All Stories by SoraNews24

New sushi snowglobe looks good enough to eat…minus the sparkles

Ikura gunkan-maki has always looked like a jewel-encrusted circle of seaweed to me. The beautiful, almost neon-orange spheres look so inviting as they sit glistening atop their bed of rice. But as dazzling as this traditional fare is, whenever I actually eat ikura gunkan-maki, I’m never able to get past the sensation of dozens of salmon eggs popping as I chewed. That’s why I’m very much excited for these sushi snow globes that afford an endless view of this deceptive dish.

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In a country steeped in tradition, two prefectures are completely void of historical temples

Japan is often praised for its ability to preserve traditional customs and architecture while still functioning as a modern society. There are few other places in the world where you can be in the middle of a buzzing metropolis, only to turn a corner and be face-to-face with a shrine that has stood for centuries. But did you know that there are actually entire prefectures that do not contain a single old temple?

Join us after the jump as we explore two such places and explain exactly why architecture that was hundreds of years old disappeared.

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Field testing the magic, voice-operated pendant from Ghibli’s Castle in the Sky 【Video】

We’re sure many anime fans shared our excitement last May when the newest replica of the pendant from Studio Ghibli’s Castle in the Sky was announced. Sure, there had been chances to buy a necklace modeled after heroine Sheeta’s magical levistone accessory before, but this was the first time we’d be able to get our hands on one that actually reacts when you speak one of the film’s incantations into it.

Likewise, we’re sure many of the Ghibli faithful were as heartbroken as we were when the initial shipment of the special pendants sold out almost immediately. Still, the six months it took for a restock was a just a minor addition to the 20-plus years we’ve been waiting to try the pedant out since we first saw Laputa.

Now, finally, we’ve got the levistone pendant in our hands, and we’re ready to field test its ability to respond to our mystic commands.

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Trouble on the pot? Here are five songs our Japanese writer chose to give you dookie power!

Hemorrhoids are, apparently, a pain in the butt. Your humble writer must confess to a lack of experience in the hemorrhoid department, but I will certainly admit a great deal of sympathy for those with the affliction. However, one of our Japanese writers, a certain Mr. Wasai, is quite experienced in the painful pooping department.

Of course, hemorrhoids aren’t exactly the most glamorous physical malady, and a large number of Japanese people are certainly embarrassed to discuss it. But Wasai is here to provide support for everyone in the form of music! Here are the five songs that best reflect his dookie affliction.

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Terrorists release third video of Japanese hostage, say it will be his last

More than a week has passed since terrorist organization ISIS released its first video of Japanese hostages Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto. Days later, in a second video, a voice believed to be Goto’s was heard stating that Yukawa had been killed by the terrorists.

Now, a third statement has been released, in which a man identifying himself as Goto says that he has only 24 hours left before he will be murdered as well.

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Mr. Sato goes to Tokyo Auto Salon 2015, forgets to take photos of the cars…

While Japan makes some rather unique cars, itasha aren’t the only custom cars in the country. From oni-kyan wheels for drifting to Chibatman, it sometimes seems like half of the vehicles in the country have been modified to extremes. But to get an idea of just how popular custom cars are in Japan, you’d need to head to Tokyo Auto Salon, which saw nearly 300,000 attendees last year!

This year, not wanting to miss out on all the fun, our brave Mr. Sato donned his most garish, chinpira outfit and headed down to look at some cars…and the women who get paid to stand next to them.

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“No low angles!” and other Comiket cosplay photography rules

We had a great time at Comiket this weekend and saw enough to fill a few photo books! Of course, it’s impossible to talk about everything, but one of the more eye-catching things we noticed were the cosplay photography rules. There’s a good chance you remember this little tweet from this past summer, showing a cosplayer surrounded and photographed at low angles. And probably not for better lighting…

Well, it turns out, that kind of photography probably isn’t within Comiket rules!

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Check out the awesome cosplay at Comiket 87! 【Photos, Photos, and more photos】

It’s the end of December and that can mean only one thing: Comiket is in full swing! Today was only the first day, but the cosplay (and the crowds) were utterly amazing. With about half a million people expected to visit over the three-day event at Tokyo Big Sight, you should hardly be surprised that people from all over Japan–and some from around the world–flock to the doujinshi spectacular.

We headed down on Sunday afternoon and captured a few photos of our favorite cosplayers. And by “a few” we mean “a metric crapton.”

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Merry Christmas from RocketNews24!

We’re taking a little break today to spend some quality time with our two favorite men: Santa and Mr. Sato. But while we’re stuffing our faces with Christmas cake and taking selfies with Colonel Sanders, we’ll be sure to pause, raise a glass of whatever questionable liquor Mr. Sato brought along, and toast you, our dedicated reader. Thank you for making 2014 our most successful year yet! And even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, we hope your day is filled with glad tidings and all the fried chicken you can stomach.

【TBT】Chinese bootleg DVDs improve on originals in every way

Did you know that Star Wars: Episode I was distributed by Mac and had Arnold Schwarzenegger reprising his role as Dutch from Predator?

Of course not because it’s not true, but how great would it be if it had been. This and the other images below of bootleg DVDs from China have been circulating the web for some time now. However, among all the laughter, people are overlooking the valuable lessons Hollywood studios could stand to learn from them.

