Real lick or courtesy lick? How she licks her fingers tells you if she’s into you or not【Video】

On Valentine’s Day in Japan, it’s customary for women to confess their feelings to their crush by giving them chocolate. But over the past few years it has become a trend for women to give “giri choco”, chocolate given as a courtesy rather than out of genuine affection to those they frequently spend time with, such as co-workers and classmates, male and female alike.

Going along with this, a promotional video for the Scorn snack series, called Do Hamari Scorn Rich Chicken Namba Flavor, was made to parody this Valentine “courtesy” culture. Apparently, the way to tell whether a girl really likes you or is just giving you giri choco (or chips!) is in their finger lick…

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Parents, get ready! Yo-kai Watch to ship worldwide in 2016

On 13 February, American toymaker Hasbro announced they will begin shipping merchandise based on the anime/manga/game/toy phenomenon Yo-kai Watch all over the world next year.

This is fantastic news here at RocketNews24 because now we know how to spell the damn thing in English, but for many parents around the world it’s something to be concerned about.

Soon, you might wonder why your little one suddenly needs $300 to buy a plastic watch that holds pogs while also having a keen understanding of Japanese folklore. So, why not get ahead of the game and study up a little before it comes to your country and possesses your children. As a father who has lived through this I’ll try to share some tips in a brief parent’s guide to Yo-Kai Watch.

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Cats in a can (-shaped scratching station) are adorable

Japan loves its pets, and while the size of Japanese homes means the family cat or dog might not have as much space as it would in the U.S., doting owners here are perfectly happy to provide creature comforts for their creatures. Having less space in the house can make putting in a full-size scratching post for your kitty kid of tricky, though, especially if you’d like to occasionally move it out of the way for some extra floor space.

Thankfully, what these compact alternatives give up in size they make up for in cuteness, with a ring-shaped design decorated like the label of one of Japan’s most popular brands of cat food.

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Sailor Moon nail art for the fashionable fangirl

With the first season of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal well underway, not only is a new generation of wannabe Sailor Scouts emerging, but thousands of fangirls of the original 1990s series are rekindling their love for Usagi-chan and her evil-fighting besties.

Marketers timed the release of this new anime series well, as the original fans are now young adults who have money to spend on Sailor Moon goods, like aprons, lingerie, and even feminine pads, which allow them to bask in nostalgia, but still pass as adults (more or less).

Some veteran Sailor Scouts are choosing to show their support in a different age-appropriate way, by transforming their nails. Sailor Moon themed nail art has become a fashion craze and is blowing up in nail salons all over Japan. 

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Literal breastplate will give you a cosplay-ready, anime-class bust in seconds 【Photos】

It’s sort of disheartening to think that you can spend countless hours and huge sums of cash working on your cosplay creation, getting the outfit looking just like it does in the original work, yet still end up looking nothing like the character you’re trying to emulate. That’s because many iconic anime and video game figures have iconic figures themselves, with physiques that often range from difficult to impossible to replicate in real life.

Leading anime ladies, for example, tend to be rather buxom. But if your DNA didn’t deem D-cup would be your natural bust size, one designer has come up with a silicone-free solution: a literal breastplate.

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Grammy winner Sam Smith comes to Japan, meets Kyary Pamyu Pamyu in clash of mundane, crazy names

It’s been a couple of days since we’ve had any Keanu Reeves sightings in Tokyo, so we’re going to assume the Hollywood actor has left Japan (and sadly without taking us up on our offer for a free bowl of ramen). That doesn’t mean the country is suddenly devoid of famous visitors, though, as the movie star’s presence has been swiftly replaced by that of recording star Sam Smith.

The 22-year-old English singing sensation recently arrived in Japan, where he got fans of J-pop talking by posing for a photo with Japanese songstress Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.

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Get wrecked! PlayStation commercial involves wrecking ball, Punch Mania II, madness

Say you’re a giant company that makes video games, like Sony, and you have a new game you want to promote–how would you do it? Sure, you could go shoving pre-rendered cut scenes in everyone’s faces until they puke Mountain Dew, or you could get creative and smash some stuff.

