When my nephew was still a baby, I clearly remember the whole family gathering to watch as he rolled over for the first time. It was an exciting moment, and we were all impressed by his accomplishment.
On the other hand, I can’t remember the last time anyone gave me a round of applause for rolling over, even if I’ve had so much beer that my motor skills have regressed to infant-level. The fact is that whether an action is compelling to watch has as much to do with the natural charisma of the performer as it does with what they’re doing.
For example, most of us couldn’t entertain a group of strangers by just sitting in a chair, but that’s only because we aren’t this incredibly cute, eminently relaxed cat.
- Casey Baseel
Jun 13, 2014
With a shortage of flat, buildable land leading to high prices for real estate, Japan is a crowded country. In homes, it’s not entirely unusual for rooms to serve dual or triple purposes, with fold-up tables and futons helping to transform living rooms into dining rooms, and later dining rooms into bedrooms.
Smaller houses and apartment buildings don’t just mean less space for human residents, though, but for pets too, as can be seen in this photo of a dog that got trapped running around its yard.
Recently, we sent our intrepid reporter Meg to Ehime Prefecture’s Aoshima, also known as Cat Island or even Cat Paradise. We’d heard rumors that the island’s packs of free-roaming kitties were facing an obesity crisis from the snacks given to them by their numerous animal-loving visitors, and wanted to check up on our little friends.
When Meg came back, she reported that the cats were fine, thanks to their active, calorie-burning lifestyle. But how could she be sure? Did she check every cat on Aoshima?
She certainly came close, and we’ve got the photo collection to prove it.
- Casey Baseel
Jun 12, 2014
As a kid, I went through a stage where I bugged my parents to let me have a dog. My dad, though, wisely realized that he would be the one who ended up having to take care of it, so jokingly told me that I couldn’t have any animal I wasn’t prepared to eat.
Apparently a woman in China took the same philosophy regarding her grandson’s pet, only she didn’t bother to tell him before she cooked it for dinner.
- Joan Coello
Jun 8, 2014
As the end of the week closes in, it’s time to slow things down a bit and unwind. It’s been raining in Tokyo for the past couple of days, and we all know what cool, rainy weather does to us, right? It makes us feel oh so sleepy… like these fluffy… real-life Pikachus…
W-what? Did I just say Pikachu? I mean, Viscacha! Just look at them dozing off on the rocks!
It’s time once again for travel website Trip Advisor’s list of the best places in Japan, as chosen by overseas visitors to the country. One of the things that makes Japan such a fascinated place to travel is its extreme mix of historical and modern attractions, both of which are represented in the top 30 which includes shrines, sharks, and super-sized robots.
In some ways, the island of Okunoshima, in western Japan’s Setonaikai Inland Sea, seems like a terrible vacation spot. It’s already in an out-of-the-way region of the country, and with no connecting bridges, the only way to get there is by boat.
Then there’s its dark past. During the 1920s, ‘30s, and early ‘40s, Okunoshima was the site of a secret chemical weapons lab for the Japanese Imperial Army. The clandestine work being carried out there earned it the sinister nicknames Poison Gas Island and The Island Erased from the Maps.
Happily, the postwar years have seen a return to more peaceful, benign activities on Okunoshima. As a matter of fact, in the last few years it’s become one of the area’s most beloved tourist destinations, and the reason why is easy to see from the other name Okunoshima is called by, Rabbit Island.
- Cara Clegg
Jun 3, 2014
As a cat owner, I’m used to having cat hair on absolutely everything. But every so often in amongst the clouds of fur I find a dropped whisker lying alone on the floor, and for some reason it feels wrong to just throw it away. Turns out I’m not alone, and some people go a few steps further when it comes to storing these precious mementos of their feline friends.
An insect collector learned the hard way last year that you should never send stag beetles in the mail, because being stuffed in a box and shipped across the country unsurprisingly kills them.
A specialist apparently sent 240 stag beetles to be delivered to the collector’s Okinawa home. When the box – supplied by the Japanese Postal Service’s “Yu-paku” goods shipping service – arrived, the collector opened it to find all 240 of the beetles decidedly un-alive, prompting the man to sue for compensation; because, come on, if you’re shipping beetles, you expect a certain amount of care to be taken.
