Japan

We try beer with whipped cream on top…because we’re fancy

It’s been said that younger generations of drinkers in Japan just aren’t that into beer anymore. With them opting instead for cheaper and sweeter cocktails, good old ale (or ale-flavored stuff) is gradually being pushed aside.

However, our intrepid reporter Meg has found a way to reinvent beer to younger folks appealing to their sweet-tooths. It comes from South Korea where it’s called “Saengkeulim Maegju” or “Cream Beer” and is basically beer with some whipped cream on top. It’s so easy you can make it at home…so we did!

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No more photo retouches! New makeup for cosplayers claims to create photo-perfect skin

Makeup is one of the most important factors that could make or break a cosplay outfit. Cosplayers sometimes spend hours exposed to sunlight or strong lighting in a photoshoot or at conventions, and it means a great deal to them to have makeup that lasts and delivers the photogenic results that they want.

Want your skin to look effortlessly flawless in photos? The good news is, the cosplay-loving Japanese have just released a lineup of base makeup items designed specifically to cater to the needs of cosplayers! The greater news is, these products are not going to burn a hole in your wallet, and non-cosplayers can use them for regular makeup too!

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New video claims one Japanese ISIS hostage killed, authenticity of video under investigation

Earlier this week, a video that is thought to have been produced by Islamic State militants surfaced, demanding that Japan pay a ransom of $200 million within 72 hours for the release of two Japanese hostages, Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who had recently visited the Middle East and pledged $200 million in non-military aid, vowed to not give in to terrorism. The 72-hour time limit came and went, and on Saturday a new video was posted claiming that one hostage, Yukawa, was killed. While Abe and the Japanese people are angry, experts are taking a closer look to verify the authenticity of the somewhat questionable video.

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Huge six-meter (19.7-foot) anime hug pillow will prove you’re a great big otaku 【Video】

When you look at them a certain way, huggy pillows with pictures of cute anime girls on them are kind of creepy. Well, actually, they’re creepy in several ways, but for right now, let’s limit our discussion to one way in particular.

Even if we accept that there’s nothing wrong with consensual love between a man and his pillow, their relative sizes make the situation kind of weird. After all, a person’s height is far greater than a pillow’s length, so wouldn’t Miss Anime Pillow feel a little awkward cuddling with her much larger otaku owner?

It’d probably be a little like squeezing a gigantic anime pillow that’s six meters (19.7 feet) long. Of course, if that sounds like your personal vision of bedtop bliss, there’s a company giving away just that.

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Evangelion couple rings let you tell your sweetheart you love him or her like Shinji loves Kaworu

The Japanese fashion world doesn’t hold any stigmas against guys who enthusiastically accessorize. As such, it’s not uncommon for couples to buy what’re called “pair accessories,” usually rings or necklaces with similar designs, meant to evoke a sense of closeness even when the two lovers are apart.

Considering the recent boom in anime-inspired fashion and accessories, it’s not such a big shock that one jewelry maker has created a set of pair rings based on Evangelion, one of the most popular franchises in the history of Japanese animation. Nor is it surprising that the designers chose to model the rings after two characters who, even if they don’t directly show such feelings, are considered by many fans to be sweet on each other.

What is getting attention, though, is that the two character, Shinji and Kaworu, are both guys.

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Yokohama’s adorable hedgehog dumplings are packed with spikey cuteness and creamy custard

Located about a half hour south of downtown Tokyo, the city of Yokohama has a couple of big tourist draws, like its gigantic Ferris wheel and bayside parks with panoramic views. If you’re hungry, though, you’ll want to head to Yokohama’s Chinatown, which is one of the biggest in Japan and is made up almost entirely of places to eat.

As a matter of fact, you don’t even have to grab a seat in a restaurant to fill your stomach, since the streets are lined with stalls selling all manner of munchies. Some of these you might see elsewhere in Japan, like the steamed pork buns that are also convenience store mainstays. But there’s at least one treat you can’t find anywhere but Yokohama’s Chinatown, and that’s these adorable sweet dumplings shaped like tiny hedgehogs.

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Fancy a cuppa? We explore the UK’s unusual takes on Japanese green tea

In the UK, where I’m from, people get really passionate about tea. It’s the first thing you offer someone who is a visitor to your home, and remembering how someone likes their tea made is one way of showing that you care about them. We’re also fussy about the ritual behind making tea (you should see what happens in my house when someone puts the milk in first). In this way, we’re kinda like the Japanese.

