New “front zipper swimsuit” craze triggers a wave of booby fan-art on Twitter

When it comes to competition swimwear, most of us immediately think of is the kind of gear we see worn by professional swimmers. Trends have shifted over the years as technology improved and demands have changed; swimsuits with racerbacks and varying leg lengths to cater to different needs, preferences and races are most commonly seen on female professional swimmers today.

Last week, Japanese “fetish swimsuit” maker REALISE released a new “competition swimsuit” that changed everyone’s perspective on racing swimwear. Instead of having an open back like many Speedo or TYR suits do, REALISE’s revolutionary design has an open front, allowing its wearers to show off their bosoms, just because. As always, the trend-sensitive Twitter users of Japan were quick to respond to the new fashion statement and… well, just see for yourselves after the break! (Needless to say, some of these illustrations are NSFW.)

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Three years of character bento, Part 2: Loving, hilarious mom continues to pester teen daughter

Do you remember last month’s piece which chronicled single mom Kaori’s three-year character bento spree? On the surface the project seemed to be about harassing her kyaraben-hating teenage daughter, but we learned that in the end, it was an incredible (not to mention eye-catching!) feat of parental love and dedication.

In Part 2 of this series, we’re going to put the spotlight on more of Kaori’s entertaining creations in tandem with some of her thoughts. And next week in Part 3, we’ll wrap up with the mom’s reaction to her long-awaited book, her “Countdown to Graduation” bentos, and a surprise from her daughter. So, before we get to this devoted mom’s moving, seaweedy words of wisdom and love, let the drool-fest begin! And keep your eyes peeled, you may even find your favorite character!

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Japanese voters pick the top manga, anime, and other works they wish to see introduced abroad

With the ever-growing presence of Japanese media abroad, fans of various mediums might sometimes find themselves at a loss as to which series to begin next. Fortunately, a massive poll has now made the process much easier by picking out the cream of the crop as chosen by the Japanese public.

Sponsored by Japanese newspaper the Yomiuri Shinbun, Sugoi Japan recently held its first Grand Prix to determine which works in four categories–manga, anime, light novel, and entertaining novel–people deemed most worthy of being introduced abroad. Though the choice of Attack on Titan as the top manga will surprise few, given its explosive popularity, the winner of the anime category might catch some by surprise. 

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We try the new Tokyo Tower Burger from Mos Burger

We brought you news of its coming and now it’s time for us to take on the new Tokyo Tower Burger from much-loved Japanese hamburger chain Mos Burger. With 14 layers of goodness, including chilli sauce and fried onion rings, this promises to be a spicy encounter as well as a heck of a mouthful.

But with Mos Burger known for its relatively small serving sizes, just how big is their latest offering? Come with us as we take you through the burger dedicated to Tokyo Tower, bite by delicious bite.

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“60-Minute Candy” is closest we’ll get to Wonka’s “Everlasting Gobstopper,” good for diets, too!

A new diet product has been catching on in Japan recently, despite it paradoxically being basically a giant ball of sugar that seems like it came straight out of Willy Wonka’s fictitious candy factory.

The “60-Minute Candy” is increasingly being talked about on the Twitterverse by Japanese women who are passing word on to each other that the long-lasting lollipop is great for suppressing cravings for even less healthy alternatives.

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Half-Japanese beauty chosen to represent Japan at Miss Universe 2015

Whoever said that Niigata Prefecture is home the most beautiful women in Japan may need to think again. For the second year in the row, the Japanese representative for the Miss Universe competition hails from Nagasaki, with last year’s crown holder being Keiko Tsuji. As cool as that is, the real story of the year is that the 2015 representative, Ariana Miyamoto, is half Japanese.

It’s no surprise that Western features are considered beautiful in Japan. Heck, some women are actively seeking a foreign partner in order to produce absolutely adorable “haafu” (half-Japanese) babies. Sometimes, due to their alluring features, haafu are not always treated the same, or even as Japanese, as their native peers. Miss Nagasaki faced her fair share of race-related challenges too and although some people are against her acting as a representative for Japan due to her mixed heritage, she is also receiving a lot of support.

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McDonald’s hopes to make kids happy — by teaming up with Japan’s favorite blue friend Doraemon!

