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Faster than a speeding bullet! Ride the Tokyo to Kyoto “Nozomi” Shinkansen with us! 【Video】

Even if you’re not exactly a trainspotting otaku, chances are you still find the idea of riding a Japanese bullet train seriously appealing. After all, those things get up to some crazy speeds, and the whole process runs like smooth, scientifically adjusted clockwork. Even the cleaning crew get their job done, making the trains absolutely spotless, in seven minutes max!

But if you haven’t quite made it to Japan yet, then we invite you to take a Shinkansen ride with us and our Japan Wish competition winner Ashley. Strap yourself in and feel those G-forces!

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Artist’s rendition of popular Ghibli movies and more will blow you away

Watching a Studio Ghibli movie always leaves you with a lasting impression. Their skills in storytelling and art create masterpieces for the eyes and the heart. If you were to describe the Ghibli style in a few words, magical, whimsical and playful would probably come to mind. Which is why it’s incredible to see the tone shift in these fantastic pieces of art from AJ Frena.

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Pixar alters Inside Out’s visuals for Japanese release, removes broccoli

If you’re an anime purist, you’ve probably watched at least one title with a localization choice that rubbed you the wrong way. Maybe you were irked by Sailor Moon’s Usagi being called “meatball head” on American T.V. instead of “dango/dumpling head.” More recently, you might have wondered why Doraemon’s central family ditched all their chopsticks and now eat their Japanese food with forks in their U.S. appearances.

But localization runs in the other direction, too, and it’s just come to light that Pixar has altered part of the artwork in several scenes of Inside Out solely for the film’s Japanese release.

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“Why? Why?!?!” Competitive gamer’s premature celebration is equal parts disastrous and hilarious

Is competitive video gaming a sport? It’s a debatable issue. On the one hand, it doesn’t require much in the way of raw strength, but neither does table tennis, and that’s an Olympic event. Likewise, video gaming isn’t a serious test of physical endurance, but neither are golf or curling.

You could also argue that the mentality of competitive games is fundamentally the same as traditional sports. Both can produce the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Oh, and as this video from the world’s biggest fighting game tournament shows, the embarrassing hilarity of a premature victory.

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Awesome father creates Mario Kart 8-themed nursery for newborn son【Video】

In what may be one of the most impressive Nintendo homages – not to mention a timely tribute to the late Satoru Iwata who passed away earlier this month – we’ve ever seen, a talented and Nintendo-obsessed father recently built a completely Mario Kart 8-themed nursery for his newborn son.

The final product is truly impressive; covering all four walls and even the ceiling (this is Mario Kart 8 after all!) with a giant mural models and props, he transports his little boy to the magical world of Nintendo.

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Cat-ear headphones prototype shown for the first time in preview video

They say that good things come to those who wait. Cat-ear headphones sound like a very good thing to us, so it makes sense that even six months after Axent Wear started a crowdfunding campaign for its feline-inspired audio equipment, the stylish and playful pieces of tech aren’t quite ready to ship.

The California-based company has, however, thrown all us all a tasty fishbone, though, with a just-released video of the very first working prototype of the Cat Ear Headphones.

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Facial correction app makes the world’s money funny

They say the most expressive part of your face is the eyes. The rest of the face might be saying “happy times”, but if you focus on the eyes, you might see “sad times,” or vice versa.

Purikura machines, or sticker picture machines, have long had an eye enhancement option, so it only makes sense for an application on your phone to have one as well. Many of them can even be used on everyday objects that have people’s faces on them, like the money resting in your wallet. But how do the respected and historical figures on cash look when you manipulate the size of their eyes? Is some secret emotion going to be revealed? Let’s find out after the jump.

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Is super-salty Tokyo ramen too much umami for foreign tastes? 【Video】

Ramen is the ultimate Japanese hunger-busting food. With its combination of greasy, fatty soup combined with carb-heavy noodles, it’s the perfect meal for when you’re REALLY hungry in Tokyo (or just really hungover.) But that doesn’t mean that this taste is for everyone. In fact, there’re probably a lot of people out there who just can’t handle that heavy hit of garlicky, salty grease.

