Sumo sprinting really ought to be the next evolution in track and field【Video】

Let’s face it, something needs to be done about track and field. Although it could be considered human athleticism in its purest form, surely the art of running in a straight line is nearing our maximum potential as a species.

It’s time to take events such as sprinting to the next level. Luckily a small group of sumo wrestlers may have stumbled upon a way to bring another dimension to the sport, and another chin or two as well.

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Otaku speed-dating party lets participants chat online before event, review each other during it

Even as the world of otaku becomes an increasingly co-ed one, many of Japan’s obsessive fans of anime, video games, and other forms of pop culture struggle in finding a romantic partner. That’s where Aeullura, a matchmaking company specializing in konkatsu (marriage-minded dating) events for otaku, comes in.

But conventional speed-dating can be intimidating for even ordinarily outgoing individuals, let alone otaku who might very well spend more of their free time watching fictional characters than interacting with other people. Add in the pressure of a ticking clock, and some might not feel confident in their ability to walk up to an attractive stranger, make a good impression, and then find out more about them.

That’s why Aeullura is flipping that sequence of events for its upcoming otaku matchmaking party by giving the speed daters access to a wealth of information about one another, and even letting them communicate online, before putting them all in the same room together.

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Rolling like a samurai – Japanese coachbuilder’s car features centuries-old woodcarving technique

Does Japan’s Mitsuoka Motors count as a carmaker? It’s debatable. Yes, the company does have its own dealers that sell Mitsuoka-branded cars. Almost all of them, though, are Nissans or Mazdas with extensive cosmetic modifications. Even the company’s Orochi coupe, which has its own dedicated body, uses an engine built by Toyota.

So let’s ask an easier question: Are Mitsuoka’s cars visually unique? Unquestionably. The company has always made aesthetics the number-one priority in all of its vehicles, and that tradition continues with woodcarving so exquisite it wouldn’t look at all out of place in a Japanese castle, but which instead graces this Mitsuoka sedan.

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Mounted police officers in Kyoto get Heian Period outfits to match their ancestral colleagues

Though the Heian Period probably evokes more images of poetry and courtly love affairs than daring action, there was still plenty of work for the kebiishi, the peacekeepers of the time. Though the Heian court’s police force is now long gone, they remain a fixture of Japanese police history, and, in fact, served as the inspiration for the new uniforms to be worn by the Kyoto mounted police at this year Jidai Festival!

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Japanese candy maker announces new “hot cola gum” to meet demand that probably doesn’t exist

Anyone who has tried salty watermelon Pepsi, yogurt-flavored water or whitebait ice cream can tell you that the Japanese love weird flavors. If it’s new and outlandish, the Japanese market wants to get a taste.

I can only assume that’s what confectioner Lotte was banking on with their newest creation, because there surely couldn’t have been that many voices clamoring for hot cola chewing gum!

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This adorable tubby bunny wants to pole-dance for you【GIF】

When we’re down in the dumps, there’s nothing like a cute animal to get us back in a good mood. While cats are the undisputed overlords of internet animal therapy, there’s one little bunny that’s bringing a smile to thousands of Twitter users in Japan with nothing but some adorable dancing skills and a pole.

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Japanese stir-fried noodles a huge hit in Kenya

Yaki udon, a Japanese stir-fried noodle dish made with thick, flat wheat noodles, is a popular and much-loved staple of Japanese cuisine. Both yaki udon and yakisoba—a similar dish which uses a thinner buckwheat noodle instead—are cheap, tasty, and readily available from many street food stalls and Japanese-style pubs). So when one of our RocketNews24 Japan reporters read that not only had a yaki udon restaurant opened up in Kenya, but that it was that it was a huge hit with the locals, he just had to check it out for himself.

Read on for our Japanese reporter’s restaurant review as he travels halfway across the world for a bowl of noodles.

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The future is here! Celebrate Back to the Future: Part II’s historic day at theme cafes

Do you know what day October 21, 2015 is? It’s the day that Marty and Doc come to the future from 1985! But, sorry Marty, hover boards aren’t quite what they were supposed to be, and we barely made it to five Jaws movies, let alone Jaws 19. One of the only prophecies that may still come true is the Cubs winning the World Series, but even that seems doubtful.

Okay, so Marty might not be overly thrilled with this real version of 2015, but hey, at least he’ll get to go to the limited time “Back to the Future” Cafe if he stops by Hill Valley Ikebukuro in Tokyo.

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Japan’s elementary school backpacks grow up with new high-class randoseru for adults

Maybe Zooey Deschanel was on to something after all. Last year, pictures surfaced of the Hollywood actress wearing a randoseru, the type of Japanese backpack that for decades has been exclusively used by elementary school kids.

This had many in Japan chuckling, but when you think about it logically, the randoseru is a sturdy, practical, and elegant design. What’s more, ones that are made to quality standards can last for years, so this Japanese company has decided to release a line of randoseru for adults, which it says are sophisticated enough for formal business situations.

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Cosplay in your sleep with this giant anime-style “pigtails pillow”【Pics & Video】

The creative team at Bibi Lab have been at it again. The inventive brand dedicated to bringing weird and wonderful items out into the world have delighted us with life-sized human-shaped pillows, mosquito net jumpsuits and even sailor-style schoolgirl uniforms for men.

Now there’s another item we’ll be adding to our growing collection of Bibi Lab products: the giant anime-style pigtails pillow.

