With the aggressive pick-up tactics of Julien “the most hated man in the world” Blanc all over the news this week, it only makes sense that we here at RocketNews24 do our part in educating readers about self-defense. And being as this is Japan, we thought we should start with a method for dealing with that particularly Japanese act of violence-infused wooing: the kabe-don.
Jessica Kozuka is a freelance writer and editor living in the exciting, interesting and sometimes perplexing city of Tokyo. Her work has appeared in Wine Spectator, CNN Travel, and The Japan Times, as well as numerous other print and online media outlets. She writes a column on NPO/NGOs and volunteer work for Metropolis, the largest English-language magazine in Japan, and specializes in EFL educational materials and travel writing. Kozuka is rarely to be found without a book or two within arm’s reach, though there's no telling if they will be serious literature or frivolous guilty pleasures, and she runs a monthly book club for other bibliophiles in the Tokyo area. She's also an enthusiastic if mediocre cook and daily laments the smallness of Japanese kitchens.
All Stories by Jessica
In the mountains of Nikko, just a short train trip from the modern, glittering megacity of Tokyo, a handful of monks still practice a millennia-old tradition known as shugendo, a form of meditation via endurance-testing communion with nature.
These are the yamabushi, mountain monks for whom a dip in a thundering, ice-cold waterfall and a sopping-wet stroll up a mountain are just another day’s work.
We posted earlier this week about how Japanese cats survive the cold winter months by bogarting the sweet, sweet warmth of the space heater, but this cold little fellow is lucky enough not to have to share his oasis of warmth with any other felines or even a pesky human. How happy does that make him? Photos of kitty bliss after the jump.
Nov 12, 2014
Japan is a country with a whole lot of volcanoes of all shapes, sizes and persuasions. From the iconic Mt. Fuji to the recently erupted Mt. Ontake, you really can’t swing a koto around here without hitting a geological pressure cooker. And nowhere is that truer than the Aso-Kuju National Park in Kyushu, where they literally have volcanoes on top of volcanoes.
Part of the excitement of traveling is trying foods that you have never seen, heard of, or even contemplated before. So when our lodging in the wilds of Nikko offered roasted salamander for dinner, I had to give it a try. Not just to satisfy my curiosity and my pride, but to report back to you, dear reader, about what amphibi-lizard on a stick tastes like.
Go to hell: Unzen Hot Springs invites visitors to take an infernal stroll through a field of deadly hell-mouths
Oct 31, 2014
Welcome to Unzen, Kyushu, a sulphurous field of geothermal activity so inhospitable to life that its boiling hot springs and gas jets go by the name of jigoku or hells. This Halloween, allow us to be your Virgil and guide you through this strange world where eerie noises drift from hellish craters, clouds of foul-smelling gas confuse the mind and Christian martyrs were once boiled to death!
Kirishima Geopark is a spooky place, I thought to myself, separated from my hiking group by a thick, soupy fog that dampened both sound and clothes. Despite the well-marked trails, there was something about the twisty trees and shivery sound of water drops pushed loose by the wind that suggested you might walk around a bend and disappear forever. I loved it.
Cat lovers will tell you there is something deeply satisfying about the soft squishy feel of a cat’s toe pads, particularly as we don’t get to touch them for very long before getting swatted across the face for our presumption. But imagine how nice it would feel to get a back massage from some big kitty toe beans!
Proving that you really can find anything at a Japanese supermarket, we spotted just such a massager on a recent trip.
Oct 14, 2014
You really never know who you are going to meet when traveling. That’s one of the things that makes it so enjoyable. But imagine our surprise when we ran into the leader of the free world in an isolated hot spring town in Kyushu! It might have something to do with the name of the place though…
Usually, Jesus limits his food-based appearances to grilled cheese and Cheetos in certain—shall we say—conservative areas of North America, but it seems like he is making inroads to Asian pastries with an appearance in a dessert offered by Japan’s popular Komeda Coffee chain. And not just that, he decided to present as a famous recent incarnation: the monkey-faced botched restoration of Ecce Homo!
Christmas is coming up, and if you are wondering whether you should get gramps another boring old tie pin or golf shirt, may we humbly suggest a skull- or dragon-shaped walking stick of death?!
If you are a regular RocketNews24 reader, you may already know that there have been a lot of changes to Japan’s consumption tax system this year. For those of us who live here, it’s meant an annoying price hike for nearly everything, but for visitors, there is some good news.
Starting today, October 1, new rules regarding consumption tax exemptions for foreign visitors go into effect, and for once, these are actually changes that work in your favor. More details after the jump.
A few weeks ago, we told you about Village Vanguard’s launch of Slime Curry, a rather curious blue foodstuff inspired by the bad-guy blobs of the Dragon Quest series. Not content with just informing you of its existence, one of the Japanese reporters at our sister site Pouch bravely volunteered to try the curry for herself and report back if she survived. Here’s what she had to say.
Oct 1, 2014
It doesn’t get much weirder than this, folks. Yesterday, the People’s Daily, the largest newspaper group in China, reported on their English Twitter feed that “10,000 pigeons go through anal security check for suspicious objects Tue, ready to be released on National Day on Wed.”
That’s right, kids: avian cavity searches.
You may have thought that the Loch Ness Monster had cornered the market on fresh-water cryptids, but Japan has one of its own mythical lake beasts. There may be a monster lurking in the depths of Kyushu’s Lake Ikeda, a monster who goes by the terrifying name of… Issie-kun.
