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

Japanese rock musician decides to get old-school, starts a career singing enka

The history of Japanese music is long and storied, and contemporary artists, be they J-pop artists or grindcore bands, fill only a few chapters. Of course, they happen to be some of our favorite chapters, but we’re just saying, there’s a lot to discover!

One genre that has long been a favorite in Japan but hasn’t gotten as much attention overseas as, say, Hatsune Miku, is enka. A modern take on Japanese folk music, enka is probably most popular with older generations — but that hasn’t stopped one extravagantly dressed visual kei/rock drummer from giving it a shot!

Check the bizarre music video for Tsukasa Mogamigawa’s major label debut and get ready to shout “Maaaatsupoi poi poi!”

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Shimane Prefecture will give you a house…but only if you promise to stay for 25 years!

As you may have heard, the population of Japan is getting older and smaller. While other (smarter) people have debated the problems and complexities of this issue, we do know one thing: It’s left a lot of prefectures without many young people. Some places are celebrating when the community has even a single wedding, but Tsuwano in Shimane Prefecture thinks they’ve hit upon an idea for injecting some new, young blood into their town. They’re giving houses away for (kind of) free! Of course, there are a few stipulations…

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Guerrilla musicians wow YouTubers with expert playing in…electronics stores?

If you’ve ever stepped foot inside a music store, you’ve no doubt seen at least one overly-confident person wailing away at a guitar or piano, just to “test it out” with plenty of people around. While they’re usually better than the rest of us, you also can’t help feeling a bit of embarrassment for anyone who’s getting into it a just a little too much.

But a pair of videos making the rounds in Japan has won a group of three keyboardists plenty of attention — and praise — for their covers of famous Yellow Magic Orchestra songs. Partly because they were performed guerrilla-style in electronics stores!

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Bizarre pun inspires “20 rules” junior high boys secretly want, according to Internet comic

While discussing health-related issues is never easy, mental health is particularly challenging. A big part of it seems to be simply considering who your audience is, as what works for one person or group won’t always work for another. So, when it comes to discussing a topic that involves everything from domestic violence to positive behavior modification, knowing your audience is a huge factor.

Fortunately, Akihabara’s Yuu Mental Clinic has a handle on knowing their audience with a series on mental health in manga form, complete with wacky hijinks and impossible science fiction scenarios. They also managed to turn a simple pun into two glorious pages detailing the most absurd day-dream ever by a fictional junior high-age boy. How many of his “20 school rules” can you guess (hint: Swimsuits are definitely involved)?

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Video showing the power of well-done make-up garners amusement and amazement around the world

We’ve seen before how well-done make-up can be used to drastically alter a person’s appearance, which, we suppose, is kind of the point. That said, many people (probably mostly guys who don’t wear much make-up themselves) are still fascinated by its transformative powers.

And even if you’re an experienced make-up artist, you may still find this simple video of a Korean woman removing half her make-up a fun exercise in perception.

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Get lucky: Survey polls Japanese women about their one-night-only amorous affairs in satin sheets

When it comes to sex, people like it all kinds of different ways. Some people don’t even like it at all, but as long as it’s consensual, we don’t care, as long as you’re happy! Nevertheless, we’re also pretty curious about it–maybe we’re busybodies or maybe the idea of people smooshing themselves together is just too funny not to think about.

Regardless of the why, we are naturally curious about sex in Japan. And we bet you are, too! So here’s a recent survey done with 3,000 Japanese women to find out how many have had one-night stands!

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Japanese Internet commenters react to video of Ronaldo standing up for kid

Cristiano Ronaldo is, undoubtedly, one of the most beloved footballers in the world, and that holds true for Japan as well. And it’s hardly surprising! Not only is he a skilled athlete, he’s also a drop-dead gorgeous man. Like Don Draper in cleats, we suppose.

And in a video from last year that’s getting tons of attention now, Ronaldo also proves that he’s a true gentleman! But what do Japanese commenters think about the video?

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Watch this Genesis of Aquarion Zessica Wong figure transform into a Dragon Quest pilgrim figure

Do you like figures? Do you ever wish you could make your own? Well, we can’t help you actually make a figure, but we can show you how one skilled amateur figure crafter turned the Genesis of Aquarion Zessica Wong figure above into a female pilgrim from Dragon Quest.

Check out his explanation, complete with photos, below.

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Worst Mother’s Day portrait ever?

We hope you and your mothers all had great Mother’s Days this year and excellent presents were exchanged. Of course, sometimes the best present isn’t something you bought at the store but a hand-made work of art demonstrating your love for your mother, though we doubt anyone is going to complain about a new PlayStation 4.

We’ve already seen some of the most awesome (and awkward) Mother’s Day illustrations you can find at 7-Eleven, but today we have something slightly more…horrifying. This portrait made the rounds on Twitter in Japan last week, inducing laughter and nightmares!

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Shut up and take our money! This awesome dress combines lolita and traditional Japanese fashion

If you’re anything like us, there’s a good chance you like both lolita and traditional Japanese fashion. Many of us here at RocketNews24 love those lolita skirts, even if we can’t really pull off the fluffy look, and we definitely appreciate the beauty of a well-crafted kimono.

