Japan

Can these swimsuit clad cosplay waitresses interest you in some “Shaved Leg Hair Pasta”?

It’s not really a secret that Japan can sometimes get a little carried away with its youth obsession. Look no further than the abundance of pre-pubescent, yet disturbingly sexualized, anime characters and girl idol bands with shockingly young “retirement” ages – around 21 in many cases – for proof.

It’s one thing to have a creepy countdown to when Hermione Granger turns 18, but it’s kind of way creepier to just lose all interest in celebrities altogether when they reach official adulthood.

Anyway, a new Japanese film called Sweet Pool Side and a limited run promotional cafe for the film may have just set a new precedent in youth-obsession creepiness. The film, according to the trailer, is lightly related to the trials and tribulations of being on the high school swim team but also focuses on a young boy’s decision of whether or not to shave the pubic hair of one of the girl’s swim team members (at her request). He then at one point appears to eat some of the girl’s body hair.

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Characters that are “difficult to color because they move too much” have taken over Twitter!

Do you like manga? We definitely do! Here at RocketNews24, we cover topics related to manga (or comics) every once in awhile, so you might have seen quite a few articles featuring images of manga drawn by professionals and amateurs alike. But have you seen manga that has a mind of its own? We found some on Twitter!

Check out these adorable, albeit slightly mischievous, characters who fidget about and “interact” with their artists within their little manga frames!

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New traditional rice topping selling well, but at 10,000 yen a pop it doesn’t take much

Toppings and seasonings have an often overlooked power to completely make or break the overall taste of a dish. And yet, many of them can be found at prices under 100 yen (US$1). Why is something so important to your meal’s flavor made and sold so cheaply?

Back in 2013 Kobayashi Shokuin, decided to buck that trend and came out with a luxury furikake (dried condiment) that sells for the premium price of two 30g (1oz) cans for 10,000 yen ($100). Much to their delight, the response has been great and people have been buying up this Kuchi Doke at an increasing rate despite its exorbitant price.

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Chaozu-kun joins the ranks of unsettling Japanese mascots

Move over Marimokkori, there’s a new creepy mascot in town! The Japan Gyoza Association (because apparently that’s a thing) has just introduced a new character that’s making people vaguely queasy: Chaozu-kun. While he may not be rocking Marimokkori’s round green chubby, he does make us uneasily aware of his sexuality.

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See how beautiful a stained-glass window pattern can be as a kimono!

Now, I think kimonos are lovely, and I find their colors and patterns absolutely fascinating. But as beautiful as they are, kimonos tend to be expensive, and the process of wearing them is complicated enough that it takes considerable practice (usually involving going to classes of some kind) to dress yourself properly in one. And the truth is that there are very few opportunities today for the average Japanese to dress in kimono outside of special occasions, such as the coming-of-age ceremony, university graduations or weddings. Yes, people do still wear kimonos, but it’s rare enough that someone in a kimono will stand out in a crowd, as visitors to Japan will undoubtedly have noticed. And if simply being in a kimono can be eye-catching, imagine how much attention you might get wearing a stunning kimono like the one pictured above!

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Just in time for summer, Asahi to begin selling Mitsuya Cider served at a slushy -5℃

Hot on the heels of an announcement that cold and sugary foods are bad for your body, Asahi announced that they are releasing their coldest sugary drink to date. I’m willing to take the risk however, because summer in Japan can suck pretty hard and a sub-zero beverage would definitely hit the spot.

This new drink called “Mitsuya Freezing Cider,” turns to ice the moment you pop the cap. Sounds great but Asahi seems to have surprised netizens a little with their unique distribution plans.

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Parasyte manga’s Migi stuffed toy is an affront to nature and our eyeballs

As visual media, it’s in the best interest of most anime and manga to be aesthetically pleasing. After all, the warm, fuzzy feeling that comes from looking at something cute or pretty has kept fans coming back to Pokémon and the works of Studio Ghibli for decades. It’s also great for driving merchandise sales. After all, what anime fan wouldn’t sleep tight with a stuffed Pikachu or Totoro to cuddle as they doze off?

