634 tiny eels in Tokyo aquarium to be broadcasted live online

634 tiny eels in Tokyo aquarium to be broadcasted live online

Care to watch hundreds of wriggling creatures squirming around in an underwater sand pit? Definitely not as cute as the puppy cam, but still pretty cool, 634 spotted garden eels in the Sumida Aquarium at the Tokyo Skytree will be broadcasted live on video streaming site, Nico Nico Douga.

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Japanese blog titled “God’s Defective Goods” sparks debate over Down syndrome babies

Japanese blog titled “God’s Defective Goods” sparks debate over Down syndrome babies

Every loving parent wants what’s best for their children. For the parents of those born with a mental disability, it must be so difficult to come to terms with the knowledge that their offspring will struggle to keep up with their peers. One such mother decided to cope with her feelings by documenting her experience raising an infant with Down syndrome in an online blog. However, in recent weeks the title of this personal report has become the topic of some nasty dispute on Japanese public forums. For better or worse, the woman calls her blog God’s Defective Goods.

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Adorable miniature doughnuts from Mister Donut Japan!

Adorable miniature doughnuts from Mister Donut Japan!

Look at those little guys! They’re so small, you have to carry them all together in a bucket!

If you’re looking for a miniature treat, look no further than Mister Donut’s winter offering of bite-sized doughnuts. With six new flavors and three shareable container sizes, they’re perfect for snacking with friends and family while snuggling up under the kotatsu…or eat them all yourself, we won’t judge.

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Tribute to Nausicaä: Ohm-rice of the Valley of the Wind

Tribute to Nausicaä: Ohm-rice of the Valley of the Wind

The post-apocalyptic Japanese fantasy film Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind (Kaze no Tani no Naushika) came out in 1984. If you watched it as a kid, the odds are that your life was changed in some drastic way. Maybe you decided you wanted to be just like princess Nausicaä when you grew up, and learned how to fly. Or, you might have secretly decided to move to Japan, where those amazing creatures might live. Or, like one Niconico contributor, you were inspired to create an incredible replica of the king of the giant insects… the gigantic, trilobite-like Ohm… in the form of a rice omelette.

Omu-rice is an omelette made with fried rice—a popular Japanese dish, commonly served up with ketchup on top in a zigzag or smiley-face. This Ohm-rice tribute to Nausicaä looks a lot more ominous. If you’d like to try making Ohm-rice with squid ink sauce and spinach powder, you can have a go with the rough recipe provided below!

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Super cute Pikachu-plastered blanket, canvas bag to accompany fan mags

Super cute Pikachu-plastered blanket, canvas bag to accompany fan mags

We here at RocketNews24 are big fans of Pikachu and pals, and can think of no other way to celebrate the release of the newest Pokémon games than snuggling up in a fleece blanket featuring everyone’s favorite lightning mouse or toting around groceries in a bag with the adorable critter’s face. Luckily for us, these two items will be available October 31 as a part of a special commemorative magazine set to celebrate the recent release of the newest Pokémon X and Y.

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Nagano legislators propose banning morning practice for middle school athletes

Nagano legislators propose banning morning practice for middle school athletes

There are a few unique things about student athletics in Japan. Team activities continue throughout the year, which makes joining one a major commitment. And instead of playing a season of games with the best teams advancing to a playoff, most sports have a few tournaments throughout the year with relatively few competitions in between.

The result of all this is a huge amount of time spent practicing, as opposed to playing games. What’s more, it’s normal for athletes in middle and high school to have mandatory practices not just after class, but before their lessons start in the morning, too.

On the surface, this seems like it should be helpful not only in producing more talented players, but in helping students learn the value of dedication, effort, and proper time management. But this system may be taking things too far, according to legislators in Nagano who are proposing doing away with athletes practicing in the morning.

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Men, get your notepads ready: Japanese women list the worst gifts they ever received from boyfriends

Men, get your notepads ready: Japanese women list the worst gifts they ever received from boyfriends

Sometimes, the best advice is based on what you shouldn’t do rather than what you should. After all, oftentimes there is only one totally correct way to handle a situation, but there are varying degrees of wrong ways.

Case in point: Buying a gift for your girlfriend. Your girlfriend probably has something very specific in mind and, while it’s not a total disaster if you don’t get the exact right thing, getting her something totally off base can put a serious dampener on the relationship.

