Five awesome hot springs in Taiwan (one of them has been on fire for 300 years!)

Five awesome hot springs in Taiwan (one of them has been on fire for 300 years!)

Japan is famous for being an onsen (hot spring) nation, so much so that a friend of mine preaches that “if you’ve never been to an onsen, then you’ve never been to Japan”. Quite the extremist, but you get the idea. Japanese hot springs come pretty close to “heaven on earth”.

But Japan’s neighboring country, Taiwan, also has some fabulous hot springs to boot! The fact that there are onsen-loving Japanese people who travel to Taiwan for a soak is sufficient to vouch for the quality of these bubbling hot baths. Here’s a list of five onsen hot spots you wouldn’t want to miss on your trip to Taiwan!

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Twitpics show sumo wrestlers getting health checks… in spaaaaaaace!

Twitpics show sumo wrestlers getting health checks… in spaaaaaaace!

Now here’s something you don’t see every day – a bunch of enormous men in their underpants sitting in fiberglass pods that look like something NASA might fire out of a space shuttle.

Shared on Twitter earlier today by the Japan Sumo Association, these photos show some of the sumo community’s most famous faces attending a health check session prior to a series of upcoming bouts. They’re also kind of hilarious.

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Cheerleaders! Maids! Japanese lingerie maker has you (slightly) covered for themed intimate apparel

Cheerleaders! Maids! Japanese lingerie maker has you (slightly) covered for themed intimate apparel

As part of our solemn duty of keeping our readers abreast of the latest panty-related developments, we recently brought word of the Sailor Moon lingerie developed by Japanese intimate apparel manufacturer Peach John. Unfortunately, several of the anime-inspired offerings sold out almost immediately and are currently unavailable.

On the bright side, Peach John has several other themed lingerie sets, which we, being the dedicated journalists we are, present to you today.

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Cakes disguised as Chinese food for under-the-radar sweet sneaking or just confusing your brain

Cakes disguised as Chinese food for under-the-radar sweet sneaking or just confusing your brain

I recently went to a cake shop, but when the time came to order, I said, “I’ll have the soy sauce ramen with a side of fried dumplings.” Don’t worry, I haven’t lost my mind. I was just at a hot new sweets shop in Shinjuku called, Maplise, where the specialty of the house is a decadent dessert that looks like a hot bowl of noodles.

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This is what happened when we tried to make a cute wool felt Shiba Inu!【Arts & Crafts】

This is what happened when we tried to make a cute wool felt Shiba Inu!【Arts & Crafts】

With the winter cold now upon us in Japan, we suppose it’s natural that some of us should feel more partial than usual to warm, fuzzy-looking objects — like wool felt dolls, for instance. And in that spirit, one of our reporters from our sister site Pouch decided to try her hand at making her own felt doll herself. Sounds like a nice little project that should result in a cute hand-made creation, right?

This same reporter has previously written a story about a felt-craft project gone horribly wrong that had been shared on Twitter, in which what was supposed to turn into a cute cat ended up as, well … a bizarre-looking creature that’s hard to describe accurately. Could it really be that difficult to make a decent-looking felt doll? Our reporter’s account follows.

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We live the high life with wine aged in the depths of Japan’s seas

We live the high life with wine aged in the depths of Japan’s seas

While Japan’s most iconic alcoholic beverage is the indigenous brew known abroad as sake (and as nihonshu at home), there are Japanese winemakers as well. Many are located in Yamanashi Prefecture, where local wineries hold an annual festival which we visited this past fall.

However, the last bottle of vino we enjoyed didn’t age in the mountains of Yamanashi, or the highlands of any other Japanese prefecture for that matter. Instead, our most recently purchased wine spent seven months aging at the bottom of the sea.

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The official kanji of 2013 has been chosen!

The official kanji of 2013 has been chosen!

In Japan, every year is marked with a single kanji character as chosen by a national vote. The kanji is meant to represent situations and global or domestic events that took place during a given year and is announced on December 12 by the head monk at Kyoto’s famous Kiyomizu Temple.

