Frozen’s Olaf spotted out and about on the Tokyo subway

Because of its time zone, holidays come to Japan several hours sooner than the rest of the world. Last weekend, Halloween came especially early, though, with parades of costumers being held in both Kawasaki and Tokyo’s Roppongi.

But even as Halloween continues to become more and more popular in Japan, one thing that hasn’t changed is the way most people get around by public transportation. Just about everyone takes the subway, whether you’re a student, businessperson, or living snowman from Disney’s Frozen.

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Japan government to allow dancing past midnight by candlelight, joins the 19th century

Last Friday, on the recommendation of a special committee the Abe cabinet agreed to suggested changes to the Fueiho laws which place severe and unclear regulations on dancing in Japan.

As we reported last week, under Fueiho (Act on Control and Improvement of Amusement and Entertainment Business), businesses such as nightclubs are required to operate under a loosely defined set of parameters. However, most didn’t. This led to a string of raids and closures which crippled the night club scene in much of Japan.

After these new changes pass through the Diet, clubs will be allowed to host dancing after midnight – provided the lighting is bright enough.

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Kyoto company starts “Solo Wedding” service for single women who want to be brides for the day

Although Japan is not often considered the best place for sexual equality, steps are definitely being taken in the right direction. More and more women are trailblazing lifelong careers in not always hospitable corporate environments and forgoing more traditional routes such as marriage and becoming a full-time homemaker.

But sometimes this comes at the cost of getting married and starting a family. While some women are perfectly fine with this, others will no doubt feel the occasional pang of regret when they consider that they never had a chance to get all dressed up and be the center of attention for the day like many of their friends and family.

That’s why Kyoto-based company Cerca Travel has set up a service providing all the glamor of a wedding without any of the commitment in what they call a “Solo Wedding.” That’s right: women can now have the full wedding day experience without actually having to get hitched.

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Is the Fountain of Youth in Thailand? 1965’s Miss Universe still looks pretty incredible

Perceptions of beauty pageants in modern society have definitely changed since the 1960s. While we’re sure that there are plenty of varying opinions out there regarding beauty pageants’ place in modern society, we can certainly get behind the idea that there’s more to a person than how physically attractive they are. That said, we’re sure that for winners of the pageants, like Apasra Hongsakula here, who was 18 when she won Miss Universe in 1965, the shows are source of tremendous pride and happiness.

But winning an international beauty contest isn’t the only thing that separates Apasra from the rest of us ugly shmoes–if recent photos are any indication, she’s been practically reliving her glory days for the last 47 years, since the 1965 Miss Universe still looks like Miss Universe today even at the age of 67!

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Mall in China holds a fashion show in mid-air, men rejoice while women scorn

Fashion, as with any other sort of art or design, can be a very subjective matter. What one person considers beautiful and thought-provoking may be unappealing or just plain odd in another’s eyes.

But a fashion show recently held in China invited controversy not due to the apparel being exhibited but the way in which it was presented. The event featured models suspended from the ceiling as if walking on air, offering the audience below an entirely fresh perspective…

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Cute bedside lamp promises to clean the air around you, give you better skin as you sleep

Japanese electronics maker Sharp has announced their latest product – this adorable bedside lamp that emits what they call ‘plasmacluster ions’. No, they are unfortunately not going to be the baby blue and pink beads you see drifting into the air in the illustration. However, these plasmacluster ions supposedly have anti-bacterial properties.

All you need to do is plug in your lamp and it will not only purify your air, but also improve your sleep and the condition of your skin! Now, that sounds like a good deal if it really works.

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Now that’s clever! Yurikamome line’s new ergonomic seats are designed to keep you in your place

There’s something about being on public transport that seems to bring out the worst in us. Whether we’re talking on our phones, bringing smelly food onboard, or taking sly swigs of chūhai when we think no one’s looking, most of us are guilty of some kind of train faux pas.

A company in Japan has come up with an ingenious design solution to a very particular kind of anti-social behaviourpeople taking up more than their fair share of space on the train.

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Seaside cafe in Enoshima serves pancakes topped with young anchovies

We thought we knew pancakes, but boy, were we wrong!

Our team prides itself on both seeking out and sampling good food, all in the name of science and hard-hitting journalism. Among our favorite treats are none other than heaping stacks of fluffy, buttery pancakes, which we’ve even adapted to bake in a Japanese rice cooker with epic results.

In other words, we thought we knew pretty much everything there is to know about the delicious comfort food, that is until one of our Japanese writers made an unexpected discovery–there’s a place in Japan that sells pancakes topped with baby anchovies!

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Bangkok has its own magical moving emporium stuffed with snacks, candies and toys!

Once upon a time in Bangkok, there was a magical moving emporium that only opened its doors to a lucky few. Inside, those who were permitted to enter could feast on every kind of sweet treat imaginable, and when they stepped out of this cave of wonders, they found themselves in a completely different place.

You might think this to be a fairy tale or the stuff of urban legend, but Thai native Kittiphun Khongawatkiat was lucky enough to chance upon this amazing taxi filled to the brim with snacks and candies and took some snaps to prove its existence.

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Heartwarming response to Twitter question confirms that yes, Tikuwa_0913, there is a Santa Claus

Over a century ago, eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote a letter to the New York paper The Sun asking if the rumors she heard regarding Santa Claus were true. Editor Francis Church’s now legendary response is still widely read today, as even 117 years later, it holds up pretty well. At least to me, anyway.

For today’s youth, on the other hand, coming up in an age of unprecedented surveillance and information it’s got to be even harder to maintain belief in a magical man with flying reindeer sneaking into their homes at night to deliver presents.

