A week’s work on a Tibetan sand mandala, captured in eight mesmerizing minutes of video

Artwork takes many forms, from charcoal drawings to oil paintings, clay sculptures to wood carvings. All these types of mediums are durable in a sense, able to last many years if properly cared for. But what would you think of an artist who, after spending weeks on a project, purposefully destroys his masterpiece only a few days after its completion?

That is, in fact, part of the ritual of Tibetan sand mandala, which are symbols in Indian religions, particularly Buddhism, that symbolize the universe. Watch the incredible time-lapse video below of three Tibetan Buddhist monks as they labor away creating one of these beautiful, transient works of art!

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Why does Burger King’s black burger turn poo green in the U.S. and the U.K., but not Japan?

If you’ve gone on a few overseas trips, you may be familiar with the phenomenon of travel poo, wherein your stool takes on a different hue for a few days as you adjust to local ingredients. It’s far less common for the opposite to occur, but that’s what seems to be happening with Burger King’s black burgers, which have become a repeating success story in Japan.

Burger King is currently offering its darkly colored sandwich in the U.S. and the U.K., but many are reporting that while the company turned the burger’s bun black, the burger is turning their poo green. But what’s behind this transformation, and why didn’t it happen in Japan?

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When Keanu met Sonny Chiba: Veteran action actor surprises John Wick star on Japanese TV

Oh, Keanu, it’s so obvious by now that you’re a big ol’ Japanophile. In fact, Hollywood mega-star Mr. Reeves seems to be spending most of his time in Japan these days. There was the time he tried to be a regular tourist in Akihabara, despite being followed by crowds of adoring fans.  And there was that time he flew all the way here just to meet his idol, Kumamon. We think Keanu should just move to Tokyo permanently!

Yep, everyone here loves Keanu, so much so that when he appeared on Japanese TV this week to promote his action movie John Wick (which is finally coming out in Japan this month) they surprised him with a special gift – a surprise appearance by Sonny Chiba, Japanese martial arts movie star and one of Keanu’s biggest influences!

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Thai-American model born without legs smashes beauty standards: “I don’t need legs to feel sexy.”

Different cultures may have different beauty standards, but one beauty requirement that was thought to be universal in the world of modelling is having a set of long, shapely legs.

But now even that idea is being challenged. Thai-born model Kanya Sesser was born without legs, but she hasn’t let that hold her back. She currently works as a lingerie model, and she’s transforming people’s notions about what it means to be “beautiful” all over the world.

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Attack on Titan fans left “waiting”, start tweeting, as subtitles freeze during first screenings

With part one of the live-action movie adaptation released for the first time outside Japan on Wednesday this week, fans of the hugely successful manga and anime series Attack on Titan were no doubt incredibly excited to see their favourite giant-slaying characters brought to life by living, breathing Japanese actors.

Little did then know, however, that when one of the English subtitles added to the movie for its North American release would appear on-screen, it would remain there—for a full 20 minutes—while the action continued behind it.

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Sports car or fighter plane? American tuner’s Nissan GT-R looks like World War II’s Zero

Somewhere along the way, people started calling Nissan’s GT-R, the company’s flagship sports car, “Godzilla.” It’s a fitting nickname, since the GT-R is intimidatingly powerful, and also because with a curb weight of 1,740 kilograms (3,836 pounds), it’s not exactly svelte.

Still, one American turning shop thinks there’s an even more apt comparison to be made that to the King of the Monsters, and has created a customized GT-R with its appearance based on the Imperial Japanese military’s World War II Zero fighter plane.

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We check out Sushi Bar Yoshihachi, a taste of American sushi in Okinawa

As a nearly 10-year resident of Japan, whenever I’m back to visit the States I love taking friends and acquaintances out to a nearby sushi bar and being easily the most knowledgeable sushi snob in the whole place. While my buddies are pouring over the weird fusion sushi – inevitably featuring fried shrimp sticking out at crazy angles like that spider-head monster in The Thing – I’m busy cramming the more delicately-flavored and exotic nigiri cuts into my gullet, rolling my eyes around in the back of my head and making exaggerated, mmmm, ohhh man, noises and sometimes giving the side-eye to the guy reluctantly prodding his uni nigiri like it’s going to come to life and slither off the table.

