Preston Phro

Preston Phro (or simply Phro as most know him) is a Coloradoan attempting to fit in in Tokyo. (Surely, he would succeed if not for his unruly hair.) He puts his master's in classical Japanese literature to good use by writing silly stories and articles for the Internet. Having lived in Nara, Osaka, and Yamaguchi before moving to the Kanto area, he's quite happy to finally have a place to call home! When not writing, he enjoys annoying his wife by plucking at his shamisen (a three-stringed Japanese instrument not entirely unlike a banjo) and pestering her with questions about Japanese history. He also occasionally attempts to remember all the stuff he's forgotten since university.

All Stories by Preston Phro

Splatoon dominates Japanese video site, makes us wonder if everyone is eating properly

While the Wii U hasn’t exactly been the biggest success in Nintendo’s history, we can’t help wondering if newly released game Splatoon is going to help turn things around. The game currently has a score of 81 on Metacritic (and an 8.3 out of 10 from users), so it’s certainly getting some appreciation from gamers and game critics alike overseas. Someone in Europe even stole a truck full of copies of the game and Amiibo!

But how about in Japan? We already know that there seems to be a lot of younger people excited about it, but it’s not just kids who are loving the game…

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Heading to a Shinto shrine soon? You might not want to read these ghost stories before you go!

If you’re spending even a short amount of time in Japan, visiting at least one Buddhist temple and one Shinto shrine should definitely be on your list. It doesn’t matter too much which one you go to — they all tend to be lovely places with great atmospheres. Of course, some are bigger and fancier than others, and some just have better locations, like on top of mountains or in forests.

However, it turns out that, according to certain legends flying around on Twitter right now, you might want to be careful about which shrines you visit, or something spooky could be waiting for you…

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Put the razor down! Survey reveals 2 out of 3 Japanese women prefer their men with hairy armpits

Personal tastes are just that: Personal. What gets one person going is likely to leave someone else bored — and there’s nothing wrong with that of course. I’d be awfully sad if everyone liked strawberry ice cream as much as I do because then there’d be none left for me.

And nothing shows this quite as much as men and their body hair. More specifically, how Japanese women feel about body hair on certain parts of the male anatomy. We are, of course, talking about shins and armpits! (Why? What were you thinking?)

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Tsukikageya brings a fresh look to traditional yukata with designs inspired by new and old

Summer is almost upon us, and that means it’s time to get out your yukata and head to the local festival or fireworks display. Of course, with everyone else wearing a yukata, it can be hard to find something that really pops and stands out. Thankfully, Tsukikageya, a Tokyo-based specialty yukata shop, has just what you need to look as baller as you feel.

We stopped by the store one cloudy afternoon to take a look around and talk with Natsuki, owner and designer, about her unique yukata designs and inspiration. Check out our chat and photos below!

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Dedicated fan recreates video play-through of Super Mario Bros… in Minecraft

Minecraft is certainly one of the most talked-about games on the scene today, and one of the most played. Even if you haven’t tried it or have no idea why there seem to be so many sheep in the game, you have probably seen some of the amazing things built inside it.

Today, we bring you an incredibly accurate recreation of a video play-through of the first level of the Nintendo classic Super Mario Bros. made in Minecraft. With sheep, apparently.

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Limited-edition Hello Kitty pastries make a trip to Yurakucho totally worth your while

Hello Kitty may have a few too many jobs for any other gijinka cat to handle at once, but we have to say that the pastry chef hat is probably the one that looks best on her adorable head. Kitty no Sanpomichi (“Kitty’s Promenade”) is certainly proof of that!

If you’re sad about missing out on Kitty’s delightful pastries in the Kansai area last year, you’re in luck, if you happen to be Tokyo this week. The temporary pastry-selling stand is open for business in Yurakucho Marui right now. But you better hurry, because they close this Wednesday!

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Mimi-kaki: We let a total stranger stick things inside us at an ear-cleaning salon【Video】

Akihabara is considered by many to be a holy land of otaku culture, and with good reason. From anime to electronics to maid cafes, there’s not much you can’t find here. You can even pay someone to clean your ears! Which, to this writer, sounds absolutely horrifying. The idea of a total stranger getting inside my ear canal and scraping out all the gunk is both gross and horrifying, mainly because I can’t stop imagining the ear cleaner slipping and driving the ear-pick deep into my brain.

And that’s probably exactly why the RocketNews24 editors chose me to try it out! If you’ve ever wanted to have a young woman lay your head in her lap and then scrape the wax out of your ears, here’s your chance to see what it’s like.

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Recently discovered Japanese pufferfish included in list of top ten new species

The ocean is full of a massive array of undiscovered species, so scientists are always finding new types of creatures lurking offshore. The circle-making pufferfish discovered in 2013 are one great example of a species mankind only recently encountered for the first time.

But you don’t have to take our word for it — the International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE) even included it in their 2015 Top Ten New Species list!

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Never miss an important call again at the office with our bra lifehack!

For those of us working in high-tech societies, connection and communication can be as valuable as any resource. A single missed call can turn into a missed business chance, so making sure you can be reached no matter how furiously you’re typing is important. But at the office, no one wants to be that jerk that just leaves their ringer on. And it’s pretty easy to miss a call with just vibration mode.

However, the writers for the Japanese-language side of RocketNews24 may have come up with a solution for you. All you need to do is keep your phone in range of view while you’re using the computer. There are, obviously, a number of ways to do this, but our writer P.K. thinks he’s found the best way: With a bra!

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Japanese rock musician decides to get old-school, starts a career singing enka

The history of Japanese music is long and storied, and contemporary artists, be they J-pop artists or grindcore bands, fill only a few chapters. Of course, they happen to be some of our favorite chapters, but we’re just saying, there’s a lot to discover!

