It’s almost Christmas! Time to buy a sexy, freaky, or inexplicable costume!【Photos】

Bells are jingling, gift lists are daunting, and snow is…not falling in Tokyo. That can mean only one thing: Christmas, Japan’s favorite romantic holiday, is almost here! While your crazy uncle might tell you that Christmas is apparently under siege in some parts of the world, the only holiday worry you’ll find in Japan is getting the right present for your girlfriend.

But don’t be fooled by all the lovers roaming the streets and tormenting lonely single folks, it’s not all romance. There’s more to the season that kissing atop Tokyo Tower–there are also parties and cosplay! Join us after the jump to check out some of the typical outfit offerings on sale in Japan this Christmas.

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Smartphone game turns mushrooms into cute anime girls, still gives foreigners wacky accents

There aren’t many foods I hate more than mushrooms. I’ve got issues with both their taste and texture, and, to my eyes, they just look kind of gross, no matter which variety we’re talking about.

But while I don’t think I’ll ever completely come around on the idea of eating fungi, it’s nice to at least have a different visual image for them, thanks to a new smartphone game that’s turned a half-dozen types of mushrooms into cute anime girls.

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‘Parasyte’ opening gets re-animated in the style of the original manga【Video】

When the anime adaptation of early-nineties horror manga Parasyte hit the small screen in Japan this year, the contrast between the artwork of the original manga by Hitoshi Iwaaki and the updated new-style character designs of the anime left some fans disappointed.

Inspired perhaps by this same sentiment, Niconico user kurobaru has hand-drawn the opening sequence of Parasyte -the maxim-, staying as close to Iwaaki’s original old-school manga style as possible. Join us after the jump for a look at how it turned out!

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Sony to co-produce door locks which can be opened entirely by smartphone

The list of things you can’t do with a smartphone grows smaller and smaller as time marches on, and one more thing to cross off that list is coming in May next year. A new device is scheduled to hit the market which will allow you to open your front door using your mobile device and a special app. Called Qrio Smart Lock, its crowdfunding page boasts that you can “protect your privacy with Sony security technology.”

…Yeah. The Qrio Smart Lock will sell for 10,500 yen (US$90) and if the buzz online is any indication, people couldn’t be more terrified at its arrival.

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Stylish pup walks the street in China, rocks full outfit complete with hat and backpack 【Video】

Despite its questionable ethics, there are plenty of people who just love seeing animals wearing cute costumes in public. Whether it’s tiny, dapper meerkats or Shih-Tzus dressed as teddy bears, there’s seemingly no end to the crazy outfits some pet owners dream up. Blowing recent efforts out of the water, however, is this confident, sassy doggie from China which was caught on video strutting its stuff in public wearing a full “human” outfit and even wearing a fake backpack.

Prepare for another one of those “cute or creepy?” moments that the internet does so well.

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Enter the double! This is “Afghan Bruce Lee”, and he’s a high-kicking sensation【Pictures】

A 20-year-old Afghan man is being described as “the reincarnation of Bruce Lee” after photos and videos of him striking iconic poses and wielding nunchucks were posted online.

Abbas Alizada, who goes by the name of Afghan Bruce Lee due to his striking resemblance to the star, hopes to show another side to his war-torn country. “The only news that comes from Afghanistan is about war,” he said in a recent interview.

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We eat the Resident Evil curry, discover it’s very tasty, not at all itchy 【Taste test】

It might be hard to imagine, what the guns-blazing nature of its live-action film adaptations and later video game sequels, but the original PlayStation Biohazard, retitled Resident Evil for its overseas release, was remarkably stingy with its weapons and ammo. Having to make the most of every bullet meant waiting until enemies were as close as possible before deciding whether or not to fire, but being a fraction of a second too late let the game’s powerful zombies tear into your tasty human flesh.

As such, smart players always kept a green healing herb on themselves, to help fill up their life meter. Now, survival horror fans can use green herbs to fill up their stomachs, as Biohazard curry is now on sale in Japan. Curious to know whether a dish based on a game featuring flesh-eating monsters could ever be truly tasty, we grabbed a pack for ourselves.

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Izumo’s Starbucks, a stone’s throw away from the gathering place of Shinto’s eight million gods

Shintoism has such a large pantheon of gods that the religion even has a structured way in which they all keep in touch with each other. Every October, the deities enshrined across the nation are said to gather in Shimane Prefecture’s Izumo Taisha Shrine, where they convene for their annual divine meeting.

We imagine it’s a busy conference, considering that some eight million deities are thought to attend. So we’re sure several of them were happy to find Izumo City now has a Starbucks, with the same tasty beverages the chain serves all over Japan, but with Japanese décor that’s unique to Izumo.

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Bizarre otaku dancing catches on as Wotagei spreads around the world【Videos】

Wotagei, Japan’s unusual form of otaku dancing, is spreading across the seas and capturing the hearts of foreign idol and anime fans, causing them to contort their bodies in strange but rhythmic formations. Read on for more about this unique performance art and watch some videos of afficionados in action.

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The double-cheese-mayonnaise-melon-bread is a mouthful in more ways than one

When the humbly named “World’s Second-Most Delicious Ice Cream Melon Bread” bakery in Kanazawa blessed the world with its ice cream-filled melon bread this past year, it was a massive hit. The creamy fusion was so popular that its makers opened up another shop in Shibuya in July so that even more people could fall in love with the creamy lumps of guilty goodness.

