“Ramen Cake” dessert looks just like the real thing, is probably just as bad for you

“Ramen Cake” dessert looks just like the real thing, is probably just as bad for you

An advance word of warning: this recipe seems both extremely difficult and extremely time consuming, so we’d advise you only try it if you’re a master chef or incredibly bored. Or if you need to consume a disgusting amount of calories in a short space of time.

Still, in the spirit of Halloween, this sweet cake and gelatin “Ramen Cake” masquerading almost perfectly as real ramen, is a clever, cute substitute for the usual chocolate eyeballs, brain Jell-o and other grotesqueries of the season.

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Marvel’s mighty Avengers to become an anime

Marvel’s mighty Avengers to become an anime

Walt Disney Japan has just announced that they’ll be making good use of their rights to Marvel Comics’ creations by producing their own TV anime of “the earth’s mightiest heroes,” the Avengers. The series is scheduled for nationwide release on Nihon Terebi starting in spring of 2014 under the title, “Disk Wars: Avengers”.

This is exciting news for fans of the franchise, but comic book buffs might want to reign in their expectations. This animated series has a distinctly Japanese flair, like nothing we ever felt from the original comics. See what changes are in store for our superheroes in this all-new Asian take on an American classic.

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Expert weighs in with his ideas on what defines the Japanese character

Expert weighs in with his ideas on what defines the Japanese character

For most of its history, Japan was separated from the rest of the world by the surrounding seas and an isolationist policy strictly enforced by its feudal period government. These centuries of isolation led to a unique culture, and it’s long been a favorite challenge for researchers and commentators to try to pin down just what defines the Japanese character.

Chinese news portal BW Chinese recently published a list of characteristics of the Japanese psyche, as originally put forth by Australian Gregory Clark, whose educational and professional career dealing with Japanese sociology, education, and economics has spanned more than five decades.

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Hot wheels: We find a wood-burning stove inside a food truck in Nagano

Hot wheels: We find a wood-burning stove inside a food truck in Nagano

Food trucks are all the rage in the United States, but we doubt there’s one like this in any of the 50 states. We tracked down a mobile pizzeria in Nagano, Japan that has a wood-burning pizza oven. That’s right, an open-flame in the back of a van! We just had to try a pizza from such a bizarre place.

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Nintendo out to squeeze our wallets dry with orange and turqoise 3DS LL Limited Packs

Nintendo out to squeeze our wallets dry with orange and turqoise 3DS LL Limited Packs

Nintendo Japan recently announced the release of two shiny new limited colors for the 3DS LL (XL in the West) – “Orange x Black” and “Turquoise x Black“, set to hit stores in Japan on 28 November.

On top of that, a special tie-up edition with The Legend of Zelda is also in the works, to be launched on 26 December.

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Acronyms and in-jokes: The origins of your favourite Japanese video game companies’ names

Acronyms and in-jokes: The origins of your favourite Japanese video game companies’ names

As much as we like to think of ourselves as free thinkers and immune to corporate advertising, there’s no denying that brand names have found their way into pretty much every facet of our daily lives. Many North Americans routinely use “Kleenex” in place of the word tissue; in the UK it’s not unusual to hear people say that they’re about to “hoover up” when referring to running a vacuum cleaner; and in its heyday pretty much any portable gaming device was casually referred to as a Gameboy.

The likes of Nintendo and Sony have been household names for years, but did you ever wonder where these names come from and what they might mean in their native language? Author of Japanmanship and game developer James Kay sheds some light on the origins of the names Japan’s biggest video game companies use, from Capcom to SNK, and has generously shared a few snippets of info with RocketNews24 for our enjoyment and nerdy enlightenment.

Find out where those world-famous names really come from after the jump.

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10 beautiful packaging designs from Japan

10 beautiful packaging designs from Japan

When receiving a gift or even after buying a snack at the convenience store, it’s sometimes hard not to just rip open the package to get to the goodies inside. But if you find yourself in the possession of one of the following products, you might want to pause and take a few moments to admire the hard work and creativity that went in to designing the packaging. Here are 10 beautiful product packages from Japan, all of which have won at the Pentawards, a worldwide packaging design competition.

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Internet reacts to attractive otaku: “Hot guys should be banned from watching anime”

Internet reacts to attractive otaku: “Hot guys should be banned from watching anime”

Meet Yuya Uchida, part-time employee at Animate, a Japanese chain of large-scale stores that carry a full range of anime and manga-related merchandise. Lately, Yuya has been getting a lot of attention from the Internet and other media for his surprisingly good looks! This anime-loving ikemen (hot guy) is breaking the otaku mold and capturing the hearts of women across the nation. Can a guy be allowed to keep his nerd cred when he happens to be such a looker?

