toys

Mr. Sato is now a sticker, and we’re giving him away to six lucky readers!

Here at RocketNews24, we’re all about expanding our horizons. That means we’re always on the lookout for new places to visit, new burgers to eat, and most of all, new spheres of craziness for our intrepid Japanese language correspondent Mr. Sato to wade into.

Now, though, we’re ready for our beautiful, ambitious, tenacious, stylish, hygienic, innovative, trend-setting reporter to go someplace he’s never gone before: your home, in the form of charming Mr. Sato stickers that we’re giving away.

Read on to find out how to get your hands on a set.

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Transform your cat into DJ Scratchalot this holiday season

If the thought of a cat spinning tracks fills your heart with immense joy, then this will be the gift that keeps on giving this holiday season.

With a rotating turntable and a deck covered in trash-talking stickers, even demure felines can try their paw at scratching tracks, thanks to this hilarious cat DJ deck. Now any cat can be the cool cat who makes all the humans smile and all the kittens bounce.

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Cats are ready to burst out of your smartphone with these cool suction-cup stands

If you’re a proud cat owner, odds are you’ve got pictures of your favorite feline on your smartphone. We also know that plenty of people like to keep up on the latest developments on cat-related cuteness by surfing the Internet with said devices.

But if that’s still not enough, now you can keep your electronics upright with an adorable cat coming out of your smartphone.

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This new Totoro plush is super pricey, rarer than an encounter with the big guy himself

As fictional (sorry, I mean completely real and definitely not made up) creatures come, furry forest spirits like Studio Ghibli’s Totoro are pretty rare to begin with. Heck, even the theme song to My Neighbor Totoro tells us that we can only see them when we’re “very young”, so it’s not like we’re tripping over the things in the street.

But if you’re the kind of person who simply must have every piece of high quality Ghibli merch, the rarer the better, then this limited edition plush is definitely one you’ll want to look out for.

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Should we call this snoring, talking Totoro plush toy cute or awesome? Either way, we want one

While in Los Angeles to accept an honorary award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, famed director Hayao Miyazaki mentioned that he has a new anime in the works, giving his fans around the globe huge smiles and racing pulses.

With no production timetable yet in place, though, we’re in for a bit of a wait until we can see the new anime. No one’s sure exactly how long that wait is going to be, but it’s probably going to be long enough that maintaining the level of excitement caused by Miyazaki’s comment isn’t going to be good for your heart. So if a few deep breaths aren’t enough to calm you down, we recommend taking a few moments to relax with this adorable Totoro stuffed animal that naps and murmurs in its sleep, just like the anime film original.

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Cat can haz 100 yen goodz? Purr-fect things for cats found for cheap!【Photos】

Cats rule the Internet. Anyone who spends any time there knows that. Whatever situation you come across online, you are sure to find an appropriate, or inappropriate, response in the form of a cat meme. All cat owners know that this behavior of claiming everything to be their own isn’t a new phenomenon. Cats think “what’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is mine.” If there is anything inside their living space (anywhere the light touches), it’s theirs. Never one to stop and ask permission, a cat just does what it wants!

In Japan, cat owners have been noticing that their cats really seem to like items bought from a particular store. Fortunately for the owners, that store is a handy place where you can buy 10 things for around $10. That’s right, it’s the 100 Yen Store!

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Beautiful video of master Japanese doll craftsman is equal parts inspiring and relaxing

There’s something deeply satisfying about watching someone do their job incredibly well. Whether it’s a master chef putting together a mouth-watering meal, a talented musician making an instrument come to life, or a pro athlete performing at the highest level of the sport, you find yourself unable to look away, both because of how soothing watching things go perfectly is, and also for fear of missing whatever amazing feat they’re going to pull off next.

So if you’re craving that special mixture of relaxation and inspiration, take a few minutes to watch this video of a master craftsman transforming two hunks of wood into a beautiful kokeshi doll with a literally unique twist.

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Ginji the hamster tends miniature bar, serves tiny sushi, makes everyone smile from his cuteness

Growing up, I, like a lot of kids, bugged my parents for a dog. They, like a lot of parents, rightly realized I envisioned myself spending more time playing fetch with it than scooping up its poo, and suggested a much more low-maintenance pet instead.

Eventually, we settled on a hamster, since at the very least the house would stay clean if it was kept in a cage. And while Hamlet (of course we named him Hamlet) never complained about his metal wireframe home, I can’t help but look at these pictures of fellow hamster Ginji and think how much cuter it would have been to make a miniature bar and Japanese-style living room for him.

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Manga training kit has pro artist demonstrations and feedback session, all for under 50 bucks

A quick look through the shelves of a bookstore or the inventory of online retailers will turn up tons of guides for how to draw manga. When still getting the hang of the basics of dynamic drawing, a book is the ideal way for many people to learn, since it spares them the embarrassment of having anyone else see their painfully produced yet still subpar early work.

Still, there’s only so much you can learn from on you own through reading and independent practice. That’s why toymaker Takara Tomy is releasing a kit that includes not just the tools of the trade, but demonstrations by a published manga artist and feedback from professional instructors.

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Recall of Disney mugs in Japan was bound to happen with Frozen’s Elsa around

Disney has a pretty long-standing endorsement deal with Kirin Beverage in Japan, in which the studio’s animated characters appear on bottles of Gogo no Koucha tea. Right now, the two companies are taking their partnership one step further, by offering a special Disney mug to anyone who buys four bottles from Kirin’s popular tea line.

Unfortunately, Kirin has had to issue a recall of the cups, which have been found prone to cracking. We’re sure it’s an unpleasant surprise for the beverage company, but Disney fans are pointing out that Kirin should have seen this coming for one simple reason: the decision to put Frozen’s Elsa on one of the mugs.

