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

Awesome retro faceplate turns your New Nintendo 3DS into an old-school Game & Watch

With its Super Famicom-esque face buttons, the New Nintendo 3DS is already rocking the retro in a big way. But if you’d like your portable console to look even more old-school, this fully functional Game & Watch-themed faceplate from Japanese gadget and accessory maker Colombus Circle is sure to do the trick!

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Video of 10 white globes floating in Osaka sky leaves net users wondering worldwide【Video】

A video showing 10 unidentified flying objects hovering in the sky over the Japanese city of Osaka has been making waves in Japan this week, to the degree that news sites all around the globe have begun talking about it.

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“This will go down in history”: Cat displays unusual, impressive talent 【Video】

If you watch only one cat video today, make sure it’s this one. That might sound like an exaggeration, I know, but when you see what this little guy can do, you’ll thank me.

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The moment a chemical plant in China exploded in a mountain of flames 【Video】

Fire crews are currently battling a blaze at a petrochemical plant in Rizhao City in China’s Shandong Province following a massive explosion which occurred at just after 7:30am local time today.

Onlookers caught the moment the plant exploded on camera, only to then run for their lives as subsequent explosions caused the ground beneath their feet to shake.

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Probably the greatest, weirdest ad for sanitary napkins you’ll ever see【Video】

You have to feel for advertising copywriters sometimes. They have to come up with interesting and convincing ways to sell all manner of products, regardless of how mundane and unappealing they may be. But every so often, an ad comes along that makes us wish we’d been on the team that came up with it, it’s so breathtakingly weird.

After all, it’s not every day that you get to pitch ‘woman with sanitary undies for a head has suspicious red liquid drinking contest with rival sanitary napkins’.

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The more you know Mario: The unusual Japanese names of Nintendo’s Super Mario characters

If, like me, you grew up playing Super Mario Bros. on the NES, then you’re no doubt super excited for the launch of Super Mario Maker this coming September. Exclusive to Wii U, the game allows players to build their own worlds, using every block, enemy and power-up (plus a few new ones) from a whole host of Super Mario games, then share them with players all around the world.

For those of us who never quite gave up on our childhood dream of making games for Nintendo especially, Super Mario Maker is shaping up to be the ultimate celebration of 30 years of Mario, and the thought of throwing all your favourite bad guys into bizarre platforming situations has us positively giddy with excitement.

With that in mind, today we’ve decided to take a quick look at some of the characters we know and love from the Mario franchise. To spice things up, though, we’re going to be introducing you to their original Japanese names and explaining a little about the meanings behind them. Think you know Mario? Let’s find out!

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Studio Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki hard at work on first ever CG short 【Newsflash】

Hayao Miyazaki, the world-famous (supposedly retired) director and face of Studio Ghibli, is currently working on his first ever fully computer-generated movie, it has been revealed.

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Head your way to freedom in curiously titled virtual reality game “Headmaster” 【Video】

Oculus, Sony, Valve, and even Samsung have been heralding virtual reality as the future of gaming and entertainment for what feels like an age now. The few glimpses we’ve seen of the fledgling technology have both impressed and intrigued us, but titles that resemble the kind of games we can expect to play when these companies finally launch their respective headsets are still few and far between.

The unusually named Headmaster, however, is a good example of what we can probably expect to play as the technology finds its feet.

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Super Mario Maker gets an official release date, will be playable at Best Buy soon【E3 2015】

Nintendo has announced that Super Mario Maker, its extensive Mario-themed level creator software for Wii U, will go on sale from September 11 this year. A new Amiibo figure and level designer’s guide book are also scheduled for release.

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Nintendo announces “Star Fox Zero”【E3 2015】

Japanese video game giant Nintendo has announced that Star Fox Zero, a brand new game for Wii U, will be released at the end of this year.

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The Last Guardian lives, will hit PlayStation 4 next year【E3 2015】

The Last Guardian, the spiritual successor to the beautiful and hugely emotive PlayStation 2 titles ICO and Shadow of the Colossus, first stepped into the daylight all the way back in 2009. Ever since then, however, the game has become virtually the stuff of legend, missing both the peak of PlayStation 3’s development cycle and the launch of the PlayStation 4. With good reason, perhaps, many believed that the game was done for, trapped forever in development hell, and that Sony would one day be forced to announce that it had been canned.

But earlier today, Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida revealed that The Last Guardian is not only alive and well, but that it will be with us fairly soon. Along with a 2016 release date, the company showed off five minutes of gameplay footage in a brand new video. Check it out after the jump.

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After years of waiting, Sega’s Yu Suzuki reveals Shenmue 3… on Kickstarter 【E3 2015】

In a peculiar yet hugely exciting move, Yu Suzuki, creator of the critically acclaimed, yet tragically unfinished, open-world action-adventure game Shenmue has appeared at the E3 trade show in Los Angeles to announce that the final chapter of the story is to see the light of day. But it will be funded by its fans rather than its parent company.

