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

Awesome new electric motorcycle looks like something out of “Akira”‘s Neo Tokyo

Despite working a boring office job and having lived in Tokyo for long enough that not even schoolgirl uniforms, random cosplayers or the neon wash of Kabukicho really give me pause anymore, there are still moments when I look around at all the futuristic bizarreness and think, Is this real life? Or am I living in the dystopian anime world of Akira?

Maybe it’s the abnormally tall buildings, the dingy arcades that look like they’re right out of that early Akira scene. Maybe it’s the male hosts with their impeccable dress and gravity-defying hair, or the life-size, moving Gundam of Odaiba. Or maybe it’s because every once in a while a vehicle like this new electric motorcycle will come roaring down the street like its giving chase to an escaped Replicant or something.

Read More

Amateur comic strip perfectly captures “personalities” of moe-fied gaming consoles

The “console wars” have become so complicated lately. Unlike the glory days of Nintendo Vs. Sega, there are now a good half-dozen or more consoles to choose from, with exclusivity deals between publishers and console makers forcing hardcore gamers to go all-in and purchase three or four consoles just to play all the games they want to.

On top of all that, Sony wants its PlayStation 4 to murder the Xbox One with a sword, the Wii U is kind of promiscuous, and the PS Vita suffers from severe depression.

Wait, sorry… We’ve been reading too many of these comics that perfectly moe-fy the various consoles.

Read More

Bizarre video series gives pervy weirdos a glimpse of girls’ panties in very specific situations

If you’re a long-time RocketNews24 reader, you probably don’t need anyone to tell you that Japan and underage girls in skirts have a… complicated relationship.

The sexualization of schoolgirl uniforms is far from a Japan-only thing, but no country is quite so infamous as Japan when it comes to sexualizing youth; as many readers may have learned when we told you about that crazy movie about a kid shaving a girl’s leg hair to prepare her for the swim team, or when we brought you tips from a famous Japanese photographer for taking pictures of schoolgirl be-skirted legs.

But perhaps nothing we’ve introduced before pushes the envelope of good taste quite as much as this video series of schoolgirls trying and failing to prevent their panties from showing in very specific situations.

Read More

Want to see this impressively huge AR Titan? No problem, just fire up your personal drone

The hit anime Attack on Titan has really captured Japan’s imagination. For some reason, the idea of giant naked people eating regular sized humans really resonates with the Japanese psyche. So, it logically followed that various entities have attempted to recreate the scale of the series’ titular Titans in real life. Through Universal Studios’ impressive statues to, of course, a porn set and beyond, a lot of attempts have come close to capturing the pants-wetting terror of seeing a Titan in real life.

But none have come as close to a true-to-scale Titan as this private (!!!) augmented reality (AR) hobbyist who has managed to project a massive AR Titan dancing giddily in the Japanese countryside. And all you’ll need to see it for yourself is a multi-thousand dollar personal drone. You know, no big deal.

Read More

Facepalm News: Japanese Twittersphere thinks Tokyo Disneyland’s Alice might be a (male) imposter

The Japanese Internet thinks there’s something strange in Wonderland these days, if a handful of photos doing the rounds on Twitter are any indication.

A Disneyland enthusiast – of which there are a great many in Japan – recently uploaded several close-up photos of Alice in Wonderland‘s Alice standing atop a parade float with the open question, “Am I the only one who thinks Alice might be a man?”

Read More

Japanese Netizens (and the rest of the world) confused by America’s imperial measurement system

Last year, one of our Japanese reporters went on an extended visit to the United States. While he had plenty of nice things to say about the country, he also had some complaints, and, as an American myself, I can’t really say that I blame the guy. Having to drive literally everywhere unless you live in one of maybe three specific cities is a major hassle and a huge drain on your budget, certain services seem staffed entirely by people who are barely even aware of your existence or what’s going on more than a few inches on either side of their smartphone, and yes, the police are a little on the brutal side and drunk on their own power a lot of the time no matter how you slice it (annnnnd… now I’m on an NSA watchlist. Hi, guys!).

But, there’s one complaint our reporter had that I just can’t relate to: how crazy America’s systems of measurement are.

I mean, I grew up with feet, inches, pounds and whatnot, so I can’t really speak to our reporter’s profound confusion. Is it really so bad? We had to find out, so we donned our troll-proof vests and dove deep into the smelly, dark recesses of 2chan to see what other Japanese Netizens thought of America’s wacky measurement systems:

Read More

Survey asks Japanese people where they’d most like to “live” after death

Whenever people ask me what I want to happen after I die, I always tell them I want a Super Mario-themed funeral where, at the end of the ceremony, the Mario death music plays and my casket is launched a few feet up in the air, then allowed fall down into the earth. I’ve always thought that would be a pretty cool way for friends and family to send me off, but the actual location of the funeral – or even really what happened to my body afterwards – has never been all that important to me.