In Japan, they drink green tea rather than black tea, but their attitude towards it matches ours. It’s both something for all-day long refreshment, and for special occasions. They’re also really into the ceremony behind it, with chadou, or tea ceremony, being a celebrated art in Japan.

So, what happens when the tea companies try to make green tea happen in the UK? A whole lot of added flavourings, that’s what! Join us after the jump for a taste test!

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Japanese food blogger makes fried chicken poodles: “They’re too cute to eat!”

Whether our parents like it or not, food is an art form. Playing with food is awesome, and we’ve seen some spectacular examples of shaved-ice masterpieces, printed designs onto food, or corgi omelets.

But if you’ve been looking for a quick, easy artistic recipe you can do at home, look no further. Get ready to make the cutest little appetizers you’ve ever seen: fried poodles.

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Attack on sobriety! Attack on Titan teams up with plum wine maker for new anime alcohol

Along with its naked giants and high-flying fight scenes, anime and manga mega hit Attack on Titan is defined by its oppressively bleak atmosphere. Its world is one in which not only do rampaging monsters want to eat you, the ruling aristocracy is ready to kick you out of the walled city if you’re too big a drain on its resources.

Compelling as its story may be, after spending enough time in that setting, even fans of the series could find themselves needing a stiff drink. If so, they might want to reach for a glass of the soon-to-be-released Attack on Titan plum wine.

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Japanese village converted into gorgeous open-air museum makes an easy day-trip escape from Tokyo

There’s a lot to love about Tokyo. Aside from the sheer energy of being the most bustling metropolis in Japan, it’s home to some amazing modern attractions, like the Skytree, Ebisu Beer Museum, and RocketNews24 offices.

Still, even we can appreciate the occasional longing for a simpler, slower-paced time. Thankfully, even if you don’t have a time machine, as long as you have access to the capital’s outstanding public transportation network, you can catch a glimpse of Japan’s traditional rural lifestyle at this beautiful open-air museum of thatched-roof houses that’s an easy half-day trip from Tokyo.

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Nikko beyond Toshogu: What to see once you’ve seen it all

The city of Nikko in Tochigi Prefecture, home to the impressive Toshogu Shrine and its famous evil-averse monkeys, is a popular choice for day trips from Tokyo, what with its World Heritage sites and easy train connections. But if all you’re doing is popping in for an afternoon of temple hopping, you are missing out on a lot of what Nikko has to offer. Take our advice and take a couple of days to check out what everybody else is missing.

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Six Japanese business terms you already know, even if you didn’t realize it

We’ve talked before about handy Japanese words and phrases we wish we could toss around in English. This kind of linguistic jealousy doesn’t flow in just one direction, though. Japanese businesspeople regularly make use of a number of English phrases, either because they’re more concise, precise, or just sound cooler to their ears than their Japanese counterparts.

Sometimes, though, knowing English isn’t enough to understand these loanwords, since their pronunciations can get pretty garbled in the transition from English to Japanese speakers. Feeling confident in your ability to translate English translated into Japanese back into English? Read on and see how many you can decipher.

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Creating your own custom etched glass is a lot simpler than you think

Having a hard time coming up with a cool gift idea? Wanting to create something fun and uniquely yours? Why not try your hand at glass-etching! It might sound a bit daunting, but as some Twitter users in Japan are finding, it’s a lot easier than expected, and a lot of fun to make your own anime (or anything!) goods. All you need are a few basic items, a steady hand, and some helpful tips to make your own awesome, customized etched glass! Follow us after the jump to get started.

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Are you smarter than a (Japanese) 5th grader? Take this mind-bending test and find out!

Pretty much everyone enjoys being able to help their younger siblings or kids with their elementary school homework. It’s a little piece of joy to pass on what you’ve learned and prove how cool of a mom/dad or big brother/sister you are. You impart some simple knowledge and see the little light bulb turn on in their head as they begin to understand. Then you can sit back and watch with confidence as they interact with the world around them.

But what do you do when the homework is a question that even you can’t answer? This brainteaser had everyone in one Japanese family stumped for over an hour, so they turned to Twitter for help. And then much of the Internet was stumped too. Take a look at these riddles and see how many you can get playing: What Prefecture is This?

