We visit Hong Kong’s luminous landscape during the holiday season for an added holiday twinkle

During this time of the year, a lot of cities like to bring out elaborate light decorations to warm up their otherwise ice cold streets. Whether it’s for Christmas, New Year’s or just the heck of it, as the days grow darker the streets tend to go brighter.

So what about cities that are already known for their abundance of colorful lights? Do they to amp it up even more for the end of the year? Our reporter FelixSayaka went to Hong Kongto find out, a city that is said to have one of the most stunning skylines in the world. She came back with this handy list of places you should check out if in Hong Kong during the holiday season, or if you’re just into pretty pictures.

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We’re hard-pressed to find anything not delicious in the new tamatoro pressed tonkatsu sandwich

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that people in Japan don’t like fried food. Well, you can let them say it, but don’t believe them. As skilled as the country is with lighter fare such as sushi and nabe hot pot, Japanese cuisine can totally nail fried food, as proven by tonkatsu, or deep-fried pork cutlet.

One of the tastiest ways to eat tonkatsu is served over rice and topped with a fried egg, a dish called katsudon. Conversely, you can also slap two pieces of bread around it and make a katsu sandwich, which allows you to enjoy your cutlet on the go, or theoretically hold one in each hand and eat two at a time.

Sadly, eating your tonkatsu in sandwich form used to mean giving up all that delicious, gooey egg. That’s all changed now, though, thanks to the awesome tamatoro sandwiches now on sale in Tokyo that let you have the best of both worlds.

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17-year-old aspiring artist creates amazing Disney and Marvel fan art with colored pencils

When I was 17, I was an aspiring interior designer, but I lacked the passion, determination and talent for it, and never got anywhere in that trade. 17-year-old aspiring artist Mandy Wang, however, is probably going places with her talent and passion for drawing, seeing as she has already captured the hearts of over 70,000 fans on Instagram! Just look at the lovely drawings she creates with colored pencils and watercolor, after the break!

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Aomori’s ramen restaurant in a bus serves up steaming hot noodles in the snow

Ramen shops are a dime a dozen, so what makes this one in Aomori Prefecture so special? Well, it’s in a bus! One writer over at Another Tokyo reported on his experience at this one-of-a-kind Japanese eatery.

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Video series of cats with mikan and kotatsu is also a cute survival guide for Japanese winter

Chilly as winter may get in Japan, we’ve got to admit there are some cool things about the coldest part of the year. For example, the Christmas decorations around Tokyo are amazing, and even if you’re not feeling up to braving the cold weather, Japan offers a couple of ways to make winter more bearable even if you’re staying indoors. High on the list are mikan, the mandarin oranges that’re at their tastiest in winter, and kotatsu, the blanket-covered, heater-equipped tables that’re so cozy it’s almost impossible to pull yourself out of one once you get situated comfortably.

Don’t take our word for it, though, as these adorable cats lounging though a Japanese winter serve as far better spokescreatures for mikan and kotatsu than we ever could.

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We search for the fabled bed and breakfast inside Narita’s runway that’s just 10 bucks a night

While it’s often referred to in travel literature as Tokyo Narita Airport, Japan’s busiest international air hub is actually located in Chiba Prefecture, making it about a one-hour train ride away from downtown Tokyo (and you can tack an extra 30 minutes or so onto that if you’re not willing to shell out the extra cash for the express train). This makes Narita sort of inconvenient if you’ve got an early departure, or if you arrive late and don’t feel like spending two hours in transit before you can collapse in your hotel bed.

So our interest was piqued when we found out about a bed and breakfast built so close to the airport it’s actually inside the runway area, and once we heard the rumors that it costs just 1,000 yen (US $8.50) a night, we decided to go searching for the mysterious hotel ourselves.

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Love banana bread? Love ice cream? You can have both with this Banana Bread Ice Cream Sandwich!

