Meet the unforgettable teachers at quite possibly the coolest cram school ever

Meet the unforgettable teachers at quite possibly the coolest cram school ever

You’ve probably heard stories about the horrors of Japanese juku, otherwise known as cram schools, where children go after an already grueling day at regular school to receive even more academic instruction in specific subject areas. Most students attend these costly schools in the hopes of gaining even a few extra points on their high school or university entrance examinations, whether it’s by their own volition or because they’re being forced to go by their parents. So unless you’re someone who genuinely enjoys the process of studying, you can see why just the thought of juku conjures up dread in so many Japanese students.

Determined to dispel the image of cram schools as torture chambers for weary students who would much rather be watching TV or playing video games in the evening, one such juku has decided to take a completely different approach in the way that it attracts students to its classes. And after seeing the following pictures, you might just be convinced to go back to class yourself!

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Civil servant suing Fukuoka over employee drinking ban, asking for one yen in compensation

Civil servant suing Fukuoka over employee drinking ban, asking for one yen in compensation

In Japan, work comes first. For most people, their professional life takes priority over their family, romantic, and personal lives, with long hours and short vacations being the norm.

Given that environment, it’s no surprise that after their shift ends, many people want to stop off at a bar for a cold beer to wash the taste of work out of their mouth. For a one-month period, though, that wasn’t an option for civil servants in Fukuoka City, due to a temporary ban on drinking outside their homes. Obviously, this wasn’t a popular rule among workers, and one man was so upset he’s now suing the city, asking for a single yen in compensation.

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Pins, wire and crosses: How China’s military police prepare for parades

Pins, wire and crosses: How China’s military police prepare for parades

Becoming a member of any strictly regimented group or organisation requires tremendous discipline. In order to make the cut in the armed services or police, one must be prepared to dedicate themselves entirely and cast off any prior notions of entitlement or superiority. Each and every rookie is equal, and must be moulded into the exact same shape by their instructors.

Some, it would seem, more than others.

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Beautiful Toms: The manliest ladies in Thailand

Beautiful Toms: The manliest ladies in Thailand

Human sexuality can get pretty complicated–which is awesome if you ask us! We think it’s pretty great that more and more people have found the freedom to be themselves and express their (consensual) desires in a positive way.

And when it comes to complex sexuality, it seems that Thailand may be one of the most diverse places on the planet. While you may have any number of ideas about what sexuality is like in Thailand, we’re guessing you’re not familiar with Toms or Dees…

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Japanese tennis player Nishikori Kei lands himself on a cup of instant noodles

Japanese tennis player Nishikori Kei lands himself on a cup of instant noodles

Runner up in this year’s US Open, Kei Nishikori, is Japan’s golden boy at the moment. As the first male player from an Asian country to reach a Grand Slam singles final, Nishikori is not only a hero in the eyes of Japan as a whole, but of his hometown of Shimane, “Japan’s least popular prefecture.”

Much like successful athletes in the US can look forward to seeing their face on a box of Wheaties cereal, Kei Nishikori can now smile knowing that he’s reached the top of his career as a Japanese athlete by landing his likeness on a styrofoam container of Cup Noodle.

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Miyazaki speaks out about his political views and Japanese politics

Miyazaki speaks out about his political views and Japanese politics

The Asia-Pacific Journal‘s Asato Ikeda recently transcribed an illuminating interview with famed director Hayao Miyazaki originally printed in Studio Ghibli‘s monthly Neppu magazine.

In it, Miyazaki delves deep into his life, talking about his childhood thoughts on war, his feelings on Japan and its warpolicies,his father, current politics, and the Abe administration.

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Japanese high schooler fails driver’s license test 20 times, tries to hire someone else to take it for him

Japanese high schooler fails driver’s license test 20 times, tries to hire someone else to take it for him

How far would you go to pass a test? At all points in our life, tests determine whether we succeed or fail with little remorse for how much grueling effort actually went into studying for it. One test in Japan is extremely taxing and foreigners and Japanese alike shudder at even the thought of taking it. We are talking about the Japanese driver’s license test and one first year high school student from Fukuoka who had failed the written portion 20 times, finally resorted to cheating in order to try and pass it.

