Westerners discuss the hardest things about learning Chinese【Video】

The various related but often unintelligible Chinese language varieties collectively have 1.2 billion first-language speakers. Of those varieties, Mandarin, also known as Standard Chinese or Putonghua, has 848 million native speakers, which is higher than any other language on Earth. It’s no wonder that more and more people around the world are seeing the practicality of learning Chinese as a second language.

However, learning a second language takes time and effort, especially if the intrinsic features of your target language differ significantly from those of your native language. A recent YouTube video titled “Foreigners’ Difficulties of Learning Chinese” explores this exact scenario by asking four Westerners about their own experiences studying the language.

Whether you’ve already dabbled in Chinese yourself or are thinking about it, the short clip makes for an interesting watch for anyone looking to expand their linguistic horizons.

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Tired of cat cafes? It turns out Japan has reptile cafes too!

With cat, rabbit, and owl cafes, Japan has you pretty well-covered as far as furry, fluffy, or feathered companionship goes. But what if you prefer your animals with scales?

Then you’ll want to stop by the reptile cafe, where you can sip tea and nibble on sweets in the company of iguanas, snakes, and tortoises.

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Fists of Absinthe: Short film about samurai, ninja and drinking is just what your life’s missing!

Devoted readers will remember that we spoke with Japan’s first full-time foreign stuntman Chuck Johnson earlier this summer, visiting his stunt class and learning about the industry in Japan. At the time, we mentioned that Chuck was working a short film called Fists of Absinthe, which ended up being a collaboration between YouTube and Toei Studios.

We are happy to say that Fists of Absinthe is now available on YouTube for your viewing pleasure! We just sat down and watched it, and it was equal parts comedy and action—definitely a must-see for anyone who likes martial arts, samurai, ninja, or laughing their butts off. Check it out below!

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300 yen gets you all-you-can-apply Chanel makeup at unusual Tokyo lounge for women

Makeup is big business in Japan, where there’s almost a cultural obsession with the stuff. But the demand for makeup and beauty products also means, through the magic of capitalism, that it also tends to be a lot more expensive out here than in, say, the US. I’ve personally never purchased or used makeup, outside of, obviously, those Halloween Rocky Horror Picture Show events, so I couldn’t tell you exactly how much the average woman in Japan spends on makeup, but it’s gotta be somewhere in the ballpark of, hmm, approximately their entire paycheck every month.

Luckily, there appears to be a “lounge” in Tokyo’s Shinjuku neighborhood that is sympathetic to the thorough wallet-denting women must endure in the pursuit of beauty, offering all-you-can-apply Chanel makeup at just 300 yen (US$2.50) an hour. A service with “all-you-can-(verb)” in the description? You bet we went to check it out!

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Official Sailor Jupiter bento boxed lunches being served now at Tokyo anime-themed cafe 【Photos】

Maybe we’re just predisposed to thinking with our stomachs, but even with all the brightly colored pleated skirts and magical monster battles in Sailor Moon, we always find our attention drawn to the food that shows up in the hit anime series. So when we heard that the official Sailor Jupiter bento boxed lunch is now being offered by a Tokyo cafe, took a break from marathoning episodes of the magical girl saga to go and try it for ourselves.

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Makers of Dynasty Warriors bring us awesome Attack on Titan game this winter【Video】

While the Attack on Titan live-action movie may have failed to live up to some people’s expectations, we’re still holding out hope for something even greater on the horizon.

It looks like we won’t have to wait too long because come this winter, there’ll be a new game on the market—and it’s set to feature advancing giants, a showdown with the Colossal Titan himself, and gameplay that lets you fly through the air using Omnidirectional Mobility Gear.

Oh, and there’s a ton of blood.

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Booth babes of all flavours at Tokyo Game Show 2015 【Photos】

Tokyo Game Show 2015 opened to the press today, and we were on hand to get a look at all the most unusual games and gadgets that we know our readers are dying to see. But in addition to all that, what visit to the Tokyo Game Show would be complete without a ton of booth babe pics?!

TGS didn’t disappoint this year, with plenty of girls (and guys!) around to hand out free goodies and pose for pictures. Join us after the jump for all of the tenuously gaming-related eye candy.

