Japan

Beautiful faces and floors – Five great ways to reuse the water from rinsing rice

While out shopping the other day, I picked up a bag of prewashed rice. The grocery store was having a sale, so it was just as cheap as the unwashed kinds, and I figured, “Hey, there’s no advantage to having to rinse it myself is there?”

But as it turns out, the water left over after you wash the rice, called togijiru in Japanese, is actually pretty useful, as shown by these five ways you can reuse it instead of just dumping it down the sink.

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“Common habits of Japan’s low earners”: What this survey tells us, and what it doesn’t

A survey out this week asked 200 salarymen – office workers in Japan – about their work and lifestyle habits. The findings have been reported in the Japanese media under headlines such as “The bad habits of low earners” and “People on a low income pee in the bath – but why?!”

But this kind of survey tells us more about the survey creator’s attitude towards low-income citizens, than it does about the employees who answered it.

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Who knew frozen apples could taste so good!: Simple dessert recipe for the diet-conscious

If you’ve been on an apple diet, you know the pain of having to munch on nothing but apples all day long. Sure, they are sweet and juicy, but the same old apple can get boring. Just when you’re getting sick of the fruit, it’s time to start exploring more delicious ways of enjoying apples to spice things up a little. We have come up with a super easy way of making delicious apple compote that will satisfy your sweet tooth and not ruin your diet! I personally think this is one of the best discoveries we’ve made so far!

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Check out these cool ways to enjoy hot springs in Oita, including eating and breathing them

Oita, on the eastern coast of Japan’s southern island of Kyushu, has taken to billing itself as Onsen-ken. And while that title loses a bit of its rhyming appeal once it’s translated into English, it’s hard to deny that it really is the Hot Spring Prefecture, as Oita boasts more hot springs than anywhere else in Japan.

As a matter of fact, Oita has so much geothermal water that it can get creative with its most attractive and relaxing natural resource, as shown by these unique ways locals and tourists can enjoy the prefecture’s hot springs.

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The top 10 spots in Tokyo to make an anime pilgrimage

A bulk of the anime we know and love are set in real-life locations in Japan. Often, the stories are based on a specific location mentioned in the anime, such as Ikebukuro where popular anime Durarara! and its sequel are set. In other cases, the setting is not mentioned but fans are quick to identify the location using scenes found in each episode. One such example would be the hit franchise The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi, which featured scenery from Nishinomiya in Hyogo Prefecture. Avid anime fans have had a long tradition of making pilgrimages to key spots in their favorite series through an activity known as Seichi Junrei. There’s now even a website dedicated to documenting these spots and they have recently released a ranking of the wards in Tokyo that contain the most number of pilgrimage spots.

If you only have a couple of days in Japan to go on a pilgrimage, this ranking should probably come in handy!

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Nissin Cup Noodle is offering a promotional life-size water-dispensing cow

Yes, you read that title correctly! As part of their promotional campaign for the “Milk Seafood” flavor of cup noodle, Nissin is giving away a life-size plastic cow water dispenser to one lucky instant ramen fan. Simply fill up your cow with water, wait for the cow to heat up, and then “milk” out as much hot water as you need to fill up your Cup Noodle. Join us after the jump for a look at the amusing commercial behind this wacky promotion!

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Can you spot the problem that led to the recall of this otherwise cute Japanese New Year’s card?

While people in Japan don’t send Christmas cards to each other, it’s customary to send New Year’s cards to relatives, friends, and work associates. Called nengajo, these are delivered on New Year’s Day, and typically feature whatever the Chinese zodiac animal for the year is.

However, since the end of the year is a busy time for most people, it’s not hard to imagine that some of the artists, distributors, and even buyers of these cards are too busy to really stop and scrutinize them, which is how one nengajo ended up with a very unusual ram on it.

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Yamanashi zoo’s roly-poly resident raccoon is ridiculously round, remarkably cute

Many of Japan’s tasty regional delicacies don’t exactly qualify as low-calorie dining options, such as Fukuoka’s pork stock ramen, Osaka’s deep-fried kushikatsu skewers, and Nagoya’s miso pork cutlets. However, Yamanashi Prefecture’s local specialty, hoto, is relatively healthy, as it’s primarily a vegetable stew with miso broth.

With that in mind, the fact that a zoo in Yamanashi is home to a raccoon who’s so plump he’s almost spherical is a little ironic…and also pretty adorable.

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Check out these amazing Ghibli-inspired tattoos

It’s no secret that most of us here at RocketNews24 are big fans of Hayao Miyazaki and the Studio Ghibli movies, though to my knowledge, none of us have yet inked that adoration on our skin. That might be about to change, though, with these amazing Ghibli tattoos to inspire us!

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Japanese netizens show love for “English Toast” which is neither English nor Toast

With such a wide range of delicious and delectable (and, erm, shall we say unusualsnack foods available in Japan,  it’s a little hard to understand when people get whipped up into a frenzy over plainer options, such as toast and bread crusts fried with sugar. Now, twitter users in Japan are getting their tastebuds in a twist over the confusingly-named “English Toast”, a sweet snacklet that first became popular in Aomori prefecture and has now expanded into a whole range of conbini sandwiches. But what on earth is it?

