Japan

Cooking magic — Take a look at this beautiful water cake turned into Dragon Quest slime!

Cooking magic — Take a look at this beautiful water cake turned into Dragon Quest slime!

Remember the beautiful transparent water cakes we told you about back in June that we went all the way to Yamanashi Prefecture to try? Well, we might have expected it, but someone has come up with a fun, creative take on the water cake that has been delighting Japanese Internet users. And we have to say, we too are hugely impressed by the creation — Dragon Quest slime in a clear, jelly-like form!

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Say goodbye to carved pumpkins because fruit faces will scare your socks off this Halloween

Say goodbye to carved pumpkins because fruit faces will scare your socks off this Halloween

What do you think the face above is made from? It might look like a carefully carved wooden sculpture but the truth is, it’s not made from wood at all. It’s made from something a lot greener and sweeter; something that once fell to the ground and inspired a man called Isaac. And got two people banished from the Garden of Eden.

Yes, it’s the humble apple, and this year it’s more scary than sweet. Soon you’ll be swapping your pumpkins for apples because this easy-to-create work of art will be the best way to keep people off your porch this Halloween!

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Kobe woman’s cleaning interrupted by discovery of enormous artillery shell in her closet

Kobe woman’s cleaning interrupted by discovery of enormous artillery shell in her closet

If it’s been a while since you’ve cleaned out your cabinets and closets, you can be surprised at what you find inside them. Sometimes, you’ll uncover good things, like the time I was straightening up and came across an envelope with 5,000 yen (US$49.50) which I’d earmarked for some purpose, then forgotten about. Other times, the surprises aren’t so pleasant, like the time in my old, first-floor apartment where I lifted up a box and found a scurrying cockroach underneath.

As disgusting as the creepy critter was, though, in pure shock value it pales in comparison to what a woman in Japan found in her home: an artillery shell.

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Sip your tea like an anime villain with high-class Gundam porcelain cups and vases

Sip your tea like an anime villain with high-class Gundam porcelain cups and vases

In the past, we’ve seen multiple cars decked out with special paint jobs and accessories honoring Mobile Suit Gundam. But what if you want to show your love for anime’s longest-running mecha series, in a slightly more elegant kind of way? Is there any way for you to drop a large sum of cash on Gundam merchandise not to park in your garage, but to place on your living room mantle or dining room table?

There is now, with high-quality Gundam porcelain.

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Batman spotted cruising the Japanese expressways as he trades Gotham City for Chiba Prefecture

Batman spotted cruising the Japanese expressways as he trades Gotham City for Chiba Prefecture

As a car-loving foreigner living in Japan, for me, any cruise around Tokyo can suddenly turn into an automotive photo safari. Japan has tons of cool domestic cars which were never exported to the U.S., and whenever I come across one in the wild, I feel the need to whip out my camera for a few photos.

But while I’m happy my photo collection includes snapshots of Mazda AZ-1s and Subaru 22B Imprezas, motorists in Chiba Prefecture recently spotted something even rarer, in the form of a street-legal trike being ridden by none other than Batman!

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Train groper escapes along tracks at Ebisu station in Tokyo

Train groper escapes along tracks at Ebisu station in Tokyo

A man suspected of groping a woman on the JR Yamanote line escaped by jumping onto the tracks at JR Ebisu station in Tokyo on Thursday night. His actions delayed trains along the Yamanote line for about 30 minutes, TBS reported Friday.

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Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art forced to cover up “obscene” photos following complaint

Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art forced to cover up “obscene” photos following complaint

When police arrested Japanese artist Rokudenashiko last month for distributing 3-D printer plans for models of her vagina, the world was at once baffled and outraged. But despite all the fuss that was raised over the artist’s arrest, it looks like the Japanese police are at it again, this time targeting the Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art for an exhibition featuring nude photography by the Japanese photographer Ryudai Takano.

Though no one has been arrested, the museum made headlines after it partially covered some of Ryudai’s photographs with cloth after local police deemed the images “obscene.” However, many in Japan are questioning the legitimacy of the cops’ actions.

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Tohoku aid charity Knit For Japan attempts world record blanket

Tohoku aid charity Knit For Japan attempts world record blanket

More than three years on from the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami, there are still roughly 260,000 people living in temporary housing facilities. Since Tohoku gets mighty cold in the winter, sending these evacuees some lovely hand-made afghans is a woolly hug that lets them know they are not forgotten.

