Japan

Japan Post to give stamps cute animal makeovers including chipmunks, foxes, and an old man

Earlier this year as the Japanese government enacted a sales tax hike, the cost of mailing a letter also increased. As a result a new 2 yen stamp had to be issued to fill the price hike, and in an effort to quell public anger, Japan Post put a picture of a cute fluffy bunny on it. Surely that’d do the trick, right?

Of course it did! In Japan, cuteness is a rock-solid commodity and the bunny stamp was a huge success. It was so popular that people came out to buy some even though they had no mail to send. And so, Japan Post set a mandate to make all of their stamps pretty before fiscal 2015.

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Man arrested for breaking into woman’s hotel room, spanking her with shoehorn

Here’s one you don’t hear every day – a man was arrested in Daisen City, Akita Prefecture last weekend on charges of  entering the hotel room of a female acquaintance through the window before proceeding to strike her about the buttocks with a shoehorn that he found in the room. But just what could prompt such behavior?

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Celebrating washoku and rice — an evening with master chefs and sushi roll creators (Part 1)

All of Japan was thrilled when traditional Japanese cuisine, or washoku in Japanese, became a registered UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in December last year. And one thing that is for certain when it comes to Japanese food is that we Japanese love our rice with a passion. We have various brands and classes of rice, with differing flavors and prices depending on where it’s grown, much like what you might expect with fine wine, and we all have our favorites. It’s simply an irrefutable fact that rice holds a very central place in Japanese cuisine and in the hearts of the Japanese as well.

Yes, there’s nothing quite like the sensation of inhaling the scent of steaming hot freshly cooked rice when you open the rice cooker, and as fond as we are of rice, we were delighted to have the opportunity this week to attend a reception for foreign media titled “Celebrating Worldwide Recognition of Washoku and Rice“. And when we heard that it included being served a traditional Japanese meal by a master chef from a renowned Japanese restaurant and also a chance to try making some unique sushi rolls ourselves, we knew this was definitely a reception we couldn’t miss!

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Anime’s Tetsuwan Atom/Astro Boy shows up on a pedestrian walk signal in Japan

For many newcomers to anime and manga, it can be hard to tell characters drawn by the same artist apart. In general, Japanese designs use fewer lines, especially in the faces, than those of Western comic books, and even some artists themselves, such as Touch creator Mitsuru Adachi, have been known to get their own cast members mixed up.

That’s not a problem with Atom, though. Also known as Astro Boy, Osamu Tezuka’s beloved mighty robot is instantly recognizable, whether in the pages of the manga where he debuted, onscreen in one of his many anime adaptations, or, in his most recent appearance, a pedestrian walk signal in Kanagawa Prefecture.

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Sailor Moon tortilla chips come in three flavors and a whopping 18 different bags

There are a number of upsides to Sailor Moon Crystal, the recent reboot of the smash hit anime from the 1990s. Aside from benefitting from 20 years of advancement in animation technology and technique, the franchise’s proven record of success means that Crystal has a higher budget and sticks closer to creator Naoko Takeuchi’s manga than the previous adaptation did.

Still, a reboot is a reboot, and if you’ve already watched all 200 episodes of the original Sailor Moon, Sailor Moon R, Sailor Moon S, Sailor Moon Super S, and Sailor Moon Sailor Stars, then you’ve got a pretty big head start on many of the places Crystal’s plot is going. So if you’re the kind of person who snacks when you get bored, maybe some Sailor Moon tortilla chips will help you pass the time.

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Kentucky Fried Café – New KFC in Japan to offer upscale coffee, tea, and sweets

Although I never met the man, Colonel Sanders doesn’t strike me as a hurried individual. Anybody who’s willing to add 11 different seasonings to his fried chicken can see the value in taking the time to appreciate the finer things in life. I like to imagine that rather than rush through his meals, the KFC founder would linger at the table, at least for a few minutes, and when his schedule allowed, for periods extending to “a spell.”

