Andrew Miller

Andrew, who is from London, England, first came to Japan in late 2006 where he worked as an English teacher in the Tochigi prefecture. After becoming a little more accustomed to the culture and the language, he moved to Tokyo in 2009 where he has been residing since. He has a passion for the Japanese language and has even created himself an “unofficial” Japanese name(安努龍). In addition, Andrew has an interest in a wide genre of news and as a freelance translator is keen to relay the subtle differences between cultures to readers around the world.

All Stories by Andrew Miller

84-year-old senior citizen learns to do some amazing things with his new smartphone

For many senior citizens, getting to grips with smartphone technology can sometimes prove problematic. For a start, the small on-screen text is often difficult to read and the multitude of features and functions can lead to mistakes during operation. However, one elderly man turned this rule on its head when his phone was suddenly upgraded from a basic no-frills smartphone to a fully-featured smartphone at his local phone shop. But instead of being overwhelmed by the functions, he took on the challenge of getting to grips with the additional features and, within a matter of months, had learned some amazing things.

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Illustrator from Italy stuns netizens around the world with his hyper-realistic artwork

If someone were to tell you that they struggled to tell the difference between hand-drawn art and photography, you could be forgiven for thinking that they were long overdue a visit to their optician. Well that was until the rise of hyperealism, an art style that challenges existing concepts of free-hand drawing. Put simply, it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between these drawings and a real object, there’s just so much detail and attention to lights and shading.

Italian illustrator and graphic designer Marcello Barenghi is just one of a handful of artists garnering a lot of attention online with his hyper-realistic drawings. Barenghi’s work include everything from decks of cards and potato chip bags to fried eggs and paper money that will have you doubting your own eyes. Join us after the jump for a selection of this artist’s fantastic, ultra-realistic work.

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Nintendo president reveals why he doesn’t believe in layoffs during difficult financial periods

During a Q&A session at The 73rd Annual General Meeting of Shareholders, Nintendo President, Satoru Iwata, announced that he doesn’t believe in staff layoffs or downsizing during periods of economic difficulty. Particularly outside of Japan, it is not unusual for employees in the game industry to be faced with redundancies as part of business restructuring. However, while there are many possible reasons why a company may need to shed some weight, Mr. Iwata emphasised that he is strongly against such an approach.

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Seoul food: Tourist stumbles across grocery store inside Korean subway car

Whatever the country, when taking a ride on the subway the feeling that you have entered into a whole new dimension, completely cut off from the world above, can be difficult to suppress. But in the Korea’s capital city, the division between underground and overground became a little blurred than usual for one tourist as they discovered a fully stocked grocery store in a subway car.

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Chinese woman pulled over for breastfeeding her child while riding a moped

In China, the sight of mothers cradling their babies in a rush to get somewhere is not that uncommon. With the pressing demands of modern-day society, many mothers are juggling two or three things at once and it’s hard not to feel anything but admiration for them. But as with anything, there will always be someone who takes a given concept to the extreme.

As you can clearly see from the photo above, one woman thought she could redefine what it means to multitask by breastfeeding her child while riding a moped down a busy street. Naturally, it was only a matter of time before the news made its way onto YouTube and consequences arose.

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Simple tricks to making instant ramen look like a gourmet meal

Have you ever wondered what happens when you take one of the cheapest ready-made foods on the market and combine it with some clever photography? Japanese site Livedoor News has, as it demonstrated with some instant Cup Noodle. We’ll introduce you to how they made an 88 yen (US$0.80) product look like a luxurious meal by incorporating it into a variety of settings, and of course keep your curiosity at bay with plenty of photos.

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Chinese man loses his nose in an accident, has new one artificially grown on his forehead

For those who have lost a part of their body either through illness or after being involved in an accident, plastic surgery offers not only the hope of repairing any physical damage but also restoring self-confidence. One phenomenal case of life-altering plastic surgery currently receiving a lot of attention here in Asia is that of a surgeon in China who is growing a replacement nose on the forehead of a man who lost his during traffic accident.

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Not your average game of hide-and-seek: Japanese kids go high-tech!

Although some kids’ games will always be more popular in certain parts of the world than others – rock, paper, scissors is probably played more times in a single day in Japan than in the U.S. each year, for example – there are a handful of classics that kids all across the globe enjoy equally, one of them being hide-and-seek.

According to chatter between Japanese Twitter users, however, the classic game of hide-and-seek is evolving in the digital age, and where once the game was all about speed, stealth and cleverly planted decoys, mobile technology now has a role.

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Koreans angry as iPhone’s new iOS 7 displays disputed islands as Japanese territory

Released earlier this month, the latest iteration of Apple’s operating system for mobile devices, iOS 7, boasts a sleek, vivid interface that is certainly quite a departure from previous iPhone software. Although the majority of Apple’s customers will likely be more than satisfied with both the OS’s stylistic and functional changes, some Korean citizens have taken issue with iOS 7’s Maps application, which refers to the islets located between Japan and Korea – over which there has been much debate – by the Japanese name of Takeshima.

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“Taiwan is a part of China!” Taiwanese national and Chinese tourists clash

A Taiwanese man who was walking in the Alishan National Scenic Area in Taiwan was mobbed by a group of Chinese tourists after he cautioned them not to spit or throw their cigarette butts on the ground, Taiwanese media reports. The incident is believed to have taken place on September 9 when one Mr. Chin, himself a Taiwanese national, was enjoying a stroll with a female friend. The accused Chinese tourists, however, maintain that it was in fact they who were assaulted.

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Tully’s Coffee checks off every last prefecture, set to open store in oft-forgotten Tottori Prefecture

American coffee chain, Tully’s Coffee, is set to open a new coffee shop in Tottori Prefecture which will see it secure a firm foothold in every last prefecture in Japan. The absence of a Starbucks in Tottori Prefecture means that Tully’s Coffee will effectively steal the lead over the big S, who has set to set up a store in Japan’s least populous prefecture.

