Check the weather forecast with a cool gadget that recreates the conditions in your living room

Growing up, I never really bothered with checking the weather report, since living in southern California meant it was sunny almost every day. It’s a different story in Japan, which sees rain in each season. Add in how much walking people do here, plus the fact that everyone hangs their clothes outside, and knowing how the weather’s going to be tomorrow becomes a little more important.

You could get the forecast from the TV news or the Internet, but if you’re looking for a more stylish alternative, a group of inventors have developed a box that’ll recreate the weather of the future, as well as the past and present, right in your living room.

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Get in the mood for the weekend with the Perth party train!

Get inspired for the weekend with this fun YouTube video from Down Under! It’s sure to leave a big smile on your face and an itch to get your dancing shoes on.

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Tonkatsu McBurger gets an upgrade and joins the regular McDonald’s Japan menu, people still upset

Back in May, McDonald’s Japan unleashed the Tonkatsu McBurger highlighting Japan’s ubiquitous piece of breaded meat, the tonkatsu (deep-fried pork cutlet). Although it didn’t entirely win us over against Mos Burger’s tonkatsu burger when it first came out, the masses were pleased and cleaned out the burger chain of supplies before the Tonkatsu McBurger was scheduled to finish.

Due to that success McDonald’s will bring back the Tonkatsu McBurger but planned an added feature for its inauguration into the regular menu across Japan – a truly special moment in any sandwich’s life. This addition is an elaborately created sauce promising to heighten its flavor to a whole new level. But is it enough to win back customers lost after this summer’s chicken scandal?

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New cafe in Harajuku serves up Pom Pom Purin-shaped cuisine, attracts fans and pop idols alike

Despite being nowhere near as famous as his feline counterpart abroad, Sanrio’s Pom Pom Purin has a very loyal fan base in his homeland, so much so that the pastel-yellow “pudding” dog managed to clinch fourth place in this year’s Sanrio Character Ranking, at one point leading the pack.

But while Hello Kitty, My Melody and Kiki & Lala have all been given their own themed cafes, poor old’ Pom Pom has had to wait on the sidelines like the patient pup he is. But by the looks of it, the first ever Pom Pom Purin Cafe was well worth the wait, with the Harajuku location boasting a super-kawaii menu with meals, desserts and drinks featuring everyone’s favorite Sanrio canine as well as adorable merchandise available only at the cafe.

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Liquid wasabi from Shizuoka is our new favorite form of awesome sauce

Shizuoka is generally known for two things, and they’re both green. The prefecture is one of Japan’s biggest producers of not only tea, but also the fiery condiment paste wasabi.

While bottles of tea aren’t anything unusual, we’d never seen wasabi in liquid for until a recent visit to Shizuoka. Since spicy is one of our favorite flavors (we’d put it right up there with sweet and salty), we grabbed a bottle of wasabi sauce to try for ourselves. We were not disappointed.

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Photos claim to show difference between Chinese and other travelers, somehow show less and more

There’s a collection of photos making its way around the Internet which attempts to point out a huge difference between Chinese and Western travelers in airports. Whereas the latter are content to relax or read a good book, the Chinese can’t seem to take their eyes off their electronic gizmos. Haha! Isn’t China wacky, guys?

Honestly, I like a cheap laugh as much as the next guy, but just like how there’s a certain price point you shouldn’t go below when buying underwear, there’s such a thing as a laugh that’s too cheap. When you really stop and take a look at what’s going on in these photos, trying to draw any sort of broad conclusions about the Chinese character from them makes about as much sense as slipping on a pair of burlap boxer shorts.

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Korea doubles down with KFC’s bunless burger, Twitter photos confirm it’s kind of gross

The last time we saw the Double Down, KFC’s burger that swaps buns for fried chicken patties, was in the form of KFC Japan’s Kentucky Chicken Rice, which eliminated the burger patty in favor of a disc of rice. Now Korea is taking a stab at the popular chain’s meat monstrosity with the Zinger Double Down King. Get ready for some photos of this burger of fried chicken, bacon, and beef!

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Nicocafe dishes up a serving of surreal with manga meat, half an umaibo, and rice teishoku

Niconico is Japan’s biggest video sharing website – apart from that other one – and this week sees their unique café and creative space re-open in Ikebukuro, Tokyo.

The new nicocafe aims to bridge the gap between the online and offline worlds with its online interactive ordering system, which allows viewers watching at home to order items to be delivered to the guests at the bar!

We’re not sure how happy you’d be to actually receive some of these menu items, though…

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The most famous cat in Japan shows us exactly how he fits his cubby body in a box

Cats have been trying to shove themselves into boxes two sizes too small even before YouTube and filming your pet’s every waking moment became a thing. Maru, Japan’s most popular and arguably cutest cat, has made a name for himself by adopting the “If it fits, I sits” philosophy. His latest video, titled “-Plastic box and Maru.-” offers us a clear view of exactly how this sleepy Scottish Fold crams himself into the tiniest of spaces.

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The toy you’ve always wanted: Action-figure you

Do you ever have those days when you wonder what you would look like with a six-pack, throwing a punch, or literally bending over backwards to do something, but you don’t have enough confidence in your own strength and flexibility to actually try? Have you gotten tired of your usual action figures, wishing it was you fighting the bad guys? Well, you don’t have to wonder or wish anymore with this fully moveable action figure made to look just like you!

