USA

SoftBank users in Japan able to roam all the way to the USA and pay the same rates

Japanese telecom giant SoftBank has announced a new promotional campaign for its users starting soon called America Hodai (America Unlimited) where users traveling to the United States can enjoy the same rates on voice calls and internet usage as they do in Japan for no additional charge.

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Japanese MLB player gains even more fans because of his silly (and totally awesome) dancing【Video】

Munenori Kawasaki currently plays for the Toronto Blue Jays as a shortstop. Originally from Japan, Kawasaki is a pretty good player who bats left, throws right, and has a .294 batting average. However, it’s not his baseball skills that have gotten him a lot of attention around the world and online recently. No, Kawasaki’s willingness to bust a move on and off the field are what everyone’s talking about right now.

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Pikachu-garbed man jumps White House fence, causes lockdown

A man wearing what appears to be a Pikachu hat and carrying a Pikachu plush broke the security perimeter at the White House when he jumped over the North Fence on Thursday evening.

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Adorable three-year-old Filipino boy absolutely kills it on the drums【Videos】

Martin Cruz hails from Iselin New Jersey, is a killer at playing church music on the drums, and is just three years old! Watch four videos of this little guy owning that kit after the jump.

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Japanese internet user’s amusing interpretation of a sculpture in San Francisco

We’ve all seen a strange work of public art at some point while traveling–you know, that piece that makes you scratch your head and look at it upside-down to try to figure out just what the heck is going on. Fortunately for the residents of San Francisco, they have their very own bizarre–and ginormous–piece of public art to contemplate whenever they feel like it.

Japanese internet users recently stumbled across photos of this particular sculpture created by Chinese artist Zhang Huan and were quick to comment on its unique appearance. One fan even decided that it resembled nothing other than the final boss of a video game. While we’re pretty sure that’s not the interpretation that the artist was going for, the fan’s cleverly manipulated photo still gave us a chuckle.

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This Metal Gear REX outfit is so huge it needs a team of helpers to be put on 【Video】

On display at last month’s Otakon anime convention, this incredible feat of cosplay blurs the line between outfit and scale model, with the wearer requiring a small team to help them put it on.

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Our Japanese correspondent tries sushi in San Diego and falls in love with the authentic flavor

During our Japanese correspondent Yoshios recent trip to San Diego’s Comic-Con, he was struck by an insatiable craving to eat some quality sushi. From what he’d previously heard, while most American sushi restaurants offer western-inspired uramaki ‘inside-out’ rolls such as the California roll, it would be harder to find nigirizushi (the kind with a topping over a block of rice) on the menu. So what’s a hungry guy far from home to do?

After asking several Japanese people living in the area, Yoshio headed over to the highly recommended Sushi Ota. He went in with some reservations about the authenticity of the sushi, being outside of Japan and all, but left after a mind-blowing experience–in fact, he now considers Sushi Ota to be in the top three sushi restaurants he’s ever been to!

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Hayao Miyazaki to receive honorary lifetime achievement Oscar

It’s been over a year since the Japanese release of anime legend Hayao Miyazaki’s last film, The Wind Rises. A highly personal film which serves as a powerful closing statement to his storied career, many had hoped it would win Miyazaki his second Oscar, only for the nod in the Best Animated Feature category go to Disney’s juggernaut (and endorser of traditional Japanese cuisine) Frozen.

That doesn’t mean the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has no love for Miyazaki, though, as it’ll soon be bestowing an honorary lifetime achievement award upon him.

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Fox’s Animation Domination HD pays tribute to Ghibli with new video

While Fox’s Animation Domination High-Def has a long history of skewering anime properties and tropes, like this battle between Naruto and Sasuke, the ultimate anime hero, and super-powered schoolgirls, it’s all out of love. And now, in response to Studio Ghibli‘s announcement that it may dismantle its production department, ADHD has posted a tribute video called “Goodbye, Ghibli.”

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“Again with the ninjas…” Japan reacts to the American Yoshinoya commercial online

One of the great joys of RocketNews24 editors and writers is getting to see how fast food chains operate in different countries. The sometimes slight and sometime huge changes to the menu can really give us more insight into the local cultures than you might expect. However, for the most part these multinational restaurants originate from the USA, so it’s really a special treat to see how the huge gyudon (beef bowl) chain Yoshinoya looks when localized for American customers’ tastes.

Recently a commercial for the salaryman’s favorite restaurant was posted on YouTube and drew some curious opinions from those back in its home country. The response was largely positive, especially regarding the American take on Yoshinoya food, but some wished the US would stop with the whole Japan = ninjas thing already.

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Pizza Hut in Japan is now run by four bossy felines in new adorable campaign

In Japan, there’s the phrase “neko no te mo karitai” (literally “want to borrow even a cat’s hand”), meaning that you’re so busy, you even want the cat to help. Well, Pizza Hut took this idiom to heart in its new campaign, hiring four rough-and-tumble cats to manage a franchise called Pizza Cat! As you’ll see in the dramatic “movie trailer,” these cats are fired up and can’t wait to rescue people who’re too busy to prepare dinner.

