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Nausicaä re-imagined as an action movie! Check out this awesome fan art!

We love awesome art here at RocketNews24, especially when it features characters that are close to our hearts being re-imagined in different and striking ways. Recently, we brought you some pretty sweet fan art depicting a scene from Princess Mononoke. Now we’d like to continue the Ghibli theme by sharing this piece that re-imagines Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind as an action movie! There’s Nausicaä in her Ghibli form above, but the fan art itself can be viewed after the jump!

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Anna and Elsa shine like never before – as million dollar platinum calendars and Christmas trees!

With the popularity of the Disney film Frozen still going strong, Anna and Elsa are sure to feature heavily among Christmas gifts this year here in Japan. Yes, the Japanese public can’t seem to get enough of the movie, with both the young and old singing “Let it go …” (or “Arino mama no…” in the case of the Japanese version) and endless books and tie-in products appearing on the market one after another.

So it didn’t come as a surprise when we heard that a Japanese jeweler had come up with a collection of Frozen-themed jewelry and ornaments for the Holiday Season. What did catch our attention, though, was that the collection from this particular Jeweler, the GINZA TANAKA, apparently included a huge calendar made of pure platinum which came with a price tag of nearly US$1 million! And when we found out that the calendar was going to be displayed for a limited time at their shop in Ginza, we just had to go see it for ourselves — it’s not everyday that you get to see a million-dollar calendar, after all. Join us as we take a look at Anna and Elsa’s beautiful world recreated not in ice but in precious metals!

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Congratulations Nippon! Japan takes on the title of “Top Country Brand”

Every year a brand consultant agency called FutureBrand comes out with a report of the Country Brand Index (CBI). The “country brand” (think “Made in Japan”), is measured similarly to consumer or corporate brands (Nike, Toshiba, etc).

The index is a measure of the global perception of each country’s “brand,” not just for the quality and popularity of their export products and big name businesses, but also taking into account social aspects of the country. Having spent the last few years cozily in the top ten, Japan took the number one position in the 2014-2015 CBI report.

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Japanese Twitter user claims to have achieved “Perfect” sound on iTunes, we investigate

We all love going into our iTunes player and manually adjusting the equalizer settings, am I right?

Alright, well, I for one make sure to readjust the equalizer bands for each song that comes up, which is why I don’t really accomplish much in a given day. However, a Japanese Twitter user by the handle of Hisagi claims to have found the ideal settings which have been dubbed simply “Perfect.” They claim that this setting will improve the quality regardless of what speakers you use.

This announcement has brought other contenders for the crown of “Best iTunes Equalizer Settings” out of the internet woodwork as well. So we decided to test them all out to find the champ… or to realize that it’s better to just leave the equalizer alone in the first place.

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“Perfect” Russian model is 8 years old, “arouses” inappropriate interest from Netizens

A while back we wrote about a little girl named Kristina Pimenova – a then-5-or-so year-old Russian model that was just the most adorable thing ever. Posing in over-sized clothes like she’d just raided her older sister’s closet, she was basically the definition of adolescent cuteness.

Well, now she’s grown up and the Internet’s feelings about little Pimenova – now eight – have grown considerably more complicated.

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5 amazing health and beauty benefits of eating wasabi

Ah, wasabi, the pungent root that adds spice to sushi and gets up the noses of over-enthusiastic consumers, leaving many a watery eye and a burning palate. It seems that you either love wasabi or hate it, with wasabi-lovers clamoring for a touch of the green stuff in a variety of forms including Kit-Kats and potato chips, and wasabi-haters strictly stipulating to sushi chefs that they require their sushi sabi-nuki de, or sans wasabi. But did you know that the wasabi-lovers actually get to enjoy a host of health and beauty benefits that are denied to those who shy away from this miraculous wonder root? Read on as we unveil the five surprising health effects of regular wasabi consumption!

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Put some old-school in your new-gen with this 20th Anniversary special edition PlayStation 4

The original PlayStation turned 20 years old yesterday, so to mark the occasion Sony Computer Entertainment has unveiled a special limited-edition “20th Anniversary” PlayStation 4 console pimped out with the original 32-bit PlayStation’s colour scheme and logo as well as commemorative etching on both the console and controller.

Sexy hardware photos and videos after the jump!

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Humbug! Japanese wives in international marriages share what they hate about Christmas overseas

Christmas. Depending on who you are, it can be a time for getting together with family and friends, attending religious services, or maybe just drinking a lot of egg nog. But while all of those are activities of profound cultural and spiritual importance, not everyone has a song in their heart at this time of year.

For a certain set of Japanese women in international marriages and living overseas, ‘tis the season for venting about how Americans and Europeans spend Christmas, and here’s their list of grievances.

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Sony’s PlayStation turns 20 years old, we look back at how it all began and the games we loved

If you grew up in the ’90s, chances are the original PlayStation was a part of your life. Arriving on the console scene long after rivals Nintendo and Sega, PlayStation was an altogether different kind of beast. Its games shipped on CDs, it boasted spiffy three-dimensional graphics, and one of its flagship titles even featured music by abrasive electro pop group The Prodigy. It may have been a dull grey slab of plastic, but PlayStation was the console that all the cool kids wanted.

By some cruel trick played on us by the forces of nature, Sony’s original PlayStation turns 20 years old today. This makes us feel tremendously bitter and old, but at the same time we thought this would be a good opportunity to look back at some of the great games that came into being through the console, and also to revisit the surprisingly dramatic tale of how PlayStation was born.

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Give your Game Boy a new lease of life with upcoming HDTV adaptor “hdmyboy”

Nintendo’s Game Boy recently turned 25 years old and is fondly remembered by people of all ages the world over. With more than 118 million units sold worldwide, it’s fair to say that the monochrome portable was something of a hit, and there’s almost certainly a Game Boy or two lying around in a cupboard or attic near you at this very moment.

