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

New “kiss eyeglasses” can be worn by two smooch-loving people at once

New “kiss eyeglasses” can be worn by two smooch-loving people at once

Ever been so enamoured with someone that you simply couldn’t stop kissing them? Of course you have; you read RocketNews24! But what if both you and your fellow face-munching lover are glasses wearers? Isn’t it annoying when your frames keep clacking and bumping together?

Thankfully, Tokyo-based glasses maker Blinc Vase has the solution!

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Miyako-jima’s Paantu Festival: Traumatizing small children to bring them good luck

Miyako-jima’s Paantu Festival: Traumatizing small children to bring them good luck

Say hello to your newest recurring nightmare, kids!

Held in Miyako-jima, one of the smallest of the Okinawa Islands, Paantu is a centuries-old festival which takes place during the ninth month of the Chinese calendar each year. During the festival, groups of men are elected to dress as the paantu, evil spirits covered from head to toe with mud and foliage, and are given the task of driving out demons and cleansing the island of bad luck.

Of course, like any good festival involving involving mud-covered monsters, this also means scaring the life out of small children…
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Make your own chocolate, cake or popsicle game controllers with these molds from ThinkGeek

Make your own chocolate, cake or popsicle game controllers with these molds from ThinkGeek

If there’s one thing that makes video gaming even more fun than it already is, it’s appropriate snack food. And while we’d never normally suggest that chocolate and controllers could possibly be a good combination (seriously, greasy controllers are a big no-no), we can safely say that you won’t find a more appropriate gaming fuel accompaniment than a plate of tiny, edible classic controllers.

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Creative problem solving: Vending machine dispenses cans with 5 yen coins taped to them

Creative problem solving: Vending machine dispenses cans with 5 yen coins taped to them

One cool thing about living in Japan is that, whether you’re in a bustling city or the open countryside, you’re never too far from a vending machine. True, you won’t find any canned ramen in many machines outside of Akihabara, but so long as there’s power to run one, you’re pretty much always within a few hundred metres of a machine selling both chilled and hot drinks.

We’ve seen some unusual things turning up in Japan’s vending machines over the years, but cans of peach juice with money taped to them is definitely a new one.

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Japanese people list 10 ingredients they never, ever want to find in their miso soup

Japanese people list 10 ingredients they never, ever want to find in their miso soup

Miso soup is a staple food in pretty much any Japanese household. Served morning, noon or night, this thin, slightly salty broth is tasty, filling, and, as you’ve probably already realised, is the perfect accompaniment to rice. It is so deeply ingrained in Japanese culture that in some areas of the country there even exists a joke that a man may indirectly propose to a woman simply asking, “Will you make my miso soup for me every morning?”

But one person’s idea of a perfect bowl of miso soup can be another’s salty soy nightmare. With so many ingredients that go, or at least seem to go, well in a bowl of Japan’s favourite broth, it can be difficult to find a bowl that ticks all the boxes, and there are some ingredients that – depending on one’s upbringing, personal tastes or geographical location – are considered simply unacceptable.

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McDonald’s Japan is now adding to my giant pile of home delivery junk mail

McDonald’s Japan is now adding to my giant pile of home delivery junk mail

In our modern digital age, it can be somewhat jarring to see Japan clinging so doggedly to its analogue roots. Despite being considered by many to be the home of technology, Japan is also a place where the fax machine is still considered a vital piece of office equipment, flip-phones are holding their own against smartphones, and without actual, physical cash, it is sometimes impossible to make a payment in a store or restaurant.

Like so many people these days, on the rare occasion that I order food in, I’m far more inclined to reach for my laptop than my phone, and a kitchen drawer stuffed with fast food menus is now something that I associate only with my childhood and university days. Even so, I receive anywhere between 10 and 15 fast food delivery menus through my door each week living here in Tokyo, with Pizza Hut and pals feeling the need to constantly remind me of their existence by showing me brightly coloured pictures of their food and telling me that they’re just a phone call away.

And now, it would seem, McDonald’s Japan has joined the ranks of companies employing shifty-looking dudes on scooters to push junk mail through my mail slot.

