Japan

Like many other little girls, 4-year-old Kazuki loves to play dress up, dance around the room and sing her heart out. What sets her apart from other toddler divas though, is that she has a mother just as enthusiastic about her playtime habits as she is.

When Kazuki says she wants to become Hatsune Miku, mom wastes no time in hitting the sewing machine. Once her custom outfit is done, mom sticks a microphone in her hand, starts the music, and its lights, camera, action.

Not wanting to keep her daughter’s talent to herself, Kazuki’s mom created the YouTube channel “Kazuki’s Room” to share their playroom productions with the world. We’ve posted a few of the best below. Just make sure to have a pillow or something soft on hand to squeeze the life out of because these videos are unbearably adorable.

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【Chauvinism Friday】 New Akihabara Kitchen Offers Customers the Chance to Learn to Cook! With Girls!!

Akihabara; world-famous home to everything otaku! Cosplay, electronics, comic-books, videogames, maid cafés, pop idol pubs, trading card stores; Akihabara- or Akiba to the locals- is where it’s at.

For years, swarms of young men with poor social skills (and cool folks like you and me, too…) have been heading into Akihabara to buy figure models of girls in bikinis with disproportionately large breasts, locate hardware for their new gaming PC, or spend an hour in the company of cute girls dressed as maids who giggle as they put “love spells” on guests’ food before sending them home more frustrated than ever.

As reported by Hamster Sokuhou earlier today, a fun new establishment has recently thrown its doors open to Akihabara’s masses, inviting them to come and cook with their cast of female chefs, each ready to guide the hands of young men who, until now, were perhaps too shy to touch a woman’s measuring jugs for real.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! Prepare yourselves for the next level in awkward interaction with females in exchange for cash!

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Japanese Tourists Ill-Mannered? A Simple Request to Japanese Travelers that May Do Wonders for Their Reputation

Those of you familiar with our Japanese site are probably aware that our reporters often travel overseas to bring interesting stories from around the world to our Japanese readers. Recently, one reporter shared with us an eye-opening realization he had while traveling, one that could have serious bearing on the reputation of Japanese tourists abroad.

Being Japanese and also very fond of traveling myself, this was a story I couldn’t take lightly! Read More

When Idol Meets Dog: Intricately Detailed Dog-Sized Hatsune Miku Outfit Wows Internet Users

Electronic idol Hatsune Miku’s popularity seemingly knows no bounds.

If we’re not seeing stories of catastrophic cakes being made in her image, we’re hearing reports that one of her uber fans has spent an exorbitant amount of money acquiring the last Hatsune Miku edition Sony MP3 player ever made.

Clearly Ms. Miku has her share of fans, but when you come to think about it, is dropping a ton of cash really equate the greatest measure of fandom? Surely just about anyone with a computer and some spending can bid on an MP3 player!?

But hand-crafting a tiny, intricately-detailed Hatsune Miku outfit for your pet dog? Now that’s what we call a fan!

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Underequipped Family Climbs Mount Fuji to Promote Chinese Patriotism, Given Clothes by Japanese Person

A well-known Chinese writer with some controversial views on education got into dire straits in September after attempting to climb Mount Fuji with his children.  The purpose of the climb was a combination of a strict education regiment and as a way to promote Chinese patriotism.

Unaware that the climbing season ended at the end of August, they were turned back short of the summit, but not before being given extra clothing by a Japanese first aid officer.

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From Pool to Glass in One Hour: Smart Gadget Provides Clean Drinking Water in an Emergency

While I was fortunate to have been inland and more than 60km away from the Fukushima power plant when it ruptured, on 3 March, 2011, my co-workers and I nevertheless started to get a little anxious when, just a few hours after the initial earthquake hit north-east Japan, our water supply went off.

Heading to the nearest supermarket in search of bottled water, we were met by the sight of hundreds of locals who had had the exact same idea: buy as many provisions as possible and get back indoors. By the time we found a place to park and got into the store, there was barely anything left on the shelves; it had all been snapped up by (understandably) panicked buyers. Deciding to try our luck at the local convenience store, we drove over to 7-Eleven, but found the shelves just as bare.

