Japan’s coolest capsule hotel to close: Last chance to experience sleeping in the future!

Japan’s coolest capsule hotel to close: Last chance to experience sleeping in the future!

Capsule hotels, the uniquely Japanese accommodation solution no doubt on every Japanophile’s to-do list, have never really caught on outside of their homeland. Whether it’s down to individuals’ ideas of what constitutes comfort and privacy, or simply the fact that so many Westerners freak out at the very thought of climbing into a space resembling something between a spaceship escape pod and a coffin, most capsule startups outside of Japan have failed. While these unique hotels continue to serve those who are on a budget or simply too intoxicated to make it home safely, and show no signs of disappearing from Japan’s cityscapes any time soon, it is with deep regret that we bring you news today that Kyoto’s Nine Hours, arguably the coolest and most modern capsule hotel in the country, is to close.

Tourists, late-night drinkers and those who have always fantasised about waking up in an Aperture Science test chamber have only until October 31 to check out the hotel and experience space-age comfort, so we’re here to show you exactly why you should head over to Nine Hours’ website right now and make a reservation.

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Qing Dynasty-era Doraemon statue raises serious questions about possibility of time travel

Qing Dynasty-era Doraemon statue raises serious questions about possibility of time travel

Doraemon, that loveable robotic, time-travelling kitty, may have inadvertently inspired an early Qing Dynasty cult of Doraemon worship during his travels through the space-time continuum, if this bizarrely similar idol of a grinning cat discovered by a Chinese tourist is to be believed.

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SNS warfare: Businesses hiring pranksters to defame rivals

SNS warfare: Businesses hiring pranksters to defame rivals

If you’re still into planking, owling or tebowing, you’re way behind the times in terms of online photo trends. In July this year, a wave of photos featuring part-timers (more commonly known as arubaito, or simply baito, in Japan) at convenience stores getting cozy in their working environment started a new trend – “freezering”. The photos featuring convenience store baito taking a snooze inside an ice cream freezer instantly went viral, and soon baito at numerous stores and fast food outlets jumped on the bandwagon, tweeting photos of themselves inside freezers, playing with ingredients in the kitchen and more.

As expected, the series of unbefitting photos sparked outrage online, employers were questioned, apology notices were sent, and some outlets were even pushed to the extent of shutting down. But did you know that some nefarious villains are actually offering pranksters for hire? And even worse, that some businesses are turning to them to defame rivals?

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Students climb monument in Nagoya, piss everyone off with their “loose morals”

Students climb monument in Nagoya, piss everyone off with their “loose morals”

Let’s just cut to the chase here and face the facts: Teenagers do a lot of dumb things. Now, we’re not saying that all teenagers do dumb things, but the fact remains that the part of your brain that keeps you from, say, climbing a public monument in broad daylight clearly doesn’t properly develop in high school.

At least, that’s the conclusion you might draw after seeing the ire these students have drawn after a photo of their mindless exploits made it onto Twitter.

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Justin Bieber (maybe) spotted in Shibuya by adoring fans, ignored by everyone else

Justin Bieber (maybe) spotted in Shibuya by adoring fans, ignored by everyone else

Photos began appearing on the Twittersphere late last night purportedly showing Canadian teen heart-throb Justin Bieber out and about on the streets of Shibuya. Judging by the pictures, the star was largely ignored by Shibuya shoppers as he walked the streets surrounded by friends and plain-clothes guards, though in all honesty with his hood up and a pair of enormous shades covering most of his face, we’re not entirely surprised.

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Seoul food: Tourist stumbles across grocery store inside Korean subway car

Seoul food: Tourist stumbles across grocery store inside Korean subway car

Whatever the country, when taking a ride on the subway the feeling that you have entered into a whole new dimension, completely cut off from the world above, can be difficult to suppress. But in the Korea’s capital city, the division between underground and overground became a little blurred than usual for one tourist as they discovered a fully stocked grocery store in a subway car.

