Europe

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 Originally made popular in English on the image-hosting site Imgur, this tale of a stranger’s unexpected act of kindness traveled back to Japan where it happened, thanks to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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Awesome fan art reveals Disney characters’ Instagram accounts

We spend a lot of time looking at our favorite Disney characters. With all the attention we shower upon them, we wouldn’t be surprised if, by this point, they’re all absolutely convinced that we want to know what they’re up to every single moment of the day.

So really, we wouldn’t blame Ariel, Alice, and the rest if they all started snapping selfies and sharing them online, like in this fan art that looks at what we could expect if Disney characters had Instagram accounts.

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Crimea’s Natalia Poklonskaya goes brunette, net users ponder the existence of natural blondes

Despite being prosecutor general of a country more than eight thousand miles away and not, in fact, a scantily clad pop star desperately seeking fame, Crimea’s Natalia Poklonskaya has achieved near-celebrity status here in Japan. Since rocketing to fame in March this year, legions of admirers have dedicated hours to studying the young lawyer’s “angel-like” face, creating anime-style drawings of her and day-dreaming about being interrogated by her in a room with no windows.

Late last week, however, the formerly blonde Poklonskaya appeared at a State Council meeting with her hair tied back and noticeably darker. As you might imagine, this minor cosmetic change caused quite a stir here in Japan and quickly resulted in a debate over which look suited Poklonskaya best, with some online commenters seemingly confused not just about which of the two is her natural colour, but whether a natural blonde would ever go darker of their own volition.

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Clever font sneaks pronunciation guide for English speakers into Japanese katakana characters

Written Japanese uses three kinds of script. At the top of the difficulty curve, you’ve got kanji, the complex characters originally imported from China that can require over a dozen brush strokes to write, with each kanji representing a word or concept.

A little less challenging are hiragana, a set of 50 curving phonetic characters, but if English is your native language, odds are you’ll have the least trouble with angular katakana. Like hiragana, katakana is a phonetic system, so each character corresponds to a syllable. Even better, while often one kanji can have three or four possible readings, each katakana has just one possible pronunciation.

Of course, you still have to memorize how to pronounce all 50 katakana (85 if you’re being really technical) in the first place. One group of graphic designers are aiming to make that task a little easier, though, with a font that combines katakana with phonetics written in English.

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Photobook of cats in Japan goes beyond kawaii, beautifully captures many sides of feline life

For those of you who need a little break from Japanese cute culture and pampered internet stars from the animal kingdom, French photographer Alexandre Bonnefoy’s photobook may be just the ticket. Neko Land: Une vie de chat au Japon (A cat’s life in Japan) reveals the many faces of street cats, communally owned cats, pets, and cat café residents found all over Japan, from Okinawa to Hokkaidō.

Read on to view a large sample of the elegant and expressive work that resulted from his two-year stay, which portrays cats from many walks of life in a frank, but no less loving, manner. As Bonnefoy gives equal importance to their unadorned surroundings, let these felines guide you and immerse yourself in the often overlooked nooks and crannies of the varied communities around Japan.

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Japanese flutist keeps her cool, plays beautifully even with a butterfly crawling across her face

Part of my job at RocketNews24 is providing English titles for the videos on our YouTube channel. So my knee-jerk reaction when stumbling across a clip, from a different source, with the title “flute performance butterfly stop the face” is to point out the capitalization and syntax errors.

But you know what? Full points to whoever thought it up anyway. That jumbled cocktail of nouns and verbs just about perfectly captures what would run through any of our heads if we experienced what the woman in the video did: a butterfly crawling around her face in the middle of an important flute performance.

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Norwegian rocker with insane vocal range covers anime songs and more【Videos】

PelleK is a Norwegian rock and metal singer who doesn’t just limit himself to screaming about death and darkness, and uses his amazing vocal talents to cover anime songs and more, uploading them to YouTube for everyone to enjoy. Check out his awesome voice and performances in the videos below.

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