Africa

Proceeds from gourmet New Year’s meals to be donated to help feed undernourished children

Proceeds from gourmet New Year’s meals to be donated to help feed undernourished children

As a nation of die-hard foodies, Japan is always on the lookout for a memorable meal. We’re just a couple of months away from New Year’s, when Japan dines on some of its most opulent dishes of all as part of the multi-dish osechi meals that are traditionally eaten at the beginning of the year.

Recently, more and more families have begun purchasing their osechi rather than making their own, and we imagine quite a few have been tempted by the Mickey Mouse and Frozen versions we talked about last month. If you’re willing to hold off on satisfying your inner child for the sake of the world’s less fortunate actual kids, though, you might be interested in an osechi set that helps raise funds for charity group Table for Two.

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Table tennis greats serve up incredible 41-shot rally at Commonwealth Games

Table tennis greats serve up incredible 41-shot rally at Commonwealth Games

The 2014 Commonwealth Games were held in Glasgow from July 23 to August 3 with 71 nations competing in 18 different sports, table tennis among them. If you’ve never watched table tennis before, then you might be forgiven for thinking that it’s not particularly exciting. Think again.

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Ivory Coast’s grass-eating goalie amuses Japanese fans after elimination

Ivory Coast’s grass-eating goalie amuses Japanese fans after elimination

After Japan’s hopes of advancing in the World Cup were dashed by a 1-4 defeat to Colombia, Japanese football fans have been looking for something to get them smiling again. And Ivory Coast’s goalie provided just the opportunity.

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What do this Japanese convenience store and Sierra Leone have in common?

What do this Japanese convenience store and Sierra Leone have in common?

The convenience store racket in Japan is fierce business with many shops jockeying for the top spot. Perhaps this was only in my local area, but about one or two years ago one of Japan’s biggest chains, FamilyMart, made an impressively bold Micheal Corleone-style house cleaning and began knocking off AM-PM and Sunkus outlets like modern-day Moe Greens and Emilio Barzinis and making them their own with a killer combination of great fried chicken and enthusiastic staff.

Now it’s gotten to the point that seeing FamilyMart’s green, blue and white signage is as common a sight as a traffic light when walking through the streets. It’s become so popular, in fact. that people are beginning to see links to other things – things such as the Republic of Sierra Leone.

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This table tennis player shows that “nothing is impossible” 【Video】

This table tennis player shows that “nothing is impossible” 【Video】

Have you ever given up on something you wish you’d persisted with? We’ve all quit something at one point or another in our lives and there are many reasons for giving up. It sounds great to be able to play an instrument effortlessly, master a sport or become fluent in multiple languages, but once the reality of just how much work goes into a skill sinks in, it can often feel impossible.

Meet Ibrahim Hamada of Egypt, a table tennis enthusiast who says, “Nothing is impossible as long as you work hard.” That may sound like the kind of thing that can only be said by the exceptionally naive, but that is not the case here. He was involved in a train accident when he was 10 years old, and he lost most of his arms as a result. At 13, he was determined to find a way to play again.

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A Maasai tribesman in Ginza: How Tokyo fashion empowers women a world away in Africa 【Photos】

A Maasai tribesman in Ginza: How Tokyo fashion empowers women a world away in Africa 【Photos】

Glitzy Ginza is a high-end shopping district in Tokyo that attracts luxury brand flagship stores, ladies who lunch, and businesspeople with cash to burn. But if you happen to be there this week, you might spot something very incongruous in this moneyed mecca: a Maasai tribesman selling shoes.

William hails from Kenya, where he is the head of a Maasai tribe, and the shoes he is here to promote are a Spanish brand called Pikolinos. So how did an African tribesman end up in the Japanese capital selling European shoes?

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Tensions in Ghana rising between locals and Chinese over gold

Tensions in Ghana rising between locals and Chinese over gold

Despite the frequent complaint in many nations about jobs being moved to China, not everyone in the planet’s most populous country can easily find work domestically. People from the country’s more impoverished regions sometimes see going overseas to be their only means of obtaining gainful employment, and over the last decade more than 500,000 Chinese nationals have moved to Ghana.

However, history is rife with examples of countries taking issue with sudden influxes of foreign workers or capital. In Ghana, it appears tensions are rising between Chinese workers and businesses and their Ghanaian hosts over one of the most historical measures of wealth, gold.

