Preston Phro

Preston Phro (or simply Phro as most know him) is a Coloradoan attempting to fit in in Tokyo. (Surely, he would succeed if not for his unruly hair.) He puts his master's in classical Japanese literature to good use by writing silly stories and articles for the Internet. Having lived in Nara, Osaka, and Yamaguchi before moving to the Kanto area, he's quite happy to finally have a place to call home! When not writing, he enjoys annoying his wife by plucking at his shamisen (a three-stringed Japanese instrument not entirely unlike a banjo) and pestering her with questions about Japanese history. He also occasionally attempts to remember all the stuff he's forgotten since university.

All Stories by Preston Phro

BABYMETAL plays first ever US show, bootleg videos leave us wowed

BABYMETAL plays first ever US show, bootleg videos leave us wowed

Continuing their meteoric rise to international stardom, BABYMETAL has checked off another box on their world conquest to-do list: Playing a headline show in the US!

The show this weekend has even made waves in Japan thanks to a fan video uploaded to YouTube shortly after the group’s LA tour. Check it out below!

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Some flights are more cramped than others – 29 sumo wrestlers pack into one tiny plane

Some flights are more cramped than others – 29 sumo wrestlers pack into one tiny plane

Flying, as magical as it is, is not without its inconveniences. Standing in line at security, listening to someone’s baby cry for ten hours, and fighting to get the airline to give you back your luggage are some of the less rewarding aspects of getting flung through the air at over 500 miles per hour. But perhaps the worst part about flying is being crammed together with a bunch of strangers while crappy movies play on a tiny screen at just the wrong angle.

But at least you’re not squished between a couple dozen sumo wrestlers!

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Chiro the corgi talks, shakes hands, wiggles her bootie, and wins our hearts

Chiro the corgi talks, shakes hands, wiggles her bootie, and wins our hearts

Dogs have been human companions for tens of thousands of years, so it’s hardly surprising that we’re still such good buddies. After all, as cute as cats are, you’d be hard pressed to find many felines that would go to bat to protect their owners. They might keep the mice away, but they’re not likely to scare off any burglars.

Even so, some dogs just seem like better protectors than others. Corgis, for example, are apparently great alarm dogs. Though if you’re counting on your corgi to protect you, this video may give you second thoughts…

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New video from Wagakki Band “Hanabi” is an original, awesome song【J-Tunes】

New video from Wagakki Band “Hanabi” is an original, awesome song【J-Tunes】

When we introduced you to the Wagakki Band last year, we were pretty sure they might end up being a big deal. And, as it turned out, we were definitely right about that! After releasing a full album to rave reviews earlier this year, the band has been on the road touring both in Japan and at the Japan Expo in Paris. But despite their busy schedule of rehearsing and performing, they’ve had time to work on a new, original song. While they haven’t released a full video yet (you’ll have to wait a few more weeks), you can check out the short version below!

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Ghost story cats or a typo? Cute overload either way!

Ghost story cats or a typo? Cute overload either way!

In case no one’s mentioned it yet, Tokyo is getting a bit warm this year. In fact, the other day my phone told me that despite what the thermometer said, the temperature felt like 44 Celsius–or 111.2 Fahrenheit. Even that seemed a bit low to me, but either way, I clearly should be living inside the refrigerator. And from the looks of things, there are a few cats who’d like to join us. Though I’m not so sure I want them in there with me, since they might just be…ghosts?!

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Little kid causes a stink after parents tell him to poop in his seat during Delta Airlines flight

Little kid causes a stink after parents tell him to poop in his seat during Delta Airlines flight

Planes are never especially pleasant places to be. Even up in first class, you’re stuck in your seat for hours on end with no chance of stepping outside for a breath of fresh air, and with so many bodies packed into the same metal tube, it’s inevitable that the air starts to get a bit stale after a while. On the plus side, the worst you’ll have to deal with is a bit of body odor or your neighbor’s stinky snack food and not the overwhelming stench of a Greyhound port-a-potty.

Well, unless you happened to be on this flight from Beijing to Detroit last week…

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This watermelon might be the most disappointing thing you see today

This watermelon might be the most disappointing thing you see today

Summer means watermelons–particularly in Japan, where beating watermelons with a stick is not only common, but actively encouraged. See, you knew there was a reason you loved Japan!

Of course, even if you’re not into beating up poor defenseless fruit, you might still enjoy the succulent taste of some chilly watermelon. If so, hopefully your melon won’t be a massive disappointment like this one!

