Toshio Suzuki’s “The Red Turtle” receives standing ovation at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival

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RocketNews 24 (by Meg Murphy):

The Red Turtle may have no dialogue, but if that hasn’t stopped viewers from saying wonderful things about it.

Produced by Toshio Suzuki, a long-time colleague of famous Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki, and directed by London-based Dutch animator Michaël Dudok de Wit, the film The Red Turtle (in French La Tortue Rouge and in Japanese Reddo Taatoru: Aru Shima no Monogatari) premiered at the 69th Cannes Film Festival on May 18, to much excitement from the crowd. Reports state that the excitement could be felt from viewers as soon as Studio Ghibli’s well-known Totoro logo appeared on the screen, and that the film received a huge standing ovation at its end.

I’m so happy,” said Suzuki, “Of course, I would be quite sad if there was no one left at the end of the film (laughs).”

Director Dudok de Wit commented, “There were about a thousand people in this huge theatre, and they were all so focused on the film. I don’t think I’ve felt anything so amazing before.”

The film has no dialogue, and is Studio Ghibli’s first European co-production, with German film distributor Wild Bunch. It “follows the major life stages of a castaway on a deserted tropical island populated by turtles, crabs and birds,” according to IMDb.

If you haven’t already caught it, here’s the official trailer for the film:

 

5 unique cafés to visit in Asia

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Audrey Magazine (by Alyssa Park):

Cafés are popping up all over America, and they are quickly becoming part of a global culture as well. For instance, all across Asia you can find amazing cafés with different types of aesthetics such as rustic, modern, traditional and even themed. If you are traveling through Asia, then these five destinations are a must.

1. Hoho Myoll Café : (Seoul, South Korea)

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Korea is known to have some of the most beautiful cafés in the world. With a bit of a rustic aesthetic, Hoho Myoll Café is an enchanting little café tucked away in the heart of Seoul.

2. Wangye Teahouse : (Zigong, China)

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Inside of what was once a 100-year-old temple lies a very famous Sichuan Teahouse in Zigong, China. Next to the Fuxi River, visitors not only enjoy a traditional cup of tea, they can also become engrossed in a rich cultural history.

3. Shirohige’s Creampuff Shop: (Tokyo, Japan)

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Shirohige’s Creampuff Shop is one of many of Japan’s themed cafés. Not only are the creampuffs Totoro-shaped, the café itself is extremely sophisticated while maintaining a youthful charm.

4.Up Café: (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)

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Up Café is a mandatory destination in Saigon mostly for it’s novelty. With all of the furniture and windows hanging upside down from the ceilings, you can’t help but feel like you are in another dimension.

5. Audrey Café & Bistro: ( Bangkok, Thailand)

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Audrey Café & Bistro is one of the most popular destinations in Bangkok, Thailand because of its beauty. With decor that only reflects elegance and class, your experience here will be nothing short of luxurious.

Village in Taiwan has dozens of anime and children’s characters painted on its houses!

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RocketNews 24:

Don’t you agree that our surroundings influence our mood? Being in a bright, vibrant environment usually makes one feel more positive and happy, and the positive energy in us in turn has the power to influence the mood of others around us.

A small village in Tainan City of Taiwan has been attracting attention online and attracting visitors because of the cheerful vibes that emanate from its brightly colored walls. With walls covered in colorful paintings of SpongeBob, Totoro, Doraemon and other characters and motifs, there’s no doubt this village must be a happy place!

Now more famously known as Cai Hui Cun (彩繪村), which literally means “painted village,” Hujia Village, located in the Shanhua District of southern Taiwan, used to be a quiet, rundown district until about a year ago. Since then it has blossomed into a vibrant tourist spot that continues to see an increasing number of visitors each day, and it’s said that property prices have even risen, thanks to its brilliantly painted walls. What’s more impressive than the numerous wall murals is the fact that this amazing transformation started with a home project that stemmed from the filial piety of five sisters.

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According to Yahoo News Taiwan, some time last year, the Li sisters, who spent a couple of their childhood years living in Hujia Village, went back to the village to visit their grandmother. The trip back to the old village brought back fond memories of when their grandmother used to care for them, and that triggered Fan Ting Li’s inspiration to paint the outer walls of her grandmother’s house as a way to express her gratitude to her 86-year-old granny.

