The folks from YouTube channel TMD Shanghai are back with yet another quirky observational video about life in China. After nailing the differences between girls in the north and those in the south and mercilessly sending up both single white and Chinese men, this time they’re here to talk about what it’s like to be black in China with a video titled, well, Being Black in China.
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
Jan 20, 2015
A video purported to have been made by Islamic State militants showing a man dressed in black standing over two Japanese hostages has been released online. The video addresses both the Japanese government and Japanese public directly and demands a ransom of US$200 million, to be paid in less than 72 hours.
Jan 20, 2015
As odd a concept as it may sound to some, had the 1991 deal between Nintendo and Sony gone off without a hitch, not only might the PlayStation brand as we know it today not even exist, but gamers the world over might be able to play titles like Super Mario 3D World and Wii Sports on Sony-made hardware. Instead, with Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft all vying for our hard-earned cash, console gamers are faced with a choice: choose a platform to invest in or live on nothing but baked beans for a year and buy them all.
If you’re a Sony fan and have already picked up a PS4, no doubt you’re as pleased with your purchase as we were with ours. But there’s no denying that Nintendo’s creations have a certain appeal to them, and few of Sony’s first-party characters could ever compete with Mario et al. Thankfully, third-party retailer LUCKY D has you – and your PlayStation – covered, as they’re selling sticker skins for PlayStation 4 featuring everything from Pikachu to Evangelion‘s Asuka.
Jan 15, 2015
Shinjuku’s Robot Restaurant is the stuff of legend the world over. An epic music and light show with a dash of burlesque flair featuring enormous robots, exotically dressed dancers and more neon than the original and 2010 sequel to Tron put together, it’s a must-see for anyone visiting Tokyo and looking for a dose of quintessential “WTF Japan?” weirdness (no, seriously, just check out its website).
But what if you’re not a trust-fund Toby or a highly successful business magnate with the cash to splash on weekend trips to Japan? Those plane tickets don’t come cheap, and Tokyo is known for being on the pricey side, so short of a wealthy aunt popping her clogs or your idea for edible cutlery coming to fruition, you may never have the chance to see this baffling spectacle of awesomeness. If you happen to live in or near Sydney, though, your feet won’t even need to leave terra firma for you to experience it, thanks to a unique event coming up in February.
Jan 14, 2015
Right from its first airing in December last year, Chinese period drama The Empress of China has been a firm public favourite. Starring producer Fan Bingbing as Wu Zetian – the only woman in Chinese history ever to reign as supreme leader – the drama focuses on events during the Tang dynasty (618–907 CE) and features a host of elaborate costumes and sets, paid for by a budget of appropriately regal proportions.
Viewers were left disappointed recently, however, when the show was suddenly pulled from the air, with its broadcaster citing only “technical issues” as the reason for the removal. The show returned just days later, but rather of evoking cheers of joy, the internet was quickly filled with messages of anger and frustration from its viewers.
Jan 10, 2015
Tirol chocolate has been around in Japan for as long as any of us can remember. Super tasty, available in dozens of flavours, and cheap enough even for elementary school kids to buy with their pocket-money, you’ll find these tiny squares of goodness in pretty much any convenience store or supermarket up and down the country. Occasionally, Tirol (or chiroru as it’s pronounced in Japanese) will release a handful of limited-edition flavours, fusing sweets like custard pudding and tiramisu together with their tasty choco to create unusual, moreish combinations.
But every now and then, they’ll try something really, really strange. Like Cheese & Pizza chocolate.
Well, folks, we’ve done it again. We’ve somehow survived yet another year without being wiped off the face of the planet or the interwebs, and I’m happy to report that our humble shrine to news, entertainment and general weirdness from Japan and Asia is now bigger, busier, and – dare I say it – slightly better looking than ever before.
Last year went by in a flash for us. Our team grew from 15 to 22, and we put out roughly twice the amount of content that we did in 2013. In return, we saw our readership positively explode, and now almost 190,000 of you kind souls allow our quirky news nuggets to appear alongside your friends’ tedious selfies and photos of their hideous children in your Facebook feed. It may sound like a bit of a cliché, but we really wouldn’t be here without you, and it’s only thanks to our readers that we’re able to keep on growing and can keep Mr Sato stocked with the Cuban cigars and exotic silk underwear he so voraciously consumes each day.
