Japan

Japan weird news!!

Add Magic Knight Rayearth boots to your stealth cosplay wardrobe

The designers at the mail order fashion site SuperGroupies are at it again with some Magic Knight Rayearth short boots for the wet, wintry season.

Each design is modeled after one of the main heroines from Clamp’s manga and anime series. Hikaru Shidou, Fuu Hououji, and Umi Ryuuzaki are represented in their respective red, green, and blue colors. The pairs are now available for pre-order for 21,384 yen (about US$181) and are made from genuine leather.

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Press as hard as you like, these new mechanical pencils just refuse to break

I have a tiny, slightly embarrassing confession to make. I positively loathe mechanical pencils. In fact, they scare me a little bit.

No, this isn’t some peculiar of act of Luddism on my part, nor was a member of my family ever murdered by a deranged graphic designer. Rather, it’s because every single time–every single time–I use a mechanical pencil, its lead breaks on me within seconds of being touched to the page. And that, dear reader, always gives me a tiny but not insignificant fright. I have enough terror in my life as it is – I don’t need my writing implements keeping me on edge too.

Thankfully, the Japanese arm of stationery company Zebra knows my pain, and has designed a mechanical pencil whose leads simply cannot be broken, no matter how hard you scribble.

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Creepy or cute? Feel the Panda Train’s intense gaze before sightseeing in resort town Shirahama

Though the “Panda Train” that runs between Kyōto and the beach resort town of Shirahama in Wakayama Prefecture has been around for a few years, Japanese netizens recently have been making quite the hubbub over photos of its panda seats. Online reactions range from “Kawaiiii!” to “It looks like it’ll hug me to death!”, but most agree that they’re simply confused by the presence of polyurethane pandas on a train heading to a former honeymoon Mecca.

While Shirahama (lit. “White Beach”) is famous for its beautiful sand, hot springs, and remarkable rock formations, many in Japan are surprisingly unaware of its other claim to fame: pandas. Read on to learn more about the crowd-pleasing train and a theme park complex called Adventure World, which has a panda-breeding and research facility with an impressive track record that’s second only to mainland China. If you’re already tired of the cold this winter, this article may give you some ideas for next summer!

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Shimotsuki Matsuri: The extraordinary winter festival that inspired Ghibli’s ‘Spirited Away’

Shimotsuki Festival is held every December in the remote mountains of Nagano Prefecture, Japan. But as well as locals, the festival also attracts visitors from farther afield, all ooking for the magic and fantasy of the world of Studio Ghibli.

That’s because this ancient festival, featuring boiling cauldrons and dancing monsters, has an unlikely and little-known claim to fame: it inspired Hayao Miyazaki to make Spirited Away.

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Tokyo adding free Wi-Fi to 143 subway stations for foreign travelers

I honestly don’t remember the last time I used a taxi in central Tokyo. The extensive subway network is clean and efficient, and not only is it far cheaper than a cab, a lot of the time, it’s faster, too.

As if public transportation didn’t already have enough going for it, next month things are about to get even better, as over 100 Tokyo subway stations are about to start offering free Wi-Fi to foreign travelers.

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Zelda hero Link’s other blade, the Fierce Deity Sword, brought to life in awesome video

While every game in Nintendo’s long-running Zelda franchise stars an elfish boy named Link who goes on a quest to save the world, each installment puts its own signature wrinkle on the formula. Wind Waker is the one with cel-shaded, storybook-like visuals. Twilight Princess is the one where Link can turn into a wolf.

And Majora’s Mask is the weird, dark one that would give little kids nightmares.

That’s not the sole distinction for title, though. Majora’s Mask is also the only place where you can see the awesome Fierce Deity Sword. Well, more accurately, it was the only place, since the awesome blade now exists in real life, too.

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Laser-cut, 360-degree “book” lets you bring Mt. Fuji into your home

Mt. Fuji is Japan’s iconic mountain. Known and admired the world over, it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site not as a natural site as one would expect, but as a cultural site due to its historical importance as a muse to artists of all kinds.

The snow-capped mountain has been depicted in every artistic medium you could imagine: wood-block prints, photos, video, stories and more. And now it’s been recreated in what may be my favorite form to date: 3D, laser-cut, 360-degree, miniature picture books!

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3-D green tea latte art adds a splash of whimsy and color to your cup

While browsing around Twitter the other day, one of our Japanese reporters came across some adorable 3-D matcha latte art on the Matcha Fan Club (抹茶同好会) official account.

According to the tweet, the photos came from a sweet shop at the Karasuma Oike Station in Nakagyō-ku, Kyoto called Saryo Suisen. Our reporter just had to see more, so she headed over to their official Twitter page and was treated to some beautiful latte art designs created by the shop barista, Sudo-san.

Of course, we just had to share them with you!

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Doting owner builds cosy kotatsu for cats, faces the sting of feline rejection【Photos】

Every cat owner has, at one time or another, experienced the soul-crushing disappointment that comes from giving your cat a thoughtful gift, only to have them throw it back in your face in favor of a paper ball or a plain old cardboard box. It’s almost as if cats the world over are in on some sort of conspiracy designed to make their owners feel inadequate. And that’s exactly what happened to “kitty blogger” Udama when they attempted to create a cosy, cat-sized kotatsu to delight their feline family members. As our pictures show, the experiment didn’t exactly go according to plan…

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Newlywed couple’s hearts beat to Beatmania with music game-themed wedding cake

A lot of times, the simulated situations of a video game are a lot more enjoyable than they would be in real life. For example, a Street Fighter or King of Fighters session is a pretty fun way to kill an hour, but it’d be considerably less entertaining to, in reality, spend 60 minutes brawling with a string of 10 or 20 dudes, one after another.

