Japan

Mr. Sato Schools Fellow Reporter at “Go! Go! Curry” Speed Eating Contest

Usually when people think of curry, the first country that springs to mind is India. But even in the land of sushi, ramen and okonomiyaki, curry and rice (or kare raisu” as it is known here) often tops people’s lists of food favourites.

On Feb. 25, Japanese curry chain Go! Go! Curry launched its annual speed eating championship, which challenges famished food fans to consume two servings of their regular house curry and rice as quickly as possible. Unlike many eating contests where participants must simply force down as much food as possible, Go! Go! Curry’s challenge focuses entirely on how quickly diners can shovel food into their respective shout holes.

Always ready for a challenge, RocketNews24‘s eternally hungry reporter Mr. Sato grabbed his younger coworker Tashiro-kun and marched over to the branch of Go! Go! Curry nearest to Shinjuku station’s east exit to take part. Suffice to say, Tashiro-kun learned a lot during their visit. They say that every apprentice eventually becomes the master, but it’s clear that this young Jedi still has a long way to go.

The full video of the pair’s frantic face stuffing after the jump.

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Pocket Money for Leo: Django Unchained Star finds Extra Work Pimping Whiskey in Japan

Commercials: a lot of celebrities in the west won’t touch them with a borrowed pole. After working hard to build up their portfolio and making themselves a household name, for many professional actors the mere thought of putting their face on an advertisement is completely abhorrent.

In Japan, however, it’s a very different story. TV celebrities, singers and sports stars are a common feature on commercials, whether they be on television, magazines or even hanging over our heads as we take the train to work each morning. Watches, skin cream, beer, anti-hair loss, cars, language courses; you name it, someone famous is smiling and pretending they love it in exchange for a few extra yen.

This time it’s the turn of hollywood heart-throb Leonardo DiCaprio to take the cash and smile for the camera. Because, as we all know, DiCaprio never shuts up about how much he loves Jim Beam whiskey usually…

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Kutani-ware Porcelian Skulls Remind Us of Our Mortality, Art’s Longevity

Kutaniyaki, or Kutani ware, is a style of porcelain making that dates back to the 17th Century. It’s known for its bold colors and designs, but one company is taking the traditional form in a decidedly modern direction with its new series of Kutaniyaki Skulls. Read More

Could one of Osaka’s Most Famous Dishes Actually Originate from Tokyo?

Here’s a story that’s bound to ruffle a few feathers down south. According to those in the know, okonomiyaki – a savoury “pancake” dish loved by millions and one of Osaka’s most acclaimed culinary delights – may in fact have been created in none other than Tokyo.

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And the Oscar Goes to… Kitten Taking First Bath in Tiny Cup!

It’s considered common knowledge that cats hate water, but recently YouTube has been awash (get it?) with cats enjoying their bath time. In this latest addition, kitten Hana-chan experiences a bath for the first time, displaying the range of expression with normally associate with Hollywood’s finest. Check out her journey from terror to bliss after the jump! Read More

Survey Shows 85.2% of Japanese People Are In Favor of Death Penalty, Others Demand “Something Worse”

On 21 February, Japan hanged a trio of convicts for murders including the kidnapping death of a young girl and a stabbing rampage which left nine dead. Those executed were Masahiro Kanagawa, Kaoru Kobayashi and Keiki Kano (nee Muto).

As always, these hangings drew outrage from Amnesty International and the Japanese Federation of Bar Associations who made a statement saying they find “these executions unacceptable.”

However, this opposition is largely ignored by the government of Japan who maintains that the population at large supports their policy of penalty by death.

To confirm this, the following day, the Research Panel website posted the results of a survey conducted of 29,364 people asking them how they felt about the death penalty.

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Tweet Threat: “Random Attack at Gifu Station”  【Updated】

The above pictured tweet was posted at 1:27 p.m. JST yesterday. Despite ending with a smiley emoticon, the harrowing message openly states that “a random attack” will take place at 10 a.m. on the Japan Rail Gifu station, Gifu Prefecture, at around 10 a.m. today.

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Warm Up Your Juicers! Substance Discovered in Strawberries Alleviates Allergy Symptoms

Anyone with allergies can tell you that they suck pretty hard. Particularly in Japan, the high density of cedar trees has hay fever sufferers throwing on masks for several months of the year starting about now.

To our rescue comes Koji Kawahara, Professor of Cellular Engineering at Kitakyushu National College of Technology who last year found a component in strawberries which eases allergic reactions.

Professor Kawahara presented his findings at an international biology expo and filed for an international patent. He will likely synthesize the active ingredient into pill form, but can simply adding strawberries to our diet do the trick too?

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Newly Released Emergency Ration Cup O’ Noodles Last for Three Years

The Cup O’ Noodles that “saved your life” in college may now actually save your life in an emergency situation.

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Is the Japanese Word for “Thank You” Losing Its Meaning?

As linguists and scholarly types routinely profess, language is something that is continually evolving. It is a living, breathing entity that twists, turns and grows on an almost daily basis. As our lives change, so too does language. We don’t always like the changes, but, realising that the amount of time we spend on this earth is a mere blink of the eye compared to how long language itself has existed, we come to accept that words are no more ours than the valleys and hills we trek over. (Although I must confess that I still face-palm whenever I hear someone utter the phrase “I could care less” to suggest that they do not care an iota about something.)

