Japanese Netizen’s Pet Hamster Needs to Go on a Diet【Photo】

It’s not just today’s kids who are feeling the effects of a high-calorie, low exercise lifestyle; some of our pets are getting a little wide around the waist, too. Shared by a Japanese Twitter user late last week, this photo shows a hamster that could do with spending a little more time on the running wheel as he can’t quite squeeze himself down his plastic slide. Cute/sad/funny photo after the break.

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The Mona Lisa: Kind of a Babe During College

Despite generations of art lovers remarking on her beauty, we had no idea until now that the subject of Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous painting was such a cutie.

In an effort to treat the world-famous subject to a much-needed image change, a clever Internet user over in China took the interesting step of giving her an Asian college student-style haircut, instantly transforming her from smirking lady-in-waiting to smoking hottie.

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America Up for Sale on Japanese Auction Site! Bid Now!! **Updated**

Enjoy freedom? Have a big family and need lots of space? Have we got a real estate deal for you!

While it’s the last place we’d ever expected to find it, with less than three hours left to go, a seller on Yahoo! Japan’s eBay-style auction site Yahoo! Auctions is selling off none other than the title deed for the entire USA (Alaska not included).

Click the link for your chance to grab an absolute bargain.

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The Power of Perspective: This Clever Photography May Leave Property Hunters Disappointed

Whether it’s luxury hotel rooms or a seemingly ordinary computer mouse, it’s important to present whatever you’re selling online as attractively as possible. Advertisements must be concise and informative, and of course the product presented in as aesthetically pleasing a manner as possible. In the 21st century where digital air brushing is the norm and we have learned to filter the information we receive through an Internet-ready sieve of cynicism, advertisers have their work cut out for them, and without big budgets to transform ordinary snaps into tantalizing vistas, hoteliers and real estate agents must find other ways to make their resorts and accommodation look good.

The above image was spotted on a Korean real estate website by a Japanese Internet user. Advertised as a “stately residence complete with outdoor pool”, the fantastic wooden-framed structure and spacious pool look quite nice, don’t they? While it’s hardly Olympic size, we could certainly imagine ourselves doing a few lengths in that pool each morning before heading out to take care of business or ensure that our dozens of employees were working sufficiently hard.

There is, however, a little more to this image than meets the eye. Click the link to see the same pool photographed from a shall we say “less flattering” angle.

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Japan Sets Guinness Record for Synchronized Mascot Dancing 【Video】

It’s not surprising that in Japan, the land of cute and cuddly, pretty much everything has a fuzzy mascot. Even prefectural and city governments are getting in on the merchandising mania with adorable (or terrifying, depending on your point of view) characters called yuru-kyara meant to promote tourism and local products.

This week, 141 yuru-kyara from 25 prefectures across the country gathered in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, to make their mark on history by becoming the largest group of mascots ever to do the same dance together. Jaw-droppingly awesome video after the break. Read More

Little Pricks! Bitch Purses! Hot Members! Japan’s Best Bad English 【Video】

Who doesn’t love a nice dose of messed up Engrish? Sure, it’s infantile to chuckle at spelling mistakes and rude words inappropriately used by well-meaning Japanese, but when all is said and done, it’s still funny. And after a long week of work, cold weather, spam in your inbox and having much less money in your bank account than you thought, it’s nice to take a few minutes to sit back and be a little bit silly.

Late last week, Canadian YouTuber Oz (ozzy78) published a great collection of photos taken all around Japan featuring bad English on everything from shop signs to kids’ clothes. We enjoyed the video so much that we just had to share it with you here today. It will make you laugh; it will make you cringe; it will make you wonder why on earth no one thought to consult a native speaker before going to print. Enjoy.

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Korean TV Star Gets Lost in the Moment, Stands to Attention During Variety Show

Spontaneous physical arousal, also known in the western world as “random wood” amongst other monikers, has happened to most men at some point in their lives. For those just entering adulthood, it can can be painfully embarrassing – and in some cases even lead to some taking drastic action – but thankfully the majority of us are not TV stars being watched by millions when it happens.

As part of a romantic comedy sketch acted out on a recent Korean variety show, popular TV personality Gili Kim embraced beautiful Jimin Kim and lifted her up in the air. From there, tragically, physiological instincts took over, leaving poor Gili with no way of concealing his excitement. The images were soon shared thousands of times via Twitter and Korean Internet bulletin boards, prompting the star to speak out and admit that he may have become lost in the moment.

