Thai cat “adopts” litter of chihuahuas, protects them adorably

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RocketNews 24 (by Scott Wilson):

We may not all look alike, but we’re still family.

What’s better than cute animals? Cute animals doing cute things, of course!

Bangkok pet owner @yutafamily has been racking up tens of thousands of followers on Instagram posting pictures of their five chihuahuas… and adoptive cat-father.

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If you like what you’ve seen here, then check out the rest of yutafamily’s Instagram. There are thousands more pictures to satisfy any amount of cute-craving.

Amazon Japan opens dedicated “Cat Store,” offers more than 26,000 items to pamper your feline with

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RocketNews 24 (by Scott Wilson):

Never before have there been so many things for your cat to ignore, all under one roof.

If you’re the lucky enough to have a feline friend friend of your own, then chances are you want to make them as happy as they make you.

Which is why Amazon Japan recently opened up the “Cat Store” section of their site, to help cat owners find the perfect presents for their pets—ones that, hopefully, won’t be ignored or abandoned quite so quickly.

The “Cat Store” consists of over 26,000 of the highest-rated cat-related items out there, broken down into categories and sorted by user ratings so that you can be sure you’re buying something that your cat might *gasp!* actually use.

▼ Along with cat food, collars, toys, and litter boxes, there are “cool bed tents,” “stylish cat goods,” cat towers, “fun toys/scratching posts,” and more, so that your cat can be the most pampered on the block.

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Here’s just a sample of some of the most amazing items we’ve found so far at Amazon Japan’s “Cat Store” so far:

▼ A Cat Scratch Turntable

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Unfortunately if you live outside of Japan, then you’re most likely going to have to pay a bit for international shipping from Amazon Japan’s “Cat Store.”

Need a set of samurai armor for your cat or dog? This pet supply shop can help

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RocketNews 24 (by Casey Baseel):

Turn your adorable pet into a noble warrior…who’s still adorable!

There seems to be rising demand for samurai fashion, and we’re big proponents of strapping on a set of lamellar whenever the opportunity presents itself. Now, that opportunity has come to pets with wanko kacchu, or doggy armor.

This samurai-style protective gear is offered by Kandaya, a pet supply (or “pet souvenir,” to use Kandaya’s phrasing) in the town of Kurayoshi in Tottori Prefecture.

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If that purple and green color scheme looks familiar, it’s because it’s the same palette used for the Eva Unit-01 giant robot of science fiction anime Neon Genesis Evangelion. There’s also a more traditional set of doggy armor which was first introduced in April.

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Aside from its 50-50 blend of cute and cool, the doggy armor is actually tied into the city’s literary background. Kurayoshi is where the grave of Satomi Tadayoshi is located. A famous samurai, Satomi is said to have been the inspiration for one of the characters in the epic novel known as the Hakkenden, or The Legend of the Eight Dogs.

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Kandaya rents doggy armor out of its shop at a price of 500 yen (US$4.20) for one hour for the original pattern, or 1,000 yen for 90 minutes for the Evangelion-style suit. Granted, the odds of ninja attacking you while you’re strolling around Kurayoshi are extremely slim, but it’s good to know that should you meet with some hostile shinobi, your pet will be properly outfitted.

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Shop information
Kandaya / かんだや
Address: Tottori-ken, Kurayoshi-shi, Uomachi 2568-2
鳥取県倉吉市魚町2568-2
Open 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Closed Tuesdays
Telephone: 050-3564-0345
Website

The 11 Cat Islands of Japan

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RocketNews 24:

In the never-ending debate as to whether cats or dogs are the superior animal, it’s pretty safe to say felines have the edge as far as tranquility is concerned. For example, an island full of stray dogs is likely to be visited by animal control, whereas an island covered in cats instead gets visited by tons of tourists.

This ability to live in general harmony with the human population means that Japan is filled with places that have earned the nicknameNekojima,” or “Cat Island.”Today, we take a whirlwind photo tour of 11 of them.