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“Joke” site demonstrates the cruelty of cyberbullying, makes us wet our pants

“Joke” site demonstrates the cruelty of cyberbullying, makes us wet our pants

Bullying has been a problem in Japan, as in many countries, for quite sometime–and like many other countries, cyberbullying is the latest permutation of the issue. While cyberbullies in the west may be using Facebook or Twitter, it seems that the focal point of digital harassment in Japan is the messaging app Line. Regardless of the medium used, there’s no doubt that bullying is traumatic for those on the receiving end.

Sadly, despite numerous public education campaigns and class lectures, bullying isn’t simply going to disappear. Perhaps the deeper issue is one of empathy–we like to think that a bit more understanding would help reduce the problem. And a recent viral webpage does just that, showing how painful it is to be on the receiving end of digital harassment. However, the surprise ending is what really got people in Japan talking.

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Japanese critic shares his (kinda weird) views on Japanese vs Western adult entertainment

Japanese critic shares his (kinda weird) views on Japanese vs Western adult entertainment

If you’re a person who uses the Internet, there’s a good chance that at some point you’ve come across that other thing (i.e. not cats) that accounts for so much web traffic. You know, pictures and videos of naked people. Trust us, we were as shocked as you must have been when you first stumbled upon these people and their antics, but it’s out there in its droves.

We were also surprised to learn that those videos are apparently not only very popular but noticeably different depending on whether they’re made in places like the US and Europe or in Japan. Or at least they are according to this Japanese guy, who works in the industry and spends a lot of time critiquing the videos…

This article probably isn’t entirely safe for work. Which really shouldn’t be a surprise, but just in case, you might want to read this one on your phone in the bathroom instead of at your desk.

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Toma Toma Sparkling: Taste-testing the tomato juice that will give you a hangover

Toma Toma Sparkling: Taste-testing the tomato juice that will give you a hangover

Last week, we brought you news that Japanese brewing company Suntory was releasing an alcoholic, summer-only tomato-juice drink called Hajikeru Tomato no Sake Toma Toma Sparkling, or just Toma Toma Sparkling for short. Some of us here at RocketNews24 apparently aren’t big fans of tomato juice, a fact which leaves the rest of us (i.e. the righteous and upstanding) baffled. Since it’s one of my top three non-alcoholic drinks, after orange juice and acerola juice, I was more than happy to take up the task of taste-testing this strange new concoction from Suntory.

So, how does Toma Toma Sparkling fare? Is it delicious, fizzy tomato juice that will give you a hangover or is it an abomination better poured down the toilet?

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Tokyo museum offers beautiful exhibit showcasing the architecture of Studio Ghibli

Tokyo museum offers beautiful exhibit showcasing the architecture of Studio Ghibli

Though there are obviously numerous anime studios in Japan, there is no doubt that Studio Ghibli is among–if not the most–legendary of them all. With tons of famed, beloved, and critically acclaimed films, there’s no doubt that the influence Ghibli has had on the world is massive. Even if you’re not a particularly big fan of their stories, who could deny that the worlds they create are simply stunning? Wouldn’t it be amazing to see those buildings brought to life and given physical form? We certainly wish we could at least get a ride inside the cat bus.

Though this new exhibition at the Edo-Tokyo Tatemono-en, or called the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum in English, does not quite provide full-size replicas of Ghibli architecture, it does give us an excellent concept of what some of our favorite buildings would like in the real world.

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More than one way to skin a cat? Japanese YouTuber shows how to “open” a cat with belly rubs

More than one way to skin a cat? Japanese YouTuber shows how to “open” a cat with belly rubs

We all love cats–this is the ironclad law of the Internet: Love the kitties or go home! While there might be some curmudgeons who aren’t fans of LOLcats or the numerous whiskered faces that populate the pages of the Internet, you can believe that we are big fans. Nevertheless, we have to admit that we’re not impervious to cat claws–and while rubbing a kitten’s belly is a nigh-spiritual experience, we have had our share of mishaps. If only there were a way to completely and utterly subdue and “open up” a cat…

Well, there is and you can learn how in this simple and cute YouTube video! All you need is a patient cat to practice on and a free afternoon.

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Is Attack on Titan a documentary? Mikasa spotted in Russia!

Is Attack on Titan a documentary? Mikasa spotted in Russia!

With its immense popularity, it’s no surprise that Attack on Titan has spawned some amazing cosplay photos. We’ve shown you a brilliant Serbian’s take on Erwin Smith, and today we’re heading back to Eastern Europe to show you someone the Internet apparently thinks looks exactly like Mikasa Ackerman.

Or maybe they’re actual photos of Mikasa running around in the real world? Everyone, be on guard just in case any titans show up!

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Why was Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 flying over Ukraine? NHK explains

Why was Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 flying over Ukraine? NHK explains

The recent tragedy of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 has capture the attention and sympathy of people across the world, leaving many wondering how such a horrible accident could have occurred. While fingers are being pointed and world leaders are looking for someone to blame, many in Japan are also wondering why a flight from Amsterdam to Malaysia was going through Ukrainian airspace in the first place.

