Global

Hayao Miyazaki on Charlie Hebdo attacks: Drawings of Muhammad were “a mistake”

Famed anime director Hayao Miyazaki may have retired from making feature films, but it’s not because he’s run out of clearly defined ideas or things to say. In a recent interview, the animation icon was asked for his thoughts about the recent terrorist attack on the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, and gave, in no uncertain terms, his opinion about the decision to publish the content cited as the trigger for the incident.

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The most intense, death-defying military training exercises from around the world

Jumping through a ring of fire. Breaking bricks with your head. Drinking cobra blood.

Those are some examples of what troops from around the world go through as part of military training.

Check out more intense exercises in the following gallery.

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Tokyo Disneyland Hotel set to enchant guests with new character themed rooms!

We all know that the people at Disney are masters of enchantment and magic. Well, it seems they’ve done it again, this time putting their formidable powers of imagination to full use to renovate part of their rooms at the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel. For the first time since its opening in 2008, rooms at the iconic hotel have been redone and were opened to the public this week. As you might expect, the new rooms indeed look magical, worthy of the Disney reputation for turning fantasy into reality. So, let’s take a look at the lovely rooms designed to make guests feel like they’ve stepped into a Disney story!

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It’s Panda-monium! Play-fighting pandas pummel and paw their way into our hearts

Pandas have a pretty laid-back and serene image, don’t they? When you picture pandas, you probably imagine them lazing around, maybe chewing on some bamboo or their own feet.

But it turns out that when you put a bunch of pandas into a zoo enclosure together, you sometimes wind up with a panda death match, a veritable battle royale of pandas, where escape is futile and the fight goes on until only one panda emerges victorious! Okay, so they’re only play-fighting, but it’s still really, really cute!

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Can’t afford a nose job? Give your hooter some lift with Nose Secret!

For all those people out there who simply hate the sight of their own honker, rhinoplasty is a widely available but expensive solution. But what if you either can’t afford or are simply too scared to take the drastic step of having a nose job? Well now there’s a novel new solution for those wanting a less “bulbous” snout, with the invention of Nose Secret, handy little plastic doodads you shove up your schnozzle to give you that pointy, slightly upturned effect.

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Salute your soy – the designer of Kikkoman’s iconic red-capped soy sauce bottle has died

The next time you sit down to enjoy a meal in a Japanese or Chinese restaurant, or perhaps this very evening when you open your kitchen cupboard at home, be sure to give your red-capped bottle of soy sauce a tiny salute. The designer of the now-iconic Kikkoman soy sauce bottle, Kenji Ekuan, has died at the age of 85.

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Manga hit Hana Yori Dango getting sequel series, will be available free and online in English

Although there’s an identically pronounced Japanese proverb espousing the pleasures of the flesh, when many non-Japanese people hear Hana Yori Dango, the first thing they think of is the title of the rags to riches and romance manga penned by Yoko Kamio. Also known as Boys Over Flowers, Kamio’s manga debuted in 1992 and would eventually see animated and live-action adaptations both on TV and in theaters.

Now, 12 years after the conclusion of the comic that started the franchise, Kamio is penning a sequel series. Plus, as if that wasn’t enough to make the day of Hana Yori Dango fans all over the world, it’ll be available to read online, free, and in English simultaneously with its Japanese release.

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Frozen marshmallow cream: Just two ingredients, at least as good as ice cream 【RocketKitchen】

Every now and again, we stumble across a dessert recipe that’s so simple and tasty, it almost feels like we’ve discovered some sort of hidden secret that man wasn’t meant to know. Last year, we found out that instead of making pancakes one at a time, we could just make one huge one in a rice cooker, sprinkle in some green tea powder, and have a dessert that looks and tastes great with no fuss at all.

But what if you prefer chilled desserts to hotcakes? No problem. We recently tried a recipe for a frozen marshmallow dessert that may or may not technically be ice cream, but amazingly creates something that tastes even better from just two ingredients, and takes almost as few steps to make.

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One story, three versions. Toyota ads evoke our emotions, remind us we’re all human [Video]

First loves, first cars, best friends and beautiful scenery; Toyota is hitting all the right notes with their newest car commercials/web movies, entitled “The World is One,”  for their “Toyota Next One” campaign. The commercial itself is really cute, if not borderline risqué for a second, but when you learn that there are actually three versions of the exact same commercial, taking place in three different countries, the charm is taken to a whole new level and gives new meaning to the tagline at the end, “We’re all driving on the same road.”

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Which 15 countries have the least violent armed forces in the world?

It seems like Japan is winning at everything these days, first with being selected to host the 2020 Olympic Games, then with Tokyo being chosen as the safest city in the world (and Osaka a close third!). Now, Japan has been ranked by the Global Peace Index (GPI) as having one of the top 15 least violent armed forces in the world. Did your country make the list too? Check after the jump to find out!

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Australia’s Animal Logic Entertainment announces plans for live-action Astro Boy film

Live-action comic book movies are a big deal these days, with four of the 10 highest-grossing films in the U.S. hailing from that category in 2014. All four of those are Marvel properties, though, and while American rival DC Comics has found sporadic movie success in the past, Western adaptations of Japanese manga haven’t even fared that well.

