Master Blaster

Writer / Translator

Master Blaster is the two-man translating team of Canada’s Steven Le Blanc and Japan’s Masami M, a pair who in addition to writing work are in English education and created the StudyNow app for Japanese students of English.

Together they have written somewhere around 1,500 articles for RocketNews24 covering such diverse topics as Chinese men selling sanitary napkins to each other and a Japanese guy dragging an ear of corn around the Tokyo train system. A few of these were actually good, but don’t take our word for it! Here’s what our beloved readers had to say:

“One isn't always in the mood for bold tastes. But when I'm in the mood for bold flavor I turn to you.”
“Stupid article. Who cares what the Japanese think it's cool. You don't call a monkey, "gorilla".”
“You know, this is about the most cogent explanation of how a turbocharger works that I have ever seen in the non-motorsports world.”
“Thanks for the article peter!”
“It's people like you who make exploitation possible.”
“It looks yummy and the story was great. Thank you for the smile.”

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All Stories by Master Blaster

Japan government hard at work trying to prevent Shibuya Ward approving same-sex marriages

There is less than a week to go before Shibuya Ward in Tokyo will begin issuing marriage certificates to same-sex couples. If all goes as planned, April 1 will be a major milestone for LGBT rights in Japan.

However, in the days leading up to it, Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party has established the “Special Committee to Protect Family Ties” which has just finished a meeting on 25 March to try to find any legal reason not to allow Shibuya’s version of same-sex marriages to go forward.

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Breaking: An increasing number of cats sitting weirdly

We now interrupt our regular stream of parliamentary coverage to bring word of a troubling development among cats in Japan. Although it has occurred before, in recent months there has been a trend among cats to sit in positions unbecoming the felis catus species.

Either that or recently there is a trend among cat owners to post pictures of them sitting strangely on Twitter. Whatever the case, it’s here and it’s happening, so get an eyeful of all this late-breaking cuteness. Your life may depend on it.

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Fukuoka chicken restaurant in legal trouble for trying to “multiply” good workers

Securing a quality labor force in any workplace is difficult, but it’s especially tricky in the restaurant business. The demanding nature of the job and younger, sometimes less dedicated, employees often means a high turnover rate. However, one small chain of yakitori (grilled chicken) restaurants felt they had the solution.

When an employee was doing a truly great job, their manager would approach and ask them “How about we make you into two people?” That might sound like an excellent proposition for any busy worker, but as is often the case with magical offers, the reality is often illegal.

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Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ TV ad released, includes Jaco!

It won’t be much longer now until the newest Dragon Ball film, Resurrection ‘F,’ opens in theaters across Japan on April 18. That means it’s high time for the advertising to begin. On March 24 the first TV spot aired, giving us a glimpse of what’s to come and a little more fighting and characters than shown in the previous trailer. You can see for yourself in the video below, but rest assured that it’s chock-full of all the tea sipping and long discussions about the feelings that the series is famous for.

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Wakayama City official arrested for taking fruit knife home from work

Wakayama City’s Crisis Management Division had a bit of a crisis themselves recently as their director Takashi Yamada stepped down after being arrested for possession of a 9cm-long (3.5inch) knife which he had used to peel some fruit earlier in the day.

He is suspected of violating the Weapons Control Law, which as I think we are all surprised to learn, covers peeling tools as well.

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Parents of schoolboy ordered to pay 15 million yen after wayward soccer ball leads to man’s death

Earlier this week the Supreme Court of Japan set a ruling date of 9 April in the long-running case of a soccer mishap which resulted in a man’s death. The incident occurred when the deceased was riding a motor bike and fell trying to avoid a soccer ball that rolled out from a school yard.

In the decade since the incident occurred, the family of the man has been trying to hold the parents of the boy who kicked the ball financially responsible and so far has succeeded in two previous rulings. If the Supreme Court agrees with the previous two decisions then the boys’ mother and father will possibly have to pay 15 million yen (US$125,000) to the family.

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Public reacts in horror as poster in Shinjuku Station threatens even more exits

“East exit, West exit, South exit, new South exit…The number of exits is the number of possibilities.”

