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

Kid faithfully emulates classic arcade game Xevious out of paper in arts and crafts class

In these days of modern video games, people seem to be losing sight of what gaming is all about. In all the glitz and glamour of motion control and Hollywood actors lending their voices and likeness to games, it sometimes feels like we’ve forgotten that games are meant to be incredibly difficult, repetitive tasks performed for an arbitrary and intangible reward system of “points.”

This is incredibly valuable experience to prepare young minds for entering the workforce, but thanks to free-roaming environments and checkpoints-a-plenty, we’ve gone from a generation of Mr. Do!‘s to bunch of Mr. Don’t!‘s.

But this nine-year-old kid, whose art class project based on a classic arcade shooter is shown above, gets it. And mark my words, he will become the future leader of this nation.

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“Pepsi Ghost” brings a mysterious new flavor for Halloween in Japan

Among brands who like to get adventurous with the flavors in Japan such as Kit Kat or Häagen- Dazs, Pepsi is certainly one of the most prolific. Past Pepsi flavors have included cucumber, strawberry milk, and salty watermelon.

This time, everyone’s favorite alternative to Coke has unleashed a new flavor called Pepsi Ghost, especially for the Halloween season. They’ve really outdone themselves too, because for this limited-edition outing the special flavor is unknown.

So unknown, in fact, that even after drinking about a litre of the stuff I still can’t quite put my finger on it.

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Kyoto professor makes petroleum easily using only water and carbon dioxide…we think

Among the many problems presented by using fossil fuels such as petroleum, one of the more pressing issues is their limited and rapidly decreasing supply. Unfortunately, it would take thousands of years of organic matter decomposing and compressing under layers of the Earth to replenish the supply in the manner in which it was first made, and that’s an unlikely business.

But now it’s been reported that a professor from Kyoto University and his team have found a way to create petroleum efficiently and cheaply. Their method uses no energy-consuming high pressures or temperatures and only requires water, petroleum, and carbon dioxide. As a result, it can be done so cheaply that KTV reported 100 yen (US$0.83) of oil can be synthesized using only 3 yen ($0.02) worth of electricity.

It all seems to good to be true, and in fact it may not be true. With published peer-reviewed studies, mysterious television appearances, and lack of mainstream media coverage. We honestly can’t figure out is this amazing breakthrough or not. And neither can anyone else as science enthusiasts take to Twitter to find answers.

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Government’s Cool Japan Project to fund AKB48 sister group in Philippines

It’s been recently announced that AKB Group, the idol conglomerate responsible for AKB48, NMB48, SKE48, HKT48, NGT48, JKT48, and SNH48, will be adding another serial number to the roster in the form of MNL48, which is planned to operate out of Manila in the Philippines.

This new group will be formed through a project by the publicly funded Cool Japan initiative which, contrary to what Gackt may think, appears to be doing something tangible with all their funding after all. In fact, this is especially tangible as yet another source of revenue for Yasushi Akimoto, the head of AKB Group who also just happens to be the chairman of the Cool Japan Council.

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“100 Neko” recreates all the fun of filling an alley with scores of cat butts on your iPhone

Do you like cats? Do you like video games? Do you believe we all exist in a infinite number of dimensions simultaneously and our consciousness can shift between these coexisting realities depending on the choices we make?

If so, I think I know a game you might like. It’s a fun little time waster called 100 Neko by PDC Okinawa, in which the goal is to lure adorable little cats onto your screen with treats and one of those furry wand things. It’s also quite charming.

Let’s see how it works, shall we?

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Eel-flavored catfish available for tasting at Gifu festival

Eating catfish is looked down upon by many people in Japan who regularly enjoy a plethora of ocean-raised fish. Even though the Japanese diet is no stranger to aggressively aromatic food such as natto, diners here simply cannot get past the stink of these bottom feeders.

Eel on the other hand is a much-loved freshwater fish that is a summer hit across Japan served on top of rice with a sweet sauce. But with this popularity comes a threat of overfishing and depletion of the species. Faced with this problem, Associate Professor Masahiko Ariji of Kinki University has found a way to raise catfish which taste like eel.

