CNN actually speculated if a black hole swallowed the missing Malaysia flight

CNN actually speculated if a black hole swallowed the missing Malaysia flight

This is one of the most surreal cable news segments you’ll see.

There have been many different conspiracy theories thrown out about the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, but on Wednesday night CNN speculated whether a “black hole” could be involved.

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Japanese government study on robot anime now available in English

Japanese government study on robot anime now available in English

Thanks to the patient translation efforts of AltJapan Co., Ltd. co-founder Matt Alt, readers can now read, in English,most of the 90-page study on robot anime made available by the Japanese government. Titled “Nihon Animation Guide: Robot Anime-hen,” the original document was written by anime critic Ryusuke HikawaSunrise head of cultural promotion Koichi Inoue, and writer Daisuke Sawaki, and compiled by Mori Building Co., which has previously also compiled reports on Japanese live-action special effects shows, movies, and other pop culture topics. In addition to these reports, the company also promotes media arts information, hosts symposiums, conducts surveys, and works on archive projects.

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Ad has triple helping of Japanese commercial, anime, and music stereotypes, is still awesome

Ad has triple helping of Japanese commercial, anime, and music stereotypes, is still awesome

Commercials in Japan often portray Japanese products as being far and away the best in the world, and are so overly earnest in doing so they frequently make no sense. Anime is packed with cute characters who, again, make no sense. And a lot of J-pop songs are hyperactive melodies with lyrics that, you guessed it, make no sense.

So how is it combining all three makes for just about the perfect ad for Japanese meat?

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A truly “epic” tart — this fabulous edible tribute to Kirby is almost too cute to eat!

A truly “epic” tart — this fabulous edible tribute to Kirby is almost too cute to eat!

Okay, if you haven’t guessed already, we admit that at RocketNews24, we’re extremely fond of tasty sweets, and we’ve featured in our past articles quite a few amazing creations by talented confectioners, from exquisite character-themed cakes to adorable Totoro macaroons. Now once again, we’ve found a magnificent piece of baked art that we just had to share with you. This time, it’s a tart inspired by the video game Kirby’s Epic Yarn, and we have to say, it’s one epic-looking treat!

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Tokorozawa school solves budget matter with tasty fruit

Tokorozawa school solves budget matter with tasty fruit

There seems to be something different about the city of Tokorozawa in Saitama Prefecture. Both master-animator Hayao Miyazaki and Kanto-head-turner Cornman hail from this area. Perhaps the reason why such creativity comes from this small city is revealed in a letter from East Tokorozawa Elementary School which informed parents on municipal school board policy during school closures… and gave them fruit.

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Snack maker promises its extra-thick, extra-expensive potato chips are extra-delicious

Snack maker promises its extra-thick, extra-expensive potato chips are extra-delicious

If you asked people to pick the most innovative Japanese company, most of the responses you’d get would probably be from the automobile and consumer electronics industries. Toyota and Honda are responsible for some of the biggest strides in production techniques and robotics. Nintendo and Sony revolutionized digital entertainment through their game systems and portable music players.

Our vote, though, just might go to snack maker Calbee, for the way the company is constantly pushing the potato chip envelope. In the past, they’ve brought us both fresh-fried and Kentucky Fried Chicken flavor versions, and now they’re set to expand the medium even further with triple-thick, gift-quality gourmet potato chips.

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Here’s what pilots think about the new idea that the missing plane flew for hours after a fire killed the pilots

Here’s what pilots think about the new idea that the missing plane flew for hours after a fire killed the pilots

It’s been a week and a half since Malaysia 370 disappeared, and the theory du jour comes from a former pilot.

In a Google+ post, Chris Goodfellow argued that smoke filled the cockpit, maybe from a burning tire on the front landing gear.

The pilots turned the plane toward an airport that could handle the 777, turned off the transponder along with other electronics in an effort to isolate the source of the fire, and were then overcome by smoke, he theorized.

The plane’s autopilot kept the course until it ran out of fuel and crashed hours later.

Goodfellow’s theory is appealing, we noted, because it fits the facts we have on MH370. It impressed The Atlantic’s James Fallows, himself a pilot: “His explanation makes better sense than anything else I’ve heard so far … It’s one of the few that make me think, Yes, I could see things happening that way.”

