Yellow Shinken Sentai ranger Suzuka Morita transforms into swimsuit model

Many teenage boys and young men across Japan were probably sitting at the edge of their seats waiting for July 20. That day marked the release of a special DVD featuring photographs of the idol turned TV super-hero Suzuka Morita as she leaves behind her yellow ranger outfit for some skimpy bikinis.

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Samurai cats look awesome, teach us about Japanese history and culture at the same time

Over the years here at RocketNews24, we’ve brought you news of cats in kimonos, kittens in coffees and sushi cats that fly through the air. So as soon as we stumbled upon a collection of mighty samurai cats being awesome, we knew it was our duty to bring them to everyone’s attention.

These warrior felines wrestle with giant fish and ride on tigers but they also teach us a thing or two about history and pop culture in Japan. Can you guess what famous Japanese movie inspired the group of cats in the image above?

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Japanese reporter interviews college students to find out why anyone would study Japanese

Why do we love Japan so much? What drives us to obsess over its culture, language, food, and everything else? Why do we keep coming back day after day to read articles about a country that, for many of us, is on the other side of the planet? For some the answer is easy, but for others, not so much.

One group for whom foreigners’ love of Japan is especially difficult to comprehend is the Japanese people themselves. Many of them have no idea why so many of us would bother to take an interest in Japan, much less learn its intimidating language. In an effort to try to figure this out, one of our RocketNews24 Japanese writers who lives in England did some investigate journalism and interviewed three students studying Japanese at the University of Cambridge.

Do their reasons for loving Japan match yours? Read on to find out!

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The surprisingly classy secret of where Godzilla’s roar comes from

Awesome as Godzilla may be, in most of his best-loved appearances it’s pretty easy to tell that the world’s most famous kaiju is being portrayed by a guy in a rubber suit. What’s less obvious, though, is how the creature’s unmistakable roar was created, and it turns out there’s actually a rather high-brow origin to the King of the Monsters’ signature sound effect.

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How to get your anime-loving kids to come home before curfew: Attack their posters

Being a good parent is a constant balancing act. Kids need a chance to prove that they can be responsible and independent, but it’s also important to set boundaries for them, which is why children have curfews.

Of course, there’s no point in putting rules in place without consequences for breaking them. One Japanese Twitter user was recently disappointed by her anime-loving daughter staying out past curfew, and decided to compel her to come home ASAP by placing the punishment where she knew it would hurt most: the posters of her daughter’s favorite animated heartthrob.

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Thai celebrities join in as “Don’t Judge Challenge” takes a turn in the opposite direction

Oh, the Internet and its hours of mindless entertainment and controversy. The latest trend, hitting all the main photo and video sharing networks, has been the “Don’t Judge Challenge.” While it all started with a positive, self-esteem raising message, it’s turned into something that is quite the contrary. Some Thai celebrities have started joining in on the “challenge”, but not everyone is happy about it.

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Mr. Sato discovers the band of his dreams: this small box

Hardcore readers of RocketNews24 may have caught the very few instances where Mr. Sato has pulled out a guitar and started playing. It’s easy to miss, though, as Mr. Sato is what’s known as a bochi gitarisuto (lonely guitarist) who plays alone at home solely for his own satisfaction.

But now our reporter is all too eager to show of his guitar stylings after discovering the Trio Band Creator by DigiTech. It looks just like a normal effects pedal but actually adds an automatic bass and drum accompaniment based on your own playing.

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Want to see a katana being made from scratch? Of course you do!【Video】

Statistically speaking, we’re going to guess that a few of our readers have a soft spot for katanas. In fact, if we were to really go out on a limb, we’d say a whole bunch of you probably like the swords — and with good reason. They’re just really freaking cool! Now, we’re not going to objectively state that katanas are the coolest swords ever, mostly because some of the people who disagree probably have access to swords. But we think they’re pretty darn nifty, especially when they’re made out of meteorites.

Of course, we’re not the only ones who love old samurai swords. Director Quentin Tarantino, for example, seems to have a strong affection for them, if Kill Bill is any indication. So, it’s probably only logical that the most recent episode of Men at Arms: Reforged features a group of swordsmiths creating a Hattori Hanzō katana. To watch the process from ore to sword, check out the video below!

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Chinese tourist in Taiwan does some post-hot spring shopping dressed in just a towel 【Video】

At any time of year, a nice, long soak in a hot spring will leave your muscles relaxed and your skin feeling smooth. It’ll also leave your body feeling hotter than normal for some time after you get out, though, and while that’s part of the appeal in the winter, in the summer it’s just an unpleasant side effect of bathing in geothermally heated water.

That’s why in some parts of Japan that are famous for their hot springs you’ll see travelers walking around town wearing the thin, cotton kimono provided by their hotels as they take in the sites after a bath. A Chinese tourist at a hot spring resort in Taiwan seems to have had a similar idea, except he was apparently much more concerned with cooling down than staying covered up, as he decided do a little shopping wearing nothing but a towel.

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Want to be a manga artist, but can’t draw backgrounds? Website has environments you can download

If you’re a budding manga creator, odds are you spend most of your time working on your character artwork. That’s probably a wise choice, too, as most famous comic artists focus on drawing their stories’ leads, and hand off work on other details, such as background art, to a team of assistants.

Of course, another reality of being a budding manga artist is that you probably don’t have a publisher bankrolling your comic and paying for the abovementioned team of assistants. But thankfully there’s now a way for you to pour your efforts into story and character art and still produce something that looks polished, thanks to a new Japanese website that sells ready-to-use manga backgrounds.

