Japan

Want thousands of dollars for your manga fan art? Rose of Versailles creator judging contest now

It’s been made into an anime TV series, live-action film, and Takarazuka stage musical, but more than anything else, it’s the original manga that’s captured the hearts of Rose of Versailles fans. Set against the backdrop of the French Revolution, the series’ themes of desperate love, self-sacrifice, and challenging gender norms have been striking a chord with readers for over four decades.

Unlike last year, there’s no new volume of Rose of Versailles coming out this summer. However, there is still going to be a ton of new illustrations in the form of entries to a Rose of Versailles fan art competition that’s accepting submissions online right now, awarding impressive cash prizes, and being judged by the manga’s creator, Riyoko Ikeda herself.

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“It’s just like Disneyland!” Our Japanese reporter visits the love hotel where dreams are made

If Japan’s love hotels range from cheap ‘n’ cheerful to downright bizarre, Sky Paradise Rakuen must rank as one of the most marvellously ridiculous. While enjoying a discreet tryst with your partner of choice, you can also take a ride on a gondola under a sparkling jewel-encrusted sky and gaze from your balcony out over theme park-style attractions.

Disney don’t do love hotels, but if they did they’d probably look like this!

Naturally, our Japanese reporter couldn’t resist heading down to Sky Paradise to check in and check it out. Just for research, of course.

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Japan’s Top 10 Scenic Train Trips–according to two “densha otaku” train guides

Greg Cope and Ken Mitchell have been riding Japan’s railways for over 30 years. “When I first started to travel around Japan,” recalls Greg, “I was struck by the fact that Japan not only has one of the most efficient railway systems in the world, but they have myriad types of railways, from new to old, conservative design to outlandish.

On one of Greg’s succeeding trips back to Japan, he asked his train aficionado friend Ken, who had seen a lot of Japan during a visit in 1967, to come along. “I devised an itinerary…incorporating a variety of different trains. The trip that I had nutted out from the timetable turned out well and I was hooked on Japan’s railway system,” says Ken.

Greg and Ken wanted to share their Japan rail experiences with others, so to achieve this goal they started Trainaway Tours out of Australia in 1998. These guys are living the train otaku dream, so when RocketNews24 started looking into Japan’s best, most scenic railways, we went straight to them for recommendations. From JR lines to small private rails, tourist trains to steam locomotives, let’s look at their picks for the top 10 train trips in Japan.

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Japanese man races his “tortoise and hare,” cuteness ensues

Live-action remakes of established cartoon and comic franchises are favored projects by studios looking for a solid return on their investments. Appealing to our sense of nostalgia they can pull in a good chunk of change even if they turn out crappy, something which, sadly, happens a lot.

However, on video originally posted to Niconico and YouTube by Masaki Hata reminds us that the great remakes need to be fun first and slick big-budget productions second. His version of a classic Aesop fable, which he’s titled Battle of Fate Settled at Last: Tortoise vs Hare in Japan, has won over many with its unique blend of cuteness and surprisingly good production value.

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We visited Fukui Station to see the dinosaurs! No Chris Pratt, but the Dino Doctor was in!

We’ve talked about Fukui Station, located in Fukui Prefecture, and its Jurassic Park of animatronic dinosaurs before, but today we have a ton more photos and a video of them in motion as the station draws closer to completion. Check out our photos of the rampaging dinosaurs at Fukui Station and call Chris Pratt, because we might need backup!

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No dinner plans for Wednesday night? Why not eat a camel hump in Tottori, like we just did?

Here at RocketNews24, every now and again we come across a restaurant or snack maker offering something that doesn’t sound at all appetizing, but is just too unique to pass up. In the past, my coworkers Steve and Amy have sampled wasp-filled rice crackers and bee larvae, and my own stomach and psyche are only now recovering from a dessert of not one, but two types of cakes made with chunks of tuna.

Now, it’s out intrepid Japanese-language reporter Mr. Sato’s turn to pull up a chair to the crazy dining table, and camel hump is on the menu.

