QR codes and pop culture, what are you doing in my textbooks?

Textbooks are boring. There is too much text, few pictures and back in our school days you had to accept whatever was in the textbook and struggle through it. It was an uphill battle…both ways! But with all the advancements and conveniences of technology, why not bring a little of the 21st century into the classroom?

Textbooks around Japan have been incrementally upping their game with QR codes, “hip” songs and whatever else to keep students entertained and excited about learning. But sometimes these advances in textbook technology don’t provide any benefit, and actually confuse more than they teach.

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French artist alters Japanese street signs to make people “more observant”, police not impressed

Some rather peculiar, sticker-altered street signs have been popping up in Osaka or Kyoto over the last month. The eye-catching addendums are the work of French guerrilla artist Clet Abraham, who has done similar projects around the globe. While local residents are largely bemused, the police are not at all amused and are investigating whether charges can be filed.

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Chinese teenager wows the Internet with his awesome fight-scene animation【Video】

Kids these days! They’re all attached to their technology, fiddling around on social media, playing games and reading all of those awesome RocketNews24 articles. One 19-year-old in China, however, is putting all other teenagers to shame by making incredible animated videos all on his own. 

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Three-armed Peach, two-headed Marth join the parade of factory defect Amiibos

After one lucky shopper made $2,500 from his factory defect dual-wielding Samus Amiibo, others have been pouring onto eBay in the hopes of making a quick buck.

One seller’s three-armed Peach reached $365, although it wasn’t enough to meet the reserve price.

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Internet ready to shut up and take your money as preorders finally start for Cat Ear Headphones

Last summer, were you one of the many people who screamed “Shut up and take my money!” when we brought you news of the prototype cat ear-shaped headphone/speakers from recent startup AxentWear? If so, your harshly worded enthusiasm has been rewarded, as preorders have at last begun for the futuristically feline gadgets.

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This special noodle for hard-core Youkai Watch fans is full of Jibanyan … literally!

Love noodles? Love Youkai Watch? We’re guessing that there are plenty of people out there who would answer yes to both of those questions. It then shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise if someone decided to combine the two in a tasty-looking original creation.

Well, that’s exactly what Twitter user @takusan_neru did with the unique bowl of noodles in this picture she shared. And just what makes the noodles so special? Well, as you can see, the bowl is filled with … smiling Jibanyan faces!

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Panchira 2015: All-star creators, photographers and cosplayers assemble in a flash (of panties)!

As we’ve already seen photobooks and exhibitions dedicated to images of women wearing knee-high socks underwater and a calendar that simulates flipping up a skirt, it should come as no surprise that there is a photo exhibition dedicated to “panchira” (the Japanese term for “panty-shot“) opening in Tokyo next month.

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We examine the footage, decide Coming of Age Day in Okinawa is actually pretty badass【Video】

Japan’s Coming of Age Day, held in January to celebrate young people who have turned 20 in the last year, involves dressing up in fancy kimono to attend an official ceremony, followed by a trip to the shrine or (more likely) an afterparty.

Or, to put it another way, every 20-year-old in the country is invited to a party to celebrate the fact they’re old enough to drink alcohol. Perhaps it’s no surprise then that in recent years, each Coming of Age Day has brought with it a small number of arrests, as rowdy enjoyment spills over into reckless driving and alcohol-related incidents.

Okinawa in particular boasts some of the wildest Coming of Age celebrations in Japan. This year, filmmaker and Okinawa native Hisashi Hamamoto headed to some of the busiest spots to film the partygoers. Join us after the jump for kids blocking traffic, shaking champagne about and generally having a riot, Japan-style.

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Supaida-Man is here to save the day with sub-machine guns and giant robots!

Spider-Man is one of the most recognizable comic book characters of all time. However, unless you grew up in Japan in the 1970s, you probably aren’t familiar with this version of your friendly neighborhood wallcrawler. Here’s your chance to witness some historical web-slinging action as Marvel has re-released the live-action Japanese Spider-Man on their website. Grab some popcorn, you will want to watch this.

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New video by R3hab & KSHMR paints gritty, realistic image of karate dojos

Dutch house producer R3hab and KSHMR have joined vowel-hating forces to lay down their newest single “Karate.” Its pulsing beats have been well received by house music fans and selling copies fast. But as we can see from the image above, there’s something else about “Karate” that is getting people’s attention and over 5 million views on YouTube.

That’s right! It has a lot to teach us about the world-famous martial art it’s named after. I guarantee even the most experienced karateka will learn something new from this video, so be sure to watch and study every scene very carefully.

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Forget panty vending machines – BOGOF canned coffee is all the excitement we need!

If you’ve been to Japan or just watched Japanese movies and TV, you’re bound to have noticed that they have vending machines coming out the wazoo. Seriously, those things are everywhere! Head out to the deepest inaka (countryside) and you’re still bound to run across a random vending machine nestled in the greenery as though it’s been waiting its whole life just to slake your thirst. But with so many vending machines all over the place, drinks companies have had to get competitive, and reports from Twitter speak of a mythical machine that dispenses two for the price of one canned coffee! But just what sort of wizardry is this?