With no experience or training in painting wall murals, the Li sisters had a rough start. The elderly woman watched with worry as Fan Ting and her sisters, Hui Qing, Guan Yu, Qing Yan and Wei Zhen, spent long hours under the scorching sun, and asked her “silly granddaughters” to give up on the idea several times, but the sisters were determined to complete their project.

Studio Ghibli murals

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Residents of the village gazed upon them with curiosity and doubt at first, but were eventually moved by their passion, and some even volunteered to join them. Their little home project gradually spread throughout the village, and their painting team once grew to the size of 18 members coming from all walks of life, including an eight-year-old elementary school girl.

▼ Western influences

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Watching as the voluntary painting team contributed their time, effort and money to beautifying their village, the other villagers too, often contributed to their cause by bringing them snacks and beverages. There have also been private companies that donated items to aid in the decoration of the walls, but due to the residents’ limited funds, they narrowed down their mural locations to the houses of elderly residents who lived alone, hoping to brighten up their days.

▼ Japanese anime characters

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Since word of the painted village spread across cyberspace, tourists from near and far have begun visiting the village, not only bringing some liveliness to the once-sleepy place, but boosting profits for local businesses as well. The local authorities have since acknowledged the efforts put into Hujia Village, and have given their word to contribute to the beautifying and expansion of the painted village.

▼ Chinese motifs.

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The Li sisters and their team of mural maestros can still be spotted creating more wall paintings in the village on weekends. If you’re interested in stopping by, the location details are below! Although the area has pretty much turned into a tourism spot, bear in mind that these murals are painted on actual residences, so it would only be nice to show some consideration for their residents, just as you probably wouldn’t appreciate strangers littering or creating a racket outside your house.

Village information:
台南市善化區胡家里300號 (陽明國小)
Tainan City, Shanhua District, 300 Hujia Village (Yang Ming Elementary School)
*Note: The Painted Village is in the vicinity of the elementary school.

 

Look out for this school as a landmark to guide you to the Painted Village.

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Anime/animation worlds collide when Disney Artist combines ‘My Neighbor Totoro’ with ‘Big Hero 6′ 

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 Audrey Magazine:

Big Hero 6‘s Baymax is easily one of the most beloved animated characters of 2014. What’s not to love about this personal healthcare provider? He’s big, huggable and has a warm heart (metaphorically speaking).

But as we list all these lovable traits, it’s a little hard not to think about another popular animated character. Sure he’s decades older, but Studio Ghibli’s Totoro certainly holds many of the same qualities found in Baymax.

Jin Kim, the Character Design Supervisor at Walt Disney Animation Studios, certainly seemed to see the correlation as well. Kim, a South Korean-native who worked on the character designs for Big Hero 6, has made it clear on his personal blog that he is a Studio Ghibli fan. He took this one step further by combining Big Hero 6 with the famed animated film My Neighbor Totoro.

Kim originally posted this image back in November, but it has recently gone viral on twitter and has delighted the hearts of many.

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Here is the original, iconic bus stop scene from My Neighbor Totoro.

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Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen artists recreate this bus stop scene. Hayao Miyazaki’s work has been so inspiring, we’ve seen this moment re-imagined with everything from Pokemon characters to Marvel characters.

 

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Totoro Creampuffs!

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FoodBeast:

These Totoro Creampuffs are from Shiro Hige, a cream puff factory out of Tokyo that doesn’t fare well when hit with Google Translate.

The important thing is blogger and published author Stephanie Le captured their beauty for the world to see. Pictured are a couple of puffs filled with chestnut custard creme and the other is vanilla.

If you don’t live anywhere near Tokyo and you’re interested in making your own, BentoMonsters.com has an almost-as-cute recipe.

New Totoro plush is super pricey, rarer than an encounter with the big guy himself

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RocketNews 24:

As fictional (sorry, I mean completely real and definitely not made up) creatures come, furry forest spirits like Studio Ghibli’s Totoro are pretty rare to begin with. Heck, even the theme song to My Neighbor Totoro tells us that we can only see them when we’re “very young”, so it’s not like we’re tripping over the things in the street.