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This Japanese Febreze ad looks a bit like the start of a kaiju movie 【Video】

This Japanese Febreze ad looks a bit like the start of a kaiju movie 【Video】

Before moving to Japan, I always liked to imagine that Japanese TV shows would be a cross between Takeshi’s Castle and Iron Chef. In reality, television here is far less entertaining, and seems to consist predominantly of carefully orchestrated panel shows and broadcasts which are so plastered with gaudy graphics and subtitles that I often feel as if I’m reading more than I’m watching when I sit in front of my TV set.

Thankfully, Japan’s primetime ads are usually far more quirky and entertaining. Take this recent commercial for odour-removal spray Febreze, for example, which features a giant, gurning sun dual-wielding bottles of the stuff.

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New Nintendo 3DS ad flaunts the incoming console’s spiffy new features 【Video】

New Nintendo 3DS ad flaunts the incoming console’s spiffy new features 【Video】

With just a few weeks to go until its launch in Japan, Nintendo has begun streaming an introductory ad for its new, analogue nub-toting 3DS.

Check out the video in full after the jump.

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Spotted in Japan: “Wild Bacon”

Spotted in Japan: “Wild Bacon”

Sometimes when you’re hungry for a delicious, savoury treat, even regular bacon isn’t enough. Sometimes, you need WILD bacon.

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Rule 34 in action: Ryutaro Nonomura’s sobbing and ear-cupping immortalised in adult video parody

Rule 34 in action: Ryutaro Nonomura’s sobbing and ear-cupping immortalised in adult video parody

Rule 34 of the internet states that, if something exists, so too does a porn version of it. Take any subject matter you like: household appliances, hamsters, Yoshi from Nintendo’s Super Mario series (no, seriously), and, as the saying goes: “If it exists, there is porn of it. No exceptions.”

While we’d never dream of questioning the Internet Gods’ omnipotence, we have to admit that we genuinely never saw this newest entry in awkward adult entertainment coming. Yes, gentle reader, there now exists porn based on the antics of shamed politician Ryutaro Nonomura, the government official who shot to fame earlier this year when he sobbed uncontrollably through a press conference where he was asked to account for vast sums of money he maintained he had spent on travel.

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A look around this year’s Tokyo Game Show 【Video and photo dump】

A look around this year’s Tokyo Game Show 【Video and photo dump】

As you’ve no doubt already heard, the annual Tokyo Game Show is currently underway at the Makuhari Messe exhibition centre in Chiba Prefecture (yup, just like Tokyo Disneyland, TGS isn’t actually in Tokyo…).

It’s fair to say this year’s show is a little smaller than in years gone by, but there’s still plenty to see and do. If, however, you’re one of the millions of poor souls who can’t simply hop on a train to check it out, or only ever have a chance to see the show on its much busier public days, we have a little treat for you today: three minutes of video and a whole host of photos taken at Tokyo Game Show by our very own staff.

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Sony really, really wants you to buy an Xperia smartphone 【Tokyo Game Show】

Sony really, really wants you to buy an Xperia smartphone 【Tokyo Game Show】

Over the last few years, Tokyo Game Show has become increasingly focused on mobile gaming. This year’s show is one of the smallest to date, with noticeably fewer booths and even big-name publishers seeming almost reluctant to make too much of a fuss of their triple-A titles.

But it’s not just Gree et al pushing mobile gaming in Japan. Console maker Sony, too, is getting in on the action by putting the spotlight on its own smartphone line while doing all it can to show that mobile and traditional console gaming needn’t be completely separate entities, with the company setting up two enormous Xperia booths opposite its PlayStation area at Tokyo Game Show 2014.

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Welcome to Tokyo Psycho Break Show 2014! 【Tokyo Game Show】

Welcome to Tokyo Psycho Break Show 2014! 【Tokyo Game Show】

Good morning from Tokyo! We’re here at the Makuhari Messe exhibition centre bright and early to stand in line to play video games all day. Because we love you.

If you happen to be at the show today or are even in the area, be sure to give us a wave if you see us rocking our RocketNews24 press passes. If you’re new to the game show, we should warn you: despite the enormous number of ads for upcoming horror title Psycho Break, there are actually other games due to be exhibited at this year’s TGS…

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Pins, wire and crosses: How China’s military police prepare for parades

Pins, wire and crosses: How China’s military police prepare for parades

Becoming a member of any strictly regimented group or organisation requires tremendous discipline. In order to make the cut in the armed services or police, one must be prepared to dedicate themselves entirely and cast off any prior notions of entitlement or superiority. Each and every rookie is equal, and must be moulded into the exact same shape by their instructors.