On the other hand though, if you’re trying to fight off drowsiness, we recommend decorating your room with a plush toy from the manga series Parasyte, which is so shockingly terrifying you may never close your eyes again.

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OMGooooaal! Pros nail the incredible “Twin Shoot” move from soccer manga Captain Tsubasa【Videos】

The 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil is almost upon us, folks! And if you’re a manga fan, just pick your poison to get properly revved up: the first volume of the Captain Tsubasa remix has been available since May in convenience stores all over Japan, Volume 1 of the new series Captain Tsubasa: Rising Sun just came out,  and then there is the comic’s upcoming exhibition in Tokyo.

As if that weren’t enough, the Japan Professional Football League (J. League for short) has been collaborating with the über-influential soccer manga on a project called “Dream Shoot”. In it, as the name suggests, J. League players take on the challenge of bringing to life the dynamic and often over-the-top soccer moves featured in the long-running comic.

So today, we bring to you Part Three of the collaboration, in which three athletes from the Cerezo Ōsaka team reenact the “Twin Shoot”. Read on to view all three awesome videos, as well as to learn a little more about the manga series and its exhibition (because let’s face it, Flash Kicker, as it’s known in the U.S., never made it big here unlike the rest of the world). Even for a soccer newb like me, the “Dream Shoots” are a sight to behold!

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The Tokyo bar where servers are princes, customers are princesses… and everyone’s a girl

Kyabakura hostess clubs, where men pay to spend time with a girl who will pour their drinks, light their cigarettes, and generally lavish them with attention, are a common sight in Japanese cities. The equivalent for female customers is a host club, where women can be waited on by smartly-dressed male hosts. A newer addition to Japan’s nightlife scene are cross-dressing bars, which fulfil a niche gap in the industry.

At Bar Prince, in Tokyo’s Nakano ward, the boyish-looking staff in ruffle-trimmed “little prince” outfits are all cross-dressers. The bar operates a strict women-only policy which extends to staff as well as patrons. At hostess clubs, the customer is king: but at this club, the stated mission is to treat every customer like a princess.

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Crazy towering parfaits of cafe Strawberry live up to the restaurant’s name

With relatively little farmable land, fruit is on the pricey side in Japan. In keeping with its status as a special treat, it shows up pretty often as a desert topping, but again, prices being what they are, usually not in such large quantities.

Shortcake lovers, for example, have been known to get excited about the one day a month convenience store chain Lawson adds a single slice of strawberry to its cakes. And while we suppose that’s better than nothing, it still can’t hold a candle to one Japanese cafe that tops its parfaits with what looks like an entire strawberry patch.

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Compose your own cheese-tastic J-pop love songs with this handy lyric generator

One of the very first Japanese words I learned was afuredasu, or “overflow.” This wasn’t because it showed up in a textbook or a teacher taught it to me, but because afuredasu seems to show up in roughly a third of every Japanese pop song ever produced.

It’s not the only phrase that’s a regular in J-pop lyrics though, as shown by this flow-chart that can turn anyone into a Japanese lyricist.

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Roadworks video hints at why everything runs so smoothly in Japan

When people visit Japan, they often marvel at how great the service everywhere is. Trains run on time; a guy pops out of a little hatch like a station ninja when you’re struggling with a ticket vending machine; packages come precisely when they’re supposed to, and even if you miss them you can just call the driver on their mobile phone to arrange a new delivery time.

Day in, day out, stuff just works. And yet, unlike the many foreigners who live here, native Japanese take this all completely in their stride. Take this video, for example, which was taken by a foreigner living and uploaded to YouTube a couple of weeks ago…

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Love sushi? Now you can date it, with this romance simulator available in English!

