While dollhouses have been popular in Europe for centuries, they didn’t really develop a strong showing in Japan until the 1970s. However, since they’ve gained a foothold in Japanese society, they’ve gained popularity and a number of domestic craftsmen have appeared. One of the hottest dollhouse makers in Japan (a phrase we never thought we’d write) has gotten a lot of attention online due to the high quality of the miniatures–particularly the dollhouses based on Japanese buildings!
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
20 hours ago
When you think of Japanese food, you likely think of sushi, ramen, or udon–all excellent choices! You might even find your mouth watering at thoughts of monjayaki or anko ice cream, but there may be a few that you’re not so familiar with. Today, we’re going to look at 12 lesser-known foods–and what one of our intrepid writers thought about them!
Jan 19, 2015
Over the last two decades, email has evolved to be one of the primary ways business people communicate. That makes having a good email address all the more necessary. That Hotmail email address you chose when you were in junior high school–something like “Offspring4EVER,” probably–isn’t really what you want on your business card, even if Smash was one of the best albums of 90s. Fortunately, it doesn’t take most of us long to realize that a proper email address is part of growing up, just like deleting all those embarrassing Facebook photos from spring break.
Unfortunately, it looks like not everyone got that memo (maybe it’s in the spam folder), which prompted iResearch to take a poll of 100 Japanese men to find out more about Japan’s embarrassing mail addresses.
Jan 18, 2015
Since the release of Wagakki Band‘s first original song “Hanabi” last year, we’ve been holding our breath waiting for more. Okay, that’s not completely true–we’ ve been sneaking little gasps since then–but we were definitely excited to hear the the group was recording both the opening and closing song for the new anime Sengoku Musou, based on the game of the same name. But unless you actually tuned in to watch the show you’d be hard pressed to find the songs–until now!
Today, the band released a music video for “Ikusa,” the show’s opening theme song. Check it out below but be careful that you’ve cleared your room of pointy objects first so you don’t hurt yourself headbanging.
Jan 16, 2015
While I’m not exactly a huge Disney fan, I have to say that Big Hero 6 was easily one of my favorite movies of 2014, and I’ve fast become a big fan of the bubble-like Baymax. There’s probably a mathematical formula to prove how adorable his head is, but it looks like Jin Kim, character designer for the movie, has found a way to up the awesome level by combining Hiro and Baymax with a certain iconic Japanese film…
One of the hardest parts about visiting Japan is deciding where to go, especially if you have only a limited time. Obviously, everyone wants to hit up Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto, but that often means missing out on places like Nara and Aomori. If only there were a way you could get on a bus and just let someone take to every prefecture in the country…
Well, if you have about US$5,000 and 22 days, pack your bags, because that’s exactly what Club Tourism is offering this year!
Jan 14, 2015
While the popularity of retrogaming can sometimes be difficult to understand or accurately gauge, one of the more interesting aspects of its resurgence is the following that has developed around chiptunes. Though it would be a bit of a stretch to say that chiptunes music is massively popular, there’s no doubt that the genre holds a strong appeal for many gamers, especially those who grew up playing on older systems.
But the current chiptunes scene is hardly limited to old game soundtracks–thanks to software like Little Sound DJ, producers can make complex music that manages to be both old and new. And the best example might be a new release titled Sonus Antiquitatum, a sonata for two Game Boys in F minor, that not only sounds good for a chiptunes album but is actually a really enjoyable musical experience!
Jan 13, 2015
While Japan makes some rather unique cars, itasha aren’t the only custom cars in the country. From oni-kyan wheels for drifting to Chibatman, it sometimes seems like half of the vehicles in the country have been modified to extremes. But to get an idea of just how popular custom cars are in Japan, you’d need to head to Tokyo Auto Salon, which saw nearly 300,000 attendees last year!
This year, not wanting to miss out on all the fun, our brave Mr. Sato donned his most garish, chinpira outfit and headed down to look at some cars…and the women who get paid to stand next to them.
I’ll be completely honest with you here–I don’t know much of anything about soccer. I hate to fit the dumb American stereotype, but when it comes to sports, soccer is one that I definitely never got into.
I have nothing against it, of course! Partly, it’s just exhausting watching the ball bounce back and forth between players, changing directions like a whip. But on the other hand, I have to admit that it’s easy to see why some call it a “beautiful” game, and this video of a Thailand soccer team ably slipping through a Malaysian team’s defenses is nothing less than amazing.
Jan 12, 2015
Though spring is only a few months away, Tokyo is still downright cold these days. Of course, if you’re from a colder climate, you probably annoy your friends by running around in shorts asking why they’re shivering, but for many people here, it’s still pretty cold. Whether it’s the sea breeze zipping through the streets or some sort of reverse heat island effect, we’re not sure, but it is enough to make mornings downright brutal.