Although our sitation never got anywhere close to desperate, and our supply came back on about 24 hours later, the thought of  not having any clean, safe drinking water really struck home for a while there.

Until it suddenly becomes unavailable, water is something that we all take for granted on a daily basis. Turn the tap and fill up a glass, fill the kettle and make a coffee, jump in the shower, wash your clothes; we use it almost constantly and can’t get by without it.

So it comes as something of a relief to hear that there are clever people out there creating devices that can do something as unfathomable as turn chemical-filled pool water into something that’s safe to drink in an emergency…

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Why Japan Doesn’t Give a Gangnam Sh** About PSY

I remember showing “Gangnam Style” to my Japanese friends and coworkers only a few weeks after it was uploaded to YouTube in July. While, like millions of other viewers, I thought the video was best thing to come out of YouTube since Charlie the Unicorn, I was surprised to find that most Japanese people I showed it to would just stare at the screen and mumble a disinterested “hmmmm.”

Were they seeing the same video I was? Did they not notice the horse-riding dance and the rhythmic pelvic thrusting in the elevator? Were they deaf to the addictive melody and blind to the tongue-in-cheek sexual innuendos? I mean, come on people: he’s screaming at her butt.

At the time, I thought maybe I just had dull friends. But after over 400,000,000 views, numerous international media appearances, an American record deal and still only minimal sign of interest from Japan, I’m compelled to think that there is something about PSY and Gangnam Style that the Japanese are simply unable to accept.

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Journey to Toilet Heaven: Our Writer’s Cheeks-On Experience of the World’s Most Spacious Public Toilet

With every man and his dog having heard tales of Japan’s heated, butt-cheek-massaging, water-squirting thrones or experienced them firsthand by now, the country’s space-age toilets are nothing new.

Why the contraptions haven’t quite caught on overseas yet still amazes me, but Japan continues to do toilets exceedingly well, and few things on this earth please this writer more than opening a stall door and being greeted by a sensor-activated toilet whose lid opens to greet me with the fondness of a dog whose master has just return from a weekend away.

But with all those buttons, dials and functions, Japan’s toilets seem to have peaked. Today’s toilet enthusiasts demand something more! Luxury, ladies and gentlemen, does not come from mere electronics; it comes from spacious, tranquil privacy.

In search of just that, our lucky writer over at RocketNews24 Japan headed out to Chiba prefecture, the home of the world’s most spacious public restroom, documenting the entire process on our behalf. Well, maybe not the entire of the process…

Before we set off, does anyone need to pee?

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Calendars featuring photos of sexy models posing provocatively are nothing new, but leave it to Japan to come up with a calendar where the date is written on the exposed skin of a woman’s body —and actually make it look artistic.

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Are You in the Sexy Zone? If So the Police Would Like a Word with You

Johnny Kitagawa, 80 year-old former teen idol and boy band mogul is celebrating his 50th year in the industry.  And what a better way to do it than with Johnny and Associates’ newest smash hit makers, Sexy Zone!

Shori Sato (16), Kento Nakajima (18), Fuma Kikuchi (17), So Matsushima (15), and fresh young Marius Yo (12) formed Sexy Zone after graduating from Johnny’s Juniors, an extensive school for talented and strapping young men who will do whatever it takes to become stars.

By the way, all previous allegations by former Johnny’s Juniors with regards to inappropriate advances and abuse published in books and newspaper have never been proven in a criminal court of law.  I have no idea why I wrote that, but it seemed like it was necessary.

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Rumour About McDonald’s Stinginess Spreads Like Zombie Virus, Shared 5,000 Times in Just Minutes

McDonald’s Japan has been having kind of a tough time lately…

After the restaurant took peculiar the step of removing menus from its counters, Japanese patrons have expressed their dissatisfaction both online and off, suggesting that the idea was perhaps not the company’s best in recent year, and the Golden Arches have received plenty of negative press as a result.

Perhaps fuelled by this feeling of discontent, a photo shared on social networking site Twitter, which shows an in-store sign alerting customers to the fact that free water will no longer be served, has had Japanese netizens up in arms, and has been shared more than 5,000 times.