And so history repeats itself, but this time with newspapers on the decline, a sixth-grade child using the handle tikuwa_0913 turned to Yahoo! Japan Answers for more information on Jolly old Saint Nick.

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Gorgeous Taiwanese woman recruiting “temporary boyfriends” to fund her China travels

Having trouble finding love? Have a bunch of money you just don’t know what to do with? Are you Chinese, over 1.75 meters tall, under 30, rich and generous?

Then congratulations! You fulfill all the requirements to earn yourself the privilege of spending a fortune for a night together with this Taiwanese girl who is recruiting “temporary boyfriends” to fund her travels across China.

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Yosegi wood craft — amazing in its beautiful simplicity and precision!

There are several traditional crafts that Japan is known for, such as urushi lacquerware or Nishijin weaving. Perhaps not as widely known, but just as impressive, is the craft of yosegi, which uses woods of different color and texture to create exquisite patterns. In fact, the precision and skill involved is such that yosegi is not surprisingly, one of the crafts that has been featured in a series of videos uploaded by luxury fashion brand Gucci Japan on their YouTube channel dedicated to introducing the work of talented Japanese craftsmen, and the video has apparently been noticed around the world. Let’s take a look at a master artisan at work!

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Don’t turn your back. Don’t look away. And don’t blink.

Japan continues to show its love for all things “cute“. So, what has about 24,000 retweets and 31,000 favorites on Twitter right now? We’ll give you a hint, it begins with a ‘C’ and end with an ‘AT’. You get three guesses and the first two don’t count.

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What’s this Tibetan temple doing in the middle of Japan? We go to find out!

Moriyama-ku is an unassuming suburb of Nagoya city, backed by mountains and surrounded by forest park, which has in its midst an extraordinary hidden gem: a Tibetan Buddhist temple!

The female chief priest at Chambalin temple was trained at the sacred Jokhang monastery in Lhasa, Tibet, and she also holds the unusual honour of being the first Japanese woman to be ordained as a Tibetan chief priest.

Hearing this, our widely-travelled writer Mr. Kurosawa grabbed his reporter’s notebook and camera and headed down to take a look at this unique cultural property – and its adjoining Tibetan café.

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Mini movie theatre seats now on general release, collectors of tiny chairs rejoice

We all love a good gashapon capsule toy. But whether it’s One Piece characters or doggy bread, getting more than one of the same toy is usually a disappointment. No wonder some collectors skip the vending machine step altogether and buy completed sets second-hand. Duplicates are no fun.

There’s one Japanese toy company that flips that idea on its head, however. Unlike conventional capsule toys, Epoch’s scale models actually look better the more identical items you have! And these miniatures of seemingly mundane items such as school desks, shopping trolleys and folding chairs have proved a runaway hit.

So when our reporter Mr. Sato heard about the latest capsule item from Epoch, he immediately grabbed a bunch of hundred-yen coins and headed out to start collecting…miniature cinema chairs! Here’s what he found.

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New app helps you translate Japanese and Chinese offline using smartphone camera

With their complex writing systems, getting around in Japan or China can be stressful for even the most seasoned of tourists. Sure, you could carry a travel dictionary in your pocket while you go sightseeing, but how are you supposed to look up all those funny looking sticks and squiggles when you don’t even know how to pronounce them? Often the locals try to be helpful by providing an English translation, but there are reasons why that doesn’t always work out. If only there was a way to just wave your magic smartphone over some unintelligible text and have it provide a reliable translation on the spot. Well, as we discovered over at Shanghai Listthere’s an app for that.

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Shocking, snowy commercial is the saddest ad we’ve seen this fall

Last year, we found terror in an unlikely place: a tire commercial. Wheel and tire retailer Autoway, in an effort to remind us all about changing to winter tires before driving down snowy roads, reminded us all that “Winter roads are scary,” especially when they’re haunted.

Now, Autoway is back with a new ad, and while it doesn’t deliver the fright of last year’s video, it’s no less shocking.

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When a goddess speaks, you listen…unless she’s telling you to kill someone

Criminals have to come up with some pretty extravagant excuses for why they commit crimes. Sometimes, their reasons are really out there. Take the Oscar Pistorius case, for example. He acknowledges that he fired the shots that killed his girlfriend, but claims that he thought he was protecting her from a possible intruder. It’s then up to the courts to determine whether or not the defense’s theory holds any water. But what do you do when the working theory is, “Amaterasu, the sun goddess, told me to kill my mother.”

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Play Mario Kart on your living room floor (using robots!) with this awesome motion camera system

It’s unlikely Nintendo knew what a hit they had on their hands when releasing the very first Mario Kart title back in 1992. Since then, the series has gone on to be one of the company’s most consistently popular and best-selling properties.

In the 22 years the series has been around, fans have played it on the Super NES, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo 64, DS, 3DS, Wii, and Wii U. And now, Mario Kart is serving as inspiration for a couple of inventors who’re making a similar game that you can play with robots on your living room floor, complete with weapons and power-ups.

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Korean cosplayer’s gender-bending costumes confuse us for a moment, then leave us mesmerized

I like looking at beautiful things, and bishounen (which literally means beautiful youth/young man) characters in anime and manga are one of my favorite types of eye candy. Cosplayers, whom I like to think of as mysterious fairies capable of transcending past the boundaries of gender, age and reality, are the amazing people who bring these beautiful 2-D characters into our 3-D world.

Here at RocketNews24, we’ve seen many male cosplayers who sometimes look even prettier than actual girls when they’re dressed in their costumes, so we’re turning the tables this time for a change. Meet Lita LY, a South Korean female cosplayer who looks cute dressed as female characters and bishounen characters as well!

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