Hayao Miyazaki comments on Chihiro’s final test scene in Spirited Away

It’s hard to believe that 13 years have passed since Hayao Miyazaki’s classic Spirited Away, otherwise known as Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi, first came onto the world scene. The film holds a special place in my heart for being the first, and to this day favorite, Studio Ghibli film that I ever saw.

So imagine my delight when all these years later, a Japanese web user uploaded an excerpt from an interview with Miyazaki in which he sheds further light on one of the final scenes in the movie–the one in which Sen/Chihiro is given one chance to pick out her transformed parents from among a group of pigs to break the curse on them once and for all. Exactly how does she know that none of the pigs are her parents?

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Sheep-flavored ice cream from Baskin Robbins Japan tastes like dreams

In celebration of 2015, Baskin Robbins Japan has created a special flavor inspired by sheep, this year’s animal according to the Chinese zodiac. And while it may not actually taste like lamb, it has enough imagery inspired by the woolen animal to make you say, “BAA!”

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Looking for baby names? The most popular ones in Japan this year are…

You may think choosing a name for your kid is hard, but in the West, we have it easy. All we have to choose is the name. Here in Japan, parents-to-be also have to choose what characters they want to write it with, a decision that has to take into account the relative auspiciousness of the number of strokes it takes to write, how well-known a particular reading is, and even if the government will accept the name they finally settle on!

Like trends for particular names, there are trends in the use of particular kanji or Chinese characters, too. Insurer Meiji Yasuda has just published the most common names this year and the kanji used for them, so read on to see what the hippest babies are sporting.

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10 girls, 10 wall-pounds – Female kabe-don is here!

One of the biggest buzzwords of the year in Japan has been kabe-don. A staple of girls’ comics in Japan for years, kabe-don, literally “wall-pound,” has traditionally been the domain of guys clumsily expressing their feelings while leaning against the wall and fencing in the object of their amour with their outstretched arm.

We live in an age of increasing gender equality, though. Today, woman govern nations, helm corporations, and are highly capable of wreaking terrible violence upon their targets with their bare hands. As such, it’s only natural to assume that women are gradually shattering the barriers that have made the world of kabe-don practitioners a boys’ club until now, and as proof, we present these 10 videos of women flipping the script and showing off their kabe-don skills.

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Chinese man locked out of his iPhone for 45 years

Everyone who has young children and iPhones has probably plucked it from a pair of little hands at one time or another and found that it was completely locked down for one minute because of too many invalid PIN entries.

For most it’s a reasonably minor inconvenience, but for one man in China it became a lifelong commitment as he was asked to wait about 45 years for his next chance to remember his personal identification number for his iPhone 4s. Really though, if he can’t remember it by then, it’s safe to say he never will.

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No time to cook? Here’s how to make fried shrimp in just three seconds (with the right equipment)

One of Japan’s most popular cooking shows is Three-Minute Cooking. Broadcast by Nippon TV and sponsored by condiment maker Kewpie, the program does exactly what it promises, teaching people to make quick, tasty meals that take just three minutes of cooking.

Three-Minute Cooking started in 1963, though. In the busy 21st century, who can afford the luxury of spending that much time in the kitchen? It’s time for a faster, more modern way to cook dinner, which is where this video comes in with its demonstration of how to cook fried shrimp in just three seconds.

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World’s simplest build-it-yourself toy train set may also be the cleverest with just three parts

With less than a month until Christmas, hopefully you’ve been working your way through your holiday shopping list. Still, come December 24, you may find that your hectic schedule of professional and scholarly pursuits means you’ve forgotten to get a present for one of the little tykes in your family.

Rushing to the store on Christmas Eve, your spirits may fall as you find the toy department picked clean. Don’t give up hope, though! As long as the hardware section is still stocked, you can make a pretty cool “toy train” with just three incredibly common items.

