Japan

Even samurai ran late! Newly discovered document shows one warrior’s excuse to his boss

We’ve all been there, waking up late after the alarm didn’t go off or just hitting the snooze button a few hundred times too many. Sometimes the excuses are legitimate and sometimes everyone knows you didn’t actually get food poisoning while rescuing a Girl Scout troop from a box of bad cookies. Still, calling in sick has a timed-honored tradition of hard (and lazy) workers for decades — and, in fact, for centuries!

A recently discovered document on display at the Tochigi Prefectural Museum reveals the reason why one daimyo (samurai warlord) was late to an important meeting with his boss, the famous Toyotomi Hideyoshi. We’re guessing “Sorry, boss, I have a sore throat!” probably didn’t cut it with one of Japan’s great unifiers…

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Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto shares the genre of his next work, wants it to surpass Naruto

Masashi Kishimoto, who turns 41 this year, made it very clear last month that after 15 years of drawing his hit manga series Naruto he wants to take a break from the world of ninja. But being a manga artist and all, he’s constantly thinking up potential character and story ideas for the future. In fact, it turns out that he’s already decided on some details about his next big work–along with the fact that he intends to make it into a bigger hit than the story of the legendary Konoha ninja himself.

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Japanese netizens support foreign comic after one Japanese man’s discriminatory remark

Jason Atsugiri is currently one of the hottest comedians on Japanese television. His “Why Japanese people?!” skit is so popular even kids who have zero English skills have mastered imitating his staged outbursts.

Because of that, when the comic tweeted about a possibly discriminatory remark he received at Tsukiji Fish Market during a shoot, Japanese netizens were surprised to see he didn’t lose his cool. Impressed, the post has been favorited and passed on by many, inspiring a much-welcomed discussion on how not to treat foreigners.

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These amazing Furoshiki Shoes from Vibram are designed to literally wrap around your feet!

Before we had bags in Japan, we used furoshiki — elegant cloths that come in various colors and decorative patterns that can be used to wrap and carry various items. While you don’t really see them in daily use now, furoshiki are quite useful in their own way, as they can be folded and tied in different ways and be used to wrap items of varying shapes and sizes, in addition to being eco-friendly.

But it turns out that the traditional cloths have recently served as the inspiration for a completely new and unexpected product — Furoshiki Shoes that wrap around your feet!

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Western artist challenges Japanese 2020 Olympic logo designer with new logo proposal

So, a little while back there was a bit of a kerfuffle about the official 2020 Tokyo Olympics logo being at least partially plagiarized by designer Kenjiro Sano.

It appears the logo bears more than a passing resemblance to a Belgian theater’s logo design, with the centerpiece typeface structure of the 2020 Olympics logo definitely looking like it was lifted wholesale from the Belgian firm’s design.

With the fate of Sano’s logo in question, a western designer has submitted his own version for consideration by the Olympic Committee and it is, uh… eccentric.

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Upcoming PS Vita game sees protagonist’s bust expand with every creature slain

Omega Labyrinth is D3Publisher’s new game which mixes rogue-like game play with the ever popular all-girls’ school setting. Those who aren’t familiar with D3Publisher’s Japanese games may recognize the company under their D3Publisher of America banner which currently develops match-three type games for the mobile market.

Japanese gamers, meanwhile,  know the publisher for their…ahem…more explicit games, so they know that Omega Labyrinth must have more to it than meets the eye. Fear not gamer fans, Omega Labyrinth is going to deliver you exactly what you have been asking for, a game where the more monsters you kill, the larger the girl’s chest gets.

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Japanese Twitter hashtag warns: “Dis this in my prefecture and you’re going to hell”

There’s some things you just don’t do when you visit other places. You wouldn’t go around dissing the champagne in France, the pyramids in Egypt, or the Red Sox in Boston. Disrespecting a town or country’s claim to fame is liable to get you glares and maybe even fists from the locals.

And the same thing goes for Japan. Each region is very protective of its local specialties, so much so that they’ve created a Twitter hashtag to show everyone exactly what they should be wary of disrespecting if they visit.

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Shiba Inu stuck in a bush is so cute you’ll soil yourself!【Photos】

Here at RocketNews24, adorable and fluffy Shiba Inu are kind of our thing. So when this little guy cropped up on Twitter, we just had to share. After all it’s not every day that dogs grow from shrubberies!

Japanese Twitter user @Yamamochi223 stumbled upon this cute hedge-dog and posted the pictures on Twitter, planting the seeds of a new internet star. Will it blossom into an international scent-sation? Read on to find out!

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Responding to a public appeal for help, netizens crack deceased grandfather’s cryptic code

We love a good mystery here at RocketNews24 but this recently discovered cryptic contract had us scratching our heads.

A Japanese net user recently shared a photo of a contract of some sort written in secret code on a piece of notebook paper. The document was discovered amongst a number of articles left behind by their grandfather, who passed away last year from a sudden heart attack. Unable to solve the secret message the poster put out a call to fellow netizens to see if anyone could help decipher the code.

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Mesmerized kitty thinks something’s hiding inside the sofa, can’t keep his paws off it【Video】

In desperate need of a laugh? This little kitty is convinced that something’s hiding inside his owner’s sofa. Is the joke on him, or will we be the ones in for a surprise? Sit back and let this cat-being-a-cat tickle your funny bone!

