Mike

With nothing better to do in his native Ohio, Mike took a leave of absence from all responsibilities in life and came to Japan for the first time in 2006. After several years of what amounted to an extended vacation with occasional Japanese lessons, circumstances led Mike to finally settle down in Tokyo and get serious about life in 2009. He’s worked at magazines, a Japanese ad agency, and currently works in the entertainment industry. He also co-founded and writes for the humorous Japan news website Tokyodesu.com.

All Stories by Mike

Watch out, guys! This sumo stadium seat’s got teeth

As with a lot of very traditional, very storied sports like bullfighting or, I don’t know, bocce ball, sumo wrestling tends to attract an older demographic of spectators. In fact, kids these days aren’t even really all that interested in sumo, probably because of its near endless pre-fight ritual that often lasts many times longer than the quick, 30-second payoff of the actual bout.

But old folks, well, they’ve got all the time in the world and really love all the old-timey belly slapping and posturing, so it’s pretty common when you watch sumo on TV or even go to the stadium yourself to see the stadium filled with octogenarians. And with some older folks being a little on the forgetful side, we’d imagine there’s a large variety of forgotten items left in stadium seats…

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We brave fastballs from the world’s fastest (and most terrifying) pitching machine

If there were ever going to be some kind of cheesy, baseball-themed horror movie, we’re almost certain the mechanical antagonist would be this Shizuoka Prefecture pitching machine – the world’s fastest at a pitching speed of 230 km/h (143 mph) – which would probably be depicted firing a fastball directly through the torso of some cocky coed.

Record-setting and somewhat terrifying? You bet we had to go and take a shot at hitting one of those blazingly fast pitches. Well, like, not us. We’re too young and handsome to die. We sent one of our Japanese-language writers, instead.

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Someone help this poor, dying cat! Oh, wait, never mind 【Trollcats】

A Japanese Twitter user was in for a gruesome surprise on Thursday when, while out getting some fresh air, he stumbled across an exceedingly unfortunate cat that appeared to have been heinously murdered in the streets (perhaps by some Bad Rats).

The doomed feline was lying on its side near what appears to be a parking lot, with copious amounts of “blood spatter” forming a grisly trail to the poor kitty.

But, there’s more to this crime scene than meets the eye.

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New JPEG image enlargening software is actually a bigger deal than it sounds

Maybe this is an Internet writer problem and all you people with real jobs won’t understand, but a major snag we often run into in this line of work is not being able to find images of the right size and/or copyright status.

A lot of the most relevant, high quality images tend to belong to wire services and newspapers, while pulling stuff from the less copyright-protected corners of the net is kind of a crapshoot; you might find a beautiful pic that’s perfect for your story, but then again you might also discover that the only remotely related image that you can find is a thumbnail that’s only clearly visible under a magnifying glass.

Now, however, there is a solution!

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Win props and Survey Corps uniform from Attack on Titan film just by test-driving a Subaru!

It looks like car manufacturer Subaru has their hands on some neat swag that was used on set for the upcoming Attack on Titan live-action film and, for some reason, they’re willing to just hand it off to one lucky Subaru test-driver.

You don’t need to own a Subaru or even like Subaru to be eligible to win an authentic Survey Corps uniform actually worn by a character in the film, plus an actual, “working” 3-Dimensional Maneuver Gear set – the piston-operated grappling hook setup that Survey Corps heroes sport in their fight against the series’ titular titans.

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Hero lady apparently saves guy from groping accusations by posing as girlfriend

Japan is pretty famous for its packed trains that invite occasional chikan (groping incidents). Luckily, in light of improving rights for women in Japan, the law of late tends to come down pretty hard on train gropers. Assuming a victim or a witness to such a crime speaks up about it, a perpetrator typically faces immediate arrest at the next train station and can probably expect to do some jail time.

While this system works pretty well for the most part, it’s not unheard of for some unlucky guys to face career and life-destroying consequences after being falsely accused of groping. One Japanese Twitter user, in fact, posted a series of Tweets detailing a close call he had himself, relating that he was almost certainly destined for the slammer if he hadn’t been saved by the alleged victim herself.

