The more you know Mario: The unusual Japanese names of Nintendo’s Super Mario characters

If, like me, you grew up playing Super Mario Bros. on the NES, then you’re no doubt super excited for the launch of Super Mario Maker this coming September. Exclusive to Wii U, the game allows players to build their own worlds, using every block, enemy and power-up (plus a few new ones) from a whole host of Super Mario games, then share them with players all around the world.

For those of us who never quite gave up on our childhood dream of making games for Nintendo especially, Super Mario Maker is shaping up to be the ultimate celebration of 30 years of Mario, and the thought of throwing all your favourite bad guys into bizarre platforming situations has us positively giddy with excitement.

With that in mind, today we’ve decided to take a quick look at some of the characters we know and love from the Mario franchise. To spice things up, though, we’re going to be introducing you to their original Japanese names and explaining a little about the meanings behind them. Think you know Mario? Let’s find out!

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PanTea? This pair of granny panties in a teapot can be yours for only 1 million yen!

If you’re like me, then you certainly love gazing at a piece of modern art while sipping white wine out of a vinegar dispenser with a wilted rose floating inside. But if you’re one of those weirdos who doesn’t, then you may wonder why this pair of granny panties soaking in a teapot is on sale with an asking price of 1,081,728 yen (US$8,753).

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Sushi chef really shreds in this new skateboarding-meets-sushi ad 【Video】

Since its creation around 150 years ago, many people have dedicated their whole lives to the art of making good sushi, and we’re certainly thankful for that.

In fact, you could say the art of preparing good sushi is kind of like learning to do tricks on a skateboard, or at least it is if you have a vivid imagination. For those of you scratching your heads, it’ll make a little more sense after watching this entertaining sushi-meets-skateboarding ad. And hey, here at RocketNews24 there’s nothing we love more than sushi and entertainment.

But Japan’s top sushi chefs don’t really need to shred a skateboard park to make good sushi… do they?

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Village Vanguard is at it again, this time with antidote-flavored green slime curry

Last year, “exciting bookstore” Village Vanguard brought us Dragon Quest-inspired blue Slime Curry. Despite its decidedly unappealing appearance, as we found out the taste wasn’t half bad. Quite the opposite really, as our brave writer who sampled the gloppy, blue, boil-in-the-pouch curry ate it right up.

But just in case you haven’t quite had enough foul-looking food action, Village Vanguard has cooked up a new green version of its Slime Curry, this time in “Antidote Flavor“!

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Popular cosplayer’s school photos reveal amazing transformative powers of cosplay

Over the past just half decade or so, cosplay has gone from being a niche hobby that some people found intolerably nerdy at best (and a sign of social dysfunction at worst), to being not only accepted by most, but even celebrated, with some of the best and most frequent cosplayers even enjoying a sort of minor celebrity status.

Cosplay’s growing popularity no doubt has a lot to do with the ongoing explosion of superhero films and the growing mainstream acceptance of other “nerdy” hobbies like video games, comic books and even anime and manga. Suddenly, the idea of using cosplay to escape your own skin and explore other identities on a regular basis is nearly as socially accepted as donning your Robo Pope costume for Halloween.

And some masterful cosplayers have used the medium to explore such drastically different identities that seeing them sans costume can be a shock, as Japanese Netizens learned recently when a popular cosplayer revealed some old yearbook photos.

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Epic Studio Ghibli exhibit to feature 3-D sets, artwork from every Ghibli film spanning 30 years

Regular readers will remember that we recently reported about an exhibit featuring life-size recreations of sets from the most recent Studio Ghibli film, When Marnie Was There. Well, the exhibit has proved to be so popular that they’ve decided to do it all over again, this time in Aichi Prefecture.

But being Ghibli, they can’t just do the exact same exhibit twice. This time, in addition to featuring life-size sets, they’ll also have artwork and props from every single Ghibli film, going back 30 years all the way to Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.

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Internet commenters wonder what drugs this kid was on when he drew this anti-drug poster

If you come from a western country, chances are your view on drugs is drastically different from that of people in Asia. Throughout the region, anti-drug laws can be far stricter, and Japan is no exception – while many of us in the west might think nothing of the idea of a friend smoking a little bit of pot every now and then, many Japanese would react like to the same news like they’d just heard their friend regularly smokes crack cocaine.

