culture

Top-selling guide for picking up women in Hong Kong becomes the target of Change.org petition

Women of Hong Kong are none too happy about a bafflingly best-selling book that purports to teach men tips and tricks for picking up and having promiscuous sex with women in the Chinese autonomous territory. Get Laid in Hong Kong (at least the title is to the point) is a “sex tourism guide” of sorts for visiting western males that the pseudonymous author says is “guaranteed to get you laid.”

The book, perhaps in a sad reflection of the state of humankind, apparently hit No. 1 for Amazon sales in the “Asian Travel” category before it was briefly taken off virtual shelves due to backlash from Hong Kong women and an ongoing change.org petition.

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These amazing Furoshiki Shoes from Vibram are designed to literally wrap around your feet!

Before we had bags in Japan, we used furoshiki — elegant cloths that come in various colors and decorative patterns that can be used to wrap and carry various items. While you don’t really see them in daily use now, furoshiki are quite useful in their own way, as they can be folded and tied in different ways and be used to wrap items of varying shapes and sizes, in addition to being eco-friendly.

But it turns out that the traditional cloths have recently served as the inspiration for a completely new and unexpected product — Furoshiki Shoes that wrap around your feet!

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Japanese high school baseball players are all class, immediately clean stadium after road loss

Any good athlete obviously needs some measure of speed, strength, and stamina, but the list of necessities starts getting much longer if we’re talking about good student athletes. Youth sports are supposed to be as much about developing character as physical skills, so any proper high school athletic program should want its players to be just as dedicated to sportsmanship and integrity as they are to on-the-field performance.

That’s why we think Fukuoka Prefecture’s Kyushu International University Senior High School (called Kyukoku for short) is doing a fine job with its baseball team, since after a heartbreaking loss on the road, players from Kyukoku immediately started cleaning the stadium.

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Cat destroys owner’s Japanese sliding door, tells the world he couldn’t care less with his smile

One of the most elegant touches of classic Japanese architecture is the use of shoji, traditional sliding doors. Built on a wooden framework with translucent paper used instead of panes of glass, the resulting mix of natural materials and light is both refined and relaxing.

But while they look nice, shoji aren’t really the sturdiest portals to have in your home, since the paper can tear pretty easily, and even the frame can snap, if the doors aren’t handled carefully. Among the most common causes of shoji damage are clumsy drunks, careless kids, and indoor pets.

Not that this Japanese Twitter user’s cool cat is fessing up to the crime, though.

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How to tie a women’s summer kimono sash 【Video】

It might seem a little odd to hear that yukata, the lightweight kimono worn at summertime festivals, fireworks shows, and bon dances, are in the middle of a revival in popularity in Japan right now, but it’s absolutely true. After several years in which young Japanese found yukata to be too expensive and troublesome to bother with, they’re back in fashion with teens and young adults in a huge way.

Part of this is no doubt due to more and more manufacturers offering reasonably priced yukata, as you can now often find sets that include the robe and sash for around 6,000 yen (US$48). And as for not knowing how to put everything on and tie it properly? That’s also a problem of the past, thanks to online explanations like this pair of videos from fashion and yukata retailer Uniqlo.

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Bon dances have been a Japanese tradition for centuries, but one neighborhood’s stopped the music

At this time of year, if I’m walking around town in the evening, I’ll often hear rousing taiko drums and joyful traditional music. Believe it or not, this isn’t an impromptu concert put on by the revelers that always greet my arrival wherever I go, but the sound of a bon dance, (“bon odori” in Japanese).

Part of the summer Obon festivities, bon dances have been held for centuries, and have a spiritual significance in some localities. Even where they’re held for purely festive reasons, they’re a way of fostering a sense of community and preserving cultural heritage.

But while to most Japanese people the sound of bon odori music brings a welcome and warm rush of nostalgic summer memories, one neighborhood in Japan performs its dance with no music at all, and it’s not because all of the dancers have innately perfect rhythm.

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Satirical one-panel comics show how ridiculous idol otaku can sometimes be

Japanese comics and cartoons, also well-known as manga, have long been considered an important aspect of Japanese culture. Those of your reading this article today will almost certainly be familiar with the likes of Naruto and One Piece, the kind of manga that are usually full-length works spanning multiple issues and telling one, over-arching story.

