Six professional ninja jobs being offered by Japanese tourism board, women and foreigners welcome

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RocketNews 24 (by Casey Baseel):

Japan is looking for a few good shinobi.

If you’re feeling sad because you weren’t chosen as one of the two samurai being recruited  in Aichi Prefecture this month, cheer up! It turns out there’s now another opportunity to become a professional sword-wielding warrior, as Aichi’s tourism board is now looking to employ six new ninja.

Similar to Aichi’s samurai-themed Nagoya Hospitality Generals Brigade, the Hattori Hanzo Ninja Squad, which also operates under the name Hattori Hanzo and the Ninjas, is a Nagoya-based group that makes live appearances to promote tourism to the Aichi area and Japan in general to both domestic and overseas travelers. As a ninja, your work tasks will include putting on awesome martial arts stage shows and instructing kids in proper shuriken throwing technique.

At 180,000 yen a month, the Hattori Hanzo Ninja Squad starting salary is identical to that of the Nagoya Hospitality Generals Brigade. The Ninja Squad also looks to be an equal opportunity employer. Not only does the group include kunoichi (female ninja)…

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…the applications seem to be open to non-Japanese would-be ninja as well, as evidenced by the fact that the Ninja Squad has made its recruitment information available in English as well.

A high degree of athleticism and acrobatic talent are of course prerequisites for the job, as are these seemingly contradictory, yet in this case totally justified, personality traits:

● A desire to be in the spotlight, even though you’re a stealthy ninja
● A fondness for talking with others, even though you’re wearing a mask and hood
● A kind heart, even though you’re carrying a sword

If you meet all those criteria, and you think you’d look good in black, applications can be found here, and will be accepted until March 22.

 

Captured Japanese journalist Kenji Goto entered Syria to find fellow hostage

Mainichi Shimbun: 

Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, who is believed to be in the hands of the Islamic State group, told those close to him last year that he was entering Syria to search for Haruna Yukawa, who has also been taken hostage.

Goto’s contact with friends and Internet posts have provided traces of his path. Describing the tough situation in Syria amid conflict, the 47-year-old said there were no guarantees of remaining alive.

Akiko Sugiki, 46, a professor at Kobe Gakuin University who was acquainted with Goto, said he contacted her last year, just before he entered an area controlled by the Islamic State. “I’ll send a reply with more details between Nov. 3 and 5,” his message read. She assumes that he intended to leave Syria around that time.

Goto met Yukawa, 42, in Syria in April last year. When Yukawa was captured by the Islamic State group in August, Goto told the Mainichi that he had heard from local sources that Yukawa was alive.

On Oct. 2, Goto entered Syria to report on the situation there. He published four videos online, and conveyed his entry into the country from Turkey and the escape of refugees toward Turkey. On Oct. 3, he said in an online post, “I’m reporting in Syria,” and added, “I can see Islamic State tanks just over there.”

After temporarily returning to Japan, he headed back to Syria, leaving for Turkey around Oct. 22. In an email to high school teacher Kazumasa Ito, an acquaintance from Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, he wrote, “I’m going overseas for work. I’ll return on the morning of the 29th.” The teacher tried to contact him after that but received no reply.

An official from a rebel group at the Bab al-Salameh checkpoint on the border with Turkey said that Goto passed through the checkpoint into Syria. He obtained permission to enter after explaining that he was headed to the rebel-controlled areas of Mare’ and Tell Rifaat on the northern outskirts of Aleppo. It was reported that he entered the country on Oct. 24.

After arriving in Mare’ he videoed himself saying, “I think I’m going to enter an area controlled by the Islamic State. All responsibility is on me.” After entering a controlled area on Oct. 25, he vanished.

According to government officials, Goto phoned a Syrian acquaintance in Turkey around Nov. 1, saying that he had been betrayed by a guide, and had been detained by an armed group. Several days later, Goto’s family received an email from someone claiming to be from the Islamic State group, demanding about 2 billion yen in ransom.

