What’s cuter than a cat? A cat with a cat-mask on

Twitter user @kyoxxxxx, aka Kyou, recently posted this picture of a cat with a cat-mask on its forehead that’s weird and extremely cute at the same time.

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Rice-flavored ice cream: You knew it had to be in Japan somewhere

You probably know from reading this site that people in Japan love ice cream. And it goes without saying that they love rice! So I guess we shouldn’t be surprised to find that rice-flavored ice cream is a thing.

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Oh, crepe! We discover a pastry vending machine at the airport

You might think there’s no reason to fly to Fukuoka. After all, the Shinkansen line now stretches all the way to the biggest city on the island of Kyushu, and those spiffy new first-class long-haul bus seats are about ready to make their debut. Why bother taking to the skies when you’ve got two perfectly good terrestrial travel options?

Simple: so you can get a crepe from a vending machine at Fukuoka Airport.

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Japan’s Kizuro Village is a hidden natural beauty and feng shui power spot

On the border between Wakayama and Mie prefectures, nature has created a fantastical terrain. The secluded Kizuro Village is encircled by a river and pebble beaches, turning it into a half-island paradise that’s also abundant in good qi.

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The best way to learn English: a stereotypically inaccurate textbook!

At RocketNews24, we’ve covered how English education in Japan is currently faring, with many people agreeing that much can be done to improve it. Of the many problems, one improvement could certainly be the textbook, which many people believe is bland, uses English improperly and teaches English that feels very outdated. What’s needed is something that surpasses all those inadequacies and features English students would encounter in real life.

Well, how about a textbook that includes dialogues where people use bribes, exploit other people’s weaknesses and make giant broad stereotypes about countries as a whole? Yes, let’s try something like that!

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Add some spice to your morning routine with wasabi toothpaste

It looks like wasabi, feels like wasabi, and tastes like wasabi, but this small green tube is actually filled with toothpaste. Wasabi flavored toothpaste. Yes, the popular Japanese condiment that accompanies sushi can now be enjoyed while brushing your teeth – as long as you don’t mind a few extra tears in the morning.

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Japanese ad for new PlayStation 4 function “Share Play” is surprisingly touching

There’s a stereotype about women and games. We can’t aim, we have no attention span, we only like cutesy games, we have to get our brothers/boyfriends/guy friends to clear the hard missions for us.

Well, this incredible advert for PlayStation 4’s Share Play – a new feature which allows PS4 owners to hop in and out of their friends’ games and even take full control without having to own a copy of the game – is set to smash those misconceptions like the proverbial glass ceiling! Watch as this Japanese girl gamer goes from zero to hero on her path to becoming the Goddess of Aiming!

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Some fans love Pharrell’s “It Girl” video, others call him a pedophile【Video】

Last summer the international pop-star Pharrell Williams rocked Japan with his single, “Happy,” which launched countless fan-made remakes across the country. Joining in with the “happy” Japanese people, he has since collaborated with renowned artist Takashi Murakami to make a remix of virtual star Hatsune Miku’s video “Last Night, Good Night (Re:Dialed).” This time around, however, Pharrell is trying to bring fun Japanese culture to the rest of the world.

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Costco may just have turned your childhood fantasy into reality — with a 93-inch stuffed bear!

Did you as a child ever fantasize about snuggling up to a soft stuffed toy bigger than your wildest dreams? I certainly did! (Heck, a part of me probably still does even now, when I’m old enough to be on the wrong side of … never mind, I really shouldn’t go there, should I?) So, anyway, for anyone who’s ever had an interest in cute stuffed toys, international retailer and warehouse club chain Costco brings you this amazing plush bear that’s larger than life — the 93-inch (2.36m) HugFun Bear! That’s right, he’s absolutely HUGE, and if the idea of a giant teddy bear hasn’t already won you over, they’ve even made a darling video which is guaranteed to melt your heart. Just take a look and see if you don’t fall utterly in love! And lucky for us, the bear happens to be available in Japan too!

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I Won’t Let You Down: new music video from OK Go wows us with Honda drones and unicycles

OK Go, the alternative rock band who blew us away with their unique treadmill choreography in the music video for their 2006 hit Here It Goes Again, have come out with an even more impressive video, this time featuring dozens of Japanese girls, a drone and a motorised unicycle from Honda.

Filmed in Japan and inspired by the group’s trip to the Robot Restaurant in Tokyo, this latest music video was released on October 27 and has already reached close to two million views on YouTube. Check out the video after the break to see just how awesome these boys can be when they team up with a leading director and choreographer from Japan.

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Take a tour of video game history and violin majesty with Teppei Okada

The Super Mario Bros. theme song has got to be among the most covered melodies online. From guitars to ancient Chinese shengs, it’s hard for anyone to not want to knock out those opening notes: d-do do d-do DO do.

So with all the videos of people playing the song online, it’s hard to stand out. Hard unless you’re Teppei Okada (a.k.a. Teppei Sensei) of Fukuoka Prefecture. This guy not only does a subtly beautiful rendition of the classic platformer’s background music, but he recreates the sound effects of the game such as collecting coins and breaking blocks.

And Mario is only the tip of the video game iceberg for Teppei Sensei. His skills reach out to a variety of titles on generations of Nintendo consoles and beyond.

