Meg Murphy

Born in the southwest United States, Meg exchanged eternal summers for eternal rain when she relocated to Seattle in 2007. After finishing school, she decided to try and put her degree to good use- coming to Japan in April 2011 with no solid plans, and has been here ever since. An avid traveler and adventurer, always up for a challenge. A vegetarian for most of her life, on a quest to find delicious, non-meaty eats. She'd like to think she's creative and artistic, but that's up for debate. She also enjoys normal people things too, like music, movies, and cats. Because there can never be too many cats in one's life.

All Stories by Meg Murphy

Japanese realtors are reaching out to customers with the most nonsensical ads ever 【Pics】

Moving house in Japan is tough business. Even to find an apartment, you need to go through a real estate agent, and all the upfront fees you have to pay to move in can cost you five times or more what your monthly rent will be.

That’s why choosing a good agency who will work with you to get the best deal is important. But with so many agencies around, how can you choose? Some realtors may offer deals like 50% off their agency fees, but others are taking a more… creative approach to draw in customers, by adding silly, ridiculous, or just plain nonsensical catchphrases on their property ads.

Join us after the jump for such advertising gold as: “You can be a big daddy too” and “Decent of the fashion monster”.

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Now you can be the coolest ninja on the block with these awesome origami shuriken

Origami is known worldwide as the art of paper-folding, and while most people associate it with Japanese culture, it also has history in China and Europe as well. We’re not sure what it is, but there is something strangely satisfying about turning a flat piece of paper into a three-dimensional model resembling anything from flowers to animals to vehicles.

One particularly fun shape to make are ninja throwing-stars, like the ones you see above. If you’re in the mood for some crafts and would like to give it a try, follow us after the jump to get started!

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Kanpai! Japanese sweet sake found to have beauty benefits

It seems like every time you look, there’s some sort of new fad diet or superfood, all purported to be the best thing you can do for your health or to improve your natural beauty. But the good news is, this one’s actually fun to partake in.

Researchers at a university in Japan have now put sweet Japanese sake to the test, and have found it to have a number of positive beauty benefits, including improvement to under-eye health!

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Get a bird on your arm: The classic cuckoo clock will soon be available as a wristwatch

The cuckoo clock has been around for over 100 years, and has been enjoyed by generation after generation. Maybe your grandparents had one, or perhaps you even had one in your own home.

But now, watch maker SeaHope and a Japanese toy company have paired up to bring this classic to a new generation in a more portable size with: the Cuckoo Watch!

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Here are some photos of the cutest kitten ever to help you get to the weekend

Been having a rough week? Need a little pick-me-up to get you through to the weekend? How about some cute kitten pictures? And not pictures of just any little kitten. No no; this one is quite possibly the world’s most adorable kitten ever, sure to pull your heartstrings with its world’s-most-adorable kitten paws.

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When food attacks! Exploding meal causes panic on express train

Imagine you’re heading off on a long day-long trip by train – you’re on your way to visit an old friend or distant relative, or perhaps heading back to school after a visit home over the holidays. You get settled into your seat and enjoy the changing scenery as it passes by your window.

A couple of hours pass, and you decide it’s a good time to start on the lunch you brought with you. But just as you reach out to open it, your lunch box explodes in your face with a loud bang, covering you and your surroundings with its contents.

As random as it may seem, this unexpected turn of events actually happened to a young man in China as he was on the express train heading from Putian to Nanchang. But what would cause his meal to just explode like that?

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A clever new life-hack for selfies? We take a look at the new hands-free method of taking photos

Like them of loathe them, the invention of the selfie-stick has revolutionized how people all over the world are taking photos of themselves. If there is one drawback to this new invention, however, it would have to be that it still requires one hand to hold and snap the photo. But what if you want to strike a cute pose using both of your hands, like throwing up a couple of peace signs or doing cat paws by your face?

Well, a new selfie method has just started showing up, demonstrated by girls posting their photos on the Chinese social networking site Weibo. This might just be the next clever new life hack, but it does require a lot of pedal dexterity!

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Man turns candy boxes into jaw-dropping works of art 【Video】

What most people see as garbage, one man sees as the potential to make something amazing. Most of us just throw out our candy wrappers and boxes, but Japanese Twitter user @d_asuka saves them to make intricately detailed transforming figures that will blow your mind.

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Nintendo reveals plans to partner with Universal to make first Nintendo attractions a reality

Disney lovers have Disneyland, Harry Potter fans got The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and even those who like Hello Kitty and her friends have the Sanrio Puroland.

And now Mario fans have reason to celebrate, as Nintendo has announced its partnership with Universal to bring you the first Nintend0-themed park attractions!

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Watch dad’s hilarious interpretations of Smash Bros characters 【Video】

Nothing can enhance the mood of a party quite like a raring round of Super Smash Bros. The chaos that breaks out in these free-for-all battles is bound to bring out the competitiveness in anyone, and there are dozens of characters to choose from, each with their own unique strengths and special attacks.

Those of you who own the Wii U version of Super Smash Bros have probably seen each character’s own taunting animation, but seeing a grown man perform them is nothing short of magical. While not as synchronized as this little Bruce Lee‘s nunchaku mimicry, this dad’s Smash Bros imitations are arguably better than the actual thing!

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Mizupica, the flashlight that runs on… water?

