beautiful

Free to download Japanese marriage applications are cute, stylish, and legally binding

In Japan, the act of getting married isn’t really all that exciting. I don’t mean that weddings here aren’t memorable affairs, as they’re packed with all the joy and emotion you’d expect (and sometimes the video game references and crazy cakes you wouldn’t). The ceremonies held at churches, shrines, and wedding halls in Japan don’t constitute a legal union, though.

The only way to be officially hitched is to turn in a marriage application, called a konintodoke, to your local ward office or city hall, where you and your beloved will be pronounced husband and wife with all the stirring pageantry that goes along with a clerk stamping his authorization on the paperwork. When my wife and I submitted ours, the clerk offhandedly told us “Otsukaresama,” more or less “Thanks for stopping by,” instead of “Congratulations.”

Thankfully, there’s now a way to add a little color to the otherwise bland proceedings, with a new line of artistic marriage applications that’re not only approved for official use across Japan, but also free!

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Tokyo’s Rikugien garden: Beautiful for 300 years, but especially in autumn after dark

They’re often overshadowed by the sakura, but Japan’s fall colors make the country a beautiful place to be at this time of year. Maples and gingkos even have a few advantages over cherry trees. They tend to hold their color a little longer, and the cooler weather is less conducive to large outdoor parties, meaning your appreciation of the beauty of nature is less likely to be disturbed by the carousing of drunks.

In contrast to Tokyo’s many cherry tree-lined parks and boulevards, though, getting a good view of crimson and yellow leaves often means having to head out of the city and up into the mountains. That’s not always the case, though. Historic Rikugien Garden has plenty of fall color, is located right in the middle of Tokyo, and right now is so beautiful it’s staying open after dark.

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How long does Kagoshima need to convince us to visit? With this video, just two minutes

A little over a year ago, one of my good friends in Tokyo got a job teaching philosophy at a university in Kagoshima, the prefecture at the southernmost tip of the island of Kyushu. Being that he’s now a seven-hour series of train rides, or a two-and-a-half-hour flight, away, we don’t get together so often anymore, but on the plus side, now I have a reason to take a trip to Kagoshima.

Well, actually, I’ve got about a dozen reasons to take a trip there, if you add in all of the nature trails, hot springs, scenic coastline, and more shown in this video of some of Kagoshima’s most achingly beautiful travel destinations.

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Amazing nighttime video shows Osaka, Tokyo’s rival, has a skyline that’s second to none

Tokyo is so massive and bustling that sometimes it’s hard to remember that it doesn’t have a monopoly on urban splendor in Japan. Take Osaka, for example. Long Tokyo’s rival, in everything from business to baseball to samurai warfare, Osaka is known for its economic ambitiousness, comedic sensibilities, and tasty grub, but there’s one thing that’s often overlooked in media coverage of Osaka.

It looks absolutely beautiful at night.

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Beautiful video of master Japanese doll craftsman is equal parts inspiring and relaxing

There’s something deeply satisfying about watching someone do their job incredibly well. Whether it’s a master chef putting together a mouth-watering meal, a talented musician making an instrument come to life, or a pro athlete performing at the highest level of the sport, you find yourself unable to look away, both because of how soothing watching things go perfectly is, and also for fear of missing whatever amazing feat they’re going to pull off next.

So if you’re craving that special mixture of relaxation and inspiration, take a few minutes to watch this video of a master craftsman transforming two hunks of wood into a beautiful kokeshi doll with a literally unique twist.

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Don’t have enough time to see Japan? You do now, with this amazing time-lapse video

With so much to see and do in Japan, it’s easy to forget that sometimes one of the most rewarding things to do is to take a few moments and do nothing at all. Whether you’re looking at people moving about some of the most bustling cities on the planet, witnessing the burst of light and color as the sun goes down and the neon lights come on, or watching as the fog rolls over a sacred mountain, Japan never lacks for amazing ambiance to soak up.

