The Ramen Poster, a cute and unique way to show off your love of Japanese cuisine

Who doesn’t love ramen? Not only has this famous Japanese noodle dish won the hearts of many Asian cuisine aficionados, but its instant variety has long been the top pick by college students for satisfying the munchies during late night study binges.

If you, too, consider yourself a ramen lover or know someone who is, we urge you to check out The Ramen Poster by an American artist who has taken her love of hot noodles in broth to the next level.

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Russia’s “real-life Barbie” gains more fame in Japan, new photos surface

If you didn’t see our previous collection of photos of Angelica Kenova, now would be a perfect time to become acquainted with Russia’s take on a real-life Barbie girl.”

The 26-year-old model and self-described ballerina from Moscow, Russia could certainly give Ukraine’s real-life Barbie a run for her money in a battle of doll-like features. Angelica’s case is particularly interesting because she claims that her parents purposefully raised her as “a living doll.” As a result, she has never experienced things that most women her age have done, such as having a boyfriend, or even picking out her own clothes.  

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Is one Japanese library’s “book dominoes” event disrespectful to books or just a day of fun?

In Gifu City there is a library. This library has recently been renovated, designed by a famous architect and envisioned to be more than just a space to read and borrow books, but also a meeting place, an event venue, and an area that all members of the community can enjoy. Sounds nice, right?

In hopes of promoting this new library, the city has planned a book dominoes event with which they want to set a new world record for the longest chain of books to be toppled. As fun as it sounds, the city is receiving some heavy criticism over the event and for their alleged general disrespect of books.

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A phone so sleek, you’d think Tony Stark himself designed it 【Video】

Samsung is pushing their new phone, the Galaxy S6 edge, right to the corners of the globe. They hope that this wraparound technology is the next big thing in the smart phone landscape. Samsung has also spent some big bucks to lockdown some very cool tie-ins between the Earth’s mightiest heroes and the new S6 edge. If you are an Iron Man fan and hope to own one of the limited edition Iron Man smart phones, you’d better have Tony Stark-like cash flow, because it is going to cost you a pretty penny.

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7-Eleven ups its coffee game, introduces new iced cafe latte with the help of magic white beads

Up until fairly recently, convenience stores may have not been your first thought when it came to procuring a cup of hot coffee. But in the past year or so in Japan, the likes of 7-Eleven and Lawson have begun offering some really great tasting and affordable fresh coffee options with the help of nifty self-service machines positioned near the register. Sure, there are plenty of bottled and canned coffee options in the back, but there’s something about holding a steaming cup of joe in your hands and being able to smell that coffee aroma that makes it hard to resist.

Now, a mysterious new black cup has made an appearance alongside the regular clear iced coffee cups sold in 7-Eleven stores. Get ready for a classic coffee flavor with 7-Eleven’s new iced cafe latte.

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We thought robots didn’t die! The demise of the AIBO robot dogs and the fight to keep them alive

Remember AIBO, the futuristic pet robot from Sony that amazed us with its dog-like appearance and behavior when it came out in 1999? It was probably one of the first examples of artificial intelligence the general public got a taste of, and we were quite duly fascinated with the antics of the robotic dogs, as evidenced by the fact that the first batch of 3,000 AIBOs sold out in just 20 minutes despite its 250,000 yen (about US$2,100 according to the exchange rate back then) price tag.

But now, more than 15 years down the line, AIBO owners who have become attached to their cybernetic pets, are facing a grave situation — an aging and ailing (or breaking down, in this case) population of AIBOs.

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14 things never to do on a bicycle in Japan with new traffic laws

There’s no shortage of people doing out of the ordinary things on bikes in Japan. It’s not uncommon to see people riding while holding umbrellas, having their whole bikes covered in a parka, using a walking bicycle, or even a bicycle specifically made for wearing a kimono.

But the golden era of crazy Japan cycling may have come to an end. As of June 2015, a set of 14 laws have been passed nationwide to enforce safe and correct use of bicycles. If you plan on riding a two-wheeled foot-powered vehicle in Japan, then you may want to check them over to make sure that you don’t end up having to pay a hefty fine.

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Japanese people aren’t happy with their looks, ranked world’s lowest in self-confidence

One of the first things you notice when you come to Japan is how great everybody looks. The guys all know how to wear a suit, and the ladies dress conservatively and stylishly. In fact, it’s a well-known phenomenon that many foreigners who arrive in Japan for a prolonged stay will, within a few weeks, start smartening themselves up as a direct result of the example set by fashion and beauty-conscious Japanese.

But a shocking and kind of sad survey has revealed that in terms of being happy with their looks, the people of Japan are actually ranked bottom in the world

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Gotta catsup ‘em all! Japanese condiment maker giving away exclusive Pikachus this summer

Ever wonder what type of bait you should use when hunting for your very own Pikachu? Apparently the answer is ketchup, at least if we’re going by what Japanese food and beverage company Kagome is telling us about the preferences of the most famous of all Pokémon.

Kagome just kicked off its Pikachu Loves Ketchup promotion, and shoppers who buy the company’s sauces can redeem proofs of purchase for adorable Pikachu ketchup bottle toppers plus a chance to win an exclusive Pikachu plate or stuffed animal.

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Announcing the winner of the RocketNews24 Japan Wish competition!

We know you’ve kept you waiting, but it’s finally time to announce the winner of the RocketNews24 competition!

