Global

The joy of pancakes, and why they might kill you

Although hardly new, Japan has been undergoing something of a boom in pancake consumption in recent years. With several trendy new restaurants opening up around the country, there has also been a significant rise in the popularity of homemade pancakes as well. Yes, with its warm and fluffy texture and mildly sweet flavor it’s certainly hard to turn down a hotcake, isn’t it?

While everyone is having a good time with their pancakes, some researchers and medical professionals would like to remind us all that pancakes and similar flour based foods have the potential to not only make us very ill, but in some cases may lead to death.

But before you go cursing out these wet blankets of science for ruining yet another beloved food with their health warnings, there’s actually an incredibly easy way to not die from eating flapjacks as well.

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Disney meets classic Japan — see your favorite characters reborn as traditional Japanese crafts!

It’s no secret that Disney has been hugely successful in Japan. The Japanese anime industry may have cultivated a unique style over the years that’s quite different from that of the international entertainment giant, but the public here in Japan definitely seems to love all things Disney, from beautiful lingerie to adorable mini-cakes.

So we guess it’s not too surprising that Disney characters have now been recreated using traditional Japanese crafts, which is the concept behind the Disney Japan Classic Series of merchandise. Join us for a look at what delightful forms the familiar Disney characters have taken at the hands of traditional Japanese artisans!  Read More

What is this kitty trying to tell us? The online mystery of the cat and the cotton swabs

The internet’s full of weird stuff. Usually, it’s really out-there, kooky, insane, bizarre-o weird stuff, but every now and then something comes along which is weird in a baffling way. Take this video of a cat poking some cotton swabs around as if trying to arrange them in a particular way. It was favourited 1.5 thousand times on Twitter, yet nobody commented on it, possibly because no one knows what to make of it.

What is the purpose of the video? Is the cat some kind of feline savant? Is there some deep, philosophical meaning behind the placement of the cotton buds? See if you can work it out…

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“How do you distinguish Americans?” video sheds light on stereotypes from around the world

Korean YouTuber SW Yoon asked a number of Japanese and international students at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University in Beppu, Japan, to share their views on what sets Americans apart from people of other nationalities.

With over 2 million views since it was uploaded last week, the video has elicited a number of responses in its comments section, ranging from the blatant “so racist” to the more optimistic “it’s interesting to see how other young people from around the world see us generally.

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Super Mario Maker gets an official release date, will be playable at Best Buy soon【E3 2015】

Nintendo has announced that Super Mario Maker, its extensive Mario-themed level creator software for Wii U, will go on sale from September 11 this year. A new Amiibo figure and level designer’s guide book are also scheduled for release.

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Sony is bringing back classic gamepads for its new game console

It may not look “modern” anymore, but the flat greys of Sony’s early PlayStation hardware brings wide smiles to those of us who grew up playing classics like Resident Evil and Final Fantasy.

Though years of play wore down the originals, Sony’s issuing original PlayStation-themed gamepads and headphones in honor of the orig nal console’s 20th anniversary. They look like this:

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It’s not the Grand Line, but One Piece has conquered a Guinness World Record

One of the biggest manga hits of the past 15 years is most certainly One Piece. You can talk about ninjas or titans, but the perennial favorite for top manga has been about those pirates of the Grand Line. Of the many treasures they have encountered during their journey, they have now uncovered something that is truly one of a kind, a Guinness World Record. The official One Piece website was happy to announce that author Eiichiro Oda and the manga One Piece are going in the record books as the comic book with the most issues published by a single author.

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Final Fantasy VII remake is officially announced, and the video is right here 【E3 2015】

A video game series doesn’t get to its fifteenth installment without a steady string of commercial and/or critical successes, and you’ll find plenty of both in publisher Square Enix’s Final Fantasy franchise. But even as many gamers are looking forward to the exploring, monster-fighting, and camping of Final Fantasy XV, it seems like just as many have been taking a bittersweet glance back at Final Fantasy VII and wistfully asking if Square Enix is ever going to update its aging masterpiece.

The answer is yes, Final Fantasy VII is getting a modern PlayStation 4 remake, and here’s the official video teaser that proves it.

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There’s a reason why there are fewer green Lego bricks than any other color

Lego building blocks are a fantastic toy for growing kids and adults alike. These snap-together bricks allow you build pretty much anything, regardless of whether you follow the instructions included in the box or throw caution to the wind and build whatever pops into your head. With the success of The Lego Movie and a sequel and spin-off movies in the works, the outlook for this 65-year-old toy has never been better.

But there is an alleged little-known secret hidden in the core of Lego’s sensibility. If you take a random sampling of Lego bricks, you will notice that there are far fewer green ones than any other color. The reason why may surprise you.

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Our Japanese writer tries the “hold a coke with your boobs” challenge

If you spend a lot of time on the internet, like all of the RocketNews24 team does, then you can’t help but notice when a new “do this stupid thing” challenge starts going aroud. Whether it involves chugging cinnamon, blowing up your lips, or scarfing hot peppers, it’s all pretty silly stuff that normally we’re way too sophisticated to have a go at.