- Casey Baseel
May 29, 2014
Some Japanese apartments are incredibly sparse. In the most extreme cases, your lease gets you four walls, a kitchen sink, bathroom, and that’s it. Oh, you want lighting fixtures, a stove, and air conditioning? Sorry, you’ll have to purchase all that on your own.
As a result, savvy apartment hunters are always on the lookout for properties that include some of these amenities. And while it’s incredibly convenient to find a place that already comes with ceiling lamps, it still can’t match the thrill some animal lovers in Japan experience when they find a new pad that comes with a cat.
- Joan Coello
May 25, 2014
It’s the weekend! Time to kick back, relax, and watch a few baby ducks chase after a full-grown man. A total of 13 little ducklings, to be exact!
- Megumi Matsuki
May 25, 2014
Even before the days of YouTube and news blogs, we humans all knew that cats, whether directly or indirectly, have a propensity for disrupting whatever activity you’re trying to focus on. Of course the internet helps with this too, A LOT. Heck, this article is probably keeping you from work right now!
Take Setsu-chan for example, a former stray who was adopted by doting Twitterer Mino (@mino_rs). Photos of this blue-eyed beauty acting cute, distracting his owner, and well, being a cat, are fast becoming an online hit. One serendipitous photo belies his natural exquisiteness, however, and this rib-tickling shot has been retweeted over 15,000 times. How does this cat from Japan manage to look like your proverbial wasted business man on the Yamanote line?
There’s a Japanese proverb, “Neko ni Koban,” that translates as “Giving a gold coin to a cat.” It’s a metaphor for offering something of worth that the recipient either doesn’t need or can’t understand the value of, but it’s also a telling example of how hard it is to win a cat’s favor. Cats have no use for our money, they’re not impressed by our fashion trends, and even if they appreciate our modern sense of humor they’re too proud to let it show by openly laughing.
With so few options, in an attempt to curry favor, some people offer stray cats food (although not, in fact, a bowl of curry). But might this be causing a problem to the residents of one of Japan’s famous cat islands?
We dispatched our Japanese-language correspondent, Meg, to find out (and also pet some kitties while she was at it).
- Philip Kendall
May 17, 2014
Cat owners concerned that they might suddenly forget the existence of their pet or who wish to gross out potential lovers may be pleased to hear of the arrival of two new products on Amazon Japan. The “Cat Whisker Case” and “Cat Milk Tooth Case“, which retail for 1,580 yen (US$16) each, are the perfect way to commemorate your pet’s growth into adulthood and treat them as a true member of the family.
That’s right, you too can have a small box full of cat teeth or whiskers on your dressing table or mantlepiece, just waiting for some hapless visitor to stumble upon before suddenly remembering that they’ve left the oven on at home and have to leave.
- Casey Baseel
May 16, 2014
It’s kind of ironic that face packs, which are designed to make your skin healthier and more beautiful, actually look pretty ghoulish when they’re in use. Often, the price of eventual beauty can be spending a half-hour or so looking like either The Phantom of the Opera or Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s Leatherface.
Stepping up with an alternative is a Japanese company that’s selling face masks that promise to temporarily transform their wearer into a cute panda or tiger.
- Casey Baseel
May 15, 2014
Even though it doesn’t have anything close to the number of sightseeing options in Tokyo or Kyoto, should you find yourself in Nagoya, consider yourself lucky. The city is one of Japan’s underappreciated gastronomic gems, and if you have the chance, you owe it to yourself to try the chicken wings made from the regional fowl, called kochin.
This being Japan, though, if there’s the opportunity to make food cute, someone’s going to do it, which is where this adorable chick-shaped custard pudding, made with kochin eggs, comes in.
- Casey Baseel
May 13, 2014
If we’re speaking honestly, we don’t really need much of an added incentive to eat a donut. Really, a sweet, inexpensive indulgence that we can eat with our hands is pretty much a laser-guided strike on our willpower.
Still, we can usually muster enough self-control that we don’t plow through a half-dozen in one sitting. But when you take donuts’ numerous preexisting merits and add the visual appeal of shaping them like cats, penguins, alpacas, and even killer whales, that’s when we stop even trying to resist them.
- Joan Coello
May 5, 2014
Hey Rocketeers! Any idea how many cats RocketNews24 has featured so far? To be absolutely honest, we have no idea either. We stopped trying to keep track a long time ago, but here’s one more to add to the list!