That’s why I think he’d approve of KFC opening its first full-fledged café this month in Japan.

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30 hours of pumpkin carving! The making of my anime fan art jack-o’-lantern【Photos & video】

Every year for Halloween I carve a pumpkin for myself and for the trick-or-treaters to enjoy, usually based on a popular Hollywood movie with costume potential. To commemorate my post at RocketNews24, however, for this year’s jack-o’-lantern I chose my first ever anime theme! I went with one of my favorites from this fall’s line-up, Gugure! Kokkuri-san (繰繰れ!コックリさん), available on Crunchyroll.

Both heartwarming and twisted (for the non-anime-initiated), the series is an outrageously wacky, slice-of-life comedy adapted from a four-panel comic strip by Midori Endō. The large cast is led by Kokkuri-san and the young girl Kohina; the former is a motherly, lonely fox spirit (originally from J­apanese folklore) with both human and animal forms, and the latter is a hardcore bocchi (loner) with a cup noodle addiction who claims to be an emotionless doll.

Read on to learn a little more about the show and the design process, as well as to get a nicer view of the lit-up pumpkin. There’s also a time lapse video that condenses 30 hours of carving into just over 11 minutes!

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Cute cat warms harbles, achieves Nirvana in front of heater

We posted earlier this week about how Japanese cats survive the cold winter months by bogarting the sweet, sweet warmth of the space heater, but this cold little fellow is lucky enough not to have to share his oasis of warmth with any other felines or even a pesky human. How happy does that make him? Photos of kitty bliss after the jump.

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Akiba Stealth: Assassin’s Creed brought to Akihabara in “real-life” prior to game release【Video】

Imagine yourself walking through the busy streets of Akihabara (or Akiba), Tokyo’s electronics and gaming haven (a.k.a. otaku central), when suddenly, a nerdy guy busts his way out of a dark alley and does a flip over a passer-by, with guards tailing him by only inches. Surprised? Welcome to “Akiba Stealth.”

In preparation for the November 20 Japanese release of the newest game in the Assassin’s Creed series, “Unity,” the creators, Ubisoft, came out with a promotional video, entitled “Akiba Stealth,” to get the attention of the Japanese fan base. The video is supposed to be a “real-life” Assassin’s Creed in Akihabara, lovingly dubbed “Ota-ssin’s Creed.” (Get it? Otaku + assassinotassin. No?)

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Attack on Avengers! Attack on Titan’s female giant heading to New York to fight Marvel heroes

Fans of Japanese manga and American comics alike have spent the past few weeks wondering what exactly the upcoming crossover between Attack on Titan and Marvel has in store for us. Spider-Man and the Survey Corps exchanging tips over the best ways to zip around cityscapes? Deadpool and Levi fighting side by side with a combined four blades, as the merc cracks wise and the manga heartthrob sighs in annoyance?

Actually, we’re getting a fight between Earth’s mightiest heroes and anime’s tallest pantless woman, as Marvel has announced the project is titled Attack on Avengers.

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【TBT】Your favorite Nintendo games as traditional Japanese prints

Ukiyo-e Heroes are a group of artists who work in the medium of tradional Japanese woodblock printing (ukiyo-e), a style most strongly associated with Japanese culture.  This group has turned their facebook page into a virtual gallery displaying their favorite muse: video games.

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“Nomad actor” Dean Fujioka makes his American debut in ‘The Pinkertons’

Whatever your job entails, the strongest support is usually closest to home. But actor Dean Fujioka is better known in Taiwan and Hong Kong than he is in his native Japan.

The actor, musician and director, who made his American debut earlier this month in the wild west detective series The Pinkertons, calls himself a “nomad actor” – as long as there’s an international airport, he’ll go wherever his work takes him.

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East meets West in this beautifully detailed 18th century star chart

While here at RocketNews24 we pride ourselves on bringing you the latest funky news from around Asia, sometimes we also like to dig into the historical archives where we often find fascinating pieces of trivia. This time, we came across this elaborate, delicate piece of functional art from 18th-century Japan. It’s a detailed star chart that combines astronomy from both the East and West.