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See the gorgeous top-ranked Miss Campuses from universities across China

Meg Sawai, an editor for our Japanese sister site and all-around Chinese news liaison, was browsing the net last week when she stumbled upon the recently released Top 30 Face Ranking of all Miss Campuses across China. Intrigued, she opened the list to see who would take the top spot. Get ready to meet some of the lovely–and intellectual–ladies from universities across China!

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Japanese man invites neighbor in for a few beers immediately after being shanked by him

A story out of Saitama Prefecture almost sounds like the script to a heartwarming movie. In an apartment house in Kawaguchi City, until a few days ago, two senior citizens were living next door to each other. The men shared a love of beer, and since they were both living alone, would even sometimes pass off their excess food to one another if they happened to buy too much at the grocery store.

Sure, 64-year-old Shingo Tsutsui didn’t like the noise his 70-year-old neighbor made walking around the hardwood floors of his thin-walled apartment, but that little bit of cantankerousness just adds to the Odd Couple-like appeal of the story, doesn’t it? Or at least it would, if Tsutsui had responded by contorting his face into comically frustrated expressions instead of what he actually did, which was to attack his neighbor with a kitchen knife.

As shocking as that is, though, it’s not nearly as unexpected as the victim’s reaction: inviting his attacker in to have a couple of beers together.

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Low crime in Japan means police officers create ridiculous snow sculptures instead

It snows a lot in Hokkaido. Like, a lot. No seriously, they have a hotel made out of ice and snow and just take a look at this poor Lawson convenience store that was devoured by snowfall.

So with all that snow around you can either grumble as you shovel your driveway for the third time that day, or you can make the best of it. One police officer in Hokkaido did just that, creating an amazing snow-sculpture of a Japanese police car right outside the station.

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Holy crop! Chinese netizens react as government clumsily cuts cleavage out of period drama

Right from its first airing in December last year, Chinese period drama The Empress of China has been a firm public favourite. Starring producer Fan Bingbing as Wu Zetian – the only woman in Chinese history ever to reign as supreme leader – the drama focuses on events during the Tang dynasty (618–907 CE) and features a host of elaborate costumes and sets, paid for by a budget of appropriately regal proportions.

Viewers were left disappointed recently, however, when the show was suddenly pulled from the air, with its broadcaster citing only “technical issues” as the reason for the removal. The show returned just days later, but rather of evoking cheers of joy, the internet was quickly filled with messages of anger and frustration from its viewers.

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Japanese sixth-grader calls out smartphone-loving parents over anti-video game lectures

I understand that an important part of parenting is setting boundaries for children. Until they reach a certain age, kids just don’t have the kind of foresight necessary to fully understand the consequences of all their actions, and letting preteens eat as many cookies as they want or stay up as late as they like probably isn’t the best idea.

That said, another important part of parenting is setting a good example. Fail to do that, and your kids are likely to just tune out everything you’re saying. Actually, that might be the best case scenario, since if you’re flagrantly guilty of not practicing what you preach, your kids might call you out for it, like one Japanese elementary school girl who pointed out her parents’ logical inconsistency in lecturing about keeping her video game playing to a minimum, even as they were glued to their own electronic devices.

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These placid penguins really love taking a ride on this seal’s silky back【Photos】

The holiday period is well and truly over, and it’s cold, grey and generally blah outside. If this sounds like your life, then you could do with a penguin pick-me-up to perk you right up, courtesy of RocketNews24! We’ll even throw in a free seal to seal the deal! Join us after the jump for some adorable photos of a beautiful interspecies friendship!

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Sonus Antiquitatum, Sonata for Two Game Boys in F Minor: Chiptunes for the sophisticate

While the popularity of retrogaming can sometimes be difficult to understand or accurately gauge, one of the more interesting aspects of its resurgence is the following that has developed around chiptunes. Though it would be a bit of a stretch to say that chiptunes music is massively popular, there’s no doubt that the genre holds a strong appeal for many gamers, especially those who grew up playing on older systems.

But the current chiptunes scene is hardly limited to old game soundtracks–thanks to software like Little Sound DJ, producers can make complex music that manages to be both old and new. And the best example might be a new release titled Sonus Antiquitatum, a sonata for two Game Boys in F minor, that not only sounds good for a chiptunes album but is actually a really enjoyable musical experience!

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A man fell down a massive hole in China and turned the experience into an iPhone game

A man from New Zealand fell down a 9 metre hole in China, broke his back, and has just turned the horrific accident into a new slapstick mobile game.

Mark Major, 28, explains on his website that his scary experience inspired “Plummet”, which he hopes will be available for iPhone early this year. He tells Business Insider that he’s waiting for Apple to review his iTunes app and it should be due for release soon.

Major says he had no warning about the accident. He was walking past a construction site in Beijing when the earth just gave way.

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Anime figurines rejoice as fully working miniature locker appears on gacha market

What would you put in a tiny miniature locker? That’s the question you’ll be asking if you get your hands on one of the newest gacha capsule toys, set to hit the market in April.

While most of us would have no use for a locker the size of a thumb, spare a thought for the anime figures of the world, who have spent years searching for a secure place to store their valuable accessories before setting out on their exciting adventures.

The only hurdle they’ll have to overcome now though, is finding a way to insert a coin that’s bigger than the size of their head.

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