winter

Cute snowman-pan will bring a little sweet joy to your dreary winter

France may have delicious bread, but Japan has cute bread (even if it doesn’t always turn out as planned). I mean, they are the creators of Anpan-man, after all!

Adding yet another almost-too-cute-to-eat bread treat to the already long list, a bakery called “Cafe Blue Jean” located in the Hotel New Hankyu Osaka, brings us “Snowman-pan.” These seasonal treats are breads, shaped and decorated to look like darling, little snowmen.

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Doting owner builds cosy kotatsu for cats, faces the sting of feline rejection【Photos】

Every cat owner has, at one time or another, experienced the soul-crushing disappointment that comes from giving your cat a thoughtful gift, only to have them throw it back in your face in favor of a paper ball or a plain old cardboard box. It’s almost as if cats the world over are in on some sort of conspiracy designed to make their owners feel inadequate. And that’s exactly what happened to “kitty blogger” Udama when they attempted to create a cosy, cat-sized kotatsu to delight their feline family members. As our pictures show, the experiment didn’t exactly go according to plan…

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Japanese sleep experts say we’ve been using our blankets wrong, help us hate winter a little less

I hate winter. 20-plus years of living in sunny southern California didn’t do anything to help me build up a tolerance for cold weather, and honestly, if I could make like the bears and just gorge myself on salmon for a few weeks and then sleep until spring, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

Unfortunately, since hibernation isn’t really an option, I have to rely on a blanket and down comforter to make it through the freezing winter nights. Even still, the cold often leaves me shivering (plus grumbling, cursing, and generally complaining).

As it turns out, though, instead of blaming Old Man Winter for all my discomfort, I’m actually part of the problem, according to Japanese experts who say I’ve been using my comforter and blanket the wrong way.

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Wearable “kotatsu parka” is here to keep your whole body warm this winter

Winter in Japan can be pretty brutal. It gets cold, very cold, and most buildings in Japan are only lightly insulated. It’s no wonder, then, that people (and cats!) tend to want to hibernate in one cosy, warm spot during winter. One option is the kotatsu, a table with a thick padded blanket and heater underneath, which you use to toast your legs and feet during those cold winter months. The only problem is that they don’t really do anything to keep your upper body warm. Some people compensate by also wearing a thick padded housecoat inside during the winter, but wouldn’t it be great if you could use the kotatsu’s warmth to heat your entire body? Well, now you can, thanks to this new “wearable kotatsu” designed by Hatra!

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What’s under Rilakkuma’s suit? Find out for yourself with this insanely cosy onesie

This limited edition 2014 Rilakkuma onesie might just be the most outrageously warm and snuggly thing we have ever seen. It also answers the burning questions that fans of the character have been wrestling with for years: if Rilakkuma is a bear, why does he wear a bear suit? Is he even a bear at all?

Sure, you could wrap yourself in a blanket to keep warm this winter. Or, you could become Rilakkuma with this luxurious loungewear. Wrap yourself up from head to toe in furry goodness, and solve the mysteries of the cartoon bear universe at the same time.

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$2.34!? Cheapest bullet-train ride in Japan lasts 3 minutes, but memories are forever【Photos】

Ask anyone in Japan if they love the shinkansen, and they’ll probably say yes. Commonly known as the bullet train, it’s convenient, handsomely designed, and the train’s aerodynamic nose is surprisingly an artisanal masterpiece, carefully formed by hand out of numerous metal plates in order to achieve the perfect curves.

Becoming a conductor of one is a typical kindergarten dream, and while a lot of kids grow out of that phase, some emerge as bona fide train fanatics who go by many monikers: tetsu-ota, tetchan, tetsu-kichi (as in “crazy”), you name it. Unfortunately, travel by shinkansen may be fast and luxurious, but it’s generally not cheap—for example, a three-hour one-way ride from Tokyo to Ōsaka can cost around 14,300 yen (US $140).

So what’s this about a 240-yen ticket in Nīgata Prefecture that has train enthusiasts all abuzz? A seasonal train station that’s actually part of a ski resort? A place called “Cowabunga” 125 miles north of Tokyo? Let comedian and self-declared train otaku, Ayako Suzukawa, be your guide today!

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South Korea protests Olympic figure skating result over biased judging

The South Korean Olympic Committee has filed an official protest of the result of the women’s figure skating event at the Olympics over ‘biased judging,’ according to the Associated Press.

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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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Are 100 adhesive warmers enough to take on a Tokyo snow storm?

In one of the most vicious cases of deja vu we’ve had in decades, the twin of the massive snowstorm that dumped on Japan last weekend swung through the country with another few inches of snow on Friday. Unfortunately, in Tokyo at least, we also got enough rain to melt half of the snow, turning everything into a freezing, wet mess. Ah, winter!

As you can imagine, quite a few people are taking the opportunity to lock themselves inside and practice their “brrrrrrr” faces. But not the esteemed writers on the Japanese side of RocketNews24! They decided the snow was the best environment to find out if 100 adhesives warmers work as well as a coat. See the awkward results of the test below!

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Feeling the bitter cold? This adorable heater will keep you warm in style!