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These rad, super-rare cutting knives are (presumably) for cooking

If you’re gonna slay a dragon, you might as well do it in style. May we suggest these crazily cool-looking cutting knives that only need to be sharpened every 25 years?

You read that right: These knives will keep their edge for an astonishing 25 years – a quarter of your entire life, if you’re lucky, and five times as long as your passing interest in cooking that you took up to impress that one girl in college who was really into kale and organic, grass-fed wagyu beef.

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Six-passenger van stopped by Chinese traffic officials… for carrying 51 passengers

As much as we try not to generalize or stereotype specific countries and regions here at RocketNews24, the glut of bizarre news stories coming out of China these days makes us feel pretty justified in our feelings that living there must be just a non-stop parade of crazy events.

And here we go again with another Chinese news story that literally sounds like an surreal circus clown act. Just wait until you see this video.

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Run for the hills! “Breakup Prevention Kits” complete with condom hole-pokers on sale in Japan

Hey, guys! So… sex! Pretty great, right? Feels good. Increases feelings of closeness and intimacy with your partner. Relieves stress. Probably lengthens your lifespan, too, unless you’re into something super kinky. Yup, intercourse is one of the few enjoyable miracles of being alive that we get to experience in this dark, lonely existence as inconsequential pinpricks amidst a vast and uncaring cosmos.

Too bad I’ll never be doing it again. Not now that I’ve learned this Japanese “Breakup Prevention Kit,” complete with discreet condom hole-poker, exists anyway.

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Japanese farming simulator rewards players with actual crops delivered to their door

Remember back in the day when all of your older relatives and the kids you knew from school but never speak to any more would send you invites to play Farmville? Remember how seeing a new notification on your Facebook toolbar that just turned out to be yet another invitation to play f’$%ng Farmville would fill you with impotent rage?

Well think about how different your reaction might have been if your “friends” hadn’t been backhandedly asking you to help them raise their not-actually-existent virtual ducks and cabbages, but were in fact asking you to help them put real, actual food in their mouths.

One Japanese startup, Telefarm, is hoping that the future is online games that reward players for good performance with actual products delivered to their door. And they’ve been running a farming simulator prototype for a little over a year now to test that model’s feasibility.

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Even in relatively clean Japan, public toilets are a special kind of gross. The kind of place where people go to, obviously, relieve themselves, but all too often to show off their artistic skills (or lack thereof) with graffiti, wipe snot on the wall, and have the occasional illicit encounter.

But in one particular public toilet in China, something especially nefarious must have happened, because this Zengzhou, Henan Province bathroom appears to be haunted by the discarded remains of a partially deflated sex doll.

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You know what? An Alice in Wonderland/Spirited Away mashup actually kind of works!

Artist and T-shirt designer Saqman, who, despite his pen-name inadvertently reminding this writer of genitals, actually seems like a pretty wholesome guy, recently put together this spiffy and kind of spookily appropriate-looking mashup of Spirited Away and Alice in Wonderland, and it really works on a level we never really thought about!

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There’s a rather pedestrian explanation for these gravity-defying traffic cones

Imagine yourself out for a hike. You’re feeling pretty good about yourself; you’re about to crest the top of a pretty tough mountain, the cool spring air on your skin, the wind blowing through your hair, the traffic cones towering above your head.

Wait, back up… Traffic cones?

There’s been a spate of gravity-defying traffic cone sightings throughout Japan, if photos making the rounds on social media are to be believed. But, there may actually be a pretty reasonable explanation for them…

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New service lets you advertise on women’s breasts in four languages

Are you a business owner? Do you have a product or service you’re selling, but aren’t sure how to market it? Is your target demographic pervy weirdos?

Tittygram has your number! For a nominal fee, Tittygram allows you to advertise basically anything you want on the breasts of an attractive, busty woman! Once again, the crossroads of porn and the Internet have yielded a major marketing innovation!

