【Monday Kickstart】Adorable dog’s frustrated attempts to get a shower are too cute to ignore!

Summer in Japan can be brutal if you’re not used to the humidity. At least one of the writers here at the RocketNew24 office has melted into a puddle of and had to be reconstituted in a meat locker last month. Fortunately, the heat is starting to abate and autumn is in sight!

But while we’re happy we won’t have to worry about being liquefied anymore, there is one thing we’ll miss: Playing in the pool. We can’t do that once winter has set in and we’re missing the summer sun, but at least we’ll have this insanely adorable video of a dog whose owner steals its every attempt to get a shower.

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Cool watermelon art helps Japan’s Twitter users beat the summer heat

Summer sounds like a great idea in principle, but in practice it can often be a sweaty, uncomfortable slog through weeks upon weeks of slimy humidity, itchy bug bites, and general fatigue. They even have a word for feeling sick from summer in Japan: natsu-bate, which describes the feeling of yucky malaise and sometimes physical illness that can descend on people who just aren’t cut out for constant heat. Natsu-bate can drain your appetite and leave you feeling like the inside of a sweaty sock.

But there are ways to combat summer heat fatigue – and staying hydrated with delicious watermelons is an excellent option. However, many of Japan’s Twitter users are way too busy playing with their melons to actually chow down! Check out this gallery of awesome (and occasionally creepy) watermelon art!

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Chinese residents are parking themselves in subways and public spaces in an effort to keep cool

With the mercury reaching 39 degrees celsius in the city of Hangzhou in southern China, residents are trying to keep cool in the most unusual of places. Citizens without residential air conditioning have turned to parking themselves in subways, libraries and other public spaces to escape the summer heat wave.

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Japanese moms tweet the stupid things kids do during summer vacation that drive them crazy

Oh summer vacation. For little kids (and big kids too!) it’s a time to finally throw off those backpacks, forget about homework, and have fun all day long running around outside or playing video games. If you’re the mom or dad of one of those kids, though, you’re often left to clean up in their wake.

And the same is true in Japan too. For the most part it’s moms who’re left to run after kids giddy with the freedom of no school. They’ve even started a Twitter hashtag for it: #SummerVacationStupidKids.

What kind of things do Japanese kids do to drive their parents crazy? Are they the same as the rest of the world or completely different? Read on to find out!

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Japanese celeb Shokotan unveils her 2015 cicada shell fashion, then bathes in them

It’s summer again in Japan, which means the return of many things, like shaved ice snacks, seeing guys’ nipples through their shirts, and Obon festivals. And much like these things, we can also count on idol/blogger/cosplayer/gamer extraordinaire Shoko Nakagawa, a.k.a. Shokotan, to be covered in the discarded husks of cicadas every summer.

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An extremely simple trick to spice up plain rice for a refreshing, citrusy summer treat

Recently, our Japanese reporter Aya Ayabe went out to an izakaya [Japanese pub] and finished her revelries with an order of sudachi rice, sudachi being a type of sour Japanese citrus fruit. The slightly bitter flavor really hit the spot in the midst of the nighttime summer heat, and it got her thinking: “What would happen if I cooked rice with some ponzu sauce [a citrus-based sauce which mixes sudachi with other citrus fruits and soy sauce]?” Still curious, the next day she tried making a batch for herself, and the results were apparently quite epic: “This is the most exciting thing that’s happened to me all summer! I’ll never forget this day as long as I live.”

In any case, Ayabe would like to share her extremely simple recipe for creating ponzu rice with you–a delightfully refreshing treat for the dog days of summer which can be enjoyed either hot or cold. 

