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Three years of character bento, Part 2: Loving, hilarious mom continues to pester teen daughter

Do you remember last month’s piece which chronicled single mom Kaori’s three-year character bento spree? On the surface the project seemed to be about harassing her kyaraben-hating teenage daughter, but we learned that in the end, it was an incredible (not to mention eye-catching!) feat of parental love and dedication.

In Part 2 of this series, we’re going to put the spotlight on more of Kaori’s entertaining creations in tandem with some of her thoughts. And next week in Part 3, we’ll wrap up with the mom’s reaction to her long-awaited book, her “Countdown to Graduation” bentos, and a surprise from her daughter. So, before we get to this devoted mom’s moving, seaweedy words of wisdom and love, let the drool-fest begin! And keep your eyes peeled, you may even find your favorite character!

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Three years of character bento: A single mom’s quest to connect with her cheeky teen【Pt. 1】

A decade ago, when blogger and single mom Kaori used to work nights at an izakaya (Japanese-style pub) and didn’t have time to spend with her two little girls, they would leave letters by her pillow, telling her about a fight they had with a friend or how school was that day. Fast forward a few years, though, and her cute younger daughter became your regular moody, demanding teenager.

So what did this amusing mom decide to do? Kaori chose to annoy her second-born every day with something she hates: character bento! See mom yearn for a Starbucks, remind her girl to throw out empty bottles, and moan about making bento while hung over—all with the help of an X-Acto knife, some nori seaweed, and dollops of ingenuity.

While it’s impossible to showcase the entirety of her achievements in one article, here’s a “highlights version” that ultimately reveals a heartwarming tale of a hardworking mom trying to communicate with her adorable yet exasperating teen. And if you don’t care about that, then just gawk at the awesome photos!

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Cuddles or cash? 7 in 10 Japanese 20-somethings choose money over love

Valentine’s Day, as you’re undoubtedly aware thanks to the abundance of heart-shaped goods that have suddenly appeared on shop shelves, is almost upon us. But before you break out that chocolate-making kit or ass-shaped pastry for your special someone, take a look at this downer of a statistic: Seventy percent of Japanese 20-somethings recently surveyed think that money is more important than love. 

Maybe you should add your bank statement to your Valentine’s Day card? If you’re already wishing February 14 had come and gone, join us after the jump for this decidedly un-romantic story.

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Is “Ago-kui” the next “Kabe-don”?

Kabe-don” ranked among Japan’s top anime buzzwords of 2014. Facing a woman with her back on the wall, the man places his hand on the wall beside her with a “don!” (the Japanese sound routinely used to represent something hitting a hard surface), with his face close to hers. This situation common in girls’ comics is also frequently seen in TV dramas and movies, and many young women who watch this scene dream of finding themselves in a similar situation with the object of their affections.

But is the ago-kui set to be 2015’s kabe-don and among its most-used phrases?

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Survey reveals 55 percent of women in Japan wouldn’t marry a divorced man

With people generally getting married at a later age than in our parents’ generation, it sometimes feels like we have to throw out the whole rule book on marriage and starting a family in order to write a brand new one. But what do you do when your potential partner already has a bunch of crossed-out pages? Japanese website MyNavi Woman conducted a survey of 111 women between the ages of 22-34 and asked them, “Would you marry a man who’s been divorced”?

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Chinese dude bags super hot Ukrainian wife, generates major envy online

We’ve all heard the stereotype that western guys who come to Japan find themselves suddenly showered with beautiful ladies, while Asian guys who head to the west get squat. Regardless of the fact that this kind of generalization is SUPER mean and based upon some pretty sketchy and biased thinking, it does seem to be the most prevailing opinion (in spite of the many cases where it’s blatantly not true.) When we heard about this regular Chinese dude who bagged himself a super hot wife after deciding to study abroad in Ukraine, we thought it made for an adorable story about a successful international marriage. Unfortunately, it seems that Chinese netizens were less charmed, with plenty taking to their keyboards to register their surprise, envy, and skepticism.

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Chinese drug dealer weds girlfriend in elaborate prison wedding 【Photos】

Between bad dates and missed connections, ever feel like true love is a myth invented to sell flowers and chocolates at arbitrary times of the year? This story straight from a Chinese prison may be able to warm your cold, jaded heart and renew your hope in love.

