Japan

Kid trampling, surly schoolgirls, and dancing grains of rice: Cup rice ad is classic crazy Japan

Kid trampling, surly schoolgirls, and dancing grains of rice: Cup rice ad is classic crazy Japan

Last September, we brought you news that Japanese cup noodle maker Nissin was about to launch a new product, Kare Meshi curry rice in a cup. Hoping to do for rice what it did for noodles and ensure that a new generation of Japanese never give in to the urge to cook a real meal for themselves, the idea is that lazy diners simply add water to the pre-cooked curry and rice, heat it in the microwave and get stuck in. All the taste with minimal washing up and none of the fuss of cooking rice the regular way.

This week, in an effort to lodge Kare Meshi more firmly in the minds of consumers, the noodle king has launched a new ad for its cup rice. And it is positively insane.

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Sex doll idol singer’s public debut draws a shocking yet sane number of fans

Sex doll idol singer’s public debut draws a shocking yet sane number of fans

Some say that pop idols in Japan aren’t so much born as they are manufactured. A skilled producer can carefully tailor almost every aspect of his rising star’s appearance and public persona by tightly controlling how she’s presented in the mass media, which generally has a cozy, cooperative nature with recording companies.

If you’re feeling cynical enough, you might even ask what the point is in even working with a human being, if all of the individual’s uniqueness first has to be washed away in order to produce a blank slate for the producer to work with. It’s a question that, apparently, executives at record company Pony Canyon couldn’t come up with an answer to, as suggested by its newest idol, a sex doll, and the event it held for fans to come and meet her face-to-face.

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Amazing Lego artist spends six months bringing Hatsune Miku into the physical world

Amazing Lego artist spends six months bringing Hatsune Miku into the physical world

As so much of video game and animation character design shifts from sketching on a piece of paper to modeling on a computer, I’ve often wondered about the differences in the two skill sets. Not long ago, designing a character was about imagining how to express the three-dimensional human form using lines on a flat surface, but now, the arguably more valuable skill is being able to break that form down into minute building blocks, then render and reassemble them digitally.

The 3-D graphic method is a lot closer to building something out of blocks than drawing a portrait, so it’s actually quite fitting that one Lego enthusiast decided to use Japan’s favorite digital diva, Hatsune Miku, as his muse in making a life-size recreation of the virtual idol.

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Free double pickles and onions at McDonald’s Japan will help your budget, ruin your breath

Free double pickles and onions at McDonald’s Japan will help your budget, ruin your breath

At midnight on April 1, everything you can shop for in Japan got a little bit more expensive as sales tax rose to either percent. Thankfully, this three-percent hike was announced well in advance, giving consumers a chance to stockpile staples such as toilet paper, detergent, and other dry goods ahead of time.

Unfortunately, there’s one other necessary yet perishable staple of our lifestyle that we couldn’t hoard: hamburgers. With the amount we eat, that extra three percent of tax works out to a pretty hefty chunk of change.

Thankfully, at the same time as the tax increase took effect, so did a new McDonald’s Japan policy offering free double portions of pickles, onions, and sauce on the chain’s sandwiches.

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The top five places to survive the zombie apocalypse in Japan

The top five places to survive the zombie apocalypse in Japan

Japan is notorious for being one of the deadliest places to live in the world when it comes to natural disasters. Typhoons rip through the country every year and the island nation’s close proximity to several continental and oceanic plates makes it a seismic hotspot. While scientists are spending countless hours researching weather patterns and new methods of predicting earthquakes, we here at RocketNews24 have noticed a dangerous lack of preparedness when it comes to a different large-scale assault on Japan: zombies.

You may be laughing now, but when most of Japan’s population, which is the 38th densest in the world, turns to putrid walking corpses hungry for human flesh, you’ll be glad we brought this problem to your attention. That’s why we asked Tarou, a 30-year-old resident of Tokyo who claims to be suffering from “zombie mania,” to share with us his picks for the top five places to survive the zombie apocalypse in Japan. Read on and guard your brains.

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Japanese people most like to drink green tea with their chips, incredibly dull survey finds

Japanese people most like to drink green tea with their chips, incredibly dull survey finds

As a hardcore carnivore (not omnivore - I literally only eat meat), I’m not big on potato chips personally, but Japan is a surprisingly junk food-obsessed country and potato chips are as ubiquitous as the Pocky and Koala March candies that otaku across the globe are familiar with.

