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

Tokyo ramen shops trying serving “boob ramen,” ends up looking like “phallic ramen” instead

Japan, like most of the world, loves boobs. Sure there are disagreements over whether or not anime breasts are too big, or real-life breasts are too small, and sometimes the whole boob-obsession can borderline on creepy, but at least for the most part it’s usually pretty easy to tell what is and isn’t supposed to be a breast.

Except now. To celebrate the latest release in the Senran Kagura cute girl-ninja fighting game series, ramen shops all over Tokyo are serving special, limited-time only bowls of “boob ramen.” While that may sound awesome and hilarious at first, unfortunately the reality is quite different. Just take a look at what they’re offering.

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Watch out for slang: 10 outdated words to make you sound like a “hoddypeak” in Japanese

Words go in and out of fashion just as easily as clothes and video game consoles. What seems “groovy” or “ill” one day will just sound utterly “beef-witted” a few years later.

And the same thing happens in Japanese. What were once extremely common words now just make the people who used to say them cringe. If you want to make your Japanese friends laugh with some seriously dated slang, or if you just want to test your own knowledge on some more obscure aspects of the language, then take a look at this list of 10 “dead” Japanese words.

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ISIS-inspired gang kills middle school boy: “We’ll cut off your head while you’re still alive!”

On Friday, February 20, the body of Ryota Uemura, a first-year middle school student in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, was found along the Tamagawa river with multiple stab wounds. It is believed that he was first beaten by a group of high school students, tied up, then stabbed repeatedly in the face, arms, and neck until he died of hemorrhagic shock.

One of the three high school boys who have been arrested recently proclaimed himself and the rest of his “team” as the “Kawasaki State,” following the same naming pattern as the terrorist organization ISIS/IS “Islamic State.”

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“Hell on Earth” as Tokyo subway station floods with sewage

Imagine you’re taking the subway to work, getting off at Kayabacho Station just like you do every morning, when suddenly a putrid odor hits your nostrils. You look around but see nothing, at least until you look down and find out you just stepped in a gigantic puddle of toilet leakage.

That’s what happened to many commuters on the morning of February 26 at the unlucky train station in Tokyo. Thankfully the foul mass of sludge has been cleaned up, but not before some pictures of the event were captured that will make you swear something stinky is coming out of your computer screen.

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“Oh Japan.” It’s a phrase you hear pretty much anytime something boob-related is brought up. Like the breast exercise hand, the oppai mousepad, the iPhone boob-squeezer, and of course, straight-up virtual reality breast-groping.

But in all fairness, even though all those products are a little bizarre, at least they’re meant to be used in private. However the latest product released by Soft on Demand, adult video distributor and owner of a chain of adult shops in Japan, seems like it would only be used on strangers: it’s a clear plastic folder with a chart to estimate the breast size of a woman standing nearby you when viewed from the side.

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“Do they think we’re stupid?” McDonald’s Japan’s new, unappealing strawberry shortcake and donut

Much like the rest of the world, fast food in Japan is a war of franchises trying to one-up the other. When McDonald’s announced it was getting rid of large-sized fries, Lotteria announced they’d give customers “whatever size they wanted.” When McDonald’s was struggling with the morning crowd, Mos Burger seized the opportunity to strike by offering a traditional Japanese breakfast.

Now that Mister Donut has upped the ante by rolling out a strawberry-chocolate-marshmallow pizza, McDonald’s has answered back with its new strawberry whipped cream donut and shortcake. Who will emerge the victor? Well, so far, it’s looking pretty one-sided.

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Japanese netizens stare at red dot for 30 seconds, freak out when they see what happens

Quite often Japan is ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to things like technology, convenience stores, and even shoes. But surprisingly it can lag behind everyone else in the most random areas.

This time around, Japanese Twitter users have only recently discovered “the negative photo illusion,” where you stare at a photo for 30 seconds, look away, and see something “magic.” If you’ve seen this before, don’t spoil it for the thousands of Japanese Twitter users going crazy over it. And if you haven’t seen this before, well then click to see more! You’ve been missing out for years.

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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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