No booze please, we’re Japanese: studies show Japanese people are drinking less than ever

One of the things you may notice when you come to Japan is how much drinking seems to be going on. Certain Japanese societal circles (the workplace, university clubs, etc) run more smoothly with the help of alcoholic lubrication in the form of after-hours “drinking parties” to facilitate team-building and bonding—it’s called nomication (or nominication), a portmanteau of “nomu” (to drink) and “communication”.

So we were quite surprised to discover recently that Japan’s level of alcoholic beverage consumption is actually way, way down. But why?

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Student takes mechanical pencil lead to the groin in a possible attempt to skip exam

When I was in school, it wasn’t an uncommon occurrence for a classmate to claim that his dog ate his homework or ask to see the school nurse about a stomachache only moments before a big test. I myself remember having to tell one of my elementary school teachers that I couldn’t turn in my math assignment because my cat had vomited all over it. (She didn’t believe me, so the next morning I bagged it and left it on her desk.)

Nowadays, it seems like students have become even more creative with their excuses, like one male university student who recently had to visit the hospital to get some pencil lead removed from his urethra.

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Sleeping Bag Pikachu wants to snuggle up with you under the stars on your next camping trip

Ah, summer. In Japan that means festivals, barbecuing on the beach, and smashing watermelons while blindfolded. It also means going on exciting camping trips in the wilderness with your friends… or maybe with Pokémon friends instead!

Camping with Pokémon is now totally possible, thanks to a new line of adorable sleeping bag plushies. Want to roast some marshmallows and tell ghost stories with Pikachu? Find out how after the jump!

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It’s 2015, and the DeLorean has already been spotted in Tokyo!

It’s the year 2015, and you all know what that means: self-tying shoes, flying cars, hoverboards… and a visit from Marty, Doc, and Jennifer! While they weren’t supposed to arrive until October, sightings of the DeLorean in Akihabara lead us to believe that Marty McFly and the gang have changed their travel plans to make their appearance a couple of months early!

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Antinomy: Talking to Urbangarde about their vision, music, and lying to fans

Urbangarde first caught my attention last year with the release of their video for “Sakura Memento”, a song off the 2014 album Utsukushii Kuni. I’ve been rocking out to their music and pondering their quixotic videos in the many months since then, enjoying their mix of pop, rock, and electronic music. So when a chance meeting resulted in the opportunity to sit down and talk with the band’s vocalists Yoko Hamasaki and Temma Matsunaga, I nearly popped out of my skin with excitement!

If you’ve ever wondered how they come up with lyrics, why they’re so “negative,” and whether they enjoy touring or recording more, read on. Also, be sure to check out their latest video for the new single, “Coin Locker Babies”, after the jump!

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If he’s too hot, then he must be a girl! Japanese women smitten with “hot-guy girl” model

Every once in a while, we touch upon the topic of crossdressing, and more often than not, the attention is placed on men crossdressing as women. Iconic male crossdressers such as Ladybeard and the “Sailor Suit Old Man” have been steadily gaining popularity, but at the same time, women who crossdress as men have also been bringing a new breeze into the entertainment scene in Japan.

Female crossdressing model Root has been the talk of the town in recent months, capturing the hearts of thousands of fangirls with her good looks and smooth moves. Some even think that she’s more desirable than actual male idols! More pictures of the lady charmer after the break!

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Canadian anime vocalist Himeka vents about frustrations working in the Japanese music industry

In 2008, anime fans around the world would have loved to trade places with Catherine St. Onge, better known by her stage name, Himeka. The then-27-year-old Canadian singer had just won a national anime song contest in Japan, besting over 3,000 rivals to secure a recording contract and guaranteed theme song performance for an upcoming anime series.

Unfortunately, fame is a fickle thing. Unable to secure commercial success or a new work visa, Himeka had to return to Canada in 2014, even as she wistfully stated she wanted to remain in Japan forever. A year later, though, she’s singing a very different tune, tweeting that she “probably shouldn’t have come to Japan” in the first place and regrets her time in the country.

