Elementary school’s morning greeting is so intense it almost makes us miss long division

In Japanese schools, it’s customary for the students to start the day with a formal greeting. The teacher walks in, the students stand, bow, and say good-morning. It’s a fairly somber ritual, in keeping with the general attitude in the country that education is serious business.

One elementary school, though, does things a little differently, with a morning greeting that’s packed with more energy than most people show all day.

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McDonald’s Japan’s eight-nation World Cup menu kicks off next week

Japan loves cheering on its sports teams in international competitions, and with the World Cup just a few weeks away, soccer is set to dominate TV programming, advertising, and the national consciousness in general.

If you’re not personally a fan of the Beautiful Game, you might feel a little left out of the conversation for the next couple weeks. So since you won’t be using your mouth for talking, why not stuff it with some of the 14 new World Cup-themed menu items McDonald’s is rolling out in Japan?

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Alice in Wonderland shop in Nagoya, another opening in Osaka this week!  

What if we told you to follow the white rabbit? Would you have the knee-jerk reaction of “hell no!” or would you pull a Neo and see just how deep the rabbit hole goes? If you find yourself in Nagoya or Osaka, following the white rabbit might actually lead you to Wonderland! Tons of shoppers have been doing just that and have been arriving at a store called Alice on Wednesday. The store has been so popular that on the weekends, long lines form in front of the shop, letting you know exactly where the rabbit hole is.

What will you find in Alice’s Wonderland? What makes the store so popular that they are opening a new location in Osaka? You won’t have to take the red pill to find out, just click on through!

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What’s the deal with these new nose gadgets Chinese policemen are wearing?

What’s that man wearing in the picture above? Is it a new subculture fashion trend born in Harajuku? Or maybe some kind of bulky nasal strip? Actually, it’s an incredibly high-tech nasal air purifying device to combat air pollution.

The smog problem in several major Chinese cities is impossible to ignore, and poses colossal environmental and health risks unless drastic action is taken soon (it apparently even forces couples to take wedding photos while wearing gas masks…). There has been recent talk of using drones to fight the smog, but in the meantime the police department of one city in northern China is taking precautionary measures to protect the health of its workers by providing them with specialized breathing equipment.

It’s not quite as cool looking as the mask worn by, say, the titular character of Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, but just wait until you read everything that this little contraption can do.

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Dragon Ball master’s Hawaiian shirt is here to meet your mature cosplay needs

With Japanese animation’s pantheon of teen protagonists, in physiques rending from slender to buff, your cosplaying options drop off considerably once you pass a certain age/body fat percentage. Many fans are just too old or out of shape to pull off wearing a school uniform or form-fitting martial artist’s outfit.

It can be a sad day when you look in the mirror and realize it’s time to retire your Son Goku costume. But as you’re dumping out the two-gallon bucket of hair gel you bought for this summer’s anime convention season, take heart, because even if you can’t dress up as the hero of Dragon Ball, with this shirt you can cosplay as his master.

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Put away your textbooks, kids – the key to learning Japanese is Minecraft

We’ve talked countless times about how to learn Japanese. Heck, we’ve even brought you lists of essential applications and resources to help you in your quest to master the language. But we’ve always maintained that the best way to learn Japanese, or any language for that matter, is to make practical use of it and make it relevant to your own life.

And what better way to use your newly acquired Japanese than making friends all over the world while avoiding being crushed to death by spiked ceilings or knocked into a bottomless pit?

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Military advisor on ‘Godzilla’ explains why red flares are used to combat the monster

Warner Bros./Godzilla Trailer

“Godzilla” opened in theaters late Thursday evening.

If you’ve seen the trailers, you know one of the coolest parts is a skydiving sequence, showing members of the military paratrooping from a plane in order to engage the monster.

Check it out:

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Smartphone game’s virtual tour of Japan lets you win real-world watermelons

As someone who grew up playing video games that let you throw fireballs, suplex trains, and slay dragons, I’m a little confused by the appeal of some of today’s simple, low-key smartphone games. In particular, any game where you run around having to harvest food baffles me, since I always assumed the best part of farming and agricultural distribution was actually getting to eat something when it was all done.

Thankfully, the makers of the upcoming title Gochipon seem to agree with me, and are rewarding the best players with honest-to-goodness fruit.

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U.S. may demand compensation from Japan for having the nerve to snow on its planes

Few can forget the massive snow storm that swept over most of Japan’s main island of Honshu this February. Obscene amounts of snow accumulated everywhere, throwing cities into panic, shutting down Disneyland for the first time in years, and even completely destroying U.S. warplanes like some kind of snow-based Godzilla villain.

But now the U.S. is wading into some touchy political territory, announcing that it’s currently investigating whether or not to demand compensation from Japan to pay for the planes because, come on, obviously that’s Japanese snow.

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American teens share their reactions to Attack on Titan

TheFineBros, whose Youtube videos have included viral hits like “Kids React to Gay Marriage”,“Kids React to Harlem Shake” and fun videos like “Elders React to #Selfie”, recently introduced a group of American teenagers to the popular series, Attack on Titan. Some of the viewers were already familiar with the show, while others were definitely intrigued.

Check out their reactions below:

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Cute animal bottoms now on display — It’s Shiba Dog Maru’s Puriketsu Contest!

