cool

Giant sea eel: fearsome monster or delicious lunch?

The restaurant Fukugawa Tsuribune is famous for tempura, especially its anago don, tempura saltwater eel served over a bowl of rice. The restaurant’s version of this Japanese standard draws fans from all over the Tokyo area to its location 35 minutes by train west of downtown.

Needless to say, the restaurant must be doing something right, and once we heard the rumors that the anago portions are extremely generous, we couldn’t keep ourselves away and made the trip out to the restaurant to try it for ourselves.

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Yes, Zima’s robot band will play metal and electronica, as long as you compose it for them

Zima never really took off in the U.S.. Molson Coors’ clear malt beverage never even made it out of puberty in its home market, lasting just 15 years before the last Zima made for American consumption shipped in 2008.

In Japan though, it’s been a solid hit, particularly at clubs. The company recently asked the lofty question of whether the way human beings party is advancing at the same rate of other aspects of our modern lifestyle, and has decided to give it an evolutionary kick in the backside by creating a robot party band.

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Designer of Gamecube oddity ‘Doshin the Giant’ wants your money, will put you in his new game

As a big fan of Doshin the Giant, one of the quirkier titles to appear on Nintendo’s 64DD and Gamecube platforms, I literally felt my ears prick up when a member of the RocketNews24 staff uttered its name earlier today. Although we haven’t heard much from the game’s designer, Kazutoshi Iida, in the past few years, his latest crowd-funded indie title Monken is attracting a lot of attention online, with the creator offering investors a ton of freebies as well as the chance to appear in the game itself.

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Powered by Honda: the world’s fastest lawnmower

Mention Honda to most people, and they’ll think of a successful car company, if still a few rungs below giants Toyota, GM, and Volkswagen in sheer size. But Honda just happens to be the biggest engine manufacturer in the world, providing power for not just for passenger cars, but also motorcycles, scooters, boats, jet aircraft, and even lawnmowers.

Honda’s most die-hard fans point to the company’s racing pedigree and ease with which its engines can be tuned to make more power, both of which factor into its current project of building the world’s fastest riding mower.

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Family Mart and Hatsune Miku team up to brighten your rainy days with limited edition umbrellas

Each of Japan’s seasons has its own unique charm. Whether it’s the cherry blossoms of spring, fireworks on the beach in midsummer, crimson maple leaves in the fall, or a hot spring surrounded by winter snow, there’s something to enjoy at almost any point of the calendar.

The glaring exception, though, is the few weeks of rainy season during June, when the constant threat of sudden squalls make the weather report about as reliable as a third-rate palm reader. You’re pretty much guaranteed of getting caught in a shower at some point, and if you’re not lucky enough to be around a 100 yen shop at the time, you’re stuck ducking into a convenience store and paying a premium for a clear plastic umbrella you’ll probably throw away as soon as you get home and can swap it for your sturdier regular one.

Thankfully, convenience store chain Family Mart has a new product to take some of the sting out of that situation.

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Small, fast, and ‘crazy rickety’ – Cambodia’s breakneck bamboo train 【Video】

Shot by a couple during a visit to Cambodia and uploaded to YouTube just last week, the following video treats us to a ride on one of Cambodia’s “bamboo trains” — worryingly shaky, home-made bamboo pallets balanced on a pair of train wheels and fitted with a disconcertingly large engine.

After all, what trip abroad is complete without experiencing some potentially perilous activity that you’d never dream of doing in your own country?

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Tokyo Toy Fair: The only place you’ll see cute girls and Star Wars figures in the same room

We used our journalistic cred to gain access to the Tokyo Toy Fair a few days in advance of the public. Don’t hate us–we did it for you!

Check out our gallery below, and please excuse any blurring. We’re perfectly comfortable interacting with Gundam models, but talking to female models gives us the shakes.

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Heroic dog in Thailand warms our hearts, makes us feel inadequate by comparison

While travelling in Thailand, I was surprised by the large number of unattended dogs roaming about town. Much like the country’s citizens, though, they’re generally good-natured, and you’ll often see the laid-back pooches sleeping peacefully in plazas, next to temples, and along riverbanks.

Thai society appreciates the value of a good nap, but one canine in the city of Ayutthaya has more than just cultural justification for taking a snooze. Pui the Bangkaew dog has earned himself a little bit of rest and relaxation by saving a baby’s life.

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Nintendo’s two new Smash Bros games have one of the coolest trailers ever

For many fitness enthusiasts, exercising in front of a TV while perched a Nintendo Wii balance board might seem like a bit of a joke, and we’re sure that yoga is the last thing on many gamers’ minds when they power up their machine. So when we first caught sight of the following video from Nintendo we weren’t quite sure what to make of it. As it turns out, though, as well as introducing not one but two new Super Smash Bros games for Wii U and 3DS, with new characters to boot, the video itself is actually quite awesome.

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From cabbages to katanas – five awesome umbrellas from Japan!

