Sadako 3D Box Set Offers a Glimpse at the Daily Life of a Japanese Horror Icon

The special edition DVD/Blu-Ray box set of Sadako 3D, the fifth in the series of Japanese horror films originating from Ring, went on sale in Japan on October 31. The film brings back the series antagonist, Sadako Yamamura, for another round of video-induced murder.

While a creepy, supernatural killer in the movies and books, Sadako has become popular as a sort of quirky character in Japan, even making a clumsy appearance at a baseball game to throw the ceremonial first pitch earlier this year.

The Sadako 3D special edition box set, also known as “Sadako’s Cursed Box,” indulges in this goofy parallel with the inclusion of a sizable cut of Sadako’s iconic black hair and 32-page photo book titled Sadako’s Holiday.Sadako’s Holiday offers a closer look at what the long-haired ghost girl does on her days off:

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Nara Noodle Shop’s Revolutionary and Fun Way to Eat Udon From a Draw String Bag!

As fall turns into winter, Japanese people look to food such as hot noodle dishes as a tasty way to warm up.  Udon noodles, in particular, are great during the winter, and nothing beats slurping up a steaming bowl of udon on a cold day.

We discovered a unique way to eat hot udon noodles at Mentouan, a noodle shop in Nara.  When you order a bowl of udon at Mentouan, you are presented with what appears to be a small pouch floating in broth…but you can’t see the noodles!

Following his report of Kyoto’s gigantic one-noodle udon, our resident foodie Kuzo went to Mentouan to try this “invisible udon” for himself. Read More

Eating on Trains in Japan: Survey Asks “How Much is Too Much?”

Public transport in Japan has been featured numerous times this week here on RocketNews24. We’ve seen hilarious photos of people crashed out in awkward positions, cats, pigeons and teddy bears taking up seats, and we’ve heard young people– for a change– complaining about the older generation’s bad manners and poor social conduct.

With some of the busiest stations in the world and a population that increases by more than 2 million during the daytime as people pour into the city, Tokyo relies heavily on its bus and rail networks. Crammed into those little metal tubes, sometimes for hours each day, commuters soon learn to cope with being pushed, shoved and having their personal space reduced to the few inches of space around their face.

People soon learn what is and is not acceptable on public transport, and while socially-aware conduct like switching mobile phones to silent mode and giving up seats to elderly or disabled passengers are stipulated by in-train notices or audio announcements, there remains a handful of other, often unspoken, rules that people must adhere to or else incurr the wrath of irritated passengers as they glare, tut and grumble in their direction.

Listening to music too loudly through headphones; reading sexually explicit manga; not removing a backpack during the rush hours; all are considered rude on-board trains. But there’s a special rung in commuter Hell reserved for those who eat and drink during their journey…

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Resident Evil’s “Tyrant” Shows Up in Akihabara, Deemed “Cute” by Passing Japanese

The sight of cosplayers in Japan is nothing unusual, but if we ran into these ghoulish fellows on the streets of Tokyo we’d certainly double-take.

Dressed as the fiendish biologically-engineered “Tyrant” giants from the Biohazard (Resident Evil in the west) games, these three enormous men wandered through Akihabara, where they were met with comments varying from “creepy as hell” to “too cute!” as they showed a softer side than we’re used to seeing in the games and spin-off movies…

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Why Halloween Isn’t Popular in Japan: “I don’t celebrate Halloween because I don’t have a boyfriend”

Although the religious aspects of Christmas aren’t widely celebrated in Japan, the country has fully embraced jolly old St. Nick.  This has led to a very different version of Christmas than most are used to, but it’s still “Christmas.”  Japanese households are sure to eat Christmas cake (a cake with candles eaten on Christmas day that looks similar to birthday cake) and enjoy the traditional Christmas bucket of KFC chicken (clever marketing, KFC!).  Despite its differences, Christmas is still accepted as Christmas and it seems like all of Japan celebrates the holiday in some form on December 25th.

Judging from the status of Christmas in Japan, you would think that the Japanese are also crazy for Halloween.  On the contrary, Halloween is not very popular in Japan.

