have invaded China’s biggest social networking platform【Photos】
- Live-action Attack on Titan confirmed for 2 films
- Mysterious fire materializes inside Saitama train station on Tuesday
- Artist paints Totoro, classic Japanese artwork, and more, all on pregnant women’s stomachs
- New video from Wagakki Band “Hanabi” is an original, awesome song【J-Tunes】
- Japanese deodorant sheets for ladies smell so nice some guys don’t need the actual girl
- 16-year-old girl arrested for beheading classmate in Japan’s Nagasaki Prefecture
- From Sailor Moon to Freddy Krueger – The lovely cosplayers of Wonder Festival
- Want a bit of One Piece magic? This real-looking Devil Fruit is sure to set the right mood!
- The top 20 most eagerly anticipated anime of summer 2014, as chosen by fans!
- That awkward moment when your phone rings on live TV… and then you make it worse 【Video】