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Pensioner pretends to be deceived by telephone fraud, helps catch criminals

Telephone fraud is a serious problem in Japan and many elderly people fall victim to it each year. Known as “ore ore sagi“, fraudsters often pretend to be the call recipient’s son, using such lines as, “Mom, it’s me, it’s me! I’m in trouble!” to trick large sums of money from the unsuspecting party, and banks now post warnings next to their ATMs asking people only to send money if they’re 100-percent sure of who they’re sending it to.

Thanks to increased awareness of the problem, however, more and more people are beginning to see through this type of scam. One particularly clued-up 69-year-old who realized something was wrong, in fact, has recently been co-operating with local police by pretending that she had been duped by a call she received from fraudsters, ultimately leading to their arrests.

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Magic mushrooms and what happens when you eat them【Video】

Many of us are warned when we’re children not to go picking mushrooms we’re unfamiliar with as they could be dangerous or possess hallucinogenic properties. But haven’t you ever wondered what happens when someone ignores these warnings and accidentally eats a magic mushroom anyway? It is not unusual to hear stories of the person becoming delirious or even oblivious to their actions after they’ve sobered up. But as they say, a picture tells a thousand words and when it comes to video footage, a whole new meaning emerges. Therefore, anyone curious about how someone behaves under the influence of these potent fungi, we urge you to check out the video footage below. It is likely to add a new depth of meaning to the dangers of picking species of mushrooms you’re unfamiliar with.

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Chinese man steals pet cats, sells them to local restaurants as mutton

Whether it be counterfeit foods or the use of hazardous chemicals in the food manufacturing process, China has seen a number of incidents in recent years that question the safety of its food industry. At a time when trust in food safety is still a delicate issue comes yet another bizarre incident that will once again send chills down many readers’ spines. The incident tells the story of pet cats which were stolen and then turned into fake mutton by a man looking to make a quick buck. The poor cats were then sold as “wholesale meat” on the food market.

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Environmentalists angered by new research that suggests dolphins have low IQs and behave violently

For many, the word “dolphin” conjures up images of docile, intelligent creatures that are often considered to be the heroes of the sea, pushing stranded swimmers back to shore and fending off predatory sharks whenever they’re not skipping alongside boats and generally being cute. However researchers from St. Andrew’s University in the United Kingdom have released controversial information that suggests that this is far from the case, resulting in uproar among dolphin conservation groups who argue strongly that dolphins should be protected on account of their high IQs. The news has also shocked many dolphin lovers who regard the creatures as some of the most intelligent and sociable in the world.

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Korean government makes request for kimchi to be recognised as intangible cultural heritage

If you were asked to think of a traditional Korean food, kimchi would most likely come to mind. If you’re unfamiliar with the dish, it’s a fermented, rather spicy, side dish made up of vegetables and various seasonings, and it forms the staple ingredient for hundreds of different Korean dishes. With kimchi valued so highly, it is perhaps no surprise that the Korean government wants to see it classified as intangible cultural heritage.

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Japanese coffee brand announces the winner of its Yukiko-tan mascot competition!

Regular readers and those familiar with Japan’s much-loved Yuki Jirushi brand of coffee will no doubt be aware of a contest to find a new mascot character for the drink that began back in April. After receiving hundreds of entries, the work was then whittled down to six potential designs, which were in turn put to a public vote for best character between July and August. To spice things up a little, some very cute girls in the cosplay/idol group Steam Girls also dressed up as the six finalists’ designs in a promotional event that caused quite a stir.

Looking at the effort involved and level of detail in each of the six designs, we here at RocketNews24 knew that choosing an overall winner would be tricky. We’ve been counting the days for the results to be announced, and today we’re thrilled to give you the full lowdown! Come and meet the Yukiko-tan crew!

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First ever taxis installed with lost property detectors to go into operation this year

How many times have you come home in a taxi after a great night out, only to later realise that you’ve left your phone, bag or wallet in there when you jumped out? When you’re running low on fumes, or perhaps a leaking a few of your own after a heavy drinking session, checking for forgotten items is usually the last thing on your mind, but it can really put a dampener on an evening when we realise we’re missing something valuable.

Thankfully, help is at hand! Japan’s Kokusai Motors announced on September 9 that it is currently researching and developing a lost property detector system for use inside taxis as part of a joint venture with IDEA CROSS INC. The system is scheduled to enter trial stages this month and is expected to go into widespread use sometime this year.

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China’s latest smartphone pushes the boundaries of innovation with its direct plug-in connectivity

Smartphones on the market today allow users to do all sorts of things that would have otherwise been unimaginable even a decade ago. You can listen to music while surfing the net or writing an email, watch movies, get live weather reports, and let’s not forget the phone’s original purpose of talking to people.

The bane of the average smartphone user’s life, however, is their device’s short battery life. And anyone looking to save their beloved device from a sudden black screen of death has to either cut down on the heavy-duty apps or carry a charging cable or battery charging unit with them. But what if we told you that you could cut out the middle man and attach your phone directly to the power outlet whenever and wherever you were?

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Forget makeup or plastic surgery! This product is guaranteed to make you beautiful in an instant

For many women, the act of putting on makeup gives them the opportunity to enhance their natural features and make themselves look more attractive. For anyone short on time, though, busting out the makeup kit before heading to work or out to meet friends can also be rather bothersome. With this in mind, reporter Anji, over at our sister site Pouch, did a bit of research to see if the process could be made any easier. What she found was a product called “Uniface” which is a mask that is designed to look exactly like a woman’s beautifully made-up face. Well, that’s the idea anyway…

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