But why hasn’t Halloween taken off the way Christmas has?  Japanese website, Yukan News, asked this very same question.

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Sadistic Super Mario World is Back with New Levels, Made by Friends for Friends…

If you’re anything like me, you spent tens, if not hundreds of hours during the 1990s in front of a TV set playing Super Nintendo games like Super Mario World.

The game is often heralded as the greatest 2-D Mario game ever made, and is still played even 22 years (feel old yet!?) after its original launch.

You’d be wrong, though, if you thought that people were still playing just the levels that Nintendo crafted for its consumers decades ago; throughout the world there are entire groups of people with ROM files and hacked versions of the original game code who are regularly creating new levels, sometimes entire worlds, of their very own.

But why create nice, gentle levels filled with dancing flowers and 1-up mushrooms when you could create the most sadistic, mind-bending stages ever conceived of and force your friends to play through them?

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Kyoto Noodle House Serves One Big, Long Noodle

Udon is one of Japan’s most well-loved noodles dishes, ranking in line with soba and ramen. Everyone has an opinion over which is the tastiest, but those who like a bit of girth in their noodles will probably go for udon, which are traditionally rolled thicker than other Japanese noodles.

If you really want something to chew on, Tawaraya, an established noodle house in Kyoto, makes udon noodles so thick that only one fits inside the bowl.

Our resident foodie, Kuzo, recently took a train out to the ancient capital to try Tawaraya’s udon for himself. Check out his report below!

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We Visit the Shrine of the Dolls, Where Creepiness Turns to Inspiration and a Doll Has Hair that Grows

Awashima Shrine is known as the shrine of “memorial dolls” (dolls given as offerings to the shrine) because of the countless dolls and figures that surround the main building and the grounds.  It stands apart from the other shrines of Japan in the otherworldly atmosphere it gives off.  Some say it has a psychic energy to it.

At the shrine there is said to be a doll with hair that grows.  Who knows if there are really ghosts in the world, but you certainly get the sense there is something “present” when confronted with these eerie yet peaceful guardians.

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Kids Cause Mayhem at McDonald’s, Challenge Themselves to Eat 60 Servings of Fries in One Sitting

“Suddenly, potatoes!”

Some of you may have already seen the recent internet meme featuring a truck-load of everyone’s favourite starchy vegetable spilled all over the road. But no country is consuming more potato this week than Japan, thanks to McDonald’s latest promotion…

Offering small, medium and large-sized fries for just 150 yen (US$1.90), the fast food chain has seen an influx of people taking advantage of the promotional campaign and filling up for less, no doubt prompting heads of McMarketing to call the offer a huge McCess success.

That is, however, until the end of last week when photos appeared on Twitter showing high school kids buying up 60 large-sized cartons of fries at once in an attempt to eat them all in one sitting…

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Chinese Rip-off Austrian World Heritage Site, Austrians Shocked and Chinese Pleased

Hallstatt (above) is a beautiful village in upper Austria lying along the shores of the Hallstatter Lake, a World Heritage site which Austrians are proud of.

A Chinese company built a replica of Hallstatt’s architecture, subdividing the building into luxury apartments and putting them on the market. Needless to say, Austrians were astonished by their homeland architecture suddenly cropping up in China.

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World’s First Adult Disney Store Designed and Opened in Japan

Starting from 1 November, a completely new kind of Disney Store opened in the Takayashima Station Mall in Kashiwa city, Chiba.  Until now all Disney Stores around the world followed the strict design specifications of the originals in America.

However, for the first time ever a Disney Store with a totally different look has opened in an effort to target adult female Disney fans.  Rather than stickers, school supplies and stuffed animals, shoppers will be able to buy leather bags, cosmetics and smartphone accessories.

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Incredible Flip-Book Animation Adopted by English Band Muse as Official Music Video

Regular RocketNews24 readers may recall an article we did back in March this year that introduced us to Furiko (Pendulum), the flip-book animation hand-drawn by eccentric Japanese comedian Tekken that had us all welling up with tears.

