Scott Wilson

After getting bored with high school French, Scott came to a crossroads in life whether to study Japanese or Native American Mohawk instead. Mohawk's lack of kanji was its ultimate downfall, and Scott hasn't looked back since. After years of non-stop sweating while working as a translator in sweltering Okinawa, he moved back to his native, delightfully frigid Massachusetts to work as a private Japanese tutor. His hobbies include re-reading One Piece for the hundredth time, dreaming about Shakey's Pizza, and getting feedback on stories he's written from both his wife and cat.

All Stories by Scott Wilson

Artist’s new posters for classic movies will inspire you to watch them all over again

Making movie posters is tough. You not only have to catch the eye of people passing by, but also get them excited and inform them on what the movie is about, all at the same time. When a poster is done well, it can be just as memorable as the movie itself. And when it’s done badly, well, it can be memorable in a different kind of way.

Artist Olly Moss however, whom we’ve met before with his amazing video game-inspired ceramic plates, is a master of the poster medium. He’s recently been picked up by Japanese websites for creating new posters of classic movies, including Studio Ghibli films. Get ready: your nostalgia meter is about to be cranked up to 10, and you’re going to go hunting through your old DVDs very soon.

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The madness ends now: How to conqueror impossible-to-open Japanese convenience store snacks

Oh Japanese convenience stores. Those bright, white-glowing oases that have everything you could ever possibly need inside of them, all wrapped up with a pair of chopsticks and a warm smile from the clerk.

Except for when you want an onigiri (rice ball) or sushi roll. Anyone who buys one of the items pictured above typically finds themselves suddenly engaged in a battle of wits matching human against plastic wrap. And the plastic wrap usually wins, resulting in a mess of rice, seaweed and tears of frustration.

But fear not! We here at RocketNews24 are here to help with step-by-step instructions so you will never lose to another conbini snack again.

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NTT creates two-dimensional pictures that can move: Harry Potter photographs are now real!

One of my favorite things about the Harry Potter universe was the fact that all the photos and paintings of people moved around on their own. Sure it was only a tiny detail, but it was all those little details of how a wizarding world might actually work coming together that made the final product so amazing.

And now, our muggle world has taken one step closer to Harry’s: NTT, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation, recently announced that they’ve developed a way to make normal, printed-out two-dimensional pictures look like they’re moving through a bit of magic of their own.

Well, I only have one thing to say: “You’re a wizard, NTT!”

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“Panchira,” the Japanese word for “panty-shot,” usually conjures up images of creepy guys on the train trying to angle their smartphone cameras under the skirts of schoolgirls. But to be fair, while that’s certainly an unfortunate part of panchira culture, that’s not all there is to it. When panchira is done tastefully, it can be considered art, just like any other form of photography.

To prove that point, “Panchira 2015,” a photography exhibition devoted exclusively to pictures of panty-shots, was held last week, and they recently announced that they had over 20,000 attendees. With the incredible enthusiasm of both the guests and the people running it, it’s not hard to see why.

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Crow, rat, and garbage capsule toys huge hit; perfect for creating “trashy” scenes

Anyone who has ever put out garbage in Japan has no doubt encountered the country’s monster crows, which put the little black birds the rest of the world knows to shame. They can grow up to 23 inches (58.5 centimeters) in lengh, and they will rip apart any garbage you put out if you don’t take all the proper precautions in sealing and covering it.

But since it’s Japan, even the giant crows and their fellow rat pests aren’t safe from being transformed into cute little gachapon capsule toys. They’re a huge hit online, apparently for people who love reenacting the times when their trash was torn to shreds.

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Tokyo artist creates photo-realistic drawings with colored pencils

Hey that’s a nice photograph of a peaceful oasis in Tokyo. Wait, it’s not a photograph? It’s a drawing? Made with colored pencils?!

