New Crescent Moon Wand from Sailor Moon is as real as a toy gets

New Crescent Moon Wand from Sailor Moon is as real as a toy gets

It wasn’t too long ago that we posted an article here on RocketNews24 cataloging the entire collection of Sailor Moon toys. Well, it looks like the people over at Proplica wish to add another item to the list. Fans of the Sailor Moon franchise are frothing at the mouth, hoping to get their hands on a real-life Moon Stick, more commonly referred to at the Crescent Moon Wand, Sailor Moon’s first attack item. This playful prop is being marketed toward adult toy collectors and comes packed with some pretty neat features.

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‘Tis the season to be shedding: One dog owner’s picture proves just how much!

‘Tis the season to be shedding: One dog owner’s picture proves just how much!

Now, pet owners may love their cat or dog to bits and consider them a member of the family, and that’s all fine and well. But I have a feeling that many owners, if being truthful, will also admit that all the hair that their beloved furry companions shed can sometimes drive them crazy. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s bad enough to make you want to give up owning any piece of clothing, linen or carpeting that’s not the same color as your pet’s fur.

But just exactly how bad can the “fur situation” be for, say, the average dog owner? Well, we’ve found a shockingly amusing picture that shows us! So, ready to face the hairy truth about dogs? Read More

Pandagators: Coming soon to a zoo near you?

Pandagators: Coming soon to a zoo near you?

In these tough economic times, businesses from department stores to zoos are struggling to attract customers, and sometimes there’s nothing you can do but get a little…um…creative. For example, shrewd business people will offer discounts, find unique merchandise, or paint their zoo animals to look like pandas.

Wait, what!?

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Tokyo Electric plans to end 2013 in the black

Tokyo Electric plans to end 2013 in the black

On 16 October reports have come out of Tokyo Electric Power Co. that they are working on a restructuring plan which will allow them to end the financial year with a profit for the first time since 2011.

The goal to end 2013 in the black was said to be a condition set by the various lending institutions to allow future refinancing. Needless to say, Japanese netizens have been thrilled at the news.

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The giant straw sculptures of Japan 【Photos】

The giant straw sculptures of Japan 【Photos】

Many of you have probably heard about the massive snow sculptures of the Sapporo Snow Festival, adding a fun event to look forward to in the dead of the harsh winters of Japan’s northernmost prefecture. But what about the straw sculptures of the Wara Art Festival in Niigata Prefecture? To celebrate the end of the rice harvest and the abundance of straw that is produced as a result, the folks in Niigata put all that extra dried stuff to creative use, making huge straw sculptures that tower over the thousands of people who come to visit them.

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World-famous Japanese cat Maru gets a new pal, learns a cool new tail trick 【Video】

World-famous Japanese cat Maru gets a new pal, learns a cool new tail trick 【Video】

You might be thinking we’ve been posting an awful lot of articles about cats recently, from stories about cat islands to black-cat cafés, and even one about wearable cats, but here’s one more to end the week with, because they told us to publish it and we’re too scared to disobey.

It would seem that Maru, possibly the most famous cat on YouTube right now, not only has a new friend to play with, but he’s found a novel use for his fluffy tail…

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Ninja life skills: 7 tips to make learning Japanese that little bit easier

Ninja life skills: 7 tips to make learning Japanese that little bit easier

Despite its apparent difficulty, Japanese is fast becoming one of the world’s most desirable languages to learn, with more and more Westerners studying it every day. Eventually, though, we all hit a wall with our studies and feel like we’re not making any progress. The books you threw yourself into with such enthusiasm start to become a chore to open, the army of kanji characters you have yet to study stare back at you with mocking disdain, and despite all the hours you put in you still can’t quite keep up with that anime you were determined to watch without subtitles. It happens to the best of us, but there are ways to break out of this rut, not to mention rekindle that love for studying Japanese, or any other language for that matter.

So today we’d like to bring you our short list of tips and tricks for boosting your Japanese language ability and make studying less of a chore. The following is a combination of both tips and experiences of foreigners who have achieved varying degrees of fluency in the language and our combined knowledge. It’s by no means the final word in language study, but give some of these a try and we’re sure you’ll be surprised at how quickly your Japanese proficiency improves.