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Holy smokes! Super-pricey ice cream cigars are this summer’s hottest cool treat

You may already be familiar with YOKU MOKU – the Japanese sweets company famous for its sugar cigar cookies. Well it turns out that the company has outdone itself this summer, as it has just brought out a new product called Cigare ice cream – luxurious cigar-shaped cookies filled with, yup, ice cream. And, as you might imagine, Japanese sweet-lovers are already raving about them online…

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Chocolate, candlesticks, hamsters… everything is melting in Japan’s heat wave! 【Photos】

Hey, you guys in the southern hemisphere, can we trade seasons with you yet? I don’t know about everyone else here in Japan, but I’m done with this heat and humidity. With highs around 36 degrees Celsius (96 degrees Fahrenheit) across the country and the smothering humidity, everyone and everything seems to be at their limits, from USB cords to plastic cups. Even the poor little hamsters look like they’re melting away in this madness!

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Is the world ready for Japan’s new Lemon & Mint Pepsi? 【Taste test】

So, mint is an extraordinarily versatile, exceedingly summer-appropriate ingredient. It can add a refreshing bite to savory dishes, is the essential main ingredient in basically all of the world’s best ice cream flavors, and is the star of the show in that most refreshing of summer beverages, the mojito (without which would basically just be watery rum).

Mint is the miracle substance that makes Asia’s hellish, your-buddy-just-spontaneously-combusted-hot summers just the slightest bit tolerable; a fact that beverage and snack makers in Japan are finally catching onto, with each passing year seeing better and more diverse mint-infused offerings.

But lemon and mint? That’s the new flavor combo Pepsi is banking on to be the next big thing with its new “Pepsi Special Lemon Mint” drink offering, and we’re just the slightest bit wary.

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Dad finds way to outsmart “too cool for school” kids, gets them to blaze through summer homework

Right now kids across Japan are rejoicing that their school summer break has finally arrived, despite the fact that, like other students in many other parts of Asia, they’re given stacks of homework to complete during their month off.

This homework is often piled on top of other summer cram-school study sessions, camps, and other activities their parents may have already signed their children up for up, and over the years mothers and fathers have found it increasingly hard to keep their kids from putting their summer homework off until the last minute, especially once they reach that “rebellious stage” children usually go through. In fact, summer homework leaves some parents so stressed out that they even seek out homework completion services than spend endless days nagging at their kids.

Fortunately that won’t be the case this year for one Japanese father, who had the ingenious idea of using reverse psychology on his kids in order to get them to finish their assignments quickly.

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The ingenious (and ridiculous) ways the Vietnamese are fending off the crippling summer sun

The summer is seriously no time to be in any part of Asia, really. While you might exaggeratedly fan yourself with your hand and joke about frying eggs on the sidewalk when thermometers in your hometown start creeping past the upper-20s (Celsius) come late July, society in Asia is basically devolving into Lord of the Flies, with people in China retreating into caves, those in Japan sweating buckets and people in Vietnam desperately scrambling for whatever random object they can find to fend off the violent rays of the sun, lest they literally burst into flames.

That last one, we suppose, is good for us, as at least it’s resulted in a few photos for us to chuckle over as we write this from our ice-filled summer cave bunker.

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Man-nipples become tools of “sexual harassment” during summer, complain Japanese women

There’s been a lot of hoo-haa recently over nip-nips, hasn’t there? On the western internets, ladies are in a huff that their female nubbins are being covered up by the online censors, but in Japan it’s male nurples that are getting on everyone’s nerves.

Turns out that Japanese ladies can’t stand the sight of male chesty-buds, and in this hot weather, lots of businessmen are going out and about without undershirts on. The result? A barrage of constant eye-trauma for the ladies who say that the men who are flaunting their areolas at them are committing sexual harassment! Oh my!

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4 freezer tips for beating the summer stink from everything from sweaty shoes to rotting garbage

Are Japan’s strict trash collection days getting you down this summer? Are you plugging your nose and counting down the days until the next burnables collection because your garbage is rotting away in the summer heat?

If you’re like me, you hate Japanese summers for a slew of reasons, one of which being all the putrid smells that come with the increased heat and humidity of the sticky summer months. You may also often rush out the door on the morning of burnables collection day and forget to take out your bag of raw and rotting garbage, leaving you to deal with the stench until the next trash collection day rolls around.