Ryota Hayashi has been bringing the Nakano Ward of Tokyo to life for the past several years through his breathtakingly realistic colored pencil renditions. He’s recently been getting a lot of attention on social media, and it’s not at all hard to see why.

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We made world-famous French toast in our office, and so can you! 【RocketKitchen】

Have you heard of the Hotel Okura in Tokyo? It’s recognized as one of the top hotels in the world, often housing rich business travelers and foreign heads of state visiting Japan. Every U.S. president since Richard Nixon has stayed there, and even James Bond has been a guest!

But despite all that, the Hotel Okura is best known among us mortals as “the home of the most delicious French toast in the world.” It’s been praised by innumerable websites and reviews, turning the small, simple breakfast dish into a 1,840-yen (US$15.50) delicacy. With a price and reputation like that, you wouldn’t expect us to be able to make the exact same thing in our office kitchen. Right?

Well, we did. And so can you!

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Transgender Thai actress called “too pretty” and “wonderful;” maybe world not so bad after all

It’s really nice that we live in a world where a transgender woman uploading pictures of herself onto social media results in comments like “oh my god you’re so pretty!” and “I love your dress!” instead of slurs and hate.

Most recently, Thai transgender sensation Nong Poy uploaded a picture onto her social media that some followers thought made her look exactly like Chinese model/actress/singer Aneglababy. In all honesty though, this author doesn’t really care who she looks like; she’s already plenty awesome just looking like no one else but herself.

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Keanu Reeves tries to be a tourist in Akihabara, gets mobbed by fans instead

You might think that after Keanu Reeves’s 2013 movie 47 Ronin – very loosely based on the Japanese story Chūshingura – became the second biggest box office bomb ever, Japanese people’s opinion on the actor would go down a little bit.

Well, you’d be wrong! On February 11, Keanu Reeves was spotted just walking down the street in Akihabara like any other tourist, and he was instantly mobbed by fangirls and fanboys alike, each one clamoring for the best “Keanu selfies” that they could get.

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Beautiful Chinese soccer goalie is a keeper in Japanese men’s eyes

We’ve written at length about the many Chinese women who have captured the hearts of Japanese men online. There’s been Chinese pool players, completely normal Chinese college students, and even 13-year-old dancers making men all over sweat as they furiously comment away on their keyboards.

The latest in the Chinese woman craze is the 23-year-old goalkeeper from the Chinese women’s national soccer team, Zhao Lina. Standing at 187cm tall (6ft 1.5in), she may have an imposing figure, but her smile has melted hearts all across Asia.

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Hitachi invents “happiness meter” which monitors your every move (and then tells your boss)

Have you ever been unsure about whether or not you were happy? Maybe you thought, “Gee, it sure would be nice if I could wear a device around my neck that would tell me how happy I am.”

Well you’re in luck! Japanese technology company Hitachi has come up with a “happiness meter.” It’s a device that you wear around your neck, letting it pick up little signals that measure exactly how happy or unhappy you are. Best of all, it’s designed for use in companies, so that your boss will know exactly how happy you are all the time. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?

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Blue Bottle Coffee opens in Japan to two-hour lines; Mr. Sato gets impatient, goes somewhere else

Would you be willing to wait two hours in line just for a cup of coffee? That’s how long it’d be if you went to the grand opening of Tokyo’s Blue Bottle Coffee, a fancy cafe that prides itself on only using the freshest roast coffee which they make themselves.

For some, like RocketNews24’s own Mr. Sato, that’s just too long a wait for a glorified cup of joe, so after being impressed with how long the lines were, he just went somewhere else for coffee instead.

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Man beats up woman for not looking like “goddess” he spent thousands of dollars to meet

We’ve seen the magical transformative powers of makeup many times before. All it takes is a few puffs or creams and a flattering camera angle to turn someone into a completely different person. This can all be in good fun when it’s just for some tweets, but when someone in a relationship is pretending to look like a completely different person online, then disaster can strike when they actually meet up.

