Japan

Director of Summer Wars and Wolf Children announces new anime film: The Boy and The Beast

With Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki now retired from feature-length animation, there’s a marked lack of current anime directors with a proven track record of successful theatrical releases. While he hasn’t officially ruled out making any more anime, Ghost in the Shell director Mamoru Oshii has his hands full with the live-action Patlabor adaptation, and both Satoshi Kon and Osamu Dezaki, directors of Perfect Blue and Space Adventure Cobra, have sadly passed away.

As such, the lion’s share of expectations for theatrical anime fall to Mamoru Hosoda, the director responsible for The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Summer Wars. Hosoda’s last film was 2012’s Wolf Children, but now he’s back in the director’s chair again with a new movie scheduled for release next year.

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Hyogo town scares children away with mechanical kappa in park’s pond

The town of Fukusaki in Hyogo Prefecture has taken a rather unusual direction when it comes to public art. Namely, the town spent roughly 3 million yen (US$25,000) to install a red, mechanical kappa in the small pond at Tsujikawayama Park (辻川山公園). The strange fixture has become a local attraction, and is scary-looking enough to make children cry!

Just what could have driven the town to install such a creepy mechanical model?

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State of the otaku union – Survey reveals vocaloids up, adult games down in 2014

Long ago, being an otaku, one of Japan’s hyper-obsessive subculture fans, made you sort of an outcast. People, especially respectable adults, didn’t really want to look at you, either out of embarrassment for your childish hobbies, or perhaps fear that having spent the last three days indoors had given you a case of shut-in cooties that would jump onto them.

That’s starting to change, though. More and more people are becoming comfortable identifying themselves as otaku, and while some still worry their fixations on fantasy are a drain on society, they’re definitely a boost to the economy, as shown by a survey that indicates spending is up in several sectors of the otaku world.

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【TBT】Sh*t Japanese girls say and other hilarious truths from an American living in Japan

Shit Girls Say is a comedy web series that pokes fun at the cliches and stereotypes associated with young female speech.

Of course, there’s a good chance you probably knew this; the videos have racked up more than 32 million combined views to date and spawned countless parodies exploring the quirky verbal mannerisms of black girls, single girls, Asian moms and more.

Well now Japan is finally in on the joke with “Sh*t Japanese Girls Say.”

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Elementary school student’s “robots of the future” drawing is too creepy for words!

As we speak, scientists in Japan are hard at work on inventing a myriad of robots whose sole raison d’être is to improve quality of life for humans. Whether it’s shoveling snow, helping people to walk, or generally spreading cheer through unbelievable cuteness and dexterity (we’re talking about you, Asimo!) it’s clear to see that robots are going to feature big in our lives during the years to come. But when a drawing contest was held in Japan for elementary school students to submit their impressions of a robot-filled future, one particular entry started to gain a lot of attention on twitter for being extremely creepy in an oddly knowing way…

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Restaurant refuses to serve couples on Dec. 24 so singles won’t be reminded of their loneliness

Ah, December 24, Christmas Eve. The time to spend with parents, siblings, drunken aunts and that one crazy uncle that’s always telling you about chemtrails after four or five eggnogs. Or, the time for romantic dinner dates, proposals and convenience store chicken, if you’re in Japan.

The holiday has long been the bane of Tokyo singles, who are forced to watch thousands of happy couples marching all over town Christmas Eve, hand-in-hand, checking out the Christmas “illumination” shows that have become so popular over the years. That it’s one of the few times public displays of affection are relatively accepted in polite Japanese society just makes it all the more difficult for lonely guys and gals to bear.

But, this year, one Tokyo restaurant has a plan to give all those Forever Alones out there a safe haven to dine in peace on Christmas Eve and, who knows, maybe even find a potential partner.

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Oppai Taisou Hand, the pink plastic hand that will exercise your boobs to new heights

Following trends can be a tricky affair, especially when it comes to fashion trends. The latest clothes and styles may look absolutely fabulous in magazines and photos online, but many a time, they are not the most suitable for everyone, because not everyone has a model-like body or attitude to carry off these trends.

Take the latest boob shirt craze for example. Many girls are probably itching to let out their inner-fashionistas by getting into one of those sexy sweaters, but the boob shirt is one good example of a trend that requires certain assets to pull off. Fret not, ladies, the Oppai Taisou Hand (which literally means “Boob Exercise Hand”) is here to help you shape up for your fashion endeavors!

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Lotteria to give away another life-size tower burger gadget — this time a mouse!

Although it’s been some years since the Tower Burger made its first appearance at Japanese hamburger chain Lotteria, it seems the sheer visual impact of the massive hamburger still manages to captivate the Japanese public every time it goes on sale. We have to admit, the five-patty hamburger does make for quite an impressive sight, after all.

Now, Lotteria has once again come up with a full-scale recreation of the impressive burger … this time as a computer mouse! And they’ll be giving it away to one lucky winner in their “Life-size Tower Cheeseburger Mouse Giveaway Campaign” that’s currently on way. That’s right, there’s going to be only one winner, so we know the competition is going to be fierce!

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Full-size Godzilla head to terrorize moviegoers and hotel guests in Tokyo starting next spring

When it comes to skyscrapers, Godzilla has a lot more experience tearing them down than building them up. Honestly, we can’t think of a single notable example from his six decade-long body of work in which the King of the Monsters drafts and submits a successful architectural design.

Nevertheless, the world’s most famous kaiju is about to dip his toes in the construction world, by rearing his head, in full-size, above a new building going up in Tokyo’s Shinjuku neighborhood.

