Japan

This ‘Rock Climbing’ ramen will make a man out of you!

Niigata is one of the largest prefectures in Japan by area. Apparently, their ramen is also on the larger side. And by larger, we mean XXXXL. The famous local ramen restaurant “Men Macho” (‘men’ as in ramen) is best known for serving up insanely gigantic Fuji mountains of ramen toppings. This time, they have unveiled yet another new creation called the Rock Climbing ramen. That sure looks like one intimating wall of toppings to chomp through!

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Kitties, doggies, bunnies, and deer – even more stuff balanced on Japan’s pets!

Earlier in the week, we reported that the phenomenon of putting weird stuff on your pet and taking a photo of it was having a revival on Twitter in Japan. Today, we’re delighted to bring you even more pictures of a range of fuzzy animals with stuff precariously balanced on them!

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New batch of socks with collars adds sailor suit style for your feet, plus lace and button-downs

A few months ago, we took a look at a collection of truly unique socks that took their styling cues from shirts by providing cute and quirky collars for your ankles. The offbeat idea seems to have found a market, as manufacturer Erimaki Sox is back again with three new designs that add extra femininity, button-down class, and even some sailor suit-style playfulness.

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‘Rassun Gorerai: English version’ is even more oddball than the original 【Video】

Humour can be so dependent on the language and culture of its country of origin, that it easily gets lost in translation. But what happens when you try to translate nonsense? That’s what Satoshi Castro has tried to do with his English version of comedy duo 8.6sec Bazooka’s ‘Rassun Gorerai’, the hit chanting-dance routine that’s racked up 9 million views on YouTube so far.

If you’re scratching your head trying to figure out what that title rassun gorerai means, you’re in luck – it doesn’t mean anything! So how will this catchy Japanese comedy song work in English? Join us after the jump to find out!

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Does your cereal bowl need some love? Try a Tower of the Sun capsule toy!

Fuchiko the gachapon capsule toy office lady seems to have a knack for always getting herself into strange situations. She’s wrapped herself in sushi, fooled around with Tuxedo Mask, and has been caught red-handed… sitting in some fold-up chairs.

Of course Fuchiko is not the only cup/bowl caddy that you can get out of a capsule toy dispenser. The company that makes her has teamed up to do collaborations before, and their most recent one is by far their most unusual. Instead of choosing another anime or manga character, they went with the bizarre Tower of the Sun building from Osaka.

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From San-X to Attack on Titan, yummy cake rolls take over Bean-Throwing Festival’s sushi custom

Before you start obsessing over Valentine’s Day plans, let’s turn for a moment to another February whoop-de-do: the Japanese Bean-Throwing Festival or Setsubun. Celebrated on February 3 this year, it’s an intriguing blend of evil ogres and spirits, roasted soybeans, and chomping on a whole baton of thickly rolled sushi while facing in the proper direction. These somewhat disparate ingredients commingle on this day to assure good fortune and health for the year to come.

In recent years, western Japan’s custom of eating a special type of sushi called ehō-maki (恵方巻き, literally “blessed direction roll”) for Setsubun has spread across the nation due to marketing campaigns by grocery and convenience stores; what’s more, the sushi rolls have been evolving into scrumptious cream-filled Swiss rolls! Iconoclastic? Maybe. Delicious? Yes!

So let’s jump on the bandwagon and look into this holiday a bit before drooling over this collection of sushi and their sweet doppelgängers. And Yowapeda fans, I think I spy a Makishima-maki!

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Is Japan’s “Daughter in a box” a myth?【Myth-Busters Series】

This is the first article in our brand new “Myth-Busters” series that attempts to provide definitive answers to readers’ questions about Japanese culture, language and concepts. If you’ve ever asked yourself “Is it really true that the Japanese…..?” then just ask us! We’ll let loose the RocketNews24 hound dogs to track down the answer.

Our first myth-busters topic, prompted by a question from a Canadian reader, is hakoirimusume (箱入り娘) or “Daughter in a box,” used to describe a girl who grows up protected by her family, as if being kept in a box. The term originated in the Edo Period (1603-1867), but do such shielded daughters still exist today?

