Over 3 decades, North Korea paid for full-page propaganda ads in western newspapers

From 1969 to 1997, the North Korean leadership purchased expensive full-page ad space in the most prominent western newspapers, Benjamin R. Young reports for NK News. The ads, which cost anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000, were placed in high-profile publications like The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Guardian.

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Ten-year-old boy cuts construction worker’s lifeline because noise was interrupting his cartoons

While some of us are still trying to get into the entertaining world of animation, others see it as deadly serious business. Just ask one young lad in Guiyang City who was so perturbed by the noise of construction outside his apartment during a cartoon session that he severed the safety line of the guy doing the work, leaving him to hang on for dear life eight floors above ground.

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More than meets the eye, sushi in disguise! Check out these transforming sushi toys!

Your mother probably scolded you for playing with your food at the dinner table, but here’s one of the few times you’ll be able to get away with it! Introducing transforming sushi toys from Takara Tomy. Now, instead of playing with a floppy piece of asparagus (how’s that supposed to stand up to the forces of evil anyway?), you can play with these pieces of super robot fighting sushi. Just don’t try to take a bite out of them!

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Terrifyingly terrific haunted house’s puzzles are so tough it has a continue system

A few months ago, we heard about a terrifying haunted house in Honancho, a neighborhood in western Tokyo. Unfortunately, our backlog of terror entertainment was a little jammed up, and we weren’t able to get to it right away, but this week we finally went to check out Obaken.

In addition to the horror movie-inspired creepy sights and sounds you’d expect from any decent haunted house, Obaken also takes a page from video games, with multiple levels, customizable settings, and even a continue system.

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Nintendo unveils new 3DS models with more controls, NFC support

Nintendo announced on Friday during its Nintendo Direct video presentation that new Nintendo3DS models will be available in Japan on October 11. The new 3DS will retail for 16,000 yen (about US$154) and the new 3DS XL will go for 18,800 yen (about US$180). A Western release date was not announced.

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Going thin on top? Here are five prefectures you may not want to live in (and five you might!)

As someone whose locks started thinning when he was about 27 years old, I know how much of a shock it can be to learn that your body has seemingly decided to begin the follicle-retiring process without consulting you first. As nice as it would be to have a thick, flowing mane, though, the fact that pretty much every man on on my mother’s side of the family eventually lost their hair tells me that there’s not much point stressing about it - it’s going to happen, so why lose sleep as well as top turf?

For some, though, going bald can be pretty upsetting. If they’re on the lookout for a partner especially, thinning hair can certainly dent a man’s confidence. And, according to a recent survey, balding men may well be right in thinking that their lack of hair is affecting their chances of finding, or perhaps keeping, a good woman.

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Awesome melon bread with ice cream comes to Shibuya, so we do too!

Last spring, we spent an afternoon drooling over photos from a bakery in the city of Kanazawa that came up with the ingenious idea of combining melon bread with ice cream. Unfortunately, the four-and-a-half hour train journey from Tokyo to Ishikawa kept us from picking up some samples of the tasty-looking treats.

But now our dairy-based prayers have been answered, as the same bakery has opened a new location in Tokyo’s Shibuya ward. Since that’s just three stops away from the RocketNews24 offices in Shinjuku, as soon as we found out about the new branch, we were on the next train.

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Ghibli top dog calls Evangelion director “driving force of anime,” raises hopes for more Nausicaa

As veteran anime producer Toshio Suzuki continues to dance back and forth over the vague linguistic line of whether or not Studio Ghibli is getting out of the movie-making business, some distraught admirers can already see the vultures circling overhead. If this is the end of the line for Japan’s most revered animation house, it’s a sad day, but at least the format of Ghibli’s releases means there aren’t many loose narrative threads left dangling.

With the exception of 1993’s Ocean Waves, Ghibli’s commercial releases have all been theatrical features, most of which have a definite beginning, middle, and end. For the most part, the studio doesn’t really do sequels, since their films’ endings are just conclusive enough to satisfy fans while still leaving enough unanswered for them to comfortably mull over.

There is one big exception to this pattern, though, which is Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. For decades fans have been hoping for a continuation, and recent remarks by Suzuki are adding more credibility to rumors that such a project could be directed by Evangelion’s Hideaki Anno.

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Creator of plastic-bottle girlfriend has new invention: brainwave-activated inflatable muscles

About a month ago, we brought you the story of artist Showta Mori and Lisako, his plastic-bottle girlfriend. Their forbidden love landed Mori in police custody for “suspicious behavior.”

Well, Mori apparently escaped incarceration because he has just released a new video in collaboration with beverage maker Suntory that promotes his latest invention: the brainwave-controlled muscle suit (ver. 3)!

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Japan’s secret garbage problem–and what you can do to help

Japan is one of the cleanest countries you’ll encounter as a traveler. The inside of the bullet train is kept absolutely spotless, taxi drivers can be seen buffing their vehicles of dust and road grit while waiting for the next customer. Graffiti is rare here and men in jumpsuits are employed to scrape off gum and anything else adhered to train station floors. Glamorous and gleaming is the way the Japanese like things. Even diesel trucks are washed down in their terminals after a day on the roads.

