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Seven facts about Japanese chopsticks to help you win friends and influence people

We’ve been seeing a lot of articles recently about how to use Japanese chopsticks correctly. For those of us who grew up using forks and knives, it may seem a bit silly to obsess over holding two sticks at the correct angles. If you plan on visiting, living in, or especially working in Japan at some point, though, it may be a good idea to get out a protractor and practice those angles to save yourself a lot of embarrassing moments with friends and coworkers later.

To help you out, we here at RocketNews24 have compiled seven facts about chopsticks to help you along in your quest for perfect Japanese table manners. Even if you’re a seasoned chopstick expert, you may learn a thing or two from our advanced-level tips.

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Want to copy Sailor Moon’s hairstyle? This video will show you how

Whether you got into Sailor Moon through its English-language TV broadcast version and think of the main character as “Meatball Head” or you’re a Japanese original purist who calls them odango, there’s no denying that anime’s most famous magical girl has an instantly recognizable hairstyle. Not only is it iconic, it’s actually pretty cute too.

Even better, unlike many of anime’s most well-known looks, it’s pretty easy look to achieve in real life, as shown by this short instructional video of how to give yourself the Sailor Moon hairdo.

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Are you holding your chopsticks correctly? Chopstick Man will show you how 【Video】

For many of us born outside of Asia, eating with chopsticks is not a skill we’re taught from a young age, and is something many people may go their whole lives without mastering. In Japan, however, kids are started on chopsticks from as early as a year old, and whether or not a person holds their chopsticks correctly reflects on that person’s upbringing (because only a lazy, incompetent parent would allow their child to hold chopsticks like a heathen!).

Not to worry though–foreigners in Japan are given a lot of slack in the chopstick department, since it’s generally assumed that chopsticks are pretty much non-existent in the west. But even if you don’t know how to use chopsticks doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn how, and if you can use them, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re doing it correctly. That’s where Chopstick Man comes in, with his tutorial on the proper way to hold your hold your chopsticks!

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The madness ends now: How to conqueror impossible-to-open Japanese convenience store snacks

Oh Japanese convenience stores. Those bright, white-glowing oases that have everything you could ever possibly need inside of them, all wrapped up with a pair of chopsticks and a warm smile from the clerk.

Except for when you want an onigiri (rice ball) or sushi roll. Anyone who buys one of the items pictured above typically finds themselves suddenly engaged in a battle of wits matching human against plastic wrap. And the plastic wrap usually wins, resulting in a mess of rice, seaweed and tears of frustration.

But fear not! We here at RocketNews24 are here to help with step-by-step instructions so you will never lose to another conbini snack again.

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From characters to skies, anime tutorial YouTube channel makes an artist out of anyone 【Videos】

Like us, you’ve probably wondered from time to time what life as a badass anime illustrator might be like.

If a life of awesomely detailed backgrounds, fluidly animated characters, chain smoking, and endless cups of instant noodles is something you long for, Japanese anime tutorial YouTube channel, Palmie, is just for you.

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We made world-famous French toast in our office, and so can you! 【RocketKitchen】

Have you heard of the Hotel Okura in Tokyo? It’s recognized as one of the top hotels in the world, often housing rich business travelers and foreign heads of state visiting Japan. Every U.S. president since Richard Nixon has stayed there, and even James Bond has been a guest!

But despite all that, the Hotel Okura is best known among us mortals as “the home of the most delicious French toast in the world.” It’s been praised by innumerable websites and reviews, turning the small, simple breakfast dish into a 1,840-yen (US$15.50) delicacy. With a price and reputation like that, you wouldn’t expect us to be able to make the exact same thing in our office kitchen. Right?

Well, we did. And so can you!

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Frozen marshmallow cream: Just two ingredients, at least as good as ice cream 【RocketKitchen】

Every now and again, we stumble across a dessert recipe that’s so simple and tasty, it almost feels like we’ve discovered some sort of hidden secret that man wasn’t meant to know. Last year, we found out that instead of making pancakes one at a time, we could just make one huge one in a rice cooker, sprinkle in some green tea powder, and have a dessert that looks and tastes great with no fuss at all.

