new year

What’s the best way to write “Happy New Year?” With cats, of course!

The new year may have already begun according to the calendar, but it hasn’t really started until you see this video!

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Elderly patients in Shanghai hospital treated to a saucy dance to ring in the new year

Morning, Roy, how are you feeling today? We’ve got some entertainment lined up for you tonight: first there’ll be bingo in the lounge, then some pretty girls are coming in to do a sexy dance…

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【2016 Lucky Bag Roundup】The contents of Muji’s menswear lucky bag could make any man hip

What’s simple, cheap, yet super fashionable? The loot from Muji’s lucky bag! The takeaway from this no-frills retailer was well worth the early wake up call.

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【2016 Lucky Bag Roundup】 Lucky Bag favorite Starbucks is back in 2016, we see what’s inside

A new year means new lucky bags! So, how’s the haul from Starbucks? We find out after waiting in line all night!

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Celebrate the New Year with kimono dogs!

What better way to usher in a new year in Japan than with a cute collection of dogs in kimono?

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Traditional Japanese New Year’s decorations with a Mad Max theme? WHAT A LOVELY DAY!

SHINY AND CHROME!

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Fish on new Yebisu “happy” beer cans changes colour when chilled

In Japan, even beer cans have cute details.

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Sushi, sumo, and cats in kimonos: the best Christmas and New Year cards from Japan【Pics & Video】

These holiday greeting cards from Japan are so cool you have to see them to believe they’re real.

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Welcome to the world of cats in kimonos

In a country where pets outnumber children, animals in Japan are some of the most spoilt in the world. It’s not uncommon to see owners carrying dogs like babies, pushing them in specially-made prams and taking them on onsen hot spa holidays. The nation even has 11 cat islands where felines roam free and locals lavish them with attention.

So when big events and special holidays roll around, Japan’s furry friends also get dressed up for the occasion. Pet parents know no bounds when it comes to dressing their little ones and what better way to share the joy than with tiny elaborate kimonos? Join us as we take a look at some of Japan’s most stylish kittens below!

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Net user recreates Japan’s islands and prefectures in this twist on a winter tradition

New Year’s in Japan is a quiet affair. While the holiday period is usually spent with family, enjoying traditional food and activities, there’s one particular pastime that brings the family together in a special way every winter. To indulge in this very Japanese affair, you’ll need two of the items pictured in the image above. Can you guess what they are?

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Giant maguro donated to shrine of fishing-god Ebisu

The start of a new year means it’s time for hatsumōde, the year’s first visit to a Shinto shrine or Buddhist temple. You pray for good luck in the new year, throw some spare yen into the saisenbako (big offering box), get some omamori (good luck charms), and hope that the omikuji (fortune) you get is dai-kichi (great luck) and not dai-kyō (you’re screwed).

While most people are satisfied donating a few yen coins in the donation box when they visit their shrine, the Nishinomiya shrine in Hyogo Prefecture does things a little differently. They want to make sure the gods hear them loud and clear, so they lug a massive frozen maguro onto the donation box and leave it there for three days.

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This video of Manila’s New Year’s Eve fireworks will drive your dog crazy, look good doing it

New Year’s Eve is done and now long gone. We’ve pretty much wrapped up our coverage of the best and worst fukubukuro in Japan, so you may be ready to move on to Valentine’s Day, but we have one more piece of awesomeness left over from December 31, 2014: explosions!

While there were plenty of great fireworks displays around the world, we think this video of the Philippines’ Manila going crazy might be the best of the year. Check out below!

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Cool Nengajo, bro! Check out six of the most awesome New Year’s postcards of 2015!

Nengajo, or New Year’s greeting cards, are a ubiquitous part of the end-of-year season in Japan. Much like Christmas cards in the west, nengajo are sent to family and friends to update them on what you’ve been up to that year. In fact, there are so many nengajo sent at the end of the year that post offices in Japan have to employ students as temporary staff to make sure they meet the delivery deadline of January 1. While there are plenty of preprinted cards available from stationery shops, many people opt to make their own, personalised cards. A nice touch, but results may vary depending on the artistic skills (and sense of humour) of the postcard sender! To show you what we mean, we’ve put together a little list of the best of this year’s nengajo. Some of them are genuinely impressive, while others would make us cringe if the neighbours saw ’em!

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Happy Kentucky Fried New Year! And this year’s KFC New Year Lucky Bag contains…?

Every New Year’s, people across Japan flock to stores for special bargains, and in particular, the “Lucky Bags” known as fukubukuro. From electronics and chocolate shops to up-scale department stores, Japanese shops and businesses of all kinds come up with original Lucky Bags at the beginning of each year to tempt those of us out for some new year’s shopping. Now, these bags are supposed to offer good value, containing products worth more than the price you pay for the bag. Well, the bags may be a good value, but the catch is that you can’t choose what you get in your bag, and each year there ends up being much online discussion on whether the Lucky Bags from different shops are a particularly good or bad deal.

