Me want Great Wave: Cookie Monster takes his cookies to 1830s Hokusai ukiyoe woodblock painting

The Great Wave off Kanagawa by legendary ukiyoe artist Hokusai is well-known around the world as one of Japan’s most iconic pieces of artwork. Featuring Mt Fuji in the distance, a smattering of ocean spray and a mammoth breaking wave, this is a scene that’s been admired by millions for well over a century.

And where there’s an audience, there’ll also be a star trying to steal the spotlight. Providing poof to the theory, we present you with Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster, who’s taken his favourite baked goods back in time, all the while singing, “Sea is for cookie, that’s good enough for me ♫ Cookie, cookie, cookie starts with sea”.

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Maryland governor seeks federal funding after riding Japan’s maglev train

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan took a trip to Yamanashi to try out Japan’s record-breaking Maglev (Magnetic Levitation) bullet train. Travelling with him were executives from the Baltimore-Washington Rapid Rail LLC (BWRR), who, after enjoying a 27-mile-long ride, headed back to Baltimore with the intention of bringing the technology stateside.

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Where’s Wally? Out of the picture now because Japanese Twitter users want to find Pikachu instead

One of the best things to come barrelling out of the 80s alongside Donkey King and the Garbage Pail Kids was a man with glasses and a fondness for red and white shirts. Known as Wally (or Waldo in the US and Canada), the star of a successful book series mesmerised people around the world by simply hiding out in massive scenes involving hundreds of tiny characters.

This challenge of finding a needle in a haystack is the gift that just keeps on giving because now clever artists in Japan have been creating artworks concealing the whereabouts of our beloved Pikachu. The best thing about these is that once you’ve found the star of the show, you can then keep going until you’ve found all your favourites from the Pokémon series! It’s time to test out your hunting skills after the jump.

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Mother Duck and her 14 ducklings stroll the streets of Kyoto to get home 【Videos】

Why did the chicken cross the road? We don’t know, we don’t speak Chicken. But we do know why the ducks in Kyoto cross the road. To get to the Kamo River!

Don’t be mistaken, we don’t speak Duck either, but that’s what the ducks have been doing for the past decade or so, and this year they’ve completed the procession again with a record number of baby ducks in tow!

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Shia LeBeouf’s weird “TED Talk” rant reminds Netizens of Japanese celebrity’s similar pep talk

It’s easy to look at (former?) actor Shia LeBeouf‘s weird transition from child actor to adult superstar everyone assumed would be “the next Tom Hanks,” to an aspiring performance artist who wears bags on his head, stares at journalists in silence for hours and gives frightening “motivational speeches” in front of a green screen, and assume that we’re watching yet another celebrity slowly break down and lose his sanity under the public’s constant gaze.

It turns out, though, that weird green screen one – which was later turned into a TED Talk parody by the Internet – actually seemed bizarrely similar to a different motivational speech given on camera by widely loved Japanese celebrity and retired tennis player Shuzo Matsuoka.

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Mr. Sato went to Ganguro Cafe and discovered his beautiful inner gyaru 【Pics】

As you probably know, our ace reporter Mr. Sato has his own special way of doing things. Rather than just going to check out a popular speedy steak-cooking restaurant, he instead cooks the steak himself and shoves it in people’s faces. Rather than just buying some butter, he straps a bottle of cream to a helmet and goes around a track in a racecar, getting the g-forces to churn it for him.

So when he heard about the ganguro dress-up and makeup cafe Black Diamond in Shibuya, he couldn’t just write a quick review of the place and be done with it; he had to become one with the cafe and its staff. This is the story of how Mr. Sato became a fashionable gyaru for a day, and we have the glorious pictures to prove it.

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Precious penguin picks a perfect playmate 【Pics】

Birds of a feather flock together, unless, that is you happen to be a penguin and are in love with your aquatic keeper at the Kyoto Aquarium.

We all grow attached to the animals that we have to take care of, but it’s always the best when that animal returns the affection. The Kyoto Aquarium Twitter feed has been posting pictures of one little penguin showing lots of love to his handler, and they couldn’t make a cuter couple!

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Blue tears may be the most beautiful, surreal thing you ever see 【Photos】

Like a scene straight out of a movie (Life of Pi, anyone?), the glowing ocean waters around those little islands has to be some sort of special effect, right? If you think so, you might need a little refresher on all the cool, amazing things that can be found on our little planet. The lands have scenic mountains and canyons, the skies have the Aurora Borealis, and the oceans have Noctiluca scintillans.

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Airline pilot flies with broken door handle, tells crew member to hold it in place during flight

As much as we love travelling the world and seeing all the awesome that is out there, we have to admit that the price of plane tickets can end up being an insurmountable obstacle to globetrotting adventures. Fortunately, the rise of low-cost carriers (LCC) has helped alleviate some of burden of flight.

Of course, you may wonder if such airlines offer the standards and safety that we expect when being hurled through the sky in a giant metal cylinder. Well, if you’re afraid of flying and you want to see the world on a budget, you probably won’t want to read this story about a pilot who knowingly flew a plane with a faulty door handle…TWICE!

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Ghost in the Shell is about to become Ghost on the Stage with Tokyo theatre adaptation

Similar to how some of Ghost in the Shell’s characters can slip their consciousness into new bodies, the enduring science fiction franchise has gone through many incarnations. Starting with the manga by creator Masamune Shirow, the enduring science fiction hit has been an animated theatrical feature, TV anime, and series of direct-to-video anime shorts, plus has served the basis for a handful of video games.

The franchise might even end up with a Hollywood live-action version with Scarlett Johansson playing the lead role. Before that, though, Ghost in the Shell is getting a stage adaptation scheduled to be performed in Tokyo.

