Fran W

Fran grew up on a farm in Northumberland, England’s most northern and least populated county. She relocated to Nagoya in 2011 to teach English and find better edamame beans. On arriving in Japan, she enthusiastically abandoned a lifetime of vegetarianism and now spends her weekends on the trail of the perfect miso katsu. When not attempting to sing k-pop at karaoke, Fran can often be found loitering in old camera shops, or on a hike wishing the manual camera in her backpack wasn’t so heavy.

Posted by Fran W

Pokémon Center launches adorable charity goods for Tohoku

Think you have to choose between giving money to charity and buying cool new stuff with your favourite characters printed on them? Think again, my friend! Pokémon will launch a super-cute new line of products on March 8, with all proceeds going to kids affected by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

Like the awesome POKÉMON with YOU train, the bright and cheerful line of products aims to bring smiles to the faces of children affected by the Tohoku disaster.

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Guard your smartphone with a tiny ninja accomplice

Lurking in the shadows is a mysterious figure. He conceals himself behind a giant kite, a flipped tatami mat, or a sliding door. Only his eyes are visible from beneath his dark robes. Yes, it’s a tiny ninja, and with a distinctly modern purpose: to protect your smartphone from would-be assailants!

There are three different warriors to choose from, each using a different ninja art to fend off attacks:

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From hot spring to hot pot: One restaurant in Tokyo is actually serving wild monkey

Imagine yourself sitting down to a delicious warming winter meal. There’s nothing like nabe (Japanese hot pot) on a dark, cold evening. And there are so many choices! Pork, chicken, fish, seafood, monkey… Hang on a second … MONKEY?!

As soon as they heard that monkey hot-pot was on the menu at the Sakagura Niigata restaurant in Tokyo, a reporter from our Japanese sister site headed out to find out if it could possibly be true. Here’s what they found.

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Don’t bother, ladies: Survey reveals most Japanese guys don’t want your Valentine’s chocolate

Valentine’s Day gifts in Japan are usually one-directional, with women giving chocolate to men. You might think the people leading any kind of counter-movement against this would be the girls, fed up with having to buy or make chocolates for everyone in the office. But a new survey shows it’s the guys who are unhappy, with 90 percent saying they don’t care or would rather the girls didn’t bother.

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3D animated gifs will take your brain to another dimension

Animated gifs have been knocking around on the Internet since the early ’90s; it’s about time they had an update, really. Well as luck would have it, these gifs have gone 3D! The effect is achieved by the simple addition of two vertical white lines, meaning you don’t even need your 3D glasses to enjoy them! We take a look at six of the best, as animated gifs leap into the 21st century.

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Chinese company to launch $50 headphones that don’t play music

Back in the early heyday of the iPod, its distinctive white in-ear headphones were blamed for a sharp rise in street robbery in London because they identified the wearer as having a fancy music player valuable enough to be worth stealing. If the newest product released by Shanghai-based company King Jim takes off, though, the next zombie-like commuter you see wearing headphones might not be able to listen to any music at all thanks to Digital Earplugs (Dijitaru Mimisen in Japanese). The new device looks just like regular white headphones, but they’re not for playing your favourite tunes. Quite the opposite, in fact.

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