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North Koreans unsure how to handle 560 kg of potatoes in sudden ration flip-flop

North Koreans unsure how to handle 560 kg of potatoes in sudden ration flip-flop

North Korean potato farmers breathed a sigh of relief this month when they found out their monthly ration of the crop would be restored and not canceled as earlier reported. The announcement was soon met with confusion however when the workers in the northern Ryanggang Province found out that each of them would receive 560 kg—eight monthly rations-worth—of potatoes at once. Even a notorious eater like North Korean leader Kim Jong Un might find it difficult to stomach that many carbs.

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Liquidman lets you dance like a maniac on a busy street from the comfort of your own living room

Liquidman lets you dance like a maniac on a busy street from the comfort of your own living room

Have you ever wanted to start dancing like a madman in the middle of a crowded urban street, but felt restrained by the conventions of society? Our reporter Mr. Sato sure has. So when he learnt about the Halls throat lozenges’ YOUareLIQUIDMAN campaign, he got right on it.

YOUareLIQUIDMAN encourages sheepish individuals to upload a photo of themselves to the Halls website. Their photo is then displayed on liquid man who proceeds to dance like Michael Stipe in front of total strangers.

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Niconico user makes cute, petable Pokémon with needle-felted plushies 【Videos】

Niconico user makes cute, petable Pokémon with needle-felted plushies 【Videos】

This fall has people across the globe down with a case of Pokémon fever, ever since the release of Nintendo’s first 3-D Pokémon game set, X and Y. Thanks to one of the game’s brand-new features, Pokémon Amie, it’s possible to build greater bonds with our battling monsters than ever before, by petting, feeding, and playing games with them. Still, not even that comes close to the adorable magic of having an actual creature to cuddle.

Niconico Douga user, Tatsuno’otoshigo (meaning seahorse), filled that hole in her heart by crafting her own Pokémon plushies with needle felting! Her ever-expanding pokédex of wooly little monsters is the envy of many collectors. But it’s hard to say if she’d be willing to trade. Her videos reveal exactly how much love she puts into each and every pokémon.

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Japanese snack company gives us portable mashed potatoes with a soft inside, crunchy outside

Japanese snack company gives us portable mashed potatoes with a soft inside, crunchy outside

Ah mashed potatoes. Hot and fluffy peaks of spuds; what a simple dish consisting of a bunch of potatoes all smashed together to create a bowl of dense, delicious goodness. But somewhere along the line, Calbee, a major Japanese snack food maker, made an awesome breakthrough in potato technology. The traditional western side dish has received a bizarre snack twist, being transformed into “Mashed Potato Consomme Punch” chips that are said to be the perfect balance of crunchy and fluffy.

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Living Wallet: The high-tech/creepy solution to your money spending problems

Living Wallet: The high-tech/creepy solution to your money spending problems

We understand it’s hard to save money. With so many cool Gundam theme cakes and Sailor Moon accessories around, who wouldn’t be trying to empty their coin purses and pocketbooks to exchange their hard earned cash for awesome novelty goods. Sometimes, our spending gets a little out of control and we have to save a little, employing various tactics to try and see an increase in the bank account.

But what if your wallet started inching away, undulating like some sort of deranged caterpillar in hopes you forgo your next splurge. And what if you ignored the weirdness of the movement, picked up said wallet, and it started screaming at you? No, we’re not making this up. One company in Japan hopes to curb your spending with a “living wallet.”

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Mr. Sato’s blonde ambition leads him to look for love from beyond the grave

Mr. Sato’s blonde ambition leads him to look for love from beyond the grave

On a recent evening in the RocketNews24 offices, while the rest of the team was discussing such weighty topics as neuroscience, classic literature, and Gundam-themed cakes, we noticed our most intrepid reporter, Mr. Sato, staring longingly at some reading material with a lascivious grin plastered on his face.

Usually when a man holding print media has that kind of expression, the cause is a photo of an attractive woman, and Mr. Sato’s case was no exception. But he wasn’t perusing some skin mag filled with spreads of F-cup teenagers, but instead a pamphlet for the movie R.I.P.D. Mr. Sato had become smitten by its photos of actress Stephanie Szostak and was determined to meet someone like her, even if that meant facing some paranormal dangers.

