Japan’s top baby names for 2015: Will Naruto-influenced monikers still reign supreme?

Choosing a name for your newborn son or daughter can be tough. Not only are you responsible for bestowing a name upon another human being—a collection of vowels and consonants that that will stick with them for life and likely have a profound effect on how people initially perceive their owner—but if you live in a country like Japan, then you not only have to choose the baby’s name, but how it will be written in kanji characters as well. Talk about pressure.

But that’s the reason we have baby name lists! For the past two years we’ve been keeping track of the most popular names for baby boys and girls in Japan, and this year we’re keeping up the tradition. Take a peek at what trends are spreading through Japan by seeing which names are in this year and which are out.

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Temples, views and whiskey — TripAdvisor releases its Top 20 “Free Attractions in Japan” in 2015

Aren’t the words “free entry,” “costs nothing,” and “0 yen” exciting to hear? I think we can all agree that there’s nothing better than a good deal, especially when that deal happens to be completely, 100% free.

While attractions marked as free may set warning bells ringing for some people, Japan has plenty of high-quality, worthwhile places to visit that are such a blast, you actually wouldn’t mind paying money for admission—except that they really do cost absolutely nothing to enter!

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Japanese TV show produces baffling list of five household habits that will shorten your lifespan

It seems like we’re constantly being bombarded with tips and tricks about how to make our lives better or how to improve our quality of life. We’re always being told to change the way we eat, the way we sleep, include some daily physical activity, and re-organize our lives. Everyone has something different to say, but one thing they seem to have in common is the positive spin they put on their life improvements.

That’s not strictly true for Japanese television though. One recent program seemed to be taking a cue from the fear-based strategies of American TV, and spent an entire segment talking about habits in your household that are likely to decrease your lifespan.

Find out the five habits you should be wary of, apparently, after the jump.

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Prepare to be outraged: Japan votes for its “100 Best World Class Songs” 【Videos】

The long-running Japanese music program Music Station recently held a nation-wide survey polling 10,000 people on what they thought were Japan’s most world-class songs. Respondents told the TV show which songs they felt best represented Japan, throwing up popular artists such as Arashi and Mr. Children, and the results were aired on 23 September.

As with any music ranking, the results are open for debate, and this list is certainly no exception. However, looking at the top 10, it’s hard not to wonder where Music Station found the people who were asked to name Japan’s greatest ever song, and many Japanese netizens are calling the list “a national embarrassment”.

Are they right? Let’s find out by kicking things off with the 10th Best World Class Song: “Koi Suru Fortune Cookie” by AKB48.

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Roadside Station Ranking for 2015 is in, find out where you will be driving to in Japan

When traveling in Japan, there are a number of quick and easy ways to see the whole country. You can take the Shinkansen, Japan’s bullet train that excels at speed and comfort. There are also a number of budget airlines including Peach, Air Asia, and Skymark Airlines that can make your trip quicker, but force you to sacrifice some amenities for a lower cost.

But if you have the time, there is no better way to travel around Japan than by hitting the open roads. Just like the US, there are many quirky best-kept secrets accessible only by car that are worth visiting. Some of the best places that really connect you with the locals are the roadside rest stops called Michi no Eki (literally “roadside stations“) that are perfect for taking a toilet or sleeping break, but are also hubs for local food, crafts and history.

Want to find the best roadside stations to visit? The travel website Trip Advisor has assembled a list of the best Michi no Eki for 2015, so gas up the car, it’s time for a road trip.

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Our English writer rates 15 teas from Japanese conbini, is fully hydrated for the rest of summer

Walk in to any Japanese convenience store, and you’re bound to be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choices at your fingertips. Even taking a stroll through the drink aisle will leave you open-mouthed as you stare at the myriad interesting flavors and varieties to be tried.

Of course there’s green tea, barley tea, roasted tea and more, but how do Japan’s black and flavoured teas measure up? We decided we needed an expert’s opinion, so we turned to one of our English writers for help. With a sampling of 15 different teas, we put our parched taste-tester to work.

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Charapedia’s online poll reveals the top 20 female anime/manga characters not to provoke

Japanese anime and manga informational site Charapedia is fond of making lists. For their latest poll, they asked 10,000 of their users to submit votes for the top 20 female anime/manga characters who are scary when they become enraged. The results are certainly telling, as all of the characters have one thing in common—you don’t want to push any of their buttons, because there’s no telling how you’d end up!

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Try to guess the 28 Japanese anime series that made IMDb’s top 250 TV series list!

Recently, the popular Internet Movies Database (IMDb) released their list of the top 250 TV series of all-time, based on user reviews. Japanese net users were curious to see which of their country’s shows would make the final cut, and as it turns out, 28 Japanese anime series were included in the list! How did your favorite anime stack up against some the most masterful television series in the world?

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Sanrio 2015 mid-election polls show Hello Kitty losing to visual kei band by wide margin

From 10 May to 15 June voting is being held of the 30th annual Sanrio Character Ranking. This is where the company pits their vast library of cute characters such as Hello Kitty against each other in a popularity contest.

You can expect to see the top-ranking characters get the most exposure through merchandising and spokesperson deals for the rest of the year. And now with two weeks past and the preliminary results announced, many are surprised to see the fictional visual kei (think glam rock) group Shingan Crimsonz at the top of the list of 100 characters well ahead of cuteness stalwarts such as Hello Kitty and Little Twin Stars.