 

1. Enoshima, Kanagawa Prefecture
Closest station: Katase Enoshima

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For residents and visitors to Tokyo, the closest isle worthy of the Cat Island designation lies in Kanagawa Prefecture, the capital’s neighbor to the south. Enoshima, which can be walked onto from a bridge across the street from Katase Enoshima Station, is most famous for its shrine located inside a cave and the connected legend of a dragon that fell in love with a beautiful maiden. The area’s beaches also make it a popular summertime destination for surfers, sunbathers, and partiers.

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Stop by Enoshima on an offseason weekday afternoon, though and you’re likely to run into as many cats as people as you stroll up the path that winds to the top of the island.

2. Okishima, Shiga Prefecture
Nearest port: Horikiri

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Not every Nekojima is on the ocean, though, as Okishima is actually a floating island in the middle of Lake Biwa, the largest freshwater depository in Japan. With just 350 residents, the fishing community is small enough that bicycles are the main mode of transportation on the island, meaning its feline inhabitants to live without fear f being hit by a car.

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3. Sanagishima, Kagawa Prefecture
Nearest port: Tadotsu

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This is the one of several Cat Islands located in the Inland Sea, which is dotted with fishing settlements and blessed with a temperate climate. Sanagishima lies of the coast of Kagawa, Japan’s smallest prefecture which makes up the northeast corner of the island of Shikoku.

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4. Aoshima, Ehime Prefecture
Nearest port: Nagahama

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Moving west, we come to Ehime Prefecture, which is also a part of Shikoku. Aoshima might be the most sparsely populated of Japan’s Cat Islands, with just 15 permanent residents compared to several times as many felines.

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This is strictly a day-trip destination, though. The advanced age of most of the community’s members mean that on Aoshima you won’t be able to find a hotel to spend the night, a restaurant to have dinner in, or, shockingly for Japan, even a vending machine to buy a drink from (make sure to stock up on supplies before you get on the boat).

 

5. Muzukijima, Ehime Prefecture

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While many Cat Islands are home to fishing communities, Muzukijima instead is covered with citrus groves, keeping with Ehime’s popular image as growing the best oranges in Japan.

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6. Manabeshima, Okayama Prefecture
Closest port: Kasaoka

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31 kilometers (19 miles) off the coast of Japan’s main island of Honshu, Manabeshima’s isolation has helped preserve its natural beauty, which along with its warm climate has made the island a historically popular choice for film crews (and, yes, cats).

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7. Iwaishima, Yamaguchi Prefecture
Nearest port: Yanai

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Our last stop in the Inland Sea, visitors arrive at Iwaishima at the end of a stretch of island hopping that begins at the port in the historic town of Yanai.

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8. Aijima Fukuoka Prefecture
Nearest port: Kokura

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Moving to the country’s opposite coastline, we come to Aijima, on the Sea of Japan. Aijima is one of the easiest Cat Islands for busy travelers to get to, as the Shinkansen bullet train stops just a few minutes’ walk from where visitors can catch a boat at Kokura Port.

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9. Aishima, Fukuoka Prefecture
Nearest port: Shingu

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Also in Fukuoka, the name of vaguely heart-shaped Aishima is, sadly, not written with the same kanji character as ai, or “love.” Nonetheless, the island’s romantic geography does seem to be having an influence on its feline population, if these photos taken there are anything to go by.

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10. Genkaishima, Fukuoka Prefecture
Nearest port: Hakata

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Another easy to access Cat Island, Genkaishima can be reached from Hakata Port, which is located in Fukuoka City the prefectural capital and largest city in the region.

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Genkaishima was home to Japan’s largest island-based cat population until the community was hit hard by an earthquake in 2005, although its number of felines is now said to be on the rise once again.

 

11. Kadarashima, Saga Prefecture
Nearest port: Yobuko

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Finally, we come to Kadarashima. Legend holds that long ago, a dog earned the wrath of the deity of the Kadarashima’s Yasakajinja Shrine, and the species was driven from the island, which today is completely absent of canines.

With their bitter rivals gone, will the local cats be able to redirect their energies into unlocking their true mental, and, dare we say it, cultural potential? Could Kadarashima be the starting point of a new phase of feline evolution, where cats learn from, and begin to emulate, their human neighbors, such as the elderly gentleman pictured above?