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Who’s inside those theme park costumes? In China, it could be this 75-year-old woman

Who’s inside those theme park costumes? In China, it could be this 75-year-old woman

Like a lot of kids who grew up in Southern California, I’ve got fond memories of going to Disneyland and seeing characters from my favorite cartoons walking around. So it was a bit of a surprise when I moved to Japan, a country that arguably buys into the concept of Disney magic more wholeheartedly than any other, and met multiple people, generally women, who said the costumed performers were their least favorite part of a visit to Disneyland. “Mickey dances around and acts so cute,” they’d say, “but what if there’s some middle-aged guy inside?”

Personally, I’d say a middle-aged man is still far less appalling than an actual human-sized rodent would be, but somehow that age/gender combination was always held up as the worst possible reality that could be hiding inside the suit.

Meanwhile, in China, Disney fans have come flocking to one Mickey Mouse performer with an even more surprising identity: a 75-year-old woman.

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Survey ranks Japan’s most popular fast food chains, McDonald’s surprisingly not No. 1

Survey ranks Japan’s most popular fast food chains, McDonald’s surprisingly not No. 1

Despite all the lavish attention RocketNews24 has laid upon the altar of the Golden Arches at the cost of our Adonis-like six packs, it seems there’s a fast food chain Japan loves even more than McDonald’s. According to a recent Niconico News survey of adults, the reigning king of fast food in Japan is the country’s own native Mos Burger – although McDonald’s runs a close second.

Since our diets consist of almost nothing but the lard, chicken goo, sawdust and other mystery substances that go into a fast food meal, a win for any fast food is a win for humanity in our book, but let’s take a moment to look at Niconico‘s ranking and examine some of the possible reasons the results:

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Know your sakura: Japan’s three best cherry blossom trees

Know your sakura: Japan’s three best cherry blossom trees

In Japan, cherry blossoms, or sakura, are the rock stars of the plant kingdom. People obsess over them, their rare public appearances send fans into a frenzy, and the most devoted enthusiasts will even follow their flowering tour as it spreads from Japan’s warmer southern prefectures to the chillier north.

But just as some music acts draw larger crowds than others, these three sakura trees are considered to be the absolute peak of the pink-flowered crowd.

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Admirers express their love for Crimean attorney general in the purest way they can: cute fan art

Admirers express their love for Crimean attorney general in the purest way they can: cute fan art

So there seems to be just a teeny bit of political turmoil in Eastern Europe these days, what with almost every voter in formerly-Soviet Crimea saying they’re happy to cut ties with Ukraine and have the region annexed by Russia. It’s a thorny opening act for the newly-appointed Crimean attorney general, but Natalia Poklonskaya can at least count on the moral support of thousands of Japanese men. Not because they necessarily agree with her political views, though, but because the 33-year-old Poklonskaya looks more like she came from Central Casting than the judicial branch of government.

Of course, where there’s love-struck Japanese men pondering the ideal forms of female beauty, anime artwork can’t be far behind, and there’s a growing batch of Poklonskaya fan art making the rounds on the Internet.

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Lotus root: the enlightened way to knock out hay fever

Lotus root: the enlightened way to knock out hay fever

Most of my early trips to Japan involved visiting my brother, back when he was living in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture. One day while waiting for a train at the station, I passed the time by staring out at one of the many lotus farms the town is known for.

“Ah, Japan!” I thought as the plants swayed almost hypnotically in the hot summer breeze. “So appreciative of the beauty of nature!” The lotus must be so highly prized that it’s economically worthwhile to use large tracts of what little arable land the country has to cultivate and sell the flowers, I concluded.

I found out later that I was only half right. While it is true that Japan tends to get more excited about blossoming flora than other nations, all those lotuses weren’t being grown for aesthetic reasons. Lotus root, called renkon in Japanese, is edible, and not only is it delicious, it can also help you cope with one of the absolute worst parts of life in Japan: hay fever.

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At long last, new Game Boy (yes, Game Boy) game “Airaki” on sale next month

At long last, new Game Boy (yes, Game Boy) game “Airaki” on sale next month

No, you didn’t just step back into the ’90s; there’s a brand new Game Boy game on the horizon.

It would seem that my decision to doggedly avoid smartphone games and PS Vitas has paid finally off, because a new game just for my favorite console set to be shipped out this coming April. It’s a medieval-themed puzzle game going by the name of Airaki and will work with many of the old Game Boy units. It’s about time!