There are a huge variety of flavors, thicknesses, textures, shapes and designs to Japanese potato chips, and the industry is apparently so lucrative that consulting firm My Voice Communications – which has absolutely no affiliation with the potato chip industry – put together an insanely exhaustive and, frankly, thoroughly boring survey about Japanese potato chip preferences.

We yawned through the full survey so that you don’t have to. Here are the major takeaways, with all most of the dull stuff cut out:

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Gadgets before flowers – Japanese moms reveal what they really want for Mother’s Day

Gadgets before flowers – Japanese moms reveal what they really want for Mother’s Day

Although the association of carnations with Mother’s Day began in the United States and stretches back over 100 years, I grew up never really being conscious of it (likely due to some combination of being a terrible son and having little interest in historical events that didn’t involve swords).

In Japan, though, most people are aware that carnations are a symbol for Mother’s Day, and a bouquet of the flowers is by far the most common gift given on the holiday. But while mothers across the country appreciate the gesture, one survey says there’s something they want even more: electronics.

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Cute girls are universal! Japanese netizens rave over a Chinese girl who is “too cute”【Photos】

Cute girls are universal! Japanese netizens rave over a Chinese girl who is “too cute”【Photos】

Japan has never ceased to fascinate us with their truckloads of girl idol groups, gravure idols and, well, just cute girls in general. The Japanese population seem to be rather satiated with their ever-increasing troops of idols too. However, there has been some hype on some Japanese websites recently, with netizens uploading photos of a Chinese girl whom they think is “too cute”.

And the good news is, no “traps” are involved this time!

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Sulky Shiba can’t hear you… or can he!? 【Video】

Sulky Shiba can’t hear you… or can he!? 【Video】

Unlike cats, dogs are usually pretty easy to win over. Constantly seeking praise and approval, with a few “good boy”s and a scratch behind the ear they’ll immediately cheer up and want to be friends again. You can praise a cat until you’re blue in the face – it neither wants nor needs your approval, and if it’s not in the mood, you’ll soon know about it.

This little shiba inu, though, looks especially irked, and is making no secret of the fact that he’s cross by ignoring his owner no matter what she says or does. All until…

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Otaku pro wrestler Tomoyuki Oka makes no apologies for blurring the nerd/jock boundary

Otaku pro wrestler Tomoyuki Oka makes no apologies for blurring the nerd/jock boundary

Tomoyuki Oka, Japanese pro-wrestler and all around tough guy, has already captured the hearts of an unlikely otaku audience by being very open about the fact that, despite appearances, he’s actually one of them. He’s recently released a promotional video where we can see the contrast between his  tough, physical side and his completely nerdy, anime-obsessed personality, but also find that there’s more synergy between the two aspects than might be expected.

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Touching commercial pulls off a hat-trick to hit us right in the feels once again

Touching commercial pulls off a hat-trick to hit us right in the feels once again

We should probably start a new series here at RocketNews24 featuring “commercials that are bound to make you dissolve in a puddle of tears unless you’re actually an android in disguise.” In addition to Intel Japan and a Thai insurance company’s advertisements earlier this year, these tear-jerking commercials have made us break down sobbing for a third time with a new entry by music company Tosando about a father’s very special message to his daughter on her wedding day. Whether you’re a classical music buff or not, be ready with a box of tissues nearby before watching it – you’re guaranteed to let out a few sniffles at the very least.

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Six ways science-minded and art-minded Japanese people see the world differently

Six ways science-minded and art-minded Japanese people see the world differently

Just as you can broadly divide academic subjects into arts and sciences, in Japan people are often referred to as being “science-type” or “art-type,” with the first describing someone who holds everything up to the light of logic, and the latter for someone who applies more romantic standards.

Recently, Japanese Twitter users have been sharing their theories on the way this difference in fundamental mentality can affect a person’s attitude and feelings about such a wide range of topics such as not being too busy to see their dating partners, what happens when snow melts, or even their reactions to famous anime movie lines.

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So, the Dalai Lama walks into a convenience store in rural Japan… 【Photos】

So, the Dalai Lama walks into a convenience store in rural Japan… 【Photos】

Do you ever wonder what Teddy Roosevelt’s favorite kind of juice was? It’s hard to imagine the 26th President of the United States having to do anything as trivial as deciding between orange and apple, but after a long, hard day of riding moose and judo-tossing William Howard Taft, no amount of influence and respect is going to keep you from getting thirsty, and it’s a choice that has to be made.