A man serving an almost eight-year sentence for dealing drugs recently married his sweetheart in one of the most elaborate weddings you will probably ever see in a correctional facility.

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The 30 most ‘romantic’ lines that women want to hear (well, according to the Japanese internet)

OK, ladies: imagine you’re taking a moonlit walk with the object of your affections. Or maybe you’re dining at a fancy restaurant with your dream date, or cuddling together on a blanket in a field with no one else in sight. All of a sudden, your crush leans in close, looks deeply into your eyes, and whispers, “You’re mine.” What do you do?

If you’re the type who would immediately blush and feel your heart beating at a quickened pace, you’ll probably enjoy the following list of 30 things women want to be told. The list has recently been circulating around Japanese social media sites recently, leaving sparkly, flower petal-filled puddles of shojo manga sappiness oozing in its wake. If, however, you’re of a slightly more cynical disposition, you should also enjoy the compilation, but instead for its value to induce a good chortle.

Don’t worry, because whichever type you are, we promise not to judge!

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6-year-old boy vowed to marry his childhood sweetheart, really marries her 18 years later

Did you have a childhood sweetheart? In many cases, a childhood sweetheart tends to be a neighbor or schoolmate whom we spend many hours of our glorious juvenile years playing with and, more often than not, drifting apart as we grow up and life takes us to different places.

However, fate is a mysterious thing. If you’re destined for each other, fate will lead you back to each other, even after spending 18 years apart, like this pair of lovebirds!

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Man creates bizarre “HeartCap” helmet to wordlessly convey feelings of love and admiration

I’m sure we’ve all been there: knowing that you’re bound to bump into your crush at some point during the day, you prepare a few witticisms in advance, make sure to brush your teeth extra well and pick out an outfit that strikes the perfect balance between casual and “holy crap I’m sexy”. And then, when the object of your affections comes within a few feet of you, you blurt out some nonsense about having seen a really big pigeon on the way there and manage to spit all over yourself. Oh, just me?

Thankfully, for those who find themselves completely tongue-tied when faced with their dream guy or gal, there’s a new…invention that enables the wearer to express their feelings of admiration without saying a word. And it looks wonderfully ridiculous.

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New ad from Thailand about a mother’s love will inspire you and bring you to tears【Video】

Life insurance commercials from Thailand have been doing the rounds on social media lately, impressing everybody with their beautiful images and moving storylines. Now there’s a new ad from Thailand pulling at our heartstrings, but this time it has nothing to do with life insurance – this is a touching message from the makers of a fibre food beverage.

The short clip shows us the benefits of weight loss, by focusing on the true story of a mother who was determined to lose weight – not for herself but for her son. Why? Make sure you’ve got some tissues handy because the reason will touch your heart.

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Singaporean guy looking for a girlfriend pins his hopes on YouTube, dances to thank viewers

There are dozens of matchmaking websites and mobile apps these days that help bring people together. Which means you don’t even have to step out of the house to meet someone new, all you need is an internet connection and a computer, tablet or smartphone. It’s easy to hide behind an online profile, but in order to take a budding cyber romance to the next level, you’ll eventually need the guts and sincerity to meet your love interest in real life.

Instead of relying on matchmaking services, this Singaporean guy mustered all the courage in him and conveyed his sincerity in a YouTube video he made in an attempt to find himself a girlfriend, winning praise from YouTube viewers and local citizens. Check out the date plan he has for his potential girlfriend after the jump!

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Retired soldier and his wife finally get their wedding photos taken after 68 years!

These days, many engaged couples usually choose their gowns and suits, and take a beautiful set of pre-wedding photos before solemnizing their marriage during their wedding ceremonies. In the past, however, not many couples had the privilege of having lavish weddings.

An elderly couple in Hunan Province, China, have been married since 1946, but it is only now, 68 years later, that they put on their wedding dress and tuxedo for the first time!

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“I’ve fallen for a video game otaku–what should I do?” Woman appeals to internet for advice

One presumably hot day not that long ago, a young Japanese woman sat down at her computer, logged onto a website dedicated to giving advice to women, and sent out a request for help: “I’ve fallen for a video game otaku. How can I get close to him?” 

The first-year university student had developed a crush on her classmate, who always seemed to be alone and playing video games. She wanted to know how to best approach him, so she took her inquiry online. It was soon met by a flood of diverging responses, from the straightforward to some shocking advice.