With recent fears that Japan might be due another sizeable earthquake in the coming months, it’s little wonder that people have been checking that their emergency kits are properly stocked, just in case. Even without these supposed warning signs of an upcoming disaster, in a country like Japan where earthquakes are common, it’s always a smart idea to be prepared and keep an emergency stock of food, water, and other necessities.

A flashlight and spare batteries are often recommended items to keep in an emergency kit, but what if you could have a light source that doesn’t even need batteries? That’s where the Mizupica comes in – a flashlight that can last up to a week on only a small amount of water.

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Animated short sends a strong message about our smartphone addiction 【Video】

How many of you are guilty of walking around outdoors with your eyes glued to your phone as you check your email and social networks? Playing games when you should be focusing in class? What about texting one-handed while driving? For all the positive advancements smartphones have brought to our society, it’s impossible to deny that they’ve also brought with them a slew of new problems.

Students at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts have created a short, satirical cartoon depicting modern society’s smartphone addiction. There is no dialogue, but the video voices its message very clearly.

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What’s the best way to market sea food? Why, dress a mannequin in it, of course!

Advertising is a big part of any business. In order to sell your product, you have to make it look appealing to customers in order to tempt them into making a purchase, and thinking of new, creative ways to advertise your goods can get pretty tricky.

However, we’re quite torn over whether this Seaweed Mandiscovered at a grocery store in China – is a stroke of advertising genius, or just a creepy, half-assed attempt at it.

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Prepare for battle? Colonel Sanders across Japan found decked out in samurai armor 【Photos】

Kentucky Fried Chicken – American fast food chain and purveyor of greasy, finger-lickin’ goodness – has firmly established itself in the Japanese landscape ever since the first store opened in the 1970s, and has been a Christmas-dinner staple in Japanese homes since. At pretty much any location you stop by, Colonel Sanders will be there to greet you in his signature white suit, his plastic-y smile welcoming you inside.

In the past few days, however, Colonels across the nation have been spotted in full samurai garb. What is the meaning of all this? Is KFC about ready to wage a Last Samurai-esque battle of the fast foodies? Unfortunately the truth is not that epic, but all these Samurai Sanders still look pretty cool as they get ready to celebrate the upcoming Japanese holiday Boys’ Day.

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Guests at Taiwanese hotel leave a really crappy surprise for housekeeping 【Video】

When we’re on vacation and staying in a hotel, it’s easy to get lazy and stop cleaning up after ourselves like we normally would in our own homes. We leave the beds unmade, towels and clothes on the floor, empty drink bottles on the bedside table… After all, housekeeping will come and clean everything up for us anyway, right?

But some guests who stayed at a hotel in Taiwan left the room in such a state of disarray that it made local news after photos of the catastrophe were posted of Facebook – poo-stained sheets and all.

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These Japanese cat masks both enchant and terrify

Cats have been our free-willed companions for centuries, even revered as gods in some cultures, and in modern times still have our hearts (and the internet) wrapped around their little kitty toes. But despite their closeness to our hearts, there is still so much about them that remains mysterious, and it is this mystery that captured the imagination of Japanese artist Junko Koguchi as she rendered these gorgeously enchanting cat masks.

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Actress’ incredible swing in new Toyota commercial has people talking 【Video】

In Toyota’s newest commercial, the downtown area of a small city is turned into a massive baseball arena, where manholes are bases, the simple push of a button brings anyone into play, and pretty much anything goes. It’s a really fun watch, to say the least, and has already been viewed over six million times on YouTube.

Being a commercial, obviously most of what you see is fabricated by the film crew and enhanced with “movie magic”, but there is still a lot of raw talent to be seen, most notably from the actress in the final scene, whose killer swing has gotten her a lot of attention.

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Pro announcers have hilarious conversation over unfortunately named sausage snack

I’m sure most of you are aware that Japan is full of awesomely terrible Engrish. Some of it may be cringe-worthy, but the child in us can’t help but snicker as we tell our friends we just had a cup of Calpis, that we bought our new outfit at titty&Co., or spent the evening at Pink Pussy.

However, the humor of such unfortunately-named products, brands and spectacularly named bars is not completely lost upon the Japanese themselves. Take, for example, these two professional announcers, who had a hilarious back-and-forth on Twitter over some Homo Sausage.

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Driver struck by another vehicle in the wrong lane, still ordered to pay 40 million yen

Driving is dangerous business – tons of metal and motors on wheels, whizzing around at high speeds past other vehicles and pedestrians, which is why you never want to throw alcohol into that mix. What a lot of people don’t realize, though, is that driving while you’re sleepy can be just as dangerous as driving drunk. You become less attentive, your reaction time slows, and drowsiness can also affect your decision-making.

Three years ago, a tragic accident occurred in Fukui Prefecture, Japan, in which a sleepy driver drifted into the opposite lane, causing a fatal accident. The case went to court, and the court’s decision was announced last Monday. Many were shocked to hear the results: that the judge placed fault on the driver of the car that was struck, ordering them to pay 40 million yen (over US$336,000) in damages.

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What happens when this adorable Shiba’s travel box gets smaller and smaller? 【Video】

Koharu is a sweet Shiba Inu from Japan who loves going for car rides. She even has a special bed in the back seat of the car where she cozies up for the ride. But what happens when her bed gets smaller and smaller each time she hops in the car, ready to go? We’re sure Koharu will squeeze her way into your heart as she tries to squeeze her way into these bitty boxes!

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