Fraudsters in China set up entirely fake bank, scam millions out of unsuspecting customers

Most people like to think that they’re wise to scams and cons, particularly financial ones, and would never be stupid enough to fall for one. But even the most suspicious of us could have been caught out by this intricate scheme which involved setting up a whole physical bank complete with ATMs and staff to make it seem completely legit.

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Happy Twintail Day! Now ask out that girl you’ve got a crush on, say Japanese fans of the hairdo

Now that we’re into February, shy men across Japan are out of excuses not to ask out the girl they’ve got a crush on. This month includes a special day with its own framework that allows guys to express their feelings with an established method that leaves no doubt about their affections.

Of course, we’re not talking about Valentine’s Day, because in Japan, women give gifts to men on February 14. No, we’re talking about Twintail Day, observed on February 2, which not only celebrates the dual-tail hairstyle, but also seeks to strengthen the bonds between young lovers and established couples alike.

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Put broken flowerpots to use by creating your very own miniature Laputa world

Fairy gardens, as they’re sometimes called, are a creative way to make use of any broken flowerpots you have lying around. Add a few plants, some minuscule stairs, and a piece or two of doll house furniture, and you’ve got an attractive yet practical miniature home for any magical friends residing in your neighborhood.

One Japanese website caught wind of some fairy garden pictures posted online by different people, and is currently touting them as miniature “Laputa worlds,” after the floating island found in the eponymous 1986 Studio Ghibli film. At first we were a bit skeptical, but upon further inspection, the site actually has a point!

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New sushi snowglobe looks good enough to eat…minus the sparkles

Ikura gunkan-maki has always looked like a jewel-encrusted circle of seaweed to me. The beautiful, almost neon-orange spheres look so inviting as they sit glistening atop their bed of rice. But as dazzling as this traditional fare is, whenever I actually eat ikura gunkan-maki, I’m never able to get past the sensation of dozens of salmon eggs popping as I chewed. That’s why I’m very much excited for these sushi snow globes that afford an endless view of this deceptive dish.

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Snow?! Uta no Prince-sama fans don’t care about no snow! (Or sleeping, apparently)

Though it’s not official, we’re starting to think that Japan’s national sport is waiting in line. The colder the day and the longer you stand around shivering, the more points you seem to get. Hey, it’s a lot less violent than, say, sportsball, so we’re not criticizing.

And the most recent line-waiting competition took place this Friday–just in time for the first snow of 2015 in the Tokyo/Yokohama area! We think that’s like a kicking a three-pointer in baseball or something. But who or what were these hundreds of people waiting for in the middle of the snow outside Yokohama Arena?

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Make your mark: Personalize gift bags, notebooks and more with free Muji stamp station

Here in Japan, most shops will do gift wrapping for free. It’s a very thoughtful and convenient service, but although they usually do a very nice job of it, it lacks a certain personal touch.

Popular lifestyle goods shop Muji may have the answer: gift bags that you can customize with a set of free and easy-to-use stamps. And the fun doesn’t stop there. Let’s take a look!

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What’s this pink fluff in my beer?! Top 10 exotic beers you can find in South Korea

Leave it to the Koreans to come up with innovative and sometimes bizarre food and beverage combinations. Have you tried the whipped cream and beer combination that we introduced previously? If that hit the spot for you, there’s more where that came from, so read on and find your next drinking experiment!

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Science just proved you can unboil an egg, but what about a reversed boiled egg?

Making news headlines around the globe, scientists were able to unboil a boiled egg. That’s pretty awesome for science, but what does that mean for us, the everyday eaters? Not a whole lot at the moment, but here is another trick with an egg you can do right in your own home. All you need is an egg, a stocking, and some household items and you can enjoy a reverse hard-boiled egg!

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Lindt Japan brings spring to their shops with beautiful pink sakura drinks and macarons!

We may be in the middle of a cold winter in Japan, with Tokyo even seeing some light snow last Friday, but things are definitely starting to look bright and spring-like at Lindt stores here! Yes, early spring for us is the time for cherry blossoms, or sakura, and while spring hasn’t quite yet arrived, international chocolate maker Lindt has announced two new sakura-themed items to be sold at their cafes here in Japan. And as you might well expect,  the sakura treats look pink, sweet and utterly gorgeous!

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7-Eleven’s self-serve coffee machine seriously insults customers’ intelligence

How complicated can a cup of self-serve coffee be? Well, it depends who’s making it. Sometimes little kids and tech-phobic older folks might benefit from a little extra guidance, but your average coffee drinker isn’t too likely to get themselves into too much trouble when using a conbini coffee machine.

So it’s understandable that some people were, quite frankly, shocked and insulted by the plethora of “helpful” stickers plastered all over this 7-Eleven coffee machine. Who knew brewing a cup of machine-made joe required so many complicated steps?

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Asia’s most notorious gangs: an ever-present power

A criminal organization’s activities vary depending on where they are in the world but all such groups use bribery, violence and fear to achieve their goals. The growing threat of gangs in Asia is partly due to their booming economies that attract criminals with the prospects of taking a cut of the wealth. Globalization is further helping these gangs to spread their activities, making it easier to smuggle everything from weapons and drugs to people and exotic animals across borders. Money laundering, counterfeiting and document forgery are even easier when a group has a presence in multiple countries. Sound like Armageddon? Read on.

In this article, we look at mob activity in Japan, China and Indonesia and the threats they pose to the public as well as to tourists. We also delve into what experts think the future holds for transnational gang activity. Just a warning: things ain’t lookin’ pretty.

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The internet can’t figure out why the snow melted in this pattern – Can you?

