Japan

Professional grade mind games: Japanese company dispatches hot dudes to make your man jealous

Poke deep enough into the corners of the Japanese service sector, and you’ll come across the class of businesses known as benri-ya. Literally meaning “convenience providers,” they exist to fill all the little needs that generally aren’t common or lucrative enough to have their own dedicated businesses. For example, female-run Support One offers personal shopping, dog walking, PC setup, and even substitute grave visitors.

Support One is also willing to help customers with white lies that make their daily life easier, such as providing companions who’ll pretend to be your friends or family members at social functions. Now, the company is expanding its catalogue of social trickery with its newest service, dispatching a hot guy to make your boyfriend jealous.

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Japanese pets find ways to keep warm despite the cold snap 【Photos】

It’s been unseasonably cold around Japan this week, sending most of us scurrying for those wooly mittens and knit caps in the back of the closet lest we lose a finger or ear to frostbite.

You’d think with the layers of fur and feathers they are already schlepping around, pets wouldn’t feel the falling temps quite as much, but if Twitter photos are any indication, they are looking just as hard as we are for ways to ward off Old Man Winter.

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Survey ranks convenience store rice balls – salmon, sea-dwelling poultry & plants steal the show

Known to many in the English-speaking world simply as rice balls, onigiri are as much a part of daily life in Japan as sandwiches are in the West. Although they’re often eaten as snacks or included along with a handful of other items as a packed lunch, for many Japanese onigiri are the ultimate comfort food; something that, no matter which part of the country they find themselves in, they can easily make or pick up from a convenience store.

Of course, store-bought onigiri can never come close to those pressed into shape by someone who knows their way around a rice cooker, but they always hit the spot nevertheless, and hundreds of thousands of these little lumps of savoury goodness are eaten every single day. But what are Japan’s most loved convenience store rice balls? And do tastes vary from chain to chain? Well, according to a recent survey, there are three onigiri fillings that Japan is especially fond of.

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Keep your flowers alive with this planter shaped like the forest god from Princess Mononoke

I don’t know about you, but I am not good with plants; I can never keep them alive. It’s okay though, because now I might stand a chance with pot planters designed to resemble the Shishi god from Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke.

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Visiting a maximum security shrine at the foot of the Narita airport runway

Flying into Narita International Airport, many travelers are surprised to learn they are almost 60 km outside of Tokyo and need to take an hour train ride to get into the city. Its location in rural Chiba Prefecture was chosen in the 1960s when the government realized the smaller Haneda airport could not keep up with the booming postwar air traffic in and out of Tokyo. Many locals protested the new airport that bulldozed over their formerly quiet lives and the bitter fight left the area with some very odd landmarks, such as a heavily secured and monitored shrine that sits almost directly in front of one of the runways.

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Delicious, foamy coffee art at home! We try new 3-D latte art machine “Awataccino”!

As some of our more creative and caffeine-addicted readers might recall, we recently reported that Japan is now supplying a variety of DIY latte-art related goods which will enable anyone to create awe-inspiring masterpieces at home. Of course, we were fascinated by the prospect of being able to stun friends and casual acquaintances with our barista-style foamy coffee sculpting skills. So when the opportunity to test out Takara Tomy’s Awataccino machine came around, we jumped at the chance!

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Forget shuriken: 10 stealthy and dangerous ninja tools you didn’t know existed

Growing up in the 90s, I was raised with the notion that ninja were teenage turtles, silent assassins or similar to the characters in Naruto. As much as we’d like to believe these were the reality, according to an interesting article from Listverse, the ninja that actually roamed the streets and castles as spies and assassins were humans who didn’t always dress in black (apparently they wore dark blue), and they didn’t regularly use the famous weapons we know so well.

So, if they weren’t using shuriken and long swords all of the time, what did they use? Researchers have been investigating the ancient style for decades and have uncovered some pretty amazing and ingenious items that you would never even dream of. There are probably thousands of ninja tools and techniques out there, but we’ll just focus on the few that Listverse brought into the open.

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New smartphone game turns car models into anime girls with model-worthy looks

For generations, automobile marketers have relied a tried and true method. Whether it’s an elegantly dressed woman stepping out of a luxury sedan in a TV commercial or a mini-skirted model draped over the hood of a sports coupe at an auto show, a quick way to make a car look appealing is by showing it next to an appealing-looking woman.

The company Autoc One is taking that concept one step further, though. What if, instead of showing a cute girl next to the car, you made the car itself a cute girl? You’d end up with something like Shanago Collection, Autoc One’s smartphone game starring anthropomorphized cars from Mazda, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, and more.

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Nausicaä re-imagined as an action movie! Check out this awesome fan art!

We love awesome art here at RocketNews24, especially when it features characters that are close to our hearts being re-imagined in different and striking ways. Recently, we brought you some pretty sweet fan art depicting a scene from Princess Mononoke. Now we’d like to continue the Ghibli theme by sharing this piece that re-imagines Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind as an action movie! There’s Nausicaä in her Ghibli form above, but the fan art itself can be viewed after the jump!

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Hi-Chew is such a hit that the Japanese candy is getting its own factory in North Carolina

Every time I go back to the States to see my family, before hopping on the plane, I swing by the convenience store to pick up some treats for my nieces and nephew. I figure if I can’t do anything about being “Uncle Who Only Visits Once a Year,” then I’m at least going to be “Uncle Who Only Visits Once a Year, but Brings Candy!”