Two years ago, 絆 (bonds) was chosen to represent 2011 due to the fraternal and familial bonds that were strengthened in the wake of natural disasters around the world, including the Great East Japan Earthquake and large-scale flooding in Thailand. Last year it was 金 (gold) for the numerous first place finishes Japan achieved in 2012, including winning the gold medal in women’s soccer and possessing the world’s tallest tower upon the completion of Tokyo Skytree.

The kanji for 2013 has just been chosen, but what what does it mean?

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Bona fide pork ice cream put to the taste test: “Good for diabetics!”

Bona fide pork ice cream put to the taste test: “Good for diabetics!”

There are some extreme flavours of ice cream out there: all the flavours of the meat rainbow. Ice cream chock-full of pork, beef, or even chicken. We’re not talking about ice cream that adds a little meat extract to approximate the taste. We’re talking about a carnivore’s wet dream, the meat ice cream that practically walks on all fours; a dessert confection that blasts chunks of meat into your mouth with every spoonful. That’s the kind of pork ice cream our Japanese RocketNews24 reporter Kuzo found in Taiwan, sampled, and wrote this article about.

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“Damn it human, help me!” One cat’s epic battle with an empty plastic bag

“Damn it human, help me!” One cat’s epic battle with an empty plastic bag

Perhaps we were wrong about cats being secret geniuses plotting to overthrow the world. This video, which is receiving a lot of attention in Japan today, suggests that there is at least one member of the feline federation that is perhaps a few strands short of a cat’s cradle.

When two-year-old Chai here spots a plastic bag on the floor of her owner’s apartment, she is naturally keen to investigate. Little does she know, though, that once she climbs inside it, the bag will simply refuse to let go…

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The top 10 Japanese restaurants outside of Japan

The top 10 Japanese restaurants outside of Japan

Last month, the outspoken Japanese blogger Madame Riri gave us all a lesson in how to tell whether or not a restaurant abroad serves authentic Japanese food. But let’s be honest, it takes more than tradition to make a dish delicious, and there’s something to be said for adjusting the menu to match local preferences. We’ve certainly experienced this phenomenon in the wide world of sushi!

And so, to celebrate the creation of successful Japanese eateries across the globe, here are the top 10 restaurants that serve Japanese food in foreign countries!

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New manga magazine for virgins guarantees your continued virginity

New manga magazine for virgins guarantees your continued virginity

In a turn of events that isn’t doing any favors for those refuting the “Sexless Japan” media blitz of late, a recent survey by the National Institute of Population concluded that a frighteningly large percentage of males across the age spectrum were quite literally sexless.

The survey found that 68.5 percent of 18-19 year-olds, 40.5 percent of 24-24 year-olds, an 25.1 percent of 25-29 year-olds in Japan were still virgins.

So what’s an aging manga publisher trying to reinvent its image to do with this information? Why, publish an overtly sexual new manga magazine that is apparently custom tailored to the “0-sexual-experience” crowd.

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Survey shows Japanese workers least likely to take vacation time, most likely to hate their job

Survey shows Japanese workers least likely to take vacation time, most likely to hate their job

With the abundance of public holidays and an average of 18 vacation days per year, the stereotype of the overworked and exhausted Japanese worker may seem like a relic of the past. But a recent survey by Expedia Japan comparing the vacation schedules of 24 countries proves yet again that the stereotype is alive and well.

For the sixth year in a row, Japan came in dead last as workers are only taking an average of 39% of their annual paid leave. And perhaps unsurprisingly, Japan ranked last in worker satisfaction.

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How to date an idol: A guide to the highly improbable

How to date an idol: A guide to the highly improbable

Based on the number of results a Google search returns for “dating an idol,” we can only assume that more than a few people have a bubbly singer or two in their sights. After all, who wouldn’t want to date a young, cute, (sometimes) talented girl or guy?

While it might seem like a dream of pure folly, it turns out that dating an idol isn’t exactly impossible. It’s highly unlikely, for sure, but it’s more “a meteorite destroyed my car” and less “Godzilla ate my homework!” Here’s a few tips on how to (possibly) make your scandalous dreams a reality!

