Japan

The most famous cat in Japan shows us exactly how he fits his chubby body in a box

Cats have been trying to shove themselves into boxes two sizes too small even before YouTube and filming your pet’s every waking moment became a thing. Maru, Japan’s most popular and arguably cutest cat, has made a name for himself by adopting the “If it fits, I sits” philosophy. His latest video, titled “-Plastic box and Maru.-” offers us a clear view of exactly how this sleepy Scottish Fold crams himself into the tiniest of spaces.

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The toy you’ve always wanted: Action-figure you

Do you ever have those days when you wonder what you would look like with a six-pack, throwing a punch, or literally bending over backwards to do something, but you don’t have enough confidence in your own strength and flexibility to actually try? Have you gotten tired of your usual action figures, wishing it was you fighting the bad guys? Well, you don’t have to wonder or wish anymore with this fully moveable action figure made to look just like you!

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Cute, snack-loving Japanese parakeet proves even birds go into food comas

It’s no secret that we’re big fans of the Japanese language here at RocketNews24, but that’s not to say we don’t have any issues with it. For example, Japanese doesn’t really have a good equivalent for “food coma.”

We can understand certain words that are tied up in cultural or historical context not existing in other languages, but the absence of food coma in Japanese seems like a pretty big oversight. After all, everyone occasionally zones out after a really satisfying meal, whether your native language is English or Japanese…or if you happen to be a parakeet.

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Help one-million-year-old hag get back her glamorous good looks in new app

Looking for a new app to pass the time? Why not give Hag of the one million-year-old a try! Tap the screen and work your magic to get the hideous old hag back to her apparently stunning good looks (unconfirmed) of yesteryear.

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Cautious consumers wary of McDonald’s free McNuggets, fear of tainted chicken lingers

Recently, we brought you the news that McDonald’s Japan is offering free chicken nuggets in a bid to restore consumer good will in the wake of the “Chickengate” scandal. As reported, expired Chinese chicken found its way into a range of fast food eateries’ products, sparking public fears of food poisoning. We’ve been curious as to how many people jumped at the chance for free but potentially tainted nuggets, (although McDonald’s Japan has now switched their chicken supplier from China to Thailand) and how many decided to steer clear. Luckily for us, Livedoor has conducted a survey of 1,000 participants to see how many would be willing to cash in a free chicken coupon. The results are… kind of a mix.

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Kawaii concrete? Japanese retailer selling cuddly tetrapods for a limited time only

When I first chanced upon these soft toys, I was really confused. By the word tetrapod, I thought the oddly shaped plushies were meant to resemble an entire classification of animals including myself and my neighbor’s cat. However, after doing some research, I discovered that tetrapods are actually concrete structures used in coastal water irrigation. And some genius decided that these should be made into limited-edition soft toys that belong in your room instead of next to the ocean.

These peculiar plushies are available for pre-order between October 18 to 26 only, so if you’re a fan of these huge solid blocks of concrete that cover a worryingly large amount of Japan’s coastline, hurry and grab them whilst stocks last!

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The plot thickens: Pizza Hut Japan’s feline employees disappear overnight, forcing store closure 【Video】

Back in August we brought you the news that Pizza Hut in Japan was now under the control of four bossy cats. Along with millions of other pizza and cat fans, we couldn’t get enough of the adorable antics of Tenchō, Hime, Dora and Detch as they manned (catted?) the phones, were startled by the sound of the cash register, and rode a rumba around the store.

This week, the chain announced the emergency closure of its Pizza Cat store, citing the mysterious disappearance of the four plucky feline workers. Where could they have gone? And why? We did some detective work to try and find out.

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2-D anime characters so cute, you just gotta pinch their cheeks

Anime fans in Japan have been trying to bring 2-D characters to our world, most notably with the help of virtual reality headset Oculus Rift. But now a recent meme brings a more wholesome and easily-attainable approach. All you have to do is draw your favorite anime or manga character on your hand and give it a tug. If you’ve ever encountered a fictional character that was so cute you were overcome with the uncontrollable urge to pinch its cheeks, this is the meme for you!

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How to make Ghost Forest Yakisoba and haunt your noodles for Halloween

Japanese cooking can be a little tricky, since many recipes involve a lot of complex prep work. Yakisoba, though, is a snap. The stir-fried noodle dish is quick and easy, and unlike more rigidly traditional Japanese fare, there’s a lot of room for putting your own spin on it by fiddling with the standard ingredient list of pork, carrots, and cabbage.

For example, with a few simple tweaks for Halloween you can whip up an awesome batch of Ghost Forest Yakisoba.

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Is that cute girl’s profile pic really anything like her ‘real’ face?

This compilation of the makeup transformations of Japanese girls has sparked debate on whether anyone shows their ‘real’ face on the internet any more, and just what counts as a ‘real’ face these days anyway. Read on to see more of the startling power of makeup and good lighting, and find out the point these women are trying to make.

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Detached female hand iPhone cases are here to provide…emotional comfort?

As awesome as smartphones are, do they really help us to better communicate with one another? Sure, it’s nice to be able to instantly talk with anyone, regardless of whether you’re at home or out and about, but there are certain things we lose by doing it with the help of technology. Even as mobile phones’ audio and video capabilities continue to improve, they’re still not perfect. Without talking face-to-face, you can’t pick up on every facial expression, hear each subtle change in inflection, or reach out and hold someone’s hand should the conversation turn emotional or romantic.

Unless you’re using this iPhone case that’s an eerily detailed replica of a human hand.

