Long live the Roadster! We attend the world premiere of Mazda’s all-new Miata 【Video】

Long live the Roadster! We attend the world premiere of Mazda’s all-new Miata 【Video】

Mazda’s Roadster, also known as the Miata and MX-5, hit showrooms in 1989 and became an instant hit. In the years since, though, doomsayers have emerged every time a competing automaker releases a would-be rival, with predictions having been made that the BMW Z3, Porsche Boxter, Mercedes-Benz SLK, Toyota MR-S, Honda S2000, Pontiac Solstice, and Saturn Sky were all going to kill Mazda’s lightweight open sports car.

The three German cars are still around, although now at price points so far above the Roadster’s that they’re really not in competition with the Japanese Mazda. As for those other pretenders to the affordable convertible crown? All dead and buried. The Roadster’s even outlasted some of those companies, as Pontiac and Saturn have both shut down entirely.

With this history of success, it must have been tempting for Mazda to spend all of the Roadster’s 25th anniversary celebration patting itself on the back for a job well done. Instead, the automaker from Hiroshima chose to do fans one better, by unveiling the fourth generation of the world’s best-selling two-seat sports car.

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Angry Birds app gets first manga in Nakayoshi Shōjo magazine

Angry Birds app gets first manga in Nakayoshi Shōjo magazine

Angry Birds, the smartphone game app franchise that boasts 2.3 billion downloads worldwide, inspired its first manga on Wednesday. Hiyoko Hatano launched theStella ~Nana to Mahō no Eitango~ (Stella: Nana and the Magic English Words) series in the October issue of Kodansha‘s shōjo magazine Nakayoshi on Wednesday. The short stories star Stella, a pink bird character from the Angry Birds apps, and a Japanese girl named Nana.

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These wacky traditional dancers know how to put the fun in fundoshi! 【Video】

These wacky traditional dancers know how to put the fun in fundoshi! 【Video】

Here at RocketNews24 there’s nothing we like more on a man (or indeed a woman) than a dashing fundoshi. While we believe the traditional Japanese underwear that’s part-apron, part-loincloth is suitable for any occasion, we’re prepared to accept that they’re mainly seen at matsuri (festivals) these days.

So when we found this wondrous video of a group of men doing a special festival bird-catching dance in fundoshi, we knew we were in for a treat. Join us after the jump for some very genki dancing men having a lot of body-slappin’ good fun!

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These Disney princesses are ready to kick ass in their awesome battle gear!【Photos】

These Disney princesses are ready to kick ass in their awesome battle gear!【Photos】

What are some of the common traits of the Disney princesses? They’re young, they’re beautiful, they’re always singing, and quite a handful of their stories revolve around the men they fall in love with. What if, for a change, they weren’t twirling around on the dance floor in poofy gowns but donning armor, wielding weapons and fighting on a battlefield? They would still be young and beautiful, but they would probably look a lot cooler! See them after the jump!

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Tech FAIL – Japanese man uses butter to try and turn his normal TV into a 3-D TV

Tech FAIL – Japanese man uses butter to try and turn his normal TV into a 3-D TV

For those who have never been to Japan, the country seems like a high-tech wonderland. There are constantly reports coming out about new technologies, new robots, and new gadgets; you would think every Japanese person is some sort of tech wunderkind! We hate to shatter your dreams, but Japan is just as full of non-techy people as any other country in the world. No thread shows this better than one that recently popped up on 2channel (2ch). While the rest of the world might be trying to look at leaked photos of celebrities, one 2ch user attempted to turn their normal TV into a 3-D TV by applying…butter. Yeah, we aren’t sure how that’s supposed to work either, nevertheless, we present to you…The Buttering!

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“Are… they OK?” Japan National Soccer Team practice video goes viral for their crappy performance

“Are… they OK?” Japan National Soccer Team practice video goes viral for their crappy performance

With Japan’s early defeat in the last FIFA World Cup finals, fans were eagerly awaiting a rebuilt and re-energized team under the guidance of new coach Javier Aguirre. This new national team is set to kick off for the first time on 5 September against Uruguay followed by a match against Venezuela on 9 September.

However, much of the excitement and anticipation held by fans of Aguirre Japan was quickly doused by a wet blanket in the form of a YouTube video posted on 2 September. In it we see what appears to be a practice session that looks…unencouraging to say the least.

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Reddit user claims common Tokyo chain has “best ramen ever” for just US$6, we investigate

Reddit user claims common Tokyo chain has “best ramen ever” for just US$6, we investigate

A decade or two ago, the big Japanese food export that everybody raved about was sushi. Sushi joints cropped up all over the place, with the more authentic places employing highly skilled Japanese chefs slinging expertly crafted sushi at exorbitant prices. In places like New York City, sushi was the go-to food if you wanted to eat out but keep it at least a little on the healthy side.

