Oh, Okami! You make the cutest video game tissue box cover (and cushion…and clock…and mugs)

While you can quibble about its pacing and simplistic combat engine, there’s no arguing that Capcom’s Okami is one of the most visually breathtaking video games of all time. Whether you’re talking about the 2006 original or the more recent HD remaster for the PlayStation 3, the ink brush painting-inspired graphics are beautiful enough to bring tears to your eyes, so when they do, why not reach for a tissue from inside this awesome Okami tissue box cover?

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Purritos hit Japan! Twitter users can’t stop wrapping their cats and it’s too cute!

Cats are notorious for being finicky and difficult sometimes (okay, actually quite a lot of the time). As  cat lovers we learn to cherish every head-butt and hand-nuzzle that our feline buddies dole out as and when the mood strikes them, but sometimes you’ve got to take matters into your own hands if you want to get some loving. If kitty’s resisting your advances, try gently wrapping them up in a big old “purrito” with an old towel or blanket, then you’ll have a captive audience for your snuggles and smooches!

Trust us, cats love it, and if you don’t believe us, check out this purrito gallery!

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Surprise art installation almost completed, locals have no idea who’s making it

Street art is a way of describing random art that pops up on the…boulevard. Most countries have it, and while most cities would prefer to keep it off the streets, it definitely provides a city with some character.

Although not that common in Japan, it does show up from time to time. A city in Nagano has been experiencing a bit of unlawful artistry and it has been going on for the past four years! Could Japan have their own version of infamous street artist Banksy? You can call this slow-working artist by their new name, “RiverBanksy“!

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What’s next after green tea ramen? Why, chocolate ramen, of course! 【Taste Test】

Ramen, understandably, is one of the Japanese foods that foreign visitors (and locals too, for that matter) find hugely appealing, and there’s certainly no shortage of ramen shops or unique ramen flavors to be tried in Japan. Now, you may recall that back in November last year, we brought you news of the very interesting matcha green tea ramen from Menya Musashi. Well, this month, it looked like it was time to make a repeat visit to Menya Musashi, to have some… chocolate ramen!

Yes, it’s Valentine’s Day week and everything is chocolate themed in Japan at the moment, so why not ramen too, right? We definitely weren’t about to miss this dish that combined two of our favorite foods!

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As Keanu Reeves sightings continue in Tokyo, we ask: Got time for a bowl of your favorite ramen?

I’ve always felt a certain bond with Keanu Reeves, seeing how we’re both graduates of San Dimas High School (me in real life, and him through his portrayal of Theodore “Ted” Logan in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure). So I was a little bummed when the Hollywood actor came to Tokyo but didn’t call me up to hang out with him in Akihabara.

I’ve got to say, my feelings are now even more hurt, since this new batch of photos of the good-natured Reeves posing with fans in Japan makes it seem like the RocketNews24 staff are the only people the actor hasn’t spent time with during his visit, despite the fact that we’d be more than happy to hook him up with a meal at his favorite ramen restaurant, which has a chain right by our office.

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“The bills! The bills!”: A Japanese woman’s experience giving birth in the United States

Receiving any kind of medical treatment in a foreign country can be a daunting experience. And when one of the writers from our sister site Pouch gave birth to her second child in the United States, where she was living at the time, she was naturally expecting the procedures to be different from her native Japan. But there were a number of things that shocked, amazed and downright confused her about giving birth in the US – not least the incredible cost incurred.

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Learn a month’s worth of delicious Indonesian dishes with Frenchman’s punk rock song 【Video】

Unfortunately for everyone who loves delicious food, Indonesian restaurants are in short supply around the world and some people’s knowledge of the cuisine is limited to Indonesian “Ethnic” Cup Noodle. Fortunately though, a French singer named Fransoa, fell in love with Indonesian food and decided to write a punk song about it.

Using the bizarre music video as a base, we are going to introduce 30 of the Indonesian dishes that Fransoa mentions in his song. Get out a napkin because you’ll be drooling by the end of this.