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Happy 40th birthday, Aeon! Coca-Cola celebrates with limited edition LED coaster sets

Coca-Cola may not be the craziest company when it comes to special, limited edition drinks (although their Coke Orange was a pretty good), but what they lack in variety, they make up for when it comes to branded goods. Some neat finds over the years have included Coke can shaped glasses from McDonald’s, an ultra-rare gold Coke can, environmentally friendly vending machines, and the hugely successful Share a Coke campaign.

On December 1 Coca-Cola Japan launched a new product set, available only at Aeon in celebration of the store’s 40th anniversary of being a nationwide shopping center powerhouse. The limited quantity set is (probably) a must-have this holiday season.

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Ghibli character shoes: Perfect for a stroll through your nearest forest or anime convention

While every Studio Ghibli anime film has memorable music, the one piece that just about anyone in Japan can sing along to is “Sanpo” from My Neighbor Totoro. Meaning “A Stroll,” it opens with the lyrics, “Let’s walk! Let’s walk! I’m full of energy. Let’s keep going!”

Not exactly the most profound message, admittedly, but there’s no denying the infectious tune will get you in the mood to strap on your kicks and head out the door. And if you’re going on a walk to look for your very own local forest spirit, we can’t imagine a more appropriate set of footwear than a pair of shoes decked out with Ghibli characters.

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Floppy drive orchestra performs old-school game music, gives us nostalgia overload 【Video】

We’re constantly amazed by the creative ways people come up with to reuse defunct technology, and here’s another one to blow your mind. One YouTuber has used his programming and music skills to reproduce popular tunes and game music using… floppy disk drives!

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Un-bear-ably cute! Munchkin the Shih-Tzu hits the treadmill in teddy costume【VIDEO】

If you’re feeling a little blue at the start of another work week and need an adorable pick-me up, perhaps we can interest you in a fuzzy doggy waggling her way through an intense gym session while dressed as a teddy bear? Munchkin the Shih-Tzu has been earning “Aww!”s all over the interwebs with this video uploaded to her personal YouTube page. In it, Munchkin struts her stuff whilst wearing an improvised costume created from a gutted teddy bear. Thanks to some magical camera-angle trickery, Munchkin appears to walk upright with the jaunty swagger of a carefree teddy just workin’ out in the gym. Join us for the video and more on Munchkin after the jump!

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There’s something strange in the Cebu ‘hood: 14 high school girls faint after seeing a “ghost”

Who you gonna call…? Frederik Kriekenbeek! No, that’s not the Cebuano word for “Ghostbuster,” it’s the name of the local priest who specializes in exorcisms in Cebu, Philipines.

What seems like a case of ghostly possession has struck the idyllic Filipino island when, on November 21, 14 students fainted when they were “possessed” by a ghost. Never fear though, this does seem to happen every once in a while; that’s why they have a local priest who specializes in exorcisms. He really is, who they call.

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Mochi Mochi Animal: When cute animals meet delicious rice cakes in gashapon

One of the most symbolic foods of the Japanese winter season is the grilled mochi rice cake. You set up a charcoal grill and put a few slabs of pounded white mochi on it. After a while, the mochi will soften, blow up, and eventually become a warm, golden brown gooey delight that is crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside like a kind of savory marshmallow.

But what happens when you combine cute fluffy animals with these grilled mochi? Well, toy maker Bandai has the answer for us in this series of adorable mochi anime capsule toys!

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5 Japanese women who can kick your ass (in martial arts)【Women in Japan Series】

We at RocketNews24 previously told you about the awesome Wushu World Champion women fighters. While Japan has plenty of women who participate in Wushu (and have done rather well) more Japanese women have made names for themselves in karate, judo and taekwondo.

Japan leads the world in women’s judo and karate. Both are gendai budo martial arts, or modern Japanese martial arts that started from or after the Meiji Restoration (1866–1869). The ancient martial arts, such as jujitsu or naginatajutsu, predate the Meiji Restoration.

Women’s Judo, an Olympic sport, wasn’t instituted until the 1992 Barcelona Olympic games. While karate is not an Olympic sport, Japanese women have achieved top results in the Asian Games, the Karate World Championships, and the World Games. Japan also has a top woman in the traditional Korean martial art of taekwondo.