Some, it would seem, more than others.

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Super Smash Bros for 3DS sells over a million copies in just two days

Super Smash Bros for 3DS sells over a million copies in just two days

You have to hand it to Nintendo. While behemoth publishers like EA and Activision are constantly badmouthed for releasing sequel upon sequel, year after year, the house that made Mario somehow not only still commands tremendous respect from its fans, but, if sales data released earlier today is any indication, manages to make stacks of cash by releasing updated versions of games many of us first started playing more than a decade ago.

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Sweet dreams, MasterCard: People in Japan are putting their wallets to bed in tiny futons

Sweet dreams, MasterCard: People in Japan are putting their wallets to bed in tiny futons

We all have our funny little habits and daily rituals. Some of us don’t feel settled at night unless we’ve put all the dishes away or spoken to our loved ones on the phone. Others can’t head to bed unless they’ve first checked that the front door is locked or whipped the shower curtain open to ensure there isn’t a monster, murderer, or acid-spitting xenomorph in there waiting climb out of the tub after they’ve fallen asleep.

But did you know that some people in Japan are now getting into the habit of putting their wallets to bed before themselves?

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Fighting too hard? Super Smash Bros 3DS players in Japan are reporting broken slide pads

Fighting too hard? Super Smash Bros 3DS players in Japan are reporting broken slide pads

It may not arrive in the West for another couple of weeks yet, but Japanese gamers are already tearing their way through Super Smash Bros for Nintendo 3DS following its release last Saturday, and by all accounts the game was well worth the long, teaser-filled wait.

There is, however, a little bit of worrying news regarding the 3DS’s suitability for a game of Smash Bros‘ frenetic nature. After just a few days of smash-tastic gameplay, a number of 3DS owners have begun uploading photos showing their consoles’ circular Slide Pads torn clean off.

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“90% of cats won’t drink this” – Pet food store tells it as it is while trying to shift stock of “cat wine”

“90% of cats won’t drink this” – Pet food store tells it as it is while trying to shift stock of “cat wine”

What would you do if you ran a pet food store and were struggling to sell novelty items like “Nyan Nyan Nouveau” cat wine? Reduce the price? Run a two-for-one offer? Take photos of your own cat lapping the stuff up and build a display around the poor-selling product?

How about resorting to barefaced honesty?

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If Playboy made games consoles: Cute but cumbersome bunny ear covers for Nintendo 3DSLL

If Playboy made games consoles: Cute but cumbersome bunny ear covers for Nintendo 3DSLL

As much as I enjoy its larger screen, I’ve always found the overall design of Nintendo’s 3DSLL (XL in the West) a little off-putting. Compared to its sleeker, smaller brother, the LL somehow looks a little cheap and toy-like to my eyes, and I was disappointed to see that the newer model New 3DSLL would retain the same look as the existing model, albeit with differently coloured face buttons.

Thankfully, a new pair of protective cases has just arrived that will not only hide that chunky little portable’s somewhat awkward exterior, but give the console a giant dose of unnecessary cuteness. Presenting: the Bunny Cover from accessory makers CYBER Gadget.

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Tiny Mikasa stars in the cutest Colossal Titan slaying video you’ll ever see

Tiny Mikasa stars in the cutest Colossal Titan slaying video you’ll ever see

Even the biggest anime sceptic has heard of Attack on Titan by now. One of the most popular manga and anime series this decade, you can’t move for news, promos and merch in Japan, and with two feature films on the way, it’s showing no sign of slowing down any time soon.

The series isn’t for everyone, though. What with its terrifying, human-devouring titans and tense, rooftop-hopping battles, Attack on Titan can be a bit much for some. Thankfully, this adorable cosplay video is more likely to leave viewers cooing with delight than squirming in their seats. This pint-sized Mikasa doesn’t look like she’d make much of a titan slayer, but as we’re about to see, her chubby little hands know how to swing a sword.

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