But there is another kind of manga that exists, one called called “yonkoma manga“, which is a comic-strip format and consists of just four panels…

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Disney’s Japanese Twitter account calls anniversary of Nagasaki bombing “Nothing Special Day”

It’s hard to overstate what an excellent job Disney does with its marketing in Japan. In a country that produces more mainstream animation than anywhere else on the planet, Disney still manages to stand out from the domestically made competition, winning the hearts of Japanese audiences and turning them into life-long fans.

At least part of that success is thanks to the company’s willingness to adapt to local tastes, as Disney’s two Tokyo-area theme parks put a greater emphasis on shows, parades, and seasonal events than their counterparts in the U.S. On the merchandising end, there are not only high-class items created specifically for Japan, but entire retail divisions.

Still, everyone makes mistakes, and Disney made a big one when it sent out a message from its official Japanese Twitter account declaring the date of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki to be Nothing Special Day.

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The Maasai people teach us how to kill a lion, demonstrate on our writer

Sure, you may have killed, like, 230 lions in Skyrim and traded in their pelts for a sweet dagger and maybe a cool tricorn hat, but it’s safe to say that, in real life, you probably wouldn’t fare so well against one of nature’s most efficient predators. First, where are you going to get a sweet set of gold armor and a giant warhammer? Secondly, humankind’s fight or flight response being what it is, you’re probably far more likely to projectile urinate onto your attacker while fleeing at top speed like the damn Roadrunner or something.

No, outside of Skyrim, there is only really one group of people (that don’t routinely use high-powered, modern weapons like they’re hunting the Predator) that can actually boast of taking on lions and walking away not only alive but victorious. Lucky for us, we’re tight with these folks – the Maasai people of Kenya and Tanzania – and they graciously taught us their technique, using one of our most unfortunate Japanese writing staff to demonstrate.

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Rules of tea, business cards, and bowing – 10 Japanese business manners young people are tired of

The corporate culture at RocketNews24 is pretty casual, but before I joined the team I spent several years working in the service and hospitality sectors. As a country that takes both work and etiquette very seriously, it’s probably not a surprise that Japanese business etiquette has a detailed code of proper conduct, all in an effort to foster an atmosphere of mutual respect and smooth cooperation.

Still, even for some people born and raised in Japan, the list of dos and don’ts can feel a little too long, and those who’d rather not have to stand on ceremony compiled a list of their own of the top 10 Japanese business manners young adults could do without.

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5 discriminatory interview questions employers in Japan are no longer allowed to ask

For many young people in Japan, August means summer vacation, festivals and free time. For fourth-year university students however, it means time to start interviewing for jobs. The job-hunting process in Japan is long, grueling and very systematic, culminating in interview after interview for the jobless, soon-to-graduate, young adults.

Interviews can be nerve-wracking for even the most experienced candidates, but Japanese companies don’t always ask the most predictable questions. In fact, some of their questions can be downright weird. Many of these oddball interview questions, however, may not actually be legal.

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Documentary about Japanese gold leaf process ignites interest in cultural arts online【Video】

With our Japan Wish competition winner Ashley now in Kyoto, the former capital of Japan, she now has access to many of Japan’s most popular tourist destinations, like Kinkakuji, or the Golden Pavillion, that we hope she makes her way to sometime during her stay.

This temple, which gets its name from the gold leaf that covers the upper two stories of the pavilion, was built during the Muromachi period (1337–1573), when much of the traditional Japanese art and culture recognized today began to flourish thanks to beneficial relationships between Japan and China as well as the spread of Zen Buddhism. This extended to architecture as well, where ornate decorations like gold leaf on Buddhist temples acted as a purifier against pollution of the outside world and inside the mind (on top of its structural benefits against weather and decay).

Over time, Kanazawa area of Ishikawa Prefecture, which produced the gold leaf used for Kinkakuji, became Japan’s top producer in gold leaf. Even today, Kanazawa produces 99% of the country’s gold leaf, and recently a wonderful documentary highlighting this traditional art has been garnering praise online both domestically and abroad.

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Top 10 acts of customer service that Japanese men would rather do without

In Japan customer service can be pretty unreal. Little things like taxi doors opening or closing automatically and complimentary reading glasses at check-out counters are harmless and go unnoticed by many locals, and are probably under-appreciated. Sometimes, however, the desire to please the customer and attend to their every need is a little over the top and some people find it just down-right annoying. 

