Michelle Lynn Dinh

Editor/ Writer

Michelle always seems to find her way back to Japan, having been there for vacation, study abroad, and work. During her time on the JET Programme, she lived on the island of Chiburi in Shimane, Japan’s “least popular prefecture.” In her heart, she will always be a member of that sleepy little fishing village she once called home. When she’s not swearing like a sailor while playing video games, Michelle enjoys playing soccer and “studying” Japanese.

All Stories by Michelle Lynn Dinh

CATable promises to get the cat off your laptop and into the desk

CATable promises to get the cat off your laptop and into the desk

Hong Kong-based designer, Ruan Hao, of architecture firm, LYCS, has created the CATable, a desk filled with tunnels and passageways for your cat to explore while you type away on the table top. It combines modern design with feline functionality, giving rise to the ultimate work/play…with your cat, desk. However, like with any expensive toy, your cat may just land up playing with the box it came in instead.

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Whack-a-Kitty: Now with real kittens【Video】

Whack-a-Kitty: Now with real kittens【Video】

Ah, whack-a-mole, that fun childhood arcade game where the only goal is to smash all the moles back down into their holes. No one ever felt sorry for the little plastic rodents, but what if they were actual kitties? Take a look at this video featuring kittens in their own version of the classic game. (Don’t worry, no kitties were whacked in the making of this video!)

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We’re not going to lie…these sausage people currently trending in Japan freak us out

We’re not going to lie…these sausage people currently trending in Japan freak us out

A new trend is hitting the bento boxes of Japan right now and we are scared. Young children and hardworking spouses across the nation are sitting down at lunch time only to be visually assaulted by what they call “sausage people.” To most, these little weiners cut up to resemble a person seem harmless and most message boards in Japan praise the invention, with virtual screeches of the Japanese equivalent of “OMG, it’s so cute!” Well we have a newsflash for you, Japan. These sausage people, or “so-se-jin,” an adorable play on words of the Japanese word for “sausage” (so-se-ji) and “people” (jin), are down right terrifying. Don’t believe us? Just take a look at this photo compilation of sausage people found on sites across the web. Just be warned, you’ll never look at a sausage the same way again.

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Krispy Kreme Japan makes the dessert of our dreams: Doughnut ice cream sundaes

Krispy Kreme Japan makes the dessert of our dreams: Doughnut ice cream sundaes

I don’t know about you, but whenever I walk by a Krispy Kreme doughnut shop, I always peek at the “Hot Doughnut” sign to see if they’ve just recently finished making a batch of those delicious glazed doughnuts. And if that orange beacon is lit up, my wallet is going to be a few coins short while my tastebuds thank me through every last bite. Because, let’s face it, even if you’ve just had a massive lunch, there’s always room for a piping hot doughnut, fresh from the fryer.

And what makes warm baked goods even better? Ice cream of course. We can only assume that’s why Krispy Kreme Japan has unveiled a new doughnut ice cream sundae…but why hasn’t anyone thought of this before?

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The top five places to survive the zombie apocalypse in Japan

The top five places to survive the zombie apocalypse in Japan

Japan is notorious for being one of the deadliest places to live in the world when it comes to natural disasters. Typhoons rip through the country every year and the island nation’s close proximity to several continental and oceanic plates makes it a seismic hotspot. While scientists are spending countless hours researching weather patterns and new methods of predicting earthquakes, we here at RocketNews24 have noticed a dangerous lack of preparedness when it comes to a different large-scale assault on Japan: zombies.

You may be laughing now, but when most of Japan’s population, which is the 38th densest in the world, turns to putrid walking corpses hungry for human flesh, you’ll be glad we brought this problem to your attention. That’s why we asked Tarou, a 30-year-old resident of Tokyo who claims to be suffering from “zombie mania,” to share with us his picks for the top five places to survive the zombie apocalypse in Japan. Read on and guard your brains.