It’s no secret that McDonald’s Japan has been enthusiastic about collaborating with various anime and character franchises to come up with goodies for children. In the past we’ve seen toys featuring Pokémon and Yokai Watch, as well as Pretty Cure, Super Mario and Transformers, among others, being offered with their Happy Meals, and kids certainly seem to be, well, happy with their Happy Meals, since almost 100 million of these sets are apparently sold in Japan each year.

This month, none other than Doraemon, the time-travelling blue cat robot, makes an appearance as six different Happy Meal toys, and they definitely look ready to delight children across Japan!

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Crazy station’s 290 steps from gate to platform make it the deepest and spookiest in Niigata

Japan is in the middle of a luxury train boom, but that doesn’t mean every station in the country is a palace of creature comforts. In the most rural areas, the station is often little more than an unstaffed slab of concrete poured next to the rails.

Things are just a bit more infrastructure-intensive at Tsutsuishi Station, however. That’s because while its above-ground facilities may not be much to look at, the platform is located at the bottom of a stairwell that descends 40 meters (131 feet) into the earth.

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Japanese girl accidentally finds a new use for her decorative sword: accessory organizer

Sometimes people can be a little shy about their hobbies and may not always be upfront with their friends, even if it’s something they really like. Things like cosplay or model building aren’t always seen as the epitome of cool (although, many would argue otherwise!).

When one girl was asked by a friend why she bought a fake katana (Japanese sword), she came up with a pretty terrible fake reason. However, that lie turned out to be a really good idea!

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Tasmanian bakery offers Kiki’s Delivery Service fans an unlikely experience

For years, Kiki’s Delivery Service fans have been flocking to an unlikely location—Tasmania’s Ross Village Bakery, which fans think bears an uncanny resemblance to the bakery in the film.

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And now for some photo fun from Asia 【Pics】

The continent of Asia itself contains over half of the world’s population. Looking solely at the numbers, this means that there’s a much higher chance for something crazy to go down here than in other parts of the world.

So when you see pictures of people like the woman above, you might get the sense that a lot of Asians are a little bit out-there, but actually for the most part they’re just as plain as you, me or my buddy Kenji who dresses up like a panda at his local zoo and pretends to mate with another panda-dressed co-worker to encourage the real pandas to get it on.

So please keep people like Kenji in mind when viewing these 14 photos of strange occurrences around our lovely continent.

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Why Korean and Japanese people can’t speak English, in their own words【Video】

Native English teachers who have worked in Korea or Japan have developed very strong opinions about the systematic approach each country takes when teaching English. Here at RocketNews24, we’ve previously talked about how all the focus is on test scores and how native English speakers are used as glorified tape-recorders. We’ve also mentioned that there are Japanese English teachers with limited ability to speak (let alone teach) the subject, textbooks that bore the students into a coma and students who are too afraid to try because they don’t want to make any mistakes.

We could go on and on about the issues plaguing the system, but in the end, it is just advice coming from outsiders. Perhaps the ones we need to hear more from are the students themselves. What better source of feedback is there than the people who have experienced the process first-hand and now live with the fruits of their studies, or lack thereof?

Do those people identify similar problems in the current system? Has the presence of foreign English teachers in class actually had an impact on their studies? Let’s find out, when Korean and Japanese who are living overseas are asked about their English education.

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Spot the difference: This gif of Miss Korea candidates is pretty much what we were expecting

It’s probably common knowledge by now that South Korea is one of, if not the most, cosmetic surgery-obsessed countries in the world. It’s a topic that has been touched on pretty regularly here on RocketNews24; last year alone we brought you news of a Korean clinic that makes art out of patients’ jawbones, a girl who underwent an enormous amount of plastic surgery to turn herself into Miranda Kerr, and a Korean reporter who changed her looks so drastically that many were left aghast.

Korean cosmetic surgery, on the whole, is geared towards achieving a standardised set of features that are considered beautiful. And while the entries for Miss Korea may or may not have had a little bit of work done at some point, it’s startling how similar they all look in their competition portraits.

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Otaku’s mom finds out about his anime doll obsession, sews a set of Love Live! costumes for them

The tricky thing about social media is that announcing your passions to the world, by its nature, means you’re also announcing them to relatives and acquaintances you’d maybe rather keep in the dark regarding some of your more unusual pastimes. That’s why Twitter user Shitaraki Kongo set up his account and does his tweeting in a way that he hopes will obscure his true identity.

