Japan

Crowdfunding project seeks to create AI version of model Ai Shinozaki, gives her terrifying teeth

In Japan, models occupy a similar position to the one cherry blossoms do. While appreciative eyes across the country love to gaze upon them, that pleasure is fleeting. The flowers are notorious for the brief window between when their buds open and wither, and given the premium the Japanese modeling industry places on youth, gurabia idols (a class that covers women who pose in swimwear, lingerie, or other sexy outfits) don’t tend to have particularly long careers.

But you know what never gets older or ground down by the high-pressure showbiz life? Artificial intelligence constructs, which is there’s now a crowdfunding project to create an AI version of one popular Japanese model, and the preview video shows the prototype chatting, blinking, and showing its terrifying, terrifying teeth.

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Genius parents “trick” young children into not watching TV using clever kid logic

While television can be a useful way to distract children for a brief period of time, that usefulness can completely backfire on you when you can’t get them to stop watching TV. It gets especially hairy at night when you need them to go to sleep, but they are screaming bloody murder when you turn off Sesame Street.

Thankfully, a clever parent in Japan has an idea that distressed parents can try; just tell your little one to say, “Night night, Mr. TV.”

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Pufferfish or plane crashes? What causes more deaths in Japan?

Megadeth once said there are “99 ways to die” and while I’d hate to question their methodology in arriving at that conclusion, I’d wager that there are actually many more. Japan is no exception, of course. Despite the nation’s relatively low rate of violent crime there are plenty of natural disasters like earthquakes and volcanoes that can do us in. Giant hornets, cuisine that features plentiful raw meats, and poisonous fish are all parts of daily life in Japan as well.

But statistically speaking, just how dangerous are these things? Let’s find out with a morbidly fun game that we like to call “Which Causes More Deaths?”

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Japanese discount clothing chain selling swastika necklaces (also ugly tank tops)

In Japan, accessories are a big part of fashion for both women and men. Some stores even try to take the guesswork out of choosing what to pair with what by offering a shirt and necklace as a set.

But while that’s handy for guys who don’t have an eye for putting together an entire outfit from scratch, this pre-set bundle that’s got people in Japan talking seems to have gotten so wrapped up in trying to look cool that it forgot about simple things like world history or cultural sensitivity, as one Japaese clothing chain is selling a combo of a tank top and a necklace with a Nazi swastika on it.

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30 things that will go through your mind on a business trip to Tokyo, according to our Japanese writer

It is perhaps common knowledge by now that folks in Japan tend to go on business trips a lot. Whether this is actually true or an exaggeration, we can’t exactly say, but it certainly seems that there are a ton of workers moving around the country as part of their jobs. And it should go without saying that quite a few of them end up coming to Tokyo.

So, what is it like taking a business trip to Tokyo for someone who lives outside of Japan’s most populous metropolitan area? Read on to find out!

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Gold Saucer on the go! Final Fantasy VII out now for iOS devices with skippable battles

When Final Fantasy VII hit the PlayStation in 1997, it was one of the most graphically advanced games ever produced. For months leading up to the title’s release, gamers had been drooling over magazine previews plastered with work-in-progress screenshots of what developer Square was doing with its first foray into the bold new world of CD-based games and polygonal graphics.

Flash forward 18 years, and technology has progressed to the point that Final Fantasy VII looks pretty retro to most modern eyes. As a matter of fact, it’s so retro that not only is Square Enix is remaking it for the PlayStation 4, mobile phones now have enough power to run the original, which is why Final Fantasy VII has just been released in iOS form.

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Love costumes and karaoke? Shinjuku Cosplay Karaoke is just what you need! 【Pics & video】

Cosplay has certainly become of Japan’s most well-known and loved subcultures, exploding on the world stage partly thanks to the Internet and partly thanks to the ingenuity of many of its most fervent participants. Despite this, it can still be difficult to find and make friends in the cosplay community if you’re coming in alone, as with any other subculture. But it doesn’t need to be that way! The Japanese cosplay community is just that — a community — and some of its members are working to make sure people can get together and cosplay as often as possible.