But if you’re the kind of person who simply must have every piece of high quality Ghibli merch, the rarer the better, then this limited edition plush is definitely one you’ll want to look out for.

The product of a collaboration between Studio Ghibli and the Japanese arm of German plush toy company Steiff, this 25-cm (9.8 inches) handmade Totoro plush is set to go on sale in Japan sometime in June 2015 and will cost a whopping 42,000 yen (US$361).

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The price, however, isn’t the only hurdle that would-be buyers will have to overcome. Only 1,500 units of the cuddly toy will be made, with each one stamped with an individual serial number to prove its authenticity and uniqueness. Sure, 1,500 cuddly toys may sound like a lot at first, but when you consider that the population of Japan (all of them Ghibli fans from birth, of course) currently stands at roughly 127.6 million, you’ll realise just how tricky it will be to get hold of one of these things.

Orders for the rarer-than-rare forest spirits will reportedly start being taken “one day soon”, but whether that means sometime this week or by the end of the month is anyone’s guess, so if you’re in the market for one you’d better keep a keen eye on Steiff Japan’s homepage.

Hayao Miyazaki working on new project, says “I’m going to continue making anime until I die”

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RocketNews 24:

 

Legendary anime director Hayao Miyazaki is in Los Angeles right now, as he’s making a rare trip to the U.S. to receive a lifetime achievement award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. While we’re sure plenty of fans are excited to see Japanese animation’s most respected figure receive such a prestigious honor, there’s something else for them to be happier about: Miyazaki’s statement that he’s not even close to done making anime.

The Studio Ghibli cofounder has been retired from the business of making full-length, commercial movies for some time now. Be that as it may, it raised peoples’ eyebrows, not to mention hopes, when veteran Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki casually mentioned that Miyazaki still spends every day at the production house he helped build.

Even though Suzuki relayed conversations he’d had with Miyazaki about the possibility of crafting an anime in some format other than a theatrical release, the director himself had remained mum on the subject in his public statements. That changed during an interview with AP reporters ahead of the Academy’s November 8 awards ceremony, in which Miyazaki said:

“I’m going to continue making anime until I die.”

In stark contrast to the complex themes of Miyazaki’s films and even personal life, the sentiments behind his declaration are as pure and straightforward as can be. “I like creating stories and drawing pictures,” he explained.

 

Unlike Totoro, Miyazaki has no time to rest.

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He went on to reveal that planning has begun for a Miyazaki-helmed short to screen at the Saturn Theater inside Tokyo’s Ghibli Museum. While Ghibli’s films have been the Japanese movie industry’s closest thing to a license to print money, Miyazaki’s cut of prior box office revenues, not to mention Ghibli’s massive merchandising arm, mean that he’s not worried about passing up the economic gains of a general release. As a matter of fact, he’d prefer to not think about money at all, stating that “Not having to worry about whether it will be a financial success or not is a big plus.”

 

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If you’re guessing that this is a way for him to get his creative juices flowing again before jumping back into full-length films, though, you’re in for a disappointment. Miyazaki reiterated that he’s done with that, saying he wants to “leave such things to the next generation of animators.”

Again, the project is only in the planning stage, and no timetable as to when it’ll be ready has even been hinted at, meaning it could be years until it’s ready to screen. Still, for many anime fans, a long wait for a Miyazaki short sounds like a pretty good deal.

Adorable Asian kids in Halloween costumes

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Audrey Magazine: 


The baby from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

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The happiest baby monkey you’ll ever find.

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The “Oh, I’m a panda!” baby.

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The baby who’s clearly a strong, hammer-wielding god.

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The lost baby penguin.

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The cutest baby ewok ever. EVER.

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The baby who can beat you up.

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The very-serious-about-his-cosplay Naruto baby.

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The tiny Totoro.

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The GIANT Totoro.

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Baby Kiki and her Delivery Service.

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Baby Chun Li…

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…and her twin sister.


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What could be cuter than this little Mario?

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Little Mario and Luigi!

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A baby Cheeseburger that doesn’t seem to know what’s going on.

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A baby lobster that knows exactly what’s going on.

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Lots and lots…

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.. of adorable..

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.. BABY SUHSI!

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Last, but certainly not least is the baby who doesn’t care what holiday you think it is.