Despite our recent growth spurt, RocketNews24 is still staffed by a very close-knit team. Unlike some faceless media machine operated by corporate giants, we still get fuzzies when you like us and feel genuinely disappointed when you don’t. We read every single one of your comments (yes, even the long, ranting ones that make us want to double-check that the front door’s locked before heading to bed) and we take what you say to heart. We aim to make RocketNews24 a place that people like to come to for everything from commentary on recent news events and Japanese internet chatter to cooking tips and the latest from our Asian feline overlords, and it’s through your feedback that we know where and how we need to improve. So thank you. Your clicks and comments mean a lot.
Lest you worry that, what with all this back-patting and uncharacteristic seasonal cheer, we’re about to start slacking off, let me assure you that we have big plans for 2015. I won’t spoil any surprises, but I can say that we’ve already started work on a couple of projects that we think you’ll really like, and which – should the Internet gods be so kind as to shine their rays of benevolent fibre optic light on us – will soon become a regular part of RocketNews24. We’ll also be aiming to increase our output even further and will be striving to bring you not just better quality news and original content but to deliver it faster than ever before.
Once again, a genuine thank you from everyone here at RocketNews24 for all your support throughout 2014. No matter what your friends and colleagues may say behind your back, to us you are a vision of loveliness, and we don’t think you smell like turnips or wet suede shoes in the slightest.
Happy 2015! Here’s to a great Year of the Sheep!
Dec 20, 2014
Armed police stormed New Bilibid Prison, the Philippines’ largest penitentiary, earlier this week after it was reported that inmates were living lives of debauchery despite being incarcerated for their respective crimes. Many of prisoners were found to be in possession of numerous luxury items and living in private “villas”, with police even uncovering a room built especially for strippers to perform.
Dec 17, 2014
Take a quick look at the character-packed image above. That’s a whole lot of faces, right? And in the 20 years since Sony’s first video games console was released, they’ve all appeared on some PlayStation platform or other. Even if you’re more of an Xbox kid or a PC gamer, you have to admit that’s an impressive lineup, and for older PlayStation fans especially it’s bound conjure up a lot of happy gaming memories.
But in creating this image in honour of 20 years of PlayStation, it would seem that someone over at Sony Europe struggled to source one or two character images that really fit in with their vision. You’d think that being on the inside, an artist working for Sony would have access to a whole host of officially licensed images, but it looks like they decided to turn to the internet for help, using an image of Mega Man as he appears only in Nintendo’s latest edition of Super Smash Bros, and even borrowing a piece of fan art created by a Japanese Pixiv user, who later spotted their work on Sony’s official site. Awkward.
Dec 9, 2014
Known to many in the English-speaking world simply as rice balls, onigiri are as much a part of daily life in Japan as sandwiches are in the West. Although they’re often eaten as snacks or included along with a handful of other items as a packed lunch, for many Japanese onigiri are the ultimate comfort food; something that, no matter which part of the country they find themselves in, they can easily make or pick up from a convenience store.
Of course, store-bought onigiri can never come close to those pressed into shape by someone who knows their way around a rice cooker, but they always hit the spot nevertheless, and hundreds of thousands of these little lumps of savoury goodness are eaten every single day. But what are Japan’s most loved convenience store rice balls? And do tastes vary from chain to chain? Well, according to a recent survey, there are three onigiri fillings that Japan is especially fond of.
When Japanese people decide to become pet owners, they really throw themselves into it. Perhaps because of the relative scarcity of pet-friendly apartments in the city, dog owners in particular tend to be either home owners or have slightly higher incomes and can afford to live somewhere that allows them to live with their four-legged pal. For that reason, many pet-owning urbanites think nothing of buying expensive leashes and clothing items for their furry friends or paying exorbitant sums to have their dog shampooed and expertly groomed, and you’ll sometimes even see people riding the trains with their dogs in strollers or designer carriers.
We’re not really ones for dolling our pooches up, and our cats wouldn’t be seen dead in half the outfits that are available online, but this year’s must-have dog fashion item is one that we could definitely got on board with: tummy-warming “haramaki”.
Dec 4, 2014
The original PlayStation turned 20 years old yesterday, so to mark the occasion Sony Computer Entertainment has unveiled a special limited-edition “20th Anniversary” PlayStation 4 console pimped out with the original 32-bit PlayStation’s colour scheme and logo as well as commemorative etching on both the console and controller.
Sexy hardware photos and videos after the jump!
