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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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McDonald’s “Build a Burger” experiment expands to Australia… Next, the world?

So, usually when it comes to burgers in Japan, we prefer to let the talented burger artists at famous fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s, Burger King and especially Lotteria do their thing – because it usually results in crazy squid ink burgers, nine-patty monstrosities, and other 6th grade science experiment-esque monstrosities.

But McDonald’s has slowly been unveiling a tech- and customer-savvy new way of dealing burgers with its limited run of “Create a Burger” options at select stores.

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Bros? Kart? Party? Japanese gamers pick their top 5 Mario series

When asked to think of addicting video games, a good chunk of people around the world are likely to recall Nintendo’s iconic Mario series, which is the best-selling game franchise of all time. But the task becomes much more difficult when faced with the dilemma of choosing the best Mario game series within the incredibly varied franchise. How could anyone possibly choose a favorite from the dozens of Mario games and spin-offs spanning all the way back to the NES?

Fortunately, Japanese portal site MyNavi Woman put out a survey in August to ask its readers to choose their favorite Mario games, so you don’t have to make the difficult decision yourself. But you can make a prediction–which five series do you think topped the list?

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Pokémon’s Ash Ketchum is crazy strong, can easily carry creatures twice his body weight

No one really minds when the creators of movies and TV disregard the laws of the universe a little in the name of producing quality entertainment. Would the space battles in Star Wars have been anywhere near as fun if they had all taken place in complete silence due to the lack of air required to carry sound waves? Not a chance. Does anyone really mind that a lit cigarette doesn’t actually produce enough heat to ignite a puddle of gasoline if it results in those epic, “casually walks away from burning building” shots in action movies? Not in the slightest.

But sometimes such use of artistic licence can slip by entirely unnoticed, and it takes someone to point out a few key facts before the reality of the situation hits home. Case in point: Ash from hit anime series Pokémon seemingly possesses super-human strength, and is able to carry pokémon that weigh vastly more than he does without even breaking a sweat.

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Hacka Doll: “Otaku” news beamed right to your phone like anime magic! 【Review】

Say you’re a Japanese otaku who loves the new Destiny game, light novels, and giant robot anime. But how would you keep up with the latest news for each one of them? Obviously, you’d have a few of your favorite sites bookmarked and you’d visit them a few times a day–if you were living in the Stone Age! Even if you’ve evolved enough to create your own RSS feed, you’d still only be in the 20th century–and far behind the times. For shame!

Now, if you were are a real 21st century geek, you’d get all your nerdy news through one “AI-enabled” app complete with adorable moe mascots and personalized news recommendations. Obviously.

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Thai schoolgirl uniforms poised to edge out traditional Japanese ones in Japan?

It looks like Japanese girls can’t get enough of schoolgirl uniforms these days. Once loathed by their wearers as stuffy, boring and a symbol of conformity (pretty much kryptonite to teenagers), Japanese girls have – over the last few decades – come to embrace the schoolgirl uniform as a sexy, fashionable and customizable wardrobe choice in and out of the classroom.

The problem, though: It looks like it isn’t Japanese schoolgirl uniforms that girls really want nowadays. What they really want are Thai schoolgirl uniforms.

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Child’s Mobile Cute Gundam entertains parent and moves Japan

When you think of plastic models based on the giant weaponized robots of the Gundam universe, “cute” isn’t a word that often comes to mind. But it’s hard to not give a big, gushy “aww” at one homemade Gundam model gifted to Twitter user Chal by their daughter.

The story as outlined by Chal on their Twitter account and retweeted thousands of times begins with a mysterious paper package with something written on it in crude Japanese. Mini… Gasodam? Mini Garidamu? No. This was a “Mini Gundam” and Chal, an experienced model hobbyist, was up for the challenge.

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What? Pokémon Breeder Girl is evolving! Congratulations! She has evolved into a…

Since the release of Pokémon X and Y a year ago, players in Japan were enamored by the comely pokémon breeder Tsuzumi. Her sparkling brown eyes, bright smile, and huge bucket of what appears to be crap had melted the hearts of many an aspiring pokémon master.

