Ponytailed cutie will melt your heart, and maybe give you a bit of a shock

What kind of hairstyle do you like on a girl? A short-haired bob? Long flowing locks? The famous ‘twin tail‘? Tight curls? If the comments on the photo above are any indication, the clear winner is this blonde ponytail. But you’ll never guess who this captivating hairstyle belongs to.

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Slow News Day Special 2: Use obvious clues in this photo to find out what this “bird” really is

Sometimes, you’re surfing around on the Internet to find weird Japan news to write about and can’t seem to find anything except one of those old “I thought this thing was that thing, but it was another thing,” Twitter comparison pictures and you kind of just have to run with it. I know, oddly specific scenario, but we’ve all been there, right?

Like, check out this thing that looks like a bird. We already know it’s not a bird, but can you use some of the clues in the photo to figure out what it really is?

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Hi-Chew fruit candies re-invented in DIY food creations

The Japanese fruit-chew candy, Hi-Chew, is getting more and more popular these days and it can be found all over the world, even in the Boston Red Socks’ locker room. Some Japanese consumers, however, seem to be sick of the same-old rectangle shape and chewiness and are starting to find new ways to eat it.

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We try new gourmet popcorn from Cinnabon — Yes, it’s as addictive as their cinnamon rolls!

Many of our readers have probably figured out by now that we’re quite fond of tasty sweets here at RocketNews24. Now, that means we (well, this writer at least) are big fans of the international cinnamon roll bakery Cinnabon. I mean, the rich smell of their rolls alone is enough to drive me mad with craving! So when we heard that Cinnabon came out with a completely new product last month, you can bet our interest was definitely piqued. And to our delight, we recently had the chance to try the new item. Ladies and gentlemen, we present to you the Cinnabon Gourmet Popcorn, a treat that is so far only available in Japan!

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Want to see right through your car? Amazing video projection system lets drivers do just that

Almost all of my time behind the wheel has been in a small, two-seat convertible. This has really spoiled me, in that whenever I find myself in the driver’s seat of a fixed-top, full-sized car, I can’t help but wish for better visibility because of how many lines of sight get cut off by the car’s structure itself.

A team of Japanese researchers has solved this problem, though, with a clever system that allows the driver to see right through a car’s side panels and back seat.

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The mysterious act of the disappearing iPhone, from Apple to pear

Apple hit its biggest market last year when it started to sell their iPhone 5S and 5C in China. While the iPhone 6 was released there to a much quieter fanfare when it started selling last month, there is no doubt that people want to get their hands on any iPhone.

In China, most people have pre-ordered their phones to great success. Sometimes though, you have to go the extra mile (or 1,211 miles) to get in on the latest trends. Other times, your life is so awesome that you only have time to make your friend servant in a faraway province buy it and send it to you. But then, disaster strikes!

Read on after the jump to learn about this recent case of theft “bearing fruit” on Chinese internet sites.

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Sit back and enjoy the journey: Japan’s Top 10 local train rides

Nowadays with discount airlines, hybrid cars and night buses, it’s easy to get where you want to go quickly and cheaply. Of course, in Japan trains are probably the most utilized mode of transportation. Some train companies around Japan, however, have really taken to heart the idea that “Life is a journey, not a destination,” as there are many train lines which are designed as sightseeing trains, or just happen to pass through beautiful scenery and let you enjoy the journey – the beautiful forests, the stunning seaside, sometimes even the trains themselves are part of the experience.

Recently Rakuten Travel announced its top 10 list for the best local trains around the country. Let’s take a look at what these train lines have to offer after the jump.

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Kyary Pamyu Pamyu dresses up as the Corpse Bride, bumps into Tim Burton

How can anyone not love Kyary Pamyu Pamyu? She’s cute, kooky, and occasionally ooky – and she recently dressed up as Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride! Kyary shared several snaps on her official Twitter account of herself getting made up as the Corpse Bride, hitting the streets for some spooky fun, and even meeting the great man himself!

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One Piece manga sends off Naruto with a classy secret message

This year’s 50th issue of Shueisha‘s Shonen Jump magazine is a legendary one with the final twochapters of its mega-hit series Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto. In this issue, the 766th chapter (“Smile”) of Eiichiro Oda‘s One Piece manga seems rather normal. However, fans have found a secret message embedded into the One Piece chapter’s title page.

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Examining 10 of Japan’s unwritten social rules, from cheese to paid holidays

By nature, humans can’t help constructing rules to live by even in the most innocuous situations like choosing the passenger seat of a car (rock-paper-scissors: best of three). Without any official governing body over how many times you should let a phone ring before hanging up (seven), we are left to establish unwritten social rules naturally agreed upon and often followed to the letter.

A survey by MyNavi recently asked Japanese people which of these tacit rules should be called into question. As we will soon see, although these laws are mysterious in their origin, many of them tend to be quite practical and worth sticking to.

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Beautiful models and actresses delivering boxed lunches in Tokyo with new bento service

Bento, Japan’s multi-dish boxed lunches, come in a variety of styles. While it’s most common to make your own or pick one up at a cheap takeout joint, there’s also a whole sub-industry of high-class bento delivery services that cater business conferences and other high-rolling events.

Of course, rich and powerful clients tend to have demands as high as their positions on the corporate ladder. They expect the food to be delicious, the service to be impeccable, and now, with Platinum Lunch, they can expect their bento to be delivered by beautiful models and actresses.

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The Four Lows: Many Japanese women’s new image of the ideal man

When the subject of how men can attract women in Japan comes up, there are some pretty dubious sources of advice out there. Rather than apply twisted logic to gain twisted insights on how to pull women closer to them, guys have a better chance of success by putting their efforts into becoming the kind of people women are drawn to without any special prodding.