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【Thursday Throwback】Free Admission: 12 of Tokyo’s Best Kept Secrets

【Thursday Throwback】Free Admission: 12 of Tokyo’s Best Kept Secrets

Expensive Tokyo living got you down? Are you staring another three-day weekend in the face and wondering what havoc it will wreak on your wallet? You’re in luck! There are plenty of places to enjoy yourself for free all over Tokyo, if you know where to look. RocketNews24 has sifted through the many options and has come up with 12 suggestions that will not disappoint. Try them next time you have a last-minute date or cobwebs in your billfold!

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Easy-to-make marshmallow toast is delicious, could open a gateway to Hell

Easy-to-make marshmallow toast is delicious, could open a gateway to Hell

I can eat marshmallows all day long. So when I saw this delicious, albeit simple, recipe for marshmallow toast on Japanese website, Jin115, I just had to try it for myself. It’s so easy you should try it too. But be careful, yours could become the next source of dark matter or gate to Hell.

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New Studio Ghibli movie revealed for 2014: When Marnie Was There【Newsflash】

New Studio Ghibli movie revealed for 2014: When Marnie Was There【Newsflash】

Seemingly not content with having two brand new movies out this year in the form of Kaze Tachinu and The Tale of Princess Kaguya, Japan’s Studio Ghibli has just announced that a new animated feature, Omoide no Maanii (When Marnie Was There), based on the novel of the same name by English writer Joan G. Robinson, will be hitting screens in Japan in summer 2014.

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Who’s a pretty boy, then? Chinese “permed” chicken ruffles feathers online

Who’s a pretty boy, then? Chinese “permed” chicken ruffles feathers online

In one of the more bizarre news stories of the day – yes, even by RocketNews24 standards – a chicken in China’s Henan Province has recently shot to fame online after it was spotted sporting a fine set of curled feathers that make him look like he’s been out to get a perm to impress the ladies in the henhouse with.

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Who is David Ury? And who the heck is Ken Tanaka? – An interview with the “twin brothers”

Who is David Ury? And who the heck is Ken Tanaka? – An interview with the “twin brothers”

We first came across David Ury and his alleged twin brother, Ken Tanaka, after seeing their video titled “Ken Tanaka and David Ury Japanese accent training.” The video features two men of similar physical characteristics having a conversation in Japanese with very different accents. Intrigued, I found myself combing the internet for any information regarding the pair and learned that David Ury is an American actor and Ken Tanaka is his long-lost twin brother who was adopted by a family in Japan. Various videos on Ken’s helpmefindparents YouTube channel seemed to verify this information, showing Ken and David speaking to each other in the same room.

But whispers of controversy surround the brothers despite the online existence of two completely distinct people. Is Ken Tanaka actually just David Ury showing off his acting skills? We set up an interview with David hoping to find out more about the talented actor behind the perfect Japanese accent.

What we landed up with was some of the best Japanese study advice we’ve ever heard, some anecdotes about crazy adventures in Japan and an introduction to a comedic book about death.

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Flash mob performing Totoro theme song will melt your heart, make you want to join in

Flash mob performing Totoro theme song will melt your heart, make you want to join in

One of the things that makes the anime classic My Neighbor Totoro so magical is the way the titular forest spirit appears out of nowhere. Time and time again in the film, he quietly makes his entrance, does something adorable and enchanting, then fades away into the forest. The understated beauty and child-like wonder of these moments is so powerful that you can’t help but wonder how much better the real world would be with more flashes of pure positive emotion.

That’s exactly what visitors to a suburban shopping center in Yokohama recently got.

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Look sexy by moonlight with official Sailor Moon lingerie

Look sexy by moonlight with official Sailor Moon lingerie

Like any good anime magical girls, Sailor Moon and her comrades transform into special costumes before taking on the forces of evil. But as cool as their sailor-themed battle gear looks on TV, pleated skirts in vibrant primary colors are a little loud by contemporary Japanese fashion standards. So how can the many fans the Sailor Moon franchise has attracted over the past two decades feel a little closer, wardrobe-wise, to their beloved heroines?

By slipping into a set of Sailor Moon lingerie.

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