But with so many flavors of atmosphere to enjoy, it can be hard to find the time for all of them, especially if you’re tied up with work or trying to visit as many destinations as you can on a whirlwind tour. If you’ve got a few minutes to spare, though, this awesome time-lapse video of sights across Japan will show you all those cool things we talked about and more.

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“No one sleeps in her class!” Internet goes gaga for gorgeous Chinese science teacher

Meet Ms. Deng Yuanyuan (鄧媛媛), the stylish, beautiful Chinese biology teacher who’s been sending shockwaves across the internet in the past week. Looking just as at home in the classroom as she would gracing the cover of a fashion magazine, Ms. Deng has reportedly become the envy of Chinese students everywhere. Join us after the jump for a look at this modern career woman!

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Omedetou! Toyama Bay is inducted into The Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club

Toyama Bay (Toyama-wan, 富山湾), nestled between Toyama and Ishikawa Prefectures in the Hokuriku region of Japan, was formally inducted into the Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club on October 19. The bay is only the second place in Japan following Miyagi Prefecture’s Matsushima to be officially recognized by the global association. After doing some digging, we’ve discovered the incredible charms that the bay has to offer. Love mountains? Check. Love seafood? Double check. Keep reading after the jump to fall in love with Toyama Bay for yourself!

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Crimson-covered Hitachi Seaside Park: Beautiful, awesome, and easy to get to from Tokyo【Photos】

Last year, we sat amazed as we looked at pictures of Hitachi Seaside Park, where every autumn a hill covered in kochia shrubs turns a dazzling shade of crimson.

Then we sat crying as a storm on the day we’d planned to visit the park washed out our travel plans.

After 12 long months of moping, this week we finally got a second chance, and this time the weather was perfect. Interested in making the trip for yourself? Read on and we’ll tell you how.

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Three’s a crowd as multiple waterspouts form above Chinese lake in awesome video

As the largest lake in a very large country, you’d probably imagine that China’s Qinghai Lake is pretty big, and with a surface area of over 4,100 square kilometers (1,583 square miles), you’d be right. But when numbers start getting that huge, it can be hard to really grasp their scale.

So just how big is Qinghai Lake? Well, you could say it’s twice the size of the 23 wards of central Tokyo. Or, to put it in more dramatic terms, it’s big enough to easily hold three gigantic water spouts at the same time.

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We leap into autumn by eating a pack of tempura maple leaves

Earlier this month, we found out that the city of Mino, in Osaka, has been selling tempura maple leaves for at least a hundred years. Since we’ve made it our mission in life to eat everything that can be deep-fried (barring non-food items like deep-fried scissors), we immediately called Hisakuni Kosendo, one Mino’s maple-cooking outfits, and ordered a pack to try for ourselves.

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Crimea’s Natalia Poklonskaya goes brunette, net users ponder the existence of natural blondes

Despite being prosecutor general of a country more than eight thousand miles away and not, in fact, a scantily clad pop star desperately seeking fame, Crimea’s Natalia Poklonskaya has achieved near-celebrity status here in Japan. Since rocketing to fame in March this year, legions of admirers have dedicated hours to studying the young lawyer’s “angel-like” face, creating anime-style drawings of her and day-dreaming about being interrogated by her in a room with no windows.

Late last week, however, the formerly blonde Poklonskaya appeared at a State Council meeting with her hair tied back and noticeably darker. As you might imagine, this minor cosmetic change caused quite a stir here in Japan and quickly resulted in a debate over which look suited Poklonskaya best, with some online commenters seemingly confused not just about which of the two is her natural colour, but whether a natural blonde would ever go darker of their own volition.

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Moon set to vanish and turn red as part of tonight’s spectacular lunar eclipse

Wednesday has to be the least exciting day of the week. Your energy boost from the weekend is likely spent, and you’ve still got a couple more days of work until your next chance to cut loose and have some fun.

At least, that’s how things generally are. This week, we’re psyched about Wednesday, because October 8 is bringing a lunar eclipse to Japan, and as part of the celestial show, the moon is turning red.

