Barbapapa opens its first cafe in Japan with exclusive menu of cute characters

Joining the amazing anime café openings this month is Café Barbapapa in Saitama Prefecture, with a gorgeous lineup of sweets, sandwiches and drinks all featuring cute character details from the series.

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Japanese pro-wrestler wrangles love doll during 30-minute rumble【Video】

You’ve probably heard of, or possibly engaged in, a little “wrestling in the bedroom”, but what happens when you bring the bedroom to the ring? If you imagined a wrestling match between Japanese professional wrestler Kota Ibushi and a sex doll, let us offer you this video as an award.

It’s an encounter every bit as epic as you can imagine, and if you don’t do anything else all day, we urge you to grab some popcorn and tune in for some rough-and-tumble, rib-busting action (and we apologize in advance if you were looking for some other kind of action, but ended up on RocketNews24 by mistake).

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Keep warm this winter with a new fluffy Rilakkuma sleeping bag

Winter is settling in and the nights are getting colder. Fortunately, that means you’ll soon be able to slumber snugly in a Rilakkuma sleeping bag!

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Aomori volunteer firefighter arrested for starting fires so he could fight them

In the small town of Inakadate, Shota Kawasaki was both employed at a straw-crafts workshop and a member of his local volunteer fire department. However, this village of 8,000 people was far more famous for its rice paddy art than fires breaking out, and while making straw art is charming in its own way, it can get to be a drag day in and day out.

That’s why Aomori prefectural police are suspecting Kawasaki of starting a series of fires over the past six months; so that he could allegedly feel the rush of putting them out.

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The new “Snow Turtle” train is slower than running, but at least you won’t get tired

Japan is famous for fast trains, but one new line crawls along at 14 kilometers (8.7 miles) per hour! Can the ultra-slow Snow Turtle save an endangered company?

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Eat all of your rice! Culture connections with Japan’s favorite food

In the past few months the Japanese word mottainai, which conveys a sense of regret over waste, has begun to spread into the Western world. While Japan is ahead of the game in terms of conservation in many ways, the concept of mottainai can be seen most clearly in every bowl of rice. YouTube vlogger Kanadajin3 shares how in her vlog, “Gaijin Tip #16- Eat all your rice in Japan,” explaining Japan’s cultural relationship with rice.

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Test the depths of your knowledge of Japan with this snack pack

Transplanting yourself into another country can help you learn the language, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll absorb every bit of the culture. This image is a perfect example of that: Your understanding will depend entirely on how familiar you are with Japanese culture and history. So, we’ve broken this package down into five degrees of cultural awareness! And don’t feel bad if you don’t “get it,” because quite a few Japanese people were lost as well.

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Get your fill of fashion and Sanrio with these “Little Twin Stars” sailor uniforms

Get ready to double your cuteness level! Japanese company Clearstone has partnered up with Sanrio for two new cute-as-a-button sailor-style school uniforms in their “Neo Graphic Sailor Uniform x Little Twin Stars” dreamy collaboration!

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Reveal your inner fashion samurai with traditional clothes for the modern world

For their 10th anniversary, Wazigen Shizukuya is providing gorgeous modern hakama and yukata styles for all the men.

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Transforming kanji watches not so great for telling time, perfect for being awesome

With the advent of cellphones, wristwatches have become less and less common, meaning makers have had to get more and more creative capture the attention of customers. One perfect example is this Japanese watch company that has started selling watches that use transforming metal kanji characters to tell the time!

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The original Pokémon games are coming to Nintendo’s 3DS Virtual Console early next year!

We’ve got some fantastic news for children of the ’90s who once made it (and still make it) their quest to catch ’em all: The original first-generation Pokémon games are coming to the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console early next year!

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Relive the adventure in HD! “The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD” to be released in March

The most recent episode of Nintendo Direct included some exciting news for fans of the soon-to-be 30-year-old Legend of Zelda video game series. In the broadcast, Nintendo executives announced that a high-definition version of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess would be released for the Wii U on March 4, 2016 internationally, and on March 10 in Japan.

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Student injured in jump from burning apartment after lighting fallen hair on fire

It’s estimated that people lose an average of 50 to 100 strands of hair a day. Most of those will probably go unnoticed, but if throwing those fallen hairs away in the garbage seems too boring a task, you could find some other use for them.

What we don’t recommend doing, though, is lighting your fallen hair on fire like this Japanese university student, for some reason, decided to do…

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Asakusa photo studio transforms visitors into courtesans, geisha and samurai

If you’ve ever wanted to turn back time and step into the clothes of a well-dressed geisha, a pipe-smoking courtesan or a sword-wielding samurai warrior, we’ve found the perfect place for you!

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Evangelion Valentine’s Day chocolates already teased for next year

With retail outlets pushing seasonal holiday merchandise earlier and earlier every year, it’s perhaps not too surprising that there are already signs of next year’s goodies.

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A ‘Star Wars’-themed jet is flying across the world — here’s what it looks like inside

Japanese airlines All Nippon Airways (ANA) has teamed up with Disney to create an in-air experience that’s perfect for the ultimate “Star Wars” fan.

Covered in an R2-D2-like designs and a “Star Wars” logo on the outside, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft also has some fun galactic details inside, such as customized headrests, cups, and lighting. While in the air, passengers can even stream all six of the currently released “Star Wars” films.

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10 badass four-character phrases to add to your Japanese language toolkit

With enough hard work, anyone can learn to speak and read Japanese. But you know you’ve truly made it as a Nihongo master only when you can effortlessly break out a few yojijukugo, or four-kanji idioms. Join us after the jump for 10 of our favourites!

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Interview with Yoshiyuki Tomino, the creator of Gundam

The Tokyo International Film Festival (from hereon, TIFF) started on Oct. 22 and is being held for 10 days. This year’s anime feature is none other than Gundam. The show’s creator, Yoshiyuki Tomino, appeared at the talk show hosted as part of this special project and also found time in his busy schedule to give a combined interview to overseas media.

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Smartphone smash Neko Atsume heads west, we talk to the localization team behind it【Interview】

As further proof that cats rule the Internet and humanity at large, the relaxed, mostly goal-less mobile app time waster, Neko Atsumewhich tasks players with simply collecting a bunch of cartoon cats and kind of just watching them do stuff—proved a massive success in Japan despite a distinctive lack of explosions, destruction and, er, constantly running from left to right that are the typical hallmark of successful mobile games.

In fact, the game is so popular among cat lovers (read: everyone) that the Japanese version of the game began trending abroad, even though the large majority of fans surely had to resort to Internet guides to make any sense of the Japanese kanji plastered all over the in-game menus and inventory.

Said fans were in for a great surprise, though, when last week, developer Hit-Point updated the game with full English support thanks to renowned localization agency 8-4. We had a chance to sit down with the 8-4 team and chat about the behind-the-scenes work that went into localizing the app for an English speaking audience.

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Japan’s top baby names for 2015: Will Naruto-influenced monikers still reign supreme?

Choosing a name for your newborn son or daughter can be tough. Not only are you responsible for bestowing a name upon another human being—a collection of vowels and consonants that that will stick with them for life and likely have a profound effect on how people initially perceive their owner—but if you live in a country like Japan, then you not only have to choose the baby’s name, but how it will be written in kanji characters as well. Talk about pressure.

But that’s the reason we have baby name lists! For the past two years we’ve been keeping track of the most popular names for baby boys and girls in Japan, and this year we’re keeping up the tradition. Take a peek at what trends are spreading through Japan by seeing which names are in this year and which are out.

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