Japan’s magic umbrellas reveal cute patterns in the rain

September in Japan is the bridge between summer and autumn, with warm humid days mixed in with cool nights and passing typhoons dumping some of the year’s highest amounts of rainfall around the country.

With the rain set to continue, umbrella sales are in full swing at the moment, and some of the best ones here are simply magic. They won’t send you flying through the air like Mary Poppins, but they will reveal hidden secrets when the rain begins to fall!

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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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“Needlessly cool” Evangelion-esque typhoon forecast from Taiwan amuses Net

If you’ve seen a weather report in the last couple of days, you probably know that the Pacific is currently chock-a-block with typhoons. Across Asia, people are watching the forecasts to see whether a monster storm is going to come swirling their way, and the news stations are doing their best to give them up-to-date and easy-to-understand information.

In Taiwan, the Next TV presentation led one viewer to wonder if the graphics team weren’t perhaps Evangelion fans.

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Red skies and mud rain in China as apocalypse begins earlier than expected

Listen guys. I have some bad news. You might want to sit down for this.

The apocalypse is clearly happening right now, and if you’re in China, Mongolia or that general region, you may want to go ahead and kiss your loved ones goodbye, because Cthulhu himself, or some other terrible dark deity, is already sending warning of the end times in the form of blood-red skies and freaking black stuff raining from the heavens. Sorry, guys, but we’re clearly all doomed.

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People in Japan are growing concerned that another major earthquake might hit soon

We don’t think we have to tell you that when some lunatic wearing a sandwich board starts telling you that the earth will open up and swallow humanity whole if you don’t do seven Hail Marys, constantly chant “Yahweh,” and transfer a small donation exceeding 10 dollars to his PayPal account right now, you can probably take that prediction with a grain of salt.

But, when it comes to earthquakes, there are actually some pretty solid, observable predictors that one may be coming soon. And, holy crap you guys, there are a bunch of those happening right now in Japan and I for one am starting to get worried.

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New Toyota Europe ad has weather forecasters trembling in their seats [Video]

Japanese automotive manufacturer Toyota is becoming as well-known for their wacky commercials as they are for their cars. We’ve seen everything from incredibly addictive live-action Doraemon ads to CMs featuring World Order and Busta Rhymes.

The car company recently took a slightly more sentimental turn with their commercials, but Toyota is back to being funny again now. A new ad for the Europe-exclusive AYGO x-wave, a canvas-topped compact car, is taking revenge on weather forecasters for their inaccurate predictions. It’s a silly ad that doesn’t focus much on the car, but we laugh and approve nonetheless.

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To hike or hibernate for the winter? The woes of a Hokkaido University student

Heavy winds, low visibility and snow drifts the size of houses. What do you do? Go to that lecture at 8:30 or grab as many blankets as you can and binge watch Dragon Ball? Although the answer might be pretty simple for some university students in Japan, the ones in Hokkaido know there is no such thing as a snow day. Freshman students at Hokkaido University are sometimes amazed to encounter the incredibly snowy weather conditions that face them on their way to class. There is not much else they can do but bundle up, snap a few pictures and share them with the Internet.

We’ve collected some of the best pics taken by Hokkaido’s students this winter. Would you go to class in this weather?

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A Christmas Miracle: Firebird graces the skies of Beijing

In ancient China, it was believed that whenever unusual climate or weather phenomena occurred, it foretold the future. If a dragon appeared in the sky, it meant that a new emperor would reign. Why would dragons appear in the sky, you ask? We don’t know, but on the 23rd of December, a fire phoenix flew across the Beijing sky, creating stunningly beautiful views in an otherwise heavily polluted sky.

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Taiwanese sky can’t decide, splits itself in half

What do you do when the sky itself seems to divide itself right before your eyes? It’s like yin meeting up with yang, or a horrible dark and gloomy day facing off against a beautiful sunny one.

But why let the weather confuse you when RocketNews24 will explain it for you? Sit back and relax as we tell you why the sky is fighting itself in Taiwan.

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This map shows the probability of a white Christmas for each of Japan’s prefectures

If the popularity of Bing Crosby’s famous holiday song is any indication, many people all over the world are dreaming of a white Christmas. But according to the past 30 years of snowfall data, several prefectures in Japan will almost surely be unable to hear sleigh bells in the snow.

Take a look at the following map created by Japanese weather site to find out if the area of Japan you live in will have a white Christmas!

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Nagano Prefecture dodges yet another typhoon – Does it have some kind of magical force field?

This past week marked the 19th typhoon of the season. Hitting Japan very soon after typhoon No. 18, Vongfong–which translates as “wasp” in Cantonese–battered the islands of Japan with incredibly heavy rains and strong winds.

While much of Japan suffered under the powerful force of nature, one prefecture remained virtually untouched, even while all of its neighbors took a beating. Find out why after the jump.