But what exactly do women want? Well, that’s an answer that of course varies from person to person, but if you’re interested in playing the percentages, a recent poll of women in Japan indicates four things to strive for.

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We try roasted salamander so you don’t have to

Part of the excitement of traveling is trying foods that you have never seen, heard of, or even contemplated before. So when our lodging in the wilds of Nikko offered roasted salamander for dinner, I had to give it a try. Not just to satisfy my curiosity and my pride, but to report back to you, dear reader, about what amphibi-lizard on a stick tastes like.

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Imoni-kai: A hidden, delicious cultural gem of northern Japan

Hop on a train to off-the-beaten-path Yamagata Prefecture any weekend from September through November, and you’re bound to see crowds of people congregating and cooking pots of something delicious by the local river. Yup, imoni-kai season is in full swing!

Imoni (芋煮) is the name given to a taro root stew native to the Tohoku region of northern Japan. Apart from its delicious taste, imoni is also famous for the social aspects of its creation. Families traditionally congregate on a riverbank (the practice of which is known as imoni-kai, literally, “imoni gathering”) and cook the stew from scratch over a fire pit. In that sense, you can think of it a bit like an autumn version of o-hanami, the popular Japanese tradition of viewing cherry blossoms in the spring.

Join us after the jump for a glimpse at a unique cultural tradition of northern Japan which many Japanese people in other parts of the country have never even heard of!

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Beautiful video of master Japanese doll craftsman is equal parts inspiring and relaxing

There’s something deeply satisfying about watching someone do their job incredibly well. Whether it’s a master chef putting together a mouth-watering meal, a talented musician making an instrument come to life, or a pro athlete performing at the highest level of the sport, you find yourself unable to look away, both because of how soothing watching things go perfectly is, and also for fear of missing whatever amazing feat they’re going to pull off next.

So if you’re craving that special mixture of relaxation and inspiration, take a few minutes to watch this video of a master craftsman transforming two hunks of wood into a beautiful kokeshi doll with a literally unique twist.

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Peeping Tom landlord busted for spying on female tenants in China using “magic mirror”

A man was arrested in Beijing last week on charges of voyeurism and taking illicit images of several women. The man, a landlord of an all-female residence, went to extreme measures to spy on his victims in their rooms, including installing hidden cameras and, unbelievably, a 2 metre tall one-way mirror of the type used during police interrogations. Which, ironically is what he had to face up to, once he was busted by one of the tenants who happened to spot snaps of her roommate on his phone.

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Got shelf space? Japan’s 15 most completely collected manga series

Given how many passionate manga fans Japan has, it’s kind of surprising that a lot of them don’t collect every issue of their favorite series. Most titles are published once a week as part of several-hundred-page anthologies printed on cheap, quickly deteriorating newsprint. On the other hand, higher-quality collected volumes lag months behind the weekly editions.

This creates a strange catch-22 where fans who want to be up to the minute on their heroes’ adventures buy the anthologies but later toss them out. Eventually, many cherry-pick which collected volumes to purchase in order to fill in the gaps where they missed one of the weeklies, or to have a permanent copy of their favorite scenes.

Of course, a lot of incomplete sets are also the result of fans getting burned out before reaching the end of some of Japan’s notoriously long-running series. Add in the fact that storage space is at a premium in Japanese homes, and it’s a testament to a title’s staying power and ability to captivate readers when they buy it from start to finish, like so many have with these 15 manga.

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Hidden world discovered under Japanese rice paddy!

Every year, farmers in the village of Inakadate, Aomori Prefecture, plant beautiful natural murals in the fields using different varieties of rice. The practice began in 1994, and now hundreds of thousands of people visit the tiny village each summer to see their rice paddy art.

But it’s not just planted rice they’ve been drawing pictures with. Underneath one of those rice fields, another hidden gem has been lurking – a world map! And it’s there for all to see…on Google Maps.

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【TBT】From My Neighbor Totoro to Ninja Turtles: Anime food in real life!

Few things could delight kids (and big kids!) more than mimicking their favourite TV shows, movies and videogames, and sitting down to the exact same meal that their heroes enjoy.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles always had the most mouth-watering pizza; Ponyo and Sousuke had home-made ramen noodles; Pop-eye had canned spinach… OK, so maybe not every cartoon meal is the greatest, but putting together food that looks exactly as it did in our favourite shows is sure to inspire even the most kitchen-shy of us to have a go, not to mention encourage fussy eaters to try something new.

If it’s anime-inspired food you’re looking for, cooking website Bistro Animeshi (a combination of “anime” and “meshi”, meaning rice or food) has everything from the fish pie delivered by Kiki herself in Kiki’s Delivery Service to Naruto’s favourite ramen noodles. As well as providing step-by-step recipes for each dish, the food blog makes every effort to match the original dishes as much as possible. We’re sure that you’ll be blown away by what they have to offer.

Plenty of tantalising food photos after the jump!

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A surprising number of Japanese youth get most of their income from their parents

The world economy has taken a pretty big hit since 2007, and every country is doing what it can to recover. Some have been able to do better than others, but for most people, they haven’t gotten back to pre-crash numbers, whatever that may be.

While unemployment numbers have steadily decreased in the US, Japan has its own unique set of economic problems to deal with. With an unemployment rate sitting at 3.6 percent as of September 2014, an entirely different sort of problem is rearing its ugly head here. How can a low unemployment rate cause problems? For that answer, we have to turn to the parents.

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