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Young and pretty “programming cheerleaders” aim to boost male programmers’ productivity in China

The college I went to was really big on group assignments, under the logic that being able to function as part of a team is a critical skill for working professionals. On the few occasions where I found myself in a group made up entirely of male students, though, I couldn’t help but notice that hardly anybody would put in anything more than the minimum required effort at the very last possible second.

See, barring life-or-death responsibilities, guys tend to get sort of lazy without a female presence around, prioritizing personal comfort and instant gratification over more ambitious goals and projects (for an example, check out the levels of cleanliness and basic hygiene in an all-male dormitory). The opposite phenomena can occur too, though. Throw an attractive female or two into the group, and suddenly several dudes will have their alpha male instincts awakened as they try to show what energetic and capable dynamos they are, which is exactly the ploy some tech companies in China are betting on by employing young women as “programming cheerleaders.”

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The Super Mario Brothers take a warp pipe to the land of Rimpa art

What happens when you cross Nintendo’s Super Mario with a respected art form from Japanese history? Is it a brand new Mario Paint game? Nope, although that would be pretty cool.

What you actually get is the famous Rimpa folding screen “Wind and Thunder Godsremade with Mario and Luigi. The results are so fantastic that it’s being put on display at a special exhibit at the Art Museum Eki Kyoto. Join us after the jump for all the juicy Mario art details.

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Japan is for bread lovers: top five Japanese breads best for cuddling, not eating

We here at RocketNews24 like to think of ourselves as gurus of internet love advice. From bird boyfriends to bringing virtual girlfriends to your own wedding,  one might say that we’ve got almost everything covered. But what happens when you’re hungry for something new? Well, isn’t it obvious?

When you’re feeling down in the dumps, which mass-produced wonder is always there for you? Sliced bread. Which food is readily available world-wide, and will always be there to absorb your tears? Sliced bread. Which food will never leave you for a younger, toastier love interest? Sliced bread!

Of course just like people, not all breads are created equal. We assigned our brave but heartbroken Japanese reporter to test out the top five Japanese breads for cuddling. So read on and see if your favorite loaf makes the cut!

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Japanese gamer posts entertaining review of “Play Station 2” he found at secondhand store

For gamers who aren’t particularly concerned with things like frame-rate and graphical resolution, the death of an older piece of gaming hardware can be just the push they need to finally upgrade to a slightly newer model. But for those who don’t have the money to splash out on a brand new system, pre-owned machines are a viable alternative—just keep in mind that if the deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.

One Japanese gamer recently spotted a used “PS 2” at a second-hand store for just 300 yen (approx. US$2.50). Fortunately for us, he took this as an opportunity to take a lemon and turn it into lemonade, and left us with a hilarious review that soon went viral on streaming site Nico Nico Douga.

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Photo of “Iron Man” rice cooker look-alike spreads like wildfire on Twitter

If we didn’t know any better, we’d say Japan is seeing red. Red and gold for Iron Man, that is. Following the footsteps of this amazing Iron Man Samurai rendition, this giant Hulkbuster figure release, and this awesome protective armor case for your iPhone 5, some electronic brands are even consciously or unconsciously taking design cues from Stark Enterprises.

At least, that would appear to be the case if you believe the claims of one Twitter user, who says his newly purchased rice cooker shares an uncanny similarity to the Marvel superhero. But could he just be imaging the resemblance?

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Typhoon Goni slams Japan, seems to have a vendetta against its cars 【Photos】

It stands to reason that you shouldn’t be moving around outdoors during a typhoon. At best you’re going to get soaking wet, and potentially injury-causing flying debris are be a legitimate safety concern.

As if to serve as a reminder, the typhoon currently battering Japan decided to remind everyone to stay put by using its 255-kilometer per hour (158.8 miles per hour) winds to dramatically wreck some Okinawan drivers’ cars.