Let’s take a closer look at these leading Japanese martial arts practitioners who, even on a bad day could kick our collective arses.

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Adorable Japanese robot gobbles snow, poops ice blocks to keep streets clear【Video】

The Japanese sure do love their robots, don’t they? It seems like every couple of months there’s a new robo-creation being unveiled to the public, sprung from the minds of Japan’s master robotic engineers. Today, we’d like to introduce you to this cute little trundling yellow fella, Yuki Taro! As we all know, winter is coming (we should probably say “winter is here”, but that has less dramatic punch) and with it a flurry of snowstorms and bad weather that can seriously disrupt people’s lives. And who really has the time or energy to shovel snow all day?

Enter Yuki Taro. This snow-gobbling little guy is here to make all your problems melt away – as long as they’re snow-related, that is…

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Living Space Invaders! Taito’s classic video game set to conquer homes with tatami floor mats

While the floors of most modern Japanese homes are covered by hardwood, tile, or carpeting, many people still have a soft spot in their hearts for tatami. There’s something about the reed floor mats that has a soothing effect on many adults, perhaps because they remind them of the easygoing days of their childhood.

You know what else harkens back to a simpler time? Retro games, like Space Invaders. The encroaching aliens of the classic 1970s shooter are once again expanding their territory, this time moving from the stars above your head to directly below your feet with new Space Invaders tatami.

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Chinese artist wows us with rendition of awesomely evil looking Dragon Ball villains!

As one of the most popular manga and anime series ever created, Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball has undoubtedly inspired fan art of every style and form conceivable from across the world. Indeed, the Internet is full of countless images of such works by both professional and amateur artists alike. But every so often we come across pieces of work that are so impressive that they grab our attention with their quality and originality, as in the case of these drawings of famous villains from the series. Join us for a look at the familiar evil characters of Dragon Ball reinvented into exquisite yet chilling illustrations — we think you’ll be impressed too with the vivid, colorful details that seem to bring the images to life!

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Clean your SLR ASAP with this cool fan that blasts dust out of your camera in just 60 seconds

Aside from the higher quality photos they generally take, the great thing about SLR cameras is their modular nature. Being able to swap lenses in and out means that you can always be equipped with the best setup for the differing needs of properly photographing scenic mountainscapes, quietly nesting waterfowl, or provocatively posing swimsuit models (or provocatively posing waterfowl, because hey, it’s your camera to do with as you please).

The downside, though, is that the freedom to remove lenses comes with the risk of dust and other debris being introduced through the connectors and marring your photos. Now, though, there’s a quick and easy way to keep your pictures looking top-notch, in the form of a snap-on fan that’ll keep your camera’s interior bits as clean as the images you’re looking to capture with it.

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We head to Nagoya for a nice cup of joe served fresh from a stepladder to your table

They say that in Japan, the city of Nagoya is the fiercest market for cafes and as a result it also has many of the best coffee shops in the country. And in the midst of all these high quality roasts and laid-back atmospheres lies one shop in particular that literally manages to stand above the rest.

It’s called Cafe Tsuzuki and has a poster with the slogan “Coffee Guy’s shop: Night and day unique coffee research.” We sent our reporter Yuichiro Wasai down to inquire about their research, stepladder and all.

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What’s up doc? Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Lola Bunny in human form are too hot to ignore!

Walt Disney cartoons were one of my favorite things to watch on TV when I was a kid. But giving the ever-popular Disney animated series a good run for its money was the Looney Tunes series by Warner Bros. In fact, if I really had to choose one out of the two, I would have leaned towards Looney Tunes, largely because of my childhood crush, the witty and crafty Bugs Bunny.

As I grew up, I became more interested in Japanese anime, and gradually drifted away from Bugs Bunny and the Looney Tunes gang, but my oh my, I think I’m falling head over heels for Bugs again after seeing Canada-based artist Sakimichan’s series of Looney Tunes illustrations. See Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Lola Bunny in their humanized forms after the jump!

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