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No, we didn’t stutter. New Sailor Moon gachapon toys really are compact compacts

Gachapon, the capsule toys sold by vending machines in Japan, are always released in a series, usually with five or six different versions that are dispensed at random. But while that element of chance adds a moment of excitement, sometimes it’s a little hard to imagine anyone really needs a half-dozen different styles of miniature folding chair, sausage/isopod hybrid, or crow chowing down on some delicious garbage.

Every now and again, though, we can easily see how someone would keep coming back for each and every model in the lineup, such as with these compact Sailor Moon compacts.

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Just when you thought anime marketing couldn’t be any more bust-focused: character breast weights

You may not have noticed, but a lot of advertising for anime and video games revolves around boobs, almost as if the marketing plan is trying to build up escape velocity to break free of the gravitational pull of the female cast’s breasts. And since nitty-gritty bits of numerical data regarding a series’ world and characters are the icing on the cake for super fans, you can usually expect the producers to release official statistics regarding the bust measurement and also often the cup size of the more top-heavy characters.

One new anime, though, has decided to raise the bar, and twice actually, since not only do its official character bios reveal the cast’s underwire measurements, but in perhaps the most bizarre bit of trivia ever, the weight, in kilograms, of the characters’ breasts.

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Attack on Titan hot dogs! Because the best way to celebrate is with an extra-large sausage

The only thing better than the upcoming live-action Attack on Titan movie is all the related merchandise that’s slowly being pumped out ahead of its release.

The latest offering from the giants is coming to us from Aeon cinemas, who’ll be bringing us two gigantic hot dogs as part of the celebrations. Netizens, however, are pondering why they’ve chosen to use extra-long sausages to promote the film when a similar-looking appendage is so obviously missing from between the Titans’ legs.

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Talking with Chuck Johnson, Japan’s first full-time foreign stuntman, about working your butt off

When it comes to working in Japan as a foreign resident, it can often feel as if there aren’t many options — but that’s not necessarily the case. And for Chuck Johnson, the very opposite is true! After well over a decade in the country, Chuck has done everything from teaching English, to acting, to directing, to working as a bodyguard. He’s also an accomplished martial artist and stuntman — in fact, Chuck is the first non-Japanese person in the country to make a career out of doing stunt work. It’s a niche so small, he basically had to create an industry for himself!

After years of hard work and barely scraping by, Chuck has now made quite a name for himself, and this summer will see the release of a short action film in collaboration with big names such as Toei Studio, Adidas, and YouTube.

We recently stopped by the “fight action class” he teaches for aspiring and working stuntmen and discussed his experiences in Japan. If you want to get paid to kick people on film in Japan, Chuck is the man you want to talk to.

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Creepy abandoned Japanese amusement park is open and waiting to devour your soul 【Pics】

We’ve seen pictures of creepy abandoned places in Japan before, but what about creepy abandoned places that are still open for business?

Wonderland is an amusement park in Fukui Prefecture that by all accounts should not exist. There’re no cars in the overgrown parking lot, locks on all the condemned buildings, and all the signs are rusted and discolored. And yet, they’re still open, pretending as if nothing is wrong.

Oh and did we mention they’re hiring?

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Our Japanese reporter offers up some safety advice for anyone traveling to Southeast Asia

‘The other day, I felt a tap on my back while at a Japanese-style shopping mall in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I turned around and there was a beautiful, wide-eyed woman smiling at me. She asked me a favor in broken English: “I don’t have any friends in this city, and I’d like to hear more about Japan. Won’t you get dinner with me?”

I was surprised at myself by my cold reaction–“Ah, not another one.” Despite my efforts to ignore her, she continued pestering me, this time asking how long I was planning to stay in Cambodia. When I responded, “I’ve lived here for over 15 years, she promptly disappeared with a creepy cackling noise.’

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This owl and kitten duo napping is the most adorable thing you will see today 【Photos】

When things aren’t going right in your life, there is bound to be something on the Internet that will make yoy feel better. Well, look no further. This is a public service announcement: The following pictures are so cute that they will melt your heart, no matter how cold or frozen it might be. See if you can make it to the bottom of this article without going “d’aww…”

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Disney’s lovable mascot flies high — Duffy takes to the air on JAL Happy Journey Express planes!

