Happy Sunday, boys and girls!

We trust you had a pleasant week?

We’ve been busy as ever here at RocketNews24 and, as well as enjoying the Halloween festivities, we’ve seen everything from black Big Macs and cross-dressing confessions to old-school Super Mario and genital pixelization. Not all together, of course; that would be horrific…

Despite the mercilessly hot Japanese summer seemingly having ended just a few weeks ago, the temperature has suddenly dropped here in Tokyo and everyone is already starting to wrap up warm and flip their air conditioning from chill to toasty. And no sooner had those coats and jackets come out of the closet than those nasty old cold germs came back to bite us.

Which can only mean one thing: face masks are back!

I’ve spent the last two days with all the symptoms of a severe hangover, but without having the pleasure of consuming any alcohol beforehand, which can only mean that I’ve fallen victim to someone’s pre-winter germs. Whether it was him or not, I’m blaming the guy who sat next to me on the train last week and coughed and sniffed all the way from Kichijoji to Shinjuku…

We’ve heard a lot about manners in Japan here on RocketNews24 this week, and winter brings with it a whole new set of social rules and standards to abide by. With people packed into busy trains and crowded streets, germs spread easily, and people are expected to do what they can to keep their sniffles to themselves as well as avoid catching them in the first place. As a result, we often see hundreds of people wearing disposable face masks pouring out of stations each morning like an army of surgeons leaving a medical convention…

Of course, this being Japan, there are plenty of disposable and washable face mask designs to choose from, so there’s no reason to look too ridiculous during the winter months.

We often wonder whether these masks are entirely necessary and whether they actually help us dodge germs, but when we consider just how much time people in urban areas like Tokyo and Osaka spend in close proximity to others, it’s understandable that people do whatever they can to avoid catching another person’s lurgy.

While we’d never argue that a common cold is even close to being a 28 Days Later-style rage virus or something from the zombie-tastic movies Dawn/Shaun of the Dead, there’s still no denying that it can spread through a train packed full of commuters faster than five glasses of lemonade through a ticklish child’s pants. With your face pressed up against a spluttering salary man for a good 10 minutes of your daily commute, if neither of you is wearing a mask, you’re pretty much guaranteed to leave that tin tube with his germs, take it to work and start spreading it around there. Before long, you’re sprinting– or hobbling if you want to stay “classic zombie”– through the streets of Shinjuku with a taste for brains. Or perhaps just a hot lemon drinks and a bowl of soothing chicken soup…

Although many Japanese would be quick to agree that face masks are not all that effective, they’re still better than nothing at all, and coughing and spluttering on a busy train without one on suggests to your fellow passengers that you really don’t care who you share your germs with. As a result, those flimsy little paper masks have become a common sight, if not an expected standard of social etiquette, and are worn by both the sick and those hoping to avoid illness alike.

It may not have had much of an effect, but as I sit here massaging my temples and sniffing like a pre-schooler with a grazed knee, I can’t help but wish that Mr. Coughy Pants on the train last week had been wearing a mask, too…

So stay healthy and stay alive, guys! Buy yourself some face masks for the on-coming winter, fill up on vitamins and get some of these awesome news stories down your throat. Even if they don’t cure what ails ya, they’ll at least put a smile on your face.

 This Week’s Best Bits: Top 5 Most Popular Articles from Oct 28 – Nov 4

1. Chinese Teacher Makes Good on Promise to Students, Wears Maid Outfit to Reward Top Grades

If only all teachers were this much fun! But where do we go from here? “Get full marks and I’ll conduct the next class wearing a bikini”?

Now there’s a thought…

2. Cute Anime Girls Drive Sales of Windows 8 in Japan

Microsoft Japan knows the power of good localization. Japan + anime girls = great sales. Find out just how well the latest OS from Microsoft did thanks to just a few cute images…

3. “Paisura: Japan’s New Bag Strap/Boob Fetish Goes Mainstream, Gets Dedicated Photo Books

Witnessing the birth of a brand new fetish: “Paisura” is here in a big way.

Bag straps; boobs; photos. Need we say more?

4. “The Smell of a Boy’s Anus” Scented Oil on Sale Now in Japan (In Case You Were Wondering)

The company behind this “scent” swears that there’s a difference between the smell of poop and a boy’s starfish. We’re not so sure…

5. Top 9 Anime Situations That Seem Likely to Happen, but Never Do
Last on our top five list come an insightful piece that discusses those situations that we’ve all seen time and time again on TV, but have never actually experienced in real life. That’s probably a good thing, really; if sexual arousal really did trigger gushing nosebleeds, those Paisura shots up there might have had an awful effect on some of our readers…

▼ Honorable Mentions!

■ Do you know this urinator?

Residents of an apartment in Malaysia are on the hunt for this young woman, who dropped her drawers and took a jimmy riddle all over the floor of an elevator. Can you help track her down?


■ How human are you?

If you can get through this entire video, which has been adopted by the band Muse as an official music video, without shedding a single tear then you’re clearly a machine…

That’s it for another weekly round-up, Rocketeers. We hope you have a great week ahead and that you enjoy whatever’s left of your Sunday wherever you are in the world!

See you on the other side!

Title image Mana Blog Inset image: Tsujigaito