Take a look at the photo above. Yes, I know it’s just a picture of some melting snow, but take a closer look. Notice anything strange about it?

There’s only snow remaining on every other square tile. It’s melted into a snowy checkerboard, and no one has any idea why. There are no heaters or sewers or anything involved here, just good old-fashioned science, and some hypotheses are more science-y than others.

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Tuna born from mackerel: Japanese scientists develop surrogate tech to save threatened species

Last November the sushi world was struck with some bitter news: the Pacific bluefin tuna was placed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources’ (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. While not considered endangered like its close relatives, the Atlantic and Southern bluefin tuna, it has been proclaimed as a vulnerable species.

Bluefin tuna is considered the best of the best, its tender red meat is coveted by sushi chefs and sushi consumers alike. But what will happen if the Pacific bluefin becomes extinct? Foreseeing a future of sushi connoisseurs being forced to eat tuna-shaped cakes or playing with tuna models to try to get their bluefin fix, scientists have come up with a radical new idea: use mackerel to breed bluefin tuna. 

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Blast your own Kamehameha at the “Let’s fire a Kamehamaha Martial Arts Tournament” event!

Even if you’re not a Dragon Ball fan, many of you probably have heard of the awesome power of the Kamehameha, the trademark attack technique used by some of the characters in the series, including our beloved hero, Goku. Well, if you’ve ever fantasized about being able to blast a Kamehameha of your own, you may get your chance this month, right in Tokyo!

We’re talking about the special promotion “Let’s Fire a Kamehameha Martial Arts Tournament (Utoze! Kamehameha! Budokai)” that will take place in Shibuya for four days starting later this week. Yes, you’ll get to blast a Kamehameha, and even see a video of  yourself firing the legendary energy attack online!

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“Underwater Knee-High Girls” goes to Taiwan!  Exhibition including new “Yuri” photos to be held

As we mentioned in our past article, with its ever-increasing popularity the Underwater Knee-High Girls Plus exhibition celebrated its launch on October 24 at PATER’S Shop and Gallery in Harajuku. The underwater knee-high shots have proved hugely popular online both at home and abroad, so we know that many of you will be excited to hear that an overseas exhibition has been announced!

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Yoro shisetsu: Japan’s progressive joint care centers where kids and seniors interact

Not so long ago, the norm in Japanese society was for the husband to work and the mother to stay at home to take care of the children. After retirement, should the couple become too old to care for themselves, they would generally move in with their youngest son, whose wife would take on the responsibility of looking after them along with her own children.

These days, though, families are getting smaller, and more mothers are working outside the home. As such, the numbers of both senior centers and daycare providers are on the rise. But rather than keep their two groups of charges separate, some facilities are giving them opportunities to mingle in something called yoro shisetsu, institutions where the very young and elderly interact and share experiences that let them both see that the beauty of life has neither a minimum age nor an expiration date.

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Sweetheart doesn’t have a sweet tooth? Give heart-shaped Japanese fish cakes for Valentine’s Day

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and while in many other countries that may send men scurrying out to buy roses or jewelry for their lady-love, in Japan the holiday is all about women giving their romantic partner chocolates.

But what if your sweetheart doesn’t have a sweet tooth? Well, as long as he’s got a taste for dairy and seafood, why not go with the mature alternative of fish cakes stuffed with cream cheese? And don’t worry about that combination being less romantic than sugary chocolate, because they’re still shaped like little hearts.

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Around Japan in 47 rice balls: Mr. Sato buys each prefecture’s musubi all from one Tokyo shop

Although Japan lacks ethnic diversity, it seems to more than make up for it in diversity of cuisine. Although the overarching recipes of Japanese foods can be found everywhere, you’d be surprised and how diverse the differences can be from region to region. Having your New Year’s soup in Okayama Prefecture may be quite different from Akita Prefecture’s offering. Even purchasing oden from a chain like 7-Eleven will produce different results if it’s from Osaka or Tokyo.

This is also true of another of Japan’s standard foods: rice balls also known as onigiri or musubi. To taste all the unique variations Japan has to offer, one must be a seasoned traveler, or they could just go to Momochi, a shop which offers a taste of all 47 prefectures straight from the counter. Our own Mr. Sato, eager to taste of these deliciously distinct snacks, visited Momochi to sample one of each.

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Disney’s Baymax appears in curry, hot pots, and more, thanks to cheesy food-based pun【Photos】

You might not guess it, given the country’s well-known acceptance of stoicism as an admirable virtue, but Japan absolutely loves puns. In fact, the characteristics of the Japanese language, such as multiple potential pronunciations for the same kanji character, make it a veritable pun-producing machine.

For example, the character for “rice,” 米, is usually read as kome. When it’s combined with other characters, though, it’s read as mai or bei, with the latter being pronounced like the English word “bay.”

Of course, that also means bei is pronounced like the first half of Baymax, the loveable caretaker/combat robot from Disney’s Big Hero 6. And now that Japanese fans of the film have figured out how to put a little rice into Baymax, they’re also coming up with ways to put a little Baymax into their meals by making Baymax curry rice, rice balls, and nabe hot pots.

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Make your instant coffee 10 times yummier with this one simple trick

If the title of this article sounds a bit too much like one of those clickbait ads, then don’t worry – this is still RocketNews 24! But seriously, we do really have a pretty simple and easy way to make your coffee taste way yummier, and it’s straight from the wisdom of the dad of one of the writers of our sister site, Pouch. You won’t need any fancy Hello Kitty shaped coffee beans to pull this off (especially since I just made up the existence of Hello Kitty shaped coffee beans), just your regular coffee and some water. So, what’s the magic trick?

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