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Two Men, One Cake: Things get Awkward when a 65cm-long Baumkuchen Arrives in the Office

Before arriving in Japan, I had no idea that the country took sweets so seriously. For a country where many households get by without a conventional oven or stove (but as a result has come up with some pretty ingenious cooking solutions), there is a staggering amount of confection and baked goods available to buy, and people are perfectly happy to drop considerable sums of money of beautifully crafted western-style cakes and cookies.

Quite why it was skipped over by many other Asian countries yet so warmly received here, we’re not sure, but the German cake baumkuchen is a firm favourite in Japan. Its soft, multi-layered rings of sponge are both filling and moreish, and it goes well with practically any type of tea or coffee, meaning that the cake can be picked up everywhere from dedicated bakeries to convenience stores. So you can imagine our staff’s delight when Japanese confectioner Cozy Corner announced that it was launching a new 65cm (25.5 inches)-long baumkuchen to commemorate its 65 years in the business.

Still buzzing after receiving a free top-of-the-range notebook computer from Acer, our reporter Tashiro-kun ran out to pick up one of the mammoth desserts for the team to share. When he arrived back at the office with the cake, however, things got a little bit awkward…

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Learning Language Through Nonsense– Japanese Author of “Unusable English” Speaks

Fantastic octopus wiring!

My brother has been observing the slugs since he got divorced.

Let’s start from where we left off yesterday. Get down on all fours.

No, these aren’t the ramblings of a man with concussion; these are genuine excerpts from Twitter feed and study guide “Non-essential English Vocabulary: Words that will never come up in tests”, a language resource for Japanese students of English that presents entirely useless but infinitely memorable phrases.

With more than 40,000 Twitter followers so far, Twitter feed curator and author Nakayama-san (otherise known as @NISE_TOEIC)’s cheeky tweets are clearly resonating with English learners here in Japan, but why, when the rest of the nation is busy with earnest study, would someone take the time to create a Twitter account dedicated entirely to unusable English? Japanese website Excite Bit sat down with the Nakayama-san to pick up a few study tips and learn little more about the thinking behind the bizarre project.

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Desperate to Pee? Let Someone Else Shoulder the Burden with this Genius Invention: the Pee Baton!

Gadget-laden robot cat from the future Doraemon is something a national treasure here in Japan. Since the appearance of the original manga of the same name back in 1969, the subsequent TV series has been watched by multiple generations and is still on the air today. As well as remaining popular with adults and kids alike, the Japanese Foreign Ministry once declared the mechanical time-traveller the country’s official “animé ambassador”, meaning that the earless mechanical cat is sure to be around for a long time to come yet.

Perhaps the thing that people love most about Doraemon, though, is his seemingly bottomless pocket, from which the character produces all manner of gadgets and inventions in order to assist his human pal Nobita. Although the “dokodemo doa” (lit. “anywhere door”) is often given as the answer to the age-old conundrum “Which of Doraemon’s gadgets would you most like to have?”, it doesn’t stop people imagining what else could buried deep down in there.

In that vein, Yahoo! Japan recently announced the winner of its 2012-2013 Adults Only Doraemon Contest, in which contestants were asked to come up with an invention that they’d like to pull out of Doraemon’s pocket and use in real life, with the top prize being awarded to 50-year-old Rieko Honjou for her “Pee Baton”.

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Tokyo Snow Cones! Mr. Sato Makes the Most of the City Snow Before it Melts

On Monday this week, Tokyo was hit by one of the biggest snow dumps it has seen in years. Although winters are often unfathomably cold in Japan and it’s not uncommon for snow to fall even in the capital, the city of cuddle cafes, cornman and cross-dressing was entirely unprepared for so much of the stuff in such a short space of time, and within 24 hours of the snow’s arrival the ordinarily robust public transport system was on its knees and dozens of people were left nursing twisted ankles, bruised buttocks and hurt pride.

Just two days later, though, the generous blanket of white fluffy stuff had started to disappear, putting an end to all sledging, snowman building and frosty fun. As quickly as it had arrived, Tokyo’s winter wonderland was already nearly gone.

From the topmost floor of Rocket Towers, international man of mystery and reporter extraordinaire Mr. Sato watched as men with shovels worked to clear the last of the snow from the pavements and miniature mountains began to appear on each street corner, adorning the footways like dollops of sweet white frosting around the edge of a miserable grey cake. It was at that moment that a quite remarkable idea hit him.

Zipping up his wind breaker and grabbing his wallet, Mr. Sato charged out of the office like a man possessed and flew down the stairs. Bursting out of the building, he headed directly for the nearest supermarket. Moments later, he stepped back out onto the city streets armed with three bottles of thick, sugary syrup. Things were about to get tasty.