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Think you’ve had every type of tempura? Not until you’ve eaten deep-fried maple leaves

Autumn is a great time of year in Japan. The sticky humidity of summer is gone, but it’s still warm enough to enjoy spending time outdoors. Best of all, there’s the spectacular show of the leaves changing to vivid reds and dazzling yellows.

For me though, fall comes with one major drawback, which is that for the whole season, it seems like the mixed tempura set at every restaurant I go to is packed with mushrooms. If you’re a fan of Japan’s many types of edible fungi, this is a major plus, but if you can’t stand the things, you might be feeling a little left-out.

Take heart, though, because there’s still a way to form a deep-fried connection to autumn with tempura maple leaves.

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Feast your eyes on these Disney princess oil prints fit to be hung in a real castle

While we here at RocketNews24 often feature articles relating to Japan’s beloved Studio Ghibli, it’s no secret that we also have a soft spot for good old Disney animated films. Of course, the hallmark of Disney is its Disney Princess franchise, and we never shy away from sharing any interesting princess-related news that we find floating around the web.

This time around, we’ve stumbled across some absolutely gorgeous Disney character-inspired paintings by oil artist Heather Theurer. If you’ve got a love for Disney girls and are looking to spruce up your walls, then bibbidi-bobbidi-boo, these prints could be the perfect solution for you!

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Expat’s video “Our Japan” beautifully captures why we love it here

What’s great about Japan? Glad you asked, since we’ve got the answer in long form right here.

But if you’re pressed for time, this amazing video, in a little under four and a half minutes, will give you a beautifully condensed version of what makes Japan so special.

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Time zone quirk lets expat in Japan share opposite side of the sunset with parents in U.S.

For expats in Japan, one thing that takes some serious getting used to is the time difference. With several time zones’ worth of ocean separating Japan and the U.S., for example, a quick calculation of the local time is always a necessity before calling home. Even then, there’s often a twinge of sadness that comes from that vague disconnect of knowing that it might be afternoon where you are, but the middle of the night where the rest of your family is.

But while the times on the clock might never match between Japan and Florida, an American in Japan discovered that there’s one time a day when things are close enough.

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Awesome treehouse café in Yokohama satisfies our longing for bagels, beer, and nature

Not too long ago, I ate ramen from a can on a Tokyo backstreet. It didn’t taste half-bad, but between the barkers for maid cafes and the homeless guy raiding the surrounding vending machines’ recycling bins for cans, it really didn’t make for the most elegant dining ambience.

But the great thing about Japan is the contrasting extremes you can find, and if eating in the middle of Tokyo’s concrete jungle by the soft glow of neon signs isn’t to your liking, you can always come on down to Yokohama, which has a café with plenty of natural sunlight thanks to the restaurant actually being an awesome treehouse.

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Japanese flutist keeps her cool, plays beautifully even with a butterfly crawling across her face

Part of my job at RocketNews24 is providing English titles for the videos on our YouTube channel. So my knee-jerk reaction when stumbling across a clip, from a different source, with the title “flute performance butterfly stop the face” is to point out the capitalization and syntax errors.

But you know what? Full points to whoever thought it up anyway. That jumbled cocktail of nouns and verbs just about perfectly captures what would run through any of our heads if we experienced what the woman in the video did: a butterfly crawling around her face in the middle of an important flute performance.

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Ghibli anime inspires beautiful cosplay from across the seas 【Photos】

While the works of Studio Ghibli are widely loved in Japan, they exist in a sort of special realm outside ordinary anime fandom. Totoro, Kiki, and their kin may be universally respected, but they’re so much a part of the country’s shared pop cultural heritage that they don’t inspire the same sort of passionate, individual connection that you see with newer animated characters with a narrower target market.

Things are a little different in the west, though, where for many people, the films of Japan’s most hallowed animation are a more recent discovery. That new-found enthusiasm sometimes provides the spark of inspiration that leads to some amazing expressions of fans’ love for the characters, as shown in this collection of beautiful Ghibli cosplay.

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