Our hound dogs are on the trail! Results after the jump.

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We try Lotteria’s new shrimp burger with unique crust, end up seriously impressed【Taste Test】

Alongside tuna (maguro), shrimp is also another ingredient that we love here in Japan. From fried shrimp, called ebi furai, to Chinese-style stir-fried shrimp cooked in sweet and spicy chilli sauce, affectionately referred to as ebi chilli in Japan, there are a host of shrimp dishes widely loved by the Japanese public. The tasty crustaceans also have a presence in the Japanese fast food scene, and Lotteria’s long-selling fried shrimp burger (Ebi Burger) is just one example. Now, Lotteria has just this week released a special version of their popular shrimp burger, in collaboration with another well-loved Japanese snack that also contains shrimp — the Kappa Ebisen shrimp chips from snack maker Calbee. Well, we certainly had to see how this collaboration turned out, and we had our very own Mr. Sato take on the task!

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Japan’s Sparkling Macarons come packed with candies that burst in your mouth, not in your hand

Japan is always up for making snack time more elegant, and one of the country’s favorite indulgences are the dainty disc-shaped confectionaries called macarons.

Being sophisticated doesn’t mean being dour, though. Dessert fans in Japan have no qualms about mixing a little entertainment in with their snacking, which they’ll be able to do in a whole new way now that these carbonated candy macarons have popped onto the sweets scene.

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We try the new 1,500-yen Kobe beef burger from Lotteria 【Taste Test】

Japanese hamburger chain Lotteria‘s newest luxury burger has finally landed, and it features legendary Kobe beef made from special livestock reared on pure water and premium feed. Kobe beef is of such renown that there are even rumours that cattle from the area are allowed to sip on beer, listen to fine music and enjoy a good massage so that their meat tastes simply divine.

So what would the fast food version of this luxury beef taste like? We were so curious we had to swing by Lotteria to pick up one of the new Kobe beef burgers as soon as they were released. Check out all the delicious details after the jump!

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Power of soybeans turns Bean-Throwing Festival into sexy action flick in awesome commercial

Despite being centuries-old, the core traditions of Setsubun can seem as silly as its common English rendering, The Bean-Throwing Festival. Once a year in early February, households across Japan toss roasted soybeans outside their doors, with folklore saying the practice will ensure prosperity for the next 12 months by driving off the ogre-like creatures called oni.

Perhaps the oddest thing is the way the oni are depicted in illustrations and popular culture. Generally obese and clumsy, they seem to present little if any threat, and the fact that they can be undone by a scattering of legumes doesn’t do anything to help them win street cred, either.

But what if the oni improved their eating habits and started hitting the gym? Would that make them terrifying once again? Maybe, but it also just might make them dead sexy, as shown in this stylish Japanese ad.

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Move over, humanoid employees: Nagasaki theme park to open futuristic hotel staffed by robots

Once you’ve tired yourself out playing with your rideable 4-metre tall robot from Amazon Japan and experienced the neon assault to the senses that is Shinjuku’s Robot Restaurant show, you’ll also be able to visit a hotel in Japan with robot staff once the new Hen-na Hotel opens this summer.

As well as robot receptionists, porters, cleaners and waitresses, the aptly-named Hen-na Hotel (literally meaning “strange hotel”) in the Huis Ten Bosch theme park, Nagasaki, will also feature a whole host of futuristic technology aimed at reducing energy consumption and human staffing levels, therefore keeping room prices down.

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Field testing the magic, voice-operated pendant from Ghibli’s Castle in the Sky 【Video】

We’re sure many anime fans shared our excitement last May when the newest replica of the pendant from Studio Ghibli’s Castle in the Sky was announced. Sure, there had been chances to buy a necklace modeled after heroine Sheeta’s magical levistone accessory before, but this was the first time we’d be able to get our hands on one that actually reacts when you speak one of the film’s incantations into it.

Likewise, we’re sure many of the Ghibli faithful were as heartbroken as we were when the initial shipment of the special pendants sold out almost immediately. Still, the six months it took for a restock was a just a minor addition to the 20-plus years we’ve been waiting to try the pedant out since we first saw Laputa.