 

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3-D latte art at its best

RocketNews 24:

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We’ve already brought you the amazing latte art of Japanese barista Yuuichi Ito of Belcorno, an Italian restaurant in Aichi Prefecture, but we’ve never shown you just what he can do with a little extra foam. Mr. Ito could arguably be the greatest 3-D latte artist in all of Japan, if not the world. And we know you’re probably thinking that you’ve seen 3-D latte art before…But you’ve never seen it like this. With pages of photos depicting his creative coffees dating back to 2011, this is one barista who has undeniably attained the latte artist equivalent of knighthood. Take a look at his awesome 3-D creations.

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3-D latte art at its best

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▼ This one’s a little abstract, but that fluffy white and colored cloud is Santa.Belcorno 3D latte art7

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▼ Nausicaa of the Valley of WindBelcorno 3D latte art6

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Belcorno 3D latte art

And if you’ve already forgotten how great Mr. Ito’s 2-D latte art is, here are a few of his flat, but no less beautiful, colored coffee creations.

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▼ Just kidding, here’s an actual kitty cappuccino.latte art 5

Images: Facebook (Belcorno)

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This cool freeze-dried food shop lets you customize your own unique miso soup

RocketNews 24: 

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At the end of a long, cold winter day, have you ever found yourself craving a bowl of steaming hot miso soup to go? If you live in Tokyo, then you happen to be in luck. There’s a shop selling freeze-dried products that lets you customize your own miso soup, and even down it on site. Furthermore, you can try different varieties of miso soup from around Japan. Read on to learn more about this awesome jewel right outside Tokyo Station.

First of all, just what is freeze-dried food? A freeze-dried food is preserved by being “dried in a vacuum system while being maintained at a temperature below that of its crystallization point.” The food can then be restored to its original state by simply adding water. Supposedly, this method of food preservation retains the taste, flavors, color, and vitamins of the original food better than other preservation methods.

Freeze-dried food specialty shop

Japanese company Amano Foods, which specializes in freeze-dried food items, runs a specialty shop called “Amano Freeze-Dried Station.” It is located a one-minute walk from Tokyo Station. The shop sells five varieties of miso from around Japan, including Hokkaido, Sendai, Haccho (Aichi Prefecture), Setouchi (Okayama Prefecture), and Kyushu variations. Once you’ve selected your miso, you can choose your desired seasonings packet to create the miso soup of your dreams! Each packet comes individually wrapped, so if you come with a friend, you can each try a different flavor. No more fighting with your family and friends about what kind of miso soup to make!

▼Screenshot from Amano Food’s official website showing you the five varieties of misoand the eight varieties of seasonings to choose from:

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▼So many flavors to choose from! Indecisive people, beware.

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▼A map of Japan showing where each of the five versions of miso originate from

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▼Close-up of the miso packets

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▼The available seasonings

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▼An example of how to create your own unique flavor

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Hot water dispensers are available for use at the shop

Of course it’s OK to buy the packets of miso and seasonings and take them home. There’s also a wide selection of foods that would make good o-miyage (souvenirs). But on a cold winter day, wouldn’t you rather have your miso soup as quickly as possible? The staff members completely agree with you, so they always have a ready supply of hot water in the store for people who just want to indulge there.

▼Add hot water, and voilà!

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Storefront boasts many limited edition items as well

Products that are preserved through freeze-drying retain their flavor and nutrient content better compared to other instant food items. There’s no harm in trying some out, right? There are many limited items in the store, so next time you’re in the area, be sure to stop by and take a peek!

Shop Information:
Shop name: “Amano Freeze-Dried Station” (『アマノフリーズドライステーション』)
Address: Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Marunouchi 2-7-2, JP Tower B1F, Inside “KITTE GRANCHE”
Hours of operation: Weekdays/Saturdays: 10AM-9PM, Sundays/National holidays: 10AM-8PM

▼Location of the store relative to Tokyo Station (a one-minute walk from the Marunouchi East Exit)

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Original article by Yuniman

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This cool freeze-dried food shop lets you customize your own unique miso soup