One genre that has long been a favorite in Japan but hasn’t gotten as much attention overseas as, say, Hatsune Miku, is enka. A modern take on Japanese folk music, enka is probably most popular with older generations — but that hasn’t stopped one extravagantly dressed visual kei/rock drummer from giving it a shot!

Check the bizarre music video for Tsukasa Mogamigawa’s major label debut and get ready to shout “Maaaatsupoi poi poi!”

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Shimane Prefecture will give you a house…but only if you promise to stay for 25 years!

As you may have heard, the population of Japan is getting older and smaller. While other (smarter) people have debated the problems and complexities of this issue, we do know one thing: It’s left a lot of prefectures without many young people. Some places are celebrating when the community has even a single wedding, but Tsuwano in Shimane Prefecture thinks they’ve hit upon an idea for injecting some new, young blood into their town. They’re giving houses away for (kind of) free! Of course, there are a few stipulations…

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Guerrilla musicians wow YouTubers with expert playing in…electronics stores?

If you’ve ever stepped foot inside a music store, you’ve no doubt seen at least one overly-confident person wailing away at a guitar or piano, just to “test it out” with plenty of people around. While they’re usually better than the rest of us, you also can’t help feeling a bit of embarrassment for anyone who’s getting into it a just a little too much.

But a pair of videos making the rounds in Japan has won a group of three keyboardists plenty of attention — and praise — for their covers of famous Yellow Magic Orchestra songs. Partly because they were performed guerrilla-style in electronics stores!

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While discussing health-related issues is never easy, mental health is particularly challenging. A big part of it seems to be simply considering who your audience is, as what works for one person or group won’t always work for another. So, when it comes to discussing a topic that involves everything from domestic violence to positive behavior modification, knowing your audience is a huge factor.

Fortunately, Akihabara’s Yuu Mental Clinic has a handle on knowing their audience with a series on mental health in manga form, complete with wacky hijinks and impossible science fiction scenarios. They also managed to turn a simple pun into two glorious pages detailing the most absurd day-dream ever by a fictional junior high-age boy. How many of his “20 school rules” can you guess (hint: Swimsuits are definitely involved)?

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Video showing the power of well-done make-up garners amusement and amazement around the world

We’ve seen before how well-done make-up can be used to drastically alter a person’s appearance, which, we suppose, is kind of the point. That said, many people (probably mostly guys who don’t wear much make-up themselves) are still fascinated by its transformative powers.

And even if you’re an experienced make-up artist, you may still find this simple video of a Korean woman removing half her make-up a fun exercise in perception.

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Get lucky: Survey polls Japanese women about their one-night-only amorous affairs in satin sheets

When it comes to sex, people like it all kinds of different ways. Some people don’t even like it at all, but as long as it’s consensual, we don’t care, as long as you’re happy! Nevertheless, we’re also pretty curious about it–maybe we’re busybodies or maybe the idea of people smooshing themselves together is just too funny not to think about.

Regardless of the why, we are naturally curious about sex in Japan. And we bet you are, too! So here’s a recent survey done with 3,000 Japanese women to find out how many have had one-night stands!

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Japanese Internet commenters react to video of Ronaldo standing up for kid

Cristiano Ronaldo is, undoubtedly, one of the most beloved footballers in the world, and that holds true for Japan as well. And it’s hardly surprising! Not only is he a skilled athlete, he’s also a drop-dead gorgeous man. Like Don Draper in cleats, we suppose.

And in a video from last year that’s getting tons of attention now, Ronaldo also proves that he’s a true gentleman! But what do Japanese commenters think about the video?

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Watch this Genesis of Aquarion Zessica Wong figure transform into a Dragon Quest pilgrim figure

Do you like figures? Do you ever wish you could make your own? Well, we can’t help you actually make a figure, but we can show you how one skilled amateur figure crafter turned the Genesis of Aquarion Zessica Wong figure above into a female pilgrim from Dragon Quest.

Check out his explanation, complete with photos, below.

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Worst Mother’s Day portrait ever?

We hope you and your mothers all had great Mother’s Days this year and excellent presents were exchanged. Of course, sometimes the best present isn’t something you bought at the store but a hand-made work of art demonstrating your love for your mother, though we doubt anyone is going to complain about a new PlayStation 4.

We’ve already seen some of the most awesome (and awkward) Mother’s Day illustrations you can find at 7-Eleven, but today we have something slightly more…horrifying. This portrait made the rounds on Twitter in Japan last week, inducing laughter and nightmares!

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Shut up and take our money! This awesome dress combines lolita and traditional Japanese fashion

If you’re anything like us, there’s a good chance you like both lolita and traditional Japanese fashion. Many of us here at RocketNews24 love those lolita skirts, even if we can’t really pull off the fluffy look, and we definitely appreciate the beauty of a well-crafted kimono.

So the news that the Kaga Lolita Project, which combines traditional Japanese fashion with the lolita style, finally has a dress available for sale online has us reaching for our wallets! You might not see any of us actually wearing one, but you can bet we’ll be admiring the dresses from afar, dreaming of twirling parasols on our shoulders.

Check out the dress below and get ready to dig out your credit card!

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These three Kyoto sushi restaurants target women, but we think everyone will enjoy them!

Sushi is one of those foods that really grabs the imagination. Whether you’re in a kaiten-zushi joint in Akihabara or one of the $300-a-meal restaurants you read about in the news, there’s something almost captivating about the ritual of it all.

Of course, anyone is welcome at pretty much any sushi restaurant, but these three Kyoto-based restaurants have received a bit of attention online for specifically targeting women. From do-it-yourself sushi to tiny, round delights, these places have really piqued our curiosity. Check out some photos below and start making your plans for a trip to Kyoto now!

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