That’s right, you can eat a polar bear in Japan. But before you start freaking out about animal cruelty or endangered species, we are actually talking about the funky dessert in picture above, not the big furry mammal. Meet the shirokuma or polar bear, a delicious treat of shaved ice, sweet milk syrup and fruit from Kagoshima.
If you happened to be in Japan this week, you may have noticed rather a lot of rabbit-themed goods, particularly sweets. Not to worry, the Japanese haven’t gotten their dates for Easter spectacularly wrong, these lapine lovelies are part of otsukimi, a tradition celebrating the harvest moon.
Okay, confession time. I am a little bit—sigh, A LOT—obsessed with internet cats. From Lil Bub to Little P and with a lot of Princess Monster Truck in between, I follow them all. But perhaps the cutest and most consistently entertaining is chubby, lazy Maru, who happens to live in Japan with his owner known by YouTube handle mugumogu.
Maru is so famous he has his own book and has appeared in both print and TV ads for major brands like Uniqlo. Mostly he likes hanging out at home trying to fit into various boxes, but if the latest video is any indication, he may have a new hobby: pushing a pushcart around the house.
- 1,200 Japanese workers convert above-ground train to subway line in a matter of hours1
- Stand back, kids! 64-year-old enka singer Aki Yashiro completely nails cover of Evangelion theme2
- Live-action Attack on Titan posters show new characters and weapons, plus one huge absence3
- 83-year-old retiree arrested for selling explicit pre-war photos online4
- A vision of the future? We can’t take our eyes off Shimizu Corporation’s “Ocean Spiral” design5
- Filled to bursting point? Rush-hour crush on Tokyo subway leaves train with broken window6
- Japanese dictionary removes heteronormative definitions of love and sex7
- All-male dance group in Japan breaks the ice with incredible “Frozen” inspired number【Video】8
- Ghibli background artist Naohisa Inoue’s painting technique is out of this world9
- Anti-UK World War II era photograph featuring grimacing geisha uncovered10
- Japan discovers awesome cheese snack that takes just one ingredient and two minutes to make1
- 1,200 Japanese workers convert above-ground train to subway line in a matter of hours2
- Taiwan Rugby Union’s naked calendar: Because men have butts too【Photos】3
- Budding Japanese student artists impress us with chalkboard works of art4
- Clever Japanese pet owners find perfect cat beds…at IKEA! 【Photos】5
- Japanese sleep experts say we’ve been using our blankets wrong, help us hate winter a little less6
- Controversial pick-up artist breaks silence as campaign against him continues7
- Cat got your tongue? 10 unusual Japanese phrases that use the word ‘cat’8
- The familiar looks of “once-in-four-thousand-year” Chinese idol have Japanese netizens talking9
- Ghibli background artist Naohisa Inoue’s painting technique is out of this world10
- “No one sleeps in her class!” Internet goes gaga for gorgeous Chinese science teacher1
- Hayao Miyazaki working on new project, says “I’m going to continue making anime until I die”2
- Japanese high school holds annual contest to decide the prettiest “girl” in school3
- Man revives woman with AED, branded a “pervert” for removing her clothes to apply electrode pads4
- Sorry guys! Video of “sexy ice cream girl” in Taipei only delivers on half its milky promises5
- Oysters’ amazing cleaning skills shock Japanese netizens who question their shellfish habit6
- Japan discovers awesome cheese snack that takes just one ingredient and two minutes to make7
- One Piece manga sends off Naruto with a classy secret message8
- 1,200 Japanese workers convert above-ground train to subway line in a matter of hours9
- Clever Japanese pet owners find perfect cat beds…at IKEA! 【Photos】10
- School textbook is withdrawn after “teacher” on the front is recognized as Japanese adult video star1
- Artist turns innocent Disney princesses into flirty pin-up girls2
- “No one sleeps in her class!” Internet goes gaga for gorgeous Chinese science teacher3
- Hayao Miyazaki working on new project, says “I’m going to continue making anime until I die”4
- Mickey and friends in human form are more charming than we had imagined! 【Pics】5
- A sad turn of events at a butterfly exhibition in China6
- 6-year-old boy vowed to marry his childhood sweetheart, really marries her 18 years later7
- Ten-year-old boy cuts construction worker’s lifeline because noise was interrupting his cartoons8
- 61 more images of cosmetic surgery from South Korea9
- Chinese cat with unfortunate dark patch of fur tired of people asking why it’s shocked10
- Filled to bursting point? Rush-hour crush on Tokyo subway leaves train with broken window
- Japanese dictionary removes heteronormative definitions of love and sex
- All-male dance group in Japan breaks the ice with incredible “Frozen” inspired number【Video】
- Ghibli background artist Naohisa Inoue’s painting technique is out of this world
- Anti-UK World War II era photograph featuring grimacing geisha uncovered
- 【TBT】Chocolate-covered squid, corn Kit Kat, and other anomalies of the Japanese snack food scene
- Japanese baseball fans disappointed by filthy conditions visiting Major Leaguers left dugout in
- Japan discovers awesome cheese snack that takes just one ingredient and two minutes to make
- Eyes on your own paper! 1,200 Chinese students take test outdoors to prevent cheating 【Photos】
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker
- Continue your collection of Kit Kats with a NEW flavor inspired by Japan’s bullet train
- Legendary DJ Krush performs with traditional Japanese musicians to create music for your dreams
- Self-defense tip: Dealing with unwanted kabe-don