This has caused tremors in the cute character community with many suspecting that Japan’s homo-erotic fan fiction loving girls known as fujoshi may have formed a powerful voting bloc.

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Six things Tokyo has less of than any other city in Japan

Being the capital city, Tokyo very often tends to come out on top when it comes to rankings – it’s the top tourist destination for foreign visitors, the safest city in the world, the most populated (in fact, the most densely populated place on earth), has long been one of the most expensive (that dubious honour now belongs to Singapore, apparently), was recently declared the most satisfying city…we could go on.

But the student section of Japanese website MyNavi published a list this week of six national rankings that Tokyo comes at the bottom of – things it does worse at than any other city in Japan. Let’s take a look at what they found!

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Popstar nun Sister Cristina tries Japanese potato chips for first time, ranks them for us

Sister Cristina the nun popstar first came to Japan just the other day to promote her new album, give a small concert, and of course bestow some spiritual advice to questions taken from the audience.

One of those questions was about a man’s addiction to potato chips, and what he could do to overcome it. In suave sister-style, Sister Cristina advised him to try eating some other foods, and perhaps limit his chip intake, though she did mention that she is a fan of potatoes in all forms herself.

That set off a lightbulb in our heads, and we here at RocketNews24 wasted no time in sitting down with Sister Cristina to ask her the real hard-hitting question that everyone wants to know: would she be willing to try some Japanese chips and rank them for us? Watch the video after the jump!

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Website makes list of “10 Most Bizarre” fighting game characters, Japanese fans beg to differ

About a month ago, video game website Arcade Sushi released a list of the “10 Most Bizarre Fighting Game Characters.” After a while it circulated around to the shores of Japan where it was translated and submitted to the fighting gamers here for consideration.

In true fighting game fashion, we thought it would be fun to pit Arcade Sushi’s 10 fighters against suggestions made by gamers in Japan. So put your quarters up and let’s see who emerges the King of Weird Characters.

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Which 15 countries have the least violent armed forces in the world?

It seems like Japan is winning at everything these days, first with being selected to host the 2020 Olympic Games, then with Tokyo being chosen as the safest city in the world (and Osaka a close third!). Now, Japan has been ranked by the Global Peace Index (GPI) as having one of the top 15 least violent armed forces in the world. Did your country make the list too? Check after the jump to find out!

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Bookstore staff across Japan vote for the 15 most recommended manga for 2015

Recently the 10th annual Nationwide Bookstore Staff Recommended Comics tallied votes from over 2,250 bookstore workers across Japan to decide which manga titles came most highly endorsed.

So if you’re looking for a new title to get into this year, why not scroll through the top 15 below and see what Japanese manga dealers can’t get enough of. There seems to be a good blend of genres this year, but which one came out on top?

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The results are in for Kodansha’s guys-in-glasses poll

For years glasses have been the bane of many young person’s existence. They have been seen as a mark of nerdiness and the source of ridicule. But recently, thanks to a renewed image through the lens of anime and manga, glasses have been transformed into a winning point for many characters, making them seem intelligent, sensitive, and even cool. In celebration of good looking men in glasses, publishing company Kodansha ran a popularity poll for 20 of their bespectacled charmers to discover who among their manga publications would be chosen as the most popular. While Miyuki Kazuya seems to have held onto his early lead, Chihayafuru‘s Arata surged in the polls at the last moment to take second.

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See the gorgeous top-ranked Miss Campuses from universities across China

Meg Sawai, an editor for our Japanese sister site and all-around Chinese news liaison, was browsing the net last week when she stumbled upon the recently released Top 30 Face Ranking of all Miss Campuses across China. Intrigued, she opened the list to see who would take the top spot. Get ready to meet some of the lovely–and intellectual–ladies from universities across China!

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Fans vote for series with the most unfashionable everyday clothing

The world of anime and manga has plenty of noteworthy costumes, from battle armorto team jerseys and school uniforms galore. But sometimes when the characters are just hanging out with their friends in everyday clothing, or gracing the covers of CDs and promo posters, their wardrobe choices aren’t so fashionable.

Japanese portal site Goo asked its readers which anime series had the un-coolest everyday clothing.

Here’s the top ten:

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Survey ranks convenience store rice balls – salmon, sea-dwelling poultry & plants steal the show

Known to many in the English-speaking world simply as rice balls, onigiri are as much a part of daily life in Japan as sandwiches are in the West. Although they’re often eaten as snacks or included along with a handful of other items as a packed lunch, for many Japanese onigiri are the ultimate comfort food; something that, no matter which part of the country they find themselves in, they can easily make or pick up from a convenience store.

Of course, store-bought onigiri can never come close to those pressed into shape by someone who knows their way around a rice cooker, but they always hit the spot nevertheless, and hundreds of thousands of these little lumps of savoury goodness are eaten every single day. But what are Japan’s most loved convenience store rice balls? And do tastes vary from chain to chain? Well, according to a recent survey, there are three onigiri fillings that Japan is especially fond of.

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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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Japan’s 10 best ryokan inns and top 10 hotels, as chosen by foreign visitors

Ask any member of the RocketNews24 team, and we’ll tell you: Japan is awesome. A lot of people seem to agree, too, seeing as how Japan gets more and more visitors from abroad every year.

But as much as we love all of our readers, and hope you all get a chance to come visit, our staff doesn’t quite have the collective living room floor space for you to crash at our apartments. Thankfully, the country has plenty of amazing accommodation, as shown by this list of the top 10 inns and hotels in Japan, as picked by foreign travelers.

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