Since its announcement earlier this year, there has been a lot of curiosity over this flavor-modified fish. Now, attendees to the Catfish Festival in Hashima City, Gifu Prefecture will get to try a very limited supply before it gets released for public consumption.

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Over 20 Museums, Galleries and Zoos in Tokyo are free for today only!

Today (October 1) is Citizen’s Day in Tokyo, celebrating the independence and welfare of the area’s residents. And what better way to do that than by giving them free access to over 20 of Tokyo’s cultural attractions from museums to art galleries to gardens and even zoos.

Now, considering it’s Citizen’s Day you might be thinking that such a deal is only open to people living in Tokyo, but no! Anyone who can get out here today and today only can get free admission to the following places.

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Doctor punches patient in the stomach after his third visit to ER in one night

Doctors are generally regarded more highly by society than the rest of us schlubs, and rightly so: they bring us into this world, sometimes guide us out of it, and all the while in between they do their best to keep us alive.

But of course doctors are just people too, and they’re prone to the same vices and character flaws that anyone might have. For example, one MD at a hospital in Aomori Prefecture let his short temper show recently when he punched a patient in the gut during a late night visit.

But was the doc just a hothead? Or was this particular patient just so obnoxious that the assault was warranted?

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Prepare to be outraged: Japan votes for its “100 Best World Class Songs” 【Videos】

The long-running Japanese music program Music Station recently held a nation-wide survey polling 10,000 people on what they thought were Japan’s most world-class songs. Respondents told the TV show which songs they felt best represented Japan, throwing up popular artists such as Arashi and Mr. Children, and the results were aired on 23 September.

As with any music ranking, the results are open for debate, and this list is certainly no exception. However, looking at the top 10, it’s hard not to wonder where Music Station found the people who were asked to name Japan’s greatest ever song, and many Japanese netizens are calling the list “a national embarrassment”.

Are they right? Let’s find out by kicking things off with the 10th Best World Class Song: “Koi Suru Fortune Cookie” by AKB48.

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This cat’s posture is terrible

In Japanese, one word for slouching or stooping over is nekoze or “cat back,” which is a term I never really understood until now. For years (maybe even longer) we humans have been deceived by these creatures into thinking that they’re elegant as they smoothly jump to impressive heights and stealthily crawl along the ground into narrow spaces.

But when it comes time to stand on two legs like you or I often do? Bah! Cats have all the grace and poise of one of those damn teenagers who listen to Ray Parker Jr. on their boomboxes and play Burger Time all damn day on my lawn.

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Eggplant found with naturally grown-in accessory holder

In Japan “straps” can be found everywhere. They’re like key chains, but with an elastic band. People primarily attach them to their mobile phones, but you can also spot them on anything else under the sun like gym bags or sleep apnea machines.

Now it seems that mother nature is getting in on the action by creating an eggplant with a loophole just right for attaching straps to. And attach straps is just what the lucky owner did.

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Ever dreamed of spending the night in a bookstore? Junkudo offering the chance to do just that!

A little over a year ago, someone in Japan tweeted that they would “love to live in Junkudo”, one of the country’s largest book store chains. Little did they know that someone at that very company would not only see the tweet, but decide to make that pipe dream a reality, inviting a small band of book lovers in Tokyo to spend the night in the giant bookstore with sleeping bags, giving them entirely free rein to pick up any book or magazine they pleased.

This year, the company is bringing the “Try Living in Junkudo” project to an even bigger three-story shop in Osaka—and on Halloween, no less!

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China’s “most beautiful bride” abandons her own wedding shoot to help drowned swimmer

For many women, a wedding day is considered a once-in-a-lifetime event that, hopefully, gets executed perfectly. Although laughed at for the comical mishaps they are later in life, at the time wedding disasters like misplaced rings or crashers can send both brides and grooms into a panic.

So you can imagine how bride-to-be Guo Yuan-yuan might have felt on the morning of 21 September when, while having her wedding photos taken on a beach in Dailan, a drowned man was dragged onto the shore nearby. Far from panicking, however, Guo immediately sprang into action and began taking measures to save this stranger’s life—all while wearing her bridal attire.