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Stay right on top of Typhoon 19 with beautiful and highly useful online weather services

As of this writing Typhoon 19 is just about right on top of Okinawa. Classified as a “Super Typhoon” by NASA it is far greater in size and power than last week’s storm. The typhoon also goes by the name Vongfong, which we assume is Chinese for “killjoy” because of its incredibly bad timing.

If Typhoon 19 veers East and moves across most of Japan, it will do so right over the long weekend. With all the destruction and at very least wet nuisances brought by typhoons, the one sliver of light had always been that they often brought days off work and school with them too. Not this weekend, however, and many wait to see whether the weather will dash their holiday plans or not.

Luckily there is a plethora of online weather services for us to watch Typhoon 19 in near-real-time that are all both very informative and gorgeous enough to make you want to refer to them even after the storm has passed.

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Genius Chinese college students use indoor inflatable pools to beat summer heat

I thought summers in America were hot, until I moved to Asia and learned firsthand what a hot summer is really like. In Japan, China and other parts of East Asia, the summer can be brutal to the point that people flock to public pools by the thousands, risking other people’s disgusting mud butt and possible drowning by crowd crush just to enjoy a few moments in the tepid water.

But a number of enterprising Chinese college students have apparently figured out a genius workaround: Just put a pool in your own dorm room.

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Perfect rainbow appears over Tokyo like an interdimensional portal, no spirits spotted (yet)

While we rarely think about it, the way our atmosphere works is pretty amazing–filtering out all that cosmic radiation and keeping us alive. It also has tons of moisture in it, which, in addition to giving some nifty lightning shows, is also what gives us really cool stuff like sun dogs and rainbows. While it’s nothing special to see a piece of a rainbow or even half of one in the sky after a rainshower, it’s quite another thing to see a full rainbow shimmering in the sky.

But that’s exactly what appeared over Tokyo on Friday, setting Twitter ablaze with photos of the beautiful phenomenon. And because we’re ready for some uplifting fun this weekend, here’s all the photos we could find! Guaranteed to make your day 200% more magical or your leprechaun back.

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“Once in decades” typhoon hits Okinawa, expected to sweep across mainland Japan later this week

You know a storm’s not messing around when meteorologists start tacking “super” onto its name and astronauts send snaps of it back from the International Space Station.

Super typhoon Neoguri struck the island of Okinawa earlier today, leaving more than 22,000 homes without power. The storm, which has been described as a “once in decades” meteorological event due to its gargantuan size, is expected to move northeast, hitting mainland Japan in the coming days.

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Freak hailstorms hit Tokyo in June as winter rises from its icy grave

The weather in Tokyo can be a little unpredictable in June. Spring still wasn’t that long ago, and sometimes we’ll get a day with a cool breeze or nighttime temperatures low enough that you’ll want a windbreaker, or at least a long-sleeved shirt.

On the other hand, midsummer is just around the corner, and steamy, sweltering days with high humidity and temperatures aren’t at all unusual. On just about any day the cloud layer has the potential to turn into a squall, too.

One thing Tokyo usually doesn’t see at this time of the year, though, is hailstorms.

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Double upside-down rainbow appears in Ishikawa Prefecture, makes everyone’s day fabulous

Some Japanese Twitter users posted photos of a spherical double rainbow spotted in Ishikawa Prefecture a few days ago, and thank God they weren’t high, because if outdated Internet meme “Double Rainbow Guy” is any indication, it would have literally destroyed their minds with its brilliance.

While Double Rainbow Guy seemed to think his double rainbow sighting was a sign that we aren’t alone in the universe or something, most Japanese Netizens who posted photos seemed to just take it as a sign of good luck, even though this double rainbow is way more awesome because it forms a circle around the sun as though Helios himself were gifting humanity with two giant cosmic frisbees.

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NHK has been reporting the wrong weather in Kōchi Prefecture for… four years?!

It was announced on April 13 that the Kōchi NHK station’s weekday evening news has been showing the wrong icons for weather conditions in the corner of the screen for four years. Where the following day’s weather forecast for the eastern region of the prefecture should have appeared, the broadcaster had consistently been displaying the forecast for the western region.

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Pearl River Delta confirms recent risk ranking with severe hail storm

No sooner was it announced the third most at-risk area for natural disasters in the world than the Pearl River Delta in China was hit by extremely severe rain storms with giant hail and damaging winds. The region, which is composed of several major urban centers has experienced flooded subways stations, canceled flights, and destroyed shopping centers due to heavy downpours.

Some of these scenes have been recorded and shared online in video form.

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How to beat the cold using nothing but a single sweater: A winter guide

In many parts of the world, the winter of 2013/2014 has been an especially brutal one. Record low temperatures and snowfalls have left millions searching for relief. Luckily, the guys at Japanese humour site Omocoro have been hard at work finding new ways to ride out the rest of this freezing season.

In fact, their writer Sebuyama feels that he may have found the ultimate self-warming method using only a single sweater and absolutely nothing else. The following is what he found, but beware: this winter guide is not safe for work… unless your work involves looking at large amounts of man-flesh.

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