Cara Clegg

After discovering anime in her early teens, Cara decided she wanted to live in Japan. Of course her parents thought it was just a fad... but 11 years, a university degree in Japanese Studies, and a whole lot of culture shock later, here she is. She currently works a day job whilst writing and translating otome games in the evenings. Her hobbies include anime, manga, sci-fi & fantasy TV shows, and starting countless things that will never get finished.

All Stories by Cara Clegg

Fed up of romance sims? Buddhist-themed visual novel coming to Android and iOS

There’s already a whole bunch of dating sim titles aimed at both men and women available to play on your phone or tablet. But for those who are fed up of sappy, cliché boy-meets-girl stories there’s a new addition to the growing range of visual novels available on mobile platforms that is set to tell a unique story focusing not on romance, but on the Buddhist religion.

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P.T. easter egg discovered tucked away in Metal Gear Solid V 【Video】

With Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain now available, gamers are hunkering down to complete Hideo Kojima’s final Metal Gear outing, and the last couple of days have seen a flurry of uploads to YouTube and gaming sites from players wanting to show off their discoveries in the huge open world.

One such discovery has people lamenting the cancellation of Silent Hills, the horror game that was at one time to be Kojima’s next project, all over again. Despite Konami’s attempts to erase its existence by removing it from the Playstation Store, P.T., the playable teaser for the cancelled game, can’t be wiped from gamers’ minds that easily, and apparently not from the company’s latest hit, either.

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Digital artist brings traditional Japanese ukiyo-e to life as animated GIFs, adds lasers and UFOs

When someone mentions GIFs, it usually calls to mind one of two things; funny TV show clips posted as responses on forum threads, or a burning desire to assert to anyone and everyone that it’s definitely g-if and not j-if, no matter what the creator says.

However, despite their usual inanity, these sputtering animations can actually be mini works of art in their own right. One Japanese ‘gif artist’ has used modern-day computer wizardry to bring to life traditional ukiyo-e scenes in humorous and entrancing ways.

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Tokyo’s Nakano to be transformed into cosplay heaven this Halloween for MAG Festa 2015

We’ve got the info on an upcoming event in Nakano, to be held on Saturday October 31; in other words, Halloween. The event will turn the area around Nakano Station, which includes Nakano Broadway, and Nakano Sun Plaza shopping areas, into anime heaven for the day. You’ll be able to get into the spirit of the holiday by dressing up in cosplay, snap some great photos of other people’s intricate cosplay creations, or just be content with watching the various costume parades and shows on offer.

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Creepy ‘ghost’ caught on camera in Filipino high school

How would you feel if you took a cute photo with your bestie, only to later realise you’d been photo-bombed by Sadako from The Ring? Pretty creeped out, I’d imagine. Apparently that’s what happened to these girls at a high school in the Philippines, but we’ll leave you to come to your own conclusions about the spectral photo-bomber.

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Comiket queues aren’t getting any shorter and otaku aren’t getting any more patient【Video】

NatsuComi, or Summer Comiket, is now over and done with for another half a year after bringing together anime fans from all over the Japan, and indeed the world, in the sweltering summer heat. Ridiculous amounts of money were spent, litres of sweat were released into the atmosphere, and bizarre and beautiful cosplays went viral.

For three days each Summer and Winter, the convention center Tokyo Big Sight is turned into an otaku paradise, but for people working in the area it can be a nightmare. Legions of volunteers make sure the con runs smoothly, but there’s also the regular employees working at the nearby restaurants, cafes, and train station who have to prepare for the huge influx of people.

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Comiket for beginners: 7 tips for surviving Summer Comic Market

A hashtag has been trending on Twitter in Japan recently that roughly translates as “the Comiket tips no one ever teaches you”. While a lot of the suggestions are tongue-in-cheek, there are actually some extremely useful tidbits hidden in there. People often say that Comiket is a battlefield, and it really is; thousands of otaku jostle for the chance to get their hands on limited-edition merch before it sells out, and if you’re not being crushed half to death like you’re on a rush hour train, you’re struggling to stay on your feet in the hours-long queues (here’s a bonus tip – portable folding chairs come in handy here). 

Summer Comiket truly is hell on earth, so Winter is recommended for newbies, but if you really insist on going this summer, we’ve got this handy guide to help you out.

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Subway Japan launches cheesy pizza squares, but will they destroy its fresh and healthy image?

Subway is one of the most popular and successful fast food chains from the US to make it here in Japan. While of course you could always load your sub up with things like meatballs and cheese, the company has succeeded here by carving out a niche for itself as the healthy fast food option. Subway’s brand in Japan is now synonymous with fresh vegetables and lean meats, so what happens when a chain with a reputation for offering healthy, light lunches starts selling gooey, cheesy pizza?

These are not just any pizzas, though; they’re Pizza Subs, but not as Americans might know them.

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We say goodbye to our Japan Wish winner and look back on her time in Japan【Video】

Ashley is now safely back in the US after her exciting adventure here in Japan, so it’s time for a wrap-up post!

Our Japan Wish competition winner’s time with us was a whirlwind of fun, food, and typhoons as her dream of coming to Japan became a reality. Go ahead and watch the video below for a glimpse at just some of the amazing things Japan has to offer for a visitor, as well as to see Ashley’s emotional goodbye.

