Latte sharpeners, mayo correction fluid and more will confuse the heck out of your friends【Pics】

Doing school or office work can be a real drag. Taking notes? Completing worksheets? Writing reports? You’ve got more pressing matters to attend to, like checking all of your social media sites for the fifth time in five minutes.

But in the end those things just have to be done, so why not mix it up a bit? Let your “latte” sharpen your pencils, your bottle of mayo white-out your mistakes, and your naan hold all of your writing utensils together. Take a look below to see all the nifty stationery goods that don’t even look like stationery at all!

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Should it really take so long to become a sushi chef? Japanese entrepreneur calls system a scam

Since even before the phenomenally popular documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi put the idea up on the big screen, there’s been a belief in Japan that it takes a long, long time to become a skilled sushi chef. As a matter of fact, properly preparing slices of raw fish atop morsels of vinegared rice has traditionally been considered such a complex skill that when conveyor belt sushi restaurants and other low-price opportunities to enjoy the dish first appeared in Japan, they were scoffed at by gourmands as “not real sushi.”

But are attitudes changing? Kaitenzushi restaurants, as revolving sushi joints are called in Japanese, are more popular than ever. What’s more, some people are no longer convinced that it’s as difficult to make sushi as the old masters say, including one of Japan’s most famous entrepreneurs, who’s been calling the whole idea that preparing good sushi requires several years of training a scam.

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KFC now has hamburgers in Japan, no chicken or frying involved

Earlier this week, our hearts were Kentucky-fried aflutter over the news that KFC will soon be opening an all-you-can-eat buffet in Osaka. As it turns out, though, that’s not the only big development for the restaurant chain. Right now, the world’s most popular fried chicken outfit has added something to the menu of its Japanese restaurants that we never thought we’d see at KFC: hamburgers!

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Japanese meat-lovers celebrating their birthdays with crazy literal beefcakes

Let’s play a little word association game. When I say “birthday,” what’s the next word that comes to mind?

For everyone who said “suit,” well, we’ve always suspected that at least a handful of people at any given moment are reading RocketNews24 while completely nude. Still, I’m guessing that far more of you thought of birthday parties and birthday cakes, which tend to go hand in hand. But what do you make the centerpiece of your birthday celebration edibles if sweets aren’t your thing?

Simple: you get a cake made of meat, like these carnivorous Japanese citizens.

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We pig out at Aizuya, the Michelin Guide-featured takoyaki shop

In Japan, takoyaki (somewhat unappealingly translated as “octopus balls”) is known as “B-Class Gourmet” food. Takoyaki is the domain of sometimes shady street vendors and national chains where there are literally no chairs whatsoever on the premises. They’re meant to be consumed while still blazing hot, fresh off the special cratered griddle used to make them, chewed and swallowed at lightning speed while you suck in air to make them just cool enough that they don’t burn a hole in your esophagus on the way down.

Therefore, takoyaki is not, one would think, within the purview of the Michelin tire company’s prestigious Michelin Guide for world-renowned restaurants. But, surprisingly, the 2016 Michelin Guide contains not just one but several restaurants specializing in takoyaki, okonomiyaki, and other “B-Class Gourmet” foods famous around Osaka and the Kansai area.

One of those featured restaurants, Aizuya, is, it turns out, actually rumored to be the restaurant that flat-out invented takoyaki. And since that sounds like a good premise for an article, and gives us an excuse to stuff our faces with this delicious local street food, we went to check it out.

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Designer makes daruma good enough to eat with sushi, parfait and fried pork

Japan is a country that really values tradition, but that doesn’t mean that traditional culture is completely sacrosanct either. Giving something old and iconic a tongue-in-cheek modern twist is a popular approach in art and commerce, with results at once familiar and jarring enough to be eye catching.

Like these daruma, spotted at Tokyo Design Week, with outrageous paint jobs and wearing some rather tasty-looking headgear.