Dec 3, 2014
If you grew up in the ’90s, chances are the original PlayStation was a part of your life. Arriving on the console scene long after rivals Nintendo and Sega, PlayStation was an altogether different kind of beast. Its games shipped on CDs, it boasted spiffy three-dimensional graphics, and one of its flagship titles even featured music by abrasive electro pop group The Prodigy. It may have been a dull grey slab of plastic, but PlayStation was the console that all the cool kids wanted.
By some cruel trick played on us by the forces of nature, Sony’s original PlayStation turns 20 years old today. This makes us feel tremendously bitter and old, but at the same time we thought this would be a good opportunity to look back at some of the great games that came into being through the console, and also to revisit the surprisingly dramatic tale of how PlayStation was born.
Dec 1, 2014
Nintendo’s Game Boy recently turned 25 years old and is fondly remembered by people of all ages the world over. With more than 118 million units sold worldwide, it’s fair to say that the monochrome portable was something of a hit, and there’s almost certainly a Game Boy or two lying around in a cupboard or attic near you at this very moment.
A pair of retro gaming enthusiasts are hoping to breathe new life into the Game Boy with a prototype product that allows gamers to hook their original 1989 portable up to their modern, high-definition TV sets with zero fuss. Dubbed the hdmyboy, the adaptor is still in development, but with the help of backing from Kickstarter users, the guys behind it are hoping to bring it to the world as early as next spring.
Nov 28, 2014
Anyone who regularly reads my ramblings here on RocketNews24 will know that I’m steadily building up a sizeable list of geeky trinkets I intend to pester my loved ones for this Christmas. From chocolate video game controllers to bars of soap shaped like Game Boy cartridges, very few of my Christmas wish-list items would look out of place on a child’s letter to Santa.
But when the trinkets are as awesome as this replica, LED-laden Mega Man helmet, I really couldn’t give a Jimmy Riddle what anyone else thinks: they belong on the list.
Nov 27, 2014
I have a tiny, slightly embarrassing confession to make. I positively loathe mechanical pencils. In fact, they scare me a little bit.
No, this isn’t some peculiar of act of Luddism on my part, nor was a member of my family ever murdered by a deranged graphic designer. Rather, it’s because every single time–every single time–I use a mechanical pencil, its lead breaks on me within seconds of being touched to the page. And that, dear reader, always gives me a tiny but not insignificant fright. I have enough terror in my life as it is – I don’t need my writing implements keeping me on edge too.
Thankfully, the Japanese arm of stationery company Zebra knows my pain, and has designed a mechanical pencil whose leads simply cannot be broken, no matter how hard you scribble.
Nov 25, 2014
Despite what many Japanese and Americans think, when we Brits envisage having a cup of tea, it’s usually more “in a giant mug with biscuits for dipping and the TV on” than “cucumber sandwiches and sipping from a china cup.”
If we had access to teabags as delicate and beautifully designed as these Goldfish-shaped teabags from Taiwanese company Charm Villa, though, I think even we Brits might be inclined to switch off the TV and make tea-time chill-out time a bit more often.
There are few things worse than greasy game controllers. As much as we enjoy snacking while playing our favourite games, doing so can be a recipe for sticky, slippery disaster, so the mere sight of our friends reaching for our Wiimotes or DualShock controllers with their Cheeto-encrusted fingers can be enough to send shivers our spines.
Ordering your pals to go and wash up before handling your precious pads might not foster the most hospitable gaming environment, but thankfully there’s a way to make the situation not only slightly less awkward, but suitably more video game themed: by handing your pal a Game Boy cartridge-shaped bar of soap while pointing them in the direction of the bathroom.
Nov 24, 2014
If you’ve just spent an exorbitant amount of money on a new smartphone, chances are you’re also going to want to buy a case to keep it scratch-free for as long as possible.
But why waste your hard-earned money on a flimsy bit of plastic that you just know won’t fit the next model when it comes out and society demands that you upgrade? With this simple–and kind of hypnotic–trick, you can turn any old balloon into your next smartphone case!
Mario Kart. We don’t know a single person who claims not to like it at least a little bit, and with its 22-year history and eight (11 if you count the arcade iterations) distinct outings to date, pretty much everyone has zipped around at least one of Nintendo’s crazy cartoony tracks at some point in their life.
News site MyNavi Woman recently polled gamers all over Japan about their most memorable Mario Kart experiences, 13 of which we’ve listed after the jump for your reading and reminiscing pleasure. Honestly, we don’t think there’s a single one here that didn’t have us nodding in agreement.