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Sega sneakers, kawaii T-shirts and plushies: all the cool stuff you can buy at Tokyo Game Show!

Earlier today, RocketNews24 attended the first day of Tokyo Game Show 2015, a video game and technology expo/convention held annually at Makuhari Messe in Chiba. Since the first two days are for press only, the venue was a little quieter, and we were able to browse the selection of video game merchandise for sale in a calm and serene manner. (Even though we really wanted to hug all of the plushies, rummage madly through all of the T-shirts, and fondle all of the beautiful figures on display!)

Check out what lucky shoppers can expect to buy during Tokyo Game Show 2015 with our exclusive guide!

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Say sayonara to the hideous water stains on your wooden table with this easy trick!

If you like it put a ring on it…unless it’s a water ring on a wooden table. We all know how ugly water stains look on wooden tables, and the worst part is, they’re a pain to remove! But thankfully, with this nifty trick, you’ll probably be able to remove those pesky water rings more easily than some of the rings you put on the people things you like.

Want to get rid of the water stains on your wooden surface? Read on!

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Protect your drinks with Samurai armour bottle covers

Have you ever visited a museum in Japan and found it hard to tear yourself away from the samurai exhibits, wanting desperately to reach past the “don’t touch” sign to prod the delicate folds of metal armour and the faded material with stains from a bloody war?

Well now there’s a range of samurai armour you can take home with you, and despite their petite size, they’re actually faithful recreations of suits worn by famous warriors in Japanese history.

Certified by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry as a “Wonder 500” product, awarded to 500 of Japan’s finest goods, foods and travel experiences, this unique range of warrior suits can either dress up your figurines or safeguard your favourite bottle of sake, wine or shochu.

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Anime figure with straw-holding cleavage is the perfect way to enjoy a nice glass of milk

Even among animation aficionados, it can sometimes be hard to justify spending the equivalent of a hundred dollars or more on an anime character figure. No matter how high the quality of the product is, that’s a lot of cash to shell out for something that’s going to just sit there gathering dust on your shelf, even if it looks pretty doing it.

But perhaps it’ll be easier for shoppers to pull the trigger on this particular figure. True, the subject being a busty and bikini-clad anime heroine isn’t anything we haven’t seen before, but what makes this figure special is that it’s designed to let otaku cram a straw between its breasts to suck on as they enjoy a refreshing glass of milk.

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Roadside Station Ranking for 2015 is in, find out where you will be driving to in Japan

When traveling in Japan, there are a number of quick and easy ways to see the whole country. You can take the Shinkansen, Japan’s bullet train that excels at speed and comfort. There are also a number of budget airlines including Peach, Air Asia, and Skymark Airlines that can make your trip quicker, but force you to sacrifice some amenities for a lower cost.

But if you have the time, there is no better way to travel around Japan than by hitting the open roads. Just like the US, there are many quirky best-kept secrets accessible only by car that are worth visiting. Some of the best places that really connect you with the locals are the roadside rest stops called Michi no Eki (literally “roadside stations“) that are perfect for taking a toilet or sleeping break, but are also hubs for local food, crafts and history.

Want to find the best roadside stations to visit? The travel website Trip Advisor has assembled a list of the best Michi no Eki for 2015, so gas up the car, it’s time for a road trip.

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Only in Japan: Rent a hot guy to make you cry then wipe your tears away

Japan is already well-known for being the place where you can rent a human being for pretty much any occasion. There’s rentable boyfriends, girlfriends, and even middle-aged dudes to dispense relationship advice.

So the latest type of rentable person should come as no surprise: hot guys to cry with you and wipe away your tears. Ladies, are you ready for a stress-relieving cry and a good-looking dude with immaculate hands to dab your eyes with a cloth? Well then get ready for Ikemeso.

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Which video game favourites are turning 20 this year?

With the Sony’s PlayStation console celebrating its 20th birthday in North America this year, having hit Japan a year earlier, this means that many of its longest-running franchises are now also turning 20. 

One Japanese Twitter user has put together a handy chart of games on both PlayStation and rival platforms that will be having their 20th anniversary towards the end of this year and the start of the next, so read on to find out if any of your favourites are among them. (Beware: you might find yourself feeling old.)