Our Japan Wish competition winner Ashley mentioned in her winning video entry that she really wanted to get a taste of Tokyo ramen. We accompanied her to Ramen Jiro to watch as her tastebuds tangled with the pungent umami of a bowl of their finest slurping fare. Unfortunately, Ashley soon realised that the reality of the truly salty ramen might be a little hard to swallow – along with the actual ramen itself! Check out our video report!

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What are Tokyo trains at rush hour really like? Check out our eyewitness account!【Video】

Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station is the Guinness World Record holder for busiest transport hub in the world, with an average of 3.64 million people passing through the station, which has 36 platforms and over 200 exits, each and every day. And it’s never busier than during the morning rush hour, with commuters from all over Tokyo and its neighbouring prefectures pouring through the station on their way to work. No wonder the trains are so crowded!

Since Ashley, our Japan Wish” competition winner is currently in town soaking up as much Japanese culture as she can, we thought it would be great if she could experience the rush hour crush for herself and share her thoughts with her fellow RocketNews24 readers.

Check out the video we took of Ashley being squished like a sardine and see for yourselves how she rates the experience!

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Kimono artisans hope to revive dying industry by taking kimono to New York Fashion Week

Everyone knows what a kimono is – the beautifully designed, traditional Japanese garb that is still worn for formal occasions, even today. But did you know the kimono-making industry is in crisis? With its artisans aging and not enough newcomers taking up the mantle, the market has been dwindling quickly over the past few decades.

But there are a few who are trying to revive this dying tradition, by taking kimonos to the runway at New York Fashion Week. Would you like to see this become a reality? Find out how you can help!

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Pokémon bro Magikarp can do more than splash

A specific trio of buff Pokémon cosplayers have popped up at anime conventions around North America, including Fanime, Anime North, and Anime Expo. Originally the group were based solely off a viral fanart image of Dugtrio but were soon joined by Chikorita and Sudowoodo.

DC-based cosplayer Sevcosplay got in on the trend, proving that franchise‘s long-lauded uselessPokémon has more to him than just splashing about. He posed for a series of photos with photographers John Jiao and Dave Yang at ColossalCon in Ohio last month.

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Hayao Miyazaki speaks out against relocation of Okinawa U.S. base, criticizes Prime Minister Abe

Internationally renowned Studio Ghibli co-founder and director Hayao Miyazaki, who announced his retirement from feature films in September of 2013 but is now reported to be working on a computer generated animated short, pretty much attracts attention for whatever he does or says. And while it’s nothing new, this time, it’s Miyazaki’s anti-war and anti-military statements, and not his animated works, that have recently been making headlines on the Japanese internet, especially as he referred to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in his statements, and not in a positive light.

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Macho Pokemon cosplay leaves Japanese netizens amused and confused

They say anything is possible in the world of cosplay. While some cosplayers have started getting creative when it comes to background photo effects, others have branched out into recreating renditions of popular fan art. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that a group of particularly ripped guys decided to make a costume of the Dugtrio Pokémon masterpiece above that hit the web in response to the question “What exactly does Diglett look like underground?”

Although the trio original debuted their cosplay at last year’s Fanime convention in California, they revived it again at Anime Expo 2015, which was held at the beginning of the month. Following this year’s convention, pictures of the famous cosplay started appearing on Japanese sites, leaving netizens both laughing and scratching their heads at what they deemed a uniquely “American” style of cosplay.
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Three fantastic Japan-themed exhibits at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts set to end soon

2015 has been a good year for lovers of Japanese art in Boston. The city’s phenomenal Museum of Fine Arts has hosted not just one, but three special exhibitions of Japanese art so far this year, along with its newly restored Japanese garden outside. The most hyped of all of these is an exhibition dedicated solely to Katsushika Hokusai, one of the most important ukiyo-e painters and printmakers of the Edo period who’s best known as the creator of The Great Wave off Kanagawa.

