The times they are a-changin’: Snapshots of Tokyo 50 years ago vs. today【Photos】

Once upon a time, Tokyo was nowhere near the sprawling megalopolis that it is today. Long ago, it wasn’t a sure thing that the small fishing village known as Edo would someday become one of the most bustling cities in the world.

But let’s skip Tokyo’s early years and fast-forward to a slightly more recent age. Ever wondered what the city looked like half a century ago, before the towering skyscrapers and iconic neon lights? Today, we are proud to present a visual comparison of Tokyo, 50 years ago versus the modern day!

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Pint-sized string quartet Joyous String does an awesome Smooth Criminal

Tiny, adorable, and blessed with bags of musical talent – meet Joyous String, a four-kid string quartet with musical aptitude way beyond their years. They’ve been playing together since they were just four years old, and have progressed to the point where they can produce a flawless rendition of the Michael Jackson classic “Smooth Criminal” without even breaking a sweat. These are some seriously talented kids!

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There’s something fishy about that catch! People in Chinese city urged not to eat floating carp

In a city in China’s southwestern Shichuan Province during the early hours of April 2, a man walking alongside the river suddenly noticed what appeared to be huge quantities of pale fish floating in the water.

He quickly rushed home and returned with fishing equipment, and was soon joined by crowds of amateur fishers – and local officials, who subsequently hauled 300 kilograms of fish from the river to be destroyed.

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3-D printer “Lunchbot” will put pretty patterns on your rice while you get ready for work 【Video】

As a kid growing up in the 80s, I had imagined that by the year 2015, we’d either be waging war against an army of unstoppable killing machines of our own creation or zipping to work by hoverboard (or perhaps in phallus-shaped train pods) while enjoying eggs ‘n’ bacon in tablet form. Alas, science has let me down on both fronts, with the closest thing I have in my life to robot warfare being Apple constantly bugging me to sign in to the Cloud or Facebook suddenly deciding that we all have to download a totally separate smartphone app just to receive private messages.

But at least we can now let machines make our bento lunches look pretty while we’re busy ironing a shirt or looking for the keys to our stupid, dead dinosaur-fuelled cars. Say hello to Lunchbot.

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What secret does Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. 30th Anniversary website hide?

All of you dedicated Mario lovers out there probably already know, but this year is apparently the 30th anniversary of what some might consider the most important video game ever: Super Mario Bros. Even if you don’t particular enjoy the game, you still have to admit that it’s certainly had a massive impact on the world of video games–and kept Nintendo solvent through so, so, so many sequels and variations.

Nintendo has put a site specifically celebrating the pearl anniversary of the mustachioed hero’s namesake game, but some Internet sleuths have discovered a secret lurking somewhere on the website! Check out the screenshot above to see if it has any hints, take a guess and then click below to see if you got it right…

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Meet Pyuri-tan, the new manga heroine who’s the literal embodiment of Puritan Christianity

For centuries, Christianity has had a role in the creation of some of the finest works of art. Any comprehensive discussion of art history has to include Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper, Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam, and a host of other important paintings and sculptures from artists who don’t share their names with one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Speaking of comics, there’s a new manga that’s just started in Japan. Looking at its earnest, wholesome heroine, you might get the impression that it’s like any of a hundred other series the country has produced, but this manga lead has something that makes her unique: she’s the literal embodiment of Puritan Christianity.

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Distant relatives: Domestic cat’s face of horror on seeing pride of lions on TV

There’s a lot you can learn about your cat simply by paying attention to its body language. Tail up in the air and ears pricked? It’s happy to see you. Crouching down low with ears flat back? It’s probably scared. Hair standing on end and fangs bared? You might want to protect your jugular.

But even if you’re not a cat owner, we think you’ll be able to imagine how this particular kitty, who has just caught sight of a pride of lions on a TV documentary, is feeling when you get a look at his little face.

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Car Wars! “X-Wings” is the movie we wish Disney-Pixar would make next 【Video】

Everybody loves a good Disney/Pixar movie (unless you don’t, in which case you obviously hate fun). And (mostly) everybody loves awesome automobiles and methods of transportation. First, we had “Cars”, and then we had “Planes”. The next logical step has to involve outer space, right? (Huh? Trains? Boats? Drones? Ssh…) After all, we all love space movies like Interstellar and, you know, Star Wars.

Now, we finally have the perfect marriage of space hi-jinks and cute animation in X-Wings, aka Car Wars! Wait, what?

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Anime fan stumbles across the recipe for Dragon Ball Z Parent and Child Rice Bowl

Japanese cuisine is filled with dishes that end in don, meaning “rice bowl.” One of the most descriptive is oyakodon, literally “parent and child bowl.”

Ordinarily, oyakodon is rice topped with chicken and egg. Some sushi restaurants, though, have their own variation which instead uses sliced raw salmon and ikura (salmon roe). And now, one clever anime fan has come up with yet another version, the Dragon Ball Z oyakodon rice bowl.

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Six-year-old girl roughed up by group of adult men opposed to U.S. forces in Okinawa

In an incredibly sad turn of events, a group of men who identify with those who oppose the presence of a U.S. base in Okinawa turned their anger towards a Japanese-American six-year-old girl late last month, allegedly shoving her to the ground and demanding to know, “Why are Americans in a place like this?

As this attack could be qualified as a hate crime, you might be wondering why you haven’t heard more about this. Well, the reason could be just as shameful as the attack itself.