Without exception, all of these comically mislabeled and wantonly Photoshopped covers improved on their originals.

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It’s almost Christmas! Time to buy a sexy, freaky, or inexplicable costume!【Photos】

Bells are jingling, gift lists are daunting, and snow is…not falling in Tokyo. That can mean only one thing: Christmas, Japan’s favorite romantic holiday, is almost here! While your crazy uncle might tell you that Christmas is apparently under siege in some parts of the world, the only holiday worry you’ll find in Japan is getting the right present for your girlfriend.

But don’t be fooled by all the lovers roaming the streets and tormenting lonely single folks, it’s not all romance. There’s more to the season that kissing atop Tokyo Tower–there are also parties and cosplay! Join us after the jump to check out some of the typical outfit offerings on sale in Japan this Christmas.

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Can’t keep your “little buddy” in the right position? New men’s underwear TOOT is here to help!

Do you constantly have to “adjust” your package? Do you find your dangly bits constantly dangling in the wrong place? Or just plain uncomfortable? Do you ever wish your underwear would just give your little man a hug and never let go?

If so, then TOOT may be the underwear for you! And even if you don’t, this will still be the funniest thing you will see today.

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【TBT】Sh*t Japanese girls say and other hilarious truths from an American living in Japan

Shit Girls Say is a comedy web series that pokes fun at the cliches and stereotypes associated with young female speech.

Of course, there’s a good chance you probably knew this; the videos have racked up more than 32 million combined views to date and spawned countless parodies exploring the quirky verbal mannerisms of black girls, single girls, Asian moms and more.

Well now Japan is finally in on the joke with “Sh*t Japanese Girls Say.”

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Freelance illustrator wows Twitter users with daily pictures of high school girls

One of the great things about the Internet is giving freelance and independent artists the opportunity to connect with audiences who might otherwise not have been able to access their work. Whether it’s mind-melting masks or fabulous Final Fantasy fan art, there’s something for everyone and a market for nearly anything.

Kazuharu Kina might just be one of the best examples of a niche Japanese artist making it big on the Internet–and once you see his illustrations, you’ll probably understand why.

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Fashion can be a bit bewildering at times–we’re still not sure if we can wear Lady Gaga’s meat dress after Labor Day or not. So we’re don’t really want to start criticizing anyone’s fashion choices, even if we do have some serious questions. Like the “boob shirt” above that, for some inexplicable reason, went viral last week here in Japan.

Our guess is that Japanese Twitter users were applauding the economic use of fabric. Saving fabric is an essential part of reducing global warming, right?

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【TBT】Japanese manga plates bring food to life

Most Japanese children have likely been scolded at least once for bringing manga to the dinner table. However, we’ve found a creatively designed set of plates that make comic books an integral part of any meal.

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【TBT】Sampling strawberry ice cream panda bean curry

Café Latino sits in the quiet residential area of Asakusa, and seems to be your average urban curry restaurant with cozy, modern decor. Certainly, one wouldn’t expect to find something like ‘Strawberry Curry’ on the menu.

Part of Café Latino’s spring-only menu, Strawberry Curry is available from late December to mid-March and requires a reservation for customers who wish to order it. We put in ours, and made our way to the restaurant to see how this unlikely combination holds up.

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Yokohama restaurant serves fried axolotl, along with giant isopod, camel, and crocodile

It’s no secret that there are a lot of unusual food choices available in Japan–some of which have upset quite a few people. There’s a good chance that this offering by a Yokohama restaurant will be no different and will likely divide people between the “gotta have some” and the “WTF?!” crowd. In addition to offering crocodile, ostrich, and camel meat, Chinjuya in Yokohama also provides customers with the opportunity to munch on fried axolotl grown in captivity.

You can even order giant isopods!

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【TBT】Chocolate-covered squid, corn Kit Kat, and other anomalies of the Japanese snack food scene

Japan is a crowded country, and that goes for just about everything. Even store shelves are crowded. Most people do their shopping on foot, which means supermarkets and convenience stores tend to be on the small size, and shelf space is always at a premium.

As such, companies have to do something to make their products stand out. This is why so many Japanese beverages and snack foods have seasonal flavors that are only available for a limited time. Of course, taste engineers in Japan can only come up with so many normal flavors, and when they run out, the only thing to do is go on to the abnormal flavors.

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Sichuan university displays the confiscated cookware of frustrated students

One of the great things about college is living in the dorms with all your friends and being able to walk down to the cafeteria for ready-made meals. It has all the convenience of living at home with your family, but without anyone telling you when to come home! Of course, that’s not to say that there were no rules–and one of the big ones is the prohibition of items that may cause fires, like hot-plates and toasters. As much as we all love grilled cheese sandwiches at 2 am, I think we can agree that it’s not exactly paranoid to worry that someone will forget to turn theirs off and start fire.

However one university in Sichuan is apparently a bit…zealous when it comes to enforcing the rules. They’ve even displayed the confiscated contraband on campus as a warning to would-be rule breakers. It turns out, though, that there was a good reason why so many students were cooking secretly in their rooms…

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