It’s little wonder then, that going hand-in-hand with stricter drug laws is an intense anti-drug campaign that offers the catch-phrase “Dame. Zettai.” Translated roughly as “NO. NEVER,” or “absolutely not,” the phrase can be seen on posters and in schools throughout Japan, and of course, part of these anti-drug education efforts includes getting kids to contribute their own posters.

But one child’s drawing has sparked fits of laughter online thanks to its mind-bending portrayal of drug-induced madness.

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Sea bunnies? Japanese netizens going nuts for super cute sea slug

If you polled people on marine life they thought was cute, sea slugs would probably rate somewhere near the bottom if they made the list at all. That’s a shame, though, as the amusingly named nudibranch group is full of vivid color, out-there shapes, and even downright adorableness.

But maybe the sea slug’s image is about to change because the Japanese Net, purveyors of all things cute, have just discovered Jorunna parva, the fluffy little bunnies of the sea.

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You can touch but you can’t eat: We made food replicas from wax in Asakusa, and you can too!

If you’ve ever spent any time in Japan, you’ve probably been to at least one restaurant whose front window is full of surprisingly realistic food samples. In fact, they’re realistic enough that if you’re jet-lagged and starving, like my first day in Osaka, you too may have wondered, “How do they keep the food from rotting and smelling?!” Obviously, the “samples” aren’t samples of food but wax replicas made to look as delicious (or maybe even more delicious) than the food served inside.

But where do those food samples comes from? Well, there are a variety of shops that make them — both for restaurants and people who just love replica food. But at Ganso Shokuhin Sample-ya, you can make your own! We recently headed to Asakusa and created several of our own food samples. Join us after the jump to read about how we made lettuce and tempura food samples, and watch a video of the whole creation process!

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Sushi shop in Tokyo has no name, passes savings on to you with 10-yen sushi!

In Yoyogi, Tokyo, there stands an unnamed sushi shop which sells impressively crafted sushi at rock-bottom prices. It’s a fairly new restaurant, known to locals as “The Sushi Shop With No Name” or “That Sushi Shop That Still Doesn’t Have A Name.”

To us, it became known as “The Place That Serves Yellowtail Sushi For Only 10 Yen (US$0.08) A Piece!” Granted, that’s not the catchiest of names, especially with the conversion to US dollars, but it’s definitely enticing.

And so, our resident sushi expert Mr. Sato set out to find this shop with no name and see if their quality also makes this a place worth visiting.

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“Urgent news bulletin: Pikachu has been kidnapped!”

Earlier, we introduced a new game that shows what Pikachu will look like as an old man, but now it’s not clear if he is ever going to reach that ripe old age. Everyone’s favorite Pokémon has been kidnapped, you guys!

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Slam Dunk fans get a little too enthusiastic, trespass on Kanawaga school property

Fandom is a double-edged sword, we suppose. On the one hand, it helps move massive amounts of money to the people and companies that create awesome things we love, thus allowing them to make more of them. On the other hand, fandom can sometimes make people do kind of crazy things.

From sobbing, screaming audience members at Beatles concerts to obsessive stalkers, being a hit with the general public isn’t all sunshine and roses. This is a fact that a school in Japan’s Kanagawa Prefecture is learning about first-hand thanks to die-hard Slam Dunk fans.

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Man goes drum crazy with Taiko no Tatsujin performance equal parts awesome and hilarious 【Video】

A few years ago, I was talking to someone at a party who mentioned she’d taken up taiko, traditional Japanese drumming. She said that though she liked the musical and cultural aspects, what really had gotten her hooked was what great exercise it is. Playing the traditional instruments means striking their heads with an impressive amount of force, and when you add in the dynamic, dance-like nature of taiko performances, playing a few pieces seems like it should be at least as much of a workout as an aerobics session.

Of course, a lot of that physical aspect gets lost in the transition to taiko-themed video game Taiko no Tatsujin, right? Well, that may be the case for most gamers, but it’s definitely not for the guy in this video, as he dances, poses, and mugs for the camera like mad on his way to a high score.