If you thought the bakery was satisfied with giving customers just one new way to enjoy melon bread, though, think again. They’ve recently put out a new, more mysterious item dubbed the double-cheese-mayonnaise-melon-bread.

What on earth could it possibly taste like? And what does its absurdly long name even mean? We went to find out for ourselves.

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Sayonara, spuds! McDonald’s Japan halts sales of medium and large orders of French fries

I’m heading back to the U.S. for a couple of days at the end of the year, and as much as I love Japan, it’ll be nice to spend some time doing things I can’t here. Aside from seeing family and friends, I’m looking forward to watching a college bowl game or two, plus soaking up some warm January sunshine, which tends to be much more plentiful in California than Kanagawa Prefecture.

And as long as I’m making a list of things you can’t do in Japan, I should probably add getting a large batch of French fries at McDonald’s, since, for the time being, the chain will only be selling small sizes of spuds in Japan.

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All the smartphone accessories you’ll ever need – only 100 yen each!

With the fierce competition in the 100-yen market, it is no wonder that discount chain stores in Japan are leveling up their game with more variety and more attractive products, all for the same cheap price of 100 yen (under US$1). That said, we were still pleasantly surprised when we came across this amazing list of all the accessories you can get for your smartphone for just 100 yen each – even things Apple officially retails at nearly 20 times the price!

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Artist creates stunning Chinese-style paintings using cosmetics

“Red” Hong Yi is a Malaysian artist-architect who creates brilliant and unconventional works of art. Known as “the artist who loves to paint, but not with a paintbrush,” she uses mascara, foundation, and other cosmetics to give rise to misty mountainsides, vibrant fire crackers, and shimmering ponds.

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Fans vote for series with the most unfashionable everyday clothing

The world of anime and manga has plenty of noteworthy costumes, from battle armorto team jerseys and school uniforms galore. But sometimes when the characters are just hanging out with their friends in everyday clothing, or gracing the covers of CDs and promo posters, their wardrobe choices aren’t so fashionable.

Japanese portal site Goo asked its readers which anime series had the un-coolest everyday clothing.

Here’s the top ten:

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Korean illustrator gives Western fairy tales a whimsical Eastern makeover【Pics】

It’s been a year since the release of the mega hit animation Frozen, but as much as some of us can’t wait for it to fade into the shadows, the icy queen and her Frozen empire are still staying put in the spotlight, as if the movie had only been released last month.

We previously saw Elsa and Anna looking glam in some beautiful Chinese dresses. Bet you’re not surprised that we found her donning a Korean hanbok this time! Some of you might be thinking, “RocketNews24 is writing about Frozen AGAIN”, but don’t roll your eyes just yet, because Elsa is just one of the many stunning East-West fusion pieces that Korean illustrator Na Young Wu has created. Check out her other Western fairy tale interpretations after the jump!

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Giant disembodied head of middle-aged man spotted floating over Tochigi Prefecture

Residents of Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture were baffled last weekend by the appearance of an Unidentified Floating Object drifting serenely across the blue skies of their fair city. Initial reports spoke of a “gigantic head” with “the face of a middle-aged man.” So, what’s the story here? Is this a case of mass hysteria? Did a really ugly UFO really appear over Tochigi prefecture? Or is there a rational explanation for this baffling apparition? Join us after the jump for close-up pictures of the floating monstrosity, as well as the real reason why it took to the skies to frighten residents on a sunny Saturday afternoon!

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Japanese university English teacher fights student misbehaviour with eccentric new rulebook

“All students must play with their cellphones constantly for 90 minutes” and “Any student bringing the appropriate textbook will be removed from the classroom” were among the new rules announced in a Japanese university English class last week as one lecturer attempted to tackle lazy, inattentive students who text in class and forget homework. The beleaguered teacher distributed her new anti-manifesto for classroom behaviour along with a gloriously bizarre expletive-laden worksheet, both of which were posted by a student on Twitter with the caption “Sensei finally cracked”.

I did say expletive-laden. So if you’re reading this in class, make sure your teacher doesn’t catch you reading the swear words.

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Japan is home to the cutest bug in the world, but they’re on the verge of extinction

Yes, you read that right: A cute bug! Well, that is up to debate, but it is definitely not as a gross as other bugs, like that hand-sized spider I had in my house that one time…

Because of the way they hover and their fuzzy bodies, these cute little fellas kind of look like a cross between a hummingbird and a bee. Their long mouth/noses resemble those of a nasty mosquito, but the fact that they are barely 10mm long (approximately the length of the first part of your pinkie finger) and harmless pollinators make them really people-friendly. Join us after the jump as we meet arguably the world’s most affable insect: the Tiger Bee Fly.

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The last we heard from local hero and generally awesome person Ladybeard, he was promoting English classes from a language school in conjunction with the always pleasant and surprisingly proficient-English-speaker Sailor Suit Old Man. Since then, it seems Ladybeard has seriously upped his fashion game, currently sporting the much-talked about boob window shirt that has taken Japanese social media by storm.

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Pooch’s attempt to get out of bathtime involves oddly slow, amazingly cute doggy paddle【GIF】

It seems like it’s not just humans, but every member of the animal kingdom in Japan that loves a nice, relaxing bath. Hot spring-loving monkeys have been attracting tourists to Japan’s rural onsen for decades, and capybaras’ bathtime privacy is also a thing of the past.

But that doesn’t mean all of Japan’s creatures are down for a dip in the tub, though, as this adorable pooch looks like he’s ready to make a break for it, even if it comes at the price of getting his paws wet.

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