But what about music and rhythm games? Sure, dropping a few hundred yen into Konami’s DJ simulator Beatmania is cheaper than cover charge at a club, and arcade staff members are much less likely to give you an attitude than a front door bouncer, but the digital version doesn’t give you the same chance to form a connection with potential romantic partners, does it?

Actually, sometimes it does, as seen in this newlywed couple’s Beatmania wedding cake.

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A Ghibli mystery solved — the identity of exotic looking food in Spirited Away revealed!

If you’re a Ghibli fan, chances are you’ve been fascinated on more than one occasion by the various colorful and tantalizing foods that appear in their films. Perhaps you’ve even seen some of the dishes recreated in real life. And then there are those mysterious looking foods, the identity of which we quite aren’t sure, like this stretchy, jelly-like translucent item that Chihiro’s father is seen eating in the film Spirited Away. Well, word on the Japanese Internet recently has it that the mystery as to what that food is has finally been solved.

Care to take a guess what it is? We’ll give you a hint: it’s not a Japanese dish!

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This man’s first hand-drawn maze took seven years to complete, now he’s working on a second one

We love viewing the work of dedicated artists, just like the realistic Naruto illustrations of Sakimi chan or the beautiful Ghibli backgrounds by Naohisa Inoue. So you can bet we enjoyed seeing the unbelievably intricate maze that one Japanese Twitter user’s father is currently crafting.

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NHK offices are too boring for broadcast after earthquake, “borrows” from tweets

This week’s large earthquake that struck Nagano, Japan was unfortunately quite damaging. The magnitude 6.7 quake brought down over 140 houses in the area, injuring at least 40 people. When an event like this occurs, everyone switches on their TVs to see how bad things were and where it struck. In Japan, people will often turn to NHK, their nationally funded broadcasting service. Normally a trusted news source, NHK decided to expose the conditions of an otaku’s room where his unique collection was scattered across the floor.

How did they get such an in-depth look at the damage done to a local resident? Was there a connection with someone within the TV station? Did they rush to his home to capture the footage first hand? Nope, they simply pulled the photos “From Twitter” without asking for permission. Can NHK actually do that?

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The newer, cheaper Kakureya II: The perfect secret fort/box for studying, drinking, or napping

With Japanese housing being as cramped as it is, designating a whole room as a man cave, reading nook, sewing room, or any other sort of area solely dedicated to your hobbies and passions is an unattainable luxury for many people. That’s why earlier this year, we took a look at the Kakureya, an enclosed capsule where you could have a little private me time as you watch movies, listen to music, or relax with some aroma therapy, among other suggestions from the manufacturer.

After all the attention the initial model received, it’s now time for a follow-up, with the Kakureya II, an improved version that offers even more creature comfort at a price about half that of the original.

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Anime-loving mum takes kyara-ben to a new level with these well-drawn anime bentos

We’ve seen quite a number creative character bentos here on RocketNews24, some cute, some educational, and some that didn’t turn out as well as expected. The most common way of creating character bentos we’ve seen so far involves decorating with pieces of seaweed, ham, egg, sausages and the like.

But Japanese Twitter user Akiran takes a different approach to creating anime character bentos for her two sons. Read on to find out how she does it!

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Online survey reveals the types of guys elementary school girls DON’T want to date

They may be too young to be thinking about dating, but it seems that elementary school girls can still tell you exactly what they DON’T want to see in a guy!

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Japan’s prince of tennis gets his own Prince of Tennis manga portrait

Earlier this year, pro tennis player Kei Nishikori became the first Asian man to make it to the finals of the U.S. Open Championships, and was subsequently the first Asian man to qualify for the star-studded tennis event, the ATP World Tour. He was also the first man in Japanese tennis history to place 5th in the world rankings.

To add to his list of “firsts”, Nishikori is also probably the first tennis star to receive a manga style portrait illustrated by The Prince of Tennis mangaka (manga artist), Takeshi Konomi. Check out the stylish piece after the jump!

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Japan is doing what people do best with fallen leaves: playing with them【Photos】

There isn’t much to dislike about fall. The weather has finally turned to a comfortable temperature and the colors of the fallen leaves fill you with awe and playfulness. People and animals alike always enjoy the autumnal weather to its fullest as we all know what is to come, the “stay-at-home-under-the-kotatsu” cold of winter.

So while it lasts, enjoy some of the creative pictures of fall collected from all over Japan. Maybe it will inspire you to get outside and frolic around too.

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Visit Japan without ever leaving home with these eight beautiful videos

It’s no secret that we love Japan. We haven’t quite figured out why, but it might have something to do with the juxtaposition of the sleepless lights and sounds of the big city and the harmony of human and nature in the countryside that we just can’t get enough of. If you’ve ever wanted to visit Japan, but haven’t yet, sit back and watch the following eight videos showcasing some of the most breathtaking and interesting sights this country has to offer.

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Unsettling softball-playing scarecrows keep Japanese town entertained, creeped out

Living in the Japanese countryside has many advantages, from access to the freshest produce to breathing clean air, but for many who love the big city, the slow-paced lifestyle and lack of attractions can make rural life quite boring.

But one Japanese man living in a town outside of Fukuoka in southern Japan is showing us life doesn’t have to be boring when you have access to several dozen scarecrows, old softball uniforms and an open rice field. Every November after the rice is harvested, he dresses scarecrows up as softball players and has them “play” a month-long game, keeping score the entire time.

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