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“Nintendo 64!!!!” meme kid grew up to be super excited about everything, even Taco Bell

Remember Nintendo 64 Kid? That tiny ball of energy that got so worked up about his Nintendo 64 Christmas present that his ecstatic reaction, so over-the-top that people actually thought he was possessed, became an Internet meme even though the footage was captured before Internet memes were really even a thing?

Well, Nintendo 64 Kid is all grown up and it looks like his meme fame has turned him into an overall cool dude who just gets excited about everything, even the disgusting “meat” of questionable provenance purveyed by Taco Bell.

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Concerned mother calls police on saw-wielding man… who was just doing some landscaping

Not that we’ve ever actually done anything even remotely resembling it, but we imagine landscaping is some pretty hard work. Imagine, though, how much more difficult it could be if you’re trying to prune your trees while dozens of police officers and a search helicopter descend on your location like you’re in the world’s worst garden-tending-themed reality show.

Recently, one Shiga Prefecture man found out just how bad the seemingly mundane task of cutting a few branches could get when a mother, picking up her child from a nearby preschool, spotted the saw-wielding, 80-year-old man hanging out in some trees and promptly called the police.

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Could this creepy old guy actually be…a robot?!

This weird old guy was spotted at the AsiaWorld Expo, an electronics expo held in Hong Kong recently, creepily undressing people with his eyes, as he stared lasciviously at passersby like some kind of RocketNews24 writer on a weekend bender.

Just as people were about to call the police, we presume, it was revealed that the creepy old guy, whose first name is, inexplicably, Ham, is actually just a robot that happens to look like a filthy old lecher…which kind of is maybe almost creepier.

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NHK host, bullied for being “too busty”, quits, sticks it to the man with new photo book

Apparently, the Okinawan branch of oft-despised broadcaster NHK (Nihon Hoso Kyokai or Japan Broadcasting Corporation) had been receiving complaints, starting around 2008, from concerned parents about a morning host who was boasting some exceptionally large assets and making men and teenage boys feel all funny and conflicted while tucking in to their morning cereal.

Former announcer Tomoka Takenaka says viewers would regularly call in to complain about her (Japan size) G-cup breasts, with such gems as, “I can’t concentrate on the news [with those things in my face]!” and “It’s not good for kids to see [huge breasts] first thing in the morning”.

After additional on-set bullying from co-workers, Takenaka decided she’d had enough and called it quits to ironically pursue a career where her endowment would be more appreciated: modeling.

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There might be a Jedi running for mayor of Shibuya

So we all know that Tokyo-area political races can attract some pretty, um… eccentric candidates.

We’ve got perennial Tokyo Governor candidates like Mac Akasaka, representing his own Smile Party (often while dressed like Superman), leader and probably the only member of the World Economic Community Party, Mr. The Only God Matayoshi Mitsuo Jesus Christ, and Rock ‘n Roll Samurai – aka TOKMA – whose big shtick is to dress like a samurai and play war-mongering rock ‘n roll music.

But, despite their crazy antics and lofty-sounding, self-appointed nicknames, these men are all mere Earthlings. What Tokyo needs is a true leader. A man of stellar moral character. Someone who can protect Tokyo from the inevitable threat posed by evil empires from other galaxies. In other words, Tokyo needs a Jedi. And that’s why Mutsuto Imajo gets our vote for Shibuya Mayor!

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This bananas Japanese commercial series is concentrated visual madness

If you were to listen only to the ramblings of Internet users, you might think that Japanese TV is a nonstop procession of bonkers commercials, ridiculous pornographic game shows and people in little windows reacting to other people reacting to delicious food.

Of course, that’s not entirely true. There are actually a fair few TV shows that cover serious subject matter, there are perfectly normal commercials that don’t induce madness and/or seizures, and sometimes there are actually shows not related at all to food (actually, that last bit may be a lie).

So where does Japan’s reputation for crazy television entertainment come from? Why, from the rare but totally bananas stuff that somehow actually finds its way on air from time to time, like this ludicrous television commercial series that makes absolutely no sense at all.

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