Read on to see what kinds of pointers they gave her, and whether you agree with them or not.

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“Singapore Da Por” confesses his love in a clever cover of Joyce Chu’s “Malaysia Chabor”

Singing that kimchi is delicious but that she prefers her familiar cendol (a traditional dessert) and keropok (shrimp crackers), 17-year-old Joyce Chu (also known as 四葉草) from Johor Bahru, Malaysia has become quite the YouTube sensation. It’s now approaching three weeks since her song and video Malaysia Chabor (“Malaysian Girl”) about her experiences being mistaken for a Korean in her home country was first published on YouTube, and since then the video has racked up 3.9 million views and counting.

With her good looks and sweet voice, it was inevitable that Joyce would pick up a few admirers after her sudden rise to fame. One man in particular seems to be quite smitten with her, and even went so far as to create his own original response video to her song.

Who is this mysterious admirer? Keep reading to find out more and watch his video for yourself!

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Celebrate Korea’s loneliest holiday with black noodles for one 【Recipe】

Valentine’s Day is known all around the world and many of our readers will be familiar with the East Asian tradition of following it up with White Day. In Japan and Korea, women are expected to give chocolates to the men in their lives, in some cases to every man they know (referred to as giri choco, or “obligatory chocolate” in Japan). White Day arose as a way to balance the inequity (or maybe just to sell more sweets). On March 14th, men are supposed to give sweets to the women they return feelings for. Sadly for the women, they are usually white sweets like marshmallows, hard candies, white chocolate or something else similarly boring. While men are not obligated to give sweets to women they do not have feelings for, they are expected to spend 3-4 times as much as the gift they received was worth.

South Korea has innovated a new holiday along the same theme: Black Day! Black Day falls on April 14th and is celebrated by people who didn’t receive anything for either of the more well-known love-themed holidays. On Black Day, single people all over the country get together to eat a dish of black noodles called jjajangmyeon, which is a well-known Korean comfort food. It consists of noodles in a sauce made of black soybeans with veggies and protein (typically pork or seafood). Similar to curry udon, it’s not incredibly healthy but is extremely satisfying!

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Don’t bother, ladies: Survey reveals most Japanese guys don’t want your Valentine’s chocolate

Valentine’s Day gifts in Japan are usually one-directional, with women giving chocolate to men. You might think the people leading any kind of counter-movement against this would be the girls, fed up with having to buy or make chocolates for everyone in the office. But a new survey shows it’s the guys who are unhappy, with 90 percent saying they don’t care or would rather the girls didn’t bother.

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Survey reveals that more than 70 percent of otaku would choose their hobby over love

Over the years, the term “otaku” has, as well as being accepted into the English language, come to mean not just computer or anime fanatics locked away in their bedrooms, but any person who shows above-average fondness for any given hobby or pastime. Crazy about pop idols? You’re an otaku. Can’t get enough cosplay in your life? Same for you. Have a collection of video games so large that your friends casually refer to your house as “the library”? You’d better believe you’re an otaku.

But is your passion for your hobby so great that you would willingly choose it over love and romance? A recent survey asked a group of otaku that very question, and found that 70.1 percent of them said they’d shun love in favour of their hobby if it came down to it.

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“I think I love you…”: Romantic confessions from around the world

Declaring your love, or even just your like, for a boy or a girl in Japan can be a pretty big deal. While we don’t think most people’s stories are quite as dramatic as in anime, with characters struggling for seasons just to admit their fond feelings for another, it’s certainly true that many Japanese people are pretty shy about asking each other out.

While it’s kind of cute and kind of frustrating if you’re used to a more forward culture, is it really that different from other countries?

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What makes people want to move to Japan?

Of course, we at RocketNews24 know that Japan is a great place, but have you ever wondered what drives others to leave home and live in the land of the rising sun? It is a question that those of us who spent time working, studying or living in Japan can find a little repetitious and annoying and may cause us to forget why we chose to come to Japan.

That’s why we wanted to share some answers to that ubiquitous question that we found on the Internet messaging board Reddit, where netizens there gave some brutally honest responses. Click below to find out some of the funny, strange and heart-warming reasons people decide to spend their life (or at least part of it) in Japan!

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