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We try “Bubble Soccer,” body slam and laugh the entire time

We try “Bubble Soccer,” body slam and laugh the entire time

Bubble Soccer, as you might have guessed from the image above, is a game in which every player wears a giant plastic bubble while playing soccer. It’s like any normal soccer game, except you bounce off of your opponent and crash wildly to the floor. But it’s cool, you’re in a bubble so it doesn’t hurt too much. April 4 saw a very special event, one of only a few ever held in Japan, at the Ramos Ruy Indoor Futsol Field in Tokyo. Participants were invited to try their hand at this crazy sport and we showed up for the occasion.

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Japan’s Nikkan Sports under fire again for unfortunate photo placement

Japan’s Nikkan Sports under fire again for unfortunate photo placement

Scientist Haruko Obokata has landed herself in the news not for her accomplishments, but for her “phony research.” At a press conference on Wednesday, a tearful Obokata addressed members of the press, admitting that she had falsified portions of her STAP cell research, claiming to have discovered a way to reprogram adult cells to become stem cells.

As you might expect, newspapers across Japan reported on Ms. Obokata’s confession, many of which harshly criticized her lack of integrity. But it was Nikkan Sports that dealt possibly the most humiliating blow by publishing a half-page close-up photo of Ms. Obokata’s pleading face. What’s more, the photo was placed on the front page, leading to some very unfortunate scenes in the trains and newspaper stands of Japan.

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Sip coffee inside a giant vintage camera at family-run Dreamy Camera Cafe

Sip coffee inside a giant vintage camera at family-run Dreamy Camera Cafe

Your eye might have gone directly to the giant red building in the photo, but behind that odd architecture is a happy family living their dream. Army aviation pilot, Park Sung-Hwan and his wife (who also happens to be a recently retired army aviation pilot) took their love of photography and coffee to the extreme, creating a one-of-a-kind cafe that resembles a Rolleiflex camera. It sits right next to their modest home, a juxtaposition of tradition and whimsy, and is nothing short of a scene out of a storybook.

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Japanese company invents “Spring Santa” – We love the concept, but it’s actually a little creepy…

Japanese company invents “Spring Santa” – We love the concept, but it’s actually a little creepy…

Japanese coffee company, AGF, has just launched what they call a “social gift campaign” where you can send a thank you gift to the Facebook or Twitter friend of your choice, even if you don’t know the recipient’s email address. It’s an endearing concept, encouraging people to give thanks to those who have helped them, but somewhere along the line things took a strange turn. Robotic voice iPhone man and jerky green Santa coming after the jump!

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Japanese company creates iPhone case using a dead marine isopod

Japanese company creates iPhone case using a dead marine isopod

For some reason, giant marine isopods are always popping up in the news in Japan. Earlier this year we learned of the death of the lovingly named “Isopod No.1″ at Toba Aquarium, which passed away after going five years without eating. Back in March, lucky diners had a chance to crunch down on the tiny exoskeletons of moderately sized isopods in what was surely a dinner from some twisted aquarium worker’s nightmare.

Now, Japan’s fascination with the giant isopod continues in the form of yet another iPhone case. But this one is just a little more realistic (and a whole lot creepier) because it was made using the carcass of isopod No.1 as a model.

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These aren’t colored pencils.

These aren’t colored pencils.

Every artist has their tool of choice. Some choose the subtle opaque of watercolors, others the bold burst of pastels. Many go old school and create with colored pencils; the humble pencil and its colored cousin are widely used all over the world and are the first choice of many budding artists. But what you see above aren’t colored pencils. They were actually created using an entirely different medium.

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Meet Marutaro, the most famous hedgehog in the world

Meet Marutaro, the most famous hedgehog in the world

Meet Marutaro, a pigmy hedgehog who lives in Japan with his hedgehog wife, Okomesan, and daughter, Kinoko. As you might be able to tell already, he isn’t any ordinary hedgehog. With 41,800 followers on Twitter and plenty more admirers around the web, Marutaro is the most famous hedgehog in the world.