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M5.6 earthquake in Tokyo brings some weird photos to Twitter

M5.6 earthquake in Tokyo brings some weird photos to Twitter

Japan is no stranger to earthquakes, meaning every time one occurs, the Japanese Twittersphere is bombarded with photos of the aftermath. There have been some major quakes that were no laughing matter, but usually, the tremors that occur result in nothing more than otaku griping about their toy…sorry, action figure collections getting knocked off the shelves. Japan’s most recent earthquake was centered around Ibaraki Prefecture and came in at a somewhat calm M5.6, delivering a few more photos of fallen treasures. From toppled heads to teetering TP, let’s take a look at some of the most popular photos taken after the earthquake. 

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Samsung is making its own hour-long sitcom starring a fictional employee

Samsung is making its own hour-long sitcom starring a fictional employee

Samsung is working on its own sitcom that will center on a fictional employee, which will be released via YouTube and social media, ZDNet Korea reports.

The series, which will be called “Best Future,” will be written to portray a “young Samsung” that people in their 20s and 30s would want to work for, the reports says.

Samsung is taking the name of the series quite literally. The main character, a woman who works at Samsung in the series, will be named Mirae, which ZDNet Korea said means “future” in Korean. The male lead, who shares a boarding house with Mirae, will be named Chaego which means “best” in Korean.

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Cute cat bank collects coins, makes fiscal responsibility adorable 【Videos】

Cute cat bank collects coins, makes fiscal responsibility adorable 【Videos】

With money in Japan, the smallest denomination of bill is 1,000 yen (US $9.35), which means that you often end up having a ton of change in your pocket. With awesome vending machines on seemingly every corner, there’s an ever-present temptation to blow piles of coinage on canned drinks, especially now that some come with prizes.

Still, if you’ve got the willpower to make it home with a few coins left, you can treat yourself to a little reward if you also happen to have one of these awesomely cute motorized cat coin banks.

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Yokohama Beer Fes 2014 serves up Japanese craft beer from around the country【Photos】

Yokohama Beer Fes 2014 serves up Japanese craft beer from around the country【Photos】

Sake is Japan’s most famous alcoholic beverage, although technically this Japanese word simply means ‘alcohol’ and is used to refer to all varieties of the liquid. Within Japan you’ll most commonly hear ‘nihonshu’ and ‘shochu’ used to describe the two main types of traditional alcohol. However, nowadays it’s actually beer that’s the go-to drink in Japan, and while the big corporations still account for most of it, locally-brewed craft beer has seen a surge in popularity in recent years. And it’s not just for hipsters anymore.

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Toyota owner goes crazy with new driver marks, earns a little extra lane space on the road

Toyota owner goes crazy with new driver marks, earns a little extra lane space on the road

Japan has a couple of unique automotive regulations. For example, every other year cars have to undergo an extensive inspection to make sure they’re being properly maintained and haven’t been illegally modified (although you can get away with some pretty interesting modifications in the 24 months between checks). You have to make a full stop at all railroad crossings, regardless of whether or not there’s a train coming.

For new drivers, there’s even an additional rule, which states that for their first year on the road, they have to put a large sticker on their car advising surrounding motorists to be extra careful. But while the law states the vehicle must bear two stickers, one on the front and one on the rear, there’s apparently no upper limit, as one proud owner recently demonstrated.

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Recreate a Japanese ofuro in your own bathtub and support traditional craftsmen with Pocket Onsen

Recreate a Japanese ofuro in your own bathtub and support traditional craftsmen with Pocket Onsen

Few countries in the world have embraced bathing to the level that Japan has. Inspired by the many natural hot springs (onsen) found around, designers have continuously developed baths at competing inns (ryokan) and bathhouses (sento) for well over a millennium. The fruits of these labors can still be found today in the incredibly relaxing Japanese tubs often referred to as ofuro.

Iacopo Torrini is an Italian architect who works with Japanese ofuro craftsmen selling these traditional tubs all over the world. However, as you might imagine, buying handcrafted bathtubs internationally can be a pricey ordeal. Knowing this, Torrini feels he has come up with a way to affordably and accurately recreate the ofuro experience in any tub, which he calls Pocket Onsen.

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N.Y. man’s Japanese T-shirt announces “I am not Sato,” we couldn’t agree more

N.Y. man’s Japanese T-shirt announces “I am not Sato,” we couldn’t agree more

Among RocketNews24’s bilingual writing team, you won’t find a single person who hasn’t, at some point, linguistically crammed their foot in their mouth (personally, I know I’ve gotten my knee and most of my thigh past my pearly whites on at least three separate occasions). So while we can definitely appreciate the humor involved in a strange language screw-up, we know we’re not immune to such things ourselves, and that the rest of the world can weird up its Japanese just as often as Japan stumbles over English.