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Japanese beauty trends of the 20th & 21st centuries, and predicting future fashions

Japanese cosmetics company Shiseideo has released their predictions for 2020’s makeup trends, as well as a look back at Japanese beauty throughout the last century. Will geisha makeup be making a comeback? Read on to find out.

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We desperately want to hire these adorable Indian freelance “idols”

We’ve already seen a lot of “boyfriend for hire” stuff around Asia, which seems to be really into the idea of paying for romantic encounters, but until now we’ve never seen someone offering their boyish good looks and charming company for free.

Meet Dev and San, two kindhearted Indian models working as freelance “idols” – a popular term in Asia for models you can hire for a variety of situations – for the low, low price of absolutely nothing.

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The top 10 Instagram photo locations for Japan in 2014 【Photos】

As we close in on the end of the year, it can be hard to remember all the places we went and all the things we did over the past 12 months. By “we,” I don’t mean just the RocketNews24 staff, since our website acts as written evidence of most of our year’s worth of frequent escapades and occasional shenanigans. Instead, I’m talking about all of the people who lived in or visited Japan during 2014.

Since we don’t have all of you under surveillance (just the half-dozen or so that Mr. Sato regularly tails throughout the day), we’re instead turning to photo-sharing site Instagram to be our judge, with its list of the top 10 Japanese photo locations that users shared over the course of the year.

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See the world as it should be with a pair of Disney Princess glasses

Disney Princesses are continuing to sway their influence on the fashion world in Japan. From umbrellas to lingerie and perfume bottles, fans can’t get enough of the elegant offerings from their favourite royal stars.

Now lovers of Disney can channel the object of their affections with a pair of spectacles from well-known Japanese eye-wear chain Zoff. There are six designs to choose from: Aurora, Ariel, Belle, Cinderella, Rapunzel and even Elsa the Snow Queen, each featuring frames, cases and cleaning cloths with gorgeous details.

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Theatrhythm: Dragon Quest announced for Nintendo 3DS

Following Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy, Square Enix has announced a new rhythm game for 2015, this time using music from the Dragon Quest series.

When Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy was announced in 2011, some commenters thought it was a joke. But the game has been an unlikely hit, and Square Enix will be looking to repeat that success with Theatrhythm: Dragon Quest.

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Musician performs beautiful projection-mapped piano themes of Laputa, Frozen, Final Fantasy

Although director Hayao Miyazaki gets the lion’s share of the credit for the sterling quality of Studio Ghibli’s anime films, you can’t discount the contributions of Joe Hisaishi. The veteran composer’s musical scores are timeless and ethereal, and there’s no better visual compliment to their mix of trepidation and adventurousness than the moving pictures of Japan’s most respected animation house.

The beautiful projection mapping that accompanies this stirring piano cover of the ending theme to Castle in the Sky Laputa is a close second, though.

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Attack on Titan teas are selling out faster than a giant can eat a human

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there’s this anime (and manga) called Attack on Titan… Who are we kidding? Of course you’ve heard! After sharply rising to popularity with the release of the anime in spring 2013, this post-apocalyptic story, featuring man-eating giants and tree-swinging military characters, has been everywhere from iPhone cases to bananas, even joining in collaborations with Marvel and Universal Studios Japan.

When the directors of Mori Art Museum in Ueno were thinking about what kind of special goods they wanted to sell along with their Attack on Titan exhibit, they thought, “Well, why don’t we team up with a top-line tea maker like Lupicia?” Because dainty tea is the obvious first choice to pair with a dark fantasy. Low and behold, the Attack on Titan blended teas have been selling out faster than any other product in the gift shop.

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Apple opening first non-U.S. development center in Yokohama, Japan

To many visitors, both coming from elsewhere in Japan and abroad, Yokohama seems quaint and relaxed. Sure, it’s the second biggest city in the country, but Yokohama is best known for its bayside parks, giant Ferris wheel, and Chinatown (plus its occasional Pikachu outbreaks).

But Yokohama has also been the entry point to Japan for some of its largest cultural and technological influences. It was the site of Japan’s first gas lamps, photography studio, and even brewery as the country opened itself to outside visitors and innovations in the latter half of the 19th century. Viewed from that historical perspective, it’s fitting that technology giant Apple is setting up a new research and development center in Yokohama.

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Up your cosplay game by shooting fire from your hands

Ellusionist has released the ultimate cosplay accessory—the Pyro Fireshooter, which allows you to literally shoot fireballs from your hands thanks to a $174 gadget that is “definitely not a toy.”

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We’re hard-pressed to find anything not delicious in the new tamatoro pressed tonkatsu sandwich

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that people in Japan don’t like fried food. Well, you can let them say it, but don’t believe them. As skilled as the country is with lighter fare such as sushi and nabe hot pot, Japanese cuisine can totally nail fried food, as proven by tonkatsu, or deep-fried pork cutlet.

One of the tastiest ways to eat tonkatsu is served over rice and topped with a fried egg, a dish called katsudon. Conversely, you can also slap two pieces of bread around it and make a katsu sandwich, which allows you to enjoy your cutlet on the go, or theoretically hold one in each hand and eat two at a time.

Sadly, eating your tonkatsu in sandwich form used to mean giving up all that delicious, gooey egg. That’s all changed now, though, thanks to the awesome tamatoro sandwiches now on sale in Tokyo that let you have the best of both worlds.

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Aomori’s ramen restaurant in a bus serves up steaming hot noodles in the snow

Ramen shops are a dime a dozen, so what makes this one in Aomori Prefecture so special? Well, it’s in a bus! One writer over at Another Tokyo reported on his experience at this one-of-a-kind Japanese eatery.

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