February 22 is Ninja Day, as these cosplaying civil servants at Koka City Hall just reminded us

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Are you feeling bummed out that February’s two most high-profile holidays, namely Twin Tail Day and Valentine’s Day, are both already over and done with? Cheer up! While it may not necessarily tug at the heartstrings like February 2 and 14, what’s arguably the coolest holiday of the month is coming up this weekend.

That’s because February 22 is officially Ninja Day, and one town in Japan is helping people get into the spirit with a bit of shinobi-style cosplay at its city hall.

The kanji for Shiga Prefecture’s Koka City can also be read as “Koga,” which is a name Japanese history buffs might be familiar with. The Koga Ninja who were based in the area were one of the most formidable shadow warrior forces of Japan’s feudal era, and present-day Koka wholeheartedly embraces this part of its history.

▼ Even the floor of this Koka train station is decorated in a throwing-star pattern.

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Japan loves its puns, and someone noticed that ni, the Japanese word for “two,” is pronounced just like the first of the three syllables in “ninja” (yes, in Japanese, “n” is a syllable all of its own). Before long, support grew for February 22 (2-22) to be known Ninja Day, a designation now officially recognized by the Japan Anniversary Association (the same group which has given its nod of approval to the aforementioned Twintail Day).

In celebration, the five-employee team at the Koka City Tourism Promotion Office has spent the week commuting and working in attire that reflects their city’s claim to fame.

Just to be clear, their workspace isn’t located in the middle of an amusement park or museum. These civil servants go about their duties right smack in the middle of Koka City Hall, just a shuriken’s throw away from the sections of the municipal government responsible for registering marriages and official residence addresses.

Speaking of shuriken, this week the members of the Tourism Promotion Office have also been handing out origami throwing stars to visitors who’ve come in to ask for information about local attractions. On Ninja Day itself, they’ll also be onboard trains on the local Shigaraki Kohgen Railway, once again making paper versions of the tossable tools of the ninja trade.

▼ The mysterious shinobi keep their masks on at all times, even when doing desk work or talking on the phone.

View image on Twitter

Obviously, the Tourism Promotion Office staff would be happiest if you celebrated Ninja Day by taking a trip to their lovely town, maybe to see Koka’s Minakuchi Castle. If you absolutely can’t make it to the home of the Koga Ninja, though, you’ll be happy to know that other organizations across Japan are also doing something special to mark the occasion, with specific details available here on the English-language version of the official Ninja Day website.

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Billionaire Jack Ma’s Alibaba is sending Chinese gay couples to get married in California


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Alibaba, along with Chinese companies Taobao and Danlan, are doing something extra special for several Chinese gay couples this Valentine’s Day — they’re helping them tie the knot in Los Angeles’ most fabulous town.

Chinese LGBT news site Danlan, along with Blued, China’s leading gay dating app, and three LGBT nonprofits, recently teamed up to hold an online contest to find 10 lucky couples to be awarded with California-based wedding and honeymoon packages. The winning pairs were chosen by 75,000 voting netizens out of more than 400 video submissions of couples telling their love story.

Melanie Lee, a spokesperson for Alibaba, said the contest “hopes to evoke respect and understanding of homosexuality and support the realization of dreams … It’s more of a symbolic kind of gesture.”

West Hollywood Mayor John D’Amico, who lives in WeHo with his partner Keith and their two dogs, will serve as a wedding witness. Gay marriage is illegal in China and the couples’ weddings will not be recognized in their own country, but when love is on the line, you just have to go for it.

This also isn’t the first time Alibaba has launched an LGBT-friendly campaign; last year, they featured a gay couple in their promo video for “Single’s Day” in Asia, according to Shanghaiist.

Hello Kitty x A Bathing Ape 2015 Valentine’s Day Collection




Shanghai singles revolt against Valentine’s Day, buy up all odd-number movie seats

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Some people like Valentine’s Day and some people don’t, but the least we can do is stay out of one another’s way. Gushy types can do their romantic stuff, and more cynical types can boycott in whatever way they like best. Everybody wins, right?

Well, a personal boycott wasn’t enough for one jilted lover in Shanghai. He decided to organize a mob of internet singletons to buy up odd-numbered movie seats for showings of a popular romance movie to ensure couples wouldn’t be able to sit together on the 14th.

