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“Supercute cooking” expert Yuki teaches us how to make Spirited Away’s “No-Face” yakisoba

So hungry you could devour an entire onsen resort’s worth of food? Time to make some noodles—with a twist!

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9 ways Tokyo could become more foreigner-friendly in time for the 2020 Olympics

Despite Japan’s relative safety, abundance of delicious foodfascinating culture, and friendly people, the country still lags behind as a tourist destination for foreign travellers. So the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are the perfect opportunity for Japan to show off its famed omotenashi hospitality to the droves of foreign visitors who’ll be pouring into Tokyo to spectate.

As foreigners who’ve been living in Japan for a while, we think we might have some pretty good ideas about certain things Japan could do in order to make things a little easier on this influx of foreign guests

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Ask Mr. Sato Episode 1 – Love, Dreams, Cats vs Dogs【Video】

Episode 1 of our brand new series, Ask Mr. Sato, is here! Join us at the link below to listen to the great man’s sagely advice!

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Japan surprised to find Justin Bieber and world praying for them

On the morning of Saturday, November 14, many Japanese Beliebers, along with some Non-Beliebers and Agnobiebers, awoke and checked into Twitter as usual only to find the famous Canadian pop star declaring that he was praying for their souls right alongside those of the people of Paris.

Confused and a little concerned, I—a card-carrying Agnobeiber—showed the above tweet to my coworkers, all of whom were equally baffled as to why Justin Bieber should be praying for them, considering nothing out of the ordinary happened here in Japan.

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Why do Japanese gamers spend so much more money on mobile games than anyone else?

Japanese smartphone and tablet gamers spend a disproportionate amount of money on mobile games compared to the much larger mobile markets of North America and China, according to a new report from EEDAR – a video gaming analytics consultancy. This is despite the fact that the Japanese mobile gaming population is just a third of that of North America and a mere eighth of the Chinese gaming population.

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The original Pokémon games are coming to Nintendo’s 3DS Virtual Console early next year!

We’ve got some fantastic news for children of the ’90s who once made it (and still make it) their quest to catch ’em all: The original first-generation Pokémon games are coming to the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console early next year!

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Relive the adventure in HD! “The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD” to be released in March

The most recent episode of Nintendo Direct included some exciting news for fans of the soon-to-be 30-year-old Legend of Zelda video game series. In the broadcast, Nintendo executives announced that a high-definition version of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess would be released for the Wii U on March 4, 2016 internationally, and on March 10 in Japan.

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Smartphone smash Neko Atsume heads west, we talk to the localization team behind it【Interview】

As further proof that cats rule the Internet and humanity at large, the relaxed, mostly goal-less mobile app time waster, Neko Atsumewhich tasks players with simply collecting a bunch of cartoon cats and kind of just watching them do stuff—proved a massive success in Japan despite a distinctive lack of explosions, destruction and, er, constantly running from left to right that are the typical hallmark of successful mobile games.

In fact, the game is so popular among cat lovers (read: everyone) that the Japanese version of the game began trending abroad, even though the large majority of fans surely had to resort to Internet guides to make any sense of the Japanese kanji plastered all over the in-game menus and inventory.

Said fans were in for a great surprise, though, when last week, developer Hit-Point updated the game with full English support thanks to renowned localization agency 8-4. We had a chance to sit down with the 8-4 team and chat about the behind-the-scenes work that went into localizing the app for an English speaking audience.

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The Moogle is out of the bag! Final Fantasy staple will be part of FF XV

While the stories for Final Fantasy games generally have nothing to do with each other, there have been a few threads that tangentially tie the games together, such as magic, a character named Cid, and an airship. Another popular element is a set of characters that have been around since the third installment of the game, the humble Moogles.

So when the official Final Fantasy XV Twitter account polled its followers to see if they wanted the beloved Moogles in the franchise’s newest game, the obvious answer was a resounding, “Of course, kupo!”

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Maybe 13 percent of Japanese schoolgirls aren’t really selling their services as escorts

The Japanese government has asked the UN to retract its recent statement that claims 13 percent of girls in Japan are involved in compensated dating.

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Farting sheep set plane’s alarm bells ringing during flight to Malaysia

We all have different ways of getting through long flights, like settling down for some inflight entertainment, reading a good book, or possibly trolling fellow passengers. But one thing everyone tries not to think about is what might happen if the plane were to suddenly experience an emergency while thousands of feet up in the air.

For one unlucky group of passengers last month, they experienced just that, and for what might be the strangest reason we’ve heard yet: some very gassy sheep.

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Super Mario Maker update doubles down on creepy “Skinny Mario” with weird easter egg【Video】

Super Mario Maker, the toolkit/game for Wii U that allows Mario fans to build their very own levels using a vast array of items and characters from the games’ universe, is without a doubt a huge hit. Players had been craving the ability to DIY their own levels for the classic series pretty much since the original handful of games were released for the original NES.

One addition to the game that players never expected to see was the inclusion of the crazy “Weird Mushroom”—originally a glitch in the first Super Mario Bros.—which turns Mario into “Skinny Mario,” a creepy, distorted Mario whose lanky limbs wiggle about all over the place with each (giant) jump.

