Ten things we learned at USJ: A muggle’s guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Welcome aboard the Hogwarts Express! Located in Osaka prefecture, this new attraction opened its doors in July of 2014. Thousands of Harry Potter fans have flocked to USJ since its opening, and RocketNews24 is here to provide you with some tips and tricks to make your visit as smooth as possible. Hold onto your wands, and join us as we enter the magical Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

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Transform a sushi mat into a stylish makeup tool organizer in just a few steps!

Sometimes, people are subconsciously bound by their cultural habits and traditions, and fail to see beyond the appearance of things. To the Japanese, a bamboo makisu (sushi mat) is used to make sushi, but in the hands of someone outside of Japan, the traditional culinary item is transformed into something completely unrelated to food. If you’re looking to add some Japanese element into your daily life, read on for the simple DIY instructions to make your own sushi mat brush organizer!

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This set of stairs at Kitakata Station really cares

When it comes to going up and down in life, stairs really seem to be the most inconsiderate. Rather than carrying you along like your friends the escalator or elevator, stairs just seem to lay there without moving an inch to help you.

Even in Japan where politeness is a way of life, the stairs still just sit there waiting for us to do all the heavy lifting. All except a few flights of extremely well-mannered stairs located in Kitakata Station in Fukushima Prefecture. While they don’t physically help you to go up, they do still have power… the power to move you.

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Worried about McDonald’s chicken in Japan? Don’t be! Free McNuggets ease your fears!

This summer, consumers in Japan were shocked by the news of “Chickengate”, the Chinese food scandal that revealed a dirty secret behind our favorite Chicken McNuggets. Since then, McDonald’s Japan has tried to win back customers with Tofu McNuggets, and more recently introduced the “Hiru Mac” or “Lunchtime Mac” to encourage patrons to come for lunch and enjoy great discounted prices.

But, the public still worries about where the chicken is coming from. The sales of McNuggets haven’t recovered since McDonald’s Japan revealed that the chicken comes from Thailand, so they’re trying a new tactic of…giving away free Chicken McNuggets.

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It’s BAAAACK! The Tower Cheeseburger from Lotteria — but for ONE DAY only!

Good news for those of you in Japan who’ve always wanted to see more MEAT in your hamburgers. Yes, the humongous tower of a burger we’ve mentioned several times on our site is back! It’s the Tower Cheeseburger from fast food chain Lotteria! But if you want to get your hands on one of them, you may need to get ready for some quick action, because this time, they’ll be available for just one day!

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Coming face-to-boot with the giant Patlabor statue【Photos】

If I’m being perfectly honest, I’m not a huge giant mech/giant robot fan. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a full episode of Patlabor or Gundam–though it’s not out of spite or anything! There are only so many hours in the day, and I rarely seem to have time to watch giant mechs beating the crap out of each other. Though that sentence is making me question some life choices now…

As such, I’ve always been perplexed by the idea that someone has actually gone out of their way to build enormous statues of the suits. The “why” has always left an itch in the back of my mind–it just doesn’t seem worth, does it? Well, that’s what I thought until I actually came face-to-face (face-to-boot?) with an enormous Patlabor statue. Here are some photos of the giant mech emblazoned with a Japanese police badge and why I actually hope they make more!

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Russian serial daredevils conquer a Hong Kong skyscraper, could Tokyo Skytree be next?【Video】

You might remember the On The Roofs duo from last February when they ventured to trespass and scale the world’s second highest skyscraper, Shanghai Tower. They then uploaded videos for our entertainment – that is, if your idea of entertainment includes watching young guys in imminent danger of falling 632m (2,073-ft) to their death.

The Russian duo of Vadim Makhorov and Vitaliy Raskalov are back again with a new, slightly less nausea-inducing video, “What’s up Hong Kong?” The now renowned rooftop photographers headed a four-man party on their recent visit to Hong Kong, specifically, to the China Online Centre building in the Wan Chai area. But, this time they added a new challenge to their trespassing antics.

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New book teaches you to make grated radish animals: Healthier than latte art, just as cute

Japan’s become pretty enamored with latte art over the past few years, with baristas all over the country creating cute characters in swirls of cream and foam. But what if you’re not a coffee drinker, either because you’re watching your caffeine intake or just because your inner child won’t let you drink anything so bitter? Is there a way for you to set your table with eye-pleasing edibles?

Sure there is! All you need is a pile of grated daikon radish, and this new book that tells you how to craft it into adorable edibles.

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Chinese woman’s catty comeback to Korean colleague gets netizens talking

On October 10 a Chinese woman wrote a post on an internet message board about how she spoke back to a rude Korean colleague, and it soon sparked comments and debate on Korean and Chinese attitudes towards fake goods, and towards each other.

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Election time or erection time? Taiwanese political ad features sexy bicyclist, and that’s about it

Local elections are coming up soon in Taiwan, and one of the positions being contested is Magistrate of Hsinchu County. With more than 500,000 constituents, the title comes with a pretty hefty amount of clout, and challenger Cheng Yung-chin, who occupied the office during the early 2000s, is hoping to reclaim the seat.

So to help boost his campaign, the politician has released a video to show voters the kinds of things he values: tranquility, nature, and shapely, bouncing breasts.

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Frozen fans who can’t ‘let it go’ have something to look forward to in January!