They might seem like uplifting words at first glance, but panic erupted in Tokyo this week as the above poster was hung in the world’s busiest train station, Shinjuku, hinting at the imminent addition of yet more exits. Could it really be that the station residents of Japan’s capital city have playfully dubbed “the dungeon” may be about to get even more complicated?

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New Sizzler will first remove your beer cap…and then become the cap!

Here’s a situation that I’m sure all of our readers can relate to. You’ve just finished a hard day’s work and sit down for a nice cold bottle of beer. You pop off the cap to release its sweet aroma.

However, just then you realize it’s actually 5:00am and you’ve completely lost track of the time and day. This happened because you’re a part of an elite team of scientists investigating a UFO crash deep in Antarctica where the sun never sets.

With only 90 minutes until the alien autopsy there’s no way you can properly enjoy the beer, but you can’t close the metal cap properly anymore without the drink losing precious carbonation. What a waste!

I believe it’s exactly these kinds of mishaps that the makers of the New Sizzler had in mind when they developed a bottle opener that’s also a bottle closer.

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Author Naoki Hyakuta’s tweets of politics, perverts, and pleasuring himself spark controversy

Naoki Hyakuta is the writer of hit books such as Monsuta (Monster) and Eien No Zero (Forever Zero) both of which were adapted into films, the latter of which grossed 8.76 billion yen (US$72.5M) at the box office. In 2013 he was appointed to Japan’s public broadcaster NHK’s management committee.

However, after a slightly tumultuous engagement with the high-profile company, Hyakuta stepped down in February this year. Since then he appears to be enjoying his freedom to speak more freely again on Twitter, and as a result he has already irked an impressive number of people in only a few weeks.

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Kindergarten class plays Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 better than most adults ever could

Dmitri Shostakovich wrote his Symphony No. 5 in D minor at a time of great tension in Soviet Russia. The looming threat of World War II was nothing compared to the Great Purge being conducted by Joseph Stalin in which 1,000 people were executed each day. Shostakovich too felt he was in the crosshairs for his previous “subversive” works.

And so it was something of a musical miracle that his Symphony No. 5 was unanimously well received by both the government and survivors of their brutality alike. Still today conductors and their orchestras struggle to properly capture all of the emotions such as irony, sympathy, and pride that Shostakovich may or may not have intentionally layered in this rich piece.

Taking a crack at it here are the kids of Isesaki Asuka Primary School’s kindergarten class.  To see whether they succeed is up to you, but I think we can all agree that they’re not just good for a kindergarten class – they’re just good.

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Undetonated one-ton U.S. bomb found near downtown Osaka

On the morning of March 16, workers at a the construction site for a new condo complex in Osaka were surprised when they hit something hard after excavating about two meters (6.6 feet) deep. They were even more surprised to find that what they found was an unexploded piece of ordnance left over from World War II.

The bomb was found very close to one of Osaka’s more densely populated areas and could cause major disruptions in the city as the Self Defense Force (SDF) considers declaring an evacuation zone during the removal operation.

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China’s traffic cops are really into their job, possibly action heroes

A cop pouncing on to the roof of a car as its criminal driver tries to escape is a scene often seen in movies but hardly ever spotted in real life. That’s no dig at police officers either, as it’s perfectly understandable for them not to take high risks with their own life in pursuit of wrong-doers.

However, in China it appears that the boys in blue take their roles to heart and are willing to hop onto a speeding car if duty calls for it. The following are two examples taken from earlier this year.

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Sodatete Nihon Ningyo app lets you raise your own Japanese doll! Results may vary…and terrify

Japanese dolls stand among the world’s best in craftsmanship and elegance. But how much do you know about the technique of actually making one? Luckily, there’s an app which simulates the experience of creating your own doll called Sodatete Nihon Ningyo (Raise a Japanese Doll)!

That might sound intimidating, but the developers have presented it with a simple interface much like Tamagotchi or Digimon so that anyone can join the traditional fun. Here’s a quick run down of how it works.

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And now for some photo fun from Asia 【Pics】

The continent of Asia itself contains over half of the world’s population. Looking solely at the numbers, this means that there’s a much higher chance for something crazy to go down here than in other parts of the world.