Skinny Mario was, to put it lightly, not well-received by the gaming community, and Nintendo had a golden opportunity to fix it when it released the first update to the game a few days ago. Except, instead of doing away with Skinny Mario, Nintendo actually decided to include even more, super creepy, Skinny Mario appearances.

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10 things one Japanese expat is always sure to stock up on when returning to Japan

Any expat, exchange student, or anybody who has otherwise spent a long period of time abroad will tell you that, while the local food is exciting and fun and delicious for a while, eventually you’ll start to experience intense urges for the comfort foods and products of your native land. For some, these urges may be occasional, mild pangs, but for many, the urges are so strong they can’t resist stocking up on boxes and boxes full of their favorite items from home every time they head back.

Recently, a Japanese female expat who has been living in America for years introduced our sister site to the top 10 items that she likes to stock up on when she visits Japan:

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Superdry: The “Japanese” fashion brand that most Japanese people have never even heard of

Recently, our Japanese writer P.K. Sanjun was visiting Australia on official RocketNews24 business when he noticed something odd. Every now and then, he would spot a person with a T-shirt or bag with incomprehensible Japanese written on it.

Originally thinking this was just the work of some bootleggers working a local flea market, P.K. was shocked to later learn that Superdry was a fashion brand that sells all over the world…all over except for Japan, that is.

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May the Chill be with you — with the $10,000 moving, life-size R2-D2 refrigerator!

With the release of Star Wars Episode VII less than two months away, fans (and merchandise manufacturers) are naturally hyper-excited about the myriad Star Wars related gadgets, as well as foods and drinks, that are hitting the market around the world.

Now, it looks like we may have found the ultimate collector’s item for Star Wars fans. It’s cute, it beeps, it’s a limited edition made-to-order item and best of all, it can bring you a cold can of beer—it’s the life-size, moving R2-D2 refrigerator, and it can be yours for a cool US$9,000!

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Yo-kai Watch’s Western debut is upon us, but have the Yokai already become lost in translation?

We’ve been telling our fine readers for literally years now about Yo-kai Watch, the Pokémon-esque game/manga/anime series that’s full of adorable yet mischievous collectible yokai monsters. And now that the series has been newly localised and adapted for the West, you’re finally going to see for yourselves what’s been driving Japanese kids to ritually torch bonfires of old Pokémon goods in favour of worshipping the new yokai overlords. Okay, we’re exaggerating, but only a little bit.

Of course, the success of any Japanese import into the Western market hinges on a heartfelt and thorough localisation process. It happened to Pokémon—Satoshi became Ash Ketchum, and many Pokémon were entirely renamed—and now it’s happening to Yo-kai Watch, too.

But is the very Japanese charm of the new franchise about to be seriously lost in translation?

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Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto wanted everyone to kiss and make up at the end of GoldenEye

Nintendo’s last cartridge-based home console, the Nintendo 64, was home to a long list of games that no doubt played a big part in many of our lives, and none more so than GoldenEye 007. A first-person shooter that followed the storyline of the James Bond movie of the same name, GoldenEye’s all-guns-blazing split-screen multiplayer mode made and broke many a friendship over the years, and was considered the epitome of fun in back in 1997 when it launched.

But the game was an odd choice to appear exclusively on a console made by Nintendo—a company with a reputation for squeaky-clean fun and family-friendly software. And it turns out that the violent nature of GoldenEye was a matter of deep concern for Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo’s most influential director and producer and the creator of Super Mario. So much, in fact, that he suggested an alternate ending to the game: one where everyone shook hands and made up.

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Don’t be fooled by the rocks they got, the Final Fantasy team needs more from around the block

It’s hard to say which game is more highly anticipated, Final Fantasy XV or Kingdom Hearts 3, but with both of them tentatively scheduled for a 2016 release date, we just might find out. Or not…because a recent tweet about the latest Final Fantasy game is causing us to believe that a 2016 release date could be a pipe dream. Although there has been no delay announced, if the date is pushed back it might be in part due to the rocky situation they are in: they need more rocks!

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“Yohjo Simulator” lets you wreak havoc as a little girl with a penchant for headbutting【Video】

Thanks to the runaway popularity of wacky physics games with the word “simulator” in the title (yes, I’m looking at you, Surgeon, Goat and Tabletop Simulators), it was only a matter of time before a Japanese developer decided to out-weird their Western counterparts with a distinctly Japanese “simulator” game.

That game is Yohjo Simulator, and of course it’s bizarre and unsettling.

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The land of Internet craft marketplace Etsy is certainly a strange one. Like the decrepit flea market down the road that always smells strangely of boiled cabbage and sawdust, even just dipping your toes into the wonderfully bizarre world of Etsy can reveal both valuable hidden craft gems and creepy paintings possibly made by a serial killer.

You’ll also find no shortage of clever, high quality craft goods that mash together seemingly incongruous themes in interesting ways. Like, hey! How about this cute/sexy cat face lingerie that’s sure to make your significant other conflicted about whether or not they should be aroused.

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