Philip Kendall

Editor

Hailing from Liverpool in the UK, Philip Kendall made Japan his second home in the summer of 2006 after dolefully abandoning his childhood dream of becoming a ghost buster. Setting up camp in beautiful Fukushima prefecture, he brought joy to literally hundreds of junior high school children as ‘that tall, handsome teacher’ or more often ‘the one with the big nose,’ before relocating to Tokyo at the end of 2011.

Writer, foodie, gamer and eternal student of the Japanese language, Philip now works as a freelance writer and translator, submitting to Tokyo Weekender magazine and website and Learn Japanese Pod, as well as co-running Suds, Grub & Joe- a website dedicated to all things beer, food and coffee-related in Tokyo. Follow his ramblings on his personal blog or on twitter.

All Stories by Philip Kendall

Going thin on top? Here are five prefectures you may not want to live in (and five you might!)

Going thin on top? Here are five prefectures you may not want to live in (and five you might!)

As someone whose locks started thinning when he was about 27 years old, I know how much of a shock it can be to learn that your body has seemingly decided to begin the follicle-retiring process without consulting you first. As nice as it would be to have a thick, flowing mane, though, the fact that pretty much every man on on my mother’s side of the family eventually lost their hair tells me that there’s not much point stressing about it – it’s going to happen, so why lose sleep as well as top turf?

For some, though, going bald can be pretty upsetting. If they’re on the lookout for a partner especially, thinning hair can certainly dent a man’s confidence. And, according to a recent survey, balding men may well be right in thinking that their lack of hair is affecting their chances of finding, or perhaps keeping, a good woman.

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Did Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto just call casual gamers “pathetic”? Well, yes and no

Did Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto just call casual gamers “pathetic”? Well, yes and no

In the latest issue of long-running UK gaming magazine Edge, industry legend and creator of Super Mario Bros. Shigeru Miyamoto sits down to talk about the direction in which Nintendo is heading. During the interview, which spans several pages and touches upon subjects ranging from upcoming title Splatoon to the lack of young talent at the company, the veteran game designer is quoted as saying that casual gamers are “pathetic” for not wanting to delving and getting the most out of video games.

A handful of gaming news sites immediately leapt on this statement and ran with it, hinting that Nintendo may be about to turn their backs on the very people who made products like the Nintendo DS and Wii the hits they were. But did Miyamoto honestly just diss the casual gaming public? We really don’t think so.

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Korean video game ads borrow K-pop group’s faces to depict the horrors of war, noodles 【Videos】

Korean video game ads borrow K-pop group’s faces to depict the horrors of war, noodles 【Videos】

Never willing to be outdone by their island-dwelling neighbours, South Korea upped the ante in the weird olympics recently with a series of ads for free-to-play first-person shooter Sudden Attack. Enlisting the services of popular K-pop group Girl’s Day, the commercials show nary a snippet of footage from the actual game itself, instead focusing on the kind of situations most online gamers will know all too well.

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The bunnies! There’s… too many of them! AAARGH!!!

The bunnies! There’s… too many of them! AAARGH!!!

Remember Okunoshima, the tiny Japanese island that’s home to hundreds of freely hopping bunnies? Well one intrepid rabbit lover recently paid the place a visit, not just to see its furry masters with his own eyes, but to film himself being offered up to the rabbits for our viewing pleasure.

It’s like he’s being set upon by a ravenous herd of tiny, fluffy zombies…

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A skeptic’s guide to anime – Five series to ease you into Japan’s most popular export

A skeptic’s guide to anime – Five series to ease you into Japan’s most popular export

Viewed from afar, Japanese animation may appear to be populated entirely by giant-eyed, squeaky-voice schoolgirls and young men who suffer from frequent nosebleeds. Their plots, too, can seem awfully convoluted at first glance, and so anyone who didn’t grow up with anime or have the chance to catch popular series when they were just getting started may feel completely out of their depth when trying to get into it.

If you’re the kind of person who, like me, despite being into Japan and Asia, never really understood what all the fuss was about anime, or who would like to give this strange medium a chance but doesn’t know where to start, then we have a special treat for you today: no fewer than five anime recommendations from members of our very own writing staff, guaranteed to be easy for even anime-skeptics to get into. Who knows, these might just be the gateway shows you’ve been looking for!

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J-pop group “Chubbiness” releases first music video, possibly look even less chubby than before

J-pop group “Chubbiness” releases first music video, possibly look even less chubby than before

Back in January this year, we brought you news of an emerging J-pop group going by the name of Chubbiness. The idea behind the outfit was that, as well as being accomplished singers, the members were all “puniko“, or slightly chubby girls. Compared to most J-pop groups, which are very often populated with girls who are all pointy elbows and shoulder blades, Chubbiness just about lived up to their name, but few Westerners especially would ever think to call them “chubby”.