The stuff I get for them isn’t anything particularly fancy. A few pieces of melon bread, whatever the newest mix of matcha green tea and chocolate is, and maybe a few packs of fruity Hi-Chew candy. This year might be my last chance to score some easy points with that last one, though, since in 2015 the makers of Hi-Chew are opening a factory in the U.S. to satisfy America’s sweet tooth with Japanese candy.

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Boob shirt comedy is off to the races, creativity is overflowing【Photos】

The other day, we brought you a new shirt that took Twitter by storm. Is this the peak of high fashion in Japan? Or just a shirt that reveals a couple of peaks? It didn’t take long for Internet users to take this shirt aimed at those well endowed and find more creative uses for it. And it’s not only women who are clamoring for the turtleneck this holiday season. Check out the pictures to see who else will be buying one and what they’ll be using it for!

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Freelance illustrator wows Twitter users with daily pictures of high school girls

One of the great things about the Internet is giving freelance and independent artists the opportunity to connect with audiences who might otherwise not have been able to access their work. Whether it’s mind-melting masks or fabulous Final Fantasy fan art, there’s something for everyone and a market for nearly anything.

Kazuharu Kina might just be one of the best examples of a niche Japanese artist making it big on the Internet–and once you see his illustrations, you’ll probably understand why.

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Asada sisters nail it with “Let it Go” figure skating routine

It can’t be overstated just how in love with Disney’s Frozen Japan is. The return to classic “princess tale” Disney form was received especially well by the Japanese – notorious consumers of all things cute that they are.

Of course, this means that you can’t go five minutes in Japan without hearing either the English or popular Japanese version of the film’s hit single, “Let it Go.” It’s long since become grating to hear and we really wish they’d just, er… stop.

But if there’s one way to send the song out with a bang before everyone mercifully, um… gives it up, it’s this awesome figure skating routine by Japan’s Asada sisters.

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Japanese net user shares clever idea for a (not so easy) DIY doghouse

With the holidays swiftly approaching, what better time is there to pamper your pet pooch with a brand new doggie house? While store-bought dog houses may leave you strapped for cash, thanks to a tip from one Japanese forum user, now anyone can build their own doghouse using ordinary household items.

A quick word of caution before you begin–you may want to measure your dog beforehand, unless you want to wind up like the poor pooch in the following pictures!

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Dark Horizon textbooks go beyond “Hello my name is…” to “Who are you calling a bitch, bitch!”

Those who have taught English at a school in Japan would likely have encountered the New Horizon textbook series. Starting off with the basics of English, it takes students through a series of Rockwellian incidents such as “my grandma who goes to baseball games, but doesn’t know the rules.”

One man who has clearly gone through these idyllic situations one too many times is Brain Reyes. Taking New Horizon’s main characters ten years into their bleak futures, he has written a new version of the English textbook: Dark Horizon.

A piece which seems created to exorcise the memories of New Horizon for both student and teacher alike, it also provides uniquely useful phrases you’re not likely to find in any other textbook including “I love you like a fat kid loves cake” and “That’s not just any stack of boxes, that’s my house.”

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Historic Kyoto temple first in Japan to offer gay weddings

Gay marriage is still not legal in Japan, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t options for LGBT couples dreaming of tying the knot in Nippon. Joining big venues like Tokyo Disneyland, an ancient Zen temple in the picturesque city of Kyoto is offering gay weddings in traditional Japanese style.

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New ‘Yu-Gi-Oh!’ film site launches countdown to…something!

After months of silence, Yu-Gi-Oh! launched an official movie teaser site on December 8, featuring a mysterious countdown clock and two silhouetted characters.

4K Media announced that a new Yu-Gi-Oh! movie was in development back in June, and that they were seeking a distributor for countries outside of Asia. Well, it looks like they’ve got something else to announce now!

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New, Japanese-made Godzilla movie to start filming next summer

Terrible as it was, there was one good thing that came out of the 1998 American Godzilla movie. It was apparently so bad that franchise creator Toho Co. couldn’t bear to let it be the final on-screen appearance for the King of the Monsters, so the company made six more of its own Godzilla movies, culminating with 2004’s Godzilla: Final Wars.

Now, after a 10-year break, Toho is going back to its deepest kaiju well, announcing that a new, Japanese-produced Godzilla film will start filming next year.

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Snickers may have come up with their best campaign ever: A free barber shop

That delicious combination of peanuts, caramel and nougat all coated in chocolate known as Snickers has been around for ages. But I always wondered why it was called “Snickers.” Apparently named after a horse belonging to the Mars candy dynasty, it seemed like an odd name despite its inherent zip.

In what initially looks like an even weirder move, Snickers will open a barbershop in Omotesando, Tokyo giving away free haircuts for a limited time this month. Although seemingly random on the surface, a quick glance at the choice of hairstyle will show you why. These styles will guarantee you get snickers everywhere you go.

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Japanese iPad drummer recreates rock beats with lightning-fast fingers【Video】

Spending your time bashing out wild beats on the drums might sound like heaven for rock music fans, but installing a drum kit in your house is a sure way to make the neighbours hate you, especially in Japan where most landlords prohibit the use of musical instruments.

Thankfully, these days there is of course a digital alternative, and some people have become so good at iPad drumming that in its own way it can be as impressive as the real thing.

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