USA

American Ninja: Throwing star range and sake bar to open in Kentucky, US

American Ninja: Throwing star range and sake bar to open in Kentucky, US

If you’re a budding ninja warrior looking for a place to practice using lethal weapons but can’t quite afford a ticket to Japan, perhaps Kentucky, USA would be a slightly more viable option? And if you also happen to enjoy a drop of Eastern booze in between flinging ninja stars then all the better, as a website advertising a ninja throwing star practice range and sake bar recently popped up online, with the venue itself apparently due to open in spring 2014.

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Pixel romance: Game lover proposes with an original video game!

Pixel romance: Game lover proposes with an original video game!

A story about a knight who braves all dangers to save his princess and eventually asks for her hand in marriage might be a bit of a cliché, but we’ve all had that fantasy at some point in our lives, hoping that we’ll meet our special someone in a fairytale-like situation. Unfortunately, chances are that real-life proposals are not as magical and grand, especially if both you and your beloved are game-enthusiasts who spend half your time “living” in a fantasy game world.

One chivalrous knight upped the game by proposing to his gamer princess with a video game he specially made for the proposal! Was his level-up a success? Click “Start”… I mean, click “Read More” to find out!

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This Christmas tree is way cuter, and way more Japanese, than ours

This Christmas tree is way cuter, and way more Japanese, than ours

While we were already busy filling our faces with fried chicken, our friends over at JapanCulture•NYC – still with a few hours to go until December 25 arrived – sent us a few snaps of their own office Christmas tree before packing up for the holidays. For a site based in New York City and that’s all about Japanese culture in the area, we probably shouldn’t have been surprised that they put a cute, Japanese twist on the traditional ornaments, but this tree brought huge smiles to our faces.

With tiny octopuses, smiling onigiri riceballs and even Kumamon dressed as Santa, this is probably the best cross-culture Christmas tree we’ve seen this season, and we’re thoroughly jealous.

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Awesome Japanese rescue robot probably won’t kill you

Awesome Japanese rescue robot probably won’t kill you

DARPA, the American agency commonly known for its hilarious supervillain-esque laser projects and weaponized dolphins, took time out of its wacky military inventions schedule to hold its Robotics Competition in Miami, Florida, where a humanoid robot from Japanese company Schaft, Inc. took top prize.

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I took Nissan’s ‘Taxi of Tomorrow’ for a spin, and it’s clear New Yorkers will love it

I took Nissan’s ‘Taxi of Tomorrow’ for a spin, and it’s clear New Yorkers will love it

In May 2011, Nissan was selected to create and supply the vehicle that would be the exclusive New York City taxi.

That plan hasn’t worked out so well. A series of court decisions have blocked the City from approving the NV200 as the only taxi model, in part because it’s not a hybrid, according to the New York Times.

But Nissan still has the right to bring its taxi to the streets of New York, and it sold the first one at the end of October.

This week, the automaker invited me to get a closer look at the NV200 and take a spin around Manhattan.

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Troll your friends with personalized “Made in China” M&M’s this Christmas!

Troll your friends with personalized “Made in China” M&M’s this Christmas!

We’re all familiar with M&M’s, the colorful candy-coated chocolates, but did you know that you could create your very own M&M’s? Okay, perhaps some of you lucky people have visited M&M’s World and already know about this, but for the rest of us who don’t, YOU CAN CUSTOMIZE M&M’s! You can even print your Twitter ID on it! If you don’t have a Twitter account, that’s perhaps the best reason to get one.

Our reporter Kuzo takes us through the customization process!

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Willful ignorance ensures the existence of off-color Asian tattoos

Willful ignorance ensures the existence of off-color Asian tattoos

Has internationalization taught us nothing? How strange it is that so many people can laugh unabashedly about the Orient’s attempts at “Engrish” and yet remain stubbornly ignorant of the meanings behind many Asian symbols, whether they’re printed on t-shirts or inked into their skin?!

Yes, the existence of tattoos with inappropriate meanings remains an epidemic. What’s perhaps the most surprising is that even in this day and age many people sporting these strange Asian symbols didn’t necessarily skimp on the research and just got suckered into something by their tattoo artists. Rather, many Western people don’t care enough to ask about the meanings at all!

