All Stories by Jamie Koide

Famous Japanese wildlife photographer charms cats across the world 【Video】

Mitsuaki Iwago is a notable wildlife photographer, and is the only Japanese photographer to have his work grace the cover of National Geographic more than once.

So far he has journeyed to over nine different countries to photograph cats, and he doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. Iwago believes that by studying cats we can better understand people, and has mentioned his affinity for shooting felines during multiple interviews.

Apparently the cats feel the same way about Mr. Iwago – just check out this footage taken from one of his past adventures!

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Prankster Street Fighters Ryu and Chun-Li take their fighting skills to a new level, literally!

So far we’ve seen depictions of popular video game series Street Fighter through cosplay, in classrooms, and even re-imagined on Sesame Street. But what about getting back to the basics of the game, and honing your fighting skills for when “a new challenger appears”?

YouTube channel fouseyTUBE takes to the streets, or rather some elevators, to do just that. There’s just one catch – that new challenger might be you!
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Beat the heat with Japanese somen noodles dipped in Starbucks noodle sauce?!

For many Japanese, somen is the go to food of choice for keeping the summer heat exhaustion blues away. These thin, white Japanese noodles that resemble vermicelli are traditionally made from wheat flour and served chilled.

But what do you do if a somen craving hits and you don’t have a full serving of mentsuyu, or noodle dipping sauce, on hand to eat them with? What if you’re tired or eating somen the traditional way?  Or what if you’re in need of a little caffeine kick with your meal?

If you answered mix your noodle sauce with Starbucks coffee, congratulations! We’re stumped as to how our Japanese staff arrived at this weird food combination, but apparently it tastes much better than it sounds.

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People in Japan are tearing up over these two cram school commercials【Videos】

Love it or hate it, cram school, or juku in Japanese, is one part of Asian academic culture that looks like it’s here to stay.

Although most cram schools tend to advertise before entrance exam season begins and towards the end of the Japanese school year in March, recently more and more children are starting to attend summer study courses as well.

Gearing up for summer vacation, Waseda Academy put out two promotional commercials highlighting the determination of spirited youth, which have left Japanese viewers so moved they couldn’t help but shed a few tears while watching.

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Mama duck goes shopping with her ducklings, takes over Lawson and Twitter with cuteness

On June 12 Twitter user @radio_skyblue12 tweeted about coming across a family of ducks during a trip to a neighborhood Lawson convenience store, uploading a photo along with the caption: “Look at these unexpected shoppers I ran into! What a surprise.”

This cute family duck photo quickly circulated around the popular social networking site, and became a hot topic among Japanese Twitter users. The post was in turn met with numerous replies, additional sightings, and other duck tales by fellow users, and has since been retweeted over 24,000 times.

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Whimsical Ghibli Studio-style animation appears in bread commercials【Videos】

It’s been almost a year since Studio Ghibli announced it was halting production after director Hayao Miyazaki’s retirement, and also since the studio’s most recent movie, When Marnie Was There, played in theaters. However Yoshiharu Sato, one of the studio’s animators who helped direct and design My Neighbor Totoro and served as a key animator for Porco Rosso and The Secret World of Arriety, has given Ghibli animation fans something to look forward to with his recent work on Francois company’s Slow Bread commercial series.
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Businessman ‘wins’ 4-year battle with Singapore Airlines after being downgraded to economy class

Anyone who is a frequent traveler has probably had their share of ups and downs when flying. But just how far would you go to make an airline pay for a minor inconvenience?

One Mr. GRK Reddy, an Indian businessmen, felt that he was so damaged by Singapore Airlines’ sudden decision to downgrade him from business to economy class back in 2011 that he decided to take legal action against the airline, demanding compensation of approximately US$83,000.

Four years later, Mr Reddy has finally been awarded his compensation, but it’s slightly less than the amount he originally requested…

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Feeling hungry? Dip into this delicious Princess Mononoke-inspired cheese ball recipe

With summer come picnics, potlucks and barbeques, but for those of us who aren’t so handy in the kitchen, it can be a real conundrum trying to come up with a dish that’s simple to make yet tastes great.

If you’re stumped for summertime snack ideas, why not try your hand at this easy-to-make cheeseball recipeShaped like the Forest Spirit from Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke, it not only looks delicious, but is sure to impress any Miyazaki or anime buffs in your circle of friends.

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Move over, Ghostbusters! Help Luigi suck up the supernatural in Luigi’s Mansion Arcade 【Trailer】

As you made have already heard, this year marks the 30th anniversary of Super Mario Bros., and although we’ve seen all sorts of cool Mario collaborations, it was starting to look like Luigi was getting left out of all the action.

Fortunately Luigi fans will have something to look forward to as Capcom and Sega have teamed up create the first arcade version of the Luigi’s Mansion series, simply titled Luigi’s Mansion Arcade.
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Local tourism center in northern Japan makes visitors feel like they’ve crossed over into Korea

“Roadside stations,” or michi no eki, are centers in Japan where you can find local agricultural products and restaurants serving up regional fare. For Japanese drivers, these areas serve as both a local tourism spot and a place to relax.

You can find michi no eki all across the country that provide a peek into local Japanese culture, but one center located in Yamagata Prefecture is rumored to make visitors feel right at home in Korea.

