A wild sushi chase: Our Japanese reporter tries Cuban sushi in a five-star Havana hotel

I mean, we have sushi here in Cuba, but it’s terrible. You’re better off eating it in Japan!” That was the advice our reporter Yuichiro got when, craving a taste of home, he asked a Cuban friend where he could find some tasty sushi in his home country.

But for some reason, his friend’s protestations made our intrepid reporter even more intrigued. “Looking back on it now though,” says Yuichiro, “I wish I’d quit while I was ahead…”

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Get rid of bugs and score points with Japanese women in one fell swoop with the ami-ton maneuver

Not too long after we started dating, my wife and I were walking through a seaside park, hand-in-hand. The sun was shining and the mood relaxing and romantic. Just as I took a deep breath of the sweet ocean breeze, though, an insect landed on my wife’s arm, causing her to scream, recoil in horror, and practically pull my shoulder out of its socket.

And that’s how I found out she really hates bugs.

She’s not alone in that regard, either, as a recent poll of women in Japan found that more than half are too terrified to face their creepy crawly adversaries head-on, and also revealed a suave kabe-don wall pound-like move guys can do to score points with the ladies.

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We tried making edible jewels: One recipe gives you three delicious versions!

Remember those beautiful edible “jewels” that we shared with you a couple of weeks ago? Made simply from sugar, agar-agar, and a beverage of your choice, the jewels are both pretty to look at and make a cool – in both senses of the word – summer treat.

They’re still all the rage right now on Japanese social media, so our Japanese reporter Shimazu decided to try making some jewel flavor combinations for herself. She even experimented with three different manners of preparation–serving them right away, freezing them, and letting them sit for a few days to harden.

Which method of making them do you think she enjoyed the most?

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The delicious food of Japan’s gourmet hospitals: Ramen, hotpot, smoked duck, and more

During my time in Japan, I’ve been thrown into a cherry blossom tree, hit by a car, and sucker punched by a wannabe tough guy in Shibuya Station, but luckily I’ve never needed to be hospitalized. That means I’ve been able to avoid the anxiety-filled situation of having a doctor explain an urgent medical procedure to me in a foreign language, but it also means I’ve been missing out on some of the mouth-watering food some Japanese hospitals serve.

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What to do with expensive alcohol before boarding a flight? Why, chug it, of course!

What would you do if you were about to catch a flight but were then told that you couldn’t bring a bottle of alcohol worth approximately 8,000-yuan (US$1,290) onto the plane? Hands up if you’d down it in a matter of minutes!

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Is a woman “middle-aged” at 30? 40? 50? Japanese men and women give different answers in poll

You may have heard that Japan is obsessed with youth, which is ironic for a country with an ageing population , this is ironic. In fact, Japan is purported to have the highest proportion of elderly citizens compared to all other countries. With so many older folks making up a vast percentage of the population, why is Japan’s society still often casually ageist, particularly towards women?

A recent poll asked “at what age does a woman become middle-aged?” and the results are extremely telling.

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Gorgeous stop-motion animation depicts Tokyo’s Shibuya crossing using tiny paper models

When the lights change at Shibuya’s scramble intersection, 10 lanes of traffic draw to a halt and thousands of people surge into the street to cross in multiple directions. It’s one of Japan’s iconic urban sites, and often features on the big screen as a symbol of Tokyo. Of course, Shibuya’s scramble is crowded – it may be the busiest crossing in the world – but underneath the chaos there is a kind of fluid order, as people weave in and out of the oncoming crowd.

Architect and artist Naoki Terada has constructed Shibuya at 1/100th its real size, with the crossing’s cars, people, motorbikes (and even dogs!) made out of hand-cut paper. This beautiful stop-motion animation is the result.

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Meowrse code: when you want to send an SOS filled with cute cats

In the past, we’ve brought you news of cat alphabets, cat fonts and even cats that teach us Japanese. Now our cheeky feline friends are continuing to jam our communication systems and ensure they have all of our attention by popping up in Morse – sorry, Meowrse code.

Whether you want to liven up your LOLs or simply need to send an SOS to save yourself from all the furry cuteness, this neat generator will turn any message into a series of dots and dashes in cute kitty forms.

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“Rice ball” baby face is so cute we want to eat it all up

Oh, babies. Their chubby little malleable faces bring so much joy to everyone around them… When the babies themselves are not screaming and crying of course.

One Japanese father recently recorded himself turning his baby daughter’s face into a handheld “rice ball,” which quickly went viral for being ridiculously adorable. Since then he’s been getting nonstop requests from other parents begging to know how he did his cute trick, and now, for the first time, he’s finally revealed it in video form.

Watch and be prepared to be assaulted with cuteness like never before.

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Video shows how computers can become veritable roach motels

Hey there.

If you’re one of the 2.5 gajillion readers (Mar. 2015 estimate) looking at this article right now on a desktop or laptop, you might want to grab a mobile device and take a walk while reading this time around.

Safely outside? Okay now enjoy this video which shows what might be lurking inside your computer right now.

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“A snowman tolerates while freezing.” Mystery product’s label is questionable and hilarious!

First impressions are very important, not only for people but for products too. A product’s packaging and labels can make or break a deal depending on whether the design and text on it appeals to the consumer. And, as you know, some companies choose to scrimp and save on hiring a professional to handle their translation needs. In many of these cases, the joke’s on them because they end up with hilarious gibberish on their products.

A Japanese Twitter user recently shared a photo of a Chinese product that had Japanese written on its warning label, and the text was so bad we couldn’t even imagine what product that label was supposed to be on! Take a guess and join us after the break!