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Get in the bullet train, Shinji! The Evangelion Shinkansen is here 【Videos】

Fans of hit anime Evangelion are used to having their patience tested. Almost three years after the Japanese theatrical release of the Evangelion 3.0 feature film, the movie still isn’t available on home video in North America. Meanwhile, the fourth, and reputedly final, chapter of the Rebuild of Evangelion film series remains without a release date.

But if there’s one thing Japan demands punctuality from, it’s the country’s trains. So with the Evangelion Shinkansen scheduled to go into service next month, the anime-themed bullet train is practically complete and recently made its public and video debut.

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Konami denies report of Hideo Kojima leaving company

Video game developer and publisher Konami denied an earlier report by The New Yorker that Metal Gear series creator Hideo Kojima had left Konami. Konami stated that “Kojima is currently taking an extended vacation, and is currently still registered as an employee.”

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Attack on Titan car navigation system stars Survey Corps, a walled city and checkpoint giants

The live-action Attack on Titan movies may have been a bit of a disappointment, but we’ll always have the glorious anime. And now the animated protagonists from the acclaimed series are bringing their world into ours and guiding us around it with an amazing new tablet and car navigation system.

Filled with special extras including the opportunity to “rank up” according to distances travelled, a choice between “return to the wall” or “Survey Corps outer expedition” route views, and an appearance from a Titan when we pass through convenience store checkpoints, it’s bound to make trips to the grocery store much more exciting!

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Can you spot what’s odd about this Japanese classroom?【Video】

Japanese commercials are known all over the world for being just as entertaining as the programs they interrupt. Whether they’re ridiculously cute, heartbreakingly sad, a little confusing, or nightmare-inducingly bizarre, most commercials have something special going on.

So what about this commercial? It looks so normal at first; it’s just a bunch of high school girls hanging out in a classroom, playing a guitar, reading, whatever. But then, right in the middle, something happens. Watch it for yourself and see if you can figure it out before the reveal!

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Mr. Sato takes our newest reporter to a sushi restaurant, he mistakes it for a love hotel!

It’s been one month since Nakazawa, who’s also a guitarist for two bands, joined the Japanese RocketNews24 team. On a recent day, our veteran reporter Mr. Sato told Nakazawa to follow him as he ventured into the outside world. When Nakazawa asked where they were going, Mr. Sato coolly replied: “To a good place. I’m going to make you happy.”

Not one to argue with a perpetual fan-favorite reporter, especially as a new recruit, Nakazawa obediently agreed.

Two short train rides later, our two adventurers finally arrived at their destination: a collection of bars and other late-night eateries near Tokyo’s Kita-Senju Station. Nakazawa followed Mr. Sato silently until the expert reporter suddenly stopped in his tracks. “We’re here,” Mr. Sato announced. Nakazawa looked up and was shocked to discover that they were standing in front of what looked like a hotel—and not just any hotel, but a LOVE hotel!

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Sawai: the “budget Maldives” where you can sleep above a reef【Photos】

One of the great things about travel is that sometimes the best laid plans completely fall apart and then you discover something unexpected and even more amazing than the thing or place you originally intended to visit.

That was the case on a recent trip to Indonesia when our plans to go to the Banda Islands, some of the famed spice islands, fell through and instead we found ourselves sleeping above a coral reef, hanging out with sea turtles and stuffing ourselves silly on fish and spicy chollo chollo in the tiny town of Sawai.

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New Trigun sneakers are the perfect footwear for your next stampede across the anime badlands

Beloved by fans as it may be, the 1998 space cowboy anime Trigun isn’t completely beyond criticism. The pacing is uneven, and the production budget clearly isn’t large enough for the animators to effectively realize their artistic ambitions.

But Trigun hits its target dead center in creating two instantly memorable male leads: disarmingly happy-go-lucky gunslinger Vash the Stampede, and itinerant, heavily armed clergyman Nicholas D. Wolfwood. Both characters ooze coolness and presence from their heads to their toes, and now you can have some of that style for your own feet with two pairs of Trigun sneakers.

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French journalist’s photos of 1930s Shanghai take us back in time【Photos】

While much of the world is celebrating Marty McFly coming back to the future on October 21, 2015, some of us are taking a look back to the past. A Chinese newspaper recently republished a batch of famous photos by French photographer Louis-Philippe Messelier depicting 1930s Shanghai, bringing them back into the limelight.

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Japanese TV show produces baffling list of five household habits that will shorten your lifespan

It seems like we’re constantly being bombarded with tips and tricks about how to make our lives better or how to improve our quality of life. We’re always being told to change the way we eat, the way we sleep, include some daily physical activity, and re-organize our lives. Everyone has something different to say, but one thing they seem to have in common is the positive spin they put on their life improvements.

That’s not strictly true for Japanese television though. One recent program seemed to be taking a cue from the fear-based strategies of American TV, and spent an entire segment talking about habits in your household that are likely to decrease your lifespan.

Find out the five habits you should be wary of, apparently, after the jump.

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Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” played on Japanese instruments? Yes, please!【Video】

Michael Jackson‘s popularity remains strong world-wide despite his death six years ago, and that includes in Japan. There is no shortage of MJ fans in the country, and many still consider him one of their favorite artists. Of course, with a discography as massive as his, it’s nearly impossible to choose one “most famous” Michael Jackson song, but “Smooth Criminal” is certainly a strong contender. This has resulted in the tune being covered in nearly every genre imaginable, but there’s always room for one more. Especially when it’s played on shakuhachi and koto…even more so when it’s played this well!

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