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We celebrate Pocky Day by sharing Japanese candy with the Maasai people of Kenya

We celebrate Pocky Day by sharing Japanese candy with the Maasai people of Kenya

Along with having a pleasing smell, one of the essential requirements of being part of the RocketNews24 team is a certain measure of eloquence. I can proudly say that the rest of the crew writes really, really good (they also help me out a lot, quite obviously).

But sometimes, words aren’t quite enough. How can mere prose do justice to the subtle hues of a cherry blossom, or the reverberations of a temple bell? Sometimes, in order to properly carry out our mission of spreading the simple joys of Japanese culture, we have to carry it with us and head out into the world, which is just what we did recently while traveling Africa.

Unfortunately cherry blossom season is still about five months away, and we couldn’t fit our cast-iron bell in the overhead bin, so we settled for the next best thing: bringing boxes of the chocolaty snack Pocky to share with the Maasai people of Kenya.

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Popular Japanese travel guide for East Africa is filled with thrilling tales of danger

Popular Japanese travel guide for East Africa is filled with thrilling tales of danger

Japan is, by almost any criteria, an extremely safe country. You can wander most back alleys of Tokyo in the dead of night without any sense of danger, and calmly carry huge amounts of cash secure in the knowledge that you’re about as likely to come across a mugger in downtown as a man riding a horse.

While this bubble of safety is definitely a plus when you’re inside it, the flipside is that Japanese travelers, unaccustomed to street crime, violent or otherwise, tend to be extremely risk averse when going abroad. Driving this point home is the East Africa edition of a popular series of Japanese guidebooks, which is filled with warnings of danger that seem more like something out of a pulp action novel than a travel reference.

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Increase in Male Rape Victims Concern Zimbabwe Police

Increase in Male Rape Victims Concern Zimbabwe Police

Police in Zimbabwe’s eastern province of Manicaland are asking men to stay alert following an increase in rapes perpetrated by one or more groups of women. The announcement was made following a four-day sexual assault of a young male soldier by a gang of four women.

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Millions of Chinese-Made Condoms Seized in Africa After Reports of Holes and Tears

Millions of Chinese-Made Condoms Seized in Africa After Reports of Holes and Tears

It was revealed on April 20 that millions of condoms that had been freely distributed in the Republic of Ghana, West Africa, are being recalled after they were found to contain holes or susceptible to tears and bursting.

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Saved by a Turban: Japanese Tigantourine Worker Heroically Rescued by Algerian Workers

Saved by a Turban: Japanese Tigantourine Worker Heroically Rescued by Algerian Workers

During a press conference on 25 January, Takeshi Endo, a representative for, JGC Corp, the construction firm working at the ill-fated Tigantourine natural gas plant told the story of one lucky survivor who was rescued by the Algerian workers there.
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Tired of Holiday Leftovers? Why Not Try Some African Curry! 【Recipe】

Tired of Holiday Leftovers? Why Not Try Some African Curry! 【Recipe】

Had enough turkey and chicken over the holidays? Or if you’re in Japan, maybe you’re tired of the traditional osechi food that you’ve had to eat the first few days of the New Year.

If so, here’s something a bit different you may want to try to spice things up a little — a curry recipe from the African island of Mauritius. Our reporter from our Japanese sister site Pouch gives us the following lesson in “curry à la Mauritius” (taught by a native Mauritian no less), and the resulting dish certainly looks good enough to feature in your next meal! Read More

Man Tries his Attempts at Evading Excess Luggage Charges at the Airport by Wearing Over 60 Layers of Clothing!

Man Tries his Attempts at Evading Excess Luggage Charges at the Airport by Wearing Over 60 Layers of Clothing!

As with many trips abroad, the purchasing of souvenirs for your friends and family and admittedly, the occasional gift for yourself is a routine common to most. The time and effort invested in making sure you have something for everyone can take its toll not only mentally, but also on the weight of your luggage upon arrival at the airport. “Just how can I get all this stuff through without being charged a fortune?” is I’m sure a fear that goes through the minds of many. When it comes to airport excess luggage costs, the excess cost itself can sometimes even exceed the actual value of the goods being brought back. Whatever is the case, nobody wants be charged excessively for something they’ve already paid for. Whether it be disposing of the gift’s packaging and then diligently placing it in your hand luggage, or if it happen to be a fashion accessory or item of clothing, wearing it as if it were your own, having some form of strategy is arguably better than being completely defenseless against the wrath that is the custom and excise department.