The group focused on evening showings of Beijing Love Story at the cinema of a popular shopping mall in Shanghai, but according to the Shanghai Morning Post, they managed to buy up every odd-numbered seat for every showing on Valentine’s Day.

The organizer explained his motivation online, saying, “Planning to see a movie on Valentine’s Day? Sorry, you won’t be able to find two seats together. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, right? Give us single folk a chance!

He also mentioned he’d recently split with his girlfriend.

Source: AFP BB News

Check out this link:

Shanghai singles revolt against Valentine’s Day, buy up all odd-number movie seats


Manila offers couples free train tickets for PDA on Valentine’s

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Generally speaking, it’s considered bad form to suck face on public transportation, particularly in socially conservative countries like the Philippines, but perhaps lovers get a little extra leeway on St. Valentine’s Day, because the Manila Light Rail Transit is offering free tickets to couples bringing the romance today.

A spokesperson announced this week that the LTR would be offering books of seven tickets to five lucky couples on Valentine’s Day that “showed romance.” No definition was offered for exactly what that might mean, but LTR employees would be prowling lines 1 and 2 between 6a.m. and 8 a.m. to find some deserving lovebirds.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Check out this link:

Manila offers couples free train tickets for PDA on Valentine’s


CLOT (Hong Kong) and Medicom Toy (Japan) collaborate with 2014 Valentine’s Day [Chinese marriage] Pack

Image of CLOT x Medicom Toy 2014 Valentine's Day Pack
As the world moves into February, CLOT and Medicom Toy have teamed up to celebrate the great virtue of love with a new toy kit. The two brands took influence from traditional Chinese marriages and ceremony to celebrate Valentine’s Day, decorating both 100% and 400%-sized figures with ornate, red uniforms.
Look for both of these figures to hit authorized retailers in next week, with the 100% figure priced about $36 USD and the 400% at about $178 USD.
Check out this link:
Image of CLOT x Medicom Toy 2014 Valentine's Day Pack
Image of CLOT x Medicom Toy 2014 Valentine's Day Pack

Lotteria (Japan) releases Chocolate and Honey Mustard Chicken Burger for Valentine’s Day



For pairing with their chocolate dipping sauce fries, Japanese fast food chain Lotteria is launching the totally eyebrow-raising but kinda-sorta incredible-sounding “Chocolate and Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken” burger, starting February 6.

According to the press release, the burger features a grilled chicken thigh patty, daubed with Lotte-Ghana milk chocolate sauce and spicy French and grain mustard with honey. We’re hoping it tastes something like a sweeter mole poblano, though we wouldn’t be totally mad at a burger that just tastes like chocolate. ‘Tis the season, after all.

H/T Kotaku + Picthx Lotteria

Check out this link:

Lotteria (Japan) releases Chocolate and Honey Mustard Chicken Burger for Valentine’s Day


Starbucks Japan introduces Chocolate Pretzel Mochas



In anticipation of Valentine’s Day, Starbucks Japan unveiled their latest limited-time treat: Chocolate Pretzel Mochas and Frappuccinos.

What do pretzels have to do with fat babies shooting pink arrows? BrandEating explains that the pretzel’s heart-shape coincides with the Valentine’s Day theme. I’d protest, but pretzels are damn delicious.

The Chocolate Pretzel Mocha features your standard mocha innards of espresso, steamed milk, chocolate syrup and whipped cream, plus crushed chocolate almond bits and pretzels. The Frappuccino version features the same ingredients but comes blended with ice and gets an additional whole pretzel as a topping.

The new coffee drinks debut January 15, 2014 and start at  430 yen ($4.09 US) for a tall Chocolate Pretzel Mocha, while the tall frappuccino will run you 490 yen ($4.67 US).

Check out this link:

Starbucks Japan introduces Chocolate Pretzel Mochas


Medicom Toy (Japan) 2014 Valentine’s Day 100% Bearbrick


Image of Medicom Toy 2014 Valentine's Day 100% Bearbrick

Medicom Toy pays homage to Valentine’s Day with the latest addition to its celebratory, holiday-inspired line of Bearbricks. Pairing white hearts with a pink base, the simple design comes complete with red “LOVE & HAPPY VALENTINE” branding on the back.

Retailing for ¥1,575 JPY (approximately $15 USD), the collectible drops this Saturday, January 18 via project 1/6.

Check out this link:

Medicom Toy (Japan) 2014 Valentine’s Day 100% Bearbrick