The future of Japanese women’s fashion in two words: Top Gun

At the end of last year, Nikkei Trendy published their list of trends to look for in 2014. Among their entries was one particular fashion that’s been steadily gaining momentum in Japan among young women and drawing the attention of the media. It’s called Top Gun Girl (toppugan joshi) and as the name suggests, it’s a highway to the danger zone of being both a little kawaii and a little militaristic.

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A perfect blend of fashion and function: the Tokyo Subway Map Necktie!

Even for those living in Tokyo, its plate-of-spaghetti-like tangle of train lines can be overwhelming to navigate. Worse for visitors, it’s hard not to get lost, but you also don’t want to walk around gawking at a map like some touristy chump. So, for basically anyone in Tokyo, we humbly present the Subway Map Necktie.

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Hello Kitty shoes will make your feet cuter than ever

Hello Kitty has always been somewhat of a fashion icon. With more costume changes than Cher, she knows how to put an outfit together. Now you can use Hello Kitty’s fashion sense to accent your own and take her wherever your feet may carry you with two styles of limited edition Hello Kitty shoes.

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Gotta catch a spouse! Pokémon engagement rings

One day while I was playing Pokémon in my parent’s basement, my uncle Sam came down and asked me to help him. He handed me a Womédex (a smartphone loaded with online dating apps) and a set of Woméballs (tennis balls painted red and white) and told me it was time to catch one of these magical creatures for my very own.

Luckily, Trisha was kind enough not to press charges after I threw a tennis ball at her head inside a Starbucks during our first date, but my quest has so far still been left unfulfilled. Thankfully, I found something more suitable for catching high-level Womémon like Trish being sold online by a talented jeweler named Paul Michael.

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Cheerleaders! Maids! Japanese lingerie maker has you (slightly) covered for themed intimate apparel

As part of our solemn duty of keeping our readers abreast of the latest panty-related developments, we recently brought word of the Sailor Moon lingerie developed by Japanese intimate apparel manufacturer Peach John. Unfortunately, several of the anime-inspired offerings sold out almost immediately and are currently unavailable.

On the bright side, Peach John has several other themed lingerie sets, which we, being the dedicated journalists we are, present to you today.

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Look sexy by moonlight with official Sailor Moon lingerie

Like any good anime magical girls, Sailor Moon and her comrades transform into special costumes before taking on the forces of evil. But as cool as their sailor-themed battle gear looks on TV, pleated skirts in vibrant primary colors are a little loud by contemporary Japanese fashion standards. So how can the many fans the Sailor Moon franchise has attracted over the past two decades feel a little closer, wardrobe-wise, to their beloved heroines?

By slipping into a set of Sailor Moon lingerie.

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Japanese special edition Metal Gear Solid V buyers get a Diamond Dogs jacket

Well now here’s an odd little promotion. Japanese gamers planning to pick up a copy of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, one of the prequel chapters in Hideo Kojima’s convoluted-plot-’em-up/stealth espionage action game series, are now being offered a special edition bundle that comes with a track jacket emblazoned with the logo of in-game mercenary unit “Diamond Dogs”.

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Fashionable fairy tale cosplays could pass as adorable dresses

The mail order fashion brand, haco., has just released its second line of fairy tale inspired fashion items.  They call these items cosplay, but not in the way that most Westerners might expect. Rather than recreate the characters from fairy tales as they would appear in real life, fashion designers asked themselves what these classic icons might wear if they were actually young human girls. The results are absolutely adorable.

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We compare global attitudes about cosmetic surgery

There are people in the world who smoke day after day and never seem to age a day, and by all accounts live long, productive lives. On the other hand, there are those that puff only a few cigarettes – or worse yet, don’t smoke at all but spend time around those that do – who end up hospitalized with cancer far sooner than they ever expected.

In the same sense, cosmetic surgery can be a mixed bag. There are those that get a nip here and a tuck there and generally live their lives like normal, while some take cosmetic surgery to its inevitable limits, fashioning themselves to look like horrifying real-life Barbies or creepy lion people. Some cases of cosmetic surgery even backfire, horribly disfiguring people for life. So, while the “Hey, it’s a free country” crowd might not approve, many countries around the world are introducing laws restricting cosmetic surgery for the greater public health good.

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Japan celebrates Knee-High Socks Day【Photos】

Japan is a land of linguistic vagaries. Take the kanji character 食, which means “eat.” Ordinarily, it’s pronounced “tabe,” but it can also be pronounced “ku,” depending on which phonetic characters follow it. Oh, unless it’s followed or preceded by a non-phonetic character, in which case it’s pronounced “shoku.”

You know what else Japan is a land of? Unabashed fetishes.

These two characteristics combine on November 28, Knee-High Socks Day.