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Japanese Ghibli fan spends four years perfectly recreating Castle in the Sky in Minecraft 【Video】

We’ve featured a lot of incredible Minecraft creations before here on RocketNews24. There have been video games, entire cities, and whole countries, but never before have we seen an entire world.

Japanese Minecraft player Mocchi Hajikura recreated the entire world of the Studio Ghibli film Castle in the Sky… taking an incredible four years in order to complete it. You can see his creation via some spectacular videos that he’s created, making it feel like you’re really there.

Hardcore fans of the film, prepare to cry blocky, 3-D tears of joy.

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Japanese Twitter users can’t help but respond to suggestive-looking starfish with crude humor

It’s hard being an adult sometimes. Once you become a grown-up, the world starts expecting you to possess a certain level of maturity, which includes things like powering through your Aunt Virginia’s special turnip casserole without gagging, not engaging your Uncle Ted about his uninformed political views on Facebook, or trying not to turn everything you see or hear into something sexually suggestive.

But there are some situations where the lattermost just can’t be avoided. Like when Japanese Twitter user Kojiro decided to take a trip to his local aquarium and came across this curious-looking starfish that, no matter how you look at it, looks like a certain part of the male anatomy. Well, to some dirty-minded folk anyway…

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Sweet frog hat-wearing pup is a totally edible yuru-kyara available from one place in Japan only

Yuru-kyara, or regional promotional mascots, are so ubiquitous in Japan it can sometimes be hard to recall which one’s which, where they’re from, or even what type of brand or product they’re promoting.

Over 1,000 mascots represent different regions in Japan, which means the need to leave a lasting impression is a constant driving force in the creation of cute products like the sweet puppy above. Can you guess which region he represents and the even more unusual place where he can be found?

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Would you eat a pig-shaped fried pork cutlet?

Japan is known around the world for its immaculately presented cuisine. So when this photo appeared on Twitter a couple of days ago, people were instantly shocked and confused.

Could this be a new dish from a little-known restaurant out in the deep reaches of the countryside? Or could it be a hoax; the result of some fiddling on Photoshop to add a pig’s head and trotters to an everyday piece of fried pork cutlet?

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It’s a Beach Day miracle as even landlocked Japan swears it can smell the sea

Japan may have an image as an all-work and no-play sort of place, but you’ve got to give the country credit for coming up with Umi no Hi. Observed on the third Monday of July, Umi no Hi literally means “Ocean Day,” but “Marine Day” and “Beach Day” would also be acceptable translations. It’s a national holiday expressly created to give everyone a day off to go have fun at the beach, and it just might be the greatest socially accepted reason ever for blowing off work.

This year, Japan got so into the spirit of the holiday that even people in prefectures with no coastline swore they could smell the sea. But was this just a summery olfactory hallucination, or a legitimate Umi no Hi miracle?

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Japanese government recognizes equal salon rights, men now “permitted” to get haircuts in them

A huge victory in the metrosexual rights movement was made last week when the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare decided to abolish a guideline which stated that “men should not be able to get haircuts at beauty salons.”

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New fried take on Yoshinoya’s original beef bowl really hits the spot! 【Recipe】

For those looking for a quick and cheap meal in Japan, beef bowls, or gyudon, from fast food chains like Yoshinoya are a great option for both your stomach and your wallet. While in the past we’ve shown you how to make your own Yoshinoya-style beef bowl, odds are if you’re a regular patron of the famous chain or others like it, you probably aren’t that handy in the kitchen.

Still, every now and then people like a change of pace, or they find themselves trying to impress guests with a home-cooked meal. Luckily we have a fried Yoshinoya beef bowl recipe that fits that bill, and best of all it doesn’t require much of your effort or time, granted you have a Yoshinoya nearby.

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Is super-salty Tokyo ramen too much umami for foreign tastes? 【Video】

Ramen is the ultimate Japanese hunger-busting food. With its combination of greasy, fatty soup combined with carb-heavy noodles, it’s the perfect meal for when you’re REALLY hungry in Tokyo (or just really hungover.) But that doesn’t mean that this taste is for everyone. In fact, there’re probably a lot of people out there who just can’t handle that heavy hit of garlicky, salty grease.

Our Japan Wish competition winner Ashley mentioned in her winning video entry that she really wanted to get a taste of Tokyo ramen. We accompanied her to Ramen Jiro to watch as her tastebuds tangled with the pungent umami of a bowl of their finest slurping fare. Unfortunately, Ashley soon realised that the reality of the truly salty ramen might be a little hard to swallow – along with the actual ramen itself! Check out our video report!

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Better than mosquito repellent – The most eco-friendly (and spiritual) way to repel pests in Japan

There’s no need to use toxic substances to kill off unwanted insects in Japan, because there’s a much more eco-friendly method they’ve been using for hundreds of years. Although it may not be scientifically proven, many people feel this is still the best way to get rid of everything from garden aphids to mosquitoes. And if the method has endured for centuries, it must be at least somewhat effective right?

This uniquely Japanese insect repellent is far cheaper than commercial insecticides, easier to implement, and you only have to use it once a year in spring or early summer. And the best part? It involves Japanese sake!

What’s the secret? We’ll let you know after the jump.

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When East meets West: Rice omelet sushi available for a limited time at Sushiro

If you’re looking to try a popular type of washoku, or traditional Japanese food, while in Japan, sushi would be at the top of the list for many. If you wanted to try some authentic yoshoku, or Western-style Japanese cuisine, omurice, a parcel of rice wrapped in an omelette skin and topped with tomato sauce, would be one of the firm recommendations.

Now both of these star players have finally come together as part of a brand new menu from popular revolving sushi chain Sushiro. This unique Omurice Sushi is dainty, delicious and it retails for only 108 yen!

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