Japan

Bus otaku can now buy “request stop” buttons from Tokyu Bus Corp, push to their heart’s content

It’s no secret that there are tons of densha otaku, or train nerds, (and tons of different types as well) in Japan. And with the wide range of trains zipping around the country, it’s totally understandable. But what about bus nerds? Do they even exist?

Well, while we haven’t actually met anyone who claims to be a bus nerd, this new product from the Tokyu Bus Corporation makes us think they must be out there. And if you’re a bus nerd, you’ll be happy to know that you can now have your own authentic “stop” button at home! But you’ll have to put it together yourself.

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Considering a tattoo? Take it for a removable test run with these tattoo sleeves

The whole reason tattoos are so cool is that they literally become a part of you after you get one. They can’t be erased – at least not without some expensive laser surgery. There’s a certain cool factor in being confident enough in your feelings about Professor Farnsworth or the Triforce to get them permanently etched into your skin.

On the flip-side, though, it’s all too common for people to get a tattoo that they later very much regret. Whether it’s the name of a college girlfriend you’ve long since broken up with, the name of that emo band you thought was cool in the early 2000s, or a veritable collage of anime characters from the 80s and 90s, some tattoo choices can come back to haunt you.

That may be a thing of the past, though, now that Japanese companies are offering removable tattoo sleeves!

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Celebrate New Years in Pokémon style — with a monster ball filled with traditional osechi food!

In Japan, when you start hearing about Christmas cake promotions, it also means you have to start thinking about New Year’s osechi food as well. Osechi consists of different traditional foods typically prepared for New Year’s to wish for luck in the coming year and are usually items that keep well so that you can have the pre-cooked foods throughout the New Year’s holidays without having to do much cooking during that time. You can, of course, choose to keep it simple and simply buy just a few of the key items like datemaki (sweet rolled omelette) and kuromame (black soy beans) at the supermarket, or go all out on a luxury osechi set from a famous restaurant or department store. Well, this year, it looks like a Pokémon osechi set is also an option, and it even comes in a unique container in a shape that fans will find quite familiar — a Poké Ball!

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Is it safe to dance yet? Uncertainty continues to reign supreme in Japan’s club scene

On 15 October it was reported that Masatoshi Kanemitsu would have to go back to court after being acquitted by the Osaka District Court. His alleged crime: allowing his customers to dance in the Umeda area club he owned called Noon.

This kind of law prohibiting dancing might sound straight out of some fundamentalist theocracy, but it’s alive and well in Japan. Actually, it’s far worse than a draconian “no dancing whatsoever” law that you know where things stand; nightclubs in Japan seem to allow dancing until someone in authority decides otherwise. There’s no way to know until officers start bursting through your doors.

This sword dangling over the heads of the remaining clubs is called the Act on Control and Improvement of Amusement and Entertainment Business or Fueiho for short. So let’s take a quick look at why this law is crushing dancing in Japan, and I’ll do my best to avoid any Footloose references.

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Ten things we learned at USJ: A muggle’s guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Welcome aboard the Hogwarts Express! Located in Osaka prefecture, this new attraction opened its doors in July of 2014. Thousands of Harry Potter fans have flocked to USJ since its opening, and RocketNews24 is here to provide you with some tips and tricks to make your visit as smooth as possible. Hold onto your wands, and join us as we enter the magical Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

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This set of stairs at Kitakata Station really cares

When it comes to going up and down in life, stairs really seem to be the most inconsiderate. Rather than carrying you along like your friends the escalator or elevator, stairs just seem to lay there without moving an inch to help you.

Even in Japan where politeness is a way of life, the stairs still just sit there waiting for us to do all the heavy lifting. All except a few flights of extremely well-mannered stairs located in Kitakata Station in Fukushima Prefecture. While they don’t physically help you to go up, they do still have power… the power to move you.

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Worried about McDonald’s chicken in Japan? Don’t be! Free McNuggets ease your fears!