We’ve seen fat cats, mohawk cats, and even cats who are capable of taking selfies, but this is probably the cat with the most intense eyes we’ve ever seen! He always looks so energetic and robust with his large eyes and powerful gaze, it wouldn’t be surprising even if someone mistook him for a toy!
- Basement Jaxx’s bizarre Japan-based music video freaks us out, makes us want to dance1
- That awkward moment when your phone rings on live TV… and then you make it worse 【Video】2
- New video from Wagakki Band “Hanabi” is an original, awesome song【J-Tunes】3
- Some flights are more cramped than others – 29 sumo wrestlers pack into one tiny plane4
- Japanese deodorant sheets for ladies smell so nice some guys don’t need the actual girl5
- Want a bit of One Piece magic? This real-looking Devil Fruit is sure to set the right mood!6
- Live-action Attack on Titan confirmed for 2 films7
- The top 20 most eagerly anticipated anime of summer 2014, as chosen by fans!8
- Not so fun in the sun – Cases of heatstroke hit a year-high last week in Japan9
- Hairy armpit selfies have invaded China’s biggest social networking platform【Photos】10
- Little kid causes a stink after parents tell him to poop in his seat during Delta Airlines flight1
- 16-year-old girl arrested for beheading classmate in Japan’s Nagasaki Prefecture2
- This watermelon might be the most disappointing thing you see today3
- Gamer discovers his deceased father’s ghost on an old Xbox game, challenges it to a race4
- Internet survey sheds light on how Japanese women deal with the hair ‘down there’5
- Vietnamese man, angry at wife, hatches bizarre revenge scheme: Cut off his own penis6
- What turned Tokyo Disneyland into the Loneliest Place on Earth last weekend?7
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker8
- These four Siberian Huskies probably have more followers than you on Instagram!9
- Pikachus overrunning Yokohama in the cutest rodent invasion ever 【Video】10
- Nailed it! The shape of your nails may reveal the type of person you are!1
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker2
- Life’s not perfect? Says who? This woman’s life is too perfect to be true!3
- Japanese politician screams and cries at press conference as he defends expenses claims【Video】4
- Japan’s Glico lets snackers turn their empty boxes into augmented reality sets for Doraemon!5
- “Retweet if you thought I was a girl”: This beautiful young man, in his own words【Photos】6
- Little kid causes a stink after parents tell him to poop in his seat during Delta Airlines flight7
- Japanese giant salamander caught taking a stroll on land8
- German team hero Mario Gotze wins World Cup, later loses dignity thanks to gross pic9
- These anime mascots are just what the World Cup has been missing!10
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker1
- Nailed it! The shape of your nails may reveal the type of person you are!2
- Samurai in Brazil shows off incredible freestyle football skills ahead of World Cup3
- Doggy gets upset over his new haircut, walks around on hind legs like a boss for two days4
- Russian crocodile hospitalized after woman falls on it5
- Internet falls in love with Chinese cosplaying beauty, disappointed to hear she’s a guy 【Updated】6
- Not your average Bulbasaur: Mayan-style Pokemon7
- Chinese student asks for cooked sushi at Sukibayashi Jiro, gets flamed by Chinese netizens8
- The official Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist trailer just made our day【Video】9
- This amazing water cake just may be the most delicate sweet ever created!10
- Want a bit of One Piece magic? This real-looking Devil Fruit is sure to set the right mood!
- Live-action Attack on Titan confirmed for 2 films
- The top 20 most eagerly anticipated anime of summer 2014, as chosen by fans!
- Not so fun in the sun – Cases of heatstroke hit a year-high last week in Japan
- Hairy armpit selfies have invaded China’s biggest social networking platform【Photos】
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker
- We go octopus hunting, learn how to turn octopus heads inside-out
- Pikachus overrunning Yokohama in the cutest rodent invasion ever 【Video】
- Baked Kit Kats now showing up in cakes, parfaits, and crepes across Japan
- This watermelon might be the most disappointing thing you see today
- Amazing Game Boy smartphone wallpaper brings out the Nintendo fanboy in us all
- Blogger’s silly video of types of dancers at Singapore clubs is trending in Japan
- How to make your own Pikachu Burgers!【RocketKitchen】