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Further details about Shinkansen fire incident emerge

New information has emerged about the tragic incident that occurred on the Tokaido Shinkansen line earlier this week. In what appears to be a case of suicide via self-immolation, two have died — the elderly man who lit himself on fire and a middle-aged woman who was accidentally caught up in the incident.

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Giant robot fight coming soon? American inventors’ video challenges Japanese counterparts to duel

California-based MegaBots spells out its mission pretty clearly on the company’s website: Giant fighting robots. So far, though, they’re only two-thirds of the way to that goal.

The MegaBot Mark II is clearly a robot, and definitely giant, but it hasn’t really done much fighting yet. Since no one wants to watch giant robots grapple with their inner psychological demons and emotional issues, the Mark II needs an opponent, and its American designers have decided to throw the gauntlet all the way across the Pacific, releasing a video officially challenging Japan’s own currently on-sale giant robot to a duel.

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Beat the heat with Japanese somen noodles dipped in Starbucks noodle sauce?!

For many Japanese, somen is the go to food of choice for keeping the summer heat exhaustion blues away. These thin, white Japanese noodles that resemble vermicelli are traditionally made from wheat flour and served chilled.

But what do you do if a somen craving hits and you don’t have a full serving of mentsuyu, or noodle dipping sauce, on hand to eat them with? What if you’re tired or eating somen the traditional way?  Or what if you’re in need of a little caffeine kick with your meal?

If you answered mix your noodle sauce with Starbucks coffee, congratulations! We’re stumped as to how our Japanese staff arrived at this weird food combination, but apparently it tastes much better than it sounds.

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Want thousands of dollars for your manga fan art? Rose of Versailles creator judging contest now

It’s been made into an anime TV series, live-action film, and Takarazuka stage musical, but more than anything else, it’s the original manga that’s captured the hearts of Rose of Versailles fans. Set against the backdrop of the French Revolution, the series’ themes of desperate love, self-sacrifice, and challenging gender norms have been striking a chord with readers for over four decades.

Unlike last year, there’s no new volume of Rose of Versailles coming out this summer. However, there is still going to be a ton of new illustrations in the form of entries to a Rose of Versailles fan art competition that’s accepting submissions online right now, awarding impressive cash prizes, and being judged by the manga’s creator, Riyoko Ikeda herself.

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Japanese sushi chef samples the best cheap sushi the U.S. has to offer【Video】

In most Western countries, going out for sushi tends to make for a pretty pricey meal. In Japan, while there are certainly higher-end sushi restaurants that can put quite a dent in your wallet too, there are also plenty of places where you can eat your fill of great sushi for as little as 100 yen a plate (around US$1), or you can pick up a pack of sushi for lunch at the convenience for around 300 to 400 yen.

With sushi growing in popularity, many grocery store delis in the United States have started carrying variety packs of sushi for a more decent price, but how does the taste measure up? In this video, sushi from a number of grocery chains is pitted against the taste buds of long-time sushi chef.

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“It’s just like Disneyland!” Our Japanese reporter visits the love hotel where dreams are made

If Japan’s love hotels range from cheap ‘n’ cheerful to downright bizarre, Sky Paradise Rakuen must rank as one of the most marvellously ridiculous. While enjoying a discreet tryst with your partner of choice, you can also take a ride on a gondola under a sparkling jewel-encrusted sky and gaze from your balcony out over theme park-style attractions.

Disney don’t do love hotels, but if they did they’d probably look like this!

Naturally, our Japanese reporter couldn’t resist heading down to Sky Paradise to check in and check it out. Just for research, of course.

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Japan’s Top 10 Scenic Train Trips–according to two “densha otaku” train guides

Greg Cope and Ken Mitchell have been riding Japan’s railways for over 30 years. “When I first started to travel around Japan,” recalls Greg, “I was struck by the fact that Japan not only has one of the most efficient railway systems in the world, but they have myriad types of railways, from new to old, conservative design to outlandish.

On one of Greg’s succeeding trips back to Japan, he asked his train aficionado friend Ken, who had seen a lot of Japan during a visit in 1967, to come along. “I devised an itinerary…incorporating a variety of different trains. The trip that I had nutted out from the timetable turned out well and I was hooked on Japan’s railway system,” says Ken.

Greg and Ken wanted to share their Japan rail experiences with others, so to achieve this goal they started Trainaway Tours out of Australia in 1998. These guys are living the train otaku dream, so when RocketNews24 started looking into Japan’s best, most scenic railways, we went straight to them for recommendations. From JR lines to small private rails, tourist trains to steam locomotives, let’s look at their picks for the top 10 train trips in Japan.

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Japanese man races his “tortoise and hare,” cuteness ensues

Live-action remakes of established cartoon and comic franchises are favored projects by studios looking for a solid return on their investments. Appealing to our sense of nostalgia they can pull in a good chunk of change even if they turn out crappy, something which, sadly, happens a lot.

However, on video originally posted to Niconico and YouTube by Masaki Hata reminds us that the great remakes need to be fun first and slick big-budget productions second. His version of a classic Aesop fable, which he’s titled Battle of Fate Settled at Last: Tortoise vs Hare in Japan, has won over many with its unique blend of cuteness and surprisingly good production value.

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We visited Fukui Station to see the dinosaurs! No Chris Pratt, but the Dino Doctor was in!

We’ve talked about Fukui Station, located in Fukui Prefecture, and its Jurassic Park of animatronic dinosaurs before, but today we have a ton more photos and a video of them in motion as the station draws closer to completion. Check out our photos of the rampaging dinosaurs at Fukui Station and call Chris Pratt, because we might need backup!

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