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Is Disney ripping off Nintendo’s Splatoon with its new Squid Wars minigame? Fans say “It sure is”

I’m pretty sure that by this point Nintendo is used to being one of the giants on whose shoulders many other video game developers stand. After all, just about every platformer or action RPG owes a debt to the company’s Mario and Zelda franchises, and its Metroid series was so influential in the design of similar exploration-heavy titles that gamers just threw their hands up and decided to call the genre “Metroidvania” (somewhat unfairly giving half the credit to Konami’s Castlevania, which wasn’t nearly as groundbreaking in establishing the category).

Still, it’s one thing when some third-tier software publisher or homebrew video game outfit toes the line between being inspired by your creation and outright copying it, and another when it’s world-famous Disney.

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Everything you need to know about takoyaki (octopus balls) 【Video】

Osaka is famous for Osaka-style okonomiyaki as well as takoyaki. We’ve taught you all about okonomiyaki before, including how to make it at home, and we’ve taken you with us octopus hunting in the Seto Inland Sea where we showed you not only how to catch an octopus, but how to turn its head inside out. So it’s only natural that we feel you are ready to advance your octopial knowledge by exploring what happens to the eight-legged creatures after the catch. Welcome to the wonderful world of takoyaki, battered octopus balls!

Takoyaki is to Osaka what monjayaki is to Tokyo. There’s even a Takoyaki Museum just outside of Universal Studios Japan on the Universal City Walk, with a collection of food stalls where visitors can taste varieties of the snack as well as see the implements used to make it. And since this is Japan, you can also buy numerous takoyaki-inspired souvenirs.

Let’s delve into the delectable world of takoyaki together, after the jump.

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Tokyo’s labyrinthine Shibuya Station becomes a literal RPG dungeon in free smartphone game

Sometimes when I’m in Tokyo, I find myself wandering through seemingly endless subterranean passages that twist and turn back on themselves in a disorienting serpentine labyrinth. As I trudge forward I can feel my stamina fading, as well as my spirit. Still, though, I press on, delving deeper and deeper into the bowls of the earth, knowing that only at the very bottom level will I find what I seek: the platform for the subway line that takes me home from Shibuya Station.

And apparently I’m not the only one who feels that Shibuya Station feels more like an RPG dungeon than a rail hub, since there’s a new smartphone game that uses the map of the station as the layout for its fantasy adventure.

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8 things we learned from Nintendo’s Q&A video with Shigeru Miyamoto 【Video】

Perhaps the best thing to come out of the 30th anniversary of Super Mario Bros. is the all-new Super Mario Maker. Released just last week on September 11, the game aims to bring the original level-making tool used by programmers at Nintendo to all audiences.

Not only has the new release encouraged Shigeru Miyamoto, the mastermind behind Mario, to speak about how the beginning of the original NES game was created, it’s also given fans the opportunity to hear Miyamoto answer questions about the Mario world fans have been dying to know for 30 years.

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What does the giraffe say? Video captures baby giraffe’s surprising cry

Giraffes are some of the most awesome animals on the planet, if you ask us. With their long necks, not-quite-horse-not-quite-cow-like faces and beautiful long eyelashes, they’re the sort of creature you’d expect to find in the pages of a Walt Disney sketchbook after the artist “accidentally” ingested a few magic mushrooms. And yet there they are, as real as  any of us, and have existed for thousands upon thousands of years.

But one thing that some might not believe is real is the cry of a giraffe. Think about it: have you ever heard the sounds a giraffe makes? Well, we suppose you may have, but many have not, in Japan or otherwise. And that’s why this video of a baby giraffe calling out has attracted so much attention online.

If you’ve never heard a giraffe’s voice, you’ll want to check this out!

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Clip of Thai woman slapping her attacker inspires the internet to create diverse parodies【Videos】

A video of a female victim slapping the man who assaulted her has blown up over Thai social media, inspiring endlessly creative video parodies in its wake. From Star Wars to Doraemon-themed interpretations, Thai net users are having a field day giving the man a taste of his own medicine!

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