cool

Needle Master: Swedish artist wows net users with stunning video game embroidery

Believe it or not, the above image is not a still taken from an old 16-bit video game. This is the work of Per Fhager, a Swedish artist whose stunning needlework is currently taking the internet by storm.

From Nintendo classics like The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros 2 to old-school shooters like Pop’n TwinBee and Blazing Star, Per’s mercilessly detailed work really has to be seen to be believed.

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Beautiful works of art made with Microsoft Excel

A few weeks ago, we featured a video that showed each step to drawing Gundam using Microsoft Excel. The whole RocketNews24 office couldn’t believe that something as cool as a giant robot can be made using the most boring Office program available.

Another Excel artist, 73-year-old Tatsuo Horiuchi of Japan, has been getting attention online recently for his beautiful scenery pictures created by only using shapes in Microsoft Excel.

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Forget bearskin rugs, brighten up your workspace with this cool Totoro mouse pad

Although we’d positively abhor the very thought of seeing one of our favourite Studio Ghibli characters skinned and laid face-up on the hardwood floor of our cavernous offices, it wasn’t until we stumbled upon this fluffy Totoro mouse pad that we realised how much we’d love to have him adorning our desks at work.

Yep, thanks to CoolPencilCase.com, now both Totoro and the eternally grinning Catbus can be yours for just a few dollars, at once making all of your coworkers jealous and worrying household pets.

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Eat your heart out, Tom Cruise: Belgian man makes his own samurai armor (and it’s amazing)

Unable to afford the real deal and being too tall for a store-bought replica, one Belgian man by the name of Danny has crafted a suit of samurai armor for himself. And, while there are lots of amazing cosplay costumes out there, this one may very well be the best I’ve ever seen.

A fan of warriors of various cultures, from vikings to the samurai, Danny seems to have had a great affinity for armor, helmets, and weapons from a young age. In fact, he started collecting Japanese swords at the tender age of 16. (Quite a bit more productive than 16-year-olds these days.) Read More

From Russia with love (for J-pop), we present trilingual cover band Pudra

It’s taken several years, but as anime and computer generated vocaloid songs continue to grow in popularity abroad, Japanese pop music has solidified a passionate overseas fan base. Go to YouTube and do a search for the opening or closing theme of a major recent anime hit, and you’ve got a decent chance of finding a foreign fan doing a cover, either while strumming a guitar or with the vocal-less karaoke mix from the song’s single playing in the background.

But that’s not good enough for Russian band, Pudra (meaning “powder”). This quartet of teenage girls goes all out with their anime song performances, with full arrangement and polished videos. And while many foreign cover artists rewrite lyrics in their native languages, Pudra sings all of their J-pop renditions in their original Japanese. Read More

Japanese mom shows daughter how it’s done with awesome old-school gaming notebook

Every generation, something comes along that people are just sure is going to ruin kids’ minds. Recently it’s social networking websites. In the 1950s it was blue jeans and rock ‘n’ roll. If you had a time machine, and for some reason got tired of riding on the backs of dinosaurs and decided to instead interview cavemen about the parenting issues they faced, I’m sure you’d find some of them complaining about how the young whipper-snappers in the neighborhood are wasting all their time with this new-fangled “fire” thing.

When I was growing up, the big menace was video games, but just like all the things listed above, they turned out to be mostly harmless (but watch out, blue jeans become quite a bit more dangerous if you combine them with fire). Video games have now been around long enough that some hardcore gamers have kids of their own, such as the mother of Twitter user maki_pq, whose enthusiasm for the Dragon Quest series far outpaces her daughter’s.
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The future is up: The next ‘world’s-tallest-building’

Burj Khalifa is a tower in Dubai that stands an awe-inspiring 829.8  meters (2,722 feet) tall. With that height, it is currently the world’s tallest building, as well as being Tom Cruise’s favorite thing to climb.

But all that might change in just six months, if everything goes according to plan for one Chinese company. Well, minus the Tom Cruise part.
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80-year-old Japanese man conquers Everest, 81-year-old Nepalese rival hot on his heels

George Mallroy, one of the first Britons to attempt to conquer Mount Everest back in 1924, famously said of his desire to climb the mountain that he did so “because it’s there.” In the case of two of the mountain’s most recent visitors, “because I can” might be a better mantra.

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We devour a mountain of ramen (toppings)

By far the plainest, most bare-bones name for a guy in Japan is Taro. Look at just about any sample application form in the country, and nine times out of ten the applicant’s name will be listed as “Taro.” When coupled with a girl’s name like Hanako it’s the equivalent of “Dick and Jane,” showing up in children’s stories and textbooks.

Nonetheless,the name Taro is something of a classic, and a common choice for first-born sons. But change the first kanji character Taro is written with and you get “Jiro,” meaning more or less “second son.” Jiro doesn’t have quite the cachet of Taro, as it has a perpetual little brother-like ring to it.

Restaurant chain Ramen Jiro doesn’t play second fiddle to anyone, though, especially with creations like this.
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Japanese band with American singer wants to turn music industry on its ear with free downloads and gigs

There are a couple of standard job categories most foreigners working into Japan fall into. You’ll find plenty of English teachers and IT professionals, along with some financial service providers and executive recruiters. A few of the best-looking even end up as models, actors, or writers for RocketNews24 (thankfully the boss forgot his contacts the day he interviewed me).