So guys, break out your notepads and listen carefully. Japan’s Naver Matome has compiled a list of the very worst gifts Japanese women have received from their boyfriends. It’s safe to say you should strike all of these off your gift shopping list immediately:

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Pokemon smartphones: Why Apple created the colorful iPhone 5c

Pokemon smartphones: Why Apple created the colorful iPhone 5c

We were all skeptical when Apple announced the low-cost iPhone 5c. Nothing from Apple had ever been relatively affordable and there had never been a cheaper version of any of their products; it was a totally new turn for the tech giant. But now we get it, these phones were made for Pokemon.

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Honda’s latest ad packs a lot of cool optical illusions into a single minute

Honda’s latest ad packs a lot of cool optical illusions into a single minute

Everyone loves a good optical illusion – that immediate shock at what you just saw and that feeling of satisfaction when your brain catches up to figure it out. The recent boom of 3D street art like that we saw from China recently has pushed illusions to a new level.

This sense of amazement has been harnessed and crammed into a one-minute commercial for Honda’s new mid-sized SUV, the CR-V. Having been put up on 17 October it’s been well received by viewers who call the ad “Awesome” and the “Best car commercial ever!”

Honda has been known to put out some clever spots before, so this shouldn’t disappoint. Let’s take a look.

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Scallop flavored ice cream: it’s magically delicious!

Scallop flavored ice cream: it’s magically delicious!

Rumor has it that in Aomori Prefecture there exists a soft-served ice cream made with the flavor of hotate (Yesso scallop), a widely eaten shellfish in Japan. While hotate goes great with a little dab of wasabi, it’s hard to image the scallop’s taste blending well with ice cream.

Without hesitating, our reporter and food lover Usagi caught the next northbound train to the Aomori Prefecture Tourist Center ASPM to see what scallop ice cream had to offer.

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“Ramen Cake” dessert looks just like the real thing, is probably just as bad for you

“Ramen Cake” dessert looks just like the real thing, is probably just as bad for you

An advance word of warning: this recipe seems both extremely difficult and extremely time consuming, so we’d advise you only try it if you’re a master chef or incredibly bored. Or if you need to consume a disgusting amount of calories in a short space of time.

Still, in the spirit of Halloween, this sweet cake and gelatin “Ramen Cake” masquerading almost perfectly as real ramen, is a clever, cute substitute for the usual chocolate eyeballs, brain Jell-o and other grotesqueries of the season.

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Marvel’s mighty Avengers to become an anime

Marvel’s mighty Avengers to become an anime

Walt Disney Japan has just announced that they’ll be making good use of their rights to Marvel Comics’ creations by producing their own TV anime of “the earth’s mightiest heroes,” the Avengers. The series is scheduled for nationwide release on Nihon Terebi starting in spring of 2014 under the title, “Disk Wars: Avengers”.

This is exciting news for fans of the franchise, but comic book buffs might want to reign in their expectations. This animated series has a distinctly Japanese flair, like nothing we ever felt from the original comics. See what changes are in store for our superheroes in this all-new Asian take on an American classic.

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Expert weighs in with his ideas on what defines the Japanese character

Expert weighs in with his ideas on what defines the Japanese character

For most of its history, Japan was separated from the rest of the world by the surrounding seas and an isolationist policy strictly enforced by its feudal period government. These centuries of isolation led to a unique culture, and it’s long been a favorite challenge for researchers and commentators to try to pin down just what defines the Japanese character.

Chinese news portal BW Chinese recently published a list of characteristics of the Japanese psyche, as originally put forth by Australian Gregory Clark, whose educational and professional career dealing with Japanese sociology, education, and economics has spanned more than five decades.

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Hot wheels: We find a wood-burning stove inside a food truck in Nagano

Hot wheels: We find a wood-burning stove inside a food truck in Nagano

Food trucks are all the rage in the United States, but we doubt there’s one like this in any of the 50 states. We tracked down a mobile pizzeria in Nagano, Japan that has a wood-burning pizza oven. That’s right, an open-flame in the back of a van! We just had to try a pizza from such a bizarre place.

