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!
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
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?!
- Preston Phro
2 days ago
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…
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!
- Preston Phro
3 days ago
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.
- Preston Phro
6 days ago
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.
- Preston Phro
Jul 21, 2014
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?
- Preston Phro
Jul 21, 2014
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.
- Preston Phro
Jul 21, 2014
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.
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!
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.
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!
- Preston Phro
Jul 15, 2014
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?
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…
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!
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!
- Preston Phro
Jul 13, 2014
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.
- Preston Phro
Jul 12, 2014
Japan is known, fairly or unfairly, for weird music. We’ve introduced plenty of bands that simply produce great music and other groups that are a bit out there. And make no mistake–we love them all! Sometimes “weird” is just part of the music–after all, David Bowie wouldn’t be David Bowie if he didn’t leave us wondering what planet he was really born on.
Namakopuri, an “art idol” group that consists of two young artists dressed in nurse costumes, is certainly on the weird end of the spectrum. In fact, we might even go so far as to say that their new video, “Namakopuri’s Trap,” is the weirdest thing we’ve seen all week. It’s also insanely catchy; we promise you’ll be hearing it in your dreams–or maybe nightmares–tonight!
- Preston Phro
Jul 11, 2014
What child hasn’t run around swinging a giant sword at imaginary enemies? We did it when we were kids and we’ll bet dollars to doughnuts that you did too! It’s just too bad that you can’t do it as an adult–at least not without someone calling the police! (Don’t ask how we know.)
Except that you totally can! Iaido, a Japanese martial art which uses real swords, is all about swinging blades at imaginary enemies–and it’s a hell of a lot of fun. Of course, most iaido schools don’t use “giant” swords, since, in reality, an arm can only stretch so far. But certain styles have told reality to go jump in a river and given practitioners swords big enough to make Sephiroth blush.
Check out the awesome “giant sword” videos taking the Japanese Internet by storm below!
Super Mario Bros. is arguably one of the greatest games in the history of pixels moving around on-screen–if nothing else, it has the kind of sales that would make anyone sit up and pay attention. And with fans from around the world, it’s hardly surprising that the game has been played nearly to perfection. At this point, Mario may be almost as famous as Mickey Mouse–but there are probably still a few things you don’t know about the plumber and the worlds he’s adventured through.
In any game, there are bound to be easter eggs hidden somewhere by bored programmers and wily designers, but Mario practically explodes with them. Here are some of our favorite Mario trivia facts; see how much you know!
- New video from Wagakki Band “Hanabi” is an original, awesome song【J-Tunes】1
- Pikachus overrunning Yokohama in the cutest rodent invasion ever 【Video】2
- Ryokan etiquette: What not to do when staying at a traditional Japanese inn3
- What turned Tokyo Disneyland into the Loneliest Place on Earth last weekend?4
- Blogger’s silly video of types of dancers at Singapore clubs is trending in Japan5
- Japanese scientist predicts another major earthquake in Japan by 20176
- Man in China steps into “royal rumble” to save the day, maybe goes a bit too far【Video】7
- This watermelon might be the most disappointing thing you see today8
- These four Siberian Huskies probably have more followers than you on Instagram!9
- Whiskey shaved ice: A frozen treat for adults in Kyoto10
- Little kid causes a stink after parents tell him to poop in his seat during Delta Airlines flight1
- 16-year-old girl arrested for beheading classmate in Japan’s Nagasaki Prefecture2
- This watermelon might be the most disappointing thing you see today3
- Gamer discovers his deceased father’s ghost on an old Xbox game, challenges it to a race4
- Internet survey sheds light on how Japanese women deal with the hair ‘down there’5
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker6
- Vietnamese man, angry at wife, hatches bizarre revenge scheme: Cut off his own penis7
- Five amazing Japanese Starbucks locations that let you keep sightseeing as you take a break8
- 10 obscure Japanese vending machine drinks that fly under the beverage radar9
- Two people tragically die after Chinese woman drops her cell phone into a cesspool10
- Nailed it! The shape of your nails may reveal the type of person you are!1
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker2
- Life’s not perfect? Says who? This woman’s life is too perfect to be true!3
- Japanese politician screams and cries at press conference as he defends expenses claims【Video】4
- Japan’s Glico lets snackers turn their empty boxes into augmented reality sets for Doraemon!5
- “Retweet if you thought I was a girl”: This beautiful young man, in his own words【Photos】6
- Little kid causes a stink after parents tell him to poop in his seat during Delta Airlines flight7
- Japanese giant salamander caught taking a stroll on land8
- German team hero Mario Gotze wins World Cup, later loses dignity thanks to gross pic9
- These anime mascots are just what the World Cup has been missing!10
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker1
- Nailed it! The shape of your nails may reveal the type of person you are!2
- Samurai in Brazil shows off incredible freestyle football skills ahead of World Cup3
- Doggy gets upset over his new haircut, walks around on hind legs like a boss for two days4
- Russian crocodile hospitalized after woman falls on it5
- Internet falls in love with Chinese cosplaying beauty, disappointed to hear she’s a guy 【Updated】6
- Not your average Bulbasaur: Mayan-style Pokemon7
- Chinese student asks for cooked sushi at Sukibayashi Jiro, gets flamed by Chinese netizens8
- The official Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist trailer just made our day【Video】9
- This amazing water cake just may be the most delicate sweet ever created!10
- Japanese scientist predicts another major earthquake in Japan by 2017
- Man in China steps into “royal rumble” to save the day, maybe goes a bit too far【Video】
- This watermelon might be the most disappointing thing you see today
- These four Siberian Huskies probably have more followers than you on Instagram!
- Whiskey shaved ice: A frozen treat for adults in Kyoto
- 16-year-old girl arrested for beheading classmate in Japan’s Nagasaki Prefecture
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker
- Vietnamese man, angry at wife, hatches bizarre revenge scheme: Cut off his own penis
- 20 crazy facts about North Korea
- The top 20 most eagerly anticipated anime of summer 2014, as chosen by fans!
- Darth Vader to Japanese dictionary released, selling like Tusken bread
- Are you a solo dining expert? Rank yourself with this Korean “lone diner guide”!
- Titans attack Lawson convenience stores, bring tons of anime goodies with them