But what if you prefer chilled desserts to hotcakes? No problem. We recently tried a recipe for a frozen marshmallow dessert that may or may not technically be ice cream, but amazingly creates something that tastes even better from just two ingredients, and takes almost as few steps to make.

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Minimal effort, loads of flavor: Make juicy roast beef in your rice cooker with vacuum cooking!

Our Japanese sister site Pouch would like to let our English-speaking readers in on a simple, time and effort-conserving way to cook a flavorful roast beef. This method also allows the meat to retain all of its natural juices, so you can impress your friends with an incredibly tender home-cooked meal.

But get ready for the best part of all–you get to let your rice cooker do all the hard work!

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Too busy to wrap Christmas presents? Not if you’ve got 12 seconds, Japanese store shows【Video】

I honestly don’t remember the last time I wrapped a Christmas present. Due to a lack of time during the busy period at the end of the year, plus a lack of manual dexterity during…my life in general…I usually just put everyone’s presents into a gift bag.

However, if you want to give someone the gift of satisfaction that can only come from tearing through some festively patterned paper, and you’re got more aptitude for arts and crafts than me (trust me, you do), there’s no need to let your hectic schedule stop you, as this video shows you how to wrap a present in just 12 seconds.

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Who knew frozen apples could taste so good!: Simple dessert recipe for the diet-conscious

If you’ve been on an apple diet, you know the pain of having to munch on nothing but apples all day long. Sure, they are sweet and juicy, but the same old apple can get boring. Just when you’re getting sick of the fruit, it’s time to start exploring more delicious ways of enjoying apples to spice things up a little. We have come up with a super easy way of making delicious apple compote that will satisfy your sweet tooth and not ruin your diet! I personally think this is one of the best discoveries we’ve made so far!

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Celebrate Halloween with our recipe for jack-o’-lantern nikuman steamed buns【RocketKitchen】

Growing up, every year as Halloween approached, I could feel a sense of dread creeping up on me. It wasn’t the prospect of being hunted by werewolves or getting lost in a haunted house that frightened me, though.

I was terrified that someone would give me raisins when I went trick-or-treating.

Honestly, I understand that some people don’t approve of eating nothing but candy on Halloween, and there’s a valid point in trying to balance out your diet on All Hallows’ Eve. Do you have to do it with something as soulless as raisins, though, especially when you could use our recipe to whip up some tasty and jack-‘o-lantern steamed buns instead?

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How to properly wrap a ninja hood – Now available in English!

Every once in a while we at RocketNews24 like to bring you some instructional pieces on how to perform traditional Japanese practices such as drinking green tea, eating sushi, butchering a wild boar and seppuku. However, even with handy instructions some of these practices require rigid discipline and considerable practice. Interestingly enough, we get the fewest complaints of failure from the seppuku piece, but the ones we do get seemed to be the most angry.

This time however, we have a traditional Japanese guide that not only is easy to perform but is perfect for Halloween, which is fast approaching. So get ready to learn how to properly wrap a ninja hood around your head!

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How to make your own Pikachu Burgers!【RocketKitchen】

We recently paid a visit to the Pikachu Café in Roppongi, where we dined on, among other dishes, a hamburger shaped like the electrically charged Pokémon mascot. But while we found ourselves craving seconds, we weren’t sure we felt like waiting in the restaurant’s long line again.

So instead, we decided to make our own Pikachu Burger by reverse engineering and remixing what we ate in Roppongi, and today we’re sharing our recipe with you. So join us after the break for this easy recipe and a step-by-step guide to building your own pika-tastic burgers!

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Try a super-easy summer cold remedy with this natural Honey Daikon Cough Syrup recipe

Summer is here and with it come the sleepless nights of rolling around in bed searching for a sweat-free spot. Of course, fans and air conditioners are at hand but they bring a whole other set of problems such as dry, sore throats in the morning and incessant buzzing that might make it even harder to nod off.

They say summer colds are the worst kind, and taking standard medicine with all the drowsiness they can cause is no good in this already delirium-inducing heat.