Not to miss out on the action, the team at the Japanese RocketNews24 site has also joined the Lucky Bag rush, and as we’ve already started reporting, we’ve taken a look at the contents of quite a few of the bags being sold this year. And one of them happens to be a bag from none other than … Kentucky Fried Chicken Japan. Let’s see what “finger-lickin’ good” items were included in their Lucky Bag for 2015!

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Happy New Year, manga fans: Artists share their one-of-a-kind New Year’s cards on Twitter

Meeeeh! Baaah!  In Japan, it’s tradition to send friends and family New Year’s postcards called nengajo, thanking them for everything from the year before and wishing them well in the year to come. The cards often feature the animal of the new year’s zodiac; if you haven’t guessed yet, 2015 is the Year of the Sheep.

While usually sent in the mail, with the onset of the digital age, many people are turning to the non-traditional medium of social networking to deliver their nengajo. This year, some ever-creative manga artists took to Twitter to share their hand-drawn New Year’s greetings with fans around the world. Join us after the jump for a look at the best.

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Happy New Year and thank you from RocketNews24!

Well, folks, we’ve done it again. We’ve somehow survived yet another year without being wiped off the face of the planet or the interwebs, and I’m happy to report that our humble shrine to news, entertainment and general weirdness from Japan and Asia is now bigger, busier, and – dare I say it – slightly better looking than ever before.

Last year went by in a flash for us. Our team grew from 15 to 22, and we put out roughly twice the amount of content that we did in 2013. In return, we saw our readership positively explode, and now almost 190,000 of you kind souls allow our quirky news nuggets to appear alongside your friends’ tedious selfies and photos of their hideous children in your Facebook feed. It may sound like a bit of a cliché, but we really wouldn’t be here without you, and it’s only thanks to our readers that we’re able to keep on growing and can keep Mr Sato stocked with the Cuban cigars and exotic silk underwear he so voraciously consumes each day.

Despite our recent growth spurt, RocketNews24 is still staffed by a very close-knit team. Unlike some faceless media machine operated by corporate giants, we still get fuzzies when you like us and feel genuinely disappointed when you don’t. We read every single one of your comments (yes, even the long, ranting ones that make us want to double-check that the front door’s locked before heading to bed) and we take what you say to heart. We aim to make RocketNews24 a place that people like to come to for everything from commentary on recent news events and Japanese internet chatter to cooking tips and the latest from our Asian feline overlords, and it’s through your feedback that we know where and how we need to improve. So thank you. Your clicks and comments mean a lot.

Lest you worry that, what with all this back-patting and uncharacteristic seasonal cheer, we’re about to start slacking off, let me assure you that we have big plans for 2015. I won’t spoil any surprises, but I can say that we’ve already started work on a couple of projects that we think you’ll really like, and which – should the Internet gods be so kind as to shine their rays of benevolent fibre optic light on us – will soon become a regular part of RocketNews24. We’ll also be aiming to increase our output even further and will be striving to bring you not just better quality news and original content but to deliver it faster than ever before.

Once again, a genuine thank you from everyone here at RocketNews24 for all your support throughout 2014. No matter what your friends and colleagues may say behind your back, to us you are a vision of loveliness, and we don’t think you smell like turnips or wet suede shoes in the slightest.

Happy 2015! Here’s to a great Year of the Sheep!

Ring in the new year with a real robot suit, on sale at Keisei Department store

The New Year season is often a peak shopping time in Japan, and as such stores pull out the big guns in what are known as fukubukuro (lucky bags). These are bags full of the merchandise a particular shop peddles. Sometimes it’s random which means you could end up with a laptop for fifty bucks, other times the contents are known but you can still get a decent deal on a bulk purchase. And sometimes, in the name of publicity, shops will throw in some unusual item or offer remarkably great deals to celebrate the new year.

It appears the winner for 2015 will be Keisei Department Store who are offering what must be a very large fukubukuro containing a two-meter-tall functional robot suit!

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Up all night to get lucky…bags at Apple stores across Japan

The New Year is obviously a major holiday in Japan, and that means sales at every store. In addition to discounted products, the beginning of January sees many stores also offering grab bags, most often called “lucky bags,” a direct translation of 福袋 (fukubukuro), in Japan.

Of course, some of the most sought-after lucky bags in Japan are those from Apple. In fact, if you want to grab one of Apple’s lucky bags, now might be a good time to buy a sleeping bag and some snacks, because you’ll probably be camping out over night!

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Anime’s top catchphrases & top Japanese Internet buzzwords of 2014 announced

The Japanese news site Gadget Tsuushin has unveiled its choices for the Anime Ryuukougo Taishou 2014, or the “Great Anime Buzzword Awards.” The winners are:

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Sheep-flavored ice cream from Baskin Robbins Japan tastes like dreams

In celebration of 2015, Baskin Robbins Japan has created a special flavor inspired by sheep, this year’s animal according to the Chinese zodiac. And while it may not actually taste like lamb, it has enough imagery inspired by the woolen animal to make you say, “BAA!”

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