Besides the Hokusai collection, the museum is also hosting a particularly powerful exhibit displaying the work of 17 photographers in the wake of the 2011 Tohoku triple disasters, along with a lighthearted exhibit showcasing prints of some whimsical Japanese toys and games. As all three of the exhibitions are preparing to wind down within the next few weeks after hosting thousands of visitors over the past months, we thought we’d take a moment to share some of their highlights with you!

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Women’s World Cup celebration at Shibuya crossing is a completely different beast from 2011

Four years ago, the U.S. and Japanese teams met in the Women’s World Cup final in Germany, with Nadeshiko Japan emerging victorious in an uplifting and feel-good story after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. This year’s rematch of the two teams was a totally different result as the Americans gave the Japanese a real shellacking with a final score of 5-2. Japanese fans didn’t have much to cheer about as they found their team down 4-0 after about the 16 minute mark.

While thousands of soccer fans celebrated the championship in Shibuya’s famed scramble crosswalk four years ago, what sort of celebration would be found after the U.S. victory? There are definitely enough Americans in the Tokyo area to celebrate their win so join us after the jump to witness the “madness” in Shibuya.

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Giant robot fight is on! Suidobashi accepts Americans’ challenge, wants to “punch them to scrap”

Like a lot of people, up until a few days ago I’d never heard of MegaBots, despite the fact that the California-based company has apparently created a pretty amazing (and armed) giant robot. That all changed, though, when the designers of the MegaBot Mark II released a video challenging Japan’s Suidobashi Heavy Industry, the makers of the Kuratas robot, to a duel.

It definitely got MegaBots plenty of attention, and now it’s gone beyond just a cagey PR move. Suidobashi has accepted the challenge, and is spitting back some fighting words of its own.

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We’re not sure if these Japan-inspired fashion designs are brilliant or ridiculous

You never know what you’re going to get with a fashion show. You might get some genuinely interesting designs or even a radical new garment altogether that, with a little polishing, could actually end up on hangers in stores a few years later. Or, you might get a head-to-toe body suit made entirely out of rubber baby bottle teats, or a fully nude man wearing a propeller beanie, or something that you would actually expect Lady Gaga to be wearing at that very moment.

What we’re saying is, the fashion world can be pretty hit and miss, and it can be tough to draw the line between design genius and flamboyant designers just trolling the audience for laughs. Which is why we’re so conflicted about these awesome… no, stupid… wait, no, brilliant… Japan-inspired designs from New York-based designer, Thom Browne.

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Hello Kitty movie slated for 2019 release worldwide

It’s been a bit of a rough year for the kingpins of Japanese cuteness over at Sanrio Co. The mega-hit Frozen has been taking up a sizable share of the merchandising market regularly occupied by their geometric kitties and bunnies causing overseas income to slide by as much as 14.5 percent compared to the previous year.

Hello Kitty fans needn’t worry, however. That’s hardly enough to put the company in jeopardy, but it is causing Miss Kitty to unsheathe her claws and go on the attack. If movies like Frozen are going to cut in on Sanrio’s turf, well then, Sanrio will just have to return the favor.

So get ready, because the Hello Kitty movie is already in the works!

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Prankster Street Fighters Ryu and Chun-Li take their fighting skills to a new level, literally!

So far we’ve seen depictions of popular video game series Street Fighter through cosplay, in classrooms, and even re-imagined on Sesame Street. But what about getting back to the basics of the game, and honing your fighting skills for when “a new challenger appears”?

YouTube channel fouseyTUBE takes to the streets, or rather some elevators, to do just that. There’s just one catch – that new challenger might be you!
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Giant robot fight coming soon? American inventors’ video challenges Japanese counterparts to duel

California-based MegaBots spells out its mission pretty clearly on the company’s website: Giant fighting robots. So far, though, they’re only two-thirds of the way to that goal.

The MegaBot Mark II is clearly a robot, and definitely giant, but it hasn’t really done much fighting yet. Since no one wants to watch giant robots grapple with their inner psychological demons and emotional issues, the Mark II needs an opponent, and its American designers have decided to throw the gauntlet all the way across the Pacific, releasing a video officially challenging Japan’s own currently on-sale giant robot to a duel.

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