Case in point: this man spotted napping on the subway in the U.S., who felt the need to inform his fellow passengers who can read Japanese that he is, in fact, not Mr. Sato.

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Rurouni Kitty! Sanrio’s beloved cat cosplays as anime’s iconic swordsman in plushie form

Rurouni Kitty! Sanrio’s beloved cat cosplays as anime’s iconic swordsman in plushie form

Japanese movie-goers are currently enjoying the third live-action Rurouni Kenshin film. The franchise is now a certified two-decade hit, debuting as a manga in 1994 before its 1996 anime adaptation and recent film trilogy, and it owes much of its success to the popularity of main character Himura Kenshin.

What makes Kenshin so compelling is that despite his formidable swordsmanship, he’s portrayed as consistently kindhearted and good-natured. In certain scenes, he comes off as downright cute, but Kenshin has never been quite as adorable as this stuffed animal of Hello Kitty cosplaying as the scarred warrior.

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Horsemeat sushi: For when you’re tired of spicy tuna and California rolls

Horsemeat sushi: For when you’re tired of spicy tuna and California rolls

Although “sushi” is often thought to mean raw fish, that’s not actually what the word means. The name actually refers to vinegared rice, and some varieties of sushi don’t contain any fish at all.

Kappa maki, for example, are rolls of seaweed, rice, and cucumber, while inarizushi is made with rice and fried tofu. On the other end of the spectrum, if you’re in the mood for non-seafood sushi but also don’t want to go vegetarian, you can try horse sushi, like we recently did.

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Weekly magazine “My 3D Printer” will put one in your hands by next year, much assembly required

Weekly magazine “My 3D Printer” will put one in your hands by next year, much assembly required

About a month ago, thousands of subscribers to De Agostini’s model building magazine powered on their fully functional and adorable Robi robots for the first time. These robots came to their hobbyist creators one piece at a time with each issue of the magazine in true De Agostini fashion.

It was a long journey starting in late 2012 until this summer, but with their Robis dancing and chatting away happily many are left with itchy assembly fingers and wondering what they will do next.

Starting today, De Agostini are releasing their next series of part-by-part magazines in which readers can build what may feel is the next major world-changing technology: their own 3D Printer.

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Super Smash Bros for 3DS sells over a million copies in just two days

Super Smash Bros for 3DS sells over a million copies in just two days

You have to hand it to Nintendo. While behemoth publishers like EA and Activision are constantly badmouthed for releasing sequel upon sequel, year after year, the house that made Mario somehow not only still commands tremendous respect from its fans, but, if sales data released earlier today is any indication, manages to make stacks of cash by releasing updated versions of games many of us first started playing more than a decade ago.

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We bicycle around Kitagi, island of goats, pizza and the Vagina Rock【Photos】

We bicycle around Kitagi, island of goats, pizza and the Vagina Rock【Photos】

We’ve introduced RocketNews24 readers to Shiraishi Island and Manabe Island in the Seto Inland Sea before, but today, we’re going to take you on a tour of a sister island in the same group. Sandwiched between Shiraishijima and Manabeshima in Okayama Prefecture’s Kasaoka Island Chain is an island called Kitagishima. It’s the largest island of the group (20km around) and you need transportation to get to the sites. There is no bus service, so if you don’t have your own car or motorcycle, you really can’t see much of Kitagi. Unless, of course, you have a bicycle! Kitagi has it’s own bike path, making it perfect for a two-wheeled day-trip.

Join our bicycling reporter as she takes you on a ride, making all your dreams come true on Kitagi, an island of private beaches, home-made pizza, cute goats, a huge granite vagina (optional). At the end of the article is an original, downloadable English map. Now that’s covering ALL the bases, isn’t it? Okay, let’s go!

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Sweet dreams, MasterCard: People in Japan are putting their wallets to bed in tiny futons

Sweet dreams, MasterCard: People in Japan are putting their wallets to bed in tiny futons

We all have our funny little habits and daily rituals. Some of us don’t feel settled at night unless we’ve put all the dishes away or spoken to our loved ones on the phone. Others can’t head to bed unless they’ve first checked that the front door is locked or whipped the shower curtain open to ensure there isn’t a monster, murderer, or acid-spitting xenomorph in there waiting climb out of the tub after they’ve fallen asleep.

But did you know that some people in Japan are now getting into the habit of putting their wallets to bed before themselves?

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