Now, finally, we’ve got the levistone pendant in our hands, and we’re ready to field test its ability to respond to our mystic commands.

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Which one’s your favourite Cid? The evolution of Final Fantasy’s constant character

What’s the first Final Fantasy game you played? I came somewhat late to the party, and my first experience of Final Fantasy was Final Fantasy VIII. After a childhood spent playing Sonic, suddenly finding myself in a semi-realistic world with massive potential for exploration really blew my tiny mind back then. In VIII, the headmaster of the military academy is a middle-aged, bespectacled dude with a paunch called Cid. But as Final Fantasy fans know, Cid is actually a character who appears in different forms in (pretty much) all of the Final Fantasy games. The dude’s been regenerated more times than the Doctor in Doctor Who! So we decided to take a look back at all of the Cids in chronological order to see how he’s changed over the years.

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First Kit Kat Chocolatery shop with cafe opens in Kyoto! New Chocolatery items released too

Chocolate lovers around Japan were understandably thrilled when the Kit Kat Chocolatery, the world’s first Kit Kat specialty store, opened in the Seibu Ikebukuro Department Store about a year ago. Of course, we were pretty excited too, and when we visited the shop on opening day, we could see from the crowd that plenty of people felt the same way.

After a year, it seems the Kit Kat Chocolatery has been a success so far, as they’ve just opened their fourth shop in Japan, this time in Kyoto. And what’s even better, this Kit Kat Chocolatery comes with a cafe attached! Plus, they’ve released some new Chocolatery products as well, so we thought we’d share the news with all our sweets-loving readers!

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Handy bath pillow doubles as a smartphone holder, might also be giving you a hug

After a long, hard day at work or school, there’s nothing like a nice, hot bath. But then again, a lot of people also like to unwind by kicking back and sending a few emails, watching a video or two, or perusing the Internet’s most profound sources of knowledge on their smartphone.

Rather than choose between the two options, some people opt to take their phone into the tub with them. But if you’re so tired you’re craving two indulgences at once, having to grip your phone in your hand while you soak can really put a damper on maximizing your rejuvenating/loafing time.

So instead of doing that job yourself, why not get one of these inflatable bath pillows that double as a smartphone holder to do it for you?

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Chinese netizens left reeling after father of slain Japanese hostage apologizes to the public

You’re no doubt aware of the (at time of writing) ongoing hostage crisis that has swept Japan, Jordan and those country’s allies up in a tense political chess match as representatives attempt to negotiate with the fundamentalist Islamic militant group ISIS for the release of a captured Jordanian fighter pilot and a Japanese war journalist Kenji Goto. The crisis has certainly been nerve-wracking and immeasurably scary for those with ties to the hostages.

But, for Chinese netizens, something far scarier happened a few days ago.

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“Can you help meow-t here?” Twitter user discovers why his bread clock was constantly wrong

Even in the era of having the sum of human knowledge to date in your pocket, there’s something to be said about using a sweet novelty clock. If you’re in Japan, you have lots of options. There’s Zelda clocks, beautiful-women clocks, clocks that come for free in magazines. But that’s just scraping the surface, because apparently there’s such a thing as bread clocks too.

One Twitter user recently posted that he’d been having problems with his bread clock constantly telling the wrong time – until he found out the reason why. And no, it’s not because the clock is a piece of bread – the real reason is far more adorable than that.

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As most of our readers of the male persuasion will no vividly doubt remember, there was a bit of a fashion craze a few months ago for a specific style of sweater which Japanese Netizens simply dubbed, “The Boob Shirt.”

The titular (heh heh) turtleneck featured an oval window exposing the cleavage of the (usually) female wearer. Now, never having needed to expose my ample cleavage to the elements, I’m not exactly an expert on the thermal properties of human breast tissue, but it seems most of the Internet agreed with me that having a big open window in the middle of your turtleneck sort of defeats the purpose of wearing a sweater.

Well, it seems now high fashion has done what it does best and built on the uselessness of The Boob Shirt with the brand new, even more useless, “Side-Boob Shirt“:

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World’s largest internet hub in Aomori?

Twitter user @rairacp_62 spotted this building in Aomori and something about it seemed very familiar…

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