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Sailor Moon candy, dolls, and music boxes! More new merch than you can shake a Moon Stick at

We recently took a look at a new batch of Sailor Moon aprons, but if you’ve been following the celestial-themed magical girls for very long, you knew that wasn’t going to be the end of cool and quirky tie-ins for the franchise. The product planning team of merchandiser Bandai apparently never sleeps, and those aprons were just the opening salvo of another round of Sailor Moon goodies, including one that’ll help fans with the first part of their quest to eat, sleep, and breathe the hit anime.

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Bus otaku can now buy “request stop” buttons from Tokyu Bus Corp, push to their heart’s content

It’s no secret that there are tons of densha otaku, or train nerds, (and tons of different types as well) in Japan. And with the wide range of trains zipping around the country, it’s totally understandable. But what about bus nerds? Do they even exist?

Well, while we haven’t actually met anyone who claims to be a bus nerd, this new product from the Tokyu Bus Corporation makes us think they must be out there. And if you’re a bus nerd, you’ll be happy to know that you can now have your own authentic “stop” button at home! But you’ll have to put it together yourself.

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Want your own Attack on Titan 3-D maneuver gear? You can order a life-size replica now!

Last January, fans got hit with a mix of awe and envy at an Attack on Titan event in Osaka where the heroes’ 3-D maneuver gear was on display. Looking over the intricate harness and paired swords, it was hard not to find yourself wanting a set of your very own.

Soon enough, that anime daydream can come true, as preorders have now started for life-size replicas of Attack on Titan’s iconic giant-killing battlefield technology.

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Disney characters dress up as Bearbricks for Halloween, results range from cute to disturbing

Okay, Rocketeers, it’s time for another round of Cute or Creepy? Earlier this month we looked at some key chains made out of dried sea cucumbers that clearly fell into the latter category. The deck was kind of stacked against them, though, seeing as how most of us don’t really think of the spineless sea creatures as particularly cute to star with.

Today, we’re looking at something a little more visually appealing: Disney characters, and not just any old Disney characters, as Mickey and his pals are all dressed up for Halloween. What’s more, the whole gang is bear-shaped, thanks to a collaboration with toy line Bearbrick.

How could this be anything other than completely adorable? Allow us to show you.

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Kit Kat’s papercraft train set is so cool we almost don’t need the chocolate it comes with

Living in Japan, we’ve been kind of spoiled by all the special Kit Kat flavors the country gets. We love a sweet snack as much as anyone, but when almost every region of Japan has its own version of the chocolate wafers, it takes something a little more unusual than matcha green tea Kit Kats to really grab our attention (not that those don’t taste delicious, of course).

So Nestlé Japan’s latest plan is to give us not just something to munch on, but a cool papercraft kit too, with this special Kit Kat bundle that also lets you build a model train.

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New gachapon figures resurrect centuries-old toys for your amusement

No matter how the times change, kids still love toys. Whether it was ancient Egypt or the mid-Edo period, toys have always been a big part of the way children passed their time in play. Even with all our fancy technology today, from 3DSs to Oculus Rifts, kids still make time to run around with their favorite dolls or plastic guns. Of course, Japan is full of figures of all varieties and price tags, but gachapon occupy a position of near invincibility–you can put pretty much anything in those little plastic balls and they’re practically guaranteed to sell.

And, starting soon, you’ll also be able to buy remakes of traditional Japanese toys from the early 18th century. You’ll finally get the opportunity to play like a kid from the Edo Period while waiting for your 3DS to recharge!

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Pokémon goes old-school cool with hanafuda playing cards, wall scrolls, and more

A few days ago, we took a moment to appreciate the amazing combination of Japanese digital entertainment and traditional clothing in the form of the Super Mario kimono. The platforming hero isn’t the only Nintendo character being reimagined along classical Japanese artistic principles, though, as now the creatures of Pokémon have been reborn as hanafuda playing cards, resulting in adorably old-school designs appearing on fans, towels, tea cups, and more.

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Why would anyone buy a tiny toy folding chair? We ask the designers and find out!

You can find some pretty strange stuff in Japan’s gachapon toy capsule vending machines, like futons for your smartphone or doggy bread figures. But one set of gachapon goodies from manufacturer Epoch is so odd because of how amazingly mundane it is: a series of folding chairs and school desks.

But why did Epoch decide on such a down-to-earth muse, and why have people been snapping them up? We went straight to the source and talked with two members of Epoch’s development team to find out.

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Hit key chain from Aomori Prefecture isn’t poop, but it is still pretty gross

I’ll be honest. When I first saw pictures of the new key chain/cell phone strap that’s become a big seller in Aomori Prefecture, my first thought was, “Wow, that looks like a turd.” The truth is actually a few levels less disgusting, as that brown, lumpy cylinder isn’t a stool sample, but actually a sea cucumber.

However, the truth behind that truth takes things a step back towards gross. When I said the strap is “actually a sea cucumber,” I mean that literally, as that’s really the body of the slug-like marine animal.

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Head-mounted lie detectors: The cool new way to ruin your office Christmas party in Japan

The end of the year is the prime party season in Japan, when groups of coworkers and friends gather to celebrate Christmas, the end of the old year, and the start of the new one. Generally, most attendees are conent to chat, eat fried chicken or other broadly popular grub, and drink far more than would be socially acceptable in most other countries.

At some gatherings there are games to be played, too. Bingo and quizzes are both pretty common, but if neither one of those is quite exciting enough for you, maybe you’d like to spice things up by having you and the people you see every day at the office ask each other potentially embarrassing questions. And just to make sure the atmosphere of awkwardness is 100-percent genuine, why not bring along one of these handy head-mounted lie detectors from toymaker Takara Tomy?

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