Duffy, Disney’s lovable stuffed bear character, has a huge following in Japan. Just step inside Tokyo Disney Resort, and the bear’s popularity is abundantly clear as you see the large number of guests carrying their own Duffy toy in adorable and sometimes exquisitely hand-made costumes.

Well, we’ve already seen the well-loved bear tuned into an amazing furry bus that made a special tour from Tokyo to Shizuoka Prefecture a little over a year ago, and now it seems the mascot will be embarking on a whole new journey — into the big blue sky!   Read More

Classic shojo manga Kodomo no Omocha getting first new chapter in 17 years

We recently found out that the upcoming Dragon Ball Super is getting a manga version to go along with the new anime, but it’s not just the classic Japanese comic for boys that’s back in the spotlight. Kodomo no Omocha (also known as Kodocha and Child’s Toy) was one of the early shojo manga franchises to score a hit with English-reading audiences, and 17 years after the series wrapped up, it’s getting a new chapter next month.

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World’s smallest dinosaur egg just discovered in Hyogo Prefecture

Everyone has got dinosaurs on their mind at the moment since most of the world is going crazy for Jurassic World. The exception to this is of course, Japan who can’t watch the movie until August 5. (Why Japanese movie people? Why?!?!) Not to be left out of the giant lizard game, officials in Hyogo Prefecture have confirmed the discovery of a brand new dinosaur egg. By analyzing the fossil, it is estimated that this new egg is the world’s smallest dinosaur egg ever. That’s a gigantic discovery of the tiniest kind.

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People in Japan are tearing up over these two cram school commercials【Videos】

Love it or hate it, cram school, or juku in Japanese, is one part of Asian academic culture that looks like it’s here to stay.

Although most cram schools tend to advertise before entrance exam season begins and towards the end of the Japanese school year in March, recently more and more children are starting to attend summer study courses as well.

Gearing up for summer vacation, Waseda Academy put out two promotional commercials highlighting the determination of spirited youth, which have left Japanese viewers so moved they couldn’t help but shed a few tears while watching.

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Game with schoolgirls and pheromones goes pervy to innocent with the Mom Just Walked In button

Video games designed to provide some titillation are nothing new in Japan. As a matter of fact, developers have been trying to include a little naughty excitement in titles for so long that the feature has begun to evolve and become streamlined in response to players’ needs and desires. For example, we recently looked at a game in which the designers thought to include a cycle by which the female characters change their panties to a new pair daily, much to the joy of realist perverts (and the chagrin of dirty underwear fetishists).

But while Japanese gamers have proven receptive to titles with a decidedly sexy angle, that doesn’t mean their parents are so accepting of their hobby. That’s why the upcoming PlayStation 4 game Gal Gun Double Peace includes not only more panty flashes than you can shake a stick at, but something called the Mom Just Walked In Screen to help spare players from getting caught in an embarrassing moment.

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This amazing sand sculpture museum is tiny Tottori Prefecture’s hidden tourist gem

Remember when Tottori Prefecture finally got a Starbucks after all these years of being one of the few places in the world without one? Oh man, that was crazy.

Tottori is just one of those places. The kind of area that’s so quiet and uneventful that not even Starbucks, the corporate giant that’s more than happy to smother historic cultural heritage sites with their over-roasted beans and pricey lattes for a quick buck, spent decades more or less pretending it didn’t even exist. The Prefecture’s population of just over half a million is shockingly small by densely-populated Japan’s standards, and it’s just generally ignored by the rest of Japan as a place that, well… doesn’t have much to see, to put it kindly.

But wait a second! What’s this?! Tottori has been sitting on an amazing tourist draw in the form of a sand sculpture museum that features mind-boggling, award-winning and massive sand sculptures and they basically haven’t even really told anybody about it.

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Karan Koron Shokudo proves meat-free doesn’t mean taste-free【Veg’n in Tokyo】

Unlike in some countries, where even a steak restaurant will offer at least one vegetarian option, it can be difficult to find meat-free meals in Japan. There are, however, some vegetarian restaurants to be found in the capital, and I’m making it my mission to go around trying them all.

Today I’d like to introduce Karan Koron Shokudo, located right next to Yoyogi Uehara Station.

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