I’ve developed a taste for Japanese style-sushi, in other words, and I’m not afraid to be a jerk about it. But, back here in Japan, I’ll be damned if I don’t sometimes get intense cravings for a good ol’ California roll. Luckily, there’s a great place serving authentic American California rolls and other “Americanized” sushi in Okinawa, just a (relatively) short hop from Tokyo, and you can bet we went to try it out!

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Furikake rice toppings gaining popularity in US, but are Americans doing it wrong?

Until recently, rice-loving Americans looking to add a little zing to their favorite grain would need to trek out to the nearest Asian grocery store to pick up a pack of furikake rice topping. But now, according to Japanese media, the toppings are gaining traction on the US west coast and is becoming more widely available.

Furikake consists of a mish-mash of ingredients that have been dried and powdered and, in Japan, is intended specifically and only to be sprinkled atop a steaming hot bowl of sticky Japanese rice; which explains why many Japanese people are reacting with shock at how the Americans are choosing to deploy the condiment.

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Pokétryoshka: Pokémon Russian dolls we want to own in real life

Matryoshkas have been entertaining children and adults alike since they first appeared in Russia well over a century ago. The tantalising sense of discovery that comes from opening up a wooden doll and revealing a series of increasingly smaller dolls nested inside is a simple pleasure that satisfies our sense of curiosity and provides hours of entertainment.

Now, a clever illustrator has come up with the genius idea of creating matryoshka dolls in the shape of Pokémon characters. And just like the original Russian doll sets, these cute designs slowly turn back time, revealing the evolution of each character from adult to baby. Say hello to the Pokétryoshka: nesting dolls we want to own in real life.

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Hey! Listen! Official Legend of Zelda sword, shield, and Link costume now available

October is just around the corner and you know what that means: evil spirits and trick-or-treating. And whether you’re going on a quest to save the princess or just to get all the free candy you can, now you can do it in style with an official Legend of Zelda Link costume.

Have you ever wanted to bomb some Dodongos or rough up some Cuccos? Well, now’s your chance with your very own Master Sword, Hylian Shield, and Link outfit. Where can your procure these legendary items? Read on and get ready for adventure, brave warrior!

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Which anime fighting techniques would win in real life? Fans give their answer with comedic video

A couple of American anime fans (well, at least one of them is anyway…) recently released a YouTube video that imagines a super obsessive anime enthusiast trying out his favorite techniques from the anime worlds he’s grown up watching.

Most of the techniques provide less-than-stellar results (spoiler: writing a person’s name in a “Death Note” doesn’t work), but a surprise last-ditch attempt proves much more successful. Let’s watch:

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The Snack Poster: Illustrations to spread the love for authentic Japanese foods

For those unaccustomed to Japanese food, even the most common edibles may seem quite odd and, well, unappetizing, at first glance. The first time you saw monjayaki, did you not think it looked a little…weird? Of course, not all Japanese cuisine is unappealing to the eyes, but even the delicious-looking food is still not widely known throughout the Western world.

A California-based Japanese food blogger is trying to change that. Gaining momentum from the success of her Ramen Poster, artist Fanny has come up with another hand-drawn infographic displaying some of her favorite Japanese street foods and snacks: The Snack Poster.

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Check out Chinese media giant’s weird, passive-aggressive video assault on America 【Video】

It’s probably safe to say that China’s relationship with a number of countries is a little bit strained at this exact moment. The massive East Asian country has been enjoying something of a renaissance recently, but with that has come myriad international political issues as the country—and those interdependent with it for trade—grapple with China’s newfound status as an economic superpower.