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New Super NES controller battery pack brings some retro street cred to your mobile charging needs

We’ve all got at least one thing that we carry around with us that could use a quick recharge on the road. For most of us it’s our cell phone, but it’s not inconceivable to carry three, four or even more gadgets that could use a juice boost while away from home.

There are plenty of on-the-go solutions available to you, but soon you can buy one that says as much about you as all the portable gaming systems you carry around.

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Losing high school baseball team’s manners continue to impress, this time at a hotel

We’ve seen impeccable displays of manners from Japanese high school baseball teams on many occasions before, from the respectful bowing of Yamagata Chuo High School to the classy stadium-cleaning deed of Kyukoku just the other day. It seems like the annual Koshien high school baseball tournament in Hyogo Prefecture really does bring out the best in the promising young players, as another team from Akita Prefecture has proven after being eliminated from this year’s tournament with their grand display of thanks in a regional hotel. 

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Round 2 of the ramen ice cream rumble – This time with real ramen! 【Taste test】

Last week, I stopped by the Cup Noodles Museum in Yokohama to try its just-released Cup Noodle Ice Cream, with its chives, shrimp, and all the other fixings of instant ramen. It was definitely an interesting experience, but I did have one complaint, which is that Cup Noodle Ice Cream doesn’t actually have any noodles in it. Technically, it should be called “Cup Noodle Topping Ice Cream.”

Thankfully, it turns out there actually is a place in Japan where you can get ice cream with ramen noodles mixed in. Since I suddenly found myself with the unlikely title of RocketNews24’s resident ramen ice cream expert, I figured it was time to go another round with this unorthodox class of dessert, and to crown a winner in this battle of the ramen ice creams.

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Animal cruelty on Mt. Fuji? We investigate horses in Japan’s tourist trade

A concerned reader recently contacted RocketNews24 with regard to what appears to be a case of animal cruelty on Mount Fuji. As animal lovers, we got right on the case and, while doing our research, found ourselves learning all about abuse issues related to horses and signs of neglect. Our research took us overseas to the U.S., where we sat down to interview a horse trainer who speaks candidly about the reasons animal cruelty is so hard to eliminate.

In this article, we address our reader’s concerns about horses being used to carry tourists from station to station on Mount Fuji. We’ll also learn about equine nutrition, exercise, and mental health.

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Uniqlo to offer four-day work week to working mothers

As we’ve looked at before, it’s hard being a working mom, juggling the important yet difficult goals of providing both the financial and emotional support children need. But while having to look for a new job because of incompatible work and family demands is never pleasant, it’s still a more viable option than finding new kids, as clothing retailer Uniqlo knows all too well.

The company has been having trouble retaining female employees with children, with many citing the need for more flexibility in their work schedule as their reason for leaving the company. In response, Uniqlo has announced that this autumn it will be offering full-time employees the option of a four-day work week.

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Feline Felynes feelin’ fine! Cats star in new Monster Hunter Diary commercials【Videos】

Japanese advertising companies aren’t stupid. They know what will get the attention of the masses – adorable cat videos! So when the creators of video game series Monster Hunter were looking for a new angle for their advertising campaign, they wisely chose to assemble the kitties for a range of super-cute commercials!

The result? Adorable cats in hats smooching iguanas, playing plastic fishing games, lazing around, yawning, and being generally fluffy and sweet!

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New Kyary Pamyu Pamyu video “Crazy Party Night” makes Halloween cute and colorful…in August

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is know for many things, but subtlety certainly is not one of them. The singer/model/crazy-in-a-cute-way-girl has released so many bizarre videos by now that we suspect the Oxford English Dictionary will eventually include a picture of her grinning face under the entry for “quirky.” And that’s why we love her!

So we were naturally excited when we saw that she released a new video titled “Crazy Party Night: Pumpkins Strike Back” today. The music was exactly as peppy and cute as you might expect, and the video was…well, it was definitely a Kyary Pamyu Pamyu video. Check it out after the jump!

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NINGEN ISU: This Japanese literary metal band will rock your butt off【Photos & Video】

When Mr. Sato asks you if you want to check out a band with him, you say yes. You don’t ask which band or check your schedule, you just say yes, because you know it’s going to be a good night. It also doesn’t hurt that I already knew he was talking about NINGEN ISU, whose name literally means “Human Chair,” a metal band in the vein of all our favorite old-school traditional metal heroes.

NINGEN ISU’s rise in popularity has been on a slow but powerful burn for decades, and with their upcoming performance at OzzFest this year, they are sure to be popping up on a quite a few radars. So check them out here now and get ready to tell your friends that you knew about these guys way back when!

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Time to ham it up at this chain of Japanese wine bars with all-you-can-eat prosciutto for 500 yen

Freshness Burger is a well-known fast food burger chain in Japan. A lesser-known fact would be that they’ve gone a little gourmet and also have a chain of cheap tapas-like wine bars called FreBar, which offers arguably even better value than Freshness Burger.

For just 500 yen (US$4) you can have as much cured ham (prosciutto) as you like in an hour courtesy of their current promotion, called nama hamu tabehodai in Japanese. Mr Sato, RocketNews24 Japan writer and food adventurer, couldn’t pass up this offer, but just how many plates could he get through?

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