But that didn’t go far enough for Yokohama-based knitting teacher Bernd Kestler, who wanted to send them the biggest blanket the world has ever seen!

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“Again with the ninjas…” Japan reacts to the American Yoshinoya commercial online

“Again with the ninjas…” Japan reacts to the American Yoshinoya commercial online

One of the great joys of RocketNews24 editors and writers is getting to see how fast food chains operate in different countries. The sometimes slight and sometime huge changes to the menu can really give us more insight into the local cultures than you might expect. However, for the most part these multinational restaurants originate from the USA, so it’s really a special treat to see how the huge gyudon (beef bowl) chain Yoshinoya looks when localized for American customers’ tastes.

Recently a commercial for the salaryman’s favorite restaurant was posted on YouTube and drew some curious opinions from those back in its home country. The response was largely positive, especially regarding the American take on Yoshinoya food, but some wished the US would stop with the whole Japan = ninjas thing already.

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Wagashi chef crafts amazing edible characters with leftover scraps 【Photos】

Wagashi chef crafts amazing edible characters with leftover scraps 【Photos】

Wagashi are traditional Japanese sweets usually made from mochi, bean paste, or fruit.  If you’ve been to Japan or a nice Japanese restaurant, perhaps you enjoyed one sculpted to look like a flower, crane or some other very old-fashioned Japanese image.

Like most things in Japan, no matter how venerable, give it enough time and it will be kawaii-ified. Enter sweets shop Kuramoto Hinode, where a veteran wagashi chef has begun crafting anime and pop culture based sweets with leftover bits and bobs.

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Gene Kelly inspires short anime from Japan, captures hearts around the world

Gene Kelly inspires short anime from Japan, captures hearts around the world

If you’re feeling under the weather or just wanting to relax after a hard day, there are two things that can certainly pick you up and remind you of the bright side of life again: a Hollywood musical from the golden era, and a good animated cartoon from Japan. It’s amazing how warm, animated tones and catchy tunes can capture your senses and hug you like an old friend just when you need it the most.

Now, a Japanese animator has melded the two feel-good genres with a short, two and a half-minute animation that pays homage to a Gene Kelly tap dance routine from the 1952 american musical Singin’ in the Rain. It’s proving to be so cute that it’s attracting attention from around the world. We take a look at the video and see why this cute girl is gathering so many admirers.

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Japanese Twitter users have discovered ArtPose, and they can’t stop playing with it!

Japanese Twitter users have discovered ArtPose, and they can’t stop playing with it!

Being an illustrator is definitely one of the coolest jobs in the world. It requires a ton of work and dedication, but there’s something undeniably magical about the way artists create something out of nothing but ink and pencil. However, even the best artist sometimes needs a hand when it comes to anatomy, which would explain why poseable models are always popular. After all, the morgue would be packed if every artist had to cut open a corpse to learn how the body works!

So it’s little surprise that an app for the iPhone, called ArtPose, has recently been making waves on Twitter in Japan. But the reason for its popularity might not be what you expect!

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Virtual girlfriend technology in Japan on track with drink-sharing simulation for Oculus Rift

Virtual girlfriend technology in Japan on track with drink-sharing simulation for Oculus Rift

As the virtual reality headset Oculus Rift inches closer to its commercial release, virtual girlfriend technology in Japan has been make huge strides. Japanese developers have already found ways to sleep next to Hatsune Miku, sleep with Hatsune Miku, and even be Hatsune Miku. With those essential milestones out of the way, it was time to focus on the more subtle things.

One guy by the name of Negipoyoshi has created a more tranquil Hatsune Miku experience by designing a simulated drink sharing application that allows you to sit with the blue-haired vocaloid on a sunny patio by the sea as you share a single drink with two straws.

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Silicon cyber cats take over the gaming world, one Nintendo 3DS at a time

Silicon cyber cats take over the gaming world, one Nintendo 3DS at a time

Cats, in all their various colours and sizes, are continuing on their path to world domination. Not content with the hours that owners spend lavishing attention on Nintendo 3DS consoles, their latest exercise in shape-shifting has them appearing as soft silicon sheaths designed to hug and protect your handheld system.