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The future is now: Developing robotics to help stroke victims learn to walk again

The future is now: Developing robotics to help stroke victims learn to walk again

Japan is no stranger to robotics. From Asimov to Gundam, hi-tech development in both real and fictional worlds is almost taken for granted. Some days, we even wake up feeling a bit disappointed that Ghost in the Shell isn’t a documentary–though even that seemingly becoming closer to reality every day.

Here’s one example of robotics enhancing the lives of stroke victims–and looking good doing it, too!

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World’s largest game of tag to be held in Gunma Prefecture

World’s largest game of tag to be held in Gunma Prefecture

Tag is a childhood game loved worldwide although known by different names depending on the region, and Japan is no exception. Here the game is known as oni gokko (demon play) and follows the same rules aside for the “it” person being called oni, which translates to a demon but is probably more akin to an ogre.

If you happen to be in the Gunma area this month and want to relive some childhood fun playing a classic game, Gunma University and J.League soccer team Thespa Kustasu Gunma are working to set up a Guinness World Record breaking game of Oni Gokko.

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Meet the new model set to make manga artists’ lives a whole lot easier

Meet the new model set to make manga artists’ lives a whole lot easier

When it comes to replicating human poses and natural movement, artists often look to anatomical models. Traditional figures do have their limitations, though, with the lack of details making it difficult to recreate the lines of a raised shoulder or a clasped fist. But things are set to change, with a new figure on the market called the S.F.B.T-3, (Special Full-action Body Type v.3). Ten years in the making, this girl has 80 moveable parts in her body, allowing for an unprecedented number of poses and anatomical designs. We take a look at the doll’s amazing details and see how it performs in some popular anime poses for the illustrator’s eye.

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Is that a horse in your parking lot or are you just happy to see me?

Is that a horse in your parking lot or are you just happy to see me?

While Japan is certainly home to a wide variety of animals, from adorable Shiba Inu to emotive puppies, one creature you don’t see too often is the horse. Sure, they’re out in the countryside doing horse stuff–eating, pooping, and running like the wind–but it’s not like you see a horse just hanging out in front of convenience stores. I mean, seriously, this isn’t The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

Or is it??

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A musical tribute to Ghibli — Here’s to more than 25 years of epic animation 【Video】

A musical tribute to Ghibli — Here’s to more than 25 years of epic animation 【Video】

I’m sure many readers of our site are aware of Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki’s recent announcement that he is retiring from filmmaking. Some of you may have even seen the press conference he held in Tokyo on September 6. While some people were skeptical upon hearing the announcement, since Miyazaki had mentioned retirement several times in the past, the legendary animator started off the press conference by saying that he knows he’s cried wolf multiple times concerning retirement, but that he was serious this time.

And so it was that Ghibli fans around the world had to accept that the creator of numerous acclaimed anime films such as Spirited Away and Princess Monoke was finally putting down his animator’s pen. Naturally, the news caused a huge response across the Internet, but one video in particular posted after the conference by an obviously musically talented fan has been receiving considerable attention on the Japanese Internet. We admit it is a slightly long video at 31 minutes, but if you’ve seen any of the Ghibli films and enjoyed the experience, we think it will be well worth your time to view the musical tribute.

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Creepily cute mascot Okazaemon gets female counterpart in Okazaennu

Creepily cute mascot Okazaemon gets female counterpart in Okazaennu

April this year saw the nationwide emergence of Okazaemon a regional mascot (called yurukyara in Japan) who operates out of Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture. In spite of looking like a strung-out cat that will stab you for its next fix, Okazaemon has captured the hearts of mascot fans with his offbeat charm.

In fact, Okazaemon’s ever-rising star has earned him second place in the Regional Yurukyara General Elections after Funasshi, another breakout mascot success of 2013. And with such notoriety there are bound to be those who emulate the formula. Enter Okazaennu: the female weird kanji cat character.

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Ministop convenience stores to begin selling Pizza (America) Dogs

Ministop convenience stores to begin selling Pizza (America) Dogs

Japan has a somewhat confusing take on hotdogs compared to other countries. For example, you’d be hard pressed to find packs of hotdogs on sale at any supermarket let alone buns, and yet they’re readily available on the breakfast menu of every McDonald’s.