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Herp derp! Awkward sun bear is awkward, somehow still adorable【Photos】

If you’re an animal lover, you can probably find something to like in even mother nature’s less visually appealing species. Slightly defective cats are basically the kings of the internet, after all. But we were shocked to find that some of Japan’s Twitter users have been mercilessly mocking a certain species of black bear for being “super creepy and gross.” C’mon, guys, it’s a bear! Bears are cute! Or at least, that’s what we thought until we saw the pictures…it turns out that there’s a certain kind of bear out there that’s just, well, kind of a major dork.

Don’t believe us? Check out this gallery of awkwardness! It’s un-bear-able!

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Sailor Soldiers assemble! Pullip’s line of Sailor Guardian dolls is now complete

Okay, we know there are plenty of Sailor Moon goods out there, but for those of you who can’t get enough of the pretty soldiers, we have some more moon prism power studded goodies to share with you! This time, they’re additions to the line of precious looking Sailor Moon Pullip dolls that we’ve previously introduced, and we think the dolls may captivate you with their charm even if you’re not a Sailor Moon fan!

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Like anime and video game mashups? Here’s 900 amazing ones!

Who doesn’t love a good mashup? We’ve seen some great ones before: Pokémon turned into Godzilla monsters, Doraemon turned into Dragon Ball, even Crayon Shin-chan turned into Attack on Titan.

But when it comes to sheer quantity of mashups, the clear winner is MOUNTAIN GRAPHICS, a company that sells t-shirts and other goods with cute and cool designs on them. They have over 900 pictures on their Twitter and Instagram account of mashed-up characters from video games, anime, and more.

Ever wanted to see Mario and PaRappa the Rapper fused together? Or Bomberman and Hello Kitty? Hoe about Bowser and Cthulhu? Well today’s your lucky day!

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Nobel Prize-winner Shuji Nakamura to Japan’s young people: “Get out of Japan”

In 2014, Dr. Shuji Nakamura, along with two other scientists, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for his work in creating bright blue LEDs. In 1993, Nakamura held only a master’s degree and worked with just one lab assistant for a small manufacturer in rural Japan, yet he was able to find a solution that had eluded some the highest paid, best-educated researchers in the world.

If his story ended there, he would no doubt be the poster boy for Japanese innovation and never-say-die spirit, but in the years since his discovery, he has instigated a landmark patent case, emigrated to the US, given up his Japanese citizenship and become a vocal critic of his native country. Last week, the prickly professor gave his first Japanese press conference since picking up his Nobel and he had some very succinct advice for young Japanese: Leave.

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We visit the Guinness World Record-holding oldest hotel in the world – established 705 A.D.!

Keiunkan Inn in Hayakawa, Yamanashi Prefecture is famous for holding the Guinness World Record for being “The oldest hotel in the world”. Established in 705 A.D., it boasts such notable former guests as daimyo Takeda Shingen, shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, and numerous emperors of Japan.

The inn itself is located in the southern alps of Yamanashi Prefecture, nestled in lush valleys in the very heart of nature. It’s the perfect location for escaping from the hustle and bustle of city life. What’s more, the inn is built upon prime hot springs ground, which means guests are able to enjoy numerous open-air and communal hot spring baths. Each room’s shower, bath and sink facilities are fed by pure hot spring water, which is neither treated nor heated by any artificial means. In fact, except for the toilets, the entire inn uses the hot springs water in its daily running, which makes it a very special and luxurious place to visit.

Our reporter, Yoshio, decided to book a stay in “the oldest hotel in the world” in order to share his experiences with the good readers of RocketNews24. Read on for many, many gorgeous photos of his trip!

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Historical Japanese swords turn into hot and battle-hardened Blade Boys in new mobile game

These days, one of the quickest and most popular methods for stocking a video game with a cast of attractive anime-style characters is to pick a class of item and anthropomorphize the heck out of it. There’s currently no hotter mobile game than Kantai Collection, in which players command a fleet of pretty girls who’re all modeled after World War II-era Japanese warships. If naval history isn’t your thing, you can also find titles featuring comely cars and moe mushrooms.

There’s a new entry in the subgenre though, and judging from its all-pretty boy roster of characters, it’s been designed with female otaku gamers in mind. As such, it’s no surprise that the men of Touken Ranbu are all based on something long and hard…plus sharp, as they’re all anthropomorphized swords.

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