Online research group iResearch surveyed a group of 200 male 20-somethings for their thoughts on “Which services do you secretly wish people would stop providing?” Some of the results are pretty understandable, but some of them make you wonder if the guys surveyed just hate people in general!

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Pixar alters Inside Out’s visuals for Japanese release, removes broccoli

If you’re an anime purist, you’ve probably watched at least one title with a localization choice that rubbed you the wrong way. Maybe you were irked by Sailor Moon’s Usagi being called “meatball head” on American T.V. instead of “dango/dumpling head.” More recently, you might have wondered why Doraemon’s central family ditched all their chopsticks and now eat their Japanese food with forks in their U.S. appearances.

But localization runs in the other direction, too, and it’s just come to light that Pixar has altered part of the artwork in several scenes of Inside Out solely for the film’s Japanese release.

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Japanese Netizens go crazy (again) for this gorgeous Taiwanese woman

Japan has long had a saying that Taiwan has a disproportionate ratio of incredibly beautiful women.

While there may or may not be truth to that (science is surprisingly light on “hot girl ratio” studies), one Taiwanese teen came to be known as the poster girl who proved the saying right among Japanese Netizens back in the mid-2000s.

And now, thanks to social media, Taiwanese beauty Chen Xiaoyu is back in the Japanese spotlight – all grown up now and making the rounds again now that hungry Japanese Netizens have found her Facebook and Instagram accounts.

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Samurai cats look awesome, teach us about Japanese history and culture at the same time

Over the years here at RocketNews24, we’ve brought you news of cats in kimonos, kittens in coffees and sushi cats that fly through the air. So as soon as we stumbled upon a collection of mighty samurai cats being awesome, we knew it was our duty to bring them to everyone’s attention.

These warrior felines wrestle with giant fish and ride on tigers but they also teach us a thing or two about history and pop culture in Japan. Can you guess what famous Japanese movie inspired the group of cats in the image above?

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Is super-salty Tokyo ramen too much umami for foreign tastes? 【Video】

Ramen is the ultimate Japanese hunger-busting food. With its combination of greasy, fatty soup combined with carb-heavy noodles, it’s the perfect meal for when you’re REALLY hungry in Tokyo (or just really hungover.) But that doesn’t mean that this taste is for everyone. In fact, there’re probably a lot of people out there who just can’t handle that heavy hit of garlicky, salty grease.

Our Japan Wish competition winner Ashley mentioned in her winning video entry that she really wanted to get a taste of Tokyo ramen. We accompanied her to Ramen Jiro to watch as her tastebuds tangled with the pungent umami of a bowl of their finest slurping fare. Unfortunately, Ashley soon realised that the reality of the truly salty ramen might be a little hard to swallow – along with the actual ramen itself! Check out our video report!

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Better than mosquito repellent – The most eco-friendly (and spiritual) way to repel pests in Japan

There’s no need to use toxic substances to kill off unwanted insects in Japan, because there’s a much more eco-friendly method they’ve been using for hundreds of years. Although it may not be scientifically proven, many people feel this is still the best way to get rid of everything from garden aphids to mosquitoes. And if the method has endured for centuries, it must be at least somewhat effective right?

This uniquely Japanese insect repellent is far cheaper than commercial insecticides, easier to implement, and you only have to use it once a year in spring or early summer. And the best part? It involves Japanese sake!

What’s the secret? We’ll let you know after the jump.

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”How to distinguish Koreans” explores stereotypes through the eyes of the world 【Video】

After the success of his previous video, “How to distinguish Americans,” YouTuber sw yoon decided to poke fun at his fellow South Koreans with a new video titled “How to distinguish Koreans.” 

The follow-up is every bit as amusing as the first, but before you click that “Play” button just remember: in Yoon’s own words, “This series of video is stereotypical stereotype video. Don’t get too serious.”

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12 awesome features of Japanese bathrooms you won’t find in the west 【Video】

Japanese bathrooms, or ofuroba, are very different to bathrooms in the west, and in this day and age they also come with a whole host of cool tech. Let’s take a look at a typical modern Japanese bathroom and let the cute little Aika take you through all its awesome characteristics in this fun and informative video.

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