A pair of retro gaming enthusiasts are hoping to breathe new life into the Game Boy with a prototype product that allows gamers to hook their original 1989 portable up to their modern, high-definition TV sets with zero fuss. Dubbed the hdmyboy, the adaptor is still in development, but with the help of backing from Kickstarter users, the guys behind it are hoping to bring it to the world as early as next spring.

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Turn desk time into battle time with this gloriously unnecessary replica Mega Man helmet!

Anyone who regularly reads my ramblings here on RocketNews24 will know that I’m steadily building up a sizeable list of geeky trinkets I intend to pester my loved ones for this Christmas. From chocolate video game controllers to bars of soap shaped like Game Boy cartridges, very few of my Christmas wish-list items would look out of place on a child’s letter to Santa.

But when the trinkets are as awesome as this replica, LED-laden Mega Man helmet, I really couldn’t give a Jimmy Riddle what anyone else thinks: they belong on the list.

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Cats, dogs, pandas & more! An irresistible collection of photos and videos of animals in the snow

It seems only a short while ago that we were complaining about how unbearably hot the summer is here in Japan. Well, time sure does pass by quickly, and we’re now headed into winter, with parts of northern Japan already seeing a bit of snow. And while you can always expect small kids to be thrilled with the idea of a winter wonderland, it seems they’re not the only ones that thoroughly enjoy playing with the snow.

We’ve found a collection of photos and videos on Japanese information compilation site Naver Matome which clearly show that animals too get a kick out of jumping and rolling in the fluffy white stuff, and we wanted to share the images with you because, well … they simply looked so “cool” (and not just because of all the snow involved). So, get ready to enjoy some adorable animal snow action!

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Hadoken! The LINE stickers we’ve all been waiting for: Street Fighter II

LINE is Japan’s most popular instant messaging platform and it came to its place on top via cute emoji “stickers.” But maybe you’ve had enough of the cutesy bears and sparkling hearts. Maybe you need to let out some emoji anger when your girlfriend is being a bit clingy with her texts. Fear not! The LINE stickers of your dreams have been released and they are just as tough, and occasionally gruesome, as you want them to be! Welcome into the ring, Street Fighter II!

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This old Nintendo game quadrupled in price in just a week

Earlier this month, a hacker discovered that an old Nintendo game from 2011, called “Cubic Ninja,” could be used to hack into the company’s 3DS handheld game system.

Using the game, hackers could install “homebrew” software onto the 3DS. Nintendo quickly pulled it from the digital download store, according to VentureBeat. That made the game hard — but not impossible — to find.

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Bonsai treehouses look like something out of Howl’s Moving Castle 【Photos】

Even without adornment, a well-done bonsai is a sight to see. It’s amazing how something as massive and powerful as a tree can be hemmed and trimmed to create a delicate, miniature version of itself. But for some, that level of artistry doesn’t go far enough.

Now bonsai artists are adding fantastical tree houses and other structures around their vegetative creations, resulting in multi-level, gravity-defying feats of architecture that still fit under a garden cloche.

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100 Days of Tele and His Red Ride – One cute little boy’s Action Cam adventure 【Videos】

We know that readers of RocketNews24 are big fans of “teh cute,” so today we’d like to share with you a very special project of our own. A series of episodes shot with Sony’s Action Cam about a two-year-old boy’s 100 days with his STRIDER balance bike, 100 Days of Tele and His Red Ride documents little Tele’s first ever two-wheeled adventure, and the results are super cute.

Essential viewing for moms, dads, and fans of cuteness alike, join us after the jump as we cheer for this adorable tyke on his tiny red bike.

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Self-defense tip: Dealing with unwanted kabe-don

With the aggressive pick-up tactics of Julien “the most hated man in the world” Blanc all over the news this week, it only makes sense that we here at RocketNews24 do our part in educating readers about self-defense. And being as this is Japan, we thought we should start with a method for dealing with that particularly Japanese act of violence-infused wooing: the kabe-don.

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Katakana is cool: Designers take inspiration from Japan’s least popular writing system

Remember the Chinese character phase? Back in the early 2000s you could see Chinese characters everywhere from T-shirts to tattoos. While the trend still continues to some extent today, once people started realizing that you should probably double-check the meaning before going out in public, it has definitely slowed down.

Maybe Chinese symbols have a sort of stigma now, but that is not stopping major designers from branching out into the other styles of Japanese writing, namely katakana. This new trend is being used by brands all over the world, from Adidas to Stussy.

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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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Celebrating washoku and rice — an evening with master chefs and sushi roll creators (Part 2)

We recently had the opportunity to attend the delightful reception “Celebrating Worldwide Recognition of Washoku and Rice” aimed to present the appeal of rice and its importance in Japanese cuisine (washoku). In our first article covering the event, we gave you a round-up on the talks and demonstrations made by three guest speakers during the first part of the evening’s program, including the serving of a traditional Japanese meal prepared by a master chef. Now, it was time for us to get active and try our hand at a bit of sushi rolling!

In this, the second and final article in this two-part series, we’ll attempt to create a special futomaki sushi roll  known as Futomaki Matsurizushi (“thick roll festival sushi”) like the one made by Ms. Eiko Ryuzaki, president of the Chiba Traditional Local Cooking Study Group, in one of the presentations earlier that evening.   

Okay, so we weren’t going to be able to create an entire plate of colorful festive futomaki rolls like the display in the picture above, but we were excited about the chance to make even just one pretty little roll! So, were we ready to get our hands sticky with rice? You can bet we were!

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