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The internet’s latest culinary masterpiece: Cup Noodle Steamed Egg【Taste Test】

Although the internet has revolutionized our lives in countless ways, one of the most appreciated is the simple yet outside-the-box recipes that appear on it from time to time. Where else can we discover that a rice cooker can be used to make mind-blowing pancakes or crème caramel on top of instant ramen makes for a delicious flavor boost?

Now, a Twitter user going by the handle of @rea941 has unveiled a new way to enjoy Japan’s favorite instant food, Cup Noodle. With the leftover soup you can make a delicious chawanmushi egg custard. It’s so easy the entire recipe could fit in a single tweet!

With easy, delicious, and cheap being the trifecta of RocketNews24 gourmet bliss, we couldn’t help but make some for ourselves.

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Japan’s Delusion Curry comes packaged with a DVD of a sexy model pretending to be your girlfriend

Not everyone has the time or skills necessary to cook a tasty meal, which is why so many bachelors rely on microwavable and other instant foods when they get hungry. But most men will tell you everything in life is more enjoyable in the company of a beautiful woman, which is why this new brand of instant Japanese curry comes bundled with a DVD of a sexy model who will pretend to be your girlfriend while you eat it.

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Beyond bento — Amazing laser-cut seaweed makes its mark on the artistic world

Lunch-making parents in Japan have long been infusing their midday meals with fun characters designed to please the eye along with the taste buds. A common ingredient used for detail and decoration is the humble dried seaweed sheet called nori. The dark color makes it perfect for creating lines and patterns, and since it comes in a flat sheet you can cut out some fairly detailed shapes with a knife. If you quickly browse through some amazing character bento we’ve shared with you before, you’ll see the important role that seaweed plays in their design.

However, it’s not only good in a supporting role; world-renowned seaweed shop Kozen wants to elevate it to a star in the art world! Forget all the other ingredients you might find in a bento, “Nori Art” is all you need to turn your next meal into an unforgettable feast.

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Rice, rice baby! Strains of Japanese rice get turned into cute anime girls on new packaging

Japan likes to think of the food it produces as being the highest-quality in the world, and that goes double for rice. As such, many bags of domestically grown rice are decorated with iconic Japanese imagery, such as a crane, the rising sun, or Mt. Fuji.

But in today’s modern age, there’s no surer visual shorthand for Japan than cute anime girls, which is exactly what you’ll find on these bags of rice from Yamagata Prefecture.

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Step aside, fortune cookies! Here come fortune cat rice crackers from Japan!

Fortune cookies can be sort of anti-climactic, can’t they? Most of the time, that little slip of paper just reminds you of some pearl of wisdom to help you make yourself a better person, instead of giving you the inside information on the future that you really wanted so that you could succeed in life without all that bothersome self-improvement stuff.

On the other hand, it’s hard to imagine anyone being disappointed if they cracked open their snack to find an adorably chubby cat figurine.

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Butter sushi becoming an unlikely hit in Osaka

In Japan, some of the most prized types of sushi are loved by gourmets for their rich flavor. High-quality uni (sea urchin) is decadently creamy, and the premium cuts of tuna are those with extra fat.

But this chain of restaurants in Japan might be offering the richest sushi ever, since the pieces have a pat of butter on them!

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Tokyo’s massive Monster Burger is the combining robot of hamburgers

With Halloween just around the corner, people across Japan are getting ready to transform into all manner of awesome creatures. As a matter of fact, even some restaurants are getting into the spirit with special Halloween menu items, and we found one that’s a genuine monster: Tokyo’s massive Monster Burger, which is actually five burgers combined as one!

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Japanese boxed lunches pulling into France at authentic bento stand opening in Paris station

In just about every major train station in Japan, you’ll find a stand selling boxed lunches called ekiben. A combination of the words eki (“station”) and bento (“boxed lunch”), ekiben serve as a tasty, convenient meal for travelers to dine on as they watch the scenery slip by outside their window.