Nevertheless, his mom eventually managed to tie her son to the account, and his secret was revealed. That Kongo is an anime fan isn’t such a big deal, and given the current trends in the industry, the fact that he’s enjoying high school idol series Love Live! probably wasn’t a huge shock either.

Kongo is on the fringe of even otaku culture, though, as he’s also really into collecting posable dolls and dressing them up like the Love Live! cast. Odds are he was feeling pretty awkward when his mother discovered all this, but instead of disowning him out of embarrassment, dear old Mom instead grabbed a needle and made some new threads for her son’s anime crushes.

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Girl enlists the help of a Bangkok ladyboy to prank her sleeping boyfriend【Video】

Who doesn’t love a good prank? Well, it might not always be so great being on the receiving end of the joke, but it sure is a lot of fun for the viewer. This Czech girl also seemed to have a lot of fun tricking her boyfriend into thinking he had slept with a ladyboy one night during their vacation in Bangkok.

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From Ham Fighter to panty thief? Ex-pitcher accused of trying to steal undies with fishing pole

It’s probably safe to say Yukihito Nakanishi’s life hasn’t turned out exactly ike the 37-year-old Kyoto native planned. A baseball player in his student days, he was selected by the Nippon Ham Fighters with the overall seventh pick in the 1996 draft, but struggled to raise his game to the level required to be a star, or even a regular, in the Nippon Professional Baseball league.

Nakanishi was cut in 2000, having never pitched in an official game. Still, he’s managed to transition to life as a non-professional athlete, finding a job and moving back to Kyoto. He even seems to have found a new hobby, fishing, which ordinarily would be great, except that the police are claiming that instead of going after bass or trout, Nakanishi recently cast his line in hopes of hooking the lingerie his neighbor had hung out to dry.

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Seven facts about Japanese chopsticks to help you win friends and influence people

We’ve been seeing a lot of articles recently about how to use Japanese chopsticks correctly. For those of us who grew up using forks and knives, it may seem a bit silly to obsess over holding two sticks at the correct angles. If you plan on visiting, living in, or especially working in Japan at some point, though, it may be a good idea to get out a protractor and practice those angles to save yourself a lot of embarrassing moments with friends and coworkers later.

To help you out, we here at RocketNews24 have compiled seven facts about chopsticks to help you along in your quest for perfect Japanese table manners. Even if you’re a seasoned chopstick expert, you may learn a thing or two from our advanced-level tips.

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Just say no! Five anime that fans hope never get live-action remakes

While they haven’ quite reached the same level of ubiquity as American comic book adaptations, more and more anime are being turned into live-action movies recently. Over the last year or so, we’ve seen the release or announcement of such projects for Ruroni Kenshin, Lupin III, Tokyo Tribe, and Attack on Titan.

But while having an existing fanbase and the broad strokes of the plot already in place make an anime adaptation attractive to producers, not all fans of a series are particularly pleased at the prospect of seeing real actors and actresses stepping into the anime shoes of their favorite heroes and heroines. Japanese website Nico Nico News recently asked 500 adult men and women which anime they hope never get the live-action treatment, and here are their top five responses.

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Video shows how Japanese salarymen work crazy hours, but is that really the norm? [Video]

It’s the end of the fiscal year in Japan, which means that Japanese companies have been under a lot of pressure these days to get things done. This can cause long, stressful hours for the salarymen bustling in and out of work everyday. One such salaryman, Stu in Tokyo, a British expat and a vlogger, made a video depicting his work/life balance during this busy time.

While the video went viral and has brought the tireless life of a Japanese salaryman to mass media, is the negative impression as accurate as we conceive?

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Esteemed voice actor: “1 in 100 voice actors become pros”

Hiroshi Ohtake, an 82-year-old voice actor known for his roles in 1960s anime like Mōretsu Atarō (Nyarome), Pāman (Booby) and Himitsu no Akko-chan (Daisho), won the Achievement Award at the 9th Seiyū Awards on March 7. He used the occasion to speak about the challenges faced by up-and-coming voice actors.

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