Love blooms after loss: Japanese netizen commemorates grandparents’ romance, gardening skills

Twitter user is taking the gorgeous blossom that bloomed after her grandmother’s passing as a token of her grandfather’s deep and abiding love.

Factual or fictitious, humans can’t escape news about death, and try as we might we can’t avoid our own mortality – nor can we avoid the eventual deaths of those we care about. It’s a topic we’re surrounded by and yet are unable to fully comprehend, and when we’re given even the slightest hint to help make sense of our loss, we grab it with both hands. Maybe that’s by using our skills to commemorate our lost loved ones as best we can; maybe we just have to do our best to live a good life in their honor. Sometimes, we get a bittersweet hint of what might lie beyond death, and that can make it easier to swallow.

Twitter user @an_nindo_fu was having an understandably rough time processing her grandmother’s death, but something beautiful came blossoming forth to help her through the process. She took a photograph and shared it with Twitter:

“My grandmother passed away. The day after she passed, this cactus flower bloomed… Even though it had never bloomed once before, not in all the 20 years since my late grandfather first planted it.”

The photograph depicts two beautiful cactus flowers in full bloom: delicate, sloping petals in pastel pink, each sporting a forest of powdery peach stamens with one long and elegant stamina sprouting from the center. @an_nindo_fu goes on to explain the flower’s relevance in flower language:

“In flower language, a cactus flower means ‘something momentous’, or ‘a love that smoulders like fire’, or even ‘a love that shall not wither’. My grandmother is deeply beloved even now…”

A user commented to the thread: “Those blossoms are really, breathtakingly beautiful. Condolences for the loss of your grandmother… I really hope she got to meet up with your grandfather on the other side.”

@an_nindo_fu responded with good cheer, saying “He’ll probably be like, ‘I was about to run out of patience waiting for you, darn it!’”

Plenty of other replies echoed this first sentiment, with many more condolences and multiple instances of “This brought tears to my eyes” and “I’m sure they’re together in Heaven now”. It was honestly a little striking how similar so many of the messages were, and how similar again they are to the things we say to people around us who are grieving; how similar, once more, they were to the comments we ourselves receive in troubled times.

Whatever your position in life on death, there’s something comforting about a gardener’s cherished plant finally coming into bloom once his wife has also been laid to rest. In times when it’s hard to know how to comfort someone, or even to comfort yourself, the world presents you with something unexpected – and even poetic – like this and helps the grief to digest. For a similarly touching (but slightly more zany) tale about processing grief, don’t miss the story about one old man’s experience with Pokémon GO at his late wife’s grave.

Featured image: Twitter/@an_nin_dofu
Source: Twitter/@an_nin_dofu

Kyoto family’s cat, missing for half a year, returns home after Osaka earthquake

Recent quake ends more happily than expected for one Kansai resident.

A few days have passed since a magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck the northern part of Osaka, sending tremors all throughout the Kansai region which contains neighboring cities such as Kobe, Nara, and Kyoto. The area is still in a state of uncertainty, however, as the possibility that this was just a foreshock lingers.

But for one family in Kyoto, the disaster has brought an unexpected surprise in the form of their beloved pet cat. According to Twitter user Kiyo (@kiyo_ZX10RR), within hours of the large quake striking, the wandering feline returned to the house it had lived in up until six months ago.

▼ “I don’t know if it was because of the earthquake, but my pet cat that had been missing for half a year finally came home! [several crying kaomoji] His feet are jet-black [several crying kaomoji] Now he is eating a lot! [crying kaomoji] Thank god! Thank god! [crying kaomoji]”

After his disappearance late last year, the cat was spotted around the neighborhood, but Kiyo had been unable to find it himself. Months went by with no sign of the cat until a few weeks before the earthquake when sightings began to happen again.

Finally, as if to check up on his family, the cat came back the very same day of the shaking, and Kiyo shared his joy over Twitter. Kiyo also tweeted that the cat is in good health. It appeared to have been well-fed, relaxed, and not really dirty. A triangular section was taken out of its ear, but that was the worst in terms of “injury.”

This scar wasn’t picked up during any kind of catfight though. Rather it is a marking used by groups such as Doubutukikin that trap stray cats, neuter them, and then release them. It looks like they picked up this particular feline during his adventures and finding that Kiyo had already gotten him neutered, just clipped his ears and sent him on his way.

Hundreds of Twitter users were caught up in Kiyo’s heartwarming incident and shared their joy.

“That’s great news! I’m so happy for you.”
“It’s like he was worried about his family and came back.”
“Congratulations! But make sure you get it fully tested. I heard about a cat that returned home but was infected with feline AIDS.”
“That’s such a nice story. Guess he thought it was time to go home.”
“Make sure you spoil that cat rotten!”
“I’m glad I heard this after all that other terrible news.”

