Angelina Lucienne

Angelina has been in love with words since before she could read them, leading her to spend significant amounts of time studying languages (and learning about other cultures). The JET Programme took her to Fukushima Prefecture for two years, where she enjoyed watching rice grow and riding around town on a mamachari. She went home to find herself but came up empty-handed, so she ran off to have adventures in Chungbuk Province in Korea for one year with EPIK and back to Saitama Prefecture for two years to teach English to salarymen and housewives. She has learned as much Japanese from video games, movies and anime as from textbooks. Her hobbies are usually creative or involve reading and she can often be heard laughing loudly at her own jokes.

Posted by Angelina Lucienne

UNICEF produces 4-minute-long song about poop【Video】

The newest song to hit India is about an unprecedented topic: poop. The song was written by Shri, celebrated composer of the promo song for Life of Pi, and the animated video features hordes of poo piles assailing horrified people holding their noses and running for their lives. Now why is UNICEF involved with something that sounds like the plot from a niche B-movie horror flick?

While most people in developed countries take it for granted that they can find a functioning bathroom anytime they need one, that is not true everywhere. In developing countries like India, sanitation has not always kept up with exploding populations. It’s estimated that half the country’s residents defecate in public, leading to a daily addition of 65 million kilograms (71,650 tons) of feces in public places. Almost none of the poorest 20% ever have access to toilets and have no choice but to defecate outdoors.

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Taiwanese student creates incredible art with materials others would throw away【Photos】

Tony Stark is a character whose power comes from his ingenuity in designing and building his Iron Man suits and weapons. And of course having millions of dollars at his disposal helped.

Meet Kai-xiang Xhong, the Tony Stark (sans riches) of cardboard art. Some people might laugh at the phrase “cardboard art,” but this man’s sculptures are so stunning that it’s hard to believe they are made of the same stuff your Amazon purchases arrive in. Take, for instance, the life-size Iron Man suit shown above. (Did we mention it’s wearable? There is a person in that suit, walking around and bending parts without it falling to pieces!)

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NHK has been reporting the wrong weather in Kōchi Prefecture for… four years?!

It was announced on April 13 that the Kōchi NHK station’s weekday evening news has been showing the wrong icons for weather conditions in the corner of the screen for four years. Where the following day’s weather forecast for the eastern region of the prefecture should have appeared, the broadcaster had consistently been displaying the forecast for the western region.

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Japanese constitution nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

The 2014 Nobel Peace Prize has an unprecedented nomination: the Ninth Article of the Japanese constitution. The Ninth Article renounces the right to engage in war or to maintain a military. The group advocating the nomination, the “Constitution’s Ninth Article for the Nobel Peace Prize,” is based in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture.

Housewife Naomi Takusu (37) came up with the idea. She started an online petition last May and garnered 1,500 signatures in just five days. She contacted the Nobel Committee, from whose response she learned that candidates can only be nominated through certain channels and must be individuals or groups. She changed her strategy and tried again for 2014.

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Celebrate Korea’s loneliest holiday with black noodles for one 【Recipe】

Valentine’s Day is known all around the world and many of our readers will be familiar with the East Asian tradition of following it up with White Day. In Japan and Korea, women are expected to give chocolates to the men in their lives, in some cases to every man they know (referred to as giri choco, or “obligatory chocolate” in Japan). White Day arose as a way to balance the inequity (or maybe just to sell more sweets). On March 14th, men are supposed to give sweets to the women they return feelings for. Sadly for the women, they are usually white sweets like marshmallows, hard candies, white chocolate or something else similarly boring. While men are not obligated to give sweets to women they do not have feelings for, they are expected to spend 3-4 times as much as the gift they received was worth.

South Korea has innovated a new holiday along the same theme: Black Day! Black Day falls on April 14th and is celebrated by people who didn’t receive anything for either of the more well-known love-themed holidays. On Black Day, single people all over the country get together to eat a dish of black noodles called jjajangmyeon, which is a well-known Korean comfort food. It consists of noodles in a sauce made of black soybeans with veggies and protein (typically pork or seafood). Similar to curry udon, it’s not incredibly healthy but is extremely satisfying!

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Cosplay fever spreads to Hokkaido, students leave pants at home

Twitter user higedi (Ryūta Kitamura) racked up more than 10,000 retweets with this picture of incoming students who were refused entry to Hokkaido University’s entrance ceremony. The students are generally expected to wear formal clothes for the ceremony, so naturally they got out their best cardboard, body paint, and fundoshi (traditional Japanese underwear). That’s just one more way Ronald McDonald is unsettling.

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U can haz Pokénoms! A how-to guide to cooking your own Pokémon pancakes

The recent news that Denny’s Japan is offering Pikachu pancakes—but only on the kids menu—has some readers, and us too if we’re being honest, pining for Pokémon sweets. While store-bought kits have had less than perfect results, even when they’re for cakes, we are determined to produce cute ones at home!

Thankfully, with this recipe, you can make your own “Peachu” pancakes! Pichu is essentially a baby Pikachu, making it even cuter, right?

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Travel through time from Shibuya

Most Japanese history buffs know that Kyoto is a must-see, but for those who prefer not to be one in a mob of tourists, it’s essential to find the hidden gems like the Kyū Asakura House. It is one of those rare places where you can experience what it may have felt like to live in another era—and this one is in the middle of Tokyo! Because it is relatively small and not too well known, visiting is a peaceful experience.

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Asahi puts a new twist(er) on draft beer

Japan’s most popular alcoholic drink is beer—and now it’s easier than ever to serve perfectly! True to form for a country known for automation, Japanese brewer Asahi has released the Tornado: a machine that automatically fills cups with beer. Rather than pouring, the spigot connects to the bottom of the specially-formed cup, filling it from the bottom up. As it fills, the foam swirls, resembling a—you guessed it—tornado!

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World’s fastest what now?!

Honda UK has attempted to set a new Guinness World Record for speed—but it wasn’t with a car or motorcycle. They have aspired to be the manufacturers of the world’s fastest riding lawn mower!

Last July, the automobile giant announced that they had modified a single model HF2620, which they expected to reach 130 mph (160 km/h). It had also surpassed 100 mph in trial runs, though it’s not official until the Guinness crew is there to verify. On March 6, they met at a test track in Spain to see if it would break the existing record of 87.83 mph, set in May, 2010. And the results were…

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Denny’s Japan introduces PokéNOMNOMNOM

For those of you who worked up an appetite searching the world for pokémon on Google Maps, Denny’s has the perfect snack! As of April 1, the chain’s Japanese restaurants will be offering Pokémon-themed pancakes on their new menu. Pikachu comes with a dollop of vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce, honey, whipped cream, and bite-sized pieces of orange, banana and raspberry.

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