- Disney’s Baymax appears in curry, hot pots, and more, thanks to cheesy food-based pun【Photos】1
- Japanese opera singer records an incredible cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”2
- Yoro shisetsu: Japan’s progressive joint care centers where kids and seniors interact3
- “Underwater Knee-High Girls” goes to Taiwan! Exhibition including new “Yuri” photos to be held4
- Make your instant coffee 10 times yummier with this one simple trick5
- Team aims to pierce moon with Evangelion’s Spear of Longinus6
- Could this teen’s simple but genius idea help put an end to cyber bullying?7
- In a country steeped in tradition, two prefectures are completely void of historical temples8
- Blast your own Kamehameha at the “Let’s fire a Kamehamaha Martial Arts Tournament” event!9
- Ariana Grande is learning hiragana and Japan can’t stop talking about it10
- Nobel Prize-winner Shuji Nakamura to Japan’s young people: “Get out of Japan”1
- New magnetic “slate” lets you write on actual paper, digitize your drawings in real-time2
- The cat hairband, for when cat ears just aren’t enough3
- No more photo retouches! New makeup for cosplayers claims to create photo-perfect skin4
- Cross-dressing talent Matsuko Deluxe: AKB opening the Tokyo Olympics “would embarrass Japan”5
- Do clothes make the man or the man make the clothes? Japanese Twitter user tries to find out6
- Ninja-cats are hiding in homes around the world and we have 20 photos to prove it7
- Japanese opera singer records an incredible cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”8
- Cross-dressing Cosplay Idol Group a Huge Hit in China9
- Side-boob Shirt is the useless evolution of last year’s Boob Turtleneck10
- Nobel Prize-winner Shuji Nakamura to Japan’s young people: “Get out of Japan”1
- Kyoto taxi drivers reduce convenience store robberies by 50 percent by doing absolutely nothing2
- Cosplay ideals vs. cosplay reality, a.k.a. cool vs. funny 【Photos】3
- Internet ready to shut up and take your money as preorders finally start for Cat Ear Headphones4
- Edo era Samurai were pretty gay5
- Ugly-cute makeup genius feeds off negative troll comments on Twitter6
- New magnetic “slate” lets you write on actual paper, digitize your drawings in real-time7
- Teacher draws over students’ doodles to make red pen masterpieces8
- Photos of people lining up outside of the Sapporo Apple Store make us feel positively frozen9
- Netizens hatch adorable baby birds from supermarket eggs, provide evidence10
- Hayao Miyazaki working on new project, says “I’m going to continue making anime until I die”1
- Self-taught Singaporean artist creates unbelievably realistic art on plywood2
- Buyers’ remorse in China: After a record-breaking day of online shopping, the angry selfies begin3
- 1,200 Japanese workers convert above-ground train to subway line in a matter of hours4
- Tiny town in northern Japan creates gorgeous, gigantic artwork out of rice paddies 【Video】5
- Nobel Prize-winner Shuji Nakamura to Japan’s young people: “Get out of Japan”6
- Japanese high school holds annual contest to decide the prettiest “girl” in school7
- Kyoto taxi drivers reduce convenience store robberies by 50 percent by doing absolutely nothing8
- Sorry guys! Video of “sexy ice cream girl” in Taipei only delivers on half its milky promises9
- Oysters’ amazing cleaning skills shock Japanese netizens who question their shellfish habit10
- Team aims to pierce moon with Evangelion’s Spear of Longinus
- Could this teen’s simple but genius idea help put an end to cyber bullying?
- In a country steeped in tradition, two prefectures are completely void of historical temples
- Blast your own Kamehameha at the “Let’s fire a Kamehamaha Martial Arts Tournament” event!
- Ariana Grande is learning hiragana and Japan can’t stop talking about it
- Japanese wasp-filled crackers: Their sting is far worse than a bite
- Tokyo Disneyland raising admission, because it’s the Happiest Place on Earth, not the cheapest
- Nobel Prize-winner Shuji Nakamura to Japan’s young people: “Get out of Japan”
- New magnetic “slate” lets you write on actual paper, digitize your drawings in real-time
- Around Japan in 47 rice balls: Mr. Sato buys each prefecture’s musubi all from one Tokyo shop
- The Silly Universe of Joshi Kosei: Japanese high school girls entertain the Internet (accidentally)
- Fushigi Yugi stage adaptation gets cast and schedule as Mysterious Play becomes a real one
- New garlic cola from Japan’s garlic capital is as surprising as its name proclaims