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A Week After McDonald’s Removes Menus from Counters, Customers are Still Not Happy

Just over a week ago, McDonald’s Japan took the sudden and seemingly unnecessary step of removing menus from its counters, instead asking customers to make their selection before stepping up to order.

As reported here on RocketNews24, this very minor change had a strangely jarring effect on us when we visited the restaurant, perhaps conditioned by years of frequenting fast food joints and coffee outlets where the menu is, usually, right next to the cash register to at least glance at.

According to recent reports, that feeling of confusion is not limited to this us alone… Read More

Need Motivation to Lose Weight? How About Cheaper Rent?

Anyone who’s ever tried to shed a few pounds knows how hard it can be to stay motivated. Sometimes you just can’t reach down and find the fortitude deep inside to put down the doughnut and pick up your dumbbells without a more immediate payoff.

A recently opened rental property in Osaka has come up with a novel idea to help dieters keep their motivation up: a discount on rent for weight lost.

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Amazing New Garbage Bags Just Made Cleaning Up Your Town Cool (No, Really)

As much as it might sound like a speech that one of those creepy, smile-flashing, tracksuit-wearing guest speakers might have given at your school when you were a kid, it genuinely is cool to be seen cleaning up your town in Japan right now.

In a joint venture between Garbage Bag Artwork and Columbia Sportswear Japan, a range of artistically-designed garbage bags has been launched, along with a swanky new website that aims to encourage both local groups and handsome folks like you and me to get out and clean up our towns. Read More

Ichiro Reveals Inner Ninja during Second Game of Divisional Series

Can you spot what’s wrong with this picture?

That’s right. This slide into home is going the wrong way.  Some were concerned that future hall of famer Ichiro Suzuki may have been past his prime when added to the Yankees this year, but he certainly pulled his weight scoring the first run in their second divisional playoff game against Baltimore.

Ichiro, after being waved home suddenly found himself cut off by an early throw to Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters.  Staring an inevitable 3rd out in the face, Ichiro wondered “What would Naruto Uzumaki do right now?”

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Nocturnal Ramen Shop in Sapporo, So Yummy That People Line Up For it in the Middle of the Night!

Isonokatsuo is a ramen shop in Suskino, the drinking district of Sapporo, Hokkaido, that opens its shutters around the time the city night life starts revving up into full swing and continues to serve up hot bowls of noodles until 7  o’clock the next morning.

All-night ramen shops are not unheard of in Japan, but Isonokatsuo is known for making ramen so delicious that people line up for it in the middle of the cold Sapporo night. On a recent trip to Hokkaido, one of our reporters decided to burn the midnight chili oil and try out Isonokatsuo for himself.

Check his report below!

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10 Everyday Items Inspired by Food That Look Good Enough to Eat

Everyone has their own comfort food; a meal that brings you back to better days and fills the void in your heart and stomach. But how about food that provides real, physical comfort?

From curry futons to ice cream cone lamps, here are 10 unique food furnishings from around the net that are sure to add a little relish to your everyday life!

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Man with Dachshund Exposes Wiener (the privates not the dog), Still at Large (the man not the wiener)

Thanks to Hyogo Prefecture’s “Security Net” the public can easily access reports of crime occurring in their communities as it is reported. Earlier it had alerted local residents to a suspicious person resembling and acting like a motorcycle cop.

Now an odd case of indecent exposure involving a middle-aged man, school girl and a dachshund had occurred in Hamanomiya Park in Kakogawa city.

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When Science Meets Cute: Robotic Minnie Mouse Helps Humans Drift Off to Sleep, Keeps Her Own Eyes Wide Open to Watch For Aliens

We’ve all had those nights where we lie in bed for hours but just can’t seem to nod off.

You’ve fallen out with a friend or family member and it’s weighing on your mind; you have a big test coming up that you’re not quite ready for; you’re eight years old and, for some god-unknown reason, your parents let you watch Aliens with them and you’re under the covers, sweating profusely and terrified that an acid-spitting xenomorph is about to eat you (are you reading this, Mum!?)…

What you need, according to Science –yes, with a capital “S”– and Disney, is something to help calm that stressed-out brain of yours. Something to calm you down and soothe you into a restful night’s sleep.

That thing… is a Minnie Mouse doll.

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