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Japanese net users stunned by photos of Chinese ethnic minority men

Japanese female net users were pleasantly surprised when they stumbled upon some photos of attractive men on an online forum.

While there’s nothing unusual about that statement, seeing as the world is full of handsome dudes (our own RocketNews24 staff lineup included), the reason for the women’s surprise stems from the fact that they were looking at pictures of several hunky Chinese ethnic minority men, some of whom look quite different from the typical mental image of the Han Chinese ethnic group. Join us after the jump for both a mini anthropology lesson and a look at some of the attractive men in question!

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Cute, snack-loving Japanese parakeet proves even birds go into food comas

It’s no secret that we’re big fans of the Japanese language here at RocketNews24, but that’s not to say we don’t have any issues with it. For example, Japanese doesn’t really have a good equivalent for “food coma.”

We can understand certain words that are tied up in cultural or historical context not existing in other languages, but the absence of food coma in Japanese seems like a pretty big oversight. After all, everyone occasionally zones out after a really satisfying meal, whether your native language is English or Japanese…or if you happen to be a parakeet.

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Help one-million-year-old hag get back her glamorous good looks in new app

Looking for a new app to pass the time? Why not give Hag of the one million-year-old a try! Tap the screen and work your magic to get the hideous old hag back to her apparently stunning good looks (unconfirmed) of yesteryear.

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Cautious consumers wary of McDonald’s free McNuggets, fear of tainted chicken lingers

Recently, we brought you the news that McDonald’s Japan is offering free chicken nuggets in a bid to restore consumer good will in the wake of the “Chickengate” scandal. As reported, expired Chinese chicken found its way into a range of fast food eateries’ products, sparking public fears of food poisoning. We’ve been curious as to how many people jumped at the chance for free but potentially tainted nuggets, (although McDonald’s Japan has now switched their chicken supplier from China to Thailand) and how many decided to steer clear. Luckily for us, Livedoor has conducted a survey of 1,000 participants to see how many would be willing to cash in a free chicken coupon. The results are… kind of a mix.

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Kawaii concrete? Japanese retailer selling cuddly tetrapods for a limited time only

When I first chanced upon these soft toys, I was really confused. By the word tetrapod, I thought the oddly shaped plushies were meant to resemble an entire classification of animals including myself and my neighbor’s cat. However, after doing some research, I discovered that tetrapods are actually concrete structures used in coastal water irrigation. And some genius decided that these should be made into limited-edition soft toys that belong in your room instead of next to the ocean.

These peculiar plushies are available for pre-order between October 18 to 26 only, so if you’re a fan of these huge solid blocks of concrete that cover a worryingly large amount of Japan’s coastline, hurry and grab them whilst stocks last!

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The plot thickens: Pizza Hut Japan’s feline employees disappear overnight, forcing store closure 【Video】

Back in August we brought you the news that Pizza Hut in Japan was now under the control of four bossy cats. Along with millions of other pizza and cat fans, we couldn’t get enough of the adorable antics of Tenchō, Hime, Dora and Detch as they manned (catted?) the phones, were startled by the sound of the cash register, and rode a rumba around the store.

This week, the chain announced the emergency closure of its Pizza Cat store, citing the mysterious disappearance of the four plucky feline workers. Where could they have gone? And why? We did some detective work to try and find out.

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North Korea bars foreign tourists to prevent spread of Ebola

With a couple of months having passed since summer vacation, many of us are feeling the need for a few days off. After all, who doesn’t like getting away from their workaday routine for the liberating excitement of a few days taking a trip someplace new, like North Korea?

But if your short-term travel wish list includes a trip to the northern reaches of the Korean Peninsula, you might want to postpone your departure, because as of October 24, no foreign tourists are getting in, due to a new government policy to prevent the spread of Ebola to the communist country.

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2-D anime characters so cute, you just gotta pinch their cheeks

Anime fans in Japan have been trying to bring 2-D characters to our world, most notably with the help of virtual reality headset Oculus Rift. But now a recent meme brings a more wholesome and easily-attainable approach. All you have to do is draw your favorite anime or manga character on your hand and give it a tug. If you’ve ever encountered a fictional character that was so cute you were overcome with the uncontrollable urge to pinch its cheeks, this is the meme for you!

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Super Smash Bros. for Wii U will support EIGHT-PLAYER offline battles 【Video】

Earlier today, Nintendo released a very special video listing 50 facts about the upcoming Wii U version of chaotic brawler Super Smash Bros. The 35 minute-long video contains a wealth of information for fans of the series to drool over, but perhaps the most exciting announcement of all is the fact that up to eight players can now take part in the same battle.

Time to buy some extra controllers, folks!

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How to make Ghost Forest Yakisoba and haunt your noodles for Halloween

Japanese cooking can be a little tricky, since many recipes involve a lot of complex prep work. Yakisoba, though, is a snap. The stir-fried noodle dish is quick and easy, and unlike more rigidly traditional Japanese fare, there’s a lot of room for putting your own spin on it by fiddling with the standard ingredient list of pork, carrots, and cabbage.

For example, with a few simple tweaks for Halloween you can whip up an awesome batch of Ghost Forest Yakisoba.

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