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Rent an apartment with Leopalace, cover your walls with Samurai Warriors 4 decor!

If you’ve come to Japan as an ALT or to work at one of the many eikaiwa English conversation schools across the country, you’re probably familiar with Leopalace apartments. Known for their compact, cookie-cutter design, they’re popular among expats for their comparatively easy application process, foreign language support, and overall foreigner friendliness.

Now, in case you needed more incentive to choose Leopalace for your apartment provider, the company is now running a campaign for first-time renters, who will be entered into a drawing to win a wall customized with Samurai Warriors wallpaper?!

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CL from 2ne1 outshined by mystery guest appearance in recent Instragram photo

Since their debut in 2009, 2ne1 has been an unstoppable force on the Korean pop music scene. Not only have the members found phenomenal success as a group, but three out of 2ne1’s four members have gone on to have active solo careers as well.

For vocalist CL, 2015 has been an especially busy year, and just last week Rolling Stone named her “One of 10 people you need to know”. But despite this, in a recent photo taken of her and someone else, for some reason CL wasn’t the one getting all of the attention.

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Japanese Netizens share Italian friends’ “most Italian moments”

Throughout the world, the Japanese are known as being a particularly diligent and hardworking people, perhaps even to a fault. They are viewed as being bound by honor to devote their lives to their company and inner circle of closest friends and family.

Italians, on the other hand, are often thought to be, shall we say, extremely laid-back. Insofar as these things can be quantified, Italians work, on average, a bit less than those in many other countries, are quicker than many to hug and show affection, and are generally understood to be considerably less formal (and more, um… amorous) than the Japanese and others in both work and personal life. And with Japan being one of the most homogeneous countries in the world, and also being an island nation, it’s pretty common for the Japanese to exaggerate stereotypes even more than people from the rest of the world, as interaction with foreigners tends to be limited.

Which is why these “OMG, that’s soooo Italian!” Twitter stories Japanese Netizens shared about their encounters with Italian friends and acquaintances are apparently considered the pinnacle of comedy here in Japan. Let’s take a look.

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Japanese manga artist shares his creative process for making a manga volume’s front cover

A series of tweets by Japanese manga artist Tsubasa Fukuchi, who’s best known for his work The Law of Ueki and is currently penning Psyche Once Again, has given his followers a glimpse into the manga production process. He recently shared a series of eight tweets which detail the creation of one of his manga covers from its sketch stages to completion, along with his amusing comments thrown in. If you have a penchant for manga or if illustration fascinates you in general, his tweets are well worth the look!

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Camera effects turn Haneda Airport into a cute toy-like playground【Video】

Anyone who dabbles in taking pictures may be familiar with the concept of tilt-shift photography, wherein the focus is shifted in such a way that the resulting photo looks like a scene created out of miniatures. The effect can be whimsical but also quite stunning, especially when a subject of great majesty and importance ends up looking like a child’s play thing.

This is exactly the effect achieved when one videographer used tilt-shift and time-lapse photography to capture Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. Check out the full video after the jump.

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Vampire Cafe: Over a decade of Tokyo’s best undead dining in Ginza

As one of Tokyo’s swankiest neighborhoods, Ginza is home to numerous up-scale restaurants and cafes that will as much do damage to your wallet as fill your stomach with delicious food. From French cuisine to delicious brunch, you can find just about anything in Ginza—including a Vampire Cafe!

Though you might not expect to see many theme restaurants like this in Ginza, it turns out these bloodsuckers have been going strong for over a decade. If you’re hoping for a night of spine-tingles and blood-red everything, this is the place for you!

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Loincloths for ladies – Once you try fundoshi, you’ll never go back, say young Japanese fans

Walk into any lingerie store in Japan, and you’ll find an array of cute and sexy panties, G-strings, and thongs. Recently, though, there’s a more traditional undergarment option that’s winning over the hearts and hips of an increasing number of Japanese women: the loincloth, which has gotten a modern makeover that gives up nothing in the femininity department.

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