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Taiwanese schoolgirl uniforms getting insanely cute, we suspect anime, AKB48 influences

Apparently, there’s some sort of AKB48 contest happening right now in Japan. We think it’s to select the next round of girls to replace those who’ve “graduated” this year (read: become of legal drinking age or maybe those who refused to swallow a bug on television).

We’re not entirely sure what the “AKB48 Single General Election” actually entails, but the writers at our Japanese sister site got around to thinking about how schoolgirls in other Asian territories dress and turned their eyes to Taiwan, where they were surprised at just how cute the schoolgirl uniforms in the “All-Taiwan High School Girl Elections” – apparently also happening recently – have become this year.

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“Japanese steak sandwich” flavour potato chips have us slavering over our keyboards!

Here at RocketNews24, we love trying out all of Japan’s weird and wacky potato chip varieties. Just recently, we wrapped our chops around bags of banana and peach flavoured “breakfast” chips. And of course there was the time that we sampled coffee flavour chips

But after all that taste bud overloading, our tongues are in need of something a little more subtle. Luckily for us, a new flavour of potato chips is about to hit the market, and they sound absolutely delicious. Japanese steak sandwich flavour? Shut up and take our money!

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Which anime characters do you share a birthday with? This website will tell you

A pretty major difference between anime and western animation is the amount of detail Japanese productions put into character profiles and backstories. For just about any significant anime character, you can be sure the creators have decided on things such as a family name, exact height in centimeters, favorite food, and, in the case of sex-appeal female characters, bust, waist, and hip measurements.

If nothing else, characters almost always have an official birthday, even if there’s never an episode highlighting it or any other part of the story affected by, for instance, Attack on Titan’s Levi being born on December 25. Now, a fan-produced website has compiled a database of anime birthdays, allowing you to plug in your own to see which characters you could conceivably share a cake with.

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YouTube channel recreates emoji in real life with hilarious, horrifying results 【Video】

Have a convention coming up and you’re scrounging for last-minute cosplay ideas? Perhaps you’re on a super tight budget and need to make a costume out of the bare minimum.

Well we have the answer for you! Hong Kong-based YouTube channel DigitalRev TV recently put up a video where they tried their best to recreate several of the most popular emoji in real life. Some of the results are ridiculous, others are scary, but all are truly inspirational to the lovers of minimal costuming out there.

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The Shinkansen image that’s got Japanese Twitter users giggling

The N700 series Shinkansen trains have been in operation since 2007, and reach maximum speeds of 300km/h (186 mph). While not quite as speedy as Japan’s upcoming maglav train, these babies can get you from Tokyo to Osaka in just 2 hours and 25 minutes – they’re basically a miracle of modern engineering.

But it seems that some people out there do not respect the beauty of the Shinkansen. In fact, they look at all that shiny, white metalwork and see only one thing.

Can you guess what it is? Join us after the jump to find out if you, too, have the mind of an eighth-grader…

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We try serving a steak in 8.6 seconds, turned out to be surprisingly erotic

The steakhouse chain Ikinari! Steak! is all the rage in Japan right now thanks to its unique method of cooking your steak immediately after you tell them how you want it. Combined with standing tables, it provides regular steakhouse quality meat at speeds that rival fast food joints.

It got our staff to thinking about how the speedy service of Ikinari! Steak! is so popular. If we, too, could get steak into the mouths of customers within just a few seconds of them ordering, then maybe we could get into the restaurant game and be even more successful.

And so, research into such a steak service was underway, but as often is the case with our research, things somehow devolved into a cheesy porno starring one of our male writers in a bikini.

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One Piece ship to anchor at Japanese theme park

Ahoy, landlubbers! The Thousand Sunny, the preferred vessel of the Straw Hat Pirates in One Piece, is paying a call at the port of Laguna Ten Bosch, a theme park in Gamagori, southeast of Nagoya. Interested fans are invited to board the ship for a few hours to partake in a cruise. They will be treated to a stage show, music and a toast to the Straw Hat crew. Commemorative mugs and certificates will be given as souvenirs.

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These 19th-century Japanese miniature landscapes show that size isn’t everything

The Tōkaidō is perhaps the most important road in Japan’s history. Built in the 17th century, it connected the country’s two powerhouses: it runs from Kyoto, the imperial capital, to Edo (now Tokyo), the seat of the Shogunate. As well as being an important political and trade route, depictions of the Tōkaidō in art in literature were abundant and popular.

The best-known of these is Utagawa Hiroshiges’s series of ukiyo-e woodcut prints, The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō. Ukiyo-e woodblock printing like this continued to flourish in Japan until the 19th century.

Less famous than Hiroshige is the relatively unknown ukiyo-e artist Utagawa Yoshishige, who produced his own prints of the 53 stations along the Tōkaido – by depicting each station in the form of a potted landscape.

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Three potentially fatal flaws with the facial recognition ATMs soon to be introduced in China

We’ve all seen how facial recognition software can go badly wrong. But it seems that China hasn’t gotten the message, since they’re going forward with a new plan for ATMs which rely on face-scanning technology.

The new machines will reportedly snap a quick picture of the person trying to access each account, and cross-reference their facial features with a database to find a match.

We can see at least three fatal flaws with this plan. Can you guess what they are?

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Watch “Sh*t Koreans Say” for an interesting take on Korean stereotypes about foreigners

In the past we’ve brought you Sh*t Japanese Girls Say and Sh*t My (Japanese) Mom Says, both of which really hit home for me as a former Japanese home-stay student and expat in Japan. Still, I often find myself wondering what life is like for other expats around the world, especially those living in other Asian countries like Korea.

Thanks to Sh*t Koreans Say, the latest addition to the ever popular Sh*t ___ Say meme by Korean Junkies, I feel like I now have a slightly better idea.

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