So it’s no surprise that the city streets are litter-free, that public trash bins ask you to separate your refuse into burnable and non-burnable bins, or that the Japanese have a reputation for taking their garbage home with them when attending sporting events.

So it may have been a surprise to some of our readers when someone commented on the trashiness of Japanese beaches in response to my previous article on Japanese beach culture, saying: “The number one beach activity in Japan is actually turning it into a giant open dump, full or empty beer cans, cigarette buds, and plastics of all kinds. It’s a big paradox when you see how clean the streets are.”

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Rare Namco robot for sale with all its junk hanging out【Photos】

An interesting auction popped up last week and at first glance it just looked like an old junkie decorative statue. But further investigation revealed it to have a bit of gamer cred. This robot was designed and built by Namco, yeah, that Namco, the one of Pac-man, Tekken and Soulcalibur fame. Unfortunately, this robot isn’t going to do some super duper awesome game playing for you. However, it is a piece of Namco history on the auction block. If you claim to be the biggest Namco fan in the world, then maybe you NEED this robot.

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Guide dog stabbed while walking with owner

Police in Saitama Prefecture are looking for the person who stabbed a guide dog while it was with its 61-year-old visually-impaired owner in Saitama.

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Gundam creator isn’t making his new series for you, doesn’t care if you don’t like it

Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino always seems to be seething at someone. Recently, he had harsh words for the anime voice acting industry, and now he’s gnawing even further up the arm that’s connected to the hand that feeds him by setting his sights on a new target: all adult Gundam fans.

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Cute cat cakes captivate our culinary cravings

Some people say if something tastes good, it has to be bad for you. We understand that they’re usually talking about sugary, salty, or fatty foods, and nutritionally speaking, they’ve kind of got a point.

But while we definitely wouldn’t classify any of them as low-calorie, diet-friendly snacks, we still can’t bring ourselves to use the word “bad” in describing these adorable cat cakes and lattes.

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Hayao Miyazaki to receive honorary lifetime achievement Oscar

It’s been over a year since the Japanese release of anime legend Hayao Miyazaki’s last film, The Wind Rises. A highly personal film which serves as a powerful closing statement to his storied career, many had hoped it would win Miyazaki his second Oscar, only for the nod in the Best Animated Feature category go to Disney’s juggernaut (and endorser of traditional Japanese cuisine) Frozen.

That doesn’t mean the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has no love for Miyazaki, though, as it’ll soon be bestowing an honorary lifetime achievement award upon him.

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Did Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto just call casual gamers “pathetic”? Well, yes and no

In the latest issue of long-running UK gaming magazine Edge, industry legend and creator of Super Mario Bros. Shigeru Miyamoto sits down to talk about the direction in which Nintendo is heading. During the interview, which spans several pages and touches upon subjects ranging from upcoming title Splatoon to the lack of young talent at the company, the veteran game designer is quoted as saying that casual gamers are “pathetic” for not wanting to delving and getting the most out of video games.

A handful of gaming news sites immediately leapt on this statement and ran with it, hinting that Nintendo may be about to turn their backs on the very people who made products like the Nintendo DS and Wii the hits they were. But did Miyamoto honestly just diss the casual gaming public? We really don’t think so.

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Matcha Oreo McFlurries tempting us to forgive McDonald’s Japan’s lack of originality

When I was a kid, we never had Oreos in my house. This wasn’t because my parents had a no-sweets policy, but because the pantry was well-stocked with similar Hydrox sandwich cookies instead.

But while Hydroxes actually predate Oreos by a whole four years, it’s the latter that went on to international fame and fortune. It’s a pretty similar tale to that of Dairy Queen’s Blizzard, which has been largely overshadowed by McDonald’s McFlurry, a nearly identical dessert of ice cream mixed with cookies or candy that came out more than a decade after Dairy Queen’s original.

So while the double imitation of an Oreo McFlurry might seem completely derivative, starting next month in Japan there’s a tasty bit of innovation you can look forward to, as McDonald’s Japan is bringing back matcha Oreo McFlurries.

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Hamster steals iPhone’s mini futon

This futon, although technically meant for an iPhone (because Japan), is now home to a little hamster who seems to have found his new favorite spot. This has got to be the cutest case of theft we’ve ever seen!

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Zelda and Animal Crossing race into Mario Kart 8 as DLCs

Hot on the heels of Mario Kart 8‘s collaboration with Mercedes-Benz, Nintendo has announced that players can now preorder two more DLC expansion packs, which will include Zelda and Animal Crossing characters and maps.

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Badass cats blow up the internet, leave adoring humans in their wake

Since the dawn of social media, cute cats and adorable kittens have been getting all the attention online. But what about the cool cats of the feline world? The rebels who walk their own walk and do things their own way, with no regard for consequences?

Finally, there’s a collection that pays homage to the badass cat – the one that tears up your stuff, hangs out with a weird crowd of animals, and gives you the finger while sitting in your favourite chair. These hilarious pictures prove that naughty cats can be just as cute as their goody-two-shoes counterparts.

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