Unfortunately this is exactly what happened when one man in China spent thousands of dollars to meet the woman he’d found online, only to discover that she didn’t look anything like the “goddess” in the pictures he’d seen.

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From crim to cute: Japanese “Hooded Girls” transform the once-feared hoodie image 【Pics】

Up until recently, the hood was mostly a taboo clothing item in Japan. The common thinking was that only criminals and people who had something to hide would wear a hood over their head while out and about on a perfectly clear day. Anyone who bought a hoodie or sweatshirt was doomed to leave the hood unused, dangling lifelessly behind them.

But thanks to the power of the internet, a new trend in Japan is spreading: “hooded girls,” basically just photos of girls wearing hoodies with *gasp!* their hoods up. Because nothing turns something from kowai (scary) to kawaii (cute) faster than pretty girls on Twitter.

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Artist creates incredibly lifelike 3-D models of anime characters (and Sexy Rilakkuma)

Have you ever imagined what your favorite anime characters would look like in real life? While there’s some talented cosplayers out there who can make that dream come true, sometimes they end up more like hilarious nightmares instead.

But thanks to the computer graphics artist Naoto Ikeda, now there’s another way for us to see anime characters brought to life in three dimensions: through his jaw-dropping digital artwork.

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Men of Japan becoming worringly enamoured with pair of 13-year-old Taiwanese twins

Japan’s love for the women of Taiwan has been skyrocketing recently. There’s been everything from the dressed-up McDonald’s employees in Taiwan, to that “sexy ice cream girl” in Taipei, to a random Taiwan news reporter, to the borderline creepy Taiwanese schoolgirl photo album.

The most recent Taiwanese girl craze is definitely part of that last “borderline creepy” category. It’s a pair of 13-year-old Taiwanese performers known as “Sandy & Mandy” who have over a million likes and followers on Facebook, and now, seemingly just as many Japanese men falling in love with them as well.

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Think Japanese news is boring? Try it with some cats!

Sometimes the news can get a little heavy-handed. Topics like terrorism or tax hikes can raise blood pressure, cause grumbling about the horrible state of the world, and eventually get to the point where it’s just so boring that you shut it off.

But one news show has figured out a way to keep viewers interested, even during the difficult parts: just have a cute cat walk around the news desk and be generally adorable while everyone is talking about serious subjects.

We’re not kitten you, it’s fur-real.

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The internet can’t figure out why the snow melted in this pattern – Can you?

Take a look at the photo above. Yes, I know it’s just a picture of some melting snow, but take a closer look. Notice anything strange about it?

There’s only snow remaining on every other square tile. It’s melted into a snowy checkerboard, and no one has any idea why. There are no heaters or sewers or anything involved here, just good old-fashioned science, and some hypotheses are more science-y than others.

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Does your cereal bowl need some love? Try a Tower of the Sun capsule toy!

Fuchiko the gachapon capsule toy office lady seems to have a knack for always getting herself into strange situations. She’s wrapped herself in sushi, fooled around with Tuxedo Mask, and has been caught red-handed… sitting in some fold-up chairs.

Of course Fuchiko is not the only cup/bowl caddy that you can get out of a capsule toy dispenser. The company that makes her has teamed up to do collaborations before, and their most recent one is by far their most unusual. Instead of choosing another anime or manga character, they went with the bizarre Tower of the Sun building from Osaka.

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“Can you help meow-t here?” Twitter user discovers why his bread clock was constantly wrong

Even in the era of having the sum of human knowledge to date in your pocket, there’s something to be said about using a sweet novelty clock. If you’re in Japan, you have lots of options. There’s Zelda clocks, beautiful-women clocks, clocks that come for free in magazines. But that’s just scraping the surface, because apparently there’s such a thing as bread clocks too.

One Twitter user recently posted that he’d been having problems with his bread clock constantly telling the wrong time – until he found out the reason why. And no, it’s not because the clock is a piece of bread – the real reason is far more adorable than that.

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