The video, set to English band Muse’s symphonic track Exogenesis, told the story of a young couple’s life together, following them from the moment that they first met through middle-aged marital hiccups before they meet their inevitable mortal end. The video received deservedly high praise, not just because every one of the 1,038 pages that make up the animation were hand-drawn, but because the video managed to pack as much genuine feeling and emotion into three minutes as most hollywood blockbusters in two hours.

Months later, Furiko has caught the attention of none other than Muse themselves, who were so moved that they decided to make it the official music video for their beautiful track.

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Japanese Person Given Earth as a Present from God, Sells it on Yahoo Auction

Strange and interesting items often pop up on the Japanese Yahoo Auction page. Human billboards, human skulls, inhumanly overpriced electronics, and a private pop idol performance, could all be found in the past.

This time, however, it looks like the Earth itself is going under the hammer at a starting price of 69 yen (hehe) (US$0.86).

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Last Samurai Caught on Video on a Train in Arizona, Rescues Passenger Being Beaten

On a late night light rail train in Phoenix, Arizona on what authorities believe to have been October 6, a man rescued another passenger from a fight by wielding his samurai sword towards the assailants.

The incident was caught on video and uploaded to YouTube.  None of the parties involved have been identified and the police are currently investigating.

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【Heroism】 Younger Brother Catches Suicide Jump Sibling, Saves Life

At around 4:20pm last Sunday, emergency services in Tokyo’s Ōta ward received a call saying that a young man had leapt from a building and was lying injured in the street.

Arriving moments later and no doubt prepared for the worst, paramedics were instead met by an altogether different and quite remarkable scene; there were, in fact, two men, but both were fully conscious and had sustained only relatively minor injuries.

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【Fail】World’s Tallest Broadcast Tower Tokyo Sky Tree Experiences Unexpected Radio Interference, Tokyo Tower Still Chugging On

Tokyo’s Skytree was to be the answer to radio interference for broadcasting companies. Up until Skytree’s completion in May,  Tokyo Tower was the tallest tower around, standing at 333 meters.  Skytree, nearly double that height, stands at 634 meters.

The transfer of radio wave transmission from Tokyo Tower to Tokyo Skytree was originally planned for January of next year, but has been delayed due to an unexpected level of radio interference that will take time-consuming measures to be dealt with.  Read More

Seoul Designates 100 Year Old Sewer as Cultural Heritage

When you think of France, the Eiffel Tower springs to mind. China has the Great Wall, and how about the Statue of Liberty for the USA? Even Brazil has that big Jesus statue. Now, what comes to mind when you think of South Korea?

That’s not meant to be an insult. Most countries suffer the same lack of iconic, world-renowned landmarks, like my own home of Canada. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. (Yes, I will keep telling myself that, thank you.)

But South Korea may be on the verge of breaking out of this group with the discovery of a 100 year old piece of cultural heritage – a sewer!

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Ueno Zoo’s Panda Enclosure Goes Big Brother, Installs Real-Time Cameras for All to See

Okay, who likes pandas?

Of course you do! How could you not? They’re fuzzy and cute, they walk around eating bamboo all day, they rarely maul people to death when they bump into them in the woods like their bigger brown relatives… That said, with fewer than 3,000 pandas estimated to be in existence across the globe, the chances of running into one while out for a morning stroll are pretty slim…

So thank goodness that Ueno Zoo in Tokyo– home to two of just 11 pandas in the country– has installed a set of cameras in its panda enclosure, allowing the public to take a sneaky peek at the pair from the comfort of their own home.

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Cute Anime Girls Driving Sales of Windows 8 in Japan

On October 29, Microsoft Corp Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said that since its release on Friday, Windows 8 has been selling at a higher rate than Windows 7, the best-selling version of Windows to date.

Despite confusion over alleged magic touch screen-imbuing capabilities, Windows 8 seems to be doing well in Japan as well— so well, in fact, that limited-quantity DSP editions of the operating system, which feature two unofficial Windows 8-themed “moe” mascots, are already beginning to sell out, proving once again that the Japanese will buy anything with a cute anime girl on it (not that there was a lack evidence).

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