So the news that the Kaga Lolita Project, which combines traditional Japanese fashion with the lolita style, finally has a dress available for sale online has us reaching for our wallets! You might not see any of us actually wearing one, but you can bet we’ll be admiring the dresses from afar, dreaming of twirling parasols on our shoulders.

Check out the dress below and get ready to dig out your credit card!

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These three Kyoto sushi restaurants target women, but we think everyone will enjoy them!

Sushi is one of those foods that really grabs the imagination. Whether you’re in a kaiten-zushi joint in Akihabara or one of the $300-a-meal restaurants you read about in the news, there’s something almost captivating about the ritual of it all.

Of course, anyone is welcome at pretty much any sushi restaurant, but these three Kyoto-based restaurants have received a bit of attention online for specifically targeting women. From do-it-yourself sushi to tiny, round delights, these places have really piqued our curiosity. Check out some photos below and start making your plans for a trip to Kyoto now!

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Mini Bruce Lee from Japan wins the Internet this week 【Video】

It’s only Tuesday, but we feel safe in declaring this week’s Internet champion already: Ryusei, the cutest Bruce Lee we’ve ever seen.

While Bruce Lee spawned many imitators both in life and after his death, Ryusei might be the only one we’re willing to accept as the new Bruce Lee. And we doubt many will argue!

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The Mother’s Day portraits at 7-Eleven in Japan are amazing…and hilarious!

For many of us, Mother’s Day is just around the corner. We’re sure you’ve already got a present picked out, but just in case you forgot, here’s a friendly reminder: Get your mother something nice to say thank you for wiping your butt when you were a baby!

Of course, we’re not the only ones getting ready to celebrate Mother’s Day. 7-Eleven Japan is also making the most of the holiday with their annual Mother’s Day art exhibitions. While most of the drawings are done by young children, some of them are impressive illustrations by much older artists…and others are just down-right hilarious!

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What happens when a guy goes to a Japanese women’s swimsuit store and asks for their best bikini?

Japan has recently seen an increase in merchandise like “men’s bras” and “men’s panties” with designs that are practically the same as women’s versions. Which is all well and good, but it’s left us with one question: Why are we still separating men’s and women’s swimsuits?

While we suppose women probably can’t wear men’s swimsuits without Johnny Law giving them a citation or two, there’s nothing really stopping men from throwing on something like, say, a bikini. And that’s exactly what a writer from our Japanese site did! Take a trip to the beach with us and see how he liked his new swimwear!

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This Dragon Ball tribute is a great way to refresh your memory of the classic series

With a new Dragon Ball show announced for July, now is just about the perfect time to take a quick refresher on the original series! While you could spend a couple of hours browsing through recaps of all the old episodes, or even try rewatching the whole series before July, we have an easier way to remind yourself of all the animated fun.

Check out this awesome animated YouTube video, complete with authentic music clips from the show!

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Japan tops list of countries with shrinking population projection, but no one’s surprised

As you may have heard, the Japanese population has taken a turn for the older…and the smaller. In fact, it has even topped a list of five countries facing “extinction” according to Sputnik Japan. The statistics have got a lot of people talking online, and we’re here to share all the tongue-wagging with you!

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Filipino artist captivates with beautiful ink drawings, invites us to do the coloring ourselves

The Internet is full of gorgeous illustrations by talented artists, so when someone stands out, they tend to be really talented. And Kerby Rosanes, an artist from the Philippines, certainly fits the definition of talented.

At only 23, he’s already quit his full-time job to work on his own art. And when you see it, you’ll understand why! Even better, everyone around the world can get in on the action with his coloring books. Even if you think you’re too old to play with markers, this book is definitely something you should check out!

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Happy 16th birthday to Stationmaster Tama, Wakayama’s favorite feline

Not only is April 29 Showa Day and a national holiday, it’s also the birthday of none other than Ultra Station Master Tama, the adorable feline in charge of Kishi Station in Wakayama Prefecture.

Tama was born in 1999, making this her sweet sixteenth bithday. She’s had a pretty good career for someone who hasn’t even finished high school yet!

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Yamathon: See Tokyo on your own two feet for a good cause!

Without a doubt, Tokyo is a big city, and it’s hard for any one person to see all of it. Even long-time residents probably aren’t familiar with every nook and cranny of the metropolis. So if you sometimes find yourself wishing you could get a closer look at its various neighborhoods, Yamathon, an event that takes you to all the way around the Yamanote Line, might be a great way to spend a Saturday!

Not only will you get an up-close-and-personal look at the Yamanote Line’s 29 stations, but by participating in Yamathon, you’ll also be contributing to a great cause!

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Android app allegedly allows users to find and hire muscle to beat up whomever they want

One thing that Apple fans tend to bring out during the enormous Android vs iPhone flame wars is apps. While both systems have a huge number of applications, people often claim that those on iOS are either better or cover a broader range. We won’t even pretend to have an opinion on whether or not this is true, but it looks like Android may have Apple beat in at least one area! Though we’re not so sure Google will be proud of this accomplishment.

It looks like there might be an Android app in China that you can use to find some tough guys to rough people up for you!

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