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Think you’re a “super player”? Test your gaming habits against this Nintendo relic from the 80s

A rare legal video game document was unearthed recently by a Twitter user which outlines the eight laws that true “super players” must follow to be certified as such by the makers of the Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2, still known to this day as one of the most difficult games ever made.

However, like many constitutions this was made during different times and might not apply too well to modern life or in this case modern gaming. Still, if you want to see if you’re a true old-school super player take a look at the eight articles you must adhere to.

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Japanese PM Abe accidentally thanks the inventor of the retweet while trying to reach Indian PM

Some of you may have noticed during the royal rumble that ensued in the Japanese Parliament late last week, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe quietly slipped out while members of his party continued to fight back a horde of angry legislators so that they could usher in changes to the way the constitution is understood. At first, I wondered why he would duck out at such a moment, but then I remembered: it’s his biiirthdaaay♪

Yes, on 21 September, Japan’s fearless leader turned 61. Unfortunately his age is really starting to show in his lack computer savvy. We already know the PM has his own Twitter account after Abe revealed that he pays his Twitter fees just like the rest of us. But apparently he still hasn’t grasped how to use the “@” symbol properly when a message of thanks to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi accidentally went to the wrong guy, who also just happened to help develop Twitter.

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Drone brought down in China by team of square-dancing women wanting cakes

A skirmish broke out in a Guangzhou park on 18 September, when a drone entered the airspace of a unit of upper-middle-aged square dancers. Upon learning that it carried a payload of several coupons for free moon cakes, the launched a concerted attack with their paper fans, downing the unmanned craft.

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Twitter users request anime analogies to better comprehend the magnitude of Japan’s rugby win

Last weekend, the rugby world was shaken to its very foundations by a historically massive upset when Japan defeated South Africa. I read that it was an amazing game where the Japanese team did these things called “tries” or something…and then did an “over” at some point…

You might guess that I have no idea how rugby works. I have nothing against the sport—it actually looks interesting—but it and I have never really crossed paths. And apparently I’m not alone, as some in Japan have taken to Twitter to ask that the significance of this win be explained to them in terms they can better understand. Terms like Evangelion and Dragon Ball Z.

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Osaka doctor wins Ig Nobel Prize for discovering kisses can reduce allergic reactions

Japan has had a pretty good track record with the annual Ig Nobel Prize. Scientists from all over the country have been awarded for nine years straight for their contributions to wacky and humorous research. Last year, Professor Kiyoshi Mabuchi recieved the Ig Nobel Prize in Physics for determining exactly how slippery a banana peel on the floor is.

Now, Dr. Hajime Kimata of the Osaka Prefecture Neyagawa Allergy Clinic has been given the Ig Nobel Prize in Medicine. However, rather than investigating a silly topic, Dr. Kimata’s findings were actually rather sweet: Kissing can reduce a person’s allergic reactions.

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Pepper the robot is coming to America with an upgrade in snark!

SoftBank’s emotional robot Pepper could be considered a hit in Japan ,with the first wave of 1,000 bots selling out in a minute and another 1,000 ready to move at the end of this month. But is Pepper’s popularity peculiar to purely people in one part of the Pacific? Perhaps.

We may soon find out according to a report in MIT Technology Review. One of their writers visited Aldebaran Robotics, the company which made Pepper along with SoftBank, and learned that an American Pepper is already well into development and has been given a significant attitude adjustment of the smart-ass kind to better fit in there.

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War and One Piece: How Japan’s constitution was changed

The above scene of Japanese elected officials climbing on top of each other like extras in a Pearl Jam music video made headlines worldwide much to the country’s chagrin. And it was in this way that Japan has officially reinterpreted its constitution to allow military deployment to other parts of the world for the first time since World War II.

Yes, rather than through persuasive speech and the rational debate that government was designed to produce, the future course of Japan had been steered by underhanded tricks, shoving matches, and even a decoy legislation made of a One Piece advert.

But were these uncivilized tactics motivated by honest passion and the sheer intensity of the situation, or were the elite of Japanese society simply showing their true nature of political impotence? To find out, let’s take a look at how the whole fracas started.

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