Still, it looks like one studio is getting ready to roll the dice again, and the dice don’t get much bigger than Japan’s most exalted manga of all, as Australia’s Animal Logic Entertainment has announced its plans for an Astro Boy live-action movie.

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Japanese girls interviewed on their thoughts about mixed-race relationships 【Video】

If you’ve spent any extended time in Japan or have even casually followed RocketNews24, you’ve probably encountered the topic of Japanese people dating foreigners. It’s a theme that commonly comes up, often focusing on why foreign men (sometimes independent of their attractiveness), get all the girls! But still, all foreign men aren’t necessarily attracted to Japanese women.

Contributing to the discussion and in promotion of his recently released book, There’s Something I Want to Tell You: True Stories of Mixed Dating in Japan, Yuta Aoki, a Japanese author, vlogger and YouTuber, set out to interview some Japanese ladies on their thoughts about interracial relationships. Take this interview with a grain of salt though, as Aoki only questions five girls, all in the big city at the time and most having spent some time abroad, so, they’re not necessarily a cross section of Japanese women.

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Happy Fastlagen! IKEA brings a sweet piece of Sweden to Japan with all-you-can-eat dessert buffet

Swedish home furnishing company IKEA, as many of you are undoubtedly aware, has a huge presence around the world, and Japan is no exception. Thousands of us enjoy wandering around their gargantuan stores on the weekends, gazing at their pop furniture displays and homeware or wolfing down a serving of their Swedish meatballs at their cafeteria.

Well now, IKEA Japan has news that’s sure to please sweets lovers in particular — for a limited time, they’re be offering an all-you-can-eat “Sweets Buffet”, which includes some delightful-looking Swedish treats that we’re dying to try, for the very reasonable price of 499 yen (US$4.25)! Who wouldn’t be excited about sweet news like that?

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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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Images float in from around Japan of record-breaking balloon flight【Photos】

Although many of us are looking forward to the future of transportation and being able to zip across the globe in just a few hours as opposed to the best part of a day, last week a handful of people turned their attention to a more romantic form of air travel as a record-setting trip across the Pacific Ocean launched from Japan’s Saga City.

The trip, which aimed to break the world record for both distance and duration of flight in a balloon was witnessed by thousands of people, not least the people of Japan where the balloon took off from, who were only too happy to commemorate and share of this piece of aviation history in the form of tweets and photos.

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Russian beauty talks about troubles foreigners face when first moving to Japan 【Video】

Japan attracts foreigners of all kinds and people decide to come here for all sorts of different reasons. But, as with any culture different from one’s own, there can be some aspects of Japanese culture that are hard for foreigners to wrap their heads around or get used to, such as deciding if you should help a crying girl.

Ashiya, a beautiful Russian expat, recently shared some of her difficulties upon coming to Japan on her YouTube channel*. We have a feeling that these will strike a chord with many other expats and internationalists interested in Japan as well, Russian or not.

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Smartphone maker HTC launches smack-talking rap video, leaves us quite literally asking “WTF?”

“Y’all can’t be serious man,” HTC’s painfully awkward rap video begins as the beat kicks in. And, for a second there, we kind of wondered the exact same thing ourselves.

Released last week by Taiwanese (high) tech company HTC, “Hold the Crown” is an ultra-low budget battle-rap dedicated to the self-proclaimed “king” of smartphones, the HTC One M8, and calling out rivals the iPhone 6 and Samsung’s Galaxy. It’s one of the most baffling yet brilliant things we’ve ever seen.

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Japanese netizens proud to see Tokyo named safest city in the world, Osaka number three

Japan had plenty to boast last week when Tokyo was named as the safest city in the world by The Economist, with Osaka coming in a respectable third. Netizens were proud that even with Tokyo’s famously terrible (and sometimes dangerous) commutes and Osaka’s penchant for strange crimes, the two cities stood out to claim top spots among some of the largest cities in the world.

Click below to find out what made the two Japanese cities rank so high and which other cities made the list!

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Tuna born from mackerel: Japanese scientists develop surrogate tech to save threatened species

Last November the sushi world was struck with some bitter news: the Pacific bluefin tuna was placed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources’ (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. While not considered endangered like its close relatives, the Atlantic and Southern bluefin tuna, it has been proclaimed as a vulnerable species.

Bluefin tuna is considered the best of the best, its tender red meat is coveted by sushi chefs and sushi consumers alike. But what will happen if the Pacific bluefin becomes extinct? Foreseeing a future of sushi connoisseurs being forced to eat tuna-shaped cakes or playing with tuna models to try to get their bluefin fix, scientists have come up with a radical new idea: use mackerel to breed bluefin tuna. 

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Could this teen’s simple but genius idea help put an end to cyber bullying?

Bullying is not a new phenomenon. Even if you haven’t personally experienced it, you likely know some who has been bullied, or have seen it happen to someone else. So have our parents, and most likely their parents too. Adults can be bullies too, but children and adolescents are much more likely to act without thinking, making it much more of a problem for the younger generation.

What is a relatively new phenomenon, however, is cyber bullying. After hearing about a young girl who was bullied to the point that she decided to commit suicide, 14-year-old Trisha Prabhu knew something had to be done, and set to work making a system that could drastically reduce the incidences of cyber bullying.

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