Then, Westerners apparently took a look at all the diet food in their grocery stores and bland sandwich wraps in their food trucks and decided to revolt. Suddenly, wraps, sushi and other healthy foods were replaced with cronuts, cupcakes, “all the bacon and eggs you have,” and, of course, ramen. Delicious, fatty, greasy ramen quickly replaced sushi as the hip Japanese food and Westerners are willing to pay top dollar for it.

Of course, some Japanese (primarily the slightly feral citizens of 2chan) argue that, for all the money they’re shelling out, Westerners couldn’t pick out a truly great bowl of ramen to save their lives. So, 2chan was unsurprisingly amused when Reddit user lemonpls posted to a foodie subreddit that he’d found the greatest bowl of ramen he’d ever had in his life… at a common fast food chain in Tokyo.

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KFC Japan offering chicken-themed keyboard, mouse, flash memory in exchange for tweets

KFC Japan offering chicken-themed keyboard, mouse, flash memory in exchange for tweets

I don’t know about you guys, but whenever I think of Kentucky Fried Chicken, or “KFC” as it doggedly insists on being called, I immediately think of computer peripherals. What’s that, you say? You’re a normal human being and so you’d never make such a peculiar connection? Oh. Well, perhaps you think of earrings instead?

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Elementary school drop-out may change the humble screw forever

Elementary school drop-out may change the humble screw forever

NejiLaw  is a burgeoning company of about 10 people set up in Tokyo which is offering what the media is calling “the first revolution in the screw in 2,000 years!” At the helm of this company is President Michiwaki, and although his new type of screw is interesting, people can’t help but be more fascinated by the man himself. Michiwaki is an elementary school drop-out who felt that the education system had nothing to offer and so left to pursue a life of self-education and inventing.

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Shokkiri: The obscure art of sumo comedy

Shokkiri: The obscure art of sumo comedy

Sumo is often thought of as a frighteningly strict sport in which every aspect of a wrestler’s life, from the clothing they wear in public to etiquette in the ring, must adhere to a traditional set of rules. In other words, it seems like the least fun sport to be a part of in the world.

That’s why you might be surprised to learn that there’s a sumo comedy routine out there in Japan that’s been going on for over a century. It’s known as shokkiri and is essentially a sumo match where anything goes, sort of like a Harlem Globetrotters game. And despite being based on such uniquely Japanese traditions its humor is pretty universal and sure to crack smiles anywhere in the world.

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Shiraishi Island needs YOUR character ideas!

Shiraishi Island needs YOUR character ideas!

If you went to your town council meeting in your country and told them you wanted to make a cutesy mascot to represent your city, you’d probably get a few smirks from the council members. If you further told them that the character would be androgynous and hardly recognizable as any particular animal, you’d get a few laughs. Then, if you told them it didn’t even need to have a mouth, that it could be frumpy and clutsy, and that this could be a main draw to your town, you’d have been laughed out of the town hall right then and there.

But this is Japan, where characters are biiiig business. The Japanese have taken the concept of Mickey Mouse, Snoopy and The Muppets to a whole new level. With huge success. And now, one junior high school student is hoping to tap into the power of the mascot character to achieve something far more noble trying to get rich: reviving her community and bringing much-needed tourism to the tiny island on which she lives. But she needs your help.

This, RocketNews24 reader, is your chance to get involved in Japan’s mascot frenzy! Submit a character idea to represent this small Japanese island–and who knows, maybe your idea will be chosen! Interested? Read on!

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We chow down on the un-pearably cute food at the brand-new Funasshi café!

We chow down on the un-pearably cute food at the brand-new Funasshi café!

There just doesn’t seem to be any stopping Funasshi, the anthropomorphic pear who serves as unofficial mascot for the city of Funabashi in Chiba Prefecture. Funasshi’s mix of cute looks and hyperactive gyrations have won over fans both in Japan and abroad, and now Japan’s hottest piece of fruit is ready to capitalize on its popularity with a new café in Tokyo’s fashionable Shibuya district.

We decided to pay a visit to the Funa Café on opening day, and couldn’t think of a better RocketNews24 delegate than our very own Mr. Sato, who it turn couldn’t think of a more appropriate outfit than his very own freaky Funasshi cosplay getup.

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Miyazaki City tries to get “Happy,” but will record labels allow it?

Miyazaki City tries to get “Happy,” but will record labels allow it?

By now you are probably more than sick of hearing Pharell Williams’ “Happy.” We’re not ragging on the song, but we strongly suspect that the international hit, though infectious, has started to wear out its welcome. It took a dedicated Weird Al to even keep us interested through the summer, so we’d say it’s about time to put this song to bed. Maybe we’ll break it out again next summer and laugh at all the memories.