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Wasabi and sashimi bagels on sale now in Japan! We buy some and invent the Japanese dip sandwich

I’ve never been much of a bagel fan. It’s got nothing to do with a dislike of carbs, as I’ll happily chow down on sandwiches, rice bowls, and noodles. Bagels, though, have always struck me as sort of bland.

Sure, I realize there are ways to make bagels more flavorful, but a lot of the most common additions, like berries or cream cheese, don’t really do much for me. But when I found out that one of Japan’s most popular bagel chains was adding a kick to their offerings with a wasabi bagel, my interest was piqued. Then, when I learned that they also offered a bagel sandwich with tuna sashimi, my next meal was planned.

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Pizza evolution! We try mochi-dough “stick pizza” from Roppongi’s EU Shokudou

Most of the foods we enjoy today have gone through many stages of evolution, to the point where you almost begin to wonder whether they can ever be improved upon. Yet, so long as cooks maintain their curiosity and enterprising spirit, the foods we know will surely continue to change. We can see the truth of this in creations such as Mokubaza’s cheese keema curry, which we covered in a previous article.

But how can we possibly improve on the wünderfood that is pizza? Well one pizza cafe in Tokyo’s trendy Roppongi district seems to think so…

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Tokyo zoo’s snow leopard capture drill is organized, efficient, and adorably costumed 【Video】

For animal-lovers, a visit to the zoo can make for a delightful afternoon. Nothing quite spoils the enjoyment, though, like carnivorous animals escaping their enclosures and running amok.

As such, it’s incredibly important that zookeepers, such as the ones at Tokyo’s Tama Zoological Park, develop and drill recapture procedures for escaped animals. And if such exercises involve someone dressing up in an adorable snow leopard costume and flailing around like a predatory cat that’s had one too many Ebisu beers? Well, that’s just icing on the cake.

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Beijing reveals design for new international airport – it’s going to be huge, and beautiful

It’s fairly safe to say that airports are not necessarily everyone’s favorite places to be. There’s often traffic to fight through just to get there, and once inside you have to deal with long lines, painfully slow security checks, and weary travelers who hang their undergarments on the chairs at the gate. In short, airports, especially international hubs, are severely crowded and no fun.

China is setting up to deal with those crowds, however, and is working hard to make its newest airport somewhere that people don’t immediately want to leave. Designs for what will be the biggest airport in the world have recently been unveiled, and it looks like the new gateway to Beijing will be a thing of real beauty.

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Gorgeous Zelda and Pokémon ceramic plates will add a touch of class to any gamer’s dining room

Even if you’re not familiar with the term, you’ve probably seen, and can recognize, what’s known as the Willow pattern. A mainstay of European ceramic tableware since the 1700s, the design takes cues from Chinese porcelain and features a characteristic blue and white color scheme.

Given its long history, even modern examples of Willow pattern dishware tend to feature quant depictions of trappings of life from a bygone era. Sailing ships and windmills are common subjects, but one artist felt the Willow pattern would also be an appropriate platform for showcasing the video game art of yesteryear, and created these plates featuring old-school artwork from Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda and Pokémon.

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Possibly real viral image shows potential but ridiculous way app developers influence sales stats

If you’re one of the many, many people who downloaded smartphone smash Flappy Bird only to find yourself decidedly underwhelmed and wondering why it was getting quite so much praise and press, you’re not alone. And while the aforementioned game may well have made it to the top of the charts due entirely to word of mouth and its strangely addictive, if simplistic, gameplay, you wouldn’t be considered completely crazy for wondering whether some games got to the top Google Play and the App Store’s popular downloads lists by some other means.

Case in point, this viral image doing the rounds online today, which purportedly shows a Chinese employee of a firm which makes its living boosting apps’ stats.