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Three deities spotted in the sky during the month without gods

Three deities spotted in the sky during the month without gods

According to the old Japanese lunisolar calendar, the tenth month of the year is Kannazuki or Kaminashizuki, the Month When There Are No Gods, as it was believed that during this month all of the deities would leave their homes and gather in Izumo to discuss what had happened over the last year. A bit like an annual deity convention, where we imagine Susa-no-o gets drunk, embarrasses Amaterasu until she hides in her room again, and then shows off his big sword.

If you happen to be in Izumo, the Hotel Marriott of Japanese gods, the tenth month is instead called Kamiarizuki, or the Month When There Are Gods. It might be a bit literal, but at least it gets the point across clearly, right? And, of course, we’re in the middle of the tenth month now! So there are quite a few people making their way to Izumo to enjoy a bit of nature and maybe catch a few hungover deities late for a workshop.

But people aren’t the only ones making a stop by Izumo–last week three Suns appeared in the sky over the shrine!

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The airport that’s practically a theme park — Shop, eat, play at the New Chitose Airport!

The airport that’s practically a theme park — Shop, eat, play at the New Chitose Airport!

If you’ve ever visited the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, there’s a good chance that you went through New Chitose Airport. Being the largest airport on the island, it serves as the gateway to Hokkaido for the numerous tourists that visit both from within and outside of Japan. Yes, when it comes to Hokkaido, we Japanese are just as enthusiastic about the beautiful snow, fresh seafood, tasty ramen, delectable sweets, relaxing hot springs and scenes of vast natural beauty as visitors from abroad.

But did you know that New Chitose Airport, which you may only briefly pass through as a traveler on a tour, could be a destination all on its own? After undergoing some expansion work in recent years between 2010 to 2012, the airport is now a seriously impressive shopping, dining and entertainment complex. Here’s a look at just some of the things you can enjoy at this airport that looks and feels like a theme park. If you thought that airports were nightmarish places where you want to spend as little time as possible, this may change your mind!

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Denny’s Japan to serve up burgers with added microorganisms… for your health!

Denny’s Japan to serve up burgers with added microorganisms… for your health!

It would appear that Japan is getting more and more firmly entrenched in the euglena craze. These little algae (particularly those from Ishigaki Island) have been determined to pack a nutritious punch carrying around 59 different kinds of nutrients from vitamins and minerals to amino acids.

We recently sampled these little guys in a cup of delicious yogurt, which was creepy at first but not a big leap since yogurt is all bacteria-y anyway. But would the public also go for these little microorganisms being added to a patty of grilled red meat? American diner chain Denny’s is wagering “yes” with their euglena hamburgs only available in Japan from the end of this month.

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Aomori Garlic Black Beer: That great, people-repelling aftertaste of gyoza, now from a beverage!

Aomori Garlic Black Beer: That great, people-repelling aftertaste of gyoza, now from a beverage!

All around Japan, various craft brews are sold each with their own unique twist on the widely-loved beverage. For beer connoisseurs, part of the fun of domestic traveling can be trying to unearth hidden brews scattered across the land.

For example, out of Aomori Prefecture, known as the garlic-producing leader of the nation, comes Aomori Garlic Black Beer. Our reporter, Mami, spotted some in the wild and decided to try it out. The combination of beer and garlic had potential, and Aomori certainly know their garlic. What could go possibly wrong?

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Transform your Cup Noodle into exotic cuisine! 10 easy recipes for 100x flavor

Transform your Cup Noodle into exotic cuisine! 10 easy recipes for 100x flavor

After seeing the creative instant ramen recipes enjoyed by Koreans, our curiosity towards other creative ways of savoring our favorite meal in a cup ballooned over three minutes (we were waiting for our cup noodles to cook), and so we put together this list of delicious quick fixes to satisfy our cravings!

They’re so easy to make, and surprisingly tasty. Believe it or not, these Nissin cup babies can instantly transform into Thai, Chinese, and even Italian cuisine! Come on, you know you want to try them!

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Snoopy & Woodstock join the party at Mister Donut Japan this Christmas

Snoopy & Woodstock join the party at Mister Donut Japan this Christmas


The Japanese have a strange love for sinking their teeth into their favorite characters. We’ve seen Rilakkuma cakes and Hello Kitty doughnuts, next in line appears to be good-old Snoopy and his little yellow friend, Woodstock.