Remember Maru, the adorable Shiba dog who’s been stealing hearts all over Japan with his million-dollar smile? Well, his popularity is well and alive, and the canine celebrity will be coming out with his very own photo book in mid-June! And to commemorate the launch of his book, an on-line photo contest is currently on way, but it’s no ordinary photo contest — it involves photos of … lovely bottoms! Not to worry, though, they’re not naughty photos by any means. The contest is actually of photos of cute animal backsides, or “puri-ketsu“, as they’re affectionately called in Japanese, and it seems the adorable “bum” pictures are pouring in. Yes, it’s the official puri-ketsu championships, and here’s a look at just some of the fun and delightful photos!

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TwitchPlaysPokemon: Here’s one of the weirdest subcultures on Google’s video game streaming acquisition

Google is reportedly in talks to buy Twitch.tv, the live video-game streaming site that has exploded in popularity over the last year, currently ranking fourth in U.S. Internet traffic, behind only Netflix, Google, and Apple.

Twitch is a site where users can view other users playing popular video games. The site is also the host of Intel’s Extreme Masters World Finals, the “Champions League” of e-sports (organized video-game competitions). More than 23 million people tuned in this year to see the world’s best players square off in Counter-Strike, StarCraft II, and League of Legends.

The Twitch phenomenon was punctuated in March by one of the weirdest online experiments in recent memory. For over three weeks, nearly 1.1 million video game players collectively beat Pokemon Red on Twitch after 390 hours of game-time.

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Falafel, beer, and water wheels: Shibuya and Harajuku’s tucked-away treasures 【Hidden Tokyo】

If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in the bustling, beautiful megalopolis of Tokyo, then the city really is yours – you just have to know where to look. And if you want to get away from the tourist trail and get down close to the beating heart of the capital, a journey into the back streets of the 23 wards is where you’ll wind up.

Come with us as we take you into different neighbourhoods and spend an afternoon exploring some of Tokyo’s best-kept secrets. Today we’ll take you around some of Shibuya’s lesser known backstreets, where you can chow down on falafels, pick up some of the best coffee and soak up a hip, laid-back atmosphere.

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Buy it…or don’t, this cat doesn’t really care what you do

If you were a cat in a pet shop, wouldn’t you try your hardest to get someone to buy you? You know, stand up close to the glass and give ‘em your best purr, maybe playfully bat at a toy that has hopefully been provided for you. Anything’s better than sitting in a tiny box all day, right?

And then there’s this cat who doesn’t really care what you do. She’s just going to lounge around while you make up your mind.

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Forgetting to turn off flash on his phone camera got this Peeping Tom arrested【TomoNews Video】

A voyeur was arrested by police in China’s southern Fujian province earlier this week after a neighbor caught him taking naked photos of her while she was in the shower.

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Is this the zombie apocalypse?! Horde of walking dead spotted shambling through Yoyogi Park

If you were in Yoyogi Park this past Saturday, you may have been slightly unnerved to see the apparent signs of an impending zombie apocalypse. On Saturday May 16, I, your intrepid RocketNews24 reporter, rose up as one of the walking dead and joined other brain-hungry biters in a sunny shamble through the park.

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Sucks to be sausupō: The trials and tribulations of Japanese lefties

I was born a lefty, but apparently somewhere along the way I decided that there must be something to this right-handedness thing, since 90 percent of the world was doing it. I made the switch to using my right hand for most things around the time I started kindergarten, and ever since, the unusual transition has been my go to excuse for never excelling at sports that favor precise dexterity over running into people as hard as you can.

Had I stuck with the cards life had dealt me, though, my daily life might have been different in a number of ways, as shown by this list of troubles left-handed people in Japan run into.

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Hokkaidō’s “Sea of Clouds” Terrace now open, just a 13-minute chairlift ride away! 【Photos】

Nope, the above image isn’t a production still from a live-action version of The Pilot’s Love Song or Zelda: Skyward Sword. Rather, this glorious view can be seen from the popular “Sea of Clouds” (unkai) Terrace on Mount Tomamu, which is entering its ninth year of service.

Such a magnificent vista is generally the sole privilege of determined hikers, but this resort attraction in the heart of Hokkaidō delivers you to it in a mere 13 minutes, and you don’t even need an ounce of upsidasium! Whether you’re a nut for Laputa, a hardcore Bioshock Infinite cosplayer, or just a nature lover like me, you’ve got to check out this unique mountaintop experience.

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Vinyl flower vases are all the rage right now in Japan

You’ve probably never heard of vinyl flower vases before, but what’s not to love about them? They provide a practical, inexpensive alternative to traditional glass vases while still looking stylish at the same time. Even better, you can send them easily within a sealed envelope to a friend.

Japan is currently going nuts for these things. Join us after the jump to find out why.

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The official Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist trailer just made our day【Video】

We bring good news and bad news. Remember back in February when we brought you a collection of gorgeous Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist production stills? Well, Machinima, Assassin’s Fist Limited, and Capcom U.S.A. have stepped it up with an official trailer and release date, and the trailer is as awesome as we hoped it would be.

The bad news is, the release date isn’t until May 23! That’s…too many sleeps away!

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