Beautiful film on a Buddhist ritual only 46 monks have completed

The Kaihōgyō is a quest to become a living Buddha through 1000 days of gruelling rituals. Ivan Olita was granted rare access to a temple near Kyoto to film The Seven Year Pilgrimage to Enlightenment.

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Gorgeous "Monster Zen" book of Japanese-styled monsters with haiku

Chet Phillips's Monster Zen is a book of 16 beautiful, "Japanese-styled" drawings of monsters, accompanied by haikus by the artist -- you can get the book for $24 or get individual prints. Read the rest

Gorgeous,dramatic photos of Japanese playground equipment by night

The Park Playground Tumblr features Kito Fujio's gorgeous, dramatically lit photos of Japan's whimsical playground equipment: climbers, slides and other fun stuff styled to look like animals, abstract modernist forms, world monuments, magical creatures, robots, gadgets, and whimsical beasts. Read the rest

Kintsugi: Chopstick rests made by fusing broken ceramics that washed ashore

Tomomi Kamoshita uses kintsugi to fuse ceramic shards recovered from the sea into beautiful chopstick rests. This handiwork is part of a series called "Gift From The Waves." Read the rest

Spirited Away's No-Face as a mechanical piggy bank

The Kaonashi No-Face Piggy Bank makes the most out of one of the coolest characters in Studio Ghibli's storied history -- but getting one exported to you from Japan costs an astounding $164. (via Kadrey) Read the rest

Cute cat-shaped geta sandals from Japan

I can think of at least three feline-loving friends of mine who are going to flip when they see these cute cat-shaped sandals.

With the soles shaped like the silhouette of a cat, the "Nyarageta" is a fun take on traditional Japanese geta sandals. Geta sandals are sort of a cross between clogs and flip-flops and are usually made with wooden soles. This version, however, is made with a softer material called "elastic cell foam sponge EVA."

According to SoraNews24, even the name is playful: “Nya” means meow, "Nara" is the name of the Japanese city where they’re from and, of course, "geta" are the sandals themselves.

One pair costs 3,780 Yen or approximately $33.84.

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Samurai armor for your pets and kids

Samurai Age has created a line of samurai armor for kittehs and doggos, allowing them to show off their noble nature as honored warriors. Read the rest

History buff confirms 1830 legend of Australian pirates in Japan

Nick Russell took a close look at contemporary samurai accounts of a strange ship that landed at Mugi port in 1830, and found it corroborated the celebrated legend of convict pirate William Swallow, who led an escape from Tasmania via a mutiny on the brig ship Cyprus.

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Meet Unko Sensei, the poop teacher making kanji fun for Japanese kids

Unko Sensei (literally Poop Teacher), is a charming mustachioed turd helping Japanese grade-schoolers learn over 1000 kanji characters required by the end of 6th grade. Read the rest

Five things you should never do when eating in Japan

In this video, you'll learn why you shouldn't rub chopsticks together to remove splinters, stick your chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice, pass morsels from one set of chopsticks to another, and two other dining taboos. Read the rest

Take a trip inside Japan’s robot hotel

Boing Boing has previously highlighted Japan’s Henn Na Hotel or “The Weird Hotel,” a hotel almost entirely run by robots. But this new video from British expat Chris Broad actually takes viewers inside the animatronic establishment itself. Read the rest

Japan secretly funneled hundreds of millions to the NSA, breaking its own laws

The Intercept publishes a previously-unseen set of Snowden docs detailing more than $500,000,000 worth of secret payments by the Japanese government to the NSA, in exchange for access to the NSA's specialized surveillance capabilities, in likely contravention of Japanese privacy law (the secrecy of the program means that the legality was never debated, so no one is sure whether it broke the law). Read the rest

Incredibly relaxing video of a seaweed farmer

I was enjoying a dried seaweed snack the other day and wondered how they harvested seaweed. The answer was even cooler than I expected, involving underwater farms and a giant vacuum. Read the rest

Two Canadians review Starbucks Japan’s new American Cherry Pie Frappuccino

Japan-based food vloggers Simon and Martina try the only Frappuccino drink that comes with its own pie crust lid. Read the rest

Fighting Japanese goblins in 1934, Betty Boop style

The Routing of the Tengu is a charming 1934 Japanese cartoon about a Neko (cat) fighting the mythic tengu, a group of imps trying to kidnap a geisha. Betty Boop was an obvious influence.

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A look at Japan's 54,000 convenience stores

The convenience stores in Japan are wonderful. They are clean, have seating, the prepared food is very tasty, and they are everywhere you look. The 7-Elevens are one of the few places (besides post offices) with ATMs that dispense cash for US travelers with debit cards. This video takes a look at Japanese convenience stores, called konbini (コンビニ).

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Unusual computer ad from Japan

Mouse is a middling Japanese laptop brand (Engadget stayed on top of it for a while) with an excellent ad agency. Read the rest

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