YouTube

Learn Japanese from YouTube: Amp up your listening skills with this four-step guide

It used to be that if you were studying a foreign language in your own country, the only listening practice that was easily available to you was hearing your teacher or classmates speak, or listening to the CD that came with your textbook. The first Japanese textbook I ever bought actually came with a cassette tape, which was particularly irritating as it was 2006 and I didn’t even own a Walkman any more.

Then someone invented a website that allowed users to upload short videos for all the world to see. Fast-forward nine years and YouTube is one of the biggest sites on the planet, making it a veritable treasure trove of free online spoken content.

So whether you’re after language lessons, YouTubers who vlog in Japanese, or just want to try watching your cat videos in a foreign language, online videos could be your new secret weapon. The trick is just knowing where to look.

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We still don’t feel bad for you, Emperor: Photos of actors and their historical counterparts

There’s no doubt that beauty standards change with the times–just compare the “beauties” from Renaissance paintings to any fashion magazine today. As “beauty” is no more set in stone than culture, it’s hardly surprising that there have been changes over the years. But it’s easy to forget that our contemporary standards haven’t always existed–and even easier to be bewildered by old photos. Nothing emphasizes this difference as much as the recent appearance of photos comparing actors from contemporary Chinese TV dramas and photos of their actual historical counterparts.

Check out this video by Off the Great Wall, a YouTube channel run by two Asian Americans, to get a glimpse of Chinese royalty on TV and in reality.

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McDonald’s “Build a Burger” experiment expands to Australia… Next, the world?

So, usually when it comes to burgers in Japan, we prefer to let the talented burger artists at famous fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s, Burger King and especially Lotteria do their thing – because it usually results in crazy squid ink burgers, nine-patty monstrosities, and other 6th grade science experiment-esque monstrosities.

But McDonald’s has slowly been unveiling a tech- and customer-savvy new way of dealing burgers with its limited run of “Create a Burger” options at select stores.

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Movies vs Reality: Can duct tape really be used to shut someone up? Korean YouTuber finds out

Some people say life is like a movie. Well, that’s certainly true in some respects, since there are many movies and dramas that are inspired by real-life events. But we all know some scenes and plots in movies are blown out of proportion to achieve a more dramatic expression on-screen, and sometimes movie plots are too exaggerated to ever be thought of as anything more than works of fiction.

One Korean YouTuber has seemingly been pondering such issues as well, particularly why kidnap victims in movies and dramas can’t scream for help simply because they have a piece of duct tape over their mouths. And to prove her point, she tries it herself.

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Just a typical day in Australia watching kangaroos fight in the middle of the street

Move over cats–you’re not needed anymore. The internet’s got a new animal to obsess over–kangaroos!

You’ve probably never spent an entire afternoon watching YouTube videos of marsupials, but now’s the perfect time to start. What happens when two male kangaroos meet each other in the middle of the street in a typical suburban neighborhood? Keep reading after the jump to find out!

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Brave through tear gas with this DIY budget gas mask【Instructions】

Back on the topic of the Occupy Central demonstration taking place in Hong Kong in protest for electoral democracy, little progress has been made to resolve the situation, though there have been reports of planned talks between the government and representatives from the protesting group. More than a week has passed since the Occupy protesters started camping at several locations, staying put despite assaults from opposing factions and refusing to budge even as the police brought in tear gas and pepper spray.

As complete outsiders, we have no say on how things ought to be handled, and we’re definitely not taking sides, but if there’s one thing we could all learn from this protest, it’s how to make your own DIY tear gas mask. A YouTuber from Hong Kong shows us how!

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Thai video claiming corruption at the 2014 Asia Games goes viral

Readers in the West may not have heard much about it, but the 17th Asian Games were held between September 19 and October 4 in Incheon, South Korea. As the largest multi-sporting event after the Olympics, the Asian Games bring together athletes from all across the Asian continent only once every four years. By the end of this year’s competition, China had racked up the highest medal count, followed by host South Korea and Japan. However, this year’s Games were also plagued by rampant rumors of suspicious refereeing, fixed matches, and host country favoritism, leaving many nations with a bitter aftertaste upon their conclusion.

In response to the multiple stories of alleged corruption, one irate Thai viewer created a parody video to vent his frustrations. As of this writing, the video, with its scornful lyrics yet surprisingly bubbly nature, has been replayed over 2 million times on YouTube, despite having been published less than a week ago. Judging by the comments, it seems the rest of the world seems to sympathize with its message…

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Plus-size idol group “la BIG 3″ made a music video, and they do a lot of eating in it【Video】

Japanese idol group la BIG 3 are the latest manifestation of this year’s chubby trend, which has seen the phrase “marshmallow girl” embraced (by some, anyway) as an alternative to other, less complimentary names for bigger girls. The trio released their first music video last week, an upbeat little number called “Pochative ~ Body mo Heart mo Glamorous”, a celebration of chubbiness that encourages women everywhere to – wait for it – “be positive!”

It’d be nice if the video wasn’t all about food, though. Was it really necessary for them to be gazing at fried chicken, and using ice-cream cones and sausages as microphones?!

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Happy Monday! Here’s the cutest cat fight you’ll see all day

As adorable as cats are, they’re aren’t exactly known for their patience in suffering the presence of fools–especially when said fools try stealing even a tiny bit of their napping space. Even if it’s a cat’s housemate and best friend, sharing is simply out of the question! And that’s when the claws and teeth come out.

And that’s exactly how this video of the greatest kitty rumble you’ve ever seen starts–though the ending is more Disney than Expendables 3.