Nevertheless, when changes in language begin to occur, people notice them. The first time we heard the word “Facebook” used as a verb or saw our first “LOL”, many of us likely furrowed out brows and thought, “Is that right?” In much the same way, in July and August last year Japanese broadcasting giant NHK launched an online survey asking the people of Japan whether they had noticed the rather peculiar use of the word “arigatou” (thank you) cropping up in conversation in recent times.

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Language and Genitalia Controversies Beleaguer Japan’s Lovable Robot Cat Doraemon

The blue robot cat from the future known as Doraemon has long entertained generations of Japanese people for decades.

Despite becoming an entrenched cultural icon in Japan, people in some parts of the world might not be familiar with the franchise. The story is centered on a young boy named Nobita who through various mishaps lands himself in trouble. However, an anthropomorphic robot cat had been sent from his descendant in the future to prevent him from becoming a total screw-up. Doraemon is equipped with a pocket on his stomach from which he can pull a seemingly endless array of tools to help his young friend. Usually the tools are misused by Nobita which comically worsens the situation.

In real life though it seems the formula has reversed for Doraemon as he is tangled in two awkward situations at once, involving the languages of Bangladesh and what (if anything) exists between his legs.

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Warmhearted DJ Spins for Kindergarten, Kids Go Mental 【Video】

Proving once again that Gloria Estefan was right and that the rhythm is gonna get you, Japanese DJ Kazuhiro Abo’s fantastic video shows a 10-minute session he did during visit to a kindergarten as part of a workshop appropriately titled “Kids and Music”. Although it takes the little ones a while to get moving at first, once they’re all up on their feet they’re bouncing and spinning around as only kids can do.

The full cute, chaotic video after the jump.

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Hiroshima Finally Gets a Costco! Too Bad You Have to Pay $32 for Parking

The American membership warehouse club Costco Wholesale will open a store in Hiroshima on March 23 to crowds of eager Japanese consumers longing for giant bags of tortilla chips or jars of pickles bigger than a human baby.

As excited as people are to finally have a Costco in the Chugoku region, there is one aspect of the new store that is taking consumers by surprise: a whopping 3,000 yen (US $32) fee to park in the Costco parking garage.

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Catch a Pokemon by the Tail with the Newest Lineup of Limited Edition Pokemon Goods

These adorable tail motif Pokemon goods are on sale now and are only available at the seven official Pokemon Centers in Japan.

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Could The Way We Behave on the Train Reveal Our True Personality?

Just spending a few minutes on the train, it is possible to gain quite an insight into the type of people who use public transport; whether it be the guy crashed out after a heavy night of drinking with his pals, the student listening to his music player on full blast, or the person completely immersed in their favourite book, the types of behavior are varied to say the least.

The inside of the train carriage is a rather peculiar environment in that, on the one hand, it is a public space in which one must abide at least to some degree by the rules of proper public conduct. However, it also provides us with our own private space in which to shut off everything around us and relax while travelling.

By observing the way in which people spend their time on the train, however, we can learn a lot about an individual’s personality, claims Tsugumi Tachibana, a Japanese counselor in love relations. From a romance perspective, Tachibana analyzes in-depth the correlation between public behavior and personality traits. Her findings can be found below and might just help us learn a little more about that one special person on the train or bus that you’ve been admiring from afar.

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New Head Spa Massage Unit Promises Extreme Relaxation, Makes You Look Like Robocop

As regular readers may recall, despite being a big hairy beast of an Englishman, this writer has kind of a soft spot for head spa treatments. Although I used to abhor the very thought of entering a salon and allowing a stranger to wash and massage my scalp while being surrounded by guys with floppy fringes and women having their hair dyed orange, I have become such a fan of Japanese head spas since my wife first dragged me along to try one that I now make a point of getting one every month without fail. It probably helps that it’s usually a pretty girl who’s cradling my lumpy Shrek head and running her fingernails through my hair, but it’s nothing short of bliss.

So when I caught sight of the new Mondaile Head Spa iD3 headset from Breo I was genuinely intrigued. It certainly looked futuristic enough to have the potential, but surely a pile of plastic and wires couldn’t really come close to my living, breathing masseuse’s skilled fingertips? The tech lovers over at Japan’s Web R25 put the unit through its paces and proclaimed it “a must” for gadget lovers, but judging from the reactions of at least one everyday user, the device is not without its quirks.

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Virus Attacking Necklaces Recalled for Attacking Humans

Virus Protector is a Japanese product composed of a vinyl pouch that you hang by a strap around your neck. When unsealed it claims to “remove bacteria, virus and odors from the surrounding area creating a decontamination space.”

On February 18 the Consumer Affairs Agency of Japan issued a warning for people to stop using Virus Protector brand products immediately.

The reason? Apparently, Virus Protector had considered humans in the same family of germs and bad smells and set out to eliminate us as well.

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Japan Weighs in on the Eternal Question: Is it OK to Pee in the Shower?

Japanese are generally perceived as being particularly fastidious when it comes to bodily cleanliness, what with the special toilet slippers and showering before getting in the bath and all. But it turns out that doesn’t keep some of them from engaging in a much debated activity: peeing in the shower. Read More

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