Most people prefer to open their curtains in the morning to find bright, clear skies waiting for them, but with the arrival of the rainy season (known as 梅雨 tsuyu, and written with the characters for “plum” and “rain”) here in Japan we‘ve got a long stretch of wet weather ahead. If that has you down, perhaps channeling your inner superhero when you wake up in the morning and stepping out with this ninja sword umbrella will brighten your day. And if fantasizing about slashing enemy combatants isn’t your thing, maybe the romaine lettuce-inspired Vegetabrella from Tokyo Noble is what you need to put a smile on your face.

Take a look at these five rainy day inspirations helping ensure Japan stays dry during drizzling days of June.

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“Oh no, I forgot to pack my Lamborghini!” Not to worry: this Tokyo hotel has got you covered

Among the numerous luxuries the Conrad Tokyo provides guests is the hotel’s extensive list of amenities, such as uniquely-scented soaps, shampoos and rubber duckies to make bath time in your opulent, free-standing tub just that much better.

Of course, these pale in comparison to the perks offered for the traveler who books a room in the hotel’s newest promotional package, which include a 552-horsepower mid-engined supercar.

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Japan’s futuristic underground bicycle parking vaults

Culture Japan’s Danny Choo gives us an inside look at one of Shinagawa’s automated bicycle vaults, proving once and for all that they are not operated by tiny elves working under illegal labour conditions.

Our favourite part is when the official explains that the vaults keep bikes safe from “the weather and pranksters.” Damn those pranksters, stealing our bikes! Not funny this time, you guys.

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Want that new Mac Pro now? Amazon Japan currently offering the next best thing!

Calling all MacHeads! Can’t wait to get your hands on that ever-so-sexy Mac Pro introduced at the WWDC a few days ago? Not to worry, Amazon Japan has you covered, almost. Check out the New TUBELOR (black) from ideaco which can be yours for a mere 3,465 yen (about US$36). Though it doesn’t come with dual GPUs, PCI Express-based flash storage or high-performance Thunderbolt 2, with a little work on your part, this piece of just-as-sexy office hardware could have your co-workers drooling with envy, and, bump you to the top of your office’s cool colleague rankings.

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Acclaimed action figure animator turns his hand to Zelda 【Video】

The man brought us the jaw-dropping stop motion videos of battles between iconic Dragon Ball and Street Fighter characters has done it again! This time, he’s brought The Legend of Zelda‘s sword-wielding hero Link to play, and he’s got a sexy gun-toting pal with him…

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To live and dine in L.A.: we find marshmallow ramen in the City of Angels

Among the extensive pantheon of ramen varieties is tsukemen, in which the noodles are served on a dish with a bowl of dipping sauce on the side. My first experience with the dish was in college, when a buddy took me to a tsukemen place that had opened up near our campus in Tokyo that was famous for their sauce made with fish stock. At the time it seemed like a wildly exotic concoction, but little did I know that years later my hometown of Los Angeles would produce an even more outlandish version of the dish: marshmallow ramen.

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Are you man enough for Family Mart’s line of masculine sweets?

So here’s a tricky question: do desserts count as masculine or feminine food? On the one hand, a slice of chocolate cake is just as bold a statement of your culinary decadence as a nice fried pork cutlet. In either case, it’s at least a little wild and macho to eat something with such shaky nutritional value yet unquestionable deliciousness, similar to how I rationalize eating a pack of ham out of the fridge when I’m too lazy to go buy bread for a sandwich as being a natural result of my raging testosterone.

On the other hand, sweets are, well, sweet. Truly red-blooded males can’t even bring themselves to utter the word “sweet” unless they add “taste of revenge” after it while clenching a fist and glaring at the horizon.

Thankfully, Japanese convenience store chain Family Mart is here to help end this confusion with a line of desserts tailor-made for everybody born with a Y chromosome.

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Crafty crochet turns tortoise into evil King Koopa

While it’s easy to get swept up in all the talk of new technology and the future of home entertainment, it’s sometimes nice to take a moment to focus on the more leisurely pursuits that one can enjoy. As we’ve seen before, the kinds of arts and crafts that have been popular hobbies for generations can still manage to impress us, and this piece is no exception– transforming a regular pet into the evil lizard king Bowser from the Super Mario Bros. games.

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Onsen Ramen – Why go to the hot spring when the hot spring can come to you?

If there’s one thing Japan loves, it’s ramen, and if there’s a second thing, it’s hot springs (or onsen in Japanese).

We recently found a place in Tokyo’s Suginami Ward that combines both.

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Kiefer Sutherland confirmed as lead voice actor in newest Metal Gear Solid game

As soon as the teaser trailer for Hideo Kojima’s upcoming video game Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was released earlier this year, gaming news websites and message boards exploded, partly because it was clear that David Hayter, the voice actor who had played the character of Solid Snake since 1998, had been replaced, but mostly because the new voice in the video sounded an awful lot like that of world-famous actor Kiefer Sutherland. Earlier today, those rumours were finally confirmed: Jack Bauer is Snake!

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Figurines, Wii U consoles and free vacations – Grab a sweet prize in 7-Eleven’s ‘Jump Heroes’ campaign

Convenience store giant 7-Eleven certainly knows its way to customers’ hearts. The store’s current Jump Heroes campaign–a collaboration with Shonen Jump Comics–is giving customers the chance to bag some pretty impressive prizes, with things like games consoles, tablet computers and even free hotel accommodation up for grabs.

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