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The Life and Times of a Japanese Radish

The daikon is root vegetable widely used in Japanese cuisine. In the frigid winters it’s especially loved served in a steaming bowl of oden.

But most people don’t know how the humble daikon makes its way from the field to the dinner table.  So the folks at Ume Mama Root Vegetable Farms have photo-documented the entire life of a typical daikon and presented it via Twitter.

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Startling Nature Footage Reveals Penguins Are Kind of Jerks

Penguins, otherwise known as the tuxedo wearing clown princes of the Antarctic, have amused us for centuries.  Their cute little waddles and fluffy babies can warm even the coldest of hearts.

However, new footage taken by researchers has shed light on a previously unknown facet of penguin life – they’re kind of dicks.

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Santa Likes it Hot at a Shopping Center in China

This year seems to have seen a spike in older cross-dressing males, in Japan at least. According to some, the trend has steadily been on the rise in urban centers like Tokyo. Even in China, a grandfather set the modeling world on fire with the way he shows off his daughter’s merchandise.

As the year comes to a close one more elderly man has openly joined the ranks of bearded dress wearers: Santa Claus!

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Japanese Men Share Their Worst Christmas Experiences Ever: Pikachu, Platoon and Painkillers

So this is Christmas. The time where we all sip eggnog by the open fire enjoying the gentle blanket of wet snow covering a meadow as a deer scampers by, right?

Of course not, it’s raining here now and my glasses are broken. Still, I’d consider this an average holiday season for myself. For many out there, Santa has little more than a big bag of suck to stuff in your stocking.

Don’t sweat it though. Every year can’t be a winner. For those having a blue Christmas, the website MyNavi has compiled a list of Japanese men’s worst Chirstmas experiences.

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Japanese Yahoo! Answers User Asks “Why isn’t Santa Coming?”, Elf Responds with Sad News

With just seven days to go, children the world over are without a doubt already finding it hard to sleep at night. Will Santa (or Father Christmas as I grew up calling him) arrive? Have I been good enough this year? Does he know about the things I did with Jane Steepleton in her tree house during the summer?

Let’s hope that we’ve all been good boys and girls and that the big man in red will pay us all a visit, unlike one unfortunate individual who found himself giftless on Christmas day one year and took to Japan’s Chiebukuro Yahoo! Answers forums to ask the nation simply: “Where is Santa!?”

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Amazon JP Sets New Standard in Surreal Packaging, Startled Customer Tweets Photo

We’re sure that you’ve all by now had the experience of ordering a single item online only for it to arrive on your doorstep up in an enormous, oversized box or buried beneath a ludicrous amount of polystyrene. I have personally received boxes as large as a shoebox for a single videogame and spent the best part of five minutes trying to detach a single shrink-wrapped paperback book from a giant slab of cardboard that it was adhered to by Amazon’s over-zealous packing robots.

On Wednesday this week, however, a Japanese Twitter user may just have received the greatest example of surreal Amazon packaging yet.

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Amazing Photos of the Earth’s Weirdest Creatures at the 2013 Insect Academy Awards

As a child I used to love going into the nearby field and searching for new insects. In my area the ultimate prize was a praying mantis, however, like most people, as I grew I came to be more and more uncomfortable around things with more than four legs.

For those of us with an acquired distaste for insects, RocketNews24 is pleased to announce the winners of this year’s Insect Academy Awards. It’s a great way to reconnect with a whole planet of those magical little creatures we used to love.

And for those of your who are hardwired to hate things with dozens of eyes, these winners might just change your feelings. To help get you warmed up we’ll kick of the awards ceremony with the “Cutest” award.

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【Job Opportunity】 How About an Exciting Career as a Professional Fart Smeller?

Hmmm, I’m getting notes of sandalwood, rosemary and a hint of boiled cabbage…

We kid you not; there are people out there being paid to smell others’ farts and diagnose physical health based on their various odours. And not only that, it pays well, with reports of professional fart smellers in China being paid up to US$50,000 per year.

Think you’ve got what it takes to hone your hooter and examine anal emissions? Read on.

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Urban Soldier: Mr. Sato Dons Camo for a Call of Duty-Inspired Coffee Dash

It came as an enormous shock to the entire team to hear that the legend that is Mr. Sato rarely visited Starbucks coffee houses.

Surrounded by the well-dressed, coffee sipping elite and with fancy lingo like “tall” and “grande” being thrown around, our reporter felt completely out of his depth at Starbucks and rarely dared to set foot inside even to grab a quick take-out coffee.

But after playing a lot of Black Ops 2 on the new office Wii U, a brilliant idea came to us…

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