Japanese mom comes up with ingenious way to help preschool daughter keep shoes on the right feet

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Keeping right and left straight is tough when you’re little, but this kid now has a kitty helper.

It’s pretty well known that in Japan, you’re supposed to remove your shoes before entering someone’s home. What not everyone is aware of, though, is that a similar rule applies to schools, at least until you reach the university level.

This doesn’t mean that students are running around in their socks all day, however. Instead, upon arriving at school they change into uwabaki, slippers made of a thin material and only to be worn indoors, so as not to bring in dust and grime from walking on the street.

The practice of wearing uwabaki starts in preschool, but this can present a bit of a problem for such young tykes. See, while Mom and Dad might help them get dressed at home, once the kids are dropped off at school they’re on their own as for changing into their uwabaki, and at such a young age, some kids still get right and left mixed up. So to make sure her daughter gets the right uwabaki on the right foot (and the left uwabaki on the correct foot as well), Japanese Twitter user @ayahime02 came up with a cute and clever solution.

Noticing that the white insoles of her daughter’s uwabaki were perfectly blank canvases, @ayahime02 grabbed a marker and drew an adorable kitty, divided into two separate illustrations. If her daughter can see the complete picture of the cat, she’ll know she’s got her uwabaki lined up the same way as they should be on her feet, and if the feline fails to appear properly, it’ll serve as a gentle warning that she’s about to put them on backwards.

Other Twitter users were quick to applaud the idea.

“So cute!”
“I’m gonna try this too!”
“I wish my mom had done this for me when I was a kid.”

@ayahime02 ran the idea by her daughter before she started drawing, since she was a little worried that the child might feel like she’d be stepping on the cat. Her daughter, though, simply saw it as a cute illustration and had no such qualms, which is a good thing because her preschool doesn’t actually allow the children’s uwabaki to be decorated. Because of where the cat is drawn, however, no one will be any the wiser while @ayahime02’s daughter is wearing them, and she’ll get to start every day with an artistic reminder of just how much her mom cares about her.

Source: Togech
Top image: Twitter/@ayahime02
Insert image: Wikipedia/Jesielt

Samurai armor for pets turns your animal companions into adorable dogs and cats of war【Photos】

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Awwwww, who’s a good little bushido boy?

Based in Fukuoka City, the company Samurai Age produces a variety of fashion items and lifestyle goods that borrow their aesthetic from Japan’s legendary warrior class. Given the recent surge in enthusiasm for both history and cosplay among people in Japan, the company’s designs attract plenty of attention, and some of Samurai Age’s newest products combine those two areas of interest with something else Japan has a definite soft spot for: cute pets.

Samurai’s Pet Armor (or “Pet Yoroi,” as it’s called in Japanese) line provides your pet with a sense of samurai stoicism…or an atmosphere of adorable silliness, depending on how long you stare at them in their feudal period-style outfits.

▼ Ready for battle!

▼ Ready for a nap!

However, in modern, peaceful Japanese society, the odds of being attacked by rival samurai from a hostile fief or shadowy shinobi assassins are slim. Because of that, Samurai Age’s Pet Armor is more about looking cute/cool than protecting your pet from melee attacks. The outfits are made out of lightweight foam resin to allow the animals to maintain their mobility, and instead of having to be tied on by armor-assisting servants, the pieces attach to one another with snaps, making it, well, a snap to put the costume on or take it off.

In addition to the red, gold, and silver versions seen above, Pet Armor is also available in black, for more formal samurai occasions.

Orders can be placed here through Samurai Age’s website, which offers small to large sizes which should fit most cats and small dogs. For larger animals, the company can also produce custom sets, so if you’ve got a great big love for a great big pooch, you can still get him suited up. The standard sizes can be ordered here direct from Samurai Age. Prices start at 14,040 yen (US$127) regardless of color.

Related: Samurai Age website, Facebook
Top image provided by Samurai Age
Insert image: Samurai Age (edited by SoraNews24)

How to buy Japan’s adorable, delicious cat-shaped bread【Photos】

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Exactly when can you get it, and how early do you need to show up? We find out.

As soon as we saw the first promotional photos of the cat-shaped bread being offered by the Blue Jin bakery in Japan, we gave it a special spot on the SoraNews24 “buy this stuff and eat it” calendar that dictates so much of the rhythm of our personal and professional lives. However, given that Japan has a deep love for both cute animals and special foodstuffs, we knew there’d be plenty of competition for these prized pussycat baked goods from other people wanting to try them for themselves.

So we did a bit of homework ahead of the May 26 debut date for the Ironeko Bread, as the cat-shaped bread is officially called. First we found out that Blue Jin bakes only 40 loaves a day, split between two batches that both come out of the oven in the afternoon. After a little more digging, we learned that the first batch goes on sale at 1 p.m., and the second two hours later at 3.

Armed with this information, we rolled into the lobby of the Hotel New Hankyu Osaka, which also houses Blue Jin. It was a little before noon when we arrived, and right away we spotted a large sign informing potential customers of the times when they can purchase the Ironeko Bread.

We also saw a line, more than a dozen people long, stretching from the store’s entrance, even though there were more than 60 minutes to go until any of us would be getting our hands on the cat bread. We did a head count and breathed a sigh of relief when we found that we were 18th in line, since the one-cat-bread-loaf-per-person policy meant we wouldn’t be going home empty-handed.

While waiting in line, you’ll be handed a card, which you give to the clerk at the register to receive your bread.

We did so, and after handing over 350 yen (US$3.15), we finally had what we’d come for!

Resisting the urge to take a bit right then and there in the lobby, we instead brought the bread home to photograph it. Rest assured – it’s every bit as adorable as the promotional pictures has led us to believe.

In all our excitement over how cute the Ironeko Bread looks, we’d forgotten that the way it’s made is pretty special too. The dough is kneaded in hot water, which gelatinizes the starches in the flour. The result is a tremendously soft texture with an airy chewiness, and just a little extra firmness at the cat’s ears.

The gelatinized starches give the bread a nice sweetness, but if you’re finding yourself craving more intense flavors, the Ironeko Bread is practically begging to be decorated with chocolate, jam, or other colorful edible accouterments.

From our blank canvas sprang forth…

Yo-kai Watch’s Jibanyan…

…and Madara, from anime/manga Natsume’s Book of Friends.

Our creations tasted great, proving that the Ironeko Bread is a pleasure to look at and to eat in both original and personally customized forms. With such cute versatility at such an affordable price, demand is likely to outstrip supply for a long time, so if you’re planning to buy some on a weekday (like we did) we’d recommend going to Blue Jin 90 minutes ahead of time, and going even earlier if you’re making your cat bread run on the weekend.

Bakery information
Blue Jin / ブルージン
Located inside Hotel New Hankyu Osaka / 大阪新阪急ホテル
Address: Osaka-fu, Osaka-shi, Kita-ku, Shibata 1-1-35
Open 8 a.m.-10 p.m.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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