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Nintendo out to squeeze our wallets dry with orange and turqoise 3DS LL Limited Packs

Nintendo out to squeeze our wallets dry with orange and turqoise 3DS LL Limited Packs

Nintendo Japan recently announced the release of two shiny new limited colors for the 3DS LL (XL in the West) – “Orange x Black” and “Turquoise x Black“, set to hit stores in Japan on 28 November.

On top of that, a special tie-up edition with The Legend of Zelda is also in the works, to be launched on 26 December.

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Acronyms and in-jokes: The origins of your favourite Japanese video game companies’ names

Acronyms and in-jokes: The origins of your favourite Japanese video game companies’ names

As much as we like to think of ourselves as free thinkers and immune to corporate advertising, there’s no denying that brand names have found their way into pretty much every facet of our daily lives. Many North Americans routinely use “Kleenex” in place of the word tissue; in the UK it’s not unusual to hear people say that they’re about to “hoover up” when referring to running a vacuum cleaner; and in its heyday pretty much any portable gaming device was casually referred to as a Gameboy.

The likes of Nintendo and Sony have been household names for years, but did you ever wonder where these names come from and what they might mean in their native language? Author of Japanmanship and game developer James Kay sheds some light on the origins of the names Japan’s biggest video game companies use, from Capcom to SNK, and has generously shared a few snippets of info with RocketNews24 for our enjoyment and nerdy enlightenment.

Find out where those world-famous names really come from after the jump.

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10 beautiful packaging designs from Japan

10 beautiful packaging designs from Japan

When receiving a gift or even after buying a snack at the convenience store, it’s sometimes hard not to just rip open the package to get to the goodies inside. But if you find yourself in the possession of one of the following products, you might want to pause and take a few moments to admire the hard work and creativity that went in to designing the packaging. Here are 10 beautiful product packages from Japan, all of which have won at the Pentawards, a worldwide packaging design competition.

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Internet reacts to attractive otaku: “Hot guys should be banned from watching anime”

Internet reacts to attractive otaku: “Hot guys should be banned from watching anime”

Meet Yuya Uchida, part-time employee at Animate, a Japanese chain of large-scale stores that carry a full range of anime and manga-related merchandise. Lately, Yuya has been getting a lot of attention from the Internet and other media for his surprisingly good looks! This anime-loving ikemen (hot guy) is breaking the otaku mold and capturing the hearts of women across the nation. Can a guy be allowed to keep his nerd cred when he happens to be such a looker?

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Three deities spotted in the sky during the month without gods

Three deities spotted in the sky during the month without gods

According to the old Japanese lunisolar calendar, the tenth month of the year is Kannazuki or Kaminashizuki, the Month When There Are No Gods, as it was believed that during this month all of the deities would leave their homes and gather in Izumo to discuss what had happened over the last year. A bit like an annual deity convention, where we imagine Susa-no-o gets drunk, embarrasses Amaterasu until she hides in her room again, and then shows off his big sword.

If you happen to be in Izumo, the Hotel Marriott of Japanese gods, the tenth month is instead called Kamiarizuki, or the Month When There Are Gods. It might be a bit literal, but at least it gets the point across clearly, right? And, of course, we’re in the middle of the tenth month now! So there are quite a few people making their way to Izumo to enjoy a bit of nature and maybe catch a few hungover deities late for a workshop.

But people aren’t the only ones making a stop by Izumo–last week three Suns appeared in the sky over the shrine!

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The airport that’s practically a theme park — Shop, eat, play at the New Chitose Airport!

The airport that’s practically a theme park — Shop, eat, play at the New Chitose Airport!

If you’ve ever visited the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, there’s a good chance that you went through New Chitose Airport. Being the largest airport on the island, it serves as the gateway to Hokkaido for the numerous tourists that visit both from within and outside of Japan. Yes, when it comes to Hokkaido, we Japanese are just as enthusiastic about the beautiful snow, fresh seafood, tasty ramen, delectable sweets, relaxing hot springs and scenes of vast natural beauty as visitors from abroad.

But did you know that New Chitose Airport, which you may only briefly pass through as a traveler on a tour, could be a destination all on its own? After undergoing some expansion work in recent years between 2010 to 2012, the airport is now a seriously impressive shopping, dining and entertainment complex. Here’s a look at just some of the things you can enjoy at this airport that looks and feels like a theme park. If you thought that airports were nightmarish places where you want to spend as little time as possible, this may change your mind!

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