Europe

Meet WHISPERED — the heavy metal band from Finland with a samurai spirit!

Sure, we know that Japanese samurai warriors, with their bushido code of honor and their sharp katana swords, are seriously cool, right? Well, such warriors may be an existence of the past, but we can understand how they continue to hold a strong fascination for people not just in Japan, but abroad as well.  To our delight, we’ve found a group of such samurai fans, in far away Finland no less, and they’re making their fondness for samurai and Japanese culture heard very loudly indeed!

Meet WHISPERED, the Finnish heavy metal band whose look and work have a decidedly Japanese and samurai theme. And judging from comments online, Internet users who’ve heard the band’s music seem to have good things to say in this case of Japan meets Scandinavia!

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French literature classic ‘The Little Prince’ coming soon to cinemas as an animated film!

Calling all movie-goers, animation fans and literature enthusiasts! It’s not often that we get the chance to pique the interest of individuals from these three groups all at the same time, but the animated version of The Little Prince, one of the most famed pieces of French literature of our time, is set to hit the big screens in the later half of this year! If you haven’t already seen the trailer, read on and get ready to be mesmerized!

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ChocolaTexture offers nine flavors of chocolate… without changing the flavor at all

When it comes to food, I’ve always placed a higher emphasis on texture rather than the actual taste of it. While I love peanut butter or finely chopped almonds, for example, the nuts themselves in their natural form usually make me gag.

So it was with great excitement that I learned about ChocolaTexture, which is a range of nine chocolates all using the exact same recipe but crafted in different shapes and textures. As a result each chocolate is said to have a distinct “taste” despite being made from the exact same ingredients.

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Fancy a cuppa? We explore the UK’s unusual takes on Japanese green tea

In the UK, where I’m from, people get really passionate about tea. It’s the first thing you offer someone who is a visitor to your home, and remembering how someone likes their tea made is one way of showing that you care about them. We’re also fussy about the ritual behind making tea (you should see what happens in my house when someone puts the milk in first). In this way, we’re kinda like the Japanese.

In Japan, they drink green tea rather than black tea, but their attitude towards it matches ours. It’s both something for all-day long refreshment, and for special occasions. They’re also really into the ceremony behind it, with chadou, or tea ceremony, being a celebrated art in Japan.

So, what happens when the tea companies try to make green tea happen in the UK? A whole lot of added flavourings, that’s what! Join us after the jump for a taste test!

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New magnetic “slate” lets you write on actual paper, digitize your drawings in real-time

Digital drawing tablets, despite their best efforts, have always felt different from the real thing. For many artists, note-takers, or expert doodlers, nothing beats the feeling of putting actual pen to actual paper.

But now, thanks to iSketchnote, you can write on a real piece of paper using a real pen, while still digitizing it in real-time on a tablet or PC as you draw.

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Artist gives the finger to famous characters from fiction and real life

Our fingers are each a special snowflake, the ridges and whorls on the pads creating a unique pattern that sets us apart from anyone else. Criminals go to great lengths to make sure not so much as a pinky touches the scene to leave incriminating evidence, but if they get careless and leave a print behind perhaps they could give some of the following disguises a try.

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French artist alters Japanese street signs to make people “more observant”, police not impressed

Some rather peculiar, sticker-altered street signs have been popping up in Osaka or Kyoto over the last month. The eye-catching addendums are the work of French guerrilla artist Clet Abraham, who has done similar projects around the globe. While local residents are largely bemused, the police are not at all amused and are investigating whether charges can be filed.

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French artist gives us a case of the feels with his video game & superhero family illustrations

In the world of fiction, some characters have detailed, complex families and backgrounds made known to us, while others have rather vague and obscure origins, which isn’t totally a bad thing because that gives viewers plenty of room to imagine and fantasize.

Ever imagined Superman as a dad? Or, what if, after being rescued for the gazillionth time, Princess Peach actually marries Mario? Check out these beautiful families of various fictional heroes and heroines after the jump!

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Give a stranger a flower: Art exhibit & a Parisienne in Tokyo leads to smile seen round the world

If you’re sad that December is coming to a close and aren’t quite ready to stop basking in the holiday spirit, here’s a story (albeit a non-Christmas one) from the heart of Tokyo that’s sure to give you the warm fuzzies. Originally made popular in English on the image-hosting site Imgur, this tale of a stranger’s unexpected act of kindness traveled back to Japan where it happened, thanks to the Internet, and subsequently brought smiles to scads of Japanese netizens’ faces.

Read their reactions at the end of the article, after learning about how Lee Mingwei’s participatory art installation and 22-year-old Alice’s seemingly small yet impactful act of courage brightened the day of a metro worker named Daisuke and reddened his ears. As one online commenter put it, “I bet this guy never imagined that his smile would spread joy all around the world!”

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Chinese dude bags super hot Ukrainian wife, generates major envy online

We’ve all heard the stereotype that western guys who come to Japan find themselves suddenly showered with beautiful ladies, while Asian guys who head to the west get squat. Regardless of the fact that this kind of generalization is SUPER mean and based upon some pretty sketchy and biased thinking, it does seem to be the most prevailing opinion (in spite of the many cases where it’s blatantly not true.) When we heard about this regular Chinese dude who bagged himself a super hot wife after deciding to study abroad in Ukraine, we thought it made for an adorable story about a successful international marriage. Unfortunately, it seems that Chinese netizens were less charmed, with plenty taking to their keyboards to register their surprise, envy, and skepticism.

