The most viewed life stories of 2013

From burgers to ballerinas, LINE sending to gender bending, kawaii cute to Nadeshiko adorable, here are the life section stories that caught online readers’ eyes in 2013. As a gyaru might say, “Yababa!”


10. The ramen burger that ate New York

Who needs buns: Keizo Shimamoto and his ramen burger, which he serves to long lines of hungry diners in New York.

The ramen burger offers a reinterpretation of the classic as Asian-inflected soul food, with noodles in place of the buns, a soy-based sauce instead of ketchup, and arugula and scallions standing in for lettuce, tomatoes and onions.

9. Kyary Pamyu Pamyu on a mission to spread Japan’s kawaii culture

Sweet stuff: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu waves to her legions of fans, as she sports a melted-chocolate dress typical of her unique sense of style.

“As someone living and breathing kawaii culture and music, and whose style grew out of walking the streets of Harajuku, I just want to reveal that culture to the world.”

8. Japan’s LINE social network could challenge global competitors

Crossing over: LINE

As LINE requires a unique phone number for each registration, 20 million users equates to 20 million cellphones (out of a total of 130 million) — pretty impressive for a service that did not exist until early 2011.

7. Japanese women and the summer chill — a love story

In hot water: There

According to urban folklore, Japanese women have teitaion (低体温, low body temperature) — a good 1 to 1.5 degrees lower than women in the United States and Europe.

6. It ain’t easy being a bilingual girl

All talent: Anna Tsuchiya, one of many hāfu (half-Japanese) celebrities in Japan.

This bilingual thing … they say that it’s a both curse and a blessing.Watakushigotode kyōshukudesuga (私事で恐縮ですが, A thousand pardons for having the gall to talk about myself), but I think of it more like a stigma.

5. Nadeshiko — adorable till they die

National pride: The classic Yamato nadeshiko is much more than the kimono-clad beauty touted by Westerners since the days of Pierre Loti

So who is this exalted woman, long touted by seiyōjin (西洋人, people of the West) as the tōyō no hana (東洋の花, flower of the Orient), who prompted the making of such ridiculous Hollywood films as “Memoirs of a Geisha”?

4. The latest gyaru-go: The top 10 words for gals on the go

KS is the most popular of 10 new gyaru-go (ギャル語, gal language) words introduced in the August edition of the monthly fashion magazine Koakuma Ageha (小悪魔アゲハ, Little Devil Ageha).

3. Ballet prodigy gets a big lift from mom

Rising star: At just 12 years old Miko Fogarty (who is now 16) won the Youth America Grand Prix, the world

Sixteen-year old ballerina Miko Fogarty may be an American teen prodigy, but despite hailing from that land steeped in stardom culture, she seems to have none of the usual celebrity trappings — or to be particularly interested in them.

2. Miko Fogarty tells what it takes to be a teenage dance star

On form: Miko Fogarty with her feet in

I get up, I have breakfast — which is an important meal for me because it’s the only time in the day I eat carbs, that is, cereals. And then I go to the studio for ballet class. And then I have home school, and in the late afternoons I’d have ballet class again.

1. Gender bending in Japan

Seeing is believing: An 1863 print by Toyokuni Utagawa III of the onnagata (male actor of female roles) kabuki star Kikunojo Segawa II as Shuchaku-jishi in a play titled

No man is all male; no woman is allfemale. Femininity was despised, but not the femininity in a man. The fiercest warrior was likely to be something of a poet, shedding unashamed tears over the beauty of cherry blossoms and the dew on a morning glory flower.