Kirin announces its entry into the peculiar new hot fizzy drinks market

It’s barely even autumn and yet Japan’s beverage makers are showing off their new winter warmers. Hot on the heels of Coca Cola’s Canada Dry Hot Ginger Ale, Japan’s Kirin drinks company has unveiled a new hot version of its popular carbonated drink, Kirin no Awa.

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Preserved Hello Kitty fetus helps you explain to the little ones where Hello Kitties come from

Given that the apparently rather promiscuous Hello Kitty will lend her likeness to just about everything, from doughnuts to assault rifles, it’s only a matter of time until the world is plastered in Hello Kitty spawn and our little human children are asking where all these frighteningly cute mouthless kitties come from.

Well, thanks to the curious mind of‘s Jason Freeny, you can now get your hands on a helpful tool to explain!

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Would you drink hot ginger ale from a can? Coca Cola thinks you will

Fall is right around the corner, and winter is around the corner after that, and after that… wait, back up, you’re just going to end up in the same place you started. Let’s focus on fall.

Fall in Japan, like every season in Japan, is a chance for companies to come up with new seasonal convenience store items with fancy color-coded packages. And in summer’s case, tons and tons of salt. In the fall, especially, manufacturers gear up with all kinds of crazy concoctions because it’s (probably) a verifiable fact that everybody eats like a damn starved pig in the fall and they know you’ll eat or drink just about anything if they put some pretty fall leaves on the package.

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KFS? Kentucky Fried Chicken Japan offering deep-fried soup

It’s no secret that the RocketNews24 team is pretty enamored of life here in Japan. It’s hard not to have a good time in a country with such deep traditions and cultural events throughout the year.

That said, I always get just a little homesick when autumn rolls around. As great as Japanese festivals are, they simply can’t match American county fairs in terms of fried food offerings.

Thankfully, KFC Japan is ready to take a little of the sting out of fall this year with a new menu item: fried soup.

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Hot new item for habitual nose pickers

The feeling of wanting to pick one’s nose is something that every boy and girl can relate to. Unfortunately, society frowns upon people who blatantly go on a booger hunt. In Japan, even blowing your nose in public can be considered bad manners! We’re not sure how sniffling up your snot for hours is better than dispelling it all in one go, but that’s beside the point.

Bandai has a brand new product to ease that natural urge. When your nose has an itch that you’re just twitching to pick, here’s a prosthetic nose that you can pick even in public!

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Give your smartphone a dose of Hatsune Miku with this unfeasibly large negi case

Fans of Hatsune Miku who picked up one of Sony’s Miku-themed Xperia A smartphones will no doubt be delighted to hear that they now have the chance to make their mobile that little bit more digital diva. Produced by the creators of genius accessories such as the egg-on-toast cover and ramen bowl stand, Hamee, and sold via Japanese online accessory store Strapya, this onion-equipped smartphone case is sure to make your feelings about the Vocaloid Queen plain for all to see.

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This smartphone stand looks like ramen, but costs a lot more than a real bowl of noodles

Hamee has done it again! First, they managed to create an egg on toast smartphone case that’s so realistic you might accidentally take a bite. Now the quirky company has just released a bowl of ramen that will hold your iPhone for you.

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Lap pillows being snapped up at Narita Airport faster than the planes can take off

Just when you thought it was safe to delve into the back of your boyfriend’s closet, the hizamakura is back!

Literally translated as “lap pillow,” hizamakura — cushions designed to look like the tender thighs of a woman – were a huge hit about 10 years ago and were splashed all over Western websites and magazines alongside phrases such as “weird Japan”, with many articles asking whether the country’s men were really so lacking in social skills that they were forced to buy such products. In truth, many were purchased as gag items as the trend grew, but as their popularity faded hizamakura soon became associated more with otaku nerd culture and became a much less common sight.

Reports suggest, however, that a new line of lap pillows going on sale at Tokyo’s Narita Airport are bringing the trend back and they’re selling better than ever.

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“Smile Lipt” surgery promises to make you smile even if you don’t want to

Possibly taking a fashion cue from The Joker, women in South Korea are undergoing a bizarre plastic surgery procedure to enhance their smile. Dubbed “mouth corners lift” or “smile lipt” (a made-up word incorporating the words “lip” and “lift”), the surgery involves cutting the sides of the mouth to create the illusion of a smile.

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How to have the best dam date ever

Dating in Japan is similar to dating elsewhere, in that men are usually clueless about what women really want to do. Strapped for ideas, you might invite your girlfriend to come by your place, you know, just to hang out. Maybe you’ll cook dinner together, which if you’re anything like me, means that after burning your third chicken breast, she’ll forcibly take the frying pan away and suggest you put out the napkins, only to be puzzled later at how you managed to burn those, too.

Over the course of the meal, your girlfriend may mention that next time, she’d really like to go on a dam date instead. Take heart, though. She’s not upset, she’s being helpful.

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New wave of “creative” Japanese names read more like riddles

As much as politicians try to prevent them and doctors disapprove of them, kirakira Japanese names, the kinds that hold double meanings or are just plain hard to read, are apparently still on the rise. A recent survey of kids in their teens and early twenties showed that now more than 40 percent of students know someone at their school with an obscure reading for their name.

Reading name kanji is already a difficult task. A single symbol can have up to a dozen different readings, and while some are more common than others, there’s always a bit of guesswork that goes into deciphering the pronunciation of someone’s name. It’s bad enough when two people have names with the same symbols and entirely different readings. Imagine the frustration that teachers must face when a new student’s name is pronounced in a way that doesn’t even sound Japanese!