Like the fairy tale fantasies that Disney produces, Frozen‘s development has been nothing short of a “Cinderella” story itself. Languishing in development hell for a very long time, Disney wasn’t about to waste such a promising story like “Anna and the Snow Queen”. Their patience definitely paid off, and the millions of fans around the world are eagerly awaiting what’s next for their new favorite characters. Japanese fans won’t have to wait any longer as Tokyo Disneyland has unveiled a whole host of new Frozen additions to the park embracing the theme of “After Frozen”.

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Pikachu meets the Renaissance in the wacky paintings of Notre Chauvet

Ronald McDonald towers over distraught men and women in floral wreaths, who reach out desperately to touch his glowing, Christ-like figure.

A 17th-century Simon Vouet painting is reimagined with a female figure from a 1960s comic-book, who shields herself from Father Time’s anger as Ned Flanders looks on laughing.

Welcome to the world of Notre Chauvet. Drawing on their training in traditional painting to combine classical elements with figures from pop culture, brothers Jo and Graeme Hagan create brash, dystopian visions that are as colourful as they are dark.

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Neither guilt nor escaped alligator stops Chinese crowd from looting spilled crustacean cargo

You never know what the day’s going to throw at you when you get up in the morning. For example, when a large group of residents of China’s Changsha left their homes last Wednesday, they didn’t know they were just hours away from getting crabs.

Don’t worry, the city hasn’t had a sudden outbreak of pubic lice. Instead, a seafood delivery car spilled its cargo onto the road, creating a swarm of looters who scooped up the animals for themselves.

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Fukuoka’s “Wisteria Tunnel” delights visitors with pretty pastel petals

Anyone who has visited Japan during hanami (cherry blossom viewing) season will definitely agree –  they’ve got some really gorgeous flowers over there. But Japan’s not all sakura, you know! In fact, there’s a veritable cornucopia of beautiful blooms to appreciate at different times of the year. If you’re too impatient for the springtime sakura, you can get a head start by checking out the plum blossoms that start to peek out during the tail-end of winter. And if you’re still not satisfied after feasting your eyes on the sakura itself (or feasting on snacks during hanami, as the case may be), why not plan a summer visit to the “Wisteria Tunnel” located in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture?

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Trending on Twitter, girls draw themselves as dashing high school boys【Photos】

There is something thrilling about finding people who like the same things as you do. You finally get the chance to gush about your passion with people who can match your enthusiasm. And when like-minded people get together, they come up with some weird ways to show their love for their particular fandom.

Take this recent Twitter hashtag. The trend is for girls to post an honest drawing of yourself as a male high school student with some personal information. While a lot of girls are posting some pretty ridiculous drawings re-imagining themselves as high school boys, girls who identify themselves as “fujoshi” have posted some pretty over-the-top renditions.

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Gripping footage of a cat walking backwards on two legs is today’s must-see cat video

In a scene we’re not sure belongs in a Three Ring Circus or a feline-themed sequel to The Exorcist, a Japanese YouTuber managed to film their cat somehow not only walking on two legs – a somewhat rare occurrence compared to dogs – but doing it backwards like it does it all the time.

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We leap into autumn by eating a pack of tempura maple leaves

Earlier this month, we found out that the city of Mino, in Osaka, has been selling tempura maple leaves for at least a hundred years. Since we’ve made it our mission in life to eat everything that can be deep-fried (barring non-food items like deep-fried scissors), we immediately called Hisakuni Kosendo, one Mino’s maple-cooking outfits, and ordered a pack to try for ourselves.

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5 tips for staying healthy while traveling in Japan this winter!

I spent two winter seasons working in the hospital emergency room (as a translator) in Niseko, a popular Hokkaido snow holiday destination for foreigners. While we had our share of broken bones from ski and boarding accidents, what impressed upon me most was the number of people who get ill while on vacation. There were just as many sudden illnesses as snow-related accidents–everything from gastrointestinal disorders to ear infections and first-time asthma attacks which too many times put people in the emergency room.

The good news is that most of these illnesses can be avoided, but different cultures pose different health risks and knowing what to watch out for beforehand can be tricky, if not impossible. In this article, I’ll share some tips on how to stay healthy while traveling in Japan in wintertime, based on my experience working with hundreds of foreigners who ended up in hospital on their vacations.

By following some simple (but not necessarily so obvious) rules, we aim to keep our snow-loving Rocketeers out of Japan’s hospitals and flying down the slopes in all their glory instead!

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China and the US have very different stereotypes for the same cars

The Chinese auto market is a young one, but it is already the world’s biggest, and a key region for the global auto industry.

But to sell cars there, it’s more than a question of translating manuals and opening a few dealerships.

Over the last 30 years, according to the New York Times, the Chinese public has also formed some very strong opinions as to who drives a particular make and model and why — and those views are often at odds with how brands are perceived in the U.S.

For non-Chinese automakers, understanding those perceptions is key to putting more cars on the road.

[An earlier version of this article was written by Alex Davies and Travis Okulski.]

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Denny’s Japan now offering all-you-can-eat pancakes! We’ll take 30!

It’s a fact: the world loves pancakes. That’s why we’re sure those of you who live outside of Japan will be jealous to hear that Denny’s Japan is offering an all-you-can-eat pancake deal that includes a variety of fruit, syrup, and ice cream toppings! The only thing better than this pancake buffet is the Japanese word for pancake: pankeiki. How cute is that?!

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