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Language fail: 22 funny and embarrassing tales of Japanese language missteps

They say that one of the main reasons so few Japanese people master the English language is because they’re worried about making mistakes or embarrassing themselves. While we do wish more Japanese would break out their English a little more often (get a couple of drinks into your coworkers and you’ll be amazed at how much English they actually know), at the same time we can’t really blame them for being reluctant to speak, because learning a second language as an adult can be tough.

After all, when our words fail us, it can not only result in confusion, but very often shock, laughter, and even anger. Just ask the kind folks who were good enough to share with us their most awkward and memorable mistakes made when speaking – or rather trying to speak – Japanese.

Join us after the jump for 22 tales of language mishaps. Oh, and maybe make some notes while you do so that none of these ever happen to you!

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Sayonara, sushi: 21 little things that people miss after leaving Japan

As a reader of RocketNews24, chances are you already have a pretty big soft spot for Japan. You may even already be living in the Land of the Rising Sun or have plans to fly out just as soon as circumstances allow.

But sometimes, even when we love a place with every fibre of our being, we just can’t stay forever. Family anxiously awaiting our return; work commitments; financial constraints and more mean that, at some point or other, many of us have to wave goodbye to Japan and return to our respective homelands.

Some of the things people miss about Japan will be immediately obvious, but others tend to sink in only a few weeks or months after returning home. Today, we’re taking a look at 21 of the little things, in no particular order, that Japan does so uniquely or so incredibly well that foreigners really start to pine for them once they finally say sayonara and head home.

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Enter the rumour mill: Hideo Kojima, Konami and the death of Silent Hills

If you have even a passing interest in video games, then you’ll no doubt have heard that Silent Hills, the new, crazy-scary, Daryl-from-The Walking Dead-featuring reboot of long-running survival horror series Silent Hill, has been cancelled.

For many, Silent Hills represented the sole reason to own a PlayStation 4 as it bobs along in a sea of multi-platform titles and high-definition re-releases of last-gen games. But with the removal of its “playable teaser” from the PlayStation Store today, Silent Hills is gone – poof – into dust because director and industry veteran Hideo Kojima is to part ways with parent company Konami the moment he finishes work on his other big project, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.

But what exactly is going on over at Konami? And why on earth would the company scrap a game that was already garnering so much praise and generating such excitement? Join us after the jump as we explore the myriad rumours and theories regarding Kojima and Konami’s messy breakup.

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We take the Toyota i-Road electric vehicle out for a spin, find out it’s awesome 【Video】

Not quite a car, not quite a motorcycle, the Toyota i-Road is a three-wheeled electric vehicle designed just for urbanites. Small, sleek and ultra slim, on paper the i-Road seems like the perfect solution to Tokyo’s traffic jams and woefully limited – not to mention expensive – parking.

But what’s it like to actually drive one of these things? Our Japanese team headed out to try an i-Road for themselves. Check out their video after the jump!

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Just how fast is Japan’s new maglev train? See for yourself【Video】

It may not be due to begin ferrying passengers between Tokyo and Osaka for another 10+ years yet, but Japan’s magnetic levitation (maglev) train is already zipping up and down a special section of test track in Yamanashi Prefecture, and it’s nothing short of spectacular.

Check out our video of this thing in motion – oh, and try not to blink because you really might miss it.

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Paying for nothing: Japanese burger chain’s latest sandwich doesn’t actually have a patty

It’s not unheard of for customers at fast food restaurants to discover that the burger they ordered is either missing one of its ingredients or contains something that they asked to be left out. It’s quite another issue entirely, however, to receive a burger that’s missing its patty and for that order to still be technically correct.

But that’s exactly what wacky Japanese hamburger chain Lotteria has done with its latest creation. Say hello the “No-Shrimp Burger”; a shrimp burger without the shrimp.

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Man runs across race track in a desperate attempt to try an F1 car for himself 【Video】

I’m sure we’ve all been caught in the moment at some point in our lives and acted without considering the possible consequences. Still, I’d like to think that even the most impulsive of us – as we find ourselves clambering over a 10-foot fence and checking to see how close the cars travelling at upwards of 150 miles per hour are – wouldn’t risk running across a stretch of race track during a Formula One practice race like this man in China did earlier today.

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NEET “recruitment” video pokes fun at Japan’s laziest

It’s April, and in Japan that means a whole new crop of young, fresh-faced workers politely inching their way onto packed trains and nervously trotting into office buildings while wearing suspiciously clean and pressed office attire.

But what of the lazier portion of the population? The folks who are no longer in education, have yet to secure gainful employment or are undergoing training to become something worthwhile? These NEETs, as they’re known in Japan, have a busy schedule ahead of them as they settle into a daily routine of doing “sweet FA“, as my mother might say. But being a true slacker involves a surprising amount of work, as this great little parody video tells us.

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