Mister Donut (or Misdo for short), the confectionary maker who brought us the jack-o’-lantern Hello Kitty doughnuts for Halloween, is already in the midst of preparing for the Christmas season, and boy does it look tasty!

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Why can’t Hello Kitty seem to keep a steady job?

Why can’t Hello Kitty seem to keep a steady job?

Starting with Hello Kitty’s first appearance on a vinyl coin purse in 1974, Japan’s favorite cartoon cat has been popping up all over the place! Her trademark image graces a wide range of items, from apparel to accessories and a vast array of tools and trinkets, not to mention toys and sometimes food. Sometimes she appears as a fashion-forward feline, or a cutesy maid, maybe an accomplished office worker, or even an Eva pilot!

We now understand that she works so hard to pay off her company’s debt, but that still begs the question of why the cat-woman can’t build a career in a single line of work. If I jumped ship and found new jobs as fast and frequently as Hello Kitty, I could never gain the trust of any future employers, so what is it about Hello Kitty’s methods that rakes in the moolah?

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Eight Tokyo observation towers – all free, all awesome

Eight Tokyo observation towers – all free, all awesome

One of the best reasons to come to Tokyo is to experience the sheer energy of being in the biggest city in the world. There’s no better way to get an idea of the massive scale of Japan’s capital than with a bird’s eye view from hundreds of feet above its streets.

Unfortunately, the city’s two most famous observation towers, Tokyo Tower and its younger sibling the Tokyo Skytree, both charge hefty admission prices. But if you just spent your last bit of cash because you couldn’t say no to the chance to buy hot coffee in a can, here are eight spots that offer awesome views of Tokyo that won’t cost you a single yen to see.

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Top tub tips and tattoo taboos at Japanese baths

Top tub tips and tattoo taboos at Japanese baths

There is nothing quite as relaxing as slipping into the warm water at a Japanese hot spring. But as you get ready for tub time, you should be aware of the finer points of public bathing in Japan. Besides leaving your rubber ducky at home, we have compiled a list of key bath tips to ensure the best soak of your life without having to hear someone nag about the “lack of proper bathing manners these days.”

And since one of the more frustrating points of the Japanese bathing experience is a blanket ban on tattoos, we will also provide some context on why exactly your tribal sign tramp stamp is so unwelcome.

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Awkward Jimmy Kimmel segment suggests some kids start being racist jerks at around age six

Awkward Jimmy Kimmel segment suggests some kids start being racist jerks at around age six

Without getting into our personal opinions of ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel (ahem, Conan is better, ahem), he’s had a string of pretty successful viral videos featuring kids and their crazy antics.

So, sensing more comedy gold, Jimmy dressed a bunch of kids up like politicians and asked them their thoughts about US current events, hoping for some adorable responses. After some initial cuteness, Jimmy asked how the kids thought America should take care of its debt to China, which is where the fun stopped for most of us, because one kid blurted out a disturbing proposal for solving the problem: kill everyone in China.

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Road hog jams up 10 buses, keeps everyone waiting while he buys lunch 【Video】

Road hog jams up 10 buses, keeps everyone waiting while he buys lunch 【Video】

Imagine that you’re running late for an important appointment. Rushing out of the house, you hop into your car, hastily buckling up and zooming off, praying that the roads are clear. Just barely five minutes on the road and you get caught at a red light. To make things worse, a lovey-dovey couple are staring into each other’s eyes as they slowly make their way across the pedestrian crossing, oblivious to the traffic lights changing from red to green.

Cursing under your breath, you impatiently tap on your GPS in an attempt to find the fastest way to your destination, and realize that you can take a shortcut by turning into a narrower road at the next turn ahead. Revving up, you decide to take the shortcut, doing an imaginary drifting move around the curve and swiftly slipping into the alley, only to find yourself caught in an immense jam of nearly a dozen buses lined up on that single lane. What the f#@%?!

Turns out, some inconsiderate hog parked his car in the middle of the road, just so he could get some takeout. Seriously?

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This adorable hopping hairball will steal your heart

This adorable hopping hairball will steal your heart

Would you believe that at the center of this massive hairball is a little life form?

I promise you it’s not a tribble or some other alien creature, so put away the laser guns and take a closer look! There’s a tiny nose and mouth peeking through that impressive amount of fluff, and it belongs to one of an adorable breed of ultra-soft bunnies.

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