However, in an appearance in the anime version of Pokémon: XY Tsuzumi seems to have undergone an evolution of sorts. If the Twitter users who pointed this out are correct I’d have to tip my hat to the producers for adding a gritty touch of reality to an otherwise out-there plot.

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Stay right on top of Typhoon 19 with beautiful and highly useful online weather services

As of this writing Typhoon 19 is just about right on top of Okinawa. Classified as a “Super Typhoon” by NASA it is far greater in size and power than last week’s storm. The typhoon also goes by the name Vongfong, which we assume is Chinese for “killjoy” because of its incredibly bad timing.

If Typhoon 19 veers East and moves across most of Japan, it will do so right over the long weekend. With all the destruction and at very least wet nuisances brought by typhoons, the one sliver of light had always been that they often brought days off work and school with them too. Not this weekend, however, and many wait to see whether the weather will dash their holiday plans or not.

Luckily there is a plethora of online weather services for us to watch Typhoon 19 in near-real-time that are all both very informative and gorgeous enough to make you want to refer to them even after the storm has passed.

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Dragon Ball Z voice actors go crazy in the booth, show just how tough the job can be【Video】

Voice acting seems like it should be a pretty cushy job. You sit in a booth, slip into character, and just, well, talk. Nothing to it right?

Well, for quieter scenes, that may be true, but it’s hard to get a proper performance for a fight sequence without really throwing yourself into the role. So while it may not be as physical as live-action stunt work, when the vocal cast of the newest Dragon Ball Z movie showed up to do their lines, they worked every muscle in their throats and faces, plus a few more, as seen in this video of the recording session.

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One fry to rule them all, and it can be yours for $93 via Yahoo! Japan Auctions

For a while it seemed that things had quieted down over at Japan’s largest online auction site, Yahoo! Japan Auctions. Back in the day one used to be able to buy anything from idols to 1,000 NES systems (at once) to the planet Earth.

However, recently there has just been a bunch of stuff like clothes and furniture to be had, and what fun is that? Thankfully, someone has brought the crazy back by auctioning off a truly rare item.

It’s a McDonald’s french fry in the shape of the number one and bidding starts at 10,000 yen (US$93).

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Brave through tear gas with this DIY budget gas mask【Instructions】

Back on the topic of the Occupy Central demonstration taking place in Hong Kong in protest for electoral democracy, little progress has been made to resolve the situation, though there have been reports of planned talks between the government and representatives from the protesting group. More than a week has passed since the Occupy protesters started camping at several locations, staying put despite assaults from opposing factions and refusing to budge even as the police brought in tear gas and pepper spray.

As complete outsiders, we have no say on how things ought to be handled, and we’re definitely not taking sides, but if there’s one thing we could all learn from this protest, it’s how to make your own DIY tear gas mask. A YouTuber from Hong Kong shows us how!

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Cafe Talisman, Osaka’s Sailor Moon theme cafe

As we’ve previously discussed, Japan is chock full of cool little cafes. Obviously, not every single cafe in the country is going to be spectacular, but we have to say that we have found no end of fun places to sit down and order a coffee. But if you’re a Sailor Moon fan, we may have found the ultimate place to enjoy a latte: Cafe Talisman.

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Dressing up as Final Fantasy’s Squall for Halloween? You need this real-life gunblade 【Video】

Back at the start of the year, we all had the urge to go out and fight some monsters when we saw Hollywood blacksmith Tony Swatton recreate the massive sword wielded by Final Fantasy VII’s Sephiroth. Of course, Sephiroth is just one member of the gigantic collective cast of the long-running video game franchise. With so many more iconic weapons to choose from, it was only a matter of time until craftsmen went to work on armaments from the other games in the series, and next up is a real-life version of Squall’s gunblade from Final Fantasy VIII.