Kiyo tweeted that he wanted to share his story so that others who have lost pets in this or other earthquakes don’t lose hope.

For those of us in the area, hope (mixed with a dash of vitriol) is all we got until things gradually return to relative normalcy, so it’s nice to get a big injection of it from this incident.

Source: Twitter/@kiyo_ZX10RR, Togech, Doubutukikin
Featured image: Twitter/@kiyo_ZX10RR

50-year-old otaku murders father who criticized his anime and game hobbies

76-year-old victim fought off first attempt on his life, succumbed to second.

It’s not unusual for parents to clash with their children over how much time or money they spend on their hobbies. Those arguments can be particularly heated if they’re about pastimes that the older generation is ready to write off as frivolous nonsense, such as watching anime or playing video games.

Often these issues resolve themselves either when the parent comes to accept that their child’s life is their own to live, or, alternatively, when the child becomes old enough to move out. Sadly, a family dispute over games and anime came to a much more violent end in Shiga Prefecture.

Since 50-year-old Toshio Ito’s mother passed away in 2016, it had just been him and his 76-year-old father, Kou, living in their home in the town of Otsu. Though Toshio had been acting as his father’s caretaker, the two had a strained relationship. The older Ito instituted a curfew for his son, and also repeatedly criticized him for his love of anime and video games.

Toshio became increasingly dissatisfied with the living arrangement, until the early hours of the morning on February 4. Entering his sleeping father’s bedroom shortly after 3 a.m., Toshio pressed a wet towel and pillow over Kou’s face and attempted to smother him. When he resisted, Toshio changed tactics and grabbed a length of electrical cord that was within arm’s reach and used it to strangle his father.

Toshio’s trial began this week, though since he has already admitted to killing his father, the proceedings are more to determine the extent of his legal culpability and the appropriate punishment. The defense has asked that the extenuating circumstances of the relationship be taken into account, claiming that Kou’s overbearing treatment of his son left Toshio desperate to end their cohabitation, but considering Japan’s customary hard-line stance against violent crime, the request is likely to earn him little, if any, clemency.

Source: Kyoto Shimbun via Otakomu
Top image: Pakutaso

Japanese cat lover has an ingenious plan to keep your cat from hogging your bed all night

Tired of sleepless nights from your cute kitty pushing you around the bed? Here’s a quick and clever solution.

If you own a cat, it’s because you want to have felines close by in your living space. However, it’s possible to have your animal friends be a little too close, especially in your sleeping space.

Sure, it might be kind of nice to have a kitty nearby as you drift off into slumber, or within arm’s reach for some post-wake-up, pre-get-up snuggling, But cats sometimes hog the bedspace you were planning to use for your human body.

▼ “Oh, did you want this spot? Well how about if I take it and give you some STINK EYE in exchange?”

Thankfully, Japanese Twitter user @pinkseed has come up with an easy way to explain to your cats that you’re sharing not ceding, your bed. Similar to the life-changing discovery of cat circles, @pinkseed’s plan taps into the common cat psyche in which the animals like situating themselves in territory of their own, but aren’t overly concerned how big said territory is.

“An announcement to all of you whose beds have been occupied by our feline lords! The rezoning project is complete!” @pinkseed tweeted, with some proud photos of her plan in action. By placing some soft-sided boxes along the edge of her bed, she created a row of cozy kitty cubbies in which a trio of her animal friends have curled up and gone to sleep. This lets them stay close to their human caregiver throughout the night, but also secures a well-defined section of the mattress for @pinkseed.

The clever strategy prompted comments including:

“Wow, this is great! I’m gonna try it with my cats.”
“Creating sections is a great idea! My cat always takes over more than half of my single bed.”
“Brilliant! My cat is always roaming about my part of the bed”
“Don’t you need a few more boxes?”

In regards to the last comment, @pinkseed says that a few of her animals like sleeping apart from the rest of the group, so the three is all she needs.

Granted, this plan still leaves you with less than 100-percent of the bed for yourself, but laying out easy-to-understand ground rules about what space belongs to whom should cut down on jostling and pushing in the middle of the night. And if setting up cat sleeping boxes cuts into too much of your mattress realm, you could always buy a bigger bed…just as long as you also don’t also go out and acquire more cats.

Source: Twitter/@pinkseed via Hachima Kiko
Featured image: Twitter/@pinkseed

Otaku in Japan left red-faced after Osaka earthquake topples hidden anime porn for parents to see

Rooms jammed full of anime collectibles suddenly turned into X-rated disaster zones after the quake hit.