So when you see pictures of people like the woman above, you might get the sense that a lot of Asians are a little bit out-there, but actually for the most part they’re just as plain as you, me or my buddy Kenji who dresses up like a panda at his local zoo and pretends to mate with another panda-dressed co-worker to encourage the real pandas to get it on.

So please keep people like Kenji in mind when viewing these 14 photos of strange occurrences around our lovely continent.

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RocketNews24: The Book hits shelves on 25 March, Amazon pre-orders already open!

The year 2015 is officially the year of publishing here at RocketNews24. Readers of our Japanese sister site may already be aware that our reporters Mr. Sato, Hatori GO, and Takashi Harada have each released books in the past two months alone.

And that was all just a prelude to our grand release: The Secret of RocketNews24 (RocketNews24 No Himitsu). It’s a compilation of the Japanese website’s greatest hits along with all new exclusive content – all for the low, low price of 500 yen (US$4.13).

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ISIS strikes at the heart of Japan…by hacking F-League futsal club’s webpage

On the morning of Sunday, 8 March terror struck the Japanese futsal world as a banner appeared of Tokyo-based futsal club Fuchu Athletic FC for approximately three hours. Apparently bearing the flag of radical Islamic group ISIS it read: “Hacked by Islamic State (ISIS) We Are Everywhere :)”

More interesting than their suspicious use of a smiley (possibly “winky” as well) emoticon, was the surprising knowledge the organization seemingly had regarding Japanese five-on-five indoor soccer. Their attack came just as the top futsal teams in Japan were gearing up for the Puma Cup finals.

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McDonald’s Japan to release “complaint app” to help restore faith in the company

The once mighty fast food chain McDonald’s has fallen on hard times in Japan lately, suffering a heavy blow when it become entangled in an expired meat scandal about a year ago.

Although other establishments were also implicated in the problem, the public in Japan seems to be holding an especially big grudge against the golden arches. On 9 March, the company announced that Japanese sales were down 28.7 percent from the same month in the previous year.

In response, McDonald’s Japan is looking to improve its customer service and restore public faith in the company. How? By releasing a new app for smartphones that will allow customers to lodge complaints with more convenience and speed than ever before!

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Toyama man awarded US$160,000 after being imprisoned for three years on false rape charges

Imagine you’re relaxing at home one day when there’s a sudden knock at the door. Before you know it you’re sitting in a police interrogation room with people trying to get a confession out of you for a crime you know nothing about. Soon after, you are sentenced to prison for three years for a crime you never committed, only to be released and regarded by society as a convicted sex offender for the rest of your days.

That nightmare scenario played out for Hiroshi Yanagihara, a man who, well after serving his full prison sentence, was found innocent of all charges. Following that, an understandably upset Yanagihara went after the people who initially arrested and convicted him, demanding compensation and criminal charges.

As a result, on 9 March Toyama District Court awarded Hiroshi Yanagihara 19.7 million yen (US$161,000) – apparently the value of five years of his life.

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Yamagata blood donor out for blood, headbutts Red Cross staff after “waiting forever” in line

They say there is no greater joy than to give to those in need, especially when it’s the gift of life through a simple blood donation. It’s also been said that there’s a certain satisfaction to be had when smashing your forehead into the face of a rival. If these two maxims are true then one man in Yamagata Prefecture must have been over the moon recently.

Temperatures rose and blood began to boil as violence broke out at a bloodmobile on March 5 after a would-be donor assaulted one of the blood drive’s staff. The 52-year-old unemployed suspect Hisashi Sudo allegedly grabbed the also 52-year-old Japan Red Cross worker by his collar and head butted him in the face.

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Kiss-signed Japanese calligraphy works on sale, get the paperwork for a second mortgage ready

As you may have noticed, KISS have recently made their way back to Japan and it’s always a treat when they do. This year we’ve already seen them make a well-received cross-genre music video with Momoiro Clover Z and release a line of skin smoothing facepacks with the Japanese cosmetic brand Isshin.

If those weren’t surprising enough, now KISS has collaborated with shodo calligrapher Ryugen Sobukawa for a limited collection of KISS-themed works each autographed by a member of the band.

Oh, and they cost a small fortune…

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