Given that trains are terrestrial transportation, and that Japan is an island nation, until now you’ve generally had to come to Japan in order to get your hands on authentic station bento. That’s changing soon, though, with the opening of an ekiben stand in a rail station in Paris.

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Breakfast never looked cuter! Character toast, pancakes, doughnuts, burgers and more!【Pics】

If you’re not much of a morning person breakfast can be tricky. Sure, it’s the most important meal of the day and heading out on an empty stomach is never a good idea, but at the same time the temptation of an extra 10, 15, 20 minutes in bed is often too much to resist.

If that’s the dilemma you face every morning, these plates of edible cuteness might just be motivation enough for you to haul your ass out of bed and sit down to a proper breakfast. Generous servings of cute after the break!

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Japanese candy maker announces new “hot cola gum” to meet demand that probably doesn’t exist

Anyone who has tried salty watermelon Pepsi, yogurt-flavored water or whitebait ice cream can tell you that the Japanese love weird flavors. If it’s new and outlandish, the Japanese market wants to get a taste.

I can only assume that’s what confectioner Lotte was banking on with their newest creation, because there surely couldn’t have been that many voices clamoring for hot cola chewing gum!

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The future is here! Celebrate Back to the Future: Part II’s historic day at theme cafes

Do you know what day October 21, 2015 is? It’s the day that Marty and Doc come to the future from 1985! But, sorry Marty, hover boards aren’t quite what they were supposed to be, and we barely made it to five Jaws movies, let alone Jaws 19. One of the only prophecies that may still come true is the Cubs winning the World Series, but even that seems doubtful.

Okay, so Marty might not be overly thrilled with this real version of 2015, but hey, at least he’ll get to go to the limited time “Back to the Future” Cafe if he stops by Hill Valley Ikebukuro in Tokyo.

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Mr. Sato takes our newest reporter to a sushi restaurant, he mistakes it for a love hotel!

It’s been one month since Nakazawa, who’s also a guitarist for two bands, joined the Japanese RocketNews24 team. On a recent day, our veteran reporter Mr. Sato told Nakazawa to follow him as he ventured into the outside world. When Nakazawa asked where they were going, Mr. Sato coolly replied: “To a good place. I’m going to make you happy.”

Not one to argue with a perpetual fan-favorite reporter, especially as a new recruit, Nakazawa obediently agreed.

Two short train rides later, our two adventurers finally arrived at their destination: a collection of bars and other late-night eateries near Tokyo’s Kita-Senju Station. Nakazawa followed Mr. Sato silently until the expert reporter suddenly stopped in his tracks. “We’re here,” Mr. Sato announced. Nakazawa looked up and was shocked to discover that they were standing in front of what looked like a hotel—and not just any hotel, but a LOVE hotel!

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Matcha green tea potato chips coming soon to make snack time in Japan cultured and delicious

Potato chips and matcha green tea seem like the opposite endpoints of the refreshment spectrum. Matcha is a refined, high-class drink meant to be sipped and savored in a quiet moment, whereas potato chips are often most enjoyable when scarfed down by the handful while watching sports or playing video games.

But sometimes the best way to find balance in life is with contrasting extremes, like the matcha potato chips that are about to go on sale in Japan.

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Survey reveals the top five times Japanese travelers realise just how Japanese they are

Whether we like to admit it or not, where we were brought up has a huge impact on the person we become. From our way of thinking to what foods we prefer, it’s hard to deny that our environment shapes our personal identity.

While some people come from nations that are veritable melting pots of backgrounds, languages, and cultures, others come from a country with much more homogeneity. Japan is one such country, and its people have a strong sense of identity—though they may not readily admit it.

But often during a trip to a foreign country, there comes a moment of self-realization where they become aware of just how Japanese they really are. A recent survey asked Japanese travelers to identify the five moments they felt most Japanese when abroad. The results are really quite telling.

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