We may be in the dead of winter here in Japan, but no one wants to be left shivering with cold, right? Well, you can always buy a heater to solve that problem, which is what many people in Japan do, especially if they don’t want to freeze in the bathroom on a cold winter morning before getting into the shower (or bath), as most homes here don’t have central heating. Unfortunately, heaters can take up space, and they usually don’t make for attractive home decor. But, if you’re having second thoughts about purchasing a heater for those reasons, then this carbon heater may be the perfect product for you! Who would have thought that a simple heater could be … well, so darn cute?

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Five of Japan’s most unique snow-covered hot spring bathing sites

If you’ve ever experienced a soak in a hot outdoor spring, or rotenburo, in the middle of the snow, you’ll know the incredible sensation of extreme cold and heat on your body is an experience that’s hard to beat. With the best of the snow still to come in January and February, we’ve found five of the best snow-covered hot spring destinations perfect for a weekend getaway. From water slides to goblin masks, this collection of winter snowscapes will help you beat the winter chill in the most unique way possible.

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Japanese cat owner illustrates the many sleeping positions of our feline friends

As winter grows deeper and colder, the bed is one of our safe havens of warmth and comfort. The same can be said for our feline companions that snuggle into bed with us to seek refuge from the winter chill. As they cuddle up to our warm bodies the cats morph into various and interesting positions. Have you experienced the same with your own cat? Check out these adorable pictures and compare!

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Turkish cold snap literally freezes animals where they stand

It appears that Turkey is one of the few parts of the world that gets so cold it’s not an exaggeration to say, “It’s freezing out here.”

The video below depicts some donkeys found in a small village that have cartoonishly frozen in place due to the extreme cold weather and snow – a phenomena we thought only possible in Christmas-time claymation films, and the closest thing we know of to the exact opposite of China’s hellish summer heatwave that caused cars to explode.

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Keep your tea warm with Thermos ala Japanese style!

Winter is closing in on Japan, with recent temperatures dropping as low as three degrees Celsius in central Tokyo. When it comes to keeping food and beverages warm on a day out, the all-familiar Thermos brand comes to mind.

The globally famous makers of possibly the best vacuum flasks in the world have been keeping our soups and coffees warm for more than a century, but this year, their Japanese counterparts are taking a step further to warm the hearts and drinks of the locals in the style of a Japanese teacup!

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Japanese bathtub recipes to keep you warm this winter

As you may know if you are a regular reader here, people in Japan are pretty serious about their baths. Not only have they developed an entire bathing culture, there is also a general belief that the contents of the bath can have strong physiological effects. This naturally includes the various different minerals that appear in hot springs, but also encompasses the bath salts, bubble bath, essential oils, fruits, vegetables, and whatever else goes in the bath at home.

Now that the colder weather is upon us northerners, we thought we’d share some of the body-warming, circulation-improving bath add-ins popular in Japan.

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Bedroom tents helping South Koreans keep warm this winter

We here at RocketNews24 are no strangers to finding new ways to both keep warm and save a few yen on our heating bill through the harsh winter months, but our friends in South Korea, encouraged by a recent unusually cold spurt, have found an ingenious way to lower their thermostat and stay toasty all night—indoor tents. And the tents are becoming so popular that some retailers are selling out!

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Escape the cold this winter in a faceless fleece bodysuit!

Every year as the temperatures drop, Japan finds another creative way to make the cold winter months more bearable. This year, a Japanese outdoor product company has the newest way to keep warm—a full-body fleece suit that turns you into an anonymous humanoid!

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Japan’s stunning light displays replace blossoms with light bulbs for winter beauty

In Western countries, when the time comes to decorate the streets with strings of sparkling lights, it’s a sure sign that Christmas is drawing near. But for countries like Japan, where Christianity has far less presence, though the desire to adopt Western practices is pervasive, what many of us think of as “Christmas lights” or simply “holiday lights” are embraced as annual “winter illuminations.” Every year, parks and town districts across Japan light up the night with large-scale displays, bringing a new sense of beauty to the barren, winter landscape. The greatest of these is undoubtedly Nabana no Sato, located in Mie Prefecture.

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Shiver no more! Gadget manufacturer brings classic Japanese winter warmer to the workplace

The kotatsu–a low table with a heating element built into its underside and a quilt to keep the warmth in–is considered something of a national treasure here in Japan. With earthquakes in mind, Japanese homes are usually built from light materials and lack the kind of central heating that most Westerners are accustomed to, so it’s no surprise to find people either sitting at or dozing under one of these little tables until spring comes around.

During the working week, however, people are forced to abandon their tiny heat caves and spend hours at desks inside poorly-insulated municipal buildings, decades-old schools and single-glazed offices. Many employees plaster themselves with kairo heat pads or cover their laps with thick blankets in an effort to keep the feeling in their toes, but few would ever claim to be comfortable at work even having taken these measures.

But no more! Japanese gadget kings Sanwa Direct have come up with a tiny, portable kotatsu-like heating panel that attaches to the underside of any desk, promising toasty-warm laps all day long!

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Waves Frozen in Place on Lake Kizaki, Nagano Prefecture

Winter. It’s cold and miserable most days, but every so often the freezing winds produce something magical that is awesome enough to take your mind off of your frozen toes. This is one of those things.

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