Japan

“2.5D Mask” lets you spend the day as an anime character, frighten pets and small children

On a budget? Stuck for a Halloween outfit? How about turning yourself into a “2.5D” hero and scaring the life out of everyone you encounter with this series of free printable masks?

Join us after the jump to find out how you can become a beautiful, yet kind of creepy, manga character without spending a penny.

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She just popped up from your toilet paper to say hello!

Usually when you walk into a public restroom and see something out of the ordinary, it’s almost always the bad sort of surprise. Dirty floors, toilet seats with an extra bit of yellow, and much, much worse are just a part of the risk you take when entering an area complete strangers use to do their business. But one Twitter user got a different sort of surprise when she walked in to a bathroom stall and saw a face staring back.

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Anger online as tweeting tech guru Takeshi Natsuno slams Sendai for rejecting IC card

You may have heard the name Takeshi Natsuno before. A Keio University professor, former Senior Vice President at NTT Docomo, Sega Sammy big-wig, and creator of i-mode, he is by all accounts an intelligent, not to mention extremely tech-savvy, dude. So you can imagine the surprise the good residents of the city of Sendai felt when he took to his Twitter account earlier this week to publicly disparage their home town as being “too lame for words”.

Just what prompted this sudden outpouring of ire? Well, it seems Mr Natsuno felt rather short-changed when he attempted to use his prepaid Suica IC Card to ride the Sendai subway. Suica is a Tokyo-based IC card system. Sendai is not in Tokyo. You can probably see where this is going.

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Adorable character hot pots are this fall’s kawaii-est foods

No country does cute food better than Japan, and the latest trend in adorable edibles is fall hot pots stuffed with cute characters that look way too good to eat!

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Domino’s Japan offering discounts to customers who pound the wall, show mementos from old flames

While it may not have the hippest image in the U.S., Domino’s Pizza has built a fanbase for itself in Japan with a string of unique promotions and weird humor. So we’re sure plenty of people were sad to hear that on October 26, Domino’s Japan is closing down its online store where you can order pizzas for delivery or pickup.

Luckily, this has turned out to be just another one of the chain’s quirky jokes, since it’s also opening a new online store on October 27. In other words, it’s just a website redesign, but in addition to serving up plenty of tongue-in-cheek drama, Domino’s is also offering discounts for customers who play along with the joke and say goodbye in a variety of ways.

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Snoopy to your cleaning rescue — and he even comes with his own doghouse power source!

Now, if Hello Kitty is a candidate for the most famous cat (or cat character … if that’s more accurate) in the world, then we have to say Snoopy certainly has as good a claim as any character out there to the title of world’s most famous dog. And as befits an international canine celebrity, we all know that the lovable beagle has been involved in his share of collaborations. But this Snoopy product, which one of the reporters at our sister site Pouch found, is so unique and utterly adorable that we just couldn’t bear not sharing it with you! It’s the limited edition AQUA Snoopy Robot Cleaner and  Snoopy Doghouse Set, and it’s even smart enough to go back to the doghouse once it finishes cleaning. How cool is that?

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Learn Japanese from YouTube: Amp up your listening skills with this four-step guide

It used to be that if you were studying a foreign language in your own country, the only listening practice that was easily available to you was hearing your teacher or classmates speak, or listening to the CD that came with your textbook. The first Japanese textbook I ever bought actually came with a cassette tape, which was particularly irritating as it was 2006 and I didn’t even own a Walkman any more.

Then someone invented a website that allowed users to upload short videos for all the world to see. Fast-forward nine years and YouTube is one of the biggest sites on the planet, making it a veritable treasure trove of free online spoken content.

So whether you’re after language lessons, YouTubers who vlog in Japanese, or just want to try watching your cat videos in a foreign language, online videos could be your new secret weapon. The trick is just knowing where to look.

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Three Chinese men arrested in Japan for buying too many diapers

In recent years a scourge has gripped Japan, and it is people buying too many disposable diapers at once – the Merries brand in particular. For this heinous behavior, three Chinese men were arrested by the Hyogo Prefectural Police on 15 October and are expected to be deported back to their country.

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Sailor Moon candy, dolls, and music boxes! More new merch than you can shake a Moon Stick at

We recently took a look at a new batch of Sailor Moon aprons, but if you’ve been following the celestial-themed magical girls for very long, you knew that wasn’t going to be the end of cool and quirky tie-ins for the franchise. The product planning team of merchandiser Bandai apparently never sleeps, and those aprons were just the opening salvo of another round of Sailor Moon goodies, including one that’ll help fans with the first part of their quest to eat, sleep, and breathe the hit anime.

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Why are some Japanese preschools banning awesome, adorable character bento?

Considering how much Japan loves food and cute things, it’s no surprise that the country is in the middle of a chara-ben boom. Chara-ben, bento boxed lunches with their contents arranged like popular characters such as Hello Kitty and Doraemon, are a hit with adults and children alike, as parents seem to be having as much fun making them as their kids are eating them.

But not everyone loves this trend of culinary creativity, though, as some preschools and day care centers have started banning chara-ben.

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Watch time go by with 70,000 beautiful Japanese women, that’s 48 girls a minute every day!

Whether you are sitting in class or at work, watching as the time ticks by until the end of the day, or you are waiting for the three minutes to be up on your cup noodle, we are always looking at the clock. Time is money! Normally, it’s just a set of numbers that conveys information to us, but a clever company has turned checking the time into an ingenious marketing strategy. What are they selling? Beautiful women, of course!