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Smoking food and sword juggling at Kyoto’s Ninja Labyrinth restaurant【Video】

Time to rewatch Naruto and brush up on your ninjutsu, folks! We took our Japan wish competition winner to experience a modern twist on an ancient part of Japanese culture. Come and take a look at the spectacle inside Kyoto’s mysterious and shadowy ninja restaurant.

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Despite raging typhoon, Gion Matsuri goes on as it has for over 1,000 years【Video】

The Gion Festival, or Gion Matsuri, has been celebrated consistently for over a thousand years and is one of the most famous festivals in Japan. The highlight is the Yamahoko Parade which occurs twice, on July 17 and July 24, and our competition winner’s wish was to see it happen with her own eyes here in Japan. This year, with a incoming typhoon, there were rumors swirling about the festival being cancelled, but with hardly any interruptions in its long history, this parade wasn’t about to be stopped by mere weather!
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Just how confusing is Japanese onsen culture for a first time visitor?

Onsen etiquette can be confusing for a foreigner visiting for the first time, and there are many small rules and customs that even many Japanese people aren’t quite clear on. There aren’t usually any written instructions around the baths as it is expected that everyone will already know the basic customs surrounding communal bathing. This means that things people who have grown up in Japan take for granted, such as putting your shoes in a locker when you arrive or knowing which towels to use for what, can be hard to figure out for first-timers, and your supposedly relaxing spa break can become a little bit stressful.

Check out the video below to see how our Japan Wish competition winner Ashley navigated her first ever trip to an onsen and see if she found it relaxing…or stressful!

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12 awesome features of Japanese bathrooms you won’t find in the west 【Video】

Japanese bathrooms, or ofuroba, are very different to bathrooms in the west, and in this day and age they also come with a whole host of cool tech. Let’s take a look at a typical modern Japanese bathroom and let the cute little Aika take you through all its awesome characteristics in this fun and informative video.

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Does arriving in Japan meet Ashley’s expectations? Our lucky winner gets emotional

Ever imagined yourself stepping off the plane onto the Land of the Rising Sun for the first time? If you’ve not had the chance to experience it for yourself yet then you can do so vicariously with our competition winner Ashley in the video below. Warning: things get a little bit emotional!

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Pouch alcohol is the discreet and convenient way to drink on the sly

If you’ve ever wanted to wander the streets getting drunk in broad daylight without arousing suspicion, Japan has a solution for you – pouch alcohol. Instead of carrying around an obvious bottle or can, you can now get your alcohol in a little pouch like the kind you get vitamin jelly or kids juices in. You can slip it into your bag and discreetly sip on it like you’re just enjoying a low-calorie snack. You can do it on the train, in the park,  or even at work! No one will ever know! Of course, these are just examples, and we don’t recommend you actually do them. The RocketNews24 staff would certainly never endorse drinking on the job.

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Our winner is on her way to Japan!

It’s almost time for our competition winner to come to Japan and have her wish granted! And we’ll be blogging about it every step of the way under the tag Japan Wish.

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Fermented sushi? Two restaurants where you can get a same-day seat to try this gourmet treat

This year fermented sushi is in vogue among Tokyo’s gourmet crowd, with people raving about how the maturation of the fish brings out the elusive umami of the meatAs the name suggests, the creation of these dishes involves fermenting the ingredients to enhance the flavours and then using them to make regular sushi. This might sound strange since sushi is usually about having the freshest raw fish, but it’s actually an ancient form of sushi preparation from which the sushi we know today developed, and it’s apparently quite delicious.

However, as it requires great skill to properly ferment fish, there are currently few restaurants in the Tokyo area that specialise in this kind of food, and they’re already booked up by gourmet types leaving you to wait months before you can get a place. However, we’ve found two particular restaurants where you should be able to get a same-day reservation.

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How have Russian beauty trends changed over the last hundred years?【Video】

Cut Video’s 100 Years of Beauty series has been updated with a new video focusing on Russian beauty trends. In the popular video series, we see one model transformed by a team of makeup artists into a woman representing different historical eras from the 1910s to the 2010s, all set to a great soundtrack.

It’s not just fun to see how makeup and hair trends have changed through the ages, it also serves as a lens through which to look and learn about a society at different periods in its history. The social conditions of a country are reflected in its people and the trends of the time, and Russia is particularly interesting due to its wildly fluctuating political situation which led to big changes from decade to decade.

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Soaring temperatures put pressure on China’s power lines, cause TVs to explode

Soaring summer temperatures can bring more dangers than sunburn and heatstroke. In Zhuzhou City, Hunan Province, TVs, computers and fans simultaneously caught on fire in 50 apartments when the voltage of the electrical supply suddenly surged above the standard level.

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Mr. Sato travels the distance to try 100-yen takoyaki

When one of our Japanese writers grew frustrated with Mr. Sato spending so much money on his lunch while at the office, they decided to show him that it’s possible to get great food at a fraction of the cost. And not just any food, but takoyaki!

Cheap takoyaki? This place must be in Osaka, right? Wrong! Mr. Sato soon found himself on an altogether different flight from Haneda airport, bound for octopus balls and adventure.

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