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“Passport confiscation robs us of rights”: Japanese journalist prevented from travelling to Syria

Japan’s Foreign Ministry has come under fire for confiscating the passport of a journalist who was intending to travel to Syria. War correspondent Yuichi Sugimoto, 58, was planning to visit Syria to cover events in refugee camps later this month, but was ordered to surrender his travel documents to authorities.

Under Japanese law, the ministry can confiscate a person’s passport to protect their life, but this is the first time the law has actually been used. Critics say the action contravenes the constitutional guarantee of freedom of movement and foreign travel.

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As the Sapporo Snow Festival ends, the Sapporo Demolition Festival begins!

As sad as we are to say it, the 66th Annual Sapporo Snow Festival has now come to a close. In case you missed our coverage this year, this is when people from around the world come the snowy city of Sapporo, Hokkaido to create massive and gorgeous works of art out of ice and snow.

However, a lesser-known festival has been spreading around Twitter recently. It’s the unofficial Sapporo Demolition Festival, where excavators come in and mercilessly rip apart these massive and gorgeous works of art. While it doesn’t have the same international drawing power of the Snow Festival, many people have been on hand at the Demolition Festivals past and present to take plenty of video and images of the fun.

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Keanu Reeves tries to be a tourist in Akihabara, gets mobbed by fans instead

You might think that after Keanu Reeves’s 2013 movie 47 Ronin – very loosely based on the Japanese story Chūshingura – became the second biggest box office bomb ever, Japanese people’s opinion on the actor would go down a little bit.

Well, you’d be wrong! On February 11, Keanu Reeves was spotted just walking down the street in Akihabara like any other tourist, and he was instantly mobbed by fangirls and fanboys alike, each one clamoring for the best “Keanu selfies” that they could get.

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Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward to offer marriage certificates to same-sex couples

Good news today for supporters of same-sex marriage in Japan! Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward is moving towards administering marriage certificates for same-sex couples. If the proposed plan is enacted, it would take effect on April 1 this year, making Shibuya the first ward in Japan to recognize same-sex marriage.

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Tokyo taxi driver AMA: Our reporter gets the low-down

In a country that has such a robust public transportation infrastructure, it’s easy to forget the humble car. Looking at a map of train and subway lines in the Tokyo area, it’s clear to see how far-reaching the two modes of public transport are. However, there are still plenty of people who choose to drive. And just like any other major city, there are many who prefer to travel by car, but don’t want to do the driving themselves.

Enter the humble taxi. An iconic fixture of cities such as New York and London, how does the Tokyo taxi driver compare? Are Japanese drivers and passengers just as interesting? Or does their business-like mental focus keep them from acting out in the car? Join us after the jump as we interview the humble Tokyo taxi driver, asking such probing questions as “Do you give rides to yakuza?” and “Can you tell what kind of people your customers are before they get in?”

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Incredibly clever loaf-of-bread-turned-lunch-box is truly the best thing since sliced bread

I’ve always found it a little weird when someone describes something as, “The best thing since sliced bread.” Sure, the convenience of not having to get out a knife and make the cuts yourself is nice and all, but is it really worth getting that excited over?

But then again, it would be sort of a pain if you were having a potluck party with a group of people, and someone just brought a whole, unsliced loaf of bread. Unless, of course, it had an awesome surprise waiting inside, like this one did.

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“Wotagei” otaku dance style made “cool” with choreographed dance remix of pop song

If you’ve been reading RocketNews24 for a while – or are yourself a mega otaku – you probably already know that “Wotagei” (or sometimes “Otagei”) is a type of dance style performed almost exclusively by “Idol Otaku,” or otaku who are specifically really into girl idol bands.

It’s generally seen as a niche oddity by the Japanese public and even less-hardcore otaku, as evidenced by the fact that even I only understood about half of the above paragraph even as I typed it and I write about this stuff for a living.

But, take heart, all you idol otaku – your time in the limelight may have come, as a cool choreographed Wotagei performance is making the rounds and entrancing the Japanese Interwebs.

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