But something about the “hold a coke with your boobs” challenge captivated the attention of our Japanese writer P.K. So much, in fact, that he decided to have a go for himself! Warning, this post is potentially NSFW for everyone who doesn’t work in the RN24 office!

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Math-solving phone app is the quickest way to self-study, skip homework, and/or fail your tests

I think we can all agree that math is a pretty handy thing to understand, right? A basic concept of things like fractions and algebraic equivalents is what keeps us from getting taken advantage of by con men who make such tempting offers as trading two of their shiny monies (or even three!) for our one paper money when the latter is actually of greater value.

Still, basic math is all about following the proper procedures to arrive at the one true solution, which is why you don’t get partial credit for having the wrong answer on your math assignment just because you took a novel approach and wrote the numbers with nice penmanship. As such, you can program a machine to spit out the answer in a fraction of a second, and with a new smartphone app, all you have to do is snap a picture of the math problem, and let the app take over from there.

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Japan’s tax agency considers protected designation for Japanese sake

Okay, Rocketeers, time for a pop quiz: what is Japanese sake? Turns out the question is actually a little more complicated than it looks on the surface.

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Waiting for your meal is so much more fun with a tiny, projection-mapped chef cooking for you

It’s no surprise that many celebrations and social gatherings center around food. Food is a big part of pretty much every country’s culture, and since many of us eat around three times a day, it makes sense to enjoy your grub in the company of friends or family.

But when we’re out to eat at a restaurant, sometimes the wait for our food can put us in a bad mood, particularly if our stomachs have been empty for a bit too long. One company, however, has come up with a nifty way to help restaurants serve up a bit of high-tech entertainment to its guests: a pint-sized chef who cooks up your meal right on your plate!

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Japan’s big blue cat finally put the freeze on Frozen’s popularity in China

We’ve been told to “let it go” more times than we can count, but fans all around the world continue to show their love for Disney’s Frozen. Even in China, fans flocked to the theater to catch the Frozen fever in 2014 grossing US$48.2 million at the box office.

Well that is one “record” the Disney movie is going to have to let go, as another animated movie has managed to surpass those numbers in 2015. It’s not another Pixar or Disney powerhouse though, this movie originates from Japan. If you want to know what movie beat up the Frozen juggernaut, you’ll have to stand by (me).

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Defying gravity: 24 pictures of people carrying way too much stuff on their bikes

Just a few hours ago, I marveled at my artist friend as she prepared to bike several miles home with a newly purchased serger machine strapped to her back. If I tried to do that, I’d definitely either lose my balance or crash into something, spilling my bag’s contents everywhere.

If that thought didn’t already make me feel inadequate enough about my own biking abilities, these photos of people from around the world riding overloaded motorcycles seemingly at ease certainly did!

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Harry Potter and the Selfie Stick of Douchery

Ah, the selfie stick. No piece of consumer gadgetry in recent history has received quite as much hate as this doodad. It seems to many the embodiment of the narcissism of the digital age, not just because it’s used to take photos of oneself, but because users often manage to heedlessly whack and prod bystanders in their search for the perfect angle.

To witness the corrosive power of the selfie stick, see how all your warm fuzzy memories of Harry Potter are completely ruined when wands are replaced by selfie-sticked iPhones.

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Royal smile: Princess Kako of Akishino stuns netizens with her elegant beauty

Her Imperial Highness Princess Kako of Akishino, the 20-year old granddaughter of Emperor Akihito, has recently been getting a lot of attention online in Japan after she appeared in public by herself for the first time looking exceptionally poised and beautiful.

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Three potentially fatal flaws with the facial recognition ATMs soon to be introduced in China

We’ve all seen how facial recognition software can go badly wrong. But it seems that China hasn’t gotten the message, since they’re going forward with a new plan for ATMs which rely on face-scanning technology.

The new machines will reportedly snap a quick picture of the person trying to access each account, and cross-reference their facial features with a database to find a match.

We can see at least three fatal flaws with this plan. Can you guess what they are?

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No plans for the weekend? Free CG animation festival is going on in Tokyo 【Videos】

If you were just looking at the clock and smiling because you’ve reached the end of your workweek, but have since switched to frowning and looking at the Tokyo weather report (clouds or rain all week long), cheer up, because it just so happens there’s a great indoor event going on.

Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia 2015 kicked off earlier this week, and until June 14 will be showcasing the works of talented short film makers from around the globe at venues in Tokyo and Yokohama. Best of all, admission is free, and today we’re taking a peek at some of the festival’s amazing computer animated shorts that are screening this weekend.

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Young inventor dreams big to cleanup ocean plastic, will launch test in Japan

What did you accomplish by the time you were 20 years old? Did you answer, “inspired an entire world to get behind your idea to clean the ocean”?

A Dutch engineering phenom has done just that with his project The Ocean Cleanup. In 2016, he and his team will launch a pilot program that will eventually lead them to tackle the Great Pacific Garbage Patch that lies between Hawaii and California. However, any idea has to start somewhere, and that somewhere will be Japan.

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