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Channel your inner rock god while smoothing your skin with the official KISS face pack

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RocketNews 24:

KISS, the never-ending merchandising machine, is still relatively popular in Japan and periodically releases Japan-exclusive products. In the past we’ve seen black KISS spicy steamed buns and just recently we were treated to a KISS collaboration music video with popular Japanese idol group Momoiro Clover Z. But if you aren’t satisfied merely eating or watching the band, you now have a chance to transform into one of its members in mere seconds using the newly released KISS Face Pack.

Face packs are a part of the beauty regime of many women (and men) in Japan. Filled with collagen, hyaluronan and other hard-to-pronounce words that are supposedly good for you, face packs promise to revitalize even the driest of skin. They usually come in plain white, making the wearer look like some kind of ghost, but recent updates have brought us kabuki, cat, and panda varieties.

But these KISS-inspired face packs are by far the coolest ones we’ve seen. Here’re the Starchild (Paul Stanley) and Spaceman (Tommy Thayer) versions, sold in a two-pack for 900 yen (US$7.57).

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The Demon (Gene Simmons) and Cat (Eric Singer) are also available for 900 yen.

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Since face packs aren’t widely used in the United States and Europe, Isshin, the creators of these fancy face packs, wanted to bridge the gap by printing a popular Western image.

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Western readers, what do you think? Have these KISS face packs convinced you to try out a new beauty regime? Although face packs are supposed to revitalize the wearer’s skin and reveal a more beautiful complexion, you’ll just have to settle for looking like a make-up-wearing rocker until it’s time to peel the face pack back off.

Forget shuriken: 10 stealthy and dangerous ninja tools you didn’t know existed

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RocketNews 24:

Growing up in the 90s, I was raised with the notion that ninja were teenage turtles, silent assassins or similar to the characters in Naruto. As much as we’d like to believe these were the reality, according to an interesting article from Listverse, the ninja that actually roamed the streets and castles as spies and assassins were humans who didn’t always dress in black (apparently they wore dark blue), and they didn’t regularly use the famous weapons we know so well.

So, if they weren’t using shuriken and long swords all of the time, what did they use? Researchers have been investigating the ancient style for decades and have uncovered some pretty amazing and ingenious items that you would never even dream of. There are probably thousands of ninja tools and techniques out there, but we’ll just focus on the few that Listverse brought into the open.

1. Nekome (Cat eyes)

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Have you ever seen cats’ eyes glowing in the dark night or their pupils shrinking to slivers in the daytime? The ninja definitely did. In fact, they examined cat eyes so closely that they were trained to be able to tell the time of day, within one hour, based on the size of a cat’s pupil, since they change in reaction to the daylight. Now, this leads me to wonder how well this would work in a rainstorm, but I guess the ninja probably had some correction for that. While this isn’t really a tool they would carry around with them (we hope), assuming the stray cat situation in old-time Japan was anything like it is today, the ninja were never in need of a pair of feline lenses.

2. Nekote (Cat hands)

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Staying with the cat theme, we move on to nekote. Used exclusively by female ninja, known as kunoichi, this was a metal or bamboo claw-like weapon, which could be attached to the fingers via thimble-like pieces or with a band around the hand. This could very well be the origin of the term “cat fight.”

3. Kanzashi (Hairpin)

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Kunoichi were known for their preference of lightweight and extra-hidden weapons, like the nekote and hairpins. We’re not talking about the hairpins you can use to pick locks (although, I’m sure these could do that too), but instead, kanzashi — long, ornamental hairpins, which could be sharpened and easily disguised and carried in your hair. The pins could be used to attack vital points or dipped in poison to deliver a fatal prick.

4. Saoto hikigane (Ear trumpet)

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This one looks pretty uncool, I have to say, but again, I grew up in the age of wiretapping and hidden recorders. While ninja did do some fighting, a lot of their responsibility was to stealthily get top-secret information from their enemies. But without modern day technology, how did they do it? With an ear trumpet, of course! The shape of the device amplifies sound, so it can be used on its own or up against a wall to hear the conversation on the other side. Although, a lot of Japanese doors were made of paper, so I can’t imagine it would really have been that hard to eavesdrop.