This summer, consumers in Japan were shocked by the news of “Chickengate”, the Chinese food scandal that revealed a dirty secret behind our favorite Chicken McNuggets. Since then, McDonald’s Japan has tried to win back customers with Tofu McNuggets, and more recently introduced the “Hiru Mac” or “Lunchtime Mac” to encourage patrons to come for lunch and enjoy great discounted prices.

But, the public still worries about where the chicken is coming from. The sales of McNuggets haven’t recovered since McDonald’s Japan revealed that the chicken comes from Thailand, so they’re trying a new tactic of…giving away free Chicken McNuggets.

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It’s BAAAACK! The Tower Cheeseburger from Lotteria — but for ONE DAY only!

Good news for those of you in Japan who’ve always wanted to see more MEAT in your hamburgers. Yes, the humongous tower of a burger we’ve mentioned several times on our site is back! It’s the Tower Cheeseburger from fast food chain Lotteria! But if you want to get your hands on one of them, you may need to get ready for some quick action, because this time, they’ll be available for just one day!

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Coming face-to-boot with the giant Patlabor statue【Photos】

If I’m being perfectly honest, I’m not a huge giant mech/giant robot fan. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a full episode of Patlabor or Gundam–though it’s not out of spite or anything! There are only so many hours in the day, and I rarely seem to have time to watch giant mechs beating the crap out of each other. Though that sentence is making me question some life choices now…

As such, I’ve always been perplexed by the idea that someone has actually gone out of their way to build enormous statues of the suits. The “why” has always left an itch in the back of my mind–it just doesn’t seem worth, does it? Well, that’s what I thought until I actually came face-to-face (face-to-boot?) with an enormous Patlabor statue. Here are some photos of the giant mech emblazoned with a Japanese police badge and why I actually hope they make more!

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New book teaches you to make grated radish animals: Healthier than latte art, just as cute

Japan’s become pretty enamored with latte art over the past few years, with baristas all over the country creating cute characters in swirls of cream and foam. But what if you’re not a coffee drinker, either because you’re watching your caffeine intake or just because your inner child won’t let you drink anything so bitter? Is there a way for you to set your table with eye-pleasing edibles?

Sure there is! All you need is a pile of grated daikon radish, and this new book that tells you how to craft it into adorable edibles.

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Frozen fans who can’t ‘let it go’ have something to look forward to in January!

Like the fairy tale fantasies that Disney produces, Frozen‘s development has been nothing short of a “Cinderella” story itself. Languishing in development hell for a very long time, Disney wasn’t about to waste such a promising story like “Anna and the Snow Queen”. Their patience definitely paid off, and the millions of fans around the world are eagerly awaiting what’s next for their new favorite characters. Japanese fans won’t have to wait any longer as Tokyo Disneyland has unveiled a whole host of new Frozen additions to the park embracing the theme of “After Frozen”.

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Fukuoka’s “Wisteria Tunnel” delights visitors with pretty pastel petals

Anyone who has visited Japan during hanami (cherry blossom viewing) season will definitely agree –  they’ve got some really gorgeous flowers over there. But Japan’s not all sakura, you know! In fact, there’s a veritable cornucopia of beautiful blooms to appreciate at different times of the year. If you’re too impatient for the springtime sakura, you can get a head start by checking out the plum blossoms that start to peek out during the tail-end of winter. And if you’re still not satisfied after feasting your eyes on the sakura itself (or feasting on snacks during hanami, as the case may be), why not plan a summer visit to the “Wisteria Tunnel” located in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture?

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Trending on Twitter, girls draw themselves as dashing high school boys【Photos】

There is something thrilling about finding people who like the same things as you do. You finally get the chance to gush about your passion with people who can match your enthusiasm. And when like-minded people get together, they come up with some weird ways to show their love for their particular fandom.