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Gotta catch a spouse! Pokémon engagement rings

Gotta catch a spouse! Pokémon engagement rings

One day while I was playing Pokémon in my parent’s basement, my uncle Sam came down and asked me to help him. He handed me a Womédex (a smartphone loaded with online dating apps) and a set of Woméballs (tennis balls painted red and white) and told me it was time to catch one of these magical creatures for my very own.

Luckily, Trisha was kind enough not to press charges after I threw a tennis ball at her head inside a Starbucks during our first date, but my quest has so far still been left unfulfilled. Thankfully, I found something more suitable for catching high-level Womémon like Trish being sold online by a talented jeweler named Paul Michael.

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This horse conch left us both disgusted and fascinated

This horse conch left us both disgusted and fascinated

Nature is just…weird. There are no two ways about it: once you get out of the “normal” human areas of habitation, nature turns out to be absolutely freaky. And nowhere is it more bizarre, baffling, and unsettling than in the ocean.

Case in point, the above photo is entirely safe for work–but only if your job is in a nightmare factory. Click below to see exactly what this monstrosity is. Just don’t blame us if you don’t sleep or enjoy your dinner tonight.

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Who is David Ury? And who the heck is Ken Tanaka? – An interview with the “twin brothers”

Who is David Ury? And who the heck is Ken Tanaka? – An interview with the “twin brothers”

We first came across David Ury and his alleged twin brother, Ken Tanaka, after seeing their video titled “Ken Tanaka and David Ury Japanese accent training.” The video features two men of similar physical characteristics having a conversation in Japanese with very different accents. Intrigued, I found myself combing the internet for any information regarding the pair and learned that David Ury is an American actor and Ken Tanaka is his long-lost twin brother who was adopted by a family in Japan. Various videos on Ken’s helpmefindparents YouTube channel seemed to verify this information, showing Ken and David speaking to each other in the same room.

But whispers of controversy surround the brothers despite the online existence of two completely distinct people. Is Ken Tanaka actually just David Ury showing off his acting skills? We set up an interview with David hoping to find out more about the talented actor behind the perfect Japanese accent.

What we landed up with was some of the best Japanese study advice we’ve ever heard, some anecdotes about crazy adventures in Japan and an introduction to a comedic book about death.

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12 culinary delights from Japan that you can find in New York City

12 culinary delights from Japan that you can find in New York City

As much as we at RocketNews24 love talking about Japanese food and introducing our readers to new places to eat or our own crazy culinary creations, we appreciate that for many, popping over to Tokyo or Osaka for a week of washoku dining bliss simply isn’t on the cards. But thankfully, great Japanese food can be found all over the world – if you know where to look!

For those of you to whom New York is a heck of a lot closer than Tokyo, Susan Miyagi Hamaker, one of our friends from JapanCulture•NYC, has prepared a fantastic list of 12 authentic Japanese foods that are available within the city, even sharing some tips on which restaurants to check out if you’re in town. Yup, the real just got that little bit closer!

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13 surprising Japanese translations of American movie titles

13 surprising Japanese translations of American movie titles

Hollywood films are popular around the world and Japan gets its fair share of dubbed and subtitled blockbusters. But sometimes things get a little mixed up when changing words from English to Japanese. This gives rise to translated titles that come in a wide range of strange from unintended sexual innuendos to spoilertastic summaries.

Let’s take a look at 13 weird Japanese movie titles that make you wonder what the translators were thinking.

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Fast and easy toilet break health check that might save your life

Fast and easy toilet break health check that might save your life

This is totally random, but if anyone ever told you that their pee is purple, they’re outright liars. According to the medical experts at the Cleveland Clinic, it’s possible to have reddish, brownish or even green pee (though neither of these are healthy pee colors), but nope, definitely not purple.

Also, did we mention that the hue of your piddle actually gives you a hint on your current health condition? Here’s a super easy health check that will cost you no money, and barely any time. So go ahead and empty your bladder, then check against the color guide after the jump!