But while the late Teddy’s fruit nectar preferences may be lost to antiquity, we can now say for certain which brand of tea the Dalai Lama reaches for when he visits a Japanese convenience store.

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New super spicy snack coming to Japan is fine for your stomach, but not for your eyes

New super spicy snack coming to Japan is fine for your stomach, but not for your eyes

The snack aisle of Japan’s convenience stores is a fiercely competitive marketplace, and just about every week sees the release of some new flavor of candy or potato chip trying to steal the spotlight from its rivals. But while many of these pretenders to the throne of snack foods are only on sale for a few months or even weeks, the spicy potato rings called Bokun Habanero have been on sale without hiatus for over a decade.

Still, you have to keep evolving in order to stay ahead, and next month will see the release of a new Bokun Habanero that’s 10 times hotter than the normal version.

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Scrapped original Dragon Ball designs bordered on plagiarism

Scrapped original Dragon Ball designs bordered on plagiarism

To the common Dragon Ball fan or student of historical Chinese literature, it’s probably not a big secret that the original Dragon Ball and the more popular spinoff, Dragon Ball Z, heavily borrow elements from one of the great Chinese novels, Journey to the West. 

Three recurring characters of the original run of the Dragon Ball series, Goku (the main protagonist), Bulma and Oolong, were all meant from the beginning to resemble important characters from Journey to the West, with each character being – even in the final forms of the manga and anime – a basic facsimile of their respective inspirations.

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NHK has been reporting the wrong weather in Kōchi Prefecture for… four years?!

NHK has been reporting the wrong weather in Kōchi Prefecture for… four years?!

It was announced on April 13 that the Kōchi NHK station’s weekday evening news has been showing the wrong icons for weather conditions in the corner of the screen for four years. Where the following day’s weather forecast for the eastern region of the prefecture should have appeared, the broadcaster had consistently been displaying the forecast for the western region.

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We try Thai and Indonesian “Ethnic” Cup Noodles, one of them tastes like spicy Fruit Loops

We try Thai and Indonesian “Ethnic” Cup Noodles, one of them tastes like spicy Fruit Loops

Cup Noodles are an iconic part of the Japanese food landscape and of course they’re no stranger to the Japanese custom of adding unusual new flavors to stuff. This time around their maker Nissin has been inspired by some of their international partners and developed two flavors in the “Ethnic Series” of Cup Noodles based on Thai and Indonesian dishes.

The first one is modeled after the spicy Thai soup tom yum goong, and the other is said to resemble Indonesia’s savory noodles mie goreng. Having just been released on 14 April we went straight to the supermarket and picked them up to bring you the Asianiest taste that only a Chinese food made by a Japanese company based on South East Asian dishes can provide.

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Brilliant dad fulfills his daughter’s dreams…and then!?!?!

Brilliant dad fulfills his daughter’s dreams…and then!?!?!

Every child dreams about becoming their heroes when they fall asleep, they cover their walls with pictures and posters, and day dream about the day they build a suit of armor that turns them into a super hero. Well now one Japanese girl can become her hero before she even closes her eyes thanks to her creative dad. However, her own father takes it one step further with some arguably weird results…

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Our Japanese staff try British cup noodles, didn’t completely hate the experience

Our Japanese staff try British cup noodles, didn’t completely hate the experience

Throughout the world, Britain is known for many things–great music, excellent literature, and sexy men. One thing the country isn’t known for, though, is their good food. In fact, if you ask nearly anyone what they think of British food they’ll probably stick their tongues out and make gagging noises.

It’s a bit unfair, but even in Tokyo–where you can find restaurants serving cuisine from all over the globe–the closest you’ll find to British food is a pub. Although, we have to admit, our friends from the Queen’s country at least know how to serve a good drink.

Recently, though, Mr. Sato and Yoshio, both writers for the Japanese side of RocketNews24, got their hands on a carton of Pot Noodle, a brand of instant noodles so awful “it was voted the ‘most hated brand’ in the UK in a 2004 poll.” And what did our Japanese colleagues think of these awful noodles?

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Tokyo’s 7 coolest public art pieces

Tokyo’s 7 coolest public art pieces

Last week, we had a round-up of my choices for the seven stupidest art pieces in Tokyo, but lest you think I am just a negative Nelly incapable of appreciating talent and beauty, this week we’re presenting Tokyo’s seven coolest public art pieces.

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