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

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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New patent filed by Nintendo hints at wireless tech-toting Pokémon device

New patent filed by Nintendo hints at wireless tech-toting Pokémon device

A newly uncovered patent filed by The Pokémon Company, the branch of Nintendo responsible for the fantastically popular pocket monster franchise, hints that a new handheld device which brings Pokémon-style battles and contactless technology together may be in the works.

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A tiny coffee stand in Japan is selling some of the most lifelike gummy bugs we’ve ever seen

A tiny coffee stand in Japan is selling some of the most lifelike gummy bugs we’ve ever seen

The Japanese have long been known for their dexterousness. From origami to bonsai to precision engineering, Japan does small and detailed incredibly well. One thing we had no idea they were so good at, however, was gross.

What you see in the above photo, dear reader, is not in fact a trio of insect larvae but delicious, blueberry-filled gummy bugs. And they’re making one little coffee stand in northwest Japan very famous.

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Burger King Japan has two new burgers with jet-black buns…oh, and BLACK CHEESE!

Burger King Japan has two new burgers with jet-black buns…oh, and BLACK CHEESE!

Regular RocketNews24 readers will no doubt already be aware that fast food chains in Japan like to mix things up every so often by giving their buns a splash of colour. In the past 12 months alone, we’ve seen McDonald’s present a Sakura Pink teriyaki egg burger in time for the cherry blossom, and last October Burger King rocked a Black Ninja Burger which sported charcoal-black buns and a huge tongue-like slab of bacon.

This week, Burger King has taken its worship of the darkness a step further with two more jet-black offerings: the Kuro Diamond and Kuro Pearl, which feature not just black buns, but slices of cheese and a tangy sauce that look dark enough to swallow any would-be diners whole.

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Konami wants videos of you playing horror title P.T. for this year’s Tokyo Game Show

Konami wants videos of you playing horror title P.T. for this year’s Tokyo Game Show

Calling all scaredy-cat exhibitionists! If you’re easily frightened and love broadcasting yourself to the world, you’re just the kind of person Japanese video game developer Konami is looking for!

Following on from its video series of sample-group players reacting to forthcoming horror title Silent Hills, Konami is looking for footage of everyday people playing the game and their reactions to it. Better yet, the best videos will be shown at next week’s Tokyo Game Show.

Details on how to submit your own reaction video after the jump.

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Blind high school girl injured after being kicked from behind in Saitama Prefecture station

Blind high school girl injured after being kicked from behind in Saitama Prefecture station

Net users in Japan are in shock today after reading the news of how a blind high school girl in Saitama Prefecture was injured after being viciously kicked by an unknown assailant while making her way to school. This news comes just weeks after it was learned that a guide dog was stabbed three times by a passenger on a crowded train in the same prefecture.

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McDonald’s Japan offers Yo-Kai Watch cards with Happy Meals, traffic jams and giant lines ensue

McDonald’s Japan offers Yo-Kai Watch cards with Happy Meals, traffic jams and giant lines ensue

Last weekend, McDonald’s Japan launched a new Happy Meal, or “happy set” as they’re known here. As with all of the fast food giant’s kid-centric food boxes, these sets come bundled with a gift guaranteed to appeal to children so much that they’ll bug their parents incessantly to take them to the Golden Arches.

This time, however, the bundled gift was a little bit more special than usual, with McDonald’s securing a deal to offer sets of arcade cards for anime sensation Yo-Kai Watch. While that name not (yet) mean much to anime and Happy Meal fans in the West, this collaboration pretty much allows McDonald’s Japan to print money, and there were lines out of the door at dozens of locations from the moment the sets went on sale.

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Cuddly Sega Mega Drive plushie, Dreamcast hoodies and more on sale at this year’s Tokyo Game Show

Cuddly Sega Mega Drive plushie, Dreamcast hoodies and more on sale at this year’s Tokyo Game Show

If you’re an old-school Sega fan (and, let’s be honest, old-school Sega is pretty much the only Sega that counts any more) then you won’t want to miss this year’s Tokyo Game Show.

Due to go on sale in Japan next month, this insanely cute Sega Mega Drive plushie and a number of other Sega-themed goods ranging from mugs to hooded sweatshirts will be available to buy early at the game-tastic convention next week.

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Before anyone freaks out, no, Kirby isn’t human

Before anyone freaks out, no, Kirby isn’t human

It’s been a couple of weeks now since Kitty-gate, or “that time when someone at Sanrio said Hello Kitty wasn’t a cat and the world went nuts”. The issue has now, hopefully, been laid to rest, and we can all get back to watching videos of chubby cats pushing toy wagons around and debating things like which flavour of Pringles is best (answer: Sour Creme and Onion).

But a line in a recently published Japanese gaming guide has now suggested that yet another much-loved character is not what he first seemed. Rather than simply being the giant pink blob that we always thought him to be, it would seem that Nintendo’s marshmallow-faced mascot Kirby is actually “a person” – something that has greatly amused the internet-using public here in Japan.

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New world record set for highest score in arcade classic Donkey Kong

New world record set for highest score in arcade classic Donkey Kong

Ever since the 2007 documentary film The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, the world record score for 1980s arcade hit Donkey Kong has been kind of a big deal. For years, the existing record seemed nigh-on unbeatable, with players pouring their hearts, souls, and stacks of quarters into ageing arcade machines in the name of claiming the title for themselves.

But now there’s a new score to beat, and it comes from a relative newcomer, no less.

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A diner’s guide to oden: Japan’s weird-looking, super-popular winter dish

A diner’s guide to oden: Japan’s weird-looking, super-popular winter dish

When it comes to Japanese food, everyone and their grandmother knows the classics like sushi, noodles and tempura. But one food that always takes visitors to Japan by surprise, and which has just this month started showing up in convenience stores again, is oden. Rarely seen outside of Japan, many of the ingredients in this incredible savoury pick ‘n’ mix look almost alien to non-Japanese eyes, and so visitors are often wary of trying it for themselves.

With this in mind, today we’d like to introduce you to a handful of typicaloden ingredients, teaching you their names and telling you a little bit about each of them, so that the next time you pass a food cart or duck into a conbini and get a waft of that unmistakable aroma, you won’t be afraid to order some for yourself.

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