Perhaps the most relaxed way to join the fun is to take part is Shinjuku CosKara, or Shinjuku Cosplay Karaoke! While singing in front of others might set your nerves on edge, the events are organized so that people can come, have fun, take lots of cool photos, and make friends. You needn’t worry about your warbling offending anyone either; half the fun of karaoke is doing it badly with a giant grin! So, come along as we take a look at the event and talk to some local cosplayers!

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Gorgeous acrylic men’s geta are more artwork than they are footwear

Geta are traditional Japanese wooden sandals, often still worn by men and women today along with yukata or kimono. They match perfectly with the classic look of traditional Japanese wear, and make a satisfying clip-clop sound on the ground as you walk.

But if you’ve spent any time at all wearing geta, you’ve probably wondered why anyone would want to put something that painful on their feet. Even so, there’s still something visually appealing about them, but we’ve just found some that really take the cake, and these works of art may just be more suited for a display case than they are for walking.

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New Dino-themed restaurant is already super popular, has rideable dinosaurs

Everyone loves the excitement of a good themed restaurant, and if you’re in Japan, you have plenty of options to choose from. There are ninja restaurants, jail-themed restaurants, hospital-styled restaurants, and more anime/manga themed cafes than you can shake a stick at.

With the whole world riding high on dinosaurs this year, it makes you wonder if anyone has ever tried a dinosaur restaurant before. Well you don’t have to wonder anymore, because Dinosaur – Ancient Times Restaurant and Bar opened in Yamato City in Kanagawa Prefecture this week! We sent our most dino-rific writer P.K. Sanjun to see if it was worth the 65-million-year wait.

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British musician collaborates with Japanese video game composers for stunning concept album

Music has been an essential part of the gaming experience for decades. From simple 8-bit tunes to orchestral compositions, the music of video games can be exceptionally beautiful. As such, it’s fair to say that composers of video game music enjoy a unique position in the entertainment world, straddling the line between being auteur artists and members of large teams of game creators. But what happens when you take the “video game” out of “video game music composition?” Something beautiful and unique!

We recently sat down and chatted with musician Smoke Thief about his new concept album and working renowned Japanese composers Manami Matsumae, Takahiro Izutani, and Saori Kobayashi. If you like video game music, you’ll definitely want to check out the new album Heart Beat Circuit!

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Forget hamsters, Shiba Inus have the chubbiest, most smooshable cheeks of all! 【Photos】

We may have a healthy obsession with cats and kitty welfare here at RocketNews24, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have plenty of love left over for our doggy friends, too. And Shiba Inus, with their friendly faces and big, brown eyes will always get an “aww” from us. Especially now we’ve realised that they have the most incredibly malleable, smooshable, stretchable cheeks in the animal kingdom!

Move over, hamsters, your reign as kings of the jowl are over! Check out this gallery of stretchy Shiba cheeks!

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Tokyo restaurant’s crazy huge rice omelet has 600 grams (1.3 pounds) of rice

It’s not uncommon to describe a meaty dish by listing how much beef it contains. McDonald’s has had plenty of success with the Quarter Pounder, and some American restaurants will tout their steaks as being 10 ounces or more.

But have you ever stopped to think about how much rice is on your plate? We recently sent one of our reporters to a restaurant in Tokyo to take on a rice omelet, one of Japan’s favorite comfort foods, made with a staggering 600 grams (1.3 pounds) of rice.

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Comiket queues aren’t getting any shorter and otaku aren’t getting any more patient【Video】

NatsuComi, or Summer Comiket, is now over and done with for another half a year after bringing together anime fans from all over the Japan, and indeed the world, in the sweltering summer heat. Ridiculous amounts of money were spent, litres of sweat were released into the atmosphere, and bizarre and beautiful cosplays went viral.

For three days each Summer and Winter, the convention center Tokyo Big Sight is turned into an otaku paradise, but for people working in the area it can be a nightmare. Legions of volunteers make sure the con runs smoothly, but there’s also the regular employees working at the nearby restaurants, cafes, and train station who have to prepare for the huge influx of people.

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Japanese high school baseball players are all class, immediately clean stadium after road loss

Any good athlete obviously needs some measure of speed, strength, and stamina, but the list of necessities starts getting much longer if we’re talking about good student athletes. Youth sports are supposed to be as much about developing character as physical skills, so any proper high school athletic program should want its players to be just as dedicated to sportsmanship and integrity as they are to on-the-field performance.