Since most sushi is served raw, the flavor can vary wildly depending on the freshness of the fish and even the season in which you eat it. Granted, most of what’s available in Japan is reasonably tasty, but when all the factors line up just right, the mix of surprise, joy, and satisfaction that come from popping a really good piece of sushi into your mouth can be a borderline emotional experience, almost like falling in love.

If you’re a sushi-loving lady looking to take your relationship with the dish to an even deeper level, there’s now a dating simulator that lets you romance handsome anthropomorphized pieces of sushi.

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Guy learns powerful lesson: Sending 240 beetles in the mail will kill them all

An insect collector learned the hard way last year that you should never send stag beetles in the mail, because being stuffed in a box and shipped across the country unsurprisingly kills them.

A specialist apparently sent 240 stag beetles to be delivered to the collector’s Okinawa home. When the box – supplied by the Japanese Postal Service’s “Yu-paku” goods shipping service – arrived, the collector opened it to find all 240 of the beetles decidedly un-alive, prompting the man to sue for compensation; because, come on, if you’re shipping beetles, you expect a certain amount of care to be taken.

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This restaurant’s in a bit of a pinch and is enlisting your help!

The other day, a Kyoto branch of popular gyūdon (beef bowl) fast-food chain Sukiya ran into some trouble. We’ll let you know upfront that the shop was not invaded by a clan of ninja, nor by a stampede of ravenous gaijin. And no, it had absolutely nothing to do with a Godzilla attack.

No, dear readers, the truth was something far more ominous. 

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We try Denny’s Japan’s Massaman curry: The world’s most delicious food

In Japan, you’re never very far from a plate of tasty curry. You can find the Japanese version of the dish in casual restaurants, convenience stores, and train station lunch counters across the country, and any sizeable city will have at least one good Indian restaurant.

After domestic and Indian, Japan’s favorite type of curry is the Thai style, usually in ultra spicy green or red varieties. Thailand’s got one more variant, though, called Massaman curry, which ranked by CNN as the world’s most delicious food a while back.

With an endorsement like that, we were eager to try it for ourselves. Unfortunately, a trip to Thailand for dinner is a little beyond our budget, no matter how good the food may be. So instead, we hit up our local Denny’s branch, where you can get a plate of Massaman curry right now.

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Vegetables are smarter than fruits: Three high IQ Japanese veggies

I’ve lived among Japanese fruits and vegetables for 17 years and one thing I can say for sure is that vegetables are waaay smarter than fruits.

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8 kinds of photos that Japanese girls always post on Twitter

Whoops, guess I better whip out my smartphone and upload a picture of my Green Tea Frappuccino to Twitter, because I just happen to be writing this post at Starbucks. Apparently, the classic “at Starbucks now” picture is one of the most commonly seen types of photos on social media sites, and I’d hate to be missing out.

In fact, a concise at-a-glance chart of trivial photos that (Japanese) girls frequently upload to their SNS accounts has recently been making the rounds on the Japanese internet. We were familiar with every single one of them–how about you?

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Saitama soccer fans employ Art of War strategy to make up for low turnout

It’s well known that a large crowd (or lack thereof) can have a dramatic psychological impact on a team’s performance. Unfortunately for Saitama’s soccer team, Omiya Ardija, it was hard for fans to get out to the ground to cheer during the Wednesday night J-League Cup qualification match against the Tokushima Vortis.

Nevertheless, those who managed to make it to the stadium went the extra mile to get their team pumped for a win, taking along an army of two-dimensional fans to fill seats.

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Tropfest: The world’s largest short-film festival comes to Japan for one day only

Have you heard of Tropfest? For thousands of Australians, the name conjures up images of picnics, green grass and long, warm days that turn into night, bringing out stars like Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush.

It’s the biggest short-film festival in the world, born in a small café in Sydney in 1993 and growing every year, travelling to places like New York, Abu Dhabi and Cape York. This year the outdoor film festival is making its debut in Japan, bringing with it Aussie food stalls and a great selection of film shorts.

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