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Canada-based artist stuns with new realistic take on Naruto characters

November 10, 2014 went down as one of the darkest days in manga fandom history as popular manga Naruto finally came to an end. The manga has brought joy and tears to fans over the past 15 years, so to send off the series and express gratitude to its creator, Masashi Kishimoto, fans around the world have taken to the internet with messages of thanks and fan art. And among them is a series of renditions of Naruto characters so beautiful and realistically portrayed that we almost had to get out our box of tissues again.

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Japan serves up yet another weird pizza, this time topped with cookie-filled chocolate bars!

No one ever said pizza couldn’t be sweet, right? Well, certainly no one in Japan! We’ve already introduced to you the high-sugar Kit Kat pizza and caramel marshmallow pizza, and now we’ve heard that Aoki’s Pizza, a chain based in Japan’s Tokai Region, will soon be offering up a unique creation of its own: the Pizza Black Thunder!

Could this chocolate and cookie laden creation be the ultimate sweet pizza?

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Posing like a (video game) boss! Villainous and heroic cats look ready for a role-playing epic

Lighting is an important part of photography. Arrange some candles on a table one way before you press the shutter button, and you’ve got a snapshot of a romantic dinner. Position everything differently, and you’ve got a spooky séance.

The same goes for if you’re photographing your pet cat. Under certain conditions, he might look like a fluffy little fuzzball, but if the flash reflects off his eyes just right, suddenly he’ll transform into a sinister monster, like this guy here.

Actually, Internet users in Japan recently put together what looks like the core cast of a fantasy role-playing game, with villains and heroes alike represented.

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The giant iPhone 6 Plus is most popular in Asia

Asian consumers are in love with the iPhone 6 Plus, according to a report published Thursday by AppLovin, a mobile ad network.

AppLovin looked at data from the more than 25 ad requests it processes every day, and found that the global split between iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users is about 80/20 right now.

But in some Asian countries, the 6 Plus is much more popular.

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From mermaids to monsters: The taxidermy mummies on show in Japan【Photos】

In the mid-nineteenth century, a showman named P. T. Barnum exhibited an oddity named the Fiji mermaid. Barnum’s mummified mermaid, one of the most famous hoaxes of all time, is widely believed to have been the body of a young monkey sewn onto a fish tail, and had been bought from Japanese sailors for $6,000.

Ningyo (Japanese mermaids – the word literally means “person-fish”) have a long and interesting history, but they aren’t the only ancient fake taxidermy on show in Japan. Across the country are all kinds of other fascinating specimens: “mummies” of tengu, kappa and even dragons.

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Deal of the day – Give this hamster’s Vine video six seconds, and he’ll give you a huge smile

It’s one of the sad facts of life that it generally takes longer to build up a good mood than to tear one down. A quick bit of bad luck can ruin your afternoon (just ask anyone who’s been pooped on by a pigeon), but blissful joy is often the result of building off a string of successes and blessings.

We say “often” because sometimes you stumble across a shortcut to a genuine smile or heartwarming laugh, which is definitely the case with the twist ending to this short video of a hamster having its ear stroked.

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Green tea ramen? Of course we had to give it a try!【Taste Test】

There’s no denying that we love our ramen here in Japan. The dish is so well-loved, in fact, that it can be called one of the national comfort foods of Japan, and one of the factors that make ramen so intriguing is the fact that there are so many variations of it across Japan, from the miso-based ramen of Hokkaido in the north to the pork-stock based tonkotsu ramen of Kyushu in the south.

Surrounded as we are by all the different ramens served at countless shops throughout the country, it’s rare that we see a ramen that surprises us with its originality, but when we heard about a ramen with a soup containing stock made from green tea — and expensive gyokuro tea at that —  we have to say we were positively fascinated, and we knew we had to try it ourselves. Green tea ramen, here we come!

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New stir-in powders promise to make beer even more delicious with boosted malt, fruit flavors

Last year, we talked about seasoning maker Ajigen’s Magic Powder that Makes Ramen More Delicious. Weird as the idea seemed initially, the more we thought about it, we realized it could be just the thing for people with a desire for a tasty meal but no time or motivation to cook for themselves.

That said, if your schedule is so packed you need to prepare dinner in three minutes, we’re guessing you also can’t spare the time for a trip to the bar and a pour of some flavorful and unique craft brew. Thankfully, Ajigen is back again with more magic powder, this time for your beer.

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Why almost all Japanese people hate root beer

When living in another country it’s only natural to miss some of the tastes of home. In my case, the extreme rarity of root beer has been a source of sadness. Time to time I’ll come across a supermarket or import shop that carries it and am sure to pick up a can despite its often exorbitant price of around 200 yen (US$1.69).

The reason for the absence of the drink on the Japanese market is obvious though. Although root beer has its share of detractors even in its home of America, the sheer number of people who can’t stand the stuff in Japan is huge. What is it that makes root beer so overwhelmingly disgusting to Japanese people?

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Japanese baseball fans disappointed by filthy conditions visiting Major Leaguers left dugout in

Every year, Major League Baseball sends a delegation of players to Japan for a series of games against a team of Japanese all-stars. Since the contests are held after the conclusion of both the World and Japan Series, the players are all technically in their off-seasons, but there’s still some impressive skill on display.

The teams and fans all seem to come away with good memories of the games, but the Major Leaguers also left something behind: a ton of trash in their dugout at Tokyo Dome.

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