That’s why we think Fukuoka Prefecture’s Kyushu International University Senior High School (called Kyukoku for short) is doing a fine job with its baseball team, since after a heartbreaking loss on the road, players from Kyukoku immediately started cleaning the stadium.

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Cat destroys owner’s Japanese sliding door, tells the world he couldn’t care less with his smile

One of the most elegant touches of classic Japanese architecture is the use of shoji, traditional sliding doors. Built on a wooden framework with translucent paper used instead of panes of glass, the resulting mix of natural materials and light is both refined and relaxing.

But while they look nice, shoji aren’t really the sturdiest portals to have in your home, since the paper can tear pretty easily, and even the frame can snap, if the doors aren’t handled carefully. Among the most common causes of shoji damage are clumsy drunks, careless kids, and indoor pets.

Not that this Japanese Twitter user’s cool cat is fessing up to the crime, though.

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Evangelion exhibit-inspired figure gives us Asuka in a beautiful kimono!

Remember the  Evangelion and Japanese Sword Exhibition that we reported on a while back? We thought the idea was pretty cool, because…well, an exhibit that brings together an internationally popular anime and beautiful deadly weapons of steel has to be awesome, right? And we think you’d agree that such a unique exhibit deserves a commemorative item that’s just as unique and artistic.

Evangelion fans need look no further, because toy manufacturer Takara Tomy has come up with just that — a series of original tie-in figures of the anime’s three female pilots as they appear in promotional artwork for the exhibit…in magnificent kimono

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They’re back! Pikachus overrun Yokohama for second straight year and dance up a storm! 【Videos】

Although I’ve never witnessed either in-person, I’m sure that the running of the bulls in Spain’s Pamplona and the return of the swallows each spring to their nesting grounds in Southern California are wonderful sights to see. And yet, I think I’m still happiest with what we get here in Yokohama: an annual visit from packs of Pikachus!

Just like they did last year, the loveable Pokémon once again overran the Minato Mirai harbor district for a week this August, But just like Nintendo’s Pocket Monsters routinely acquire enhanced abilities with each new video game or anime installment, in the time since their last appearance in Yokohama our adorable visitors had learned some new moves…dance moves!

Read on for all of our videos and photos of Pikachus grooving and swaying to hip-hop, hula, and more, with costumes to match!

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Japanese pancake artist offers new batch of amazingly edible pancake character art!

Pancakes have existed since the Greek and Roman eras, and are one of the oldest surviving forms of food made from grain. Whether or not it’s the king of breakfast foods may be debatable, but almost every culture has their own version of this delicious treat.

Since Japan’s pancake kick over the past couple of years, we’ve introduced a number of ways you can add more pancakes to your breakfast or snack menu, like this rice cooker recipe for beginners, or for those of you looking to impress, this pancake character art that almost looks too amazing to eat.

This time we’ve got the scoop on pancake art from another artist in Japan, whipping up plates of not only classic cartoon and anime characters, but other more recent anime and manga favorites as well.

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Get your day started right! A brilliant new idea for automated ticket gates

For people who live in big cities in Japan, it’s no surprise that a fair portion of their mornings and evenings are spent commuting to and from work. They slog through the station following the hundreds of other people on their equally boring commute, head down, trying not to draw any unwanted attention. It can get really, really depressing.

However, what if you could make a small change that would alter people’s outlook on their commute? Instead of a dreary depression, how about switching everyone’s attitude to a sunny disposition? There is a simple suggestion that could turn everyone’s frown upside down and it could be as simple as changing the way the ticket gates work.

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Pet therapy: Japanese netizens show off their cute pets and leave us smiling all day

The Internet is a weird place, isn’t it? On one hand, you can find numerous trolls being absolute jerks for no reason, and on the other hand, you can find great people making everyone’s day just a little better. Today, we have an excellent example of people making others’ lives a little bit better – with cute animals!

After one 2channel user started a thread asking to see others’ pets as he was feeling “hurt,” cute animal photos soon flooded in. We’re not sure why this guy wasn’t feeling that great, but we have a feeling that all these animal photos probably went a long way to helping him get through the day. So, if you’re having a rough day, we hope these adorable faces will help you too!

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