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Artist paints Totoro, classic Japanese artwork, and more, all on pregnant women’s stomachs

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RocketNews 24:

 

In Japan, there’s a long, proud tradition of drunken men drawing faces on their bellies, then contorting in order to make them appear to talk or sing. Wait, did we say proud? We mean embarrassing.

This doesn’t mean all abdominal art is automatically silly and repulsive however, as one artist is helping enhance the radiance of pregnancy by painting beautiful works of art on the stomachs of mothers-to-be.

British artist Carrie Preston offers a number of services through her website, My Little Sweet-Pea. While we’re sure she does a fine job with her handmade plaques, clocks, and puppets, how Preston’s really making a name for herself is by using the stomachs of pregnant women as creative canvases.

 

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Each creation takes about two hours to paint from start to finish. That’s a lot of time for anyone to be on their feet, let alone someone carrying a whole other person inside of them, so thankfully Preston’s clients can sit down and relax while the artist does her thing.

 

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While Preston resides in Cornwall, her inspirations aren’t geographically limited to the UK. For instance, here’s her take on The Great Wave of Kanagawa, by celebrated 19th century Japanese artist Hokusai.

 

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Other projects draw from more contemporary sources.

 

▼ Technically speaking, if your baby is inside the anime icon, is Totoro still his neighbor?

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Looking forward to parenthood often gets people looking back on their own childhoods, which explains why children’s movies, particularly Disney classics, are in such high demand.

 

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▼ We’re not quite sure what to think about this one. We heard a rumor about something bad happening to Bambi’s mom, but we haven’t been able to confirm it since our parents always fast forwarded through one scene in the middle of the movie for some reason.

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▼ Everything worked out fine for Dumbo and his mom, though.

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After two decades of producing hits, Pixar’s fanbase has grow to a size rivaling that of Disney or Studio Ghibli. As such, it’s no surprise that some expectant mothers look forward to passing on their love of the skilled computer animators to their kids.

 

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For those who prefer their whimsy in live-action form, there’s this instantly recognizable scene of the beloved movie extra-terrestrial.

 

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▼ And possibly his home planet

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Preston can also do holiday designs, such as this Easter basket.

 

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▼ We’re a little surprised she didn’t double up by painting a face on that pumpkin and making it a Halloween jack o’ lantern.

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She’s also comfortable working with motifs from the animal kingdom.

 

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▼ How much do you want to bet this woman is going to call her kid “Honey?”

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▼ This is apparently in reference to the mother’s promise that she’ll love her child “’till the cows come home.” We don’t know if Denzel is supposed to be the name of the baby or the bovine, though.

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A few of Preston’s Bump Paintings even reach Escher-like levels of playing with perspective. For example, in the below picture, we see a baby inside an apple, which is painted on the stomach of woman with an actual baby beyond the one on her belly.

 

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Link

Record snowfall in Tokyo means awesome snowman photos on Twitter!

RocketNews 24:

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Tokyo doesn’t often get massive snow storms. Once or twice a year, we might get an inch or two, but the storm that dumped 20 centimeters (7.8 inches) of snow this weekend was apparently the worst in two decades. So, it’s easy to see why people were clearing the shelves at local supermarkets! A reasonable reaction to a massive snowfall is to stock up on supplies.

Of course, there’s another entirely reasonable reaction to snow: Playing in it! Check out some of the best snow-creations tweeted over the weekend below.

This snow-creature below is Rensouhou-chan. At first glimpse, it looks a bit like an adorable snowbunny, doesn’t it? But if you look closer, you might notice something a bit more…explosive. “Rensouhou” (連装砲) refers to the multiple large (12.7 centimeter, or 5 inch) guns on naval destroyers! Rensouhou-chan is one of the anthropomorphized Shimakaze’s side-kicks in the online game Kantai Collection.

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▼Rensouhou-chan and the anthropomorphized Kazeshima

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Here are some “winter-only” puyo puyo! This leaves us wondering: Do blobs freeze?

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Our next photo of wintry fun is this, um, horrifying mess. It appeared on Twitter with this message:

I made a snowman! ♥️

It could just be us, but the heart is what swings this past cute-but-creepy all the way to horrifying. But still adorable.