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Cats trapped in circles! Japanese blogger shows the best way to outsmart your kitty【Photos】

In a documentary about the making of Spirited Away, director Hayao Miyazaki is shown in his studio explaining how he wants a certain scene to look. When the dragon’s jaws are wrenched open, he says, it should look like a dog clenching its teeth, gums bared. Faced with blank stares at this analogy, he asks the animators if any of them have a dog. “I had a cat once”, offers up one young man. “A cat!” exclaims Miyazaki in despair, before whisking the entire team off to a vet’s surgery to have a closer look at some canine mouths.

Cats and dogs, as we know, are quite different, and one thing that sets them apart is cats’ contrariness. A dog’s reward is pleasing you, while a cat’s reward is pleasing itself. Getting a cat to do what you want, therefore, can be extraordinarily difficult. Unless, that is, you can manage to convince your cat that it made the decision all by itself.

From Japanese cat blog guremike, we bring you: the power of the magical cat-attracting circle. 

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New smartphone game turns your photos of real-world cats into in-game warriors

When designing a role-playing video game, there’s a tricky balance designers have to maintain. Many of today’s gamers aren’t interested in scouring the world map and non-essential dungeons to recruit new party members, but giving the player too few characters to play with makes the game feel dull and lacking in scale.

So the question is, how do you make the process of searching for new companions fun? If you’re mobile developer GeePlus, you let them take photos of cats on their smartphones, then turn those cute snapshots into in-game warriors.

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You’ll never want to stop cleaning with this penguin mop topper

There are a lot of things in this world that are better done with a buddy – getting coffee, taking walks, watching movies…cleaning. Yes, I said cleaning! While cleaning is probably the most dreaded chore out there, with a “Penguin SuiSui” cleaning partner you might never stop polishing those floors.

The Penguin SuiSui (suisui is a mimetic word expressing smoothness or unhindered work) is not like a high-tech Roomba, who will do the cleaning for you. He is, however, a low-tech buddy that will just keep you excited for the task at hand. He’s a fabric penguin with a hole in his back so you can slip him over the stick of your sweeper and he can swivel around the floor with you as you clean.

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Omedetou! Toyama Bay is inducted into The Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club

Toyama Bay (Toyama-wan, 富山湾), nestled between Toyama and Ishikawa Prefectures in the Hokuriku region of Japan, was formally inducted into the Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club on October 19. The bay is only the second place in Japan following Miyagi Prefecture’s Matsushima to be officially recognized by the global association. After doing some digging, we’ve discovered the incredible charms that the bay has to offer. Love mountains? Check. Love seafood? Double check. Keep reading after the jump to fall in love with Toyama Bay for yourself!

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Sorry Bambi – Venison burgers and hot dogs coming to Japanese fast food chain

While it doesn’t have nearly as many outlets as McDonald’s, MOS Burger, or Lotteria, Japan’s Becker’s hamburger chain provides a more upscale dining experience. Sure, it’s still fast food, but Becker’s prides itself on high quality ingredients, such as its fresh-baked bread, and relaxing ambiance.

Still, without the huge advertising budget of its larger rivals, Becker’s often flies under the radar of burger fans. They’ve got our undivided attention right now, though, as the chain is about to start selling venison burgers.

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Awesome iPhone cases made with traditional Hakata textiles give your device a timeless look

Aside from some of the best tonkotsu (pork stock) ramen in Japan, Fukuoka is famous for Hakata ori textiles. The merchant Mitsuda Yazaemon returned from his travels to China in 1235 with the techniques he would put to use in making the woven patterns, which proved to be so prized that they were even given as tribute to the shogun.

Hakata ori is still popular today, and it can often be seen in the sashes Fukuoka residents use to tie their kimono. If you’re looking for a more modern use, though, you can now order elegant Hakata ori covers for your iPhone, iPad, or Kindle.

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5 powerful reasons to be a woman in Japan 【Women in Japan Series】

It’s no secret that Japan continually lands at the bottom in global gender gap reports. In 2012, the World Economic Forum ranked Japan 101 in regard to women’s participation in the economy and politics. In 2013, Japan placed 105 (out of 135 countries), putting it behind Burkina Faso in gender equality.

Based on these findings, you may think it doesn’t seem like Japan is a very good country for women, but you’d be wrong. While there are huge shortcomings in gender gaps in the workplace, economy and politics, in other sectors of Japanese society some would would argue that Japanese women have “too much” power.

Let’s take a look at five areas where women are most powerful in Japan.

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Crimson-covered Hitachi Seaside Park: Beautiful, awesome, and easy to get to from Tokyo【Photos】

Last year, we sat amazed as we looked at pictures of Hitachi Seaside Park, where every autumn a hill covered in kochia shrubs turns a dazzling shade of crimson.

Then we sat crying as a storm on the day we’d planned to visit the park washed out our travel plans.

After 12 long months of moping, this week we finally got a second chance, and this time the weather was perfect. Interested in making the trip for yourself? Read on and we’ll tell you how.

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New first-class bus seats have built-in massage functions, internet access and… dictionary

Starting soon, you’ll be able to make the journey from Fukuoka to Tokyo with about as much style as you can get while riding an excruciatingly long night bus.

The Nisshi Nippon Railroad Co., which confusingly also apparently operates a bus line or two, says it will be installing the new “Premium Seats” on a very small selection of its newest buses. While we’ll admit there’s nothing all that luxurious about a bus seat, no matter how far the seat reclines and how fancy the amenities, this one comes with a pretty extensive list of perks:

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