human interest

Story of a homeless man whose life changes after he returns a lost wallet will warm your heart

For this fortunate man, honesty has paid off in the most beautiful way.

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Three years of character bento, Part 2: Loving, hilarious mom continues to pester teen daughter

Do you remember last month’s piece which chronicled single mom Kaori’s three-year character bento spree? On the surface the project seemed to be about harassing her kyaraben-hating teenage daughter, but we learned that in the end, it was an incredible (not to mention eye-catching!) feat of parental love and dedication.

In Part 2 of this series, we’re going to put the spotlight on more of Kaori’s entertaining creations in tandem with some of her thoughts. And next week in Part 3, we’ll wrap up with the mom’s reaction to her long-awaited book, her “Countdown to Graduation” bentos, and a surprise from her daughter. So, before we get to this devoted mom’s moving, seaweedy words of wisdom and love, let the drool-fest begin! And keep your eyes peeled, you may even find your favorite character!

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Three years of character bento: A single mom’s quest to connect with her cheeky teen【Pt. 1】

A decade ago, when blogger and single mom Kaori used to work nights at an izakaya (Japanese-style pub) and didn’t have time to spend with her two little girls, they would leave letters by her pillow, telling her about a fight they had with a friend or how school was that day. Fast forward a few years, though, and her cute younger daughter became your regular moody, demanding teenager.

So what did this amusing mom decide to do? Kaori chose to annoy her second-born every day with something she hates: character bento! See mom yearn for a Starbucks, remind her girl to throw out empty bottles, and moan about making bento while hung over—all with the help of an X-Acto knife, some nori seaweed, and dollops of ingenuity.

While it’s impossible to showcase the entirety of her achievements in one article, here’s a “highlights version” that ultimately reveals a heartwarming tale of a hardworking mom trying to communicate with her adorable yet exasperating teen. And if you don’t care about that, then just gawk at the awesome photos!

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Give a stranger a flower: Art exhibit & a Parisienne in Tokyo leads to smile seen round the world

If you’re sad that December is coming to a close and aren’t quite ready to stop basking in the holiday spirit, here’s a story (albeit a non-Christmas one) from the heart of Tokyo that’s sure to give you the warm fuzzies. Originally made popular in English on the image-hosting site Imgur, this tale of a stranger’s unexpected act of kindness traveled back to Japan where it happened, thanks to the Internet, and subsequently brought smiles to scads of Japanese netizens’ faces.

Read their reactions at the end of the article, after learning about how Lee Mingwei’s participatory art installation and 22-year-old Alice’s seemingly small yet impactful act of courage brightened the day of a metro worker named Daisuke and reddened his ears. As one online commenter put it, “I bet this guy never imagined that his smile would spread joy all around the world!”

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Obachan power strikes again as middle-aged women buy giraffe for local zoo

Obachan are a powerful force in Japan. While the term literally means aunt, it commonly refers to middle-aged women who have done their time in the lower ranks of the female order and are finally at an age where they can do and say as they please. Stories of strong-willed obachan are not uncommon in the news, with some forming their own political party and others even starting their own rock groups. Proving that nothing is out of their reach, one group of obachan in Hokkaido have now done something that no one ever imagined they would: They raised over 54 million yen (US$548, 000) and bought a giraffe for their local zoo.

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Hospital Restages Daughter’s Wedding for Bedridden Father

It’s stories like this that restore my faith in humankind.

Staff at a hospital in Tokyo went the extra mile this week by organising a second wedding ceremony especially for a patient who was unable to attend his daughter’s wedding in October.

The patient, 57-year-old Masaru Tanaka, was admitted to the hospital in December last year after the driver of a truck knocked him off his motorbike, confining him to a hospital bed after suffering a severe cerebral hemmorhage. Hearing the sad news that Masaharu was unable to attend his own daughter’s wedding, staff at Akirudai Hospital in west Tokyo put their heads together to bring the celebrations to him instead.

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