Join us after the jump to find out who we’ll be flying over to Japan to fulfil their Japan dream experience!

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“Papa, read this in the bathroom!” – Daughter’s letter manages to get stranger from there

It must be a proud moment in any parent’s life when his or her children start learning how to write. Still, you can only expect so much in terms of penmanship, clever phrasing, or even actual meaning when a preschooler puts pen (or more likely pencil) to paper.

Nevertheless, this Japanese Twitter user was probably moved when he found out his young daughter had written a letter just for him. He was also probably a little puzzled, though, that she specifically instructed him to read it while in the bathroom, and believe it or not, the story gets weirder from there.

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Beijing enacts sweeping non-smoking law

You have to hand it to one-party systems. Despite their many flaws, one positive point is that they can get things done quickly. Over the past decade or so, Japan has been gradually reducing the number of public places where smoking is permitted, and raising the price of tobacco in baby steps in an effort to curb the once rampant smoking culture in the country.

In Beijing, meanwhile, from 1 June the entire city has been put on lockdown for smokers. From now on, anyone caught smoking inside any enclosed place of business will be fined. Just like that.

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Front zipper swimsuit opens up a new market as more mainstream online store starts selling it

Those of you who enjoy scholarly debates in the intrinsically linked twin fields of semantics and hot pants may recall how a few months ago one Twitter user claimed a scandalously skimpy pair of the garments should be worn as commonly as “regular shorts” because they were being sold through mainstream online retailer Yahoo! Japan. We’re still not sure whether place of purchase is the be-all, end-all deciding factor in determining such things, but everyone looking for broader validation of obviously fetish-based fashion will be happy to know that the front zipper swimsuit that had tongues wagging earlier this year is now available from the online shop of one of Japan’s most popular novelty good stores.

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Get a soda and good karma with this donation-accepting vending machine

One thing foreign visitors to Japan immediately notice is the ubiquitous vending machines. Particularly in big cities, you can’t swing a tanuki without hitting a machine selling something. Mostly it’s soft drinks, but there are also vending machines for beer, cigarettes, hamburgers, used panties, weird toys, curry, fresh eggs, and pretty much anything under the sun. Now you can even get a good deed done with your canned coffee purchase at this vending machine accepting charitable donations.

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“Traveling cats” hold your phones, take your notes, and are all around just plain cute

Leave it to Japan to introduce all things cute to the world. Without Japan, no one would be able to enjoy the likes of sweet little characters such as Hello Kitty, Pikachu, Rilakkuma, Totoro… and now, these precious little Tabineko (traveling cats) figures, which can be found relaxing in a hot onsen bath, enjoying a nice cup of tea, or waiting at the bus stop to travel to his next destination.

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It’s huge!! Win a copy of The Anime Encyclopedia 3rd Revised Edition! 【Contest closed】

Calling all anime enthusiasts and obsessive collectors! Today we have a very special announcement that will put a big smile on your face and have you doing flappy hands like a sugar-rushing toddler in a toy shop. Thanks to the good people at Stone Bridge Press, we have one hardback and three electronic copies of the incredible The Anime Encyclopedia 3rd Revised Edition to give away!

Join us after the jump to find out how to make this book your own.

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World’s energy problems solved! Pikachu’s problems just beginning

Nuclear disasters, noxious gas emissions filling the air, and with no way for major corporations to make obscene amounts of money from any of the other sources of power, it would seem the world still can’t find a great way for clean and renewable energy sources to change our lives for the better.

“But then I thought, hey look at all these little electric mice we got running around,” remembers Kanto Power’s head-engineer and former pokémon breeder Buraku Takeshi. “Why, I bet if we’d slap some jumper cables on just one, we could light up 10 square blocks.”

And so, a new way to power our lives have been born. But at what cost?

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Disney unveils line of paired engagement/wedding rings just in time for June brides

Now that we’re done with April showers and May flowers (although Japan’s most famous flowers, the cherry blossoms, actually bloom in April), it’s time for the next monthly theme: June brides. Even though Japan’s weather gets pretty hot and sticky at this time of year, many young couples still like the iconic ring of “June bride,” and what better way to seal their vows than with rings with iconic styling cues from Disney characters?

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FamilyMart’s iconic door jingle doesn’t belong to FamilyMart?! You can use it in your homes too!

We absolutely love Japan’s convenience stores, and even amongst the tough competition, the various brands have managed to create their own identity and each have their own strengths and specialities.

In most convenience stores, a short chime goes off when a customer enters or exits the store, and if you’ve ever set foot into a FamilyMart location, you might have noticed that they have a unique door jingle in contrast to the more common “ding-dong” sounding ones. The iconic chime has become so familiar, it’s almost synonymous with the FamilyMart brand, but did you know that the jingle is not exclusive to FamilyMart? You can have it in your own home!

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Art Aquarium returns to Tokyo with goldfish, beautiful lighting, soothing sounds, delicious sake

As the weather starts to get warmer in Japan, many people will cope by cranking up the air conditioner. But there’re also traditional options for beating the summer heat, such as whipping out a folding fan, and also psychological cooling tricks such as listening to the soothing sounds of a wind chime or taking a few moments to gaze at a tank of water filled with gracefully swimming goldfish.

If that last idea sounds like your kind of thing, you’re in luck, as the Art Aquarium exhibit is returning to Tokyo this July with its unique combination of artistic displays, DJ performances, fine sake to sip, and late-night viewings of aquatic life.

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