▼”Hey, wait for me, guys!”

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And here we have an adorable assortment of what looks like a choir of snowbabies. Awwww! Unfortunately, the backstory is less “cuuuuute” and more “reveeeenge!”

My little brother hates the people who live on the second floor, so he did this… Just how many are there?? LOL

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Here are some cute footprints allegedly left by a bird…

▼Or maybe a very drunk salaryman on tiny stilts?

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This bizarre photo was taken by a Twitter user in a park near his or her home. It’s not clear from the photo, but the snow is at the bottom of a slide!

▼Now we really want a Fruit Roll-Up…

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Of course, humans weren’t the only ones making the most of the day!

I took my dog for a walk, and when we got back, it ended up looking like shaved ice!

Hopefully this puppy wasn’t walking around where Softbank’s Otosan had been, uh, getting busy. Ew!

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Here’s “Oshushi,” a sushi roll character featured in a four-panel comic popular on Twitter in Japan. Oshushi is made of rice and tuna (the red part) and, for some reason, won’t die even if eaten.

▼It’s also extremely cute…

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▼The real Oshushi

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We can only wonder what sort of crime this snowperson committed to be forced to do dogeza, prostrating oneself in apology. Maybe it forgot its corncob pipe?

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Here’s Cinderella’s castle at Tokyo Disneyland’s Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes! No word on whether or not her glass slipper was actually an ice slipper…

▼”What is this? A castle for ants?!”

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Of course, you would expect an appearance by a Ghibli character as well, wouldn’t you? Here’s a snow Totoro! Or maybe: Snotoro?

▼Now where’s the Catbus…we’re late to pick up our hot cocoa.

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Anyone who’s played Earthbound will recognize the snow-thing in our next photo: Mr. Saturn!

▼How the hell did they get the nose to stay on??

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This snow Snoopy is definitely one of our favorites in this list. Not only is it incredibly cute, but it also really, honestly looks just like Snoopy!

▼It was a dark and snowy night…

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And then there’s this. We…uhhh…but…well…see…

▼Seriously. WTF??

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It looks like someone made snowy versions of Gachapin, a buck-toothed dinosaur, and Mukku, a red Yeti–both characters on the Japanese children’s show Kirake! Ponkikki. Though in snow form they look more like dogū from the Jomon period than anything…

▼Or maybe…aliens!!

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▼Oddly, Gachapin and Mukku don’t look any less alien in color…

Back in the realm of the real, someone walked out on their balcony…and found chirping little snow-made sparrows!

▼Aw, so cuuute!

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▼Oh, crap! They’re multiplying. And they’re hungry! Aiiiieeee!

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Of course, by now, you all know and love Funasshi just as much as we do. Whether running from explosions or just jiggling wildly, Funasshi is simply the greatest mascot character to ever have danced a crazy little dance! And as much as Funasshi doesn’t seem to appreciate imposters very much, we think it will let this one slide.

▼Snownasshi!

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This dizzying photo is of the snow piled up on the platform at Fujino Station in Kanagawa Prefecture.

▼It’s enough to make you stay on the train until it melts!

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Well, we’ve heard of “snow viewing” ramen before…but this is the first time we’ve seen snow-covered udon. But it looks like a nice big, family-sized helping!

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The message tweeted with this photo tells you all you need to know.

You guys are making all that noise and frolicking just because it’s snowing. I’m over here staying quiet and studying math, so shut up!

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By now, you all know that the Sochi Olympic games have started, if nothing else because Google changed their banner! Well, one Japanese illustrator Serujioitigo tweeted his addition to the graphic this weekend: Snowball rolling!

▼”Google: Where’s the closest snowball fight?”snowman (2)

And, finally, here’s the snowbaby your humble author saw waking up on Saturday morning.

▼”Dude, it’s waaaay to cold out there. Lemme warm up in for a bit!”

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We hope you all enjoyed the record snowfall and made some great snow-memories. Just try to stay warm, okay? We don’t want to hear about any unpleasant frostbite!

Sources: Netorabo
Images: NetoraboTwitterPixivGachapin Blog, Snowbaby photo by RocketNews24

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Record snowfall in Tokyo means awesome snowman photos on Twitter!