Eight months later, Chubbiness have launched their first official song, complete with an accompanying music video which shows them tucking in to a table full of sugary treats while singing about how there’s nothing wrong with being a bit on the big side.

The only thing is, after watching the video a handful of times, we can’t help thinking that if anything the Chubbiness girls actually look even slimmer now than when they were first introduced to us…

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Man creates bizarre “HeartCap” helmet to wordlessly convey feelings of love and admiration

Man creates bizarre “HeartCap” helmet to wordlessly convey feelings of love and admiration

I’m sure we’ve all been there: knowing that you’re bound to bump into your crush at some point during the day, you prepare a few witticisms in advance, make sure to brush your teeth extra well and pick out an outfit that strikes the perfect balance between casual and “holy crap I’m sexy”. And then, when the object of your affections comes within a few feet of you, you blurt out some nonsense about having seen a really big pigeon on the way there and manage to spit all over yourself. Oh, just me?

Thankfully, for those who find themselves completely tongue-tied when faced with their dream guy or gal, there’s a new…invention that enables the wearer to express their feelings of admiration without saying a word. And it looks wonderfully ridiculous.

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Rumour: Super Smash Bros. character list leaked? 【Update: Pretty much confirmed】

Rumour: Super Smash Bros. character list leaked? 【Update: Pretty much confirmed】

If you’re the kind of person who likes video games and isn’t dead inside, chances are you’re looking forward to Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U, due to release later this year. The comic fighting game’s creators have been teasing us for what feels like decades now by slowly revealing which characters will be available to play as, talking of trimming the fat while simultaneously revealing what appears to be every Nintendo character under the sun.

If the following “leaked” screenshots and video are to be believed, however, Nintendo’s character roster-teasing days are about to come to an abrupt end.

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Singing Love Songs to Angels? No Tomorrow for Us? More movies that got weird Japanese titles

Singing Love Songs to Angels? No Tomorrow for Us? More movies that got weird Japanese titles

Regular RocketNews24 readers will know doubt have seen our articles documenting some of Japan’s weirder translations of Western movie titles (Malkovich’s Hole, anyone?), or perhaps caught our collection of English movie posters remade using their Japanese titles. But today’s list of 10 adapted movie titles was nominated by none other than Japanese movie watchers themselves, who felt that the new names their country had given to these feature films were actually pretty cool.

Let’s take a little look, shall we?

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Limited edition Kirby t-shirts on sale at this year’s Tokyo Game Show

Limited edition Kirby t-shirts on sale at this year’s Tokyo Game Show

Heading to Tokyo Game Show this year? We certainly are, and with just under a month to go, we’re itching to try out the newest games and watch the exclusive previews that exhibitors are no doubt already preparing. But there’s one other thing (yes, besides the booth babes) that we’re excited to get a look at: the video game merchandise!

And this year, there are a couple of items we already have our eye on: a pair of limited edition Kirby-themed t-shirts, which have just been revealed by makers San-ei Boeki.

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Godzilla…is…BATMAN!! (And Sailor Moon, and Luigi too, apparently) 【Photos】

Godzilla…is…BATMAN!! (And Sailor Moon, and Luigi too, apparently) 【Photos】

We have a hard time imagining that anyone but the dimmest Gotham City resident would be especially shocked to learn that mysterious millionaire and occasional shut-in Bruce Wayne was the man behind the Dark Knight’s mask all along, but we doubt anyone saw this coming.

This series of fantastic photos taken by a blogger known only as Gigabeetle features modded Godzilla figures in a variety of hilarious poses. As well as revealing the true identity of the Big G, the pictures show a side to the monster that we never knew existed, catching him dancing around wearing top hats, doing his best Sailor Moon impressions, and, um, indulging in a little bit of nose powder

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Is Kojima’s Silent Hills actually about aliens? Hidden message refers to The War of the Worlds

Is Kojima’s Silent Hills actually about aliens? Hidden message refers to The War of the Worlds

Earlier this week, we brought you some footage of players’ terrified reactions to Japanese video game developer Hideo Kojima’s upcoming horror title, Silent Hills. We played the short preview for ourselves and it scared the bejeezus out of us, leaving us with high hopes that the finished game would mark a return to the original’s greatness and that we’d be sleeping with the lights on in the not-too-distant future.

But what if we told you that Silent Hills isn’t just about things that go bump in the night? Or, rather, that some of those ‘things’ are aliens? A radio broadcast which can be heard during a particular section of the playable teaser, it has been found, refers not only to what is believed to be Orson Welles’ radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds, but suggests that aliens are already here, watching…

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Women armed with pee-filled spray gun exacts revenge on bank

Women armed with pee-filled spray gun exacts revenge on bank

A woman in China’s Zhejiang Province has been arrested after she entered an ATM vestibule and splashed urine over the machines following the bank’s refusal to process her money transfer, Chinese media has reported.