Isn’t it fascinating to think that even back in the Edo era there is such a forward-thinking piece which combines different cultures and systems? It looks stunning too!

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Korean netizens go nuts for Russian cosplay cutie【Photos】

Cosplay: when it’s done wrong, it’s hilarious. But when it’s done right, it can be genuinely impressive. Of course, it helps to be super-cute if you want to gain attention from your cosplaying exploits, and it’s certainly paid off for RocksyChan, a Russian cosplayer who has Korean netizens drooling over her photos and scrambling to find out more about her. This, in turn, has led to net users in Japan taking an interest in the willowy beauty. Let’s take a look at some of her best work!

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Big shrimp for dinner! Food’s greatest oxymoron taken to its most moronic level

Japan loves to wow you with cute and tiny food. Sometimes the food is so tiny you need a magnifying glass to truly appreciate its beauty. Other times the food is so cute you can barely stand to eat it. However, you don’t often hear about the opposite end of the spectrum in Japan. The “Land of the Rising Sun” isn’t known for its gigantic foods and proportions. (You can leave that to the United States.)

But perhaps some restaurants are trying to separate themselves from the pack by adopting some more “Western” ideas. A restaurant in Nagoya is selling a dish of three humongous shrimp, and it’s definitely a sight to be seen! If you’ve never seen the largest shrimp in the world before, they make jumbo shrimp look, well…shrimpy!

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Three kotatsu-boosting items to turn your home into a toasty fort against winter’s cold

Even though Japan is a great place to live, not everyone likes every aspect of life in the country. Dishes like grilled eel and organ skewers are pretty polarizing, as is the public transportation system, which is clean and punctual, but crowded and shuts down early.

I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone, though, who doesn’t love Japan’s heated tables, called kotatsu, so more than a few people will be happy about these three ways to get even more out of Japan’s coziest piece of furniture.

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This male model is better at looking like a lady than most ladies

Here at RocketNews24, we’re no strangers to stories that involve guys who look like girls. Heck, we just ran that story about a whole school full of boys who annually dress as girls for a genuinely impressive beauty contest. In other words, we spend a lot of our waking hours looking at pictures of dudes who could pass for attractive girls.

So, we believe our radar for picking out the difference between a very beautiful boy and an actual girl has gotten pretty sensitive over the years. But now, there’s finally one gorgeous young model who totally managed to fool us (at least in certain photos, anyway).

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Shima City needs your help in naming its tastefully swimsuit-clad anime mascot

When creating a local mascot in Japan, there are basically three styles to choose from. You can go the traditionally cute route, like Gunma Prefecture did with its adorable horse, national popularity contest champion, and confectionary model Gunma-chan. Option two is to make something so weird it puts a smile on peoples’ faces, like Funabashi City’s unofficial spokepear Funasshi.

Or, you can just draw a picture of an anime girl, like the town of Shima did. Yes, she of course has a nice smile and attractive proportions, and so far every picture that’s been released of the tourism ambassador has her posing in a swimsuit. But before you go blasting the designers for making that wardrobe choice before ever giving her a name, bear in mind there’s a good reason for her attire.

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Public baths in Japan add some extra fun with hundreds of rubber duckies

Rubber duckies make any bathtime lots of fun, but what does a tub full of one thousand tiny yellow quackers have the power to do?

We’ve found three public baths that provide guests with the unique experience of bathing in a sea of rubber duckies. Check out the surreal photos after the jump!

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What happens when you mistake the brake for the accelerator in Japan

Parking can be tricky sometimes, but when you’re trying to manoeuvre a large vehicle around tight spaces in a Japanese carpark, things can get a little scary.

Thankfully nobody was hurt in the accident pictured above, yet after the photo was posted on Twitter there was one thing everyone wanted to know: how come the rear wheels were hanging in mid-air?

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