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Fans in Japan can listen to Lady Gaga’s latest hits by embracing her life-size doll

Fans in Japan can listen to Lady Gaga’s latest hits by embracing her life-size doll

Lady Gaga has earned quite a reputation for her forward-thinking song lyrics and strangely obscene fashion sense. Japan, in particular, is enthralled with the pop star and quick to embrace her Asian-inspired appearance and catchy tunes.

Now, in conjunction with Lady Gaga’s latest album release, residents of Japan will be able to literally accept the idol’s music and image into their arms, thanks to the creation of the GAGADOLL, an audio preview device in the shape of Lady Gaga, herself. This life-size doll has a softly playing speaker built into its bust, so when someone lays their head upon her chest they can hear her music in place of her heartbeat.

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Subway mini skirt peeping tom found innocent

Subway mini skirt peeping tom found innocent

Over a year ago, an American man was caught using his cell phone on the subway in Seoul to take an up-skirt image of a female passenger. With the offending photo found stored on the man’s phone it seemed like a fairly open-and-shut case, but the court at which he was tried ultimately found him innocent of any wrongdoing.

You be the judge on this one…

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Nuts for Nissan: Man willing to give testicle for Fairlady Z

Nuts for Nissan: Man willing to give testicle for Fairlady Z

It’s an age-old expression of a guy who wants something really badly, but who would have thought that a dude’s dangly bits could actually be indirectly used to acquire the goods or services he desired?

We can thank Mark Parisi for this revelation when he appeared on the American TV show The Doctors to share his lucrative ventures into being a medical guinea pig. The Las Vegas resident is hoping to parlay a donation of his testicle towards the purchase of a Nissan Fairlady Z (named 370Z outside of Japan).

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Wreckage of World War II-era Japanese submersible aircraft carrier found off Hawaii

Wreckage of World War II-era Japanese submersible aircraft carrier found off Hawaii

Japan and the nations the English-speaking RocketNews24 team hail from are on good terms these days, but just a few generations ago things weren’t so friendly. While the greatest scientific minds of Japan today focus on putting solar panels on the moon or turning algae into fuel, during the 1930s and 40s weapons development was a much bigger growth area than green energy.

Recently, the wreckage of one of the Japanese Imperial Navy’s most advanced pieces of equipment from World War II was discovered off the coast of Hawaii. What exactly was it? A submarine, or maybe an aircraft carrier?

It was both.

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Cute credit cards could send you to the slammer

Cute credit cards could send you to the slammer

You better watch out. Having a credit card with Idolmaster characters plastered across the surface is good enough to get you arrested in the U.S these days. That is precisely what happened to a Japanese Twitter user’s father on a recent trip to Los Angeles. The card was so cute that it was mistaken as a fake, which resulted in the Japanese man being arrested by local authorities. Maybe a wonderful Disneyland trip was ruined in the process but we may never know the full extent of what actually happened.

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Impress house guests with toilet paper origami!

Impress house guests with toilet paper origami!

Hotel and restaurant bathrooms have really done a number on us by introducing a new level of hospitality through toilet paper etiquette. When the next sheet of paper on the roll is folded into a neat triangular point, we’re made to feel that extra bit special, safe in the knowledge that the area has recently been attended to, as if the place was just done up in anticipation of our arrival.

One lady in the United States has taken the triangular toilet paper fold to a whole new level, incorporating traditional Japanese origami concepts to produce a book of cute, funny and surprisingly beautiful designs to dress up the toilet roll in your bathroom. From swans to candles, who knew toilet paper could be so adorable?

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Turn cleaning into a Nintendo video game with Roomba covers!

Turn cleaning into a Nintendo video game with Roomba covers!

The robotic vacuum cleaner Roomba has already made life easier by cleaning floors on its own (when it is not running away), but a U.S. art exhibition recently showed how the device can turn household chores into a replay of childhood video games. At the art show, an artist crafted Nintendo-inspired covers and turned the cleaning robots into four of the most feared, but beloved video game enemies from the Super Mario and Legend of Zelda series.

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