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Noodle-tossing bunny is the most random, hypnotic Vine you’ll see today

Noodle-tossing bunny is the most random, hypnotic Vine you’ll see today

While she may not be quite so well-known abroad, My Melody, one of cute factory Sanrio’s many mascots, is kind of a big deal here in Japan. Over at the Sanrio Puroland theme park, throngs of kids and women old enough to know better flip out and squeal with delight at the very sight of the hood-wearing bunny, and Sanrio makes a small fortune each year from My Melody-themed merchandise.

But none of that really explains this video recently released by Sanrio Puroland, which plays an endless loop of My Melody aggressively tossing noodles in a sieve. In total silence.

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Niconico Video user crafts miniature violin-playing Darth Vader out of paper just because he can

Niconico Video user crafts miniature violin-playing Darth Vader out of paper just because he can

Fandom often inspires people to invest vast sums of money in the object of their obsession. Often when you visit a real enthusiast’s home, you’ll see so much merchandise that you start to wonder whether they also thought to invest in insurance to protect them if any of it was lost or stolen since the goods’ combined value can in some cases amount to thousands, even tens of thousands, of dollars.

In many ways, the amount of merch a person owns can act as an indicator of how big a fan they are, but what’s even more impressive than dropping exorbitant amounts of cash on a hobby is investing time and energy. Take, for example, this Niconico Video user from Japan who, rather than simply visiting a store or online shop to purchase a swanky new Darth Vader figurine, decided to make one out of little more than a pile of craft paper, and the end result is simply stunning.

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PlayStation 3 gets a price cut in Japan, still costs more than it probably ought to

PlayStation 3 gets a price cut in Japan, still costs more than it probably ought to

Sony Japan has announced that its ultra-slim, “charcoal black” PlayStation 3 console will become that little bit cheaper at the end of this month, following the arrival of a new SKU.

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Hideo Kojima’s Silent Hills might just be the horror game we’ve been waiting for【Videos】

Hideo Kojima’s Silent Hills might just be the horror game we’ve been waiting for【Videos】

Those who owned an original grey PlayStation back in the day will no doubt be familiar with Silent Hill, the survival horror series that went on to spawn a host of sequels as well as a questionable feature film of the same name. The series has had its ups and downs over the years, and many feel that it has lost much of what made it so great to begin with, but it looks like the newest instalment is set to bring back what gamers loved about the originals: the kind of tense, tortuous, genuinely horrible horror that makes you consider keeping the lights on at bedtime.

Don’t believe us? Check out these reaction videos from makers Konami.

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From the mouths of babes – Kids share their thoughts on love, war and everything in between

From the mouths of babes – Kids share their thoughts on love, war and everything in between

Last week, we shared a rather unusual ad from Ryugin, an Okinawa-based bank whose approach to selling loans involves robots, doe-eyed anime girls and more pink hearts than you can shake a stick at. As it turns out, this same banking corporation has quite the eye for attention-grabbing ads, as we’ve just discovered an older TV spot from the same company, titled Children and Philosophy, which poses a series of mostly abstract questions to a group of elementary school kids.

Responding to questions about everything from love and war to what it means to be free, the kids’ answers are at once refreshing, thought-provoking, and painfully sweet, to the point that we’re starting to wonder if they’re the ones who ought to be in charge of the world. Full video after the jump.

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Last night, a fast food delivery guy gave me 10 yen and it made my day

Last night, a fast food delivery guy gave me 10 yen and it made my day

After living here for any decent length of time, it’s easy to grow tired of the seemingly endless slew of blogs either singing Japan’s praises or celebrating its weirdness. But the thing is, there’s a reason so many of them exist. While many of the claims bloggers in Japan make are somewhat exaggerated or simply rehashes of the same experiences foreigners arriving in the country decades earlier had, there are nevertheless times when living in Japan can make you realise that the country is actually quite special.

Just last night, for example, I found myself the recipient of a tiny but powerful gesture that made me feel – after more than eight years of living here – that Japan is pretty damn cool sometimes.

Last night, dear reader, a fast food company gave me 10 yen. That’s about US$0.09.

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5 awesome Japanese ice creams that are perfect for summer 【Video】

5 awesome Japanese ice creams that are perfect for summer 【Video】

It’s the middle of August, and while the days we’ve been having recently aren’t quite as face-meltingly hot as those a couple of weeks ago, it is nevertheless still pretty toasty out there. Thankfully, just like when suffering with a cold or sore throat, the summer heat does afford us one very tasty luxury: a genuine excuse to gorge on delicious ice cream!

If you’re feeling the heat this summer, or are just curious about some of Japan’s go-to ice cream treats, join us after the jump for a special video featuring five of our frozen favourites.

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