And people aren’t the only ones cursing the cold–our furry feline friends are none too fond of winter either! But unlike humans, they come with built-in scarves. Check out some of Japan’s cutest cats wrapping themselves up nice and warm with their tails.
Let’s get this out of the way first: Miso soup is delicious. It’s a great addition to nearly any meal, but we have to admit that it is pretty…basic, in every sense of the word. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that! Basic doesn’t mean bad, though we imagine it presents a bit of a marketing problem–how do you differentiate one brand of miso soup from another? If you deviate from the tried-and-true recipe too much, it’s just not miso soup anymore!
Well, it looks like Marukome, one of Japan’s top miso paste producers, has found a way: They’ve played loud, fast, and raw rock music for their newest instant miso soup–right in the miso paste factory !
Jan 7, 2015
New Year’s Eve is done and now long gone. We’ve pretty much wrapped up our coverage of the best and worst fukubukuro in Japan, so you may be ready to move on to Valentine’s Day, but we have one more piece of awesomeness left over from December 31, 2014: explosions!
While there were plenty of great fireworks displays around the world, we think this video of the Philippines’ Manila going crazy might be the best of the year. Check out below!
Tokyo is a wonderful city; there’s no denying that. But sometimes you might want to get out into the country and experience some of the different cultural areas of Japan. Of course, if you’re busy working all week or only in the country for a brief time, you may not be able to get out to a place like Aomori Prefecture.
Recently, however, we were in the mood for some tsugaru-jamisen and a few glasses of Aomori Prefecture’s distinguished sake. We didn’t have time to jump on a train to the northern prefecture, but, fortunately, Tokyo is home to Haneto Izakaya, an establishment featuring food and music from Aomori Prefecture. Check out the food, drinks, and a video of their amazing shamisen player rocking the joint!
Jan 5, 2015
Stop what you’re doing and get ready to lose your…ummm…stuff. Kawaii-meets-coffins idol group BABYMETAL just released a trailer for a new song featuring guitars by Herman Li and Sam Totman, the semi-legendary guitarists from DragonForce. The song is called “Road of Resistance” and our only complaint is that the trailer is too short…despite being over three minutes long.
It’s a new year, so time to get to work on your resolutions! Whether it’s hitting the gym, studying a language, or taking more time to sit down and play video games, here’s to accomplishing all your goals. Of course, when you’re in pursuit of a big goal, you may find yourself working overly hard and feeling exhausted when you hit the hay–which may result in sleeping in the wrong position. Who hasn’t woken up with a sore neck or back and wished they could call in sick and spend the day with a few dozen massage therapists?
If you’re feeling a bit of pain, we may have just the cure–and it’s inspired by none other than the manga GodHand Teru. That means it has to be effective, right?
Jan 5, 2015
It should be no secret that we at RocketNews24 love traditional Japanese music. Whether its Ki&Ki with their tsugaru-jamisen songs or the Wagakki Band with their fusion of vocaloid-inspired rock and traditional instruments, we simply adore the sound. Of course, we’re also fans of Nintendo’s old video games–which is what makes Famikoto one of our favorite discoveries this season!
Check out this group’s music and get ready to take a walk down memory lane with some of Nintendo’s best theme songs!
Dec 31, 2014
Subway may be as popular in Japan as it is in the US–which isn’t really surprising, since the company advertises itself as a healthy meal option. We’re not sure how healthy the sandwiches actually are, but that’s marketing for you. Nevertheless, it is true that a Subway sandwich certainly contains a lot more vegetables than, say, a Big Mac and fries.
And if you’re one of these Japanese Twitter users, your sandwich is literally bursting with vegetables! We’re not sure if this really a lifehack or not, but it is a way to get a sub sandwich and a salad all for price of the just the former.
We had a great time at Comiket this weekend and saw enough to fill a few photo books! Of course, it’s impossible to talk about everything, but one of the more eye-catching things we noticed were the cosplay photography rules. There’s a good chance you remember this little tweet from this past summer, showing a cosplayer surrounded and photographed at low angles. And probably not for better lighting…
Well, it turns out, that kind of photography probably isn’t within Comiket rules!
The New Year is obviously a major holiday in Japan, and that means sales at every store. In addition to discounted products, the beginning of January sees many stores also offering grab bags, most often called “lucky bags,” a direct translation of 福袋 (fukubukuro), in Japan.
Of course, some of the most sought-after lucky bags in Japan are those from Apple. In fact, if you want to grab one of Apple’s lucky bags, now might be a good time to buy a sleeping bag and some snacks, because you’ll probably be camping out over night!