Not knowing if the rumor was true or why, one of our Japanese reporters felt compelled to see the center for himself and embarked on a trip up north that led him to Tozawa Village.

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Japanese netizens approve of Japan Railway’s cool yosakoi dance troupe 【Video】

If you’ve ever visited Japan, surely you’ve ridden on at least one of the many Japan Railway (JR) train lines, where you probably noticed the serious and stoic faces of the company’s conductors and staff. So it might be hard to imagine that JR Kyushu has it’s own very energetic, award-winning yosakoi dance oendan, or cheering squad, that frequently competes in some of the biggest yosakoi traditional dance festivals around the country.

This past weekend the JR Kyushu Oentai performed and won the top prize at the Sapporo YOSAKOI Soran Festival in Hokkaido (Japan’s northern-most island), and as soon as footage and pictures of their performance hit the internet, Japanese netizens were abuzz about just how cool the group looked.

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Horse meat sushi restaurant opens up in Tokyo, becomes sushi’s latest craze 【Photos】

Those of you familiar with Japanese cuisine might have heard that horse meat, called basashi or sakura niku (cherry meat) due to its pink color, is a popular delicacy in Japan. Horse meat has been praised time and time again by many in the country for being low in calories and fat but also high in protein, all on top of a great taste.

Considering the meat’s popularity, and how more and more conveyor belt sushi, or kaitenzushi, restaurants have been adding non-traditional items like hamburger and roast beef sushi to their menus, you could say it was only matter of time before a horse meat option appeared.

Kagurazaka Nikusushi, a new trendy sushi restaurant between Shibuya and Ebisu in Tokyo, is now offering this new sushi sensation, and one of our Japanese writers, P.K., has the scoop!

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Japanese man arrested for pimping out partner to over 150 men

It’s unknown to what extent pornography has had an effect on human sex culture, but as the internet has gotten bigger and society has become somewhat more sexually open, the amount of voyeurs getting their jollies watching videos of other people having sex has also increased. For some couples, that means taking voyeuristic fantasies to the next level by watching their lovers have sex with other people.

The problem? When your partner isn’t a willing participant, as is the case behind the recent arrest of a man in Chiba prefecture facing prostitution charges by police for pimping out the woman he was seeing.

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Tower Records celebrates Super Mario Bros.’ 30th anniversary with cafe and sale

It’s hard to believe it’s been 30 years since Nintendo first unveiled Super Mario Bros. on the original Japanese NES, or Famicon as it’s known in Japan. With over 200 games and counting, Super Mario has become the best selling video game franchise of all time. We’ve seen the video game icon get sucked into the Mushroom Kingdom to save Princess Peach on countless occasions, and become a legendary go-kart racer and sports athlete, as recapped here.

Mario’s been used to sell everything from Mercedes to Converse, and this time, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the industry-changing Super Mario Bros. video game, Tower Records is teaming up with Mario for a special limited edition cafe and summer sale at participating stores.

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Amazon best seller ranking comparison between US and Japan turns up interesting results

They say you can tell a lot about different countries and their people by comparing consumer trends between them. However, a recent comparison between the best selling books on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.jp has both Japanese netizens amused and horrified at the results. Which country is more well-read? We’ll let you be the judge!

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One Piece creator throws VIP party at his place, you’ll never guess who shows up! 【Photos】

By now I think it’s safe to say One Piece is something of a household name, especially for those interested or living in Japan as well as other parts of Asia. Not only has it become the best-selling manga and book in all of Japan, it’s spawned multiple movies, a new theme park, and even a cruise. But what do you know about the man behind all of this success?

We’ve got the scoop on a huge party One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda threw at his house last week, thanks to tweets sent out by a few of the VIPs on the guest list. Apparently even manga geniuses need to let loose every now and then!

Curious to see who was lucky enough to get an invitation? Check out these pictures!
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Watch “Sh*t Koreans Say” for an interesting take on Korean stereotypes about foreigners

In the past we’ve brought you Sh*t Japanese Girls Say and Sh*t My (Japanese) Mom Says, both of which really hit home for me as a former Japanese home-stay student and expat in Japan. Still, I often find myself wondering what life is like for other expats around the world, especially those living in other Asian countries like Korea.

Thanks to Sh*t Koreans Say, the latest addition to the ever popular Sh*t ___ Say meme by Korean Junkies, I feel like I now have a slightly better idea.

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The Ramen Poster, a cute and unique way to show off your love of Japanese cuisine

Who doesn’t love ramen? Not only has this famous Japanese noodle dish won the hearts of many Asian cuisine aficionados, but its instant variety has long been the top pick by college students for satisfying the munchies during late night study binges.

If you, too, consider yourself a ramen lover or know someone who is, we urge you to check out The Ramen Poster by an American artist who has taken her love of hot noodles in broth to the next level.

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Listen to this: Chinese man with unique talent can blow up a swim ring with his ears!

Summer is almost here! For most of us on the north side of the equator, that usually means grabbing your towel, swimsuit, and maybe your swim ring for a trip to the beach. What better way to spent the season than lazily floating along the shore in a rubber tube to stay cool and beat the heat?

The only catch is that sometimes blowing up one of those swim rings can be a serious pain. Not for Tian Pan, a 39-year-old man from Fujian, China, though. Choosing to forgo the traditional method of blowing into the hole on the ring with your mouth, he decided to accomplish the task by blowing it up with his ears instead!

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