We certainly seem to have an affinity for bananas here in Japan. We love bananas so much, in fact, that we’ve even seen them made into sushi on occasion. So we guess it’s not unreasonable to expect banana bread to also be popular in Japan, which is apparently what the folks at Japanese confection maker Morinaga are counting on with their newly released ice cream product. Yes, their new Banana Bread Ice Cream Sandwich lets you have both banana bread and ice cream at the same time!

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Professional grade mind games: Japanese company dispatches hot dudes to make your man jealous

Poke deep enough into the corners of the Japanese service sector, and you’ll come across the class of businesses known as benri-ya. Literally meaning “convenience providers,” they exist to fill all the little needs that generally aren’t common or lucrative enough to have their own dedicated businesses. For example, female-run Support One offers personal shopping, dog walking, PC setup, and even substitute grave visitors.

Support One is also willing to help customers with white lies that make their daily life easier, such as providing companions who’ll pretend to be your friends or family members at social functions. Now, the company is expanding its catalogue of social trickery with its newest service, dispatching a hot guy to make your boyfriend jealous.

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Japanese pets find ways to keep warm despite the cold snap 【Photos】

It’s been unseasonably cold around Japan this week, sending most of us scurrying for those wooly mittens and knit caps in the back of the closet lest we lose a finger or ear to frostbite.

You’d think with the layers of fur and feathers they are already schlepping around, pets wouldn’t feel the falling temps quite as much, but if Twitter photos are any indication, they are looking just as hard as we are for ways to ward off Old Man Winter.

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Survey ranks convenience store rice balls – salmon, sea-dwelling poultry & plants steal the show

Known to many in the English-speaking world simply as rice balls, onigiri are as much a part of daily life in Japan as sandwiches are in the West. Although they’re often eaten as snacks or included along with a handful of other items as a packed lunch, for many Japanese onigiri are the ultimate comfort food; something that, no matter which part of the country they find themselves in, they can easily make or pick up from a convenience store.

Of course, store-bought onigiri can never come close to those pressed into shape by someone who knows their way around a rice cooker, but they always hit the spot nevertheless, and hundreds of thousands of these little lumps of savoury goodness are eaten every single day. But what are Japan’s most loved convenience store rice balls? And do tastes vary from chain to chain? Well, according to a recent survey, there are three onigiri fillings that Japan is especially fond of.

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Keep your flowers alive with this planter shaped like the forest god from Princess Mononoke

I don’t know about you, but I am not good with plants; I can never keep them alive. It’s okay though, because now I might stand a chance with pot planters designed to resemble the Shishi god from Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke.

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How to make a Whack-a-Mole game your cat will love in just 60 seconds【Video】

Part of the appeal of cats is their air of sophistication. Compared to dogs, their simple-minded and eternal rivals, felines seem to exhibit a deeper appreciation of the finer things in life. Just like humans, they appear to understand the intrinsic value of gourmet food, luxurious surroundings, and, as this video shows, the most cultured pastime of all, whack-a-mole.

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Visiting a maximum security shrine at the foot of the Narita airport runway

Flying into Narita International Airport, many travelers are surprised to learn they are almost 60 km outside of Tokyo and need to take an hour train ride to get into the city. Its location in rural Chiba Prefecture was chosen in the 1960s when the government realized the smaller Haneda airport could not keep up with the booming postwar air traffic in and out of Tokyo. Many locals protested the new airport that bulldozed over their formerly quiet lives and the bitter fight left the area with some very odd landmarks, such as a heavily secured and monitored shrine that sits almost directly in front of one of the runways.

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Korean Air vice president throws fit over getting nuts in a bag, orders plane back to gate

While I don’t think of myself as the world’s most patient person, I generally don’t get too riled up about air travel. Part of that is thanks to my strategy of getting to the airport early enough to enjoy enough beer that I’m sleepy and relaxed, yet not so much that I’m surly and combative. Mainly, though, it’s because living in Japan and having family in the U.S. means I’ve been on plenty of long flights, and after a while you learn to roll with the punches of a few inconveniences along the way.