But is China overstepping its bounds with this passive-aggressive, thinly veiled threat against the United States?

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Fourth-generation ikebana artist displays mastery of the Force with amazing new lightsaber rings

The world of custom jewellery has been impressing us lately, with Evangelion couples’ rings and designs based on Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda and even Sailor Moon.

Now it’s time to turn our attention to a galaxy far, far away, where lovers can carry the force on their fingers with matching Star Wars rings featuring gorgeous lightsaber details.

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Game carts that plug into your phone – We took a peek at Pico Cassette at Tokyo Game Show

Not too long ago, we reported on Pico Cassette, a new device which will allow you to play retro video games on your smartphone via a cartridge which you plug into the headphone jack.

Since we absolutely love all kinds of gadgetry here at RocketNews24, and since we’re also big retro gaming nerds, we made a point to visit Pico Cassette’s booth at this year’s Tokyo Game Show in order to try it out for ourselves!

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Pepper the robot is coming to America with an upgrade in snark!

SoftBank’s emotional robot Pepper could be considered a hit in Japan ,with the first wave of 1,000 bots selling out in a minute and another 1,000 ready to move at the end of this month. But is Pepper’s popularity peculiar to purely people in one part of the Pacific? Perhaps.

We may soon find out according to a report in MIT Technology Review. One of their writers visited Aldebaran Robotics, the company which made Pepper along with SoftBank, and learned that an American Pepper is already well into development and has been given a significant attitude adjustment of the smart-ass kind to better fit in there.

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“Welcome argument?” Mr Sato really, really wants to know where Lily-Rose Depp got her kanji shirt

Clothing with incorrect and funny English (so-called Engrish) is everywhere in Japan, and has given many foreign visitors a chuckle over the years.  So it’s always nice to see the tables turned, and Japan having the opportunity to marvel at clothing with odd Japanese writing on it.

That’s what happened this week when our reporter Mr. Sato got wind that actress and model Lily-Rose Depp had been spotted in New York wearing a particularly nonsensical T-shirt with Japanese kanji characters on it. He had only one question: “Where did she get it?”

…only one question, Mr. Sato? We’ve got a few more questions than that! So let’s take a look at the shirt in question, and crack the code behind its oddball message.

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Consider us teased! Upcoming Dragon Ball Z animation promises big things【Video】

DBZ Tribute is an upcoming animation that aims to pay tribute (the hint’s in the name) to the work of Akira Toriyama. A team of professional artists have come together to create a computer-generated animated sequence as a homage to the creator of Dragon Ball.

It’s not an official project, but if the production values in these teasers are anything to go on, it’s going to be a really high-quality “tribute”.

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Fists of Absinthe: Short film about samurai, ninja and drinking is just what your life’s missing!

Devoted readers will remember that we spoke with Japan’s first full-time foreign stuntman Chuck Johnson earlier this summer, visiting his stunt class and learning about the industry in Japan. At the time, we mentioned that Chuck was working a short film called Fists of Absinthe, which ended up being a collaboration between YouTube and Toei Studios.

We are happy to say that Fists of Absinthe is now available on YouTube for your viewing pleasure! We just sat down and watched it, and it was equal parts comedy and action—definitely a must-see for anyone who likes martial arts, samurai, ninja, or laughing their butts off. Check it out below!

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“So wrong!” Elders react to hairy schoolgirl-fronted Ladybaby with shock and amusement 【Video】

Here at RocketNews24 we love Ladybeard, everyone’s favourite heavily-bearded, muscular, precious flower. And as a natural side-effect of our Lady-lovin’, we’re also nuts about his newest venture, performing as part of pop trio Ladybaby. Something about the combination of cute Japanese idol teen vocals combined with Ladybeard’s growls just gets our toes tapping, and not to mention those funky dance moves!

So we couldn’t stop laughing at this new video titled “Elders react to Ladybaby”. Just what do America’s seniors think of this new mashup of cultures, genders, and musical stylings?!

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