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12 beautiful Japanese train stations by the sea

12 beautiful Japanese train stations by the sea

Being an island nation, there is no shortages of beaches in Japan–though if you live in Tokyo, there are times when the only thing resembling the ocean to be seen is a sea of people. After a weekday morning commute spent sloshing around in a packed train car, it’s easy to find yourself wishing for a more relaxed environment like the beach. And with summer in full swing, there are plenty of beaches we’d rather be lounging on than just about anything.

But it’s a busy world and who has time to sit on the beach and just relax? Well, we sure don’t! But for those of us always on the go, there are a few train stations that at least will give you a view of the ocean on your way to whatever business you may have. Think of it like a vacation that lasts as long as the train stops!

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Woman in Singapore is looking for the “sexy” man she saw on the train–but is she out of luck?

Woman in Singapore is looking for the “sexy” man she saw on the train–but is she out of luck?

In the modern world of dating websites, hook-up apps, and whatever is going on with Ashley Madison, you’d think “finding the one” would be easy. But while Internet dating has become nearly the norm, it’s still not easy to find someone you’re compatible with online. On the other hand, sometimes real life drops a cutie right in our laps, but we don’t have any idea what to do about it!

Logically, the best thing to do would be to pluck up your courage and give the sexy stranger a nice “How do you do?”, because if you don’t seize the opportunity, your only recourse is the missed connections section. And we’re pretty sure people only read those in TV shows! But one woman in Singapore has turned her “missed connection” into a viral video, guaranteeing a lot more viewers than just a lonely Mindy Kaling.

Now the real question is: Did it work?

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Trapped bunny is utterly adorable and now Twitter-famous!

Trapped bunny is utterly adorable and now Twitter-famous!

The top three pets are probably cats, dogs, and hamsters. They all have their pros and cons, but when it comes to keeping little furry creatures in your home, those three are probably the most common–and certainly some of the cutest. The number four spot is a bit harder to pin down, but if we had to guess, we’d say it belongs to the noble bunnies. After all, while they might take a bite out of your finger if you’re not careful, there’s not much in this world that is as docile as a bunny, is there?

But that doesn’t mean you don’t need to keep an eye on the long-eared critters. If you’re not careful, you never know what kind of mischief your pet rabbit and its twitchy nose will get into! One Japanese Twitter user learned this the hard (and cute) way…

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Little Texas: The Tokyo country bar for all of Japan’s cowboys【Photos】

Little Texas: The Tokyo country bar for all of Japan’s cowboys【Photos】

You can find just about anything you want in Tokyo. The city is a wonderful melting pot of new and old, domestic and foreign, low and high brow. With everything from a vibrant French quarter to gorgeous temple gardens, it’s hard to imagine anyone getting bored in Japan’s capital. Even so, we have to admit that we were a bit surprised to find a country bar–let alone a country bar with such authentic shows and delicious food! But that’s exactly what Meguro’s oldest country bar, Little Texas, has. With everything from license plates covering the walls to amazing bands on stage, you are guaranteed to have a great time–even if you don’t know the difference between a steer and a bull!

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World Cup humiliation for Brazil inspires Internet memes

World Cup humiliation for Brazil inspires Internet memes

Brazil’s loss to Germany in the World Cup was, without a doubt, some of the biggest news of the week. Even non-soccer fans have heard about–and thrived on the Schadenfreude of–the massive blow out. It’s probably fair to say that, while not the biggest loss in World Cup history, it will likely be the most memorable of this tournament, and after losing to the Netherlands earlier today there’s even less for the country to celebrate.

And here to make sure that no one will ever forget about the horrible beating that Brazil faced is the Internet and tons of memes to make you laugh and cry simultaneously!

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Perfect rainbow appears over Tokyo like an interdimensional portal, no spirits spotted (yet)

Perfect rainbow appears over Tokyo like an interdimensional portal, no spirits spotted (yet)

While we rarely think about it, the way our atmosphere works is pretty amazing–filtering out all that cosmic radiation and keeping us alive. It also has tons of moisture in it, which, in addition to giving some nifty lightning shows, is also what gives us really cool stuff like sun dogs and rainbows. While it’s nothing special to see a piece of a rainbow or even half of one in the sky after a rainshower, it’s quite another thing to see a full rainbow shimmering in the sky.

But that’s exactly what appeared over Tokyo on Friday, setting Twitter ablaze with photos of the beautiful phenomenon. And because we’re ready for some uplifting fun this weekend, here’s all the photos we could find! Guaranteed to make your day 200% more magical or your leprechaun back.

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