Also, people may envision a true American hotdog to have been boiled in murky water on the side of the busy street, slathered with ketchup, onions, and relish and all served on a bun that may or may not have been used as the vendor’s pillow a few minutes earlier. However, in Japan, an “American Dog” is the common lingo to a pancakey kind of corn dog.

Now, Japanese convenience store Ministop is taking the “America” out of American Dogs and replacing it with pizza for some junk food hybrid goodness.

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These doughnuts from Hokkaido are unbear-ably cute!

These doughnuts from Hokkaido are unbear-ably cute!

A long time ago, in a place quite far, far away, there was an area of Japan so remote that the indigenous people called it sir etok; literally the end of the earth. Known today as Shiretoko, the peninsula at the northeastern tip of Hokkaido remains a place of untouched beauty, traversed by a unique population of brown bears.

So what does a visitor to the end of the earth bring back to the rest of civilisation as a reminder of the beauty and the bear? Given that live bears don’t act kindly to being captured, a cute alternative has popped up in miniature, edible form. Wrapped in a cosy doughnut ball, these little cubs are flying off the shelves like hotcakes. We bought a variety pack to take a closer look at what makes these adorable souvenirs so popular.

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Latest chitchat technology pairs your smartphone with your home phone for ultra-convenient use

Latest chitchat technology pairs your smartphone with your home phone for ultra-convenient use

Panasonic announces the release of a digital cordless phone, VE-GDW03DL, which allows the use of a smartphone as a sub-handset over a wireless internet connection. The domestic chat device is set to hit stores on 14 November, and has an open price tag.

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Meet Snoopybabe, the cute cat from China taking the Internet by storm

Meet Snoopybabe, the cute cat from China taking the Internet by storm

Photo sharing sites started off as a great way to share pictures of friends and family with loved ones from all corners of the world. But then someone, one day, shared a photo of a cat. Slowly but surely, felines started taking over our domains until they had pages dedicated to them, legions of followers, and adoring comments in different languages from people all around the world. Now it seems every person and their dog has a favourite Instagram cat. But the one that’s topping them all is a kitty from China that goes by the name Snoopybabe. Creepy or cute, you be the judge, but with over 190,000 followers to date, this is definitely one cat to keep your eye on.

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Man making ramen in Speedo while gaming suddenly receives 20 rockets to the groin

Man making ramen in Speedo while gaming suddenly receives 20 rockets to the groin

It’s a scene all too familiar to many of us: You’re sitting at home playing some video games when you begin to get sweaty from the strenuous button mashing. Like anyone would, you change into a pair of Speedos to cool down a bit. Then, feeling a little peckish after some more gaming, you decide to cook up some ramen.

Stop!!! Little do you know these seemingly innocent actions are a recipe for getting 20 rockets fired at your private parts. This painful lesson was learnt by Mr. Ye of New Taipei, Taiwan on 1 October.

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Best bosses in the world? Three company presidents adored by their employees

Best bosses in the world? Three company presidents adored by their employees

Work can be a bit of a drag–well, unless you work at RocketNews24. Then it’s a non-stop ice-cream party of fun! But for some of you poor folks, we imagine life is pretty miserable Monday through Friday.

But take heart: There are actually some companies with great bosses loved by their employees. Take a look and see how your managers stack up against three of the best company presidents in the world.

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Let them eat cake! 32 sweet treats from around the world

Let them eat cake! 32 sweet treats from around the world

You may think you know your own country. And you may think you know cake. But it may surprise you to find out what others think of that sugary lumps of carbs we all call “cake.” For a unique perspective on the ubiquitous dessert, here are 32 of the top image results on Google when you search “cake” and a country’s name in Japanese. Get ready to get hungry or very confused!

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Would you eat this centipede crab?

Would you eat this centipede crab?

Culinary experts say that presentation is important, but we’re not sure this is what they were talking about.

Presumably born from some twisted chef’s nightmare, the crabipede is complete with creepy crawly legs and faux pinchers made out of crab legs, and even has a pretty convincing head and backend made of the shells of two crabs. The menacing curl in the crabipede’s body is enough to send lighthearted diners scurrying away.

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