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.

Posted by Meg Murphy

Some snuggly bunnies to warm your heart and soul this winter【Video】

As much as I hate being cold, I love the wintertime. There’s nothing better than coming home after being out on a blustery day to sit down under the kotatsu (those wonderful creations – low, Japanese tables fitted with a blanket and a heater underneath) and curl up with mounds of blankets and a hot cup of tea.

While rabbits can’t really curl up under a kotatsu with a cup of tea (though I’m sure they would if they were offered!), they certainly have their own way of weathering the winter chill, and these particular bunnies at a park in Japan’s Kanagawa Prefecture are warming the hearts of park-goers in the process.

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Japanese netizens react to other countries’ harsh punishments for drunk driving

Driving drunk is a serious matter, and no matter what country you’re in, you can be sure to expect serious consequences should you decide to take the wheel after a drink too many – or in some countries after even a single sip.

However, a photo of this chart detailing punishments by country for drunk driving, posted by Twitter user @luckyseven43, has Japanese net users discussing whether some of these punishments – like the death penalty for a first offense – are too harsh.

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Baby-daddy drama: Pair of twins in China found to have different fathers

Twins, triplets, and even more multiple births are a natural occurrence, made even more common in recent years thanks to the increasing use of fertility drugs. While I’m sure we can all think of a couple of famous identical twins, not all multiples look alike – some can even be different genders – but it’s generally expected that both (or all) of the children have the same parents. But as one daddy in China is finding out, this isn’t always the case!

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It’s the year of the sheep-dog! Introducing new clothes for your dog’s wardrobe

We have bid farewell to the year of the horse, and welcomed in the Year of the Sheep. New Year’s decorations, greeting cards, and the like are all adorned with more sweet, fluffy little lambs than you could shake one of their tails at. It almost makes you want to get an adorable little baby fleecey bundle for your own. I mean, sheep are allowed in apartments, right? Right!?

Or maybe it would just be easier to transform your dog into a sheep for the New Year instead!

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Tough lesson learned: Snowboarders safely rescued after getting lost on mountain for two days

Japan takes a lot of pride in its four distinct seasons, and everyone seems to enjoy all the changes that each new time of year brings. With winter, you’ll see people setting up their kotatsu tables at home to keep warm, convenience stores starting to sell delicious hot bowls of oden, and what seems to be just about everyone in the country gearing up to hit the slopes. With mountainous regions throughout Japan, and travel companies offering super cheap ski-tour packages, it’s hard to ignore the call to pack up your board or skis and head for the powdery slopes.

A fun weekend at the Kagura Ski Resort in Niigata Prefecture is probably what 45-year-old Koju Neriko, his wife, and their friend had in mind when they set out with their snowboards last Friday, only to become terribly lost on the blustering mountain for two days.

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Schoolboy offers elderly man seat on train, gets publicly berated for doing just that

Japanese people have a reputation for being polite and well-mannered, so the frequent sight of so many people, rather than giving up their seat as they should, suddenly becoming engrossed in their smartphones or pretending to sleep when a pregnant woman or elderly person boards always comes as a bit of a surprise to me.

Of course, there are still plenty of kind and courteous people who offer up their seat without fail. On such occasions, the elderly passenger will often decline the offer, either because they will be getting off in a couple stops, or because despite appearances they still feel young and genki enough to stand for the journey. One elderly man in particular, though, took offense at a young boy who kindly offered up his seat recently.

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Town in Hiroshima now offering exciting… snow-shovelling tours?

To someone raised in an area that receives little to no snow in the wintertime, living in a snowy region might seem like a lot of fun, what with all the sledding, snowball fights, and easy access to ski resorts. But it’s not all fun and games when you need to shovel through feet of snow just to leave your house or to get your car out of your driveway.

But maybe to someone who hasn’t grown up having to shovel heaps of snow each winter, snow-shoveling could be a fun experience too. At least, that’s what the Akiota-cho Sightseeing Association in Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan, seems to be hoping as they try to lure city-dwellers to their 4th annual “Heavy Snow Region Experience Tour“. However, this tour has some net-users questioning why anyone would want to pay 5,000 yen (approximately US$50) to shovel snow for someone else.

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Complaints lead to talks about whether noise from schools should be regulated

With Japan trying to figure out how to handle its issue of a declining population (predicted to decrease by one-third over the next half century if the current trend in birth rates continues), the country has been working to raise awareness of the problem and implement more resources for children and parents.

However, with a recent increase of new day cares, preschools, and kindergartens, there has also been an increase of complaints about noise, particularly from elderly residents.

Some of these cases have even gone to court, and have resulted in some schools having to restrict outdoor playtime for the children and keep their curtains closed.

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Seaweed and soy beans and mushrooms, oh my! New Japanese-style bagels coming soon

Mm, bagels. The quintessential morning staple, best hot and crunchy out of the toaster with a generous slathering of cream cheese and a nice hot cuppa.

Thankfully Japan is no stranger to these bread-y rings of goodness, so it isn’t difficult to get one’s bagel fix should the craving strike. The well-known chain BAGEL & BAGEL has been serving up the good stuff since their first store opened in Shinjuku in 1997, and now has about 70 locations open throughout Japan.

While foreign cuisine can be found in abundance here nowadays, from pizza and pasta to Indian curry and naan, creative chefs in Japan will often take these foods and make it uniquely their own. (Potato-and-mayo pizza, anyone?) Bagels are no exception, and starting December 26, BAGEL & BAGEL will be rolling out a line of very Japanese-style bagels, including such “Wa” (Japanese) ingredients as seaweed and edamame.

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New app allows commuters to share info on train delays through Twitter

While trains in Japan are revered for their reliability and punctuality, sometimes the inevitable happens, and services become delayed. If you are one of the hundreds of thousands in Japan who depend on the trains to get you to and from work each day, it can really put a damper on things to arrive at the station and find your platform crowded with other commuters, expecting a long wait.

If you had known about the delay beforehand, you could’ve planned a different route, or if that’s not an option, you could have stopped somewhere for some coffee to kill the time. It would be great if there was an app for that, you think.

Well, lucky for you there is!

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Giving basketball a bit of yin-yang: Chinese martial artist’s amazing performance 【Video】

What happens when you combine the moves of traditional Chinese martial arts with the modern sport of basketball? A whole lot of awesome, that’s what.

A particular group of basketball freestylers have been making waves recently with a video of their impressive tai chi-basketball infusion.

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Rubbernecking gone too far? Net users react to crowds taking pics of train hit by suicide jumper

Picture the scene: You’re out late one night, waiting to catch your train home. Finally it rolls up to the platform, its front window caved in, cracks spider-webbing through the glass. That’s when you hear the announcement: due to a human-involved accident, operations have been suspended.

You know what’s happened. But how do you react? Do you gape in shock? Do you find it too upsetting to even look at and avert your eyes?

Or maybe you whip out that phone of yours to snap a picture, just like this group of onlookers at Shinjuku Station in Tokyo.

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