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Man revives woman with AED, branded a “pervert” for removing her clothes to apply electrode pads

A man in Japan says he was questioned by police and branded a “pervert” after providing emergency medical assistance to a stranger. The man was attending to a woman who had been involved in a traffic accident when he believes someone who saw him cutting through the woman’s clothes to apply a defibrillator to her bare chest called the police and reported him for behaving inappropriately.

An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) analyses the rhythm of the heart and, if necessary, delivers an electrical shock to help it return to normal. AEDs are provided in public places and are designed to be operated by members of the public, even those with no medical background. The man is now calling for better understanding of the correct use of AEDs.

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Less is more as bakery starts selling bags of delicious melon bread crusts minus the bread

It hasn’t made its way to the same level of international culinary stardom as sushi and ramen, but I don’t think I’ve ever introduced a foreign visitor to Japan to melon bread who didn’t fall in love with it. Despite containing no actual melon (the name is thought to come from the pattern scored into the bread’s upper crust), the Japanese bakery mainstay is a definite winner thanks to its sugar-dusted, crisp outer layer. Melon bread delivers just enough flavor and crunch to satisfy your craving for something sweet and stimulating, while at the same time hiding its one undeniable weakness.

The center is just plain white bread.

Bakery Yamazaki Pan seems to have accepted the treat’s shortcoming, and has responded in a temptingly logical way: selling bags of just the crust.

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Superheroes, furry creatures, and Hello Kitty’s friend all get in on the kabe-don action

Where will it end? It seems like the Japanese internet still can’t get enough of the kabe-don phenomenon.

Over the past year, we’ve seen the trend evolve from the romantic aspirations of high school girls everywhere to incredibly intense displays of affection. This time, we’re proud to bring you 12 more glorious tweets of the kabe-don in action–and don’t think that humans are the only ones ‘walling’ it up!

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Real version of Lotteria’s five-patty cheeseburger doesn’t look nearly as glorious as the ads

This Monday marked the return of the gigantic, five-patty Tower Cheeseburger to fast food chain Lotteria. Unfortunately, it was only back for a day, but hey, we figured this limited availability was actually a blessing in disguise. After all, you feel a lot less guilty eating that much meat in a single sitting when you know it’s the sort of rare opportunity you won’t have the chance to make a habit of.

But with just one day to get their Tower Cheeseburgers, no doubt a lot of fans weren’t able to clear out their schedules for a run to their local Lotteria. We’re guessing the blow was softened a bit, though, when they saw that the reality of their burger dream didn’t look anywhere near as mouth-watering as it did in Lotteria’s ads.

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Mickey men: All-male trips to Tokyo Disneyland are on the rise in Japan

Most of the places where groups of men congregate in Japan aren’t too surprising. You can always find guys hanging out with other guys at sports stadiums, video arcades, pachinko parlors, pool halls, or any restaurant or bar that specializes in meat or fried foods.

Recently, though, there’s a new spot that’s gaining popularity for a day out with the boys: Tokyo Disneyland.

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Spoil your pet rotten with this comfy bed and blanket that looks fit for a king!

Ever feel like you could spend the rest of your life in a soft bed tucked under a fluffy blanket? Well, maybe your pet sometimes feels the same way. And if that’s the case, then this may be an item you’ll want to get for your four-legged friends. It’s the “antibacterial and deodorized fluffy bed and blanket” (kokin boshu funnwari blanket-tsuki bed), and it looks so divinely comfortable, you may end up wishing you had one yourself!

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【PSA】Knock knock! Check your car, save a cat

As the weather gets colder in the northern hemisphere, we humans have the privilege of hiding out in our warm abodes. Some of us are even lucky enough to have a kotatsu to snuggle into. Meanwhile, have you ever wondered, “What about those poor little cats on the streets? Where will they go in this chilly weather?”

Well, some of them would hide between buildings or cardboard boxes to take shelter from the wind, rain, and the occasional unfortunate typhoon. However, some of them will actually make their way to your cars! If you don’t catch them in time and start your engine right there, it could lead to some serious tragedy (think minced meat…). Here at RocketNews24, we pride ourselves on our eternal love for our feline friends, which is why we’re so glad that one animal protection organization in Japan created a simple campaign to save our kitty friends…and our cars!

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New ‘Shrine Cafe’ in Tokyo offers fortune-telling and counseling services with your tea

Hey everyone, how has 2014 treated you? Did you finally get that dream job you wanted? Or maybe you moved, or found a significant other?

With only a little over two months left in the year, you might find yourself already looking forward to what the new year has to offer. If you’re especially eager to get a ‘sneak-peak’ of what 2015 has in store for you, then this new Shrine Cafe located in Tokyo’s Takadanobaba neighborhood may just be the perfect place for you. It only opened its doors on the 14th of this month, but it already promises to fill a niche in Japan’s already abundant and eclectic cafe scene.

But wait–just what the heck is a shrine cafe??

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Kirishima Geopark: Trekking through a bonsai forest in the clouds 【Photos】

Kirishima Geopark is a spooky place, I thought to myself, separated from my hiking group by a thick, soupy fog that dampened both sound and clothes. Despite the well-marked trails, there was something about the twisty trees and shivery sound of water drops pushed loose by the wind that suggested you might walk around a bend and disappear forever. I loved it.

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