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Attack of the Clones: Finalists in this year’s Miss Korea contest once again looking eerily alike

In perhaps the one case in which broadly dismissing an entire group of exotic-looking people by saying, “Eh, they all look the same to me,” maybe isn’t all that offensive, the 2014 Miss Korea contestant lineup once again looks eerily like a lineup of I, Robot-style doppelgangers.

This year saw around 50 finalists, whom the agency holding the competition saw fit to line up in a photo roster for our viewing pleasure:

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Tokyo’s Shibuya holds its first Halloween costume contest aboard a train, we ride along

Back before Halloween became as popular in Japan as it is today, Tokyo expats looking to celebrate the holiday would stage impromptu costume parties on the last car of the JR Yamanote loop line. At the time, though, most Japanese people weren’t familiar with Halloween, and this tended to freak the indigenous locals out, leading Japan Railways to eventually crack down on the festivities.

Things have changed a lot in the last 15 years, though. Tokyo is starting to seriously get into the Halloween spirit, so much so that another rail company, Tokyu, actually held a Halloween costume contest onboard one of its trains, and we went to check it out.

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Photos of retired Japanese guide dogs evoke emotional response from Chinese viewers

In many countries, guide dogs, also known as seeing-eye dogs, lead blind or visually impaired people safely around their surroundings. They are intensely trained from a young age to serve as their partner’s functional ‘eyes’ and to ensure that both of them stay safe while going about daily life.

In return for their endless devotion and sacrifice, guide dogs getting on in their years are often allowed to “retire” and live out their final years comfortably in pampered peace. There are even special homes for these post-retirement dogs in certain countries. When one Chinese citizen posted photos of such an establishment in Japan on social media site Weibo, the online response was swift and emotional, showing that animals truly have the power to transcend national and cultural borders. Keep reading to see what some of their reactions were.

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Recall of Disney mugs in Japan was bound to happen with Frozen’s Elsa around

Disney has a pretty long-standing endorsement deal with Kirin Beverage in Japan, in which the studio’s animated characters appear on bottles of Gogo no Koucha tea. Right now, the two companies are taking their partnership one step further, by offering a special Disney mug to anyone who buys four bottles from Kirin’s popular tea line.

Unfortunately, Kirin has had to issue a recall of the cups, which have been found prone to cracking. We’re sure it’s an unpleasant surprise for the beverage company, but Disney fans are pointing out that Kirin should have seen this coming for one simple reason: the decision to put Frozen’s Elsa on one of the mugs.

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We test the new “walking bicycle”, find out how it feels to walk and cycle at the same time

Japan has come out with some pretty awesome ideas over the years. Pocket calculators, instant noodles, even CD players were all born here, and while they were developed in response to the needs of the local market, their popularity quickly spread far and wide around the globe.

Now Japan is set to revolutionise the way we travel with a new product called the Walking Bicycle Club. Touted as the first big breakthrough in 200 years of the cycling industry, the new vehicle is powered by stepping, rather than pedalling, and is designed to make walking more fun. But how does it feel to ride a bicycle that looks more like a mobile step machine? We dropped by the store to find out.

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Ultra-realistic cat latte art blows us away, puts us off our coffee

Latte art is all the rage in Japan right now, and as you might expect, it tends heavily towards the super-kawaii. But today, we spotted some super realistic-looking latte art from Twitter user @dongurinekobei and it looks both amazing and undrinkable.

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“Eva-Con”: Raise your synchronization rate & defeat loneliness!

Evangelion, one of the most popular anime series in Japanese history, is celebrating the 3rd anniversary of EVANGELION STORE TOKYO-01 with the 18th meeting of “Eva-Con in Ikebukuro”, a “goukon” (group dating event).

When looking for love, isn’t it important for that person to share your interests? Well “Eva-Con” is an event that looks to bring together people through their love of Evangelion! Isn’t that the dream? No more agonizing over trying to be the person you think would be popular because what you actually like might be considered strange! Let down your AT Field and make a connection without having to wait for Third Impact to happen!

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Celebrate Halloween with our recipe for jack-o’-lantern nikuman steamed buns【RocketKitchen】

Growing up, every year as Halloween approached, I could feel a sense of dread creeping up on me. It wasn’t the prospect of being hunted by werewolves or getting lost in a haunted house that frightened me, though.

I was terrified that someone would give me raisins when I went trick-or-treating.

Honestly, I understand that some people don’t approve of eating nothing but candy on Halloween, and there’s a valid point in trying to balance out your diet on All Hallows’ Eve. Do you have to do it with something as soulless as raisins, though, especially when you could use our recipe to whip up some tasty and jack-‘o-lantern steamed buns instead?

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Ghibli distributing free discs of arrested singer’s music video cut from Hayao Miyazaki box set

If the whole point of buying an anime box set is to have everything you want in one neat package, there must have been a lot of upset fans last summer when Studio Ghibli released the Directorial Works of Hayao Miyazaki. Sure it contained every theatrical feature the anime legend helmed while working for the industry’s most respected production house, but it was missing the Miyazaki-directed music video On Your Mark, which was pulled following the arrest of musician Aska, one of the song’s vocalists.

Three months after the box set went on sale, though, there’s good news for completionists, as Studio Ghibli itself has decided to distribute copies of the video, free of charge, to anyone who purchased the collection.

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