While most companies probably would not go the smashing stuff route, with the possible exception of Stark Industries, it seems that someone at Sony thought that was the best idea since giving Kratos two blades. It turns out they were right–and we were there to see it happen!

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Craft brewer releases beer made with cherry blossoms, just in time for sakura season

Japan’s cherry blossoms are beautiful enough to enjoy without any alcoholic accompaniments, but it’s a fact of life that for many people the drinks are the real draw of a sakura-viewing party. Yet while there’s definitely a certain charm to knocking back a few cold ones in the park with a group of good friends, it does seem like a waste to take the focus off the flowers, since they bloom for such a short time.

That doesn’t mean you need to slow down your drinking to maximize your appreciation of the cherry blossoms, though. It just means you’ll need to pick up a few bottles of this special beer that’s made with sakura petals.

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Feeling frosty? Why not add some chili to your hot chocolate for a spicy pick-me-up!

Here in Japan, there’s a ton of stuff you can use to warm yourself up against winter’s chill, including thermal undies, hot baths infused with ginger, and pocket warmers or kairo, which you can stick all over your body. But as well as applying heat to the outside, it’s also important to make sure you warm up your insides, and one way to do this is by consuming warming foodstuffs like hot soup and hot drinks.

This winter, the major craze is to slurp down a cup of hot chocolate with actual chili peppers floating in it! Check out these Twitter testimonials to find out what’s so great about this unusual beverage!

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From characters to skies, anime tutorial YouTube channel makes an artist out of anyone 【Videos】

Like us, you’ve probably wondered from time to time what life as a badass anime illustrator might be like.

If a life of awesomely detailed backgrounds, fluidly animated characters, chain smoking, and endless cups of instant noodles is something you long for, Japanese anime tutorial YouTube channel, Palmie, is just for you.

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We test our Japanese staff’s knowledge of kanji by making them take a kanji aptitude test

Anyone who’s serious about studying the Japanese language will soon encounter that seemingly insurmountable wall known as kanji. Many of those people will inevitably think, “Just how many of them do I have to learn to be able to read Japanese?” Well, to put it simply, it depends on to what degree you want to be able to read like a native speaker.

Of course, the meaning of “to read like a native speaker” is also up for debate. In search of this answer, we had four adult members of our Japanese staff take three different levels of a kanji aptitude test. How do you think they fared?

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Honest Tokyo: 3.3 billion yen of lost cash handed in to police in 2014 alone

Imagine this. You’re at a fireworks festival with almost one million people in attendance. Everyone is scrambling for a place to sit and stampeding for the exit when it’s over. In between standing in line for a tasty treat and being dazzled by the fireworks spectacle, you realize something terrible. You’ve lost your wallet. Now what?

In Japan, you just go to the nearest police box, or koban! In 2014 alone, a stunning amount of cash and lost possessions was turned into police stations around Tokyo. In cash alone, over 3.3 billion yen was turned in. That’s a whopping US$27.8 million picked up and taken to the authorities. Could that happen anywhere else in the world?

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The top 10 kinds of posts that make Japanese users want to block their friends on Facebook

Since smartphones hit Japan a few years ago, there’s been no stopping the social networking services (SNS) explosion. While there are plenty of prolific Vine and Instagram posters, the Twitter and Facebook addicts reign supreme.

Facebook has been around for quite some time now, but it’s still going strong. It’s great for staying connected with friends, “Facebook stalking” old high school boyfriends and sharing photos and RocketNews24 articles. There are downsides to Facebook though, mainly those people who post statuses that you really don’t care about and/or drive you nuts.

We questioned some Japanese people to see what kind of posts make them want to block their Facebook friends. Today we present to you the top 10 most common Facebook irritants for Japanese people.

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Lotte’s animated gum hotties are back with new post-Valentine’s-Day-short!