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YouTube fashion vlogger goes on tour of Japan – and so can you! 【Video】

Does taking an eight-day vacation across Japan sound like a dream come true to you? Well then the first thing you should do is apply to have RocketNews24 make that dream actually come true.

The second thing you should do is watch the video recently posted by YouTube fashion vlogger Inthefrow which documents an eight-day vacation she and nine other bloggers were invited to go on. The best part of it all though: the exact trip they went on is available to anyone (even you!), and it’s good to have a backup plan just in case you don’t get picked in our own contest.

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Step right into an anime scene at cosplay studio’s exact recreation of Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun

Some of anime’s most memorable scenes and settings would be impossible, or at least prohibitively expensive, to recreate in real life. As exciting as it would be for fans, no one’s actually going to send Evangelion’s Spear of Longinus to the moon, or construct a city-circling 50-meter (164-foot) protective wall from Attack on Titan.

But as impractical as those scenarios would be, the burgeoning slice-of-life genre is filled with locations that can be reproduced in minute detail, such as this Tokyo cosplay studio where you can snap photos in the home office in which much of anime Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun takes place.

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Superhero Wasabi Woman debuts in hilarious video made by English-learning students [Video]

What do you get when you have a group of intermediate/advanced English language students make a video about adjectives? You get “Wassabi Woman,” that’s what.

A video recently surfaced on YouTube that is putting to shame all of the group project videos any of us have ever made and is making English teachers around the world smile.

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Attack on Titan teams up with Yomiuri Giants baseball club for special tickets, exclusive merch

Translation isn’t always an exact science, but there are certain conventions that translators seem to implicitly agree on. For example, look up gakuen in a Japanese dictionary, and it’ll tell you it’s another name for gakkou, or “school.” However, the more sophisticated, traditional ring that gakuen has to it means that it’s almost always rendered in English as “academy.”

Likewise, dictionaries define kyojin as “a person with an extraordinarily large body.” Nine times out of ten, kyojin gets translated as “giant,” which is also the term one of Tokyo’s two professional baseball teams, the Yomiuri Kyojin/Giants, goes with.

But if you spend more time watching anime than sports, you might favor “titan” as a translation, seeing as how the monsters from Attack on Titan are also called kyojin in Japanese. Since they’ve already got a linguistic link, the baseball team and manga/anime franchise are joining forces for four games this summer as part of a special campaign with its own exclusive merchandise.

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What some Japanese people think of China is as stereotypical as you can get

China and Japan have always had a tenuous relationship and in recent years you could classify it as somewhere between “sworn enemies” and “best buds”. Their close proximity to each other should allow each of the two countries to learn a lot about the other, yet even with informational tools like the Internet, what exactly the Japanese know about their “neighbors” is cringe-worthy.

When asked “What is your image of Chinese people?” the responses were exactly what you would expect. Fasten your seatbelts, it’s about to get really stereotypical in here.

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Japanese netizens rewrite fairy tales in modern corporate situations so real they make us weep

In this modern age and day, most of us spend our days running the rat race and getting worn down by work and school, which is probably why some of us fantasize about the happy endings of fairy tales to get away from real life for a while. But then reality slaps us in the face and reminds us that the birds and mice aren’t going to help you with your chores even if you can sing like Celine Dion, Prince Charming is not coming to whisk you away from your office desk, and your bills aren’t going to vanish even if you fall into a deep, deep sleep.

If the heroes and heroines in fairy tales existed in modern-day and had to work like the rest of us, would their stories still be filled with all that magical glitz and romance? Perhaps not. Japanese Twitter users have been re-interpreting some fairy tales from a corporate perspective, which was supposed to be a creative and entertaining activity, but the new tales were so close to home they couldn’t even laugh over them.

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This Chinese PSA is an unsettling head trip

I was a little bummed to learn today that David Lynch was pulling himself out of the new Twin Peaks series. Luckily, at the exact same time I came across something to satiate the macabre void left by that announcement.

The following is a public service announcement from China’s CCTV which was posted on YouTube on 4 April. We think you’ll agree that a casual viewing will leave you with more questions than answers.

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Dirty play during Japanese soccer league game sparks racial tensions 【Video】

Soccer fans all over Japan have been enjoying the recent start of the J. League’s 2015 season. In the fourth week, however, an incident of dirty play has highlighted the need to stamp out dirty play in the game, but has also incited some quite severe racial tension in the soccer world.

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Pronunciation anxiety: many Japanese people don’t want to speak English unless it’s “perfect”

With the 26 letters of the alphabet, we can make pretty much any sound present in the majority of languages. But Japanese just doesn’t contain certain sounds present in English, like “th” or “v”, and their “r” is somewhere right between our “r” and “l”, making them sound almost exactly the same to Japanese ears.

Since most Japanese people grow up only speaking Japanese, it means that when they start learning English at school, they either have to learn entirely new sounds (difficult) or else try to render English in Japanese sounds (which isn’t accurate). As a result, many Japanese English learners feel a lot of anxiety over the accuracy of their pronunciation. But should that really be holding them back?

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Cat/dog beds shaped like fruits and vegetables satisfy your recommended daily amount of cuteness

As any nutritionist will tell you, fresh produce is important. Whether you’re talking about essential vitamins, minerals, or fiber, fruits and vegetables are filled with all sorts of good things…including adorable cats and dogs, thanks to these eye-catching pet beds.

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