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Full Screen Mario allows you to play Super Mario Bros. on your computer, create new levels!

Full Screen Mario allows you to play Super Mario Bros. on your computer, create new levels!

For those too young to have owned an NES or too old and lazy to dust yours off, Super Mario Bros. is now playable in your web browser thanks to Full Screen Mario, an open source (and completely free!) browser game created by Josh Goldberg. And not only can you squish Goombas and revisit your favorite place to get infinite 1-UPs, but you can even create your own custom levels.

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Rocking out with the Wagakki Band: Giving vocaloids a human voice

Rocking out with the Wagakki Band: Giving vocaloids a human voice

While vocaloids like Hatsune Miku are still relatively unknown in the West, they have quite the following in Japan and can be found taking part in everything from live concerts to limited edition smartphones. Though some may worry that the digital singers mean the end of “human” music, so far that’s hardly been the case. In fact, it’s nothing strange to find regular bands performing cover songs of vocaloid originals!

One band has taken the concept a step further by introducing some unique, traditional elements and are garnering quite a bit of attention among Japanese Internet users. Meet the Wagakki Band with Yuko Suzuhana and get ready to rock!

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Limited edition Gundam cake up for preorder, comes with Char’s custom plate and fork!

Limited edition Gundam cake up for preorder, comes with Char’s custom plate and fork!

Some of the lesser-known joys of Japan are the occasional anime/video game and cake collaborations. Sure, taking your favorite hobby and injecting it with some cake is a no-brainer, but these limited offers always bring some very unique collectables with them. Monster Hunter fans who pre-ordered their Rathalos cakes should be getting them next month.

Now we present to you the Char Zaku Cake Set. It’s a cake in the shape of Char Aznable’s custom MS-06S Zaku II Commander Type served on Char’s custom cake dish and fork.

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American dance crew accuses Korean team of stealing moves, epic dance battle imminent?

American dance crew accuses Korean team of stealing moves, epic dance battle imminent?

Who knew that hip hop dancing could be such serious business? An American hip-hop dance team – or crew as they’re called in dance circles – is so miffed that another dance crew allegedly stole part of their routine that they’re taking the fight to the rival team half a world away.

The apparent ripping off occurred when a Korean dance crew busted out a brief but complex choreographed dance move that is exactly the same as a move pioneered by the American dance crew I.Am.Me on the MTV show America’s Best Dance Crew (side note: the show is hosted by none other than A.C. Slater, a well-known expert on 80s-style dance numbers).

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A teaspoon of wasabi a day helps keep old age at bay

A teaspoon of wasabi a day helps keep old age at bay

Wasabi, the Japanese condiment which offers a delicious kick to the nasal passages with every bite, has long been embraced in Japan, and more recently other parts of the world. However, aside from accentuating sushi or playing jokes on friends, the pungent plant has been found to provide anti-aging effects in recent years.

For those who turn up their noses at the thought of a daily dose of wasabi, you may reconsider when you realize how easy it is to benefit from the sulfinyl found in it. That’s right: it keeps you pretty for longer!

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Japan’s first black cat café feels appropriate for the season 【Photos】

Japan’s first black cat café feels appropriate for the season 【Photos】

Halloween is just around the bend, and Japan has us up to our eyeballs in ghosts, skeletons, spider webs, and black cats. Especially black cats, much to our delight!

In the city of Himeji in Hyogo Prefecture, our RocketNews24 sister site Pouch has discovered what has to be Japan’s first exclusively black cat café. It’s called Cat Café Nekobayaka -black cat centimeter-, and in the spirit of Halloween, how about dropping in for coffee and a bit of playtime with their jet black beauties?

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Introducing the amazing “hand flute” skills of Japan’s Mitsuhiro Mori

Introducing the amazing “hand flute” skills of Japan’s Mitsuhiro Mori

In all honesty, until this afternoon we didn’t even know such a thing as a hand flute existed, but Japan’s Mitsuhiro Mori has not only proved that it does, he has completely blown us away in the process.

Accompanied by his bandmate on piano, Mitsuhiro uses his bare hands as an instrument and can produce virtually any note to perform entire musical pieces. And this is no mere parlour trick either – click the link for a full video of this young man’s dazzling ability.

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