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The top overpriced products in Japan

The top overpriced products in Japan

Tokyo and its big city cousin to the south, Osaka, are consistently voted among the most expensive places in the world in international polls. Japan in general is notorious for its high prices, prompting many potential visitors to choose a different, more cost-effective destination. Sure, from an outside perspective, prices in Japan are more than most are used to, but what do those who actually live there think? Japanese website, Ameba News, asked 570 working Japanese adults to name any products they felt weren’t priced correctly, whether too expensive or too cheap. The results may surprised you.

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Google kicks off April Fools’ Day with a Google Maps Pokemon Challenge that’s actually real…kinda

Google kicks off April Fools’ Day with a Google Maps Pokemon Challenge that’s actually real…kinda

As you might expect, Google is up to its usual pranks in honor of April Fools’ Day, but this time, they’ve created something that’s actually playable that allows any Google Maps user to be the very best, like no one ever was.

The Google Maps Pokemon Challenge was announced in the form of an awesome YouTube video, with specific details on how to gain the coveted title of any 90s kid: Pokémon Master. Brian McClendon, Vice President of Google Maps, explains, “Now using the technology created by the Google Maps team, we’ve prepared the most rigorous test known to man to find the world’s best Pokémon Master.”

But this year, Google has one extra trick up their sleeve, allowing anyone to actually catch Pokémon on Google Maps.

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International Court of Justice orders halt to Japanese whaling

International Court of Justice orders halt to Japanese whaling

It’s no secret that you can buy whale meat in Japan. It’s served in schools to young children and even offered up 16 different ways at this shop in Tokyo. In fact, the Japanese have had a history of whaling that dates back to the 12th century. In recent history, however, Japan’s whaling program has been condemned by the international community and its practice of consuming whale meat proven unhealthy. But both whaling and the eating of whale meat, whether you agree with it or not, may be a thing of the past as a result of a recent ruling by the International Court of Justice.

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Accessorize your aquarium: New sparkly fish tank for kids comes with jewels and plenty of pink

Accessorize your aquarium: New sparkly fish tank for kids comes with jewels and plenty of pink

“Add a lot of cute decorations to the room we’re staying in!” says the blue goldfish with a matching blue tiara. No this isn’t a joke; uncommonly cute anthropomorphic goldfish are just a part of the marketing campaign for a completely customizable fish tank aimed at young children in Japan. With a fancy backdrop and jewels galore, it’s a far ways away from the plastic aquatic plant or bubbling clam shell in typical aquariums.

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Off-road bikes added to Japan’s disaster relief arsenal

Off-road bikes added to Japan’s disaster relief arsenal

In light of emergency vehicles being unable to reach victims of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department has announced the addition of 10 off-road bikes to their force.

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New York gets its first cupcake vending machine

New York gets its first cupcake vending machine

Japan has always had the market cornered on weird vending machines, so it’s going to take a lot to impress the people in a country where you can buy anything from fresh eggs to crepes from a metal box. But this new cupcake vending machine has been turning heads, not for how bizarre it is (by Japan’s standards), but how cute it is.

Sprinkles, the popular cupcake chain in the US, has just opened a “Cupcake ATM” at its New York store, the first of its kind in the area. It opened just 24 hours ago and the lines have been unbelievably long. Let’s take a closer look at the opening day.

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Never fear, Uterus Man is here: Video featuring anthropomorphic lady parts turns heads

Never fear, Uterus Man is here: Video featuring anthropomorphic lady parts turns heads

We’ve seen a lot of anthropomorphic characters coming out of Asia, such as smiling Japanese salmon fillets and Chinese “map girls.” There have been some really strange ones, but we never thought we’d see anthropomorphic lady parts rocketing across our computer screens. But here it is, Uterus Man, directed and edited by Taiwanese artist, Lu Yang.

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We try pork nigiri sushi at a ramen shop in Tokyo

We try pork nigiri sushi at a ramen shop in Tokyo

Tokyo Ramen Marion, a small ramen shop in the Kita Ward of Tokyo, has a menu item that outshines its namesake dish. That item is the chashu pork nigiri sushi, made to resemble the sushi that is almost always made with fish. Our reporter took a trip out to see what this unusual food was all about and came back with a full belly and a completely new view of Japan’s most famous dish.

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