Take this recent Twitter hashtag. The trend is for girls to post an honest drawing of yourself as a male high school student with some personal information. While a lot of girls are posting some pretty ridiculous drawings re-imagining themselves as high school boys, girls who identify themselves as “fujoshi” have posted some pretty over-the-top renditions.

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Gripping footage of a cat walking backwards on two legs is today’s must-see cat video

In a scene we’re not sure belongs in a Three Ring Circus or a feline-themed sequel to The Exorcist, a Japanese YouTuber managed to film their cat somehow not only walking on two legs – a somewhat rare occurrence compared to dogs – but doing it backwards like it does it all the time.

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We leap into autumn by eating a pack of tempura maple leaves

Earlier this month, we found out that the city of Mino, in Osaka, has been selling tempura maple leaves for at least a hundred years. Since we’ve made it our mission in life to eat everything that can be deep-fried (barring non-food items like deep-fried scissors), we immediately called Hisakuni Kosendo, one Mino’s maple-cooking outfits, and ordered a pack to try for ourselves.

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5 tips for staying healthy while traveling in Japan this winter!

I spent two winter seasons working in the hospital emergency room (as a translator) in Niseko, a popular Hokkaido snow holiday destination for foreigners. While we had our share of broken bones from ski and boarding accidents, what impressed upon me most was the number of people who get ill while on vacation. There were just as many sudden illnesses as snow-related accidents–everything from gastrointestinal disorders to ear infections and first-time asthma attacks which too many times put people in the emergency room.

The good news is that most of these illnesses can be avoided, but different cultures pose different health risks and knowing what to watch out for beforehand can be tricky, if not impossible. In this article, I’ll share some tips on how to stay healthy while traveling in Japan in wintertime, based on my experience working with hundreds of foreigners who ended up in hospital on their vacations.

By following some simple (but not necessarily so obvious) rules, we aim to keep our snow-loving Rocketeers out of Japan’s hospitals and flying down the slopes in all their glory instead!

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Denny’s Japan now offering all-you-can-eat pancakes! We’ll take 30!

It’s a fact: the world loves pancakes. That’s why we’re sure those of you who live outside of Japan will be jealous to hear that Denny’s Japan is offering an all-you-can-eat pancake deal that includes a variety of fruit, syrup, and ice cream toppings! The only thing better than this pancake buffet is the Japanese word for pancake: pankeiki. How cute is that?!

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The ultimate guide to Kyoto ice-cream

While the weather is gradually getting chillier as many parts of the world meander into autumn, we know we’ll never be able to give up the sweetest bit of summer – ice cream. You can never be too full, nor the weather too cold, for a bowl of that delicious, frozen goodness, and if you happen to be heading to Kyoto to catch the beautiful autumn leaves, you’ll be pleased to know that Japan’s most traditional city is positively brimming with ice cream at this time of year, and today we have a guide to some of the best out there.

Whether you’re into fruity flavors or traditional Kyoto desserts, or simply wanting to satisfy your sweet tooth, the ancient capital is bound to have something for you.

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Rare Rodin sculpture with articulated joints discovered, should be called ‘The Mover’

It may be one of the most famous statues in the world, but that doesn’t mean ‘The Thinker’ is unique. There are actually around 28 versions of Rodin’s masterpiece bronze sculpture, and those are just the ones we know about.

That list of Thinkers is about to get a little bit longer, as a research team in Japan has just unearthed a fully flexible, articulated version of ‘The Thinker’. Coming in at less than a tenth of the size of Rodin’s original(s), this incredible bendable figure is only 15.5cm tall!

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Osaka man wipes away millions in owed taxes by deducting losing horse race tickets

It’s often said that nothing in life is certain except for death and taxes, but for one Osaka resident, that maxim was little more than an old wives’ tale.

One day, the taxman came calling to the tune of 816 million yen (US$7.7M) over years of unreported winning horse race bets. However, in a game where the house always wins, this guy managed to flip the script and knock down the money owed to a relatively modest 67 million yen ($635,000).

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