But there is a really simple solution to this problem, as well as quick tricks for dealing with other stinky situations like funky-shoe smells and unpleasant, grimy sinks. Find out how after the jump!

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Chill out with a tasty shaved ice treat from Mercedes-Benz’s ICE MONSTER tie-in shop

We’re not even halfway through summer here in Japan yet, and already we’ve seen a number of strange collaboration combinations, including barley and eel soda and soft-serve sushi.

This time we’d like to introduce another curious combination, in the form of a new Mercedes-Benz x Ice Monster shop that recently popped up in Roppongi, Tokyo. But what do luxury car makers know about making the perfect frozen ice treat? Our ever-popular reporter Mr. Sato heads out to investigate.

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It’s a Beach Day miracle as even landlocked Japan swears it can smell the sea

Japan may have an image as an all-work and no-play sort of place, but you’ve got to give the country credit for coming up with Umi no Hi. Observed on the third Monday of July, Umi no Hi literally means “Ocean Day,” but “Marine Day” and “Beach Day” would also be acceptable translations. It’s a national holiday expressly created to give everyone a day off to go have fun at the beach, and it just might be the greatest socially accepted reason ever for blowing off work.

This year, Japan got so into the spirit of the holiday that even people in prefectures with no coastline swore they could smell the sea. But was this just a summery olfactory hallucination, or a legitimate Umi no Hi miracle?

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Calpis releasing refreshing new cola float flavor just for summer

Calpis is a Japanese soft drink that has been around for almost 100 years. Despite how well-loved it is not only in Japan, but all over South East Asia, most foreigners are only familiar with its name, which sounds like “cow piss”, rather than its actual taste (which is why it’s renamed “Calpico” in the U.S.).

But as you can probably tell by its popularity, Calpis doesn’t taste anything like what it sounds like, and for summer the brand has introduced a limited line of thirst-quenching flavors to help you beat the heat. Ajiwai Cola Float, the second flavor of their limited ajiwai” series, will be hitting shelves from the end of this month, and we’ve got the scoop on what the final product will look like once it does.

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Taste the world this summer with Pretz versions of international food favorites

Kids in Japan only have about one more week left of school until summer vacation starts, while working adults are counting down the days until Obon vacation. It’s also the season where many Japanese snack makers start putting out limited summer edition flavors of your favorite snacks.

In fact, just today Glico launched a limited edition summer line of their popular Pretz series in Japan, so for those with no time or no money to travel abroad this summer vacation, you still have a chance to experience some exotic and not-so-exotic food flavors from across the ocean in the comfort of your very own home.

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Soaring temperatures put pressure on China’s power lines, cause TVs to explode

Soaring summer temperatures can bring more dangers than sunburn and heatstroke. In Zhuzhou City, Hunan Province, TVs, computers and fans simultaneously caught on fire in 50 apartments when the voltage of the electrical supply suddenly surged above the standard level.

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A fan of yours: Some adorable photos of birds keeping cool to help you survive the heat

Anyone who’s had to endure a summer in Japan knows just how awful the muggy heat can be. With the rainy season coming to an end and the temperatures steadily rising, there’s no denying summer is finally here. If you’re at all like me and are already having a hard time dealing with the heat, these adorable photos of pet budgies, cockatiels and parakeets trying to keep cool in front of the fan are just what you need to help prepare you for summer.

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Japanese lingerie maker specializing in designs for small-breasted women expands into swimwear

Although some data suggests Japan’s breasts are becoming bigger than ever, it’s not like every woman in the country has a large chest. As a matter of fact, last year we saw lingerie brand Feast enter the market, with a catalogue specifically tailored towards women with more compact busts.

Feast was founded last August, which means this is really the brand’s first full summer. Appropriately, the company has no expanded its offerings from just underwear to swimwear, too, with this playfully feminine bathing suit.

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