Not only will they keep your console scratch-free, these cats promise to keep your friends pleasantly amused, especially if you just have to take time out once in a while to reach that next level in the game. Best of all, anytime is playtime, as these feline companions will travel with you anywhere you go!

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Why Twitter is awesome: Yo-kai Watch in different art styles

Why Twitter is awesome: Yo-kai Watch in different art styles

In case you hadn’t heard, the newest big hit in Japan is the not-Pokémon-sensation Yo-kai Watch. The franchise is about kids who find and train youkai, “spirits” from Japanese folklore, and then pit the trained creatures against evil youkai, making it absolutely nothing like Pokémon. At all.

Well, while some of us may be skeptical that this isn’t just a palette-swapped Pokémon, there is no doubt of the franchise’s insane popularity! In addition to inspiring stock market confidence, it looks like the Yo-kai Watch is also inspiring artists who are sharing their works on Twitter. That’s a win-win for everyone involved!

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Yamagata high school baseball team becomes Twitter sensation with their impeccable manners

Yamagata high school baseball team becomes Twitter sensation with their impeccable manners

The 96th National High School Baseball Championship, better known as Summer Koshien, is now underway in Hyogo Prefecture. In other words, Japan is once again swept up by baseball fever.

The championship takes the form of a single elimination tournament between the regional champions from each of Japan’s 47 prefectures (Hokkaido and Tokyo are both allowed two teams each). One of the teams this year, which hails from northern Japan’s Yamagata Prefecture, has become an especially hot topic online, even though they were recently knocked out in the third round. The reason for their popularity is not only because of their skill, but also for their unbelievably well-mannered conduct off of the field. Introducing the team that has now become known as the most polite high school baseball team in all of Japan.

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Amazing real-time projection mapping technology blurs line between fantasy and reality 【Video】

Amazing real-time projection mapping technology blurs line between fantasy and reality 【Video】

Projection mapping is a technology we seem to be hearing about quite often these days, and you may have seen it being used at various events or amusement park shows. But the video that we’re sharing with you today makes use of a highly unexpected and unusual surface to create a series of projection mapped images quite unlike anything we’ve seen before. In fact, the technology used in the video is so visually convincing that it seems to blur the line between reality and fantasy, and once you see it, we think you’ll be impressed by it too!

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Foodies in Japan can’t stop freaking out over how good peaches and mozzarella tastes

Foodies in Japan can’t stop freaking out over how good peaches and mozzarella tastes

Twitter and Instagram has been buzzing about a new dish to hit Japanese kitchens: sweet peaches mixed with mozzarella cheese. And based on the reviews written by social-media-loving cooks in Japan, it’s the greatest dish in the history of food. Let’s take a closer look at how to rustle up this interesting grub and read some glowing reviews.

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Pizza Hut in Japan is now run by four bossy felines in new adorable campaign

Pizza Hut in Japan is now run by four bossy felines in new adorable campaign

In Japan, there’s the phrase “neko no te mo karitai” (literally “want to borrow even a cat’s hand”), meaning that you’re so busy, you even want the cat to help. Well, Pizza Hut took this idiom to heart in its new campaign, hiring four rough-and-tumble cats to manage a franchise called Pizza Cat! As you’ll see in the dramatic “movie trailer,” these cats are fired up and can’t wait to rescue people who’re too busy to prepare dinner.

Read on to learn more about the comical and kawaii campaign, and to watch a few of the 15-second promotional videos that reveal what would happen if cats really lent a paw. Plus, if you live in Japan you may even have a chance to win a Pizza Hut hat for cats. So are felines one opposable thumb away from world domination, or are we slowly approaching a utopia in which pets will fetch us pizza? And hey, didn’t Samurai Pizza Cats already get started on both?

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Boys love posing book shows you how to draw two guys frolicking by that legendary pool!

Boys love posing book shows you how to draw two guys frolicking by that legendary pool!

I’m no expert, but I’m guessing that one of the reasons why manga is so huge in Japan is not only because the Japanese have been creating manga in all sorts of genres that appeal to various audiences, but also because they have a spread of guidebooks and reference material available to aid budding manga artists along the way.

I mean, there are even illustration guidebooks that specifically teach artists how to draw men’s butts, what else isn’t there? Well, if you’ve ever wanted a posing reference for drawing two men frolicking by the pool, they have a book for that. Just in case you were wondering, that’s just one of the various kinky situations featured in said book!

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