A little while back, we introduced you to a novel promotional concept backed by major candy manufacturer Lotte featuring cool guys based around different flavours of gum. The animated hotties appeared in a short “visual-novel” style animated commercial where they romanced the main character (a tooth) with their minty fresh appeal. Well, we’re happy to report that, post-Valentine’s-Day-chocolate-binge, they’re back with a new animated feature, but all is not right in gum land – too much chocolate seems to have made the guys go a little funny in the head!

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Hayao Miyazaki has a bone to pick with consumerism and computers (but mostly consumerism)

Anime legend Hayao Miyazaki recently offered his take on French publication Charlie Hebdo running illustrations of Muhammad. That wasn’t the only strong opinion the Studio Ghibli co-founder put forth though. Aside from having harsh words for using others’ culture as fodder for satire, he’s also got a pretty big bone to pick with computer animation and consumerism.

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US kids react to breakfasts from other countries, and it’s equal parts cute and hilarious 【Video】

One of the best parts of traveling to other countries are all the new and exciting (and sometimes even gag-inducing) food experiences that come with it. While some may turn up their nose at something like fermented cabbage, fish eggs, or animal innards – something which is strange and exotic to one culture but a completely normal food to another – these likes and dislikes really have little to do with personal tastes, and everything to do with upbringing.

I believe that it is very important for kids to be introduced to many different cultures from a young age, to help give them a better understanding of and respect for the world around them, and what better way to do that than by introducing foods from other countries? That is what the people over at YouTube channel Cut Video did, when they created their video “American Kids Try Breakfasts From Around the World”.

As we all know, kids can tend to be picky eaters, so introducing them to unknown foods is sure to bring a few sour faces, as you can see in the video after the jump!

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Tokyo Chocolate Round-up: 2015 Valentine’s Day! 【Photos】

If you love sweets — chocolate in particular — Japan in the weeks before Valentine’s Day is definitely a great place to be. Ever since chocolate makers in Japan managed to make it a widespread tradition for women to give chocolates to men on Valentine’s Day, it’s become an annual event to see chocolates being sold at shops everywhere starting in late January, with numerous special promotions and appearances by “celebrity chocolatiers”  to heighten the excitement leading up to the big V-day.

Yes, for chocolate lovers, it’s a blissful time of year — there’s nothing quite like stepping into a department store and seeing a huge space filled with chocolates of all shapes and sizes while being surrounded by the rich, earthy scent of cacao. But now that Valentine’s Day is over, we may be developing a case of the post-Valentine’s blues, so to console ourselves, we’ve put together a collection of photos showcasing some of the most memorable chocolate items we saw this Valentine’s season in Japan.

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Tokyo artist creates photo-realistic drawings with colored pencils

Hey that’s a nice photograph of a peaceful oasis in Tokyo. Wait, it’s not a photograph? It’s a drawing? Made with colored pencils?!

Ryota Hayashi has been bringing the Nakano Ward of Tokyo to life for the past several years through his breathtakingly realistic colored pencil renditions. He’s recently been getting a lot of attention on social media, and it’s not at all hard to see why.

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Chinese netizens can’t keep their eyes off these cat-and-boob GIFs! (Seriously, who can?)

What’s your favorite thing to look at on the Internet? If your answer is “Cats!”, “Boobs!”, or “Cats and boobs!”, you’re in for a treat.

A series of cat-and-boobies GIF images has been a tremendous hit among netizens using Chinese micro-blogging site Weibo, and there’s no need for an explanation why, because… well, it’s cats and boobs!

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The Toyota Isis: The car with the most unfortunate name in Japan

Toyota, being the largest, most internationalized of Japan’s automakers, tends to do a pretty decent job steering clear of picking car names that sound weird or shocking to non-Japanese consumers. Sure, its product lineup briefly included the Emina, but that only sounds gross if you’re too impatient to carefully read the letters in order.

Until now Toyota hasn’t had anything as unintentionally startling as the Mazda Bongo Friendee, Daihatsu Naked, or Nissan Fairlady. But if you’ve taken a look at Toyota’s Japanese website recently, you may have found yourself doing a double-take as you noticed one of its current offerings seems to share its name with a well-known jihadist rebel group.

Ladies and gentlemen, we give you the Toyota Isis.

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