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Norwegian rocker with insane vocal range covers anime songs and more【Videos】

PelleK is a Norwegian rock and metal singer who doesn’t just limit himself to screaming about death and darkness, and uses his amazing vocal talents to cover anime songs and more, uploading them to YouTube for everyone to enjoy. Check out his awesome voice and performances in the videos below.

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Kid’s video of whirlwind Japan tour reveals otaku paradise, pervy action figures

Everybody’s got that story. The story of why they decided they wanted to go to Japan in the first place. Unsurprisingly, for a lot of people it’s manga, anime and even J-Pop. For a lot of guys, it’s the girls. For (comparatively fewer) girls, it’s the guys. Some like the food. Some like the “Old Japan” feel of Kyoto and Kamakura. A few even go for the outdoor activities.

And some go for the pervy action figures.

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Ghibli fans show their devotion by making live-action prequel to Princess Mononoke【Video】

The move from animation to live-action can be a challenge, especially in fan-made works. Animation necessarily requires us as viewers to suspend our disbelief, and so there’s more space for imagination. Compared to a richly drawn visual world, then, a live-action remake can look a bit flat – especially if the anime on everyone’s mind is a much-loved Studio Ghibli classic.

Although some fan-made material manages both to pay homage to the original and to stand up as a piece of work in its own right – this year’s Assassin’s Fist remake being a good example – more often than not, there’s something just, well, a bit “off” about most fan-films. Like this Princess Mononoke prequel, for instance…

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These goofy Japanese pro dancers sure know how to ‘Let it go’!【Video】

Just when we thought Japan might possibly have had enough of Disney’s Frozen, what with the balloon art and the convenience store snacks and the limited edition PlayStation 4 and darn it, it might as well be winter seeing as how EVERYTHING IS FROZEN ALREADY –  along comes an adorable, androgynous cosplaying dancer to breathe new life into our movie-spinoff-weary existence.

This is IG, and he’s the frontman of our new favourite thing: a kooky rendition of Ari no mama de (the Japanese version of ‘Let it go’) choreographed by CRE8BOY. Join us for a video delight that’ll melt even the most cynical icy heart.

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“The meanest dog in Japan” returns with all new rejections 【Video】

They say dogs are a man’s best friend. Loyal, obedient and loving, dogs provide everlasting friendship no matter what sticky situations you find yourself in. But they also say that smothering anything with too much affection can cause it to want to break free from you. We’ve seen the effects produce comedy gold when Mari, the adorable Shiba-Inu has just gotten one too many kisses from her adoring master. And enough is enough! A compilation video of Mari rejecting her owner has surfaced on YouTube and it has all been subtitled for us in English.

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Konami wants videos of you playing horror title P.T. for this year’s Tokyo Game Show

Calling all scaredy-cat exhibitionists! If you’re easily frightened and love broadcasting yourself to the world, you’re just the kind of person Japanese video game developer Konami is looking for!

Following on from its video series of sample-group players reacting to forthcoming horror title Silent Hills, Konami is looking for footage of everyday people playing the game and their reactions to it. Better yet, the best videos will be shown at next week’s Tokyo Game Show.

Details on how to submit your own reaction video after the jump.

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Our intrepid Japanese team tests out the air purifier at work…using flatulence

One of the most talkative and hardworking members of the RocketNews24 Japanese editorial team in Tokyo is none other than a Sharp air purifier.  

Not to be outdone by their mechanical coworker, our fellow (human) staff members recently decided to test out whether she was really pulling her weight in work or if she was just slacking off (we say ‘she’ because the machine is capable of speaking in a female voice). But to test an air purifier, you need dirty air…and what better way to make some quick, homegrown dirty air than to produce it in-house through farting! Will the air purifier actually respond to our team’s zany idea??

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These wacky traditional dancers know how to put the fun in fundoshi! 【Video】

Here at RocketNews24 there’s nothing we like more on a man (or indeed a woman) than a dashing fundoshi. While we believe the traditional Japanese underwear that’s part-apron, part-loincloth is suitable for any occasion, we’re prepared to accept that they’re mainly seen at matsuri (festivals) these days.

So when we found this wondrous video of a group of men doing a special festival bird-catching dance in fundoshi, we knew we were in for a treat. Join us after the jump for some very genki dancing men having a lot of body-slappin’ good fun!

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Real-life Fruit Ninja! Watch Isao Machii slice up flying fruit like a boss 【Video】

They call him ‘The Modern-Day Samurai’. Master swordsman Isao Machii can slice a BB gun pellet in mid-air. He holds four World Records for swordsmanship – so what’s he doing slicing up fruit in this ad for Toaster Strudels?

It’s still a cool video, though, as he slices his way through watermelons and pineapples at lightning speed. Join us after the jump for a look at this “live action fruit ninja” vid. What would Gretchen Weiners’s father think?

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Toyota’s dance craze contest invites you to Wakudoki your way to Tokyo【Video】

Japan is famous for its quirky and original commercials, and Toyota is a strong player in the constant provision of video-based weird Japanese ad-tertainment. This summer’s offering is the wakudoki, a song and dance routine performed by techno-pop outfit World Order. With some tribespeople. Oh yes, and a dancing gorilla.

It’s weird, wonderful, and we can’t stop watching!

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Seven “frogging” adorable kids belting out the F word!【Videos】

When was the first time you uttered a “bad word”? We all probably grew up with adults telling us not to say certain words, and that there were words that only adults could speak of. As a kid, blurting one of those “forbidden words” felt like something cool and thrilling, but now that I’m well beyond that age, such words have lost their significance as a big taboo.

Some kids, however, seem to be blurting out the F-word even before they’ve reached the age to be told that it’s an “adult word”. Of course, they’re not saying it on purpose, and that’s exactly what makes it so amusing and adorable! Frog it, we’re going straight to the videos after the break!

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