Now, we don’t promise this to be a cure (it’s a common cold, after all!), but for those suffering from summer sniffles and phlegm we humbly recommend a simple recipe using all natural ingredients: honey, daikon, and just a pinch of patience.

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Our recipe for green tea rice-cooker pancakes: amazingly tasty, ridiculously easy

We recently found out that you can use a rice cooker to make awesome, gigantic pancakes. Our first reaction was surprise, as we’d honestly never even thought to try. Soon enough, though, our surprise faded and was replaced by something even stronger: hunger.

So we decided to get off the culinary sidelines and whip up a batch for ourselves. Since we were using Japan’s most beloved kitchen appliance, we decided to take another cue from our adopted country and spruce things up a bit by making matcha green tea pancakes.

We’re going to spoil the ending right now and tell you that they taste amazing. Want to make them yourself? Read on and we’ll give you the whole incredibly easy recipe.

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Craving cheese but on a diet? Try our “advanced tofu pickles!” 【Recipe】

Summer has a way of creeping up on us before we can shed those extra pounds in this, the season of skimpier clothing. As such many people take up diets including our own reporter, Hotaru. At one point during her weight management, Hotaru had decided to go to a vegan restaurant thinking it wouldn’t be as high in calories as other establishments.

However, when her curry arrived she noticed that there were little bits of what looked like cheese on top. They tasted kind of like cheese too. Confused by this non-vegan and diet-bending food, Hotaru asked the staff what it was. “Tofu pickles” they replied.

Hotaru also learned from them how to make this delectable topping and found it was actually incredibly easy. So easy, in fact, that she also developed her own “advanced tofu pickles” recipe. We’d now like to share these recipes with you so that you many enjoy some tofu pickles in your own home.

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How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker

Every summer, I try to spend as many days as possible on the beach at Enoshima, and each time I get out of the station and walk towards the sand, I pass a long line of people waiting for a seat at the local pancake restaurant. This isn’t Japan’s only pancake joint with a lengthy wait, either, as you can find similar eateries with comparable lines in Tokyo, too.

It used to strike me as a little weird. After all, whipping up a stack of pancakes isn’t exactly the most challenging culinary feat. It can get tedious, though, as you settle into a monotonous pattern of plopping batter into the pan, flipping the half-cooked cake, and repeating over and over again.

Or, you could bypass all that by making an entire batch of pancakes all at once in a rice cooker.

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Japanese netizen teaches us how to make awesome sausage isopods for bento lunches

Packed lunches in Japan, or bento, are arguably more exciting than an anywhere else in the world. While such delicacies as cheese sandwiches, chips, and so-not-real-food-it’s-scary “snack packs” reign supreme in the West, typical bento lunches in Japan almost always involve things like rice, vegetables, fish, fried chicken, and potato salad. You name it, if it’s decent food it’s in there, and very often crafted into some cute character or artistic arrangement by a loving parent or spouse.

Today, thanks to a Twitter user in Japan, we’re going to learn how to turn the humble wiener or cocktail sausage into something far cooler: a mini version of a giant isopod.

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People in Japan are going crazy for straw art

A lot of unusual art trends have been popping up in Japan lately. From lattes to nails, dextrous Japanese artists are continuing to impress us with creative touches that take things to a whole new level. Now drinking straws are taking centre stage, with their colours and curves twisted into lifelike animals, mythical beasts and cute animated characters.

We take a look at some amazing designs and see how it’s done with an easy-to-follow video tutorial.

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Calling all ladies out there: How to win the heart of a man with AB blood type

In many Asian cultures, blood type is said to determine one’s personality or unique characteristics. If you’re not familiar with the traits associated with each blood type, check out our handy guide here (and see if what it says about you is accurate or not!). That said, people with AB blood type are known to be slightly mysterious and the most creative thinkers of the bunch. They may engage in unique hobbies, display genius tendencies, and continually startle you with unexpected surprises the more you get to know them.

So what’s a lady to do when the object of her affections happens to be a gentleman with type AB blood? Perhaps the following handy tips will help you snag his heart if nothing else does!

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