Two cats enjoy relaxing with flowers on their heads

From one of the longest-running homegrown “cute animal video” bloggers, kagonekoshiro -- the video you didn't know you needed right now, until you see it.

Beautiful hydrangea flowers worn on the head of these cute cats, somewhere in Japan on a warm summer's day.

Watch:

A related gem from the same channel:

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Why South Koreans are boycotting Japan

Last month Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe announced that shipments of high tech equipment and material to South Korea will undergo additional screening to make sure the imported materials are not being used for military or weapons purposes. The screenings will start on August 28. Until the announcement, South Korea' enjoyed most favored nation status with Japan, but now it will be treated like any other Asian country Japan trades with. Many Koreans have taken to the streets to protest.

Asian Boss went to Seoul to interview Koreans about the new restrictions.

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Five favorite street foods in Tokyo

Great Big Story went to Tokyo to visit five small restaurants that make different kinds of popular street foods: takoyaki (pieces of octopus in griddle-cooked balls of dough, yakisoba (fried noodles, meat, and vegetables), gyoza (Chinese dumplings), okonomiyaki (crepes with noodles, cabbage, pork, and egg), and taiyaki (fish-shaped pancakes with sweet fillings). My mouth was watering as I watched this.

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It's hard to find public trash cans in Tokyo

It's not easy to find public trash cans in Tokyo (other than bottle-and-can recycling bins next to drink vending machines). Even so, there's hardly any litter on the ground. When I travel to Japan, I always keep a plastic bag in my knapsack to store trash until I come across a rare public gomibako (Tip: There's one in front of the Kiddy Land toy store in Harajuku). In this video, That Japanese Man Yuta challenges tourists to find a trash can in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Read the rest

Inaugural Heavy Metal Knitting World Championship title goes to Japan's Giga Body Metal

The inaugural Heavy Metal Knitting World Championship were an unqualified success, with competitors from the US, Russia, Japan and beyond converging on Joensuu, Finland to thrash and knit: competitors such as Woolfumes, Bunny Bandit and 9" Needles thrashed to heavy metal music while knitting, for an audience of about 200. The winners were the five-person Japanese team Giga Body Metal. Scottish competitor Heather McLaren (a Ph.D candidate in engineering) told the AP, "When I saw there was a combination of heavy metal and knitting, I thought 'that’s my niche.'" Read the rest

Interview with the number one hostess in Tokyo

Kurumi (28) is the top money earner at a hostess bar in Tokyo's Roppongi district. Read the rest

Akira to be re-released in high definition

I love comic books and graphic novels. I'm not ashamed to say that dig me some cartoons. Sadly, I've never been able to get into anime and manga. It's a shame: I know that there are a ton of series available to watch, stream or buy online that I might potentially enjoy. I loved Robotech when I was younger. However, when I re-watched it recently, it didn't hold up for me. Every time I attempt to invest in something new, like Cowboy Bebop, Full Metal Alchemist or Bleach, I quickly lose interest. I think it's more about my tastes in entertainment than it is about the medium--there's lots of folks who love anime. I'm just not one of them.

One of my earliest flirtations with anime was Akira. I was maybe 13, at the time. An arthouse theatre in the town I grew up in was playing it. I was drawn to the poster: Shotaro Kaneda astride his badass ride, holding what I thought looked like a bazooka. I bought the ticket and took the ride. I was way too young (or maybe too dense?) to be able to follow what the hell was going on. A few years later, I discovered the Akira manga, translated into English. I gave them a go. Better, but I still preferred Green Lantern. Also, I'm pretty sure that all the mutant blob weirdness gave me nightmares.

But hey, maybe it's high time to give it another try.

From io9:

Announced yesterday evening at Otomo’s panel at Anime Expo, Akira will be reborn across two different initiatives: first, an ultra-HD remastering of the original movie, which is set to release on blu-ray in Japan on April 24, 2020, with a western release coming at a later date (interestingly timed, given that Warner Bros.

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Cool mixtape of Japanese toy commercials from 1990s-2000s

This ten-minute video of Japanese toy car, robot, and spacecraft TV commercials bears repeated viewing. The special effects (including stop-motion animation) are fantastic. My favorite is this one for Voltes V toys. Here are photos of the toys from that commercial. As you might guess, these toys sell for a fortune on eBay. Read the rest

Visit to an interesting ramen restaurant in Japan

Fukuoka, Japan is home to the Ichiran ramen museum, where you can see ramen noodles being made. You can also eat at an Ichiran restaurant, where you buy a menu item ticket from a vending machine then sit in one of the walled-off cubicles along the counter, so you can eat without having to interact with anyone else. That's my kind of eatery.

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These people on a remote Japanese island enjoy eating a poisonous plant

Amami Ōshima is a small Japanese island a little north of Okinawa. A plant called cycad grows in abundance there. It's poisonous unless it is properly prepared by drying and fermenting it. This video shows you the process and has interviews with people who explain why they revere the cycad plant.

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New emperor of Japan enthroned in wordless ceremony

The only noises to be heard are footsteps and video editing suites firing up. The nice ceremonies come later.

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Gloriously impractical "pressure gauge" watch

For many years, we've celebrated Tokyoflash's glorious and impractical contributions to horology: the company has set itself on a long path to imagine what a watch can be in an era where we all have unbelievably precise, self-setting timepieces in our pockets at all times, playfully experimenting with what a watchface can do while still telling the time (nominally, at least!). Read the rest

A visit to Japan's most remote ramen restaurant

Rishiri Ramen Miraku is on one of Japan's northernmost remote islands, Rishiritō (pop. 5,000), and many people go out of their way to eat its famous charred-soy seaweed ramen. The restaurant, which takes 7 hours to get to from Tokyo by plane, train, and ferry, earned the Michelin Guide's Bib Gourmand award in 2012 and 2017.

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This sushi-making robot can churn out 2400 nigiri balls and 200 sushi rolls in an hour

One of the many amazing things about Japan is their abundance of robots, from a robot-staffed hotel to robot waiters to robots that teach English to children. This cool robot, made by the sushi-robot company AUTEC, can make 2400 nigiri rice balls and 200 sushi rolls per hour.

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Short video about life on a Japanese wasabi farm

According to this video and article from by The Atlantic, most of the wasabi eaten around the world is horseradish with green food coloring in it. Shigeo Iida, a 75-year-old farmer in Japan, grows the real stuff, and in this beautifully shot video, we get to see him harvest wasabi and make wasabi paste while he waxes philosophical. “Real wasabi, like the ones we grow, has a unique, fragrant taste that first hits the nose,” he says. “The sweetness comes next, followed finally by spiciness.”

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Sightseeing train station has no exit or entrance

A train station in Japan is apparently unique, in that it has no exit or entrance other than the platform. Get off the train, check out the beautiful scenery, and get right back on again.

Called Seiryu Miharashi Eki, which translates to “Clear Stream Viewing Platform Station“, this station has been built so that passengers can stop off and admire the surrounding scenery.

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New York Times investigates Japan's lowrider culture

Walter Thompson-Hernández grew up in southeast Los Angeles. He went to Japan to make a short film for the New York Times about Chicano fashion and Culture in Japan.

What I found when I got there is that, while most instances of cultural appropriation completely disregard the original communities, the people whom I met did the exact opposite: They are in constant communication with Los Angeles lowrider communities. To me, it was more of a form of cultural exchange. Although many people I met in the scene were born and raised in Japan, they pride themselves on appreciating lowrider culture, while also creating something new and adding their own touches through their own cultural experiences.

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