There’s a difference between naming your kid something “international” and making your kid’s name a nuisance. See if you can understand the reason behind the reading of some of these kirakira names.

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Clever naming has New York diners raving about Japanese-style cod roe and pigs’ feet

Among the many colorful expressions in Japanese you’ll find kuwazu girai, which is used to describe a knee-jerk dislike to something unfamiliar before you’ve given it a fair shot. Kuwazu girai literally translates to “hating it without having eaten it,” and it was exactly the problem restaurateur Himi Okajima was having at his eatery, called Hakata Tonton, in New York’s Manhattan.

Okajima is a native of Fukuoka in southern Japan, and orders weren’t exactly pouring in from American customers for two of his hometown’s favorite dishes that were on the menu: pigs’ feet and cod roe.

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It’s an epidemic! Worldwide freezer diving!

Avid readers of RocketNews24 might have noticed our series of articles earlier this month about Japan’s latest fad, freezer diving. This year’s summer heat wave has inspired a whole string of idiotic people to climb into convenience store freezers as a way to beat the blazing weather.

Now, whether it’s a result of Japanese media hype or individual inspiration, pictures of people inside fridges and freezers are popping up all over the world. The latest country to join in the craze was China.

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New undulating sea anemone toy from Japan will have you staring for hours

From the makers of Goal!Goal!Goal! Bank and a wind-up shrimp toy comes a sea anemone for the home. Ieginchaku, a delightful play on words utilizing ie, the Japanese word for “house” and isoginchaku, the word for “sea anemone,” is a little toy/conversation piece that not only resembles those koosh balls you used to chuck at your sister, it moves on its own and comes with little plastic fish! Need a little more convincing before rushing out to buy this product? Take a look at the promotional video; the Ieginchaku really has to be seen in action to be fully appreciated.

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Are these the five weirdest video games of all time?

Observed by those who don’t play them, video games may all seem a little bit peculiar. Mushroom-eating plumbers stomping hammer-throwing turtles, ultra-violent military shooters whose protagonists bound across battlefields shouldering rocket launchers while hurling grenades and taking bullet after bullet to the chest, and of course the hordes of zombie titles that, like their lumbering stars, simply won’t die. For those accustomed to the rules of these digital worlds, though, this all makes perfect sense.

There are occasionally, however, a few titles that even the gaming elite would recoil from wearing an expression somewhere between “ermahgerd” and “turd sandwich”, and YouTube-based ZoominGames believes they’ve identified the cream of said crop. So let’s take a look at the channel’s “Top 5 Weird Games” one by one and see if they’re really they freaky affairs they’re made out to be. Oh, and did we mention that all five happen to have been made in Japan…?

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Our reporter tries black and white burgers from McDonald’s Taiwan

Officially called, “Stunning Black and White Fortress,” this pair of burgers, one white and one black, is being sold for a limited time only at McDonald’s in Taiwan. The name alone made our reporter want to try this duo, but how would these unnaturally colored burgers taste?

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Stuff your pooch in a microwave…Wait, make that air conditioner: Japan’s bizarre heating and cooling system for dogs

It’s the dog days of summer and your poor little poochie is sprawled out on the hardwood floor, trying to suck up as much coolness as possible. She’s looking up at you with those pleading, puppy dog eyes, hoping for some sort of relief from the heat because you’re too cheap to turn on the air conditioner. Sure, humans have handheld fans, fancy cooling sprays, and delicious ice cream, but what does Fido get? If you’re in Japan and have enough extra cash, your dog could be chilling out this summer in its own personal air conditioner box.

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Japanese newspaper’s parenting tips include breaking your kids’ toys

Like many people who grew up in America, when I hear the word “Asahi,” the first thing I think of is beer. Of course, beer also happens to be the first thing I think of when I hear “breakfast,” but that’s a story for another time.

However, there’s also an Asashi Newspaper in Japan. And while the news outlet has no connection to the identically named brewer, that didn’t stop it from recently handing out the kind of parenting advice you’d normally expect from a dad who’s also a violent problem drinker, suggesting that parents “accidentally” smash their kids’ video game consoles in order to keep them focused on their studies.

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Coffee mascot event with cosplaying idols proves to be too much for some fans to handle

Tea is the first beverage that comes to mind for most people when they think of Japan, followed closely by sake, beer, chu-hi, and a plethora of other alcoholic beverages for those who spent time at a Japanese university. There are plenty of coffee drinkers in the country too though, with Yuki Jirushi (“Snow Mark”) Coffee’s café au lait being a steady seller in supermarkets and convenience stores for 50 years.

With such a long history, however, the company thought the product’s image could use an updating, and they asked artists to submit their designs for a new mascot to be called Yukiko-tan (-tan being an even cuter version of the already cute Japanese name suffix –chan). Six finalists remain in the contest, and Yuki Jirushi recently held a promotional event to help the undecided pick a favorite by utilizing the tentpole that seemingly all major Japanese marketing campaigns are built around: cute girls.

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Jiggly yellow pear, Funasshi, named top mascot in Japan

After two weeks of voting, Funasshi, the official yuru-kyara (mascot) representing Funabashi City in Chiba Prefecture, has come out as the number one local mascot in all of Japan. Known for his amazing jumping power and jiggly, almost convulsive movements, Funasshi bounced his way into the hearts of the Japanese people. He was joined by six other bizarre mascots, including the snarling half melon, half bear character from Hokkaido and a chubby dolphin from Kagawa Prefecture, for the announcement of the election results on August 6.

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