But American expat Nelson Babin-Coy is aiming for something a little different: indie rock star. Read More

JSDF’s new helicopter may or may not be fake, a real-life transformer

All this anime is clearly getting to Japanese people’s heads. Japanese media has fallen hook, line and sinker for this seemingly impossible, anime-inspired helicopter design, breathlessly reporting that Ghost in the Shell-style vehicles are being designed by the (Japan Self Defence Force) JSDF right now.

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Pigs fly (in broth form) as ANA serves up in-flight Ippudo ramen

Japan has earned plenty of foodie cred over the last few years. Tokyo has topped multiple lists of the best cities in the world to eat out in, morning talk shows showcase delicious, hole-in-the wall restaurants and bakeries almost every day, and this month even provincial Hiroshima got its own Michelin Guide.

But even with a nation of enthusiastic diners and gastronomic craftsmen ready to serve them, airline food is, for the most part, nothing to get too excited about. Unless you happen to be flying ANA internationally, that is, where you can now get Ippudo ramen. Read More

Japanese iPad artist is the Leonardo da Vinci of digital finger paints 【Video】

In the future, great works of art will need to be located near museum power outlets because, apparently, the iPad is rapidly becoming the next generation canvas.

iPad artists have wowed us before with astonishing works of art, but most of them rely on paintbrush-like styluses. Japanese artist Seiko Yamaoka, however, is cranking out eye-poppingly realistic copies of famous paintings using that most clumsy and smelly of tools: the human fingertip.

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Star Wars Characters Journey to the West as Classical Chinese Warriors

With the next Star Wars movie due for release sometime in 2015, it’s an anxious wait before fans get to see their favourite characters once again. And who knows what will happen to Yoda and the gang now they’re owned by the house that made Mickey? For now, though, you can put those worries aside because we’ve found something to take your mind off things. It’s part Death Star, part Chinese warrior and 100 percent totally awesome. Check out six famous Star Wars characters who look like they’ve stepped back into the Six Dynasties of ancient China!

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Silly Pun Leads to Great Dessert – Special Strawberry Shortcake Available Just Once a Month at Japanese Convenience Store

In almost every company in Japan, payday is on the 25th of the month. While this means every month feels a little like Christmas, it also means that if you’ve been partying a little too hard for the last 30-odd days, around the 22nd, your bank balance might be looking pretty dismal.

But no matter how much you try to cut back, man can’t live on bread alone. Looking to treat yourself to the most meager luxury possible, you might stumble into a branch of the Japanese convenience store Lawson, where there’s a special treat to brighten your day that’s available only on the 22nd of each month. Read More

Can you explain this physics-defying photograph?

A photo currently doing the rounds on Chinese bulletin board sites is proving to be real head scratcher as people try to work out how it could have been taken.

In a world where software like Photoshop can transform pretty girls into bare-chested boys and young men into female wrestlers, the internet masses have come to view the world through suitably cynicism-tinted glasses. After close inspection, however, there’s nothing to suggest that this photo is anything but the real deal and that there’s no underhand digital trickery involved. So how on earth could this incredible feat of balance be possible?

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Hello Kitty Melons Selling for an Exorbitant Price in Japan

Japan seems to have mastered the art of growing cute fruit. Heart lemons, star cucumbers, and even the infamous square watermelons are all testaments to the lengths farmers in Japan will go to in order to provide the masses with adorable fruit. The newest delightfully deformed fruit to hit the market is a musk melon with an image of Hello Kitty etched into the rind. However only a select few who are quick (and rich) enough to snatch them up will be able to enjoy the flavor of Hello Kitty’s melons in their mouth.

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Take a Ride on Japan’s New Amphibious Bus and See the Sites of Tokyo!

Japan’s latest tourism offering looks set to capture the attention of both sightseers and locals seeking a spot of adventure. From the Japanese company that embarked on such enterprises as the open air double-decker bus comes the “land and water bus”. The development of the vehicle is part of a new Tokyo sightseeing strategy undertaken by Japanese automobile company “Hinomaru Bus”. The service, dubbed “Sky Duck Tokyo Splash Tour”, launched on March 2013 and has been fully booked since its first day of operation.

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It’s Dangerous to Go Alone! Take this! 3-D Printing Zelda Equipment

Becoming obsessed with The Legend of Zelda after getting it as a birthday present at the age of six, one fan has found a way to bring items from the game into the real world.

How, you ask with images of magical blacksmiths dancing in your head. Simple: 3-D printing!

This fan, who documents the creations at the incredible blog Hyrule Founder, recreated the 8-bit items as 3-D, digital models and printed them with a high-quality 3-D printer. Read More

‘He Ain’t Ugly, He’s My Robot’ – Creative Use of Garbage in China Results in One Man’s Robo Pal

“Johnny Five… is alive!” Despite both betraying my age and likely alienating half of my audience by using a quote from an obscure 80s robot movie, I can’t help but think that if this young man’s robot could speak, he’d immediately thank his lucky stars that his master breathed life into what was once little more than a pile of junk. You see, the two-metre-tall robot standing with his arm around ingenious inventor Tao Xiangli here was built at home using nothing more than parts salvaged from scrap.

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