At 7:58 a.m. on 18 June, residents in Osaka were jolted by the strongest earthquake to hit the region in decades. While people outside had to deal with transport delays and traffic disruptions immediately afterwards, those inside found themselves fixing fallen furniture and broken items around the home.

For Osaka’s otaku geek community, though, the earthquake had other ramifications. As avid collectors of anime merchandise, the quake toppled carefully stored books, figurines and other related goods, creating scenes of disarray which they were quick to share online.

While some otaku dealt with fallen bookshelves that dislodged hundreds of manga titles, others had to carefully put their small parts and accessories back in order.

Figure-loving otaku, on the other hand, were faced with the unsettling sight of headless figurines.

▼ No!! Gokuuuuuu!!!

Some otaku found themselves in more awkward situations when their adult merch became dislodged from the places where they’d been carefully hidden.

▼ This anime body pillow was crushed under a pile of anime porn.

In the words of this Twitter user: “Hey! Because of the earthquake, the erotic fanzines I’d stashed away were exposed to my mum!!!”

This particular tweet struck a chord with otaku around the country, quickly racking up tens of thousands of likes and retweets as other erotic-fanzine-owning geeks vowed to find more secure hiding locations in light of this embarrassing incident.

“Omg this is like my worst nightmare.”
“If this happened at my place my mum would be so mad!”
“You never know when this might happen so you have to be prepared.”
“Maybe you should do what I do and keep it all in a locked box!”
“I don’t know who this was worse for – you or your mum.”

This unexpected turn of events is a cautionary tale for anyone living in an earthquake-prone area. And it’s not something to be taken lightly, either, given that people have been killed by falling piles of erotic magazines before.

Source: Hachima Kiko
Featured image: Twitter/@seikatsuichibu

Japanese women become wives, realize why their mothers sometimes ate ramen despite making dinner

Mothers always say to their daughters, “You’ll understand when you’re a mother,” and it’s so true.

As kids, we rarely get a glimpse of what our parents go through to keep us happy and healthy. We don’t know that mom gets up at four in the morning to make our school lunches, or that dad tries his hardest to provide for us even when it’s really difficult.

But once we grow up, we get married, or we have kids, we start to understand our parents’ feelings. We come to sympathize with them now that we are going through what they went through, and the situations of the past become clearer to us.

When such revelations are shared on social media, of course, they quickly go viral because they’re so relatable. Japanese Twitter user and housewife Ranran recently posted something she realized about her mother in a tweet, and mothers and wives all across the country said, “I so get it!”

“Years ago, just every once in a while, my mother would cook all of us dinner, but make cup ramen for herself. ‘There are some days I don’t want to eat my own cooking,’ she’d say, and I would be like ‘???’. But now that I am a housewife, I completely understand those feelings. There are definitely some days when I really don’t want to eat what I cook, and cup ramen sounds so good.”

Personally, as a wife who does most of the cooking in the family, I definitely understand the feeling. Sometimes you just want to eat something that you can’t cook or never cook. Usually when that happens, my husband and I just end up going out to eat or ordering takeout, or we both eat cup ramen.

▼ “Ugh, I really don’t want to eat this!”

I can’t imagine cooking a whole meal just for my husband or our family and then not eating it, though. I wouldn’t go to the trouble to cook something if I didn’t want to eat it…but I suppose that what separates me from the amazingly self-sacrificing Japanese wives!

They related more acutely than I did to Ranran’s post, because they know the feeling of obligation in providing a nourishing meal for the family in spite of their craving for something different. One even noted that her mother used to say “Food that someone else made for you is so delicious!”  and she only understood why after becoming an adult herself. “Why didn’t I cook for her more?” she said sadly.

A lot of Twitter users and home chefs were pleased to have someone express their feelings so well, and to know that other people feel the same way:

“That’s so true!”
“Excuse me, nice to meet you! I so related to this tweet so I just had to comment. Cup ramen is where it’s at!”
“When you’re cooking every day, you get really tired of the flavors, don’t you? Maybe we just have to change it up or something.”
“I understand this so well.”
“It’s like this every day for me! I try my best to cook dinner, but in the end I don’t want to eat it. I’m so glad that other people feel this way too.”
“OMG, I so get it! It comes pretty regularly, this ‘I don’t want to eat my own cooking’ syndrome! I never understood it but it definitely happens.”

For one family, though, it wasn’t about wanting to eat something new, but more about having to make compromises, as one netizen related:

“On a different vein, my mother, when she realized we didn’t have enough rice for everyone, would make cup ramen for herself, saying, ‘Sometimes you just want to eat cup noodles, right?’ You only realize how much kindness parents have when you become one.”

Now that’s some serious selflessness. Some husbands, newly aware of this pattern, also chimed in with their thoughts.