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Japanese man crowned World’s Best Santa at 2014 Santa Winter Games

In the mining town of Gällivare, located in the Swedish section of Lapland, the contestants have gathered. These men and women gritted their teeth as they walked through the streets in their heavy boots on the morning of 22 November with the frosty wind biting at their quickly reddening cheeks.

Red cheeks would serve them well, however. As would eyes that twinkle and a round belly that shakes when they laugh like a bowlful of jelly, for these world warriors were here to determine who was the World’s Best Santa.

And so, when the blood was mopped up and visions of sugar plums danced through the heads of little ones, it was Japan’s very own Kohei Yamashita who emerged victorious bringing his nation its first ever World’s Best Santa title.

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Clean up your game with these amazing Game Boy cartridge soaps

There are few things worse than greasy game controllers. As much as we enjoy snacking while playing our favourite games, doing so can be a recipe for sticky, slippery disaster, so the mere sight of our friends reaching for our Wiimotes or DualShock controllers with their Cheeto-encrusted fingers can be enough to send shivers our spines.

Ordering your pals to go and wash up before handling your precious pads might not foster the most hospitable gaming environment, but thankfully there’s a way to make the situation not only slightly less awkward, but suitably more video game themed: by handing your pal a Game Boy cartridge-shaped bar of soap while pointing them in the direction of the bathroom.

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Check out these amazing Ghibli-inspired tattoos

It’s no secret that most of us here at RocketNews24 are big fans of Hayao Miyazaki and the Studio Ghibli movies, though to my knowledge, none of us have yet inked that adoration on our skin. That might be about to change, though, with these amazing Ghibli tattoos to inspire us!

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Anti-UK World War II era photograph featuring grimacing geisha uncovered

If you were paying attention during history class, you’ll know all about wartime propaganda and the role it played in “motivating” people during the war effort. It seems like most countries involved got in on a piece of the propaganda action to some degree or other, with anti-Japanese propaganda being just one example.

But what do you think of this picture that has recently been uncovered showing two geisha holding their noses over a picture of former UK prime minister Winston Churchill? And what’s the joke behind it?

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Controversial pick-up artist breaks silence as campaign against him continues

Recently, we’ve been bringing you updates on controversial pick-up artist and dating coach Julien Blanc who has attracted anger around the world for purportedly purveying aggressive attitudes towards women. After a video was posted online of him appearing to harass women in Japan by pushing their heads towards his crotch, several campaigns were set up against him by activists in America, Australia, Britain, and Japan. These campaigns have so far been successful in helping to raise awareness of the “pick-up seminars” hosted by Blanc through his company RSD (Real Social Dynamics). Now, Blanc has broken his silence to offer an apology to those he has offended, which campaigners have rejected for its seemingly disingenuous nature.

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Campaign against pick-up artist who harasses women gathers global momentum

Recently, we reported on professional pick-up artist/dating coach Julien Blanc, who has begun to attract the public’s attention worldwide after a video was uploaded showing him seemingly choking, grabbing and harassing women in Japan, and conducting seminars teaching others his methods. A campaign to block Blanc’s actions was swiftly set up by twitter user @JennLi123 with the creation of the hashtag #TakeDownJulienBlanc and a petition on Change.org helping to raise awareness.

As of this writing, the original petition has 45,829 signatures, and backlash has forced Blanc to cut short his Australian tour after multiple venues cancelled his events. Now, concerned residents of other countries on Blanc’s tour itinerary (including Japan) have begun to take action, as well.

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Japanese band robot-dances their way around London in latest music video

Japanese band World Order robot-dances their way around London in their latest music video while locals look on amused and confused. Check out the full video plus screenshots after the jump!

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We think he’s purr-fect! Meet Monty, the cat born without a nose bone【Photos】

Monty is a four-year-old rescue cat who’s amassed fans from all over the world. He suffers from a rare chromosomal abnormality causing him to be born without a nasal bridge. And Monty’s owners are hoping their cat will show the world that ‘looking different doesn’t mean you can’t be fantastic!’

Join us after the jump for more adorable photos of this happy little chap!

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Ken Akamatsu bemoans Britain’s child pornography sentencing

“The days of quietly drawing whatever you like are already over”

Robul Hoque, a 39-year-old resident of Middlesbrough, England, was recently given a suspended sentence of nine months in prison for possession of child pornography when investigators found “manga” drawings of schoolgirls on his computer. The sentence is suspended so long as Hoque follows the court’s guidelines for two years, but manga artist Ken Akamatsu (Love Hina, Negima! Magister Negi Magi) disapproved of the conviction and reacted to the news on Twitter.

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U.K. man sentenced for prohibited images of ‘manga’ children

The Teesside Crown Court of Middlesbrough, England convicted 39-year-old Robul Hoque of 10 counts of possessing prohibited images of children. However, the children depicted in the images were all drawings. Hoque is believed to be the first man in the country brought to court solely over manga and anime images. The court sentenced him to nine months in prison, but the sentence will be suspended if Hoque maintains good behavior and follows the court’s requirements for two years.

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