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Six habits of first class “business elites”, according to one cabin attendant

If you’re like us here at RocketNews24, you probably don’t spend a lot of time sitting in first class on airplanes. The cabin attendants always seem so grumpy when they have to come around with brooms and shoo us to the back of the plane where our seats are.

Aside from the legroom and complimentary champagne (or whatever first class fliers get), there is one other big difference between sitting at the front and in the back in economy: Your fellow passengers. Now, don’t get us wrong, everyone cramped in the back with us is great…but have you ever wondered what those fancy-shmancy passengers are like? Well, wonder no more! A Japanese cabin attendant has dished on the top six things she’s noticed about the wealthier passengers. And none of them are what you might be expecting.

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How to properly wrap a ninja hood – Now available in English!

Every once in a while we at RocketNews24 like to bring you some instructional pieces on how to perform traditional Japanese practices such as drinking green tea, eating sushi, butchering a wild boar and seppuku. However, even with handy instructions some of these practices require rigid discipline and considerable practice. Interestingly enough, we get the fewest complaints of failure from the seppuku piece, but the ones we do get seemed to be the most angry.

This time however, we have a traditional Japanese guide that not only is easy to perform but is perfect for Halloween, which is fast approaching. So get ready to learn how to properly wrap a ninja hood around your head!

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Thai video claiming corruption at the 2014 Asia Games goes viral

Readers in the West may not have heard much about it, but the 17th Asian Games were held between September 19 and October 4 in Incheon, South Korea. As the largest multi-sporting event after the Olympics, the Asian Games bring together athletes from all across the Asian continent only once every four years. By the end of this year’s competition, China had racked up the highest medal count, followed by host South Korea and Japan. However, this year’s Games were also plagued by rampant rumors of suspicious refereeing, fixed matches, and host country favoritism, leaving many nations with a bitter aftertaste upon their conclusion.

In response to the multiple stories of alleged corruption, one irate Thai viewer created a parody video to vent his frustrations. As of this writing, the video, with its scornful lyrics yet surprisingly bubbly nature, has been replayed over 2 million times on YouTube, despite having been published less than a week ago. Judging by the comments, it seems the rest of the world seems to sympathize with its message…

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Purrfectly cute band-aids for cat scratches become real product after chance Twitter encounter

Despite their tendency to cough up hairballs, bring us dead things, and ferociously defend tissue boxes, just what is it about cats that keeps us coming back for more?

If you’re one of the millions of ‘hoomins’ around the world who repeatedly fall prey to their cat’s ridiculous yet adorable antics and spend hours of your life reading kitty news or watching cat videos on YouTube, you’re probably the type who is willing to forgive your feline friend if it has a grumpy day every now and then. But what should you do when you receive an unfortunate scratch/wound/battle scar from the object of your devotion? We say you should advertise it to the world with one of these brand-new band-aids designed specifically for cat scratches!

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We can’t stop watching this dog eat corn on the cob

Eating corn on the cob is a daunting task for some. Whether you have braces, wear dentures, or just don’t like getting dozens of tiny pieces of food stuck in your teeth, nibbling on those yellow kernels seemingly glued to a single core is not something you enjoy. However, if you’re this adorable golden retriever in Japan, then eating corn straight off the cob is one of your favorite things to do. And it’s not just corn that this doggy loves; she’s happy to chomp on a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, including an entire head of cabbage, a slice of watermelon, and a raw cucumber.

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YouTuber lists the “10 types of Japanese men” as according to Japanese women

If you or someone you know were described as a cabbage roll, how would you react? What if someone called you a hyena or said you were especially “creamy”?

There are apparently 10 distinct categories into which men fall in Japan, with women knowing exactly the type they’d like to get to know better or avoid altogether. Join us after the jump to find out whether you’re a Soy Milk, Bacon Asparagus, Creamy, or Cabbage kind of guy, or to learn how to apply these unusual tags to the men you meet in Japan.

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