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How to stand out in a land where everyone wears surgical masks: wear a black one

In most countries, walking around the streets wearing a white surgical mask would likely draw stares from those around you. People may even cross the street to avoid whatever plague they think you’re harboring. However, in urban Japan it’s hard to walk down the street without seeing someone in such medical-looking garb, especially during peak allergy seasons.

Despite this, there seems to be an unwritten rule that all face masks should be white. You might see an occasional designer mask with a logo or floral print, but by and large seeing anyone wearing a surgical mask other than white is kind of rare. However, a new brand of mask with the unfortunate name of B.M is challenging this social convention by being pitch black.

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Finally, your dog can safely leap through flaming hoops with this adorable doggy fire gear

Every dog owner has experienced it: you want your dog to sit, speak, roll over and maybe shake, but your pooch has other ambitions. Bigger dreams. He wants to join the fire brigade (you know this because you taught him to speak), but you’re worried about your little buddy’s safety.

Finally, though, you can let your doggy chase both his tail and his dreams with this adorable doggy flame-retardant suit. Join us after the jump for more adorable photos!

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Japanese comedian “Hard Gay” continues to make waves as a professional model

If the Japanese media hadn’t bothered to point it out, we never would have even realized the newest model for American fashion boot (that’s a thing?) manufacturer Luan is none other than comedian and former tasteless gay stereotype “Hard Gay”.

We’re still looking at the promotional photos and rubbing our eyes in disbelief. It turns out that, when he made the surprise announcement in June this year that he had decided to go into modelling, the former entertainer wasn’t kidding around.

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We can’t get enough of these clever pouches inspired by Japanese amulets

If you visit a shrine in Japan, you’re sure to find a small shack somewhere on the shrine grounds selling Omamori, special amulets for good luck or protection. These small pieces of colored cloth come in many different designs and serve various purposes. Some are meant to protect the holder while traveling, others give good luck to those taking a test. They are almost always brightly colored and are works of art in themselves. Inspired by the beauty of Omamori, one design team from Japan has created beautiful pouches and notepads that are sure to impress.

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Pics from Japan’s Miss Komaba High School Beauty Pageant! One catch though…

Monday was Culture Day here in Japan, and workers and students across the country enjoyed a well-earned day off from their daily routines. During the three-day weekend, it’s common for schools to hold Culture Festivals, at which art clubs display their works, music classes hold recitals, and drama departments screen movies or create walk-through haunted houses. The events are usually open to the public, and let schools show off their students’ creativity to the local community.

The Culture Festival at Komaba High School, located in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward, even includes a Miss Komaba High beauty contest. We suppose that now is as good a time as any to inform you that Komaba High is not co-ed, and that the pageant’s carefully-coifed and femininely attired contestants are in fact all dudes.

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Housewife wins pageant for “bewitching” middle-aged beauties

Usually being called a witch is an insult, but a Japanese beauty magazine reclaimed the word a few years ago and declared a new category of woman: “Beautiful Witches.” To celebrate the women over 35 that possess an almost “magical beauty untouched by age,” the fourth annual National Beautiful Witch Contest was held last week, with a 39-year-old housewife from Aichi Prefecture taking home the top prize in a Halloween-themed pageant.

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From Hepburn to Gaga, Hong Kong artist carves tiny works of art in expensive lipstick

Interesting media can make for especially interesting art, as the pencil-tip carvings, hairy apples and damaged banana art we’ve covered before should attest, but when you go carving up some perfectly good brand-name lipsticks to celebrate strong women and fashion icons, you are bound to cause your intended audience a little heartache.

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Adorn your legs with JoJo’s Bizarre tattoo tights

Female manga fans understand that there’s more to Japan’s comic industry than the schoolyard romances and shojo sparkles with which we are targeted. A lot of us really love the action, the fighting, and the hero adventure stuff too! Thankfully, there are at least a handful of manufacturers out there who understand where we’re coming from. One such company is catering to us girls with less feminine fandoms by bringing us tattoo tights from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure!

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Cat tights: Now with toe beans and claws for even more cutsy comfort!

You may have resisted the appeal of our future feline overlords so far, but if their internet popularity is any indication, total world domination can’t be far off. If you don’t want to be first against the wall with the dogs and dog-lovers, you may want to invest in these super-cute cat tights. As the ad copy says, put them on and you’ll “transform into a devil-may-care cat!” You’ll be able to blend right in…

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Are Japanese beauty salons the best in the world? We weigh in

Beauty in Japan is serious business. This might be the explanation for why “beauty salon” in Japanese shares a kanji character with both “graduate school” and “hospital.”* The treatment you’re liable to get at a Japanese beauty salon often far outpaces that of Western salons; typically you can expect a thorough scalp massage and drink service at the very least, and shoulder and hand massages and in-depth style counseling are not uncommon either.

And that’s just scratching the surface. Here is a list of differences between Japanese and Western hair salons:

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