So you’d think someone with even more experience flying, like, say, the vice president of Korean Air, who is also the daughter of its owner, would be even more serene when taking a plane from point A to point B. Maybe she ordinarily is, but that certainly wasn’t the case last week, when Cho Hyun-ah went nuts over a bag of nuts.

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Delicious, foamy coffee art at home! We try new 3-D latte art machine “Awataccino”!

As some of our more creative and caffeine-addicted readers might recall, we recently reported that Japan is now supplying a variety of DIY latte-art related goods which will enable anyone to create awe-inspiring masterpieces at home. Of course, we were fascinated by the prospect of being able to stun friends and casual acquaintances with our barista-style foamy coffee sculpting skills. So when the opportunity to test out Takara Tomy’s Awataccino machine came around, we jumped at the chance!

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Forget shuriken: 10 stealthy and dangerous ninja tools you didn’t know existed

Growing up in the 90s, I was raised with the notion that ninja were teenage turtles, silent assassins or similar to the characters in Naruto. As much as we’d like to believe these were the reality, according to an interesting article from Listverse, the ninja that actually roamed the streets and castles as spies and assassins were humans who didn’t always dress in black (apparently they wore dark blue), and they didn’t regularly use the famous weapons we know so well.

So, if they weren’t using shuriken and long swords all of the time, what did they use? Researchers have been investigating the ancient style for decades and have uncovered some pretty amazing and ingenious items that you would never even dream of. There are probably thousands of ninja tools and techniques out there, but we’ll just focus on the few that Listverse brought into the open.

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New smartphone game turns car models into anime girls with model-worthy looks

For generations, automobile marketers have relied a tried and true method. Whether it’s an elegantly dressed woman stepping out of a luxury sedan in a TV commercial or a mini-skirted model draped over the hood of a sports coupe at an auto show, a quick way to make a car look appealing is by showing it next to an appealing-looking woman.

The company Autoc One is taking that concept one step further, though. What if, instead of showing a cute girl next to the car, you made the car itself a cute girl? You’d end up with something like Shanago Collection, Autoc One’s smartphone game starring anthropomorphized cars from Mazda, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, and more.

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Nausicaä re-imagined as an action movie! Check out this awesome fan art!

We love awesome art here at RocketNews24, especially when it features characters that are close to our hearts being re-imagined in different and striking ways. Recently, we brought you some pretty sweet fan art depicting a scene from Princess Mononoke. Now we’d like to continue the Ghibli theme by sharing this piece that re-imagines Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind as an action movie! There’s Nausicaä in her Ghibli form above, but the fan art itself can be viewed after the jump!

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Hi-Chew is such a hit that the Japanese candy is getting its own factory in North Carolina

Every time I go back to the States to see my family, before hopping on the plane, I swing by the convenience store to pick up some treats for my nieces and nephew. I figure if I can’t do anything about being “Uncle Who Only Visits Once a Year,” then I’m at least going to be “Uncle Who Only Visits Once a Year, but Brings Candy!”

The stuff I get for them isn’t anything particularly fancy. A few pieces of melon bread, whatever the newest mix of matcha green tea and chocolate is, and maybe a few packs of fruity Hi-Chew candy. This year might be my last chance to score some easy points with that last one, though, since in 2015 the makers of Hi-Chew are opening a factory in the U.S. to satisfy America’s sweet tooth with Japanese candy.

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Boob shirt comedy is off to the races, creativity is overflowing【Photos】

The other day, we brought you a new shirt that took Twitter by storm. Is this the peak of high fashion in Japan? Or just a shirt that reveals a couple of peaks? It didn’t take long for Internet users to take this shirt aimed at those well endowed and find more creative uses for it. And it’s not only women who are clamoring for the turtleneck this holiday season. Check out the pictures to see who else will be buying one and what they’ll be using it for!

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