Dec 29, 2014
It’s the end of December and that can mean only one thing: Comiket is in full swing! Today was only the first day, but the cosplay (and the crowds) were utterly amazing. With about half a million people expected to visit over the three-day event at Tokyo Big Sight, you should hardly be surprised that people from all over Japan–and some from around the world–flock to the doujinshi spectacular.
We headed down on Sunday afternoon and captured a few photos of our favorite cosplayers. And by “a few” we mean “a metric crapton.”
- New magnetic “slate” lets you write on actual paper, digitize your drawings in real-time1
- Unreal “animation dancer” makes Japanese salarymen breakdance with the power of magic sunglasses2
- Nobel Prize-winner Shuji Nakamura to Japan’s young people: “Get out of Japan”3
- No more photo retouches! New makeup for cosplayers claims to create photo-perfect skin4
- How many do you know? 12 delicious foods in Japanese supermarkets and convenience stores5
- Cross-dressing Cosplay Idol Group a Huge Hit in China6
- Mexican apparel company offers sweet Dragon Ball Z sneakers7
- We swear you’ve never seen Tokyo like this before 【Video】8
- These Disney princess live-action movie posters aren’t real but we’d pay for them anyway9
- Evangelion couple rings let you tell your sweetheart you love him or her like Shinji loves Kaworu10
- Nobel Prize-winner Shuji Nakamura to Japan’s young people: “Get out of Japan”1
- Edo era Samurai were pretty gay2
- New magnetic “slate” lets you write on actual paper, digitize your drawings in real-time3
- Attack on Titan’s Universal Studios Japan attraction opens4
- Disney Store is all grown up with new branch designed for adult women opening in Tokyo5
- Netizens hatch adorable baby birds from supermarket eggs, provide evidence6
- Secret backmasked message found hidden in Dragon Ball Z ending song7
- No more photo retouches! New makeup for cosplayers claims to create photo-perfect skin8
- Cross-dressing Cosplay Idol Group a Huge Hit in China9
- Is “Ago-kui” the next “Kabe-don”?10
- Nobel Prize-winner Shuji Nakamura to Japan’s young people: “Get out of Japan”1
- Kyoto taxi drivers reduce convenience store robberies by 50 percent by doing absolutely nothing2
- Cosplay ideals vs. cosplay reality, a.k.a. cool vs. funny 【Photos】3
- Internet ready to shut up and take your money as preorders finally start for Cat Ear Headphones4
- Edo era Samurai were pretty gay5
- Ugly-cute makeup genius feeds off negative troll comments on Twitter6
- “Malaysian girl holding things” is our new favourite Instagram account 【Photos】7
- New magnetic “slate” lets you write on actual paper, digitize your drawings in real-time8
- Teacher draws over students’ doodles to make red pen masterpieces9
- Photos of people lining up outside of the Sapporo Apple Store make us feel positively frozen10
- Hayao Miyazaki working on new project, says “I’m going to continue making anime until I die”1
- “No one sleeps in her class!” Internet goes gaga for gorgeous Chinese science teacher2
- Self-taught Singaporean artist creates unbelievably realistic art on plywood3
- Buyers’ remorse in China: After a record-breaking day of online shopping, the angry selfies begin4
- 1,200 Japanese workers convert above-ground train to subway line in a matter of hours5
- Tiny town in northern Japan creates gorgeous, gigantic artwork out of rice paddies 【Video】6
- Japanese high school holds annual contest to decide the prettiest “girl” in school7
- Nobel Prize-winner Shuji Nakamura to Japan’s young people: “Get out of Japan”8
- Kyoto taxi drivers reduce convenience store robberies by 50 percent by doing absolutely nothing9
- Sorry guys! Video of “sexy ice cream girl” in Taipei only delivers on half its milky promises10
- Cross-dressing Cosplay Idol Group a Huge Hit in China
- Mexican apparel company offers sweet Dragon Ball Z sneakers
- We swear you’ve never seen Tokyo like this before 【Video】
- These Disney princess live-action movie posters aren’t real but we’d pay for them anyway
- Evangelion couple rings let you tell your sweetheart you love him or her like Shinji loves Kaworu
- Disney Store is all grown up with new branch designed for adult women opening in Tokyo
- Team Japan’s goalkeeper is awfully good at catching cats
- The Guan Yu Gundam: a story of passion and friendship
- New Star Wars toys are rolling their way into our galaxy right, right here
- Japanese granny attempts to trash treasure trove of old photographs, is thwarted by grandkids
- Dattebayo! 12 awesome cast photos from the upcoming Naruto live spectacular
- PS4 20th Anniversary edition console sells at auction for jaw-dropping price
- “Wait, you’re a dude? Meh, marry me anyway.” New male princess stealing hearts in China