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Karate dojo students practice under freezing waterfall… in the middle of winter

Karate dojo students practice under freezing waterfall… in the middle of winter

Karate has always been one of those martial arts forms that never really had much appeal to me. The idea of repeating the same kata routines – with names like “Black Dragon Karate Chops 20 Weasels at Midnight” or whatever – to commit the moves to muscle memory always seemed kind of boring and counter-intuitive to me.

And now, upon learning that at least one school has students train half naked, in freezing water, in the dead of winter, I’m even less inclined to try the sport. I’d rather go four rounds in the Octagon with Brock Lesnar.

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Hey, I know that brand! Designers reinvent six world-famous logos in Chinese

Hey, I know that brand! Designers reinvent six world-famous logos in Chinese

Whether you speak the language or not, thanks to their logos and packaging, when you see a familiar product like Mars or Coca Cola in a foreign country, you recognise it immediately. Multinational companies pay vast sums of money to reinvent their logos for use abroad, taking great pains to ensure that while the characters may change, the brand, style and message remain the same.

Along with fellow creative Stephen Wright, Shanghai-based freelance designer and illustrator Niek van Wingerden is currently making waves over on creative portfolio site Behance where he is displaying a collection of six world-famous logos, re-imagined in Chinese.

Even if you don’t speak the lingo, we know you’ll recognise these logos!

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The differences between people in Kansai’s most famous cities, as told by Buddhist Gods

The differences between people in Kansai’s most famous cities, as told by Buddhist Gods

As in most countries, the Japanese tend to generalize the personalities of people who come from certain regions. Just like you can easily tell the difference between a Californian and a New Yorker, not just by accent but by general attitude and overall vibe, the Japanese have long held that you can spot an Osaka native in Tokyo from a mile away and vice versa.

Tokyoites, according to Japanese in other regions, are kind enough but are always busy and therefore have little time to spare for passing strangers. The people of Kansai, on the other hand, are said to be a lively bunch – more openly friendly if cantankerous than the rest of their countrymen.

But did you know that, in Kansai especially, overall personality changes city to city? Don’t take our word for it, just ask these Buddhist Gods:

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Japanese man suffering from dementia could lose house after forgetting about court hearing

Japanese man suffering from dementia could lose house after forgetting about court hearing

As Japan’s population continues to grow older, the nation is having to change to cope with the challenges that come with this aging demographic. The following story is just one unfortunate example of how current systems can fail to meet the needs of the elderly.

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Xbox One finally gets a release date in Japan – We hope you’re not in a hurry

Xbox One finally gets a release date in Japan – We hope you’re not in a hurry

That’s right ladies and gents, despite its predecessor’s somewhat dismal performance in the Land of the Rising Sun, Microsoft’s games console-cum-media hub Xbox One is coming to Japanese shores after all. But it won’t be for a while yet…

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21 photos of Sukiyabashi Jiro sushi, probably the best in all the world

21 photos of Sukiyabashi Jiro sushi, probably the best in all the world

Cooking, like any art, requires an incredible amount of skill, dedication, creativity, and perhaps most important of all, technique. So, you would think that when it comes to a niche style like sushi, the competition for “best in the world” would be the very definition of intense. But it turns out that for most sushi connoisseurs, the answer is simple: Jiro Ono, owner and sushi master of Sukiyabashi Jiro.

With an entire documentary dedicated to the now 89-year-old sushi master, he’s become well-known throughout the world for his legendary cuisine–but not many of us will ever have the chance to try his perfectly prepared delicacies ourselves. While it’s not quite the same, we’ve found the next best thing: Close up photos of his creations waiting to be devoured! Just try not to lick your screen, okay?

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We try “Zunda” Kit Kat – it’s confusingly delicious!

We try “Zunda” Kit Kat – it’s confusingly delicious!

It’s no secret the Japan is home to a vast array of flavors for the popular chocolate covered wafer. From Grape, Chili, and Wasbi flavors to bake-able Custard Pudding Kit Kats, there’s a seemingly never-ending stream of possible varieties for the popular sweet snack.

This time we’ve stumbled upon some Zunda Flavored Kit Kats. After a brief explanation on what zunda is for those of us not schooled in Tohoku region cuisine, an attempt will be made at describing how these deceptively deep candies taste.

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