However, there is one thing the video has helped illustrate beyond people’s willingness to show off their dance skills (or lack thereof) for a YouTube video: The nebulous world of copyright violation in Japan.

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Sony’s new Xperia Z3 compact tablet boasts PlayStation 4 remote play, controller mount

Sony’s new Xperia Z3 compact tablet boasts PlayStation 4 remote play, controller mount

If you’re the kind of person who loves the idea of gaming on the go but just can’t abide touch-screen controls or fiddly portables, Sony may have just unveiled the perfect product for you.

Announced earlier today, the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is designed to work seamlessly with PlayStation 4 consoles, allowing remote play via wi-fi – a function previously only available to PlayStation Vita users. Better yet, mobile gamers can attach a DualShock 4 controller to the tablet using a special Game Control Mount, meaning that they can play PS4 games pretty much anywhere while still using their regular controller.

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Ehime Prefecture’s new women’s prison decorated powder pink “to relieve feelings of oppression”

Ehime Prefecture’s new women’s prison decorated powder pink “to relieve feelings of oppression”

In Japan, there are currently 3,440 female inmates confined to seven correctional facilities which all together are built to hold 3,342 women. These statistics come from a spokesperson for the newly opened Saijo branch of Matsuyama Prison, which was built to address this overcrowding problem.

The new prison reportedly offers various facilities and services to cater to women’s needs, but most striking by far are the doors, barred windows and furniture all over the penitentiary, which appear to have been painted a soft pink color, as if to remind the inmates that they’re ladies first and convicted criminals second.

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Xbox One finally launched in Japan today, but you’d be forgiven for not noticing

Xbox One finally launched in Japan today, but you’d be forgiven for not noticing

Gamers in the West have been barking orders at and toppling Titans on their Xbox One consoles for the best part of a year now, but today marks the first time Japanese consumers can purchase Microsoft’s newest console without importing.

Industry pundits have long speculated that Xbox One may struggle to gain a foothold in Japan due to the comparatively poor sales of its predecessors and Nintendo and Sony’s hold on the territory. We’d like to believe that this new generation of hardware might help shake things up a little, but if the distinct lack of people waiting in line outside Akihabara’s stores early this morning is any indication, the sceptics could well be right.

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Fan makes functional Hatsune Miku digi-keytar

Fan makes functional Hatsune Miku digi-keytar

Hatsune Miku has been known for helping blaze the trail to the future for quite some time now. From her futuristic look, to her function as a vocal synchronization software, Miku has inspired AR apps, 3D hologram concerts, and more. Now it seems that this digital pop-star has inspired her fans to take that extra step into making tomorrow come today. Using Hatsune Miku as a muse, one Niconico Douga user has invented a unique new musical instrument, simply known as Ano Gakki (“That Musical Instrument”).

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Could you draw a map of Japan that doesn’t look like poop?

Could you draw a map of Japan that doesn’t look like poop?

Sushi, geisha, sumo – everyone knows at least a few famous things from Japan. But how many people actually know what the country looks like on a map?

Our Japanese writer asked six of his foreign friends with an interest in Japan to draw a map of the country to see just how good their knowledge of the country was. The following collection of decidedly poopy-looking doodles is what he got back.

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Hardcore anime fan takes his hug pillow on the train for a romantic ride to Weirdsville

Hardcore anime fan takes his hug pillow on the train for a romantic ride to Weirdsville

There are a lot of ways in which an anime character hug pillow is a poor substitute for a human girlfriend. For instance, despite being extremely patient listeners, pillows are poor conversationalists that rarely, if ever, have anything to add to a discussion. Their hygiene is also not the best, as unlike a real girl, who will regularly shower and brush her teeth, an anime pillow will endlessly wait for her obsessive otaku lover to wash her, no matter how smelly or moldy she gets in the meantime.

In making our list of shortcomings, we were also tempted to add “You can’t take your pillow girlfriend out on a date in public,” but not only can you, one man has, as he was spotted riding the train with the Love Live! character that supports both his heart and head.

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Ryoko Shinohara’s smouldering lingerie ad is a Triumph【Video】

Ryoko Shinohara’s smouldering lingerie ad is a Triumph【Video】

As we saw last week, Japan has some marvellously eccentric ads. But sometimes it’s best not to mess with an old tried-and-tested formula. So while lingerie company Triumph International does its bit for the “WTF Japan” cause by occasionally launching concept bras with solar panels and detachable chopsticks, they also pride themselves on making (regular, non-weird) gorgeous lingerie! Hurrah!

And with this ad for the ‘Tenshi no bra’, a 50th anniversary design from Triumph, they haven’t gone far off the underwear commercial beaten track. That’s right, reader: it’s a beautiful woman in her underwear.

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