The other day, a man passing though China’s Kantan airport took this idea of ‘wearing your luggage’ to the extreme. Admittedly wrapping yourself in a couple of extra layers isn’t really any reason to warrant criticism and I’m sure it’s something many of us have considered at some point. What we’re talking about here is the act of piling on countless number of layers of clothing at once! Without question, such outrageousness cannot help but raise the suspicion of the airport staff.

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【Video】How to Communicate With Your Pet Hedgehog Using Your Feet

【Video】How to Communicate With Your Pet Hedgehog Using Your Feet

While all those spines may make the hedgehog look like one of the last animals you’d want to let run around in your house, certain species of the animal are actually fairly popular pets in certain parts of the world.

The African pygmy hedgehog, for example, is one of the most popular domesticated species and have been known to cozy up to their owners quite nicely.

Koutaro Maeno, a Japanese entomology researcher living in the West African country of Mauritania and proud owner of two African pygmy hedgehogs, has uploaded some rather bizarre video showing just how…tolerant the beasts can be of humans.

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Cyclops Baby Born in Africa Survives Less Than a Day 【GRAPHIC CONTENT】

Cyclops Baby Born in Africa Survives Less Than a Day 【GRAPHIC CONTENT】

Cyclopia is one of the rarest forms of birth defect in which the baby is born with one or two eyes on the mid-forehead and the nose and mouth often either missing or nonfunctional. Because most babies born with Cyclopia lack the ability to breathe outside the womb, they usually pass away before birth or shortly after.

While most documented cases of Cyclopia have occurred in animals, there have been a few cases of human fetuses being affected.

Recently, photos of a cycloptic baby born in Cameroon earlier this year have been making headlines on the Japanese internet.

We’ve shared the photos below, but be warned that they are graphic in nature and may be disturbing to some viewers. Please click the link below at your own discretion.

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Star Wars Location Spotting in Tunisia: Mos Espa Slave Quarters

Star Wars Location Spotting in Tunisia: Mos Espa Slave Quarters

Awhile back, we traveled to the desert planet Tatooine from the Star Wars universe—well, the set of it, at least. Scenes from several of the Star Wars movies were filmed on location in Tunisia and many of the sets and landscapes seen in the movie, such as the port city of Mos Espa and Luke Skywalker’s house, can still be visited today.

This time we’d like to share our travel report of Ksar Hadada, one of three traditional fortified granaries scattered about southern Tunisia that were used in the filming of the Slave Quarters Row of Mos Espa in Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.

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The Fart of a Hippo is One of the Most Profound Natural Phenomena You Will Ever See

The hippopotamus is said to be the deadliest animal in Africa, killing more people per year than any other animal on the continent. But while the hippo may be deadly, it certainly isn’t silent. Just take a look at the video above, posted to YouTube late last year (old video is old, we know).

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Luke Skywalker’s Home Now a Hotel, Only $10 a Night w/ Breakfast!

Luke Skywalker’s Home Now a Hotel,  Only $10 a Night w/ Breakfast!

Star Wars. Arguably the greatest space opera ever and undoubtedly the exemplar of science fiction in the minds of many.

One of the most memorable locations of the series is Tatooine, the rugged desert planet home to both Luke and Anakin Skywalker. As we shared yesterday, much of Tatooine was filmed in Tunisia and you can even still visit the set of Mos Espa, Anakin Skywalker’s hometown in Start Wars: The Phantom Menace.

But when speaking of Tatooine, surely most people think not of Anakin and Mos Espa, but of the Lars homestead, the home of Luke Skywalker before he became a Jedi Knight.

Well it turns out that’s still there too and you can actually stay the night at Luke Skywalker’s home. Needless to say, we did just that.

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There’s a Camel that Drinks Coca-Cola? RocketNews24 is There!

There’s a Camel that Drinks Coca-Cola? RocketNews24 is There!

Tunisia as we recently discovered by their beautiful can designs, seems to be a loadstone of Coca-Cola related paranormal activity.  For now our intrepid reporter has found a camel renowned for its love of Coke.  It chugs the stuff down in one swig!

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