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Clock in with a kitty at this shared workspace in Japan where you can play with the resident cat

As information technology continues to evolve, telecommuting is becoming increasingly feasible and popular in Japan. Still, sometimes mobile workers find themselves in need of more business-oriented facilities than their home office has, and make use of shared workspaces like the ones we previously looked at.

But while all of those communal offices have amenities such as Wi-Fi, power outlets, and meeting areas, only this one has a resident cat that you can play with when you need a stress-relieving break from work.

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Age is just a number: 50-year-old Chinese model releases new photobook, drives the Internet crazy

Generally, 50 is not the age at which models will release a solo photo collection of themselves posing in various states of undress. As unfair as it is, there simply don’t seem to be a lot of people willing to pose for the camera in skimpy clothes at that age — probably because most 50-year-olds have better stuff to do with their time. Like yell at the kids on their lawn.

But Candy Law isn’t exactly your average 50-year-old, which is probably why she’s just released a new photobook of herself all dolled up. She’s not only proven she’s capable of moving copies, she’s also proven to be extremely popular online. We’ll allow you to recover from your shock at that news before heading below to see some, um, samples of her work.

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Want to work at Kurashiki Central Hospital? Better learn to fold a tiny paper crane!

Becoming a doctor isn’t easy. We doubt there’s anyone who would disagree with that, and we get the feeling that everyone likes it that way. You probably prefer your medical professionals be overqualified to underqualified — delivering babies is a bit more complicated than delivering pizzas, right?

So, it’s only natural that doctors have to take a buttload of tests (that’s a metric buttload, of course), both practical and written. But one hospital in Japan that’s looking to hire some doctors from upcoming graduating classes has gotten creative with their practical tests. One step even includes folding a five-millimeter (0.19685-inche) origami crane.

At least Ant-Man will know who to call when he needs a tiny glider…

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“I buy sausage”, “Meet a mega bear” – Misheard anime lyrics video has us howling with laughter

We’ve rambled in detail and at length before about how there’re lots of words in Japanese that kinda sound like English. But it turns out that anime songs can be a gold mine of hilarious aural misinterpretations for English-speakers with lyrics that, while totally innocuous in Japanese, sound absolutely hysterical to some listeners who aren’t proficient in the language.

A video showcasing a few of the best has recently surfaced on YouTube, and we’ve been spitting coffee on our keyboards each time we rewatch it. It’s just TOO funny! Warning: this post (and the video itself) contain some very naughty, NSFW (misheard) language!

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10 times Shiro and friends balanced Japanese culture on their heads

If you are like most of our readers, you love both Japanese culture and cats. So do you know the Kagoneko blog? If not, you’re in for a treat today!

Kagoneko is a long-running photo blog about a very squinty-eyed cat named Shiro and his four feline friends in rural Kagoshima. Mostly it involves pictures of them with stuff balanced on their heads or paws and it is amazing, not just because the pictures are incredibly cute but because it provides a unique insight into Japanese culture and daily life.

Here are 10 of our favorite examples.

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Our Japanese reporter cleans his childhood room, finds all kinds of nostalgic treasures

Recently, our Japanese reporter Yoshio visited his parents’ house and decided to finally take a stab at tidying up his childhood room, which had been left untouched ever since he moved out. In the process, he was surprised to find many lost relics and treasures from his childhood, and became caught up in a wave of nostalgia for several hours. Needless to say, he didn’t get much cleaning done in the end…

If you’re the nostalgic type, perhaps you’d like to take a peek at the treasures that Yoshio dug up, some from over 20 years ago!

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Things you won’t believe Chinese tourists are buying in Japan: drugstore edition

Often when you visit another country, one thing on everyone’s to-do list is a little shopping. It’s always interesting to see what products a foreign country offers that you can’t find back home. It’s also weird and fun to see the products you are familiar with presented in a different way.

One of the main reasons Chinese tourists visit Japan is to shop. It’s not uncommon to see a Chinese visitor enter a store and drop the equivalent of hundreds of U.S. dollars – usually in cash – on seemingly everyday products like clothes or electronics, but in some cases store shelves are picked completely clean.

But what’s on these tourists’ shopping lists? Here are 11 “godly” pharmacy products that Chinese visitors simply have to buy when they visit Japan.

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