5. Yatate (Brush and ink case)

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Once vital information was obtained with the saoto hikigane, the ninja had to record it somehow in order to inform their bosses. It sounds kind of lame, but ninja apparently often carried a pencil-box like container for their calligraphy brush and ink— but of course, they may have carried small knives and bottles of poison in there too, for good measure.

6. Donohi (Anywhere heater)

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Stakeouts in cold weather are no fun, especially without kairo, the disposable heat packs we use today. Instead, of kairo, ninja used a donohi. This device was pretty simple, but very effective. They would put a flammable material (gunpowder, alcohol, etc) in a piece of bamboo, copper or iron cylinder and light it. The design allowed it to heat up, but the fire could last for hours or even days. I know kairo now last for 24 hours, but they sure don’t last for days!

7. Mizu-gumo (Water spider)

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Could ninja walk on water? Researchers can’t really prove it, but they think this tool, mizu-gumo (literally, water spider), which consisted of four curved wooden or inflated animal hide pieces strung together with a fifth piece in the middle, may have been used for water-walking. Perhaps they couldn’t use them to walk over deep moats surrounding castles, but they were probably useful in swampy areas.

8. Crickets

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Ninja may have used cat eyes and cat hands, but even they weren’t able to harness the stealthiness of felines. As smooth as ninja were, cracking twigs, crunchy snow or even the mere silence of the insects when a human comes near, could give the ninja away. To prepare for this, they sometimes carried a cage of crickets and secret poisons that either made the insects chirp, in order to cover-up the sound of movement, or be silent when need be. Pretty creative! (I know some modern-day people who would like that secret potion to shut crickets up on summer nights.)

9. Eggshells

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What would you do if you were a ninja about to be captured by the enemy? How about throwing eggshell bombs at them? (Aka, Edo era pepper spray.) The trick is to poke a hole in an egg, drain the contents, and then refill it with iron filings, salt, pepper or anything else that would cause irritation to the eyes or nose. Since eggshells are easy to break, throwing them at your opponent would quickly release the blinding substance. I’m interested to know how they transported their egg bombs without breaking them along the way…

10. Goshiki-mai (Five-colored rice)

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Japanese people love them some rice, ninja included. To the ninja though, rice was more than just breakfast, lunch and dinner; it was used for a code system. Rice could be painted different colors and arranged in certain combinations or amounts to convey secret messages. When left on the side of the road, a fellow clansman would see the sign and understand the message, but the average Joe would just see some rice. Pretty creative unless someone ate the rice!

Harnessing the power of nature, getting creative with everyday items and using what would probably have been some state-of-the art technology for the time, ninja were actually way cooler than I was raised to believe, and that’s saying a lot. Technology may have made most of these tools obsolete, but some could easily still be used today.

 

Cats as Sushi: A bizarre Japanese ad series

Cats as sushi: a bizarre Japanese ad series
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Sushi Cats (Neko-Sushi) by the Japan-based company Tange & Nakimushi Peanuts are a series of photographs of cute dressed up felines resting on top of sushi rice. According to the History of Sushi Cats video (seen below), the cats are a magical and historical creature that have been influencing humans since the beginning of time. Tange & Nakimushi Peanuts has released a mobile game app for iPhone and Android phones featuring the Sushi Cats.

They also have an online store that offers photo prints, postcards and more (only available in Japan).

Neko-Sushi is an extremely unusual life-form consisting of a cat on top of a portion of sushi rice.
Although several references have come down to us through history from various researchers and witnesses, their existence is still shrouded in mystery and actual sightings remain rare.

There are several academics who have devoted their lives to the study of these creatures. According to a number of these, Neko-Sushi make use of gaps in space to come to us from an alternate dimension. Beyond these “gaps” lies the world of the Neko-Sushi in which, it is recently understood, lies the true identity of the cats that dwell with us here in the human dimension.

 

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