“I sometimes see my wife complaining on Twitter and think, ‘She has it really hard’, but after reading all of your stories, I also really think that women are more able to sense happiness. It’s what makes them great mothers.”
“My wife says she loves to make dinner for the family, but she thinks it’s boring to just cook for herself. That’s why when she’s by herself she often eats bentos!”

Whether it’s a matter of not wanting to cook, being tired of eating the same food every day, not having enough food, or just craving a bowl of instant ramen, it’s no surprise that some home chefs would choose to eat something else every once in a while, even though they worked hard to cook dinner. Maybe it’s a message to the husbands (or wives!) out there who don’t cook often, a cry for help to ask them to pitch in every once in a while?

Judging from the seemingly unlimited self-sacrifice that many parents exhibit, I wouldn’t think that’s the case, especially in regards to Japanese housewives. Even so, perhaps those non-cooking partners should consider bringing home some takeout every once in a while, like the ever-popular Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Source: Twitter/@a_i_ee_85 via Hachima Kikou
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert image: Pakutaso

Japanese food engineers have created a cabbage jelly that you can eat, if you want

No one asked for a product like this, but hey, now you can eat cabbage in jelly form!

Whether it’s shredded fine and mixed into okonomiyaki or stuffed into gyoza or cooked into a spooky soba, there’s a reason that cabbage has a top-three reputation in Japan. Not only is it crammed with leafy green goodness, it’s rich in antioxidants and helps with digestion. Depending on your taste buds, it’s a crunchy and delicious addition to your meal!

No one is more serious about cabbage than Mimatsu Foods, a gyoza and spring roll specialist. They’ve been working with local farmers to bring tasty delicacies to the people of the Gunma prefecture since 1970, and their passion for locally grown cabbage can’t be beaten. Sometimes this passion for their produce takes a decidedly weird turn, such as last year’s offering of “Cabbage Cider”.

▼ All the refreshing taste of cabbage in carbonated beverage form

The cabbage cabal is back at it again, and this time they’re marketing something even more bizarre: konjac jelly flavored with their homegrown cabbage extract. Konjac potato (or konnyaku, as it’s called in Japan) contains a naturally concurring gelatin, and it’s popular to use in many dishes or even to spice up drinks with a bit of added texture.

However, while it is a common staple in Japanese cuisine, konjac is usually either mixed with fruit juices, added to smoothies, or deep-fried so it can be served as oden. Eating it on its own merit is a little strange even for health nuts. Going one step flavor and making that konjac jelly cabbage flavored is something no one had ever thought to try… Until now.

▼ Mimatsu Foods’ online retailer boasts that the jelly is Gunma-exclusive and uses extract from Tsumagoi cabbages

On top of the inherent strangeness of cabbage flavored konjac, konjac itself can be dangerous to eat if your throat muscles are still developing or weakened. Young children and old people are warned not to eat much konjac, and if they do they should cut it into small pieces and chew thoroughly to avoid death by choking (just like with New Year’s mochi).

So it’s dangerous, unusual and tastes like cabbage. What’s the appeal? Well, for one thing it’s being marketed as a diet food – because konjac takes a long time to eat with all the chewing and swallowing, it stands to reason it might trick your brain into thinking you’re more satisfied and hence you eat less. The locally grown cabbage extract is presumably full of nutrition, too.

One of the nicest perks of the product is that it lets the company use up all the unused bits of the cabbage that don’t go into rolls and dumplings. The cabbage extract that goes into the konjac is extracted from cores and outer leaves left behind by the six tons of cabbage Minmatsu Foods uses every day.

▼ Just look at that exciting lime green color!

The cabbage jelly is sold in packs of six tubes for 197 yen (US$1.80), just like a Go-Gurt but with more nutrients (and a higher risk of death). You cut open a tube and slowly feed it into your mouth as you chew off the part that extrudes, taking care not to bite off too much at once. The cabbage flavor is intense but lacks sweetness, so you could theoretically mix it into a smoothie or toss it in a salad for a powerful leafy boost.

The internet’s responses to this product have been… mixed, to say the least. One comment said “Literally no one wanted this” while another said “It looks tasty! I am a caterpillar, though.” The one thing everyone seemed to agree on is that if you eat a lot of this you can expect some pretty impressive bowel movements. How healthy!

If you’re interested in sampling this chewy cabbage treat for yourself, you can buy a bulk order of cabbage jelly directly from the brand’s online shop. The gift shop Gunma Iroha in Takasaki Station also sells the jelly, which could make a great souvenir for someone next time you’re in the area. If you’re travelling through Yamanashi prefecture, maybe you could even scout out a bottle of cabbage wine to wash it down with.

Source: Livedoor News/J-Town via Jin
Featured image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Mimatsu Foods/RON-Gyouza (1, 2)