Read on to learn more about the comical and kawaii campaign, and to watch a few of the 15-second promotional videos that reveal what would happen if cats really lent a paw. Plus, if you live in Japan you may even have a chance to win a Pizza Hut hat for cats. So are felines one opposable thumb away from world domination, or are we slowly approaching a utopia in which pets will fetch us pizza? And hey, didn’t Samurai Pizza Cats already get started on both?

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Toronto Film Festival to host North American premiere of Princess Kaguya, Ghibli documentary

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) will host the North American premiere Isao Takahata‘s The Tale of the Princess Kaguya and director Mami Sunada’s The Kingdom Of Dreams And Madness documentary about Studio Ghibli next month. Princess Kaguya will premiere with English subtitles on September 5 with Takahata present for the screening. The Kingdom Of Dreams And Madness will premiere on Monday, September 8.

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Monsters of Shamisen: New music for an old instrument 【J-Tunes】

When it comes to Japanese music, one of the most iconic sounds is that of the tsugaru-jamisen. We’ve written about musicians playing the folk instrument before, but today we have a group with a traditional, but decidedly unique, approach: the three-man group Monsters of Shamisen.

From heavy metal to traditional Japanese music and throat singing, there’s sure to be something here for everyone!

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Our Japanese writer discovers a surprising escalator in the US, declares America Best Place Ever

Target is America’s second-largest retailer, and its humongous stores have everything you could possibly need, from food to clothing to household goods. For a Japanese person visiting America for the first time these stores can be a tourist attraction in themselves as they gaze at the enormity of it all, and then leave without buying anything because it’s too overwhelming and they’re scared of doing something wrong.

However, our writer Japanese found something in a Target store that may even surprise Americans too.

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What’s better than sushi? Ramen sushi!

If you look closely at the photo above, you’ll see that inside this sushi roll there’s no rice. Instead, it’s filled with the goodness of instant noodles!

The lifeblood of students, singles and people who just don’t have time to cook, the humble noodle has been used in many ways over the years and now it’s seeing a new dawn, wrapped in a roll and plated up as sushi. And did I mention this baby is wrapped in bacon?

We’ll give you the easy, step-by-step recipe after the jump, but purists be warned: the following images may disturb. Everybody else: come on in and take a seat!

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Ghibli’s The Tale of Princess Kaguya gets a North American release date and new trailer 【Video】

With Hayao Miyazaki being the most recognized face of Studio Ghibli, and producer Toshio Suzuki the most currently active, there’s usually not a lot of room left in the spotlight for director Isao Takahata. One of Ghibli’s founding members, Takahata served as producer for the company’s first official release, Castle in the Sky, and his written and directed five films for Japan’s most respected animation house including the critically acclaimed Grave of the Fireflies.

Fans of Takahata’s work have learned to be patient, though, as his most recent film, 2013’s The Tale of Princess Kaguya, came 14 years after his previous feature, 1999’s largely forgotten My Neighbors the Yamadas. Foreign fans have had to wait even longer, but Princess Kaguya is almost ready to head overseas, as distributor GKids has announced a release date and put out a teaser trailer to whet North America’s appetite.

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Being punched in the face by Ichiro is the best moment of this girl’s life【Video】

On August 6 baseball magazine Baseball America chose Ichiro Suzuki as their number one on a list of the ‘Top 10 Most Prodigious Best Tools Winners Of The Millennium’, beating out greats such as Pujols and Verlander.

Of course he’s a legend in his home country of Japan, but during his many years in the major league he’s also gained plenty of American fans. To celebrate his win, we want to share this video of a ‘super happy Ichiro fan’, with ‘super happy’ being somewhat of an understatement.

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Gangnam Style tops Billboard chart again in 2014, continues to toy with PSY’s emotions

It was back in the summer of 2012 when “Gangnam Style” was released. Thanks in part to YouTube, the single transformed South Korean rapper PSY into a worldwide pop phenomenon. But nothing lasts forever, and although it had a remarkably good run on the charts, general interest in the mega-hit gradually waned.

Since then, PSY has been hard at work coming up with other singles such as “Gentleman” and “Hangover”, but neither have captivated the public’s interest to the same degree. It’s a hard degree to surpass, however, as in just the past week, “Gangnam Style” reached number one again on the Billboard charts. This surely comes as bittersweet news to PSY who by now has got to be completely burnt out on performing that song over and over… and over again.

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Ghost in the Shell Arise #1-2’s English dub cast announced

Funimation announced the English dub cast for Ghost in the Shell Arise episodes one and two at its Otakon panel on Saturday.

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Nine things the US does better than Japan (according to our cosplaying Japanese reporter)

After a long week of Comic-Con and coming down off the high of crossdress cosplaying as Sailor Venus, our intrepid Japanese reporter, Yoshio, settled back into life in his home country and has taken some time to reflect on his trip. Yoshio has been to the US nearly a dozen times, but there are always several things that impress him. The following is a translation of his impressions and the nine things he thinks the US does better than Japan.

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