Westerners have surprisingly little ritual when it comes to death. There’s usually a wake or a funeral, and then, if you’re lucky, every couple of years Solid Snake comes by to stand in front of your grave, look grim and deliver a two-hour monologue about the horrors of war. The Japanese, on the other hand, make a point to visit and pay respects to the dead every year through somewhat ritualized ohakamairi, so the location of your grave is an important thing to consider.

So important, apparently, that specialty online grave retailer Ohakamagokorokakaku (“ohakamago”) is considering offering a service to move the graves of loved ones, and recently conducted a survey among Japanese people asking: “Where would you most like to ‘live’ after death?”

Read More

Oblivious tourists wander back into Japanese airport’s departure area, mass chaos ensues

Delays at airports are often inevitable due to congested air traffic or technical difficulties, or because the evil cabal of airline operators deemed it time for more delays. Whatever the reason, it’s certainly frustrating to have to wait an extra hour on the tarmac while children scream, people shuffle around, and someone possibly has an Alec Baldwin-esque outburst.

But these woes are nothing compared to what people at Japan’s Naha Airport endured when three tourists accidentally wandered back into the departures area and single-handedly put the entire airport on lockdown March 9.

Read More

Japanese “History Geek Girls” snapping up copies of mega-popular book about Japanese swords

I think we can all agree that it doesn’t take much to convince people that Japanese swords are all-around pretty cool. The sweet, curved blade of the katana just has a natural artistic beauty, plus we hear they’re pretty good at slicing fruit.

But apparently Japanese teen and 20-something boys these days just aren’t that into it. Girls, on the other hand, seem to be driving a renewed interest in the historical weapons, if sales of a new series of books are any indication.

Read More

“60-Minute Candy” is closest we’ll get to Wonka’s “Everlasting Gobstopper,” good for diets, too!

A new diet product has been catching on in Japan recently, despite it paradoxically being basically a giant ball of sugar that seems like it came straight out of Willy Wonka’s fictitious candy factory.

The “60-Minute Candy” is increasingly being talked about on the Twitterverse by Japanese women who are passing word on to each other that the long-lasting lollipop is great for suppressing cravings for even less healthy alternatives.

Read More

Taiwanese student self-immolates after argument with father over video games

A Taiwanese college student tragically chose to set himself on fire recently after an apparently pretty harsh argument with his father over video games.

Xue Zhenjun, a student of Taiwan’s Chienkuo University of Technology, reportedly chose to end his own life in one of the more horrific ways imaginable because his father told him to get some sleep instead of staying up all night playing an online game.

Read More

Suntory encourages responsible drinking with bizarre guide to declining party invitations

There are two types of people that, no matter how much they love the culture, are ultimately going to have a bad time in Japan: Vegetarians, and teetotalers.

Basically every meal in Japan has some type of meat in it, and the more strict you are with your vegetarian/vegen diet, the more difficult it’s going to be to find something to eat. Even supposedly vegetarian options sometimes contain pork or chicken broth or other sneaky animal product additions. And when it comes to those who choose not to drink, or can’t because of medical conditions, it’s almost as hard to get by, if not harder.

Thankfully, Suntory is here to help. Sort of.

Read More

In Neo Tokyo this weekend? Check out the bizarre “Bartkira” project exhibition

Think of the two greatest animation achievements in history least likely to go together, and you might come up with an incongruous mishmash of The Simpsons and Akira.

Perhaps precisely because of the way these two animated works (with the exception of “Treehouse of Horror”) couldn’t be further apart from each other in style and execution, the “Bartkira” project – which mixes characters from the series and anime film into each others’ universes and animation styles – has been a huge success.

And it’s coming to Tokyo’s Gallery Hakusen on March 7 and 8; this very weekend at time of writing.

Read More

We visit a reasonably-priced sushi shop so good you’ll forget all about that “Jiro” guy

With a whole documentary devoted to him and a coveted place in the Michelin Guide, the (reportedly) rather ornery owner of renowned sushi shop Sushi Jiro has ruled the sushi world with a nori-wrapped fist for some time now. Jiro’s tiny shop, located in an underground mall in Ginza, commands about US$300 per 30-minute “omakase” meal and reservations need to be made months in advance – which is a pretty huge investment for a meal.

That daunting investment seems downright silly, though, when you realize that you can get incredible, world-class sushi in your maw for around a third of the cost just down the road!

Read More

Super Frieza looks pretty blinged out in newest Dragon Ball Z film

A week or two ago, we brought you news of the character cast list for the newest Dragon Ball Z film, which is set to hit theaters in Japan later this year. The film will be the second personally overseen by series creator Akira Toriyama, which is great news, but the character list reveal might have struck some as kind of lukewarm.

It only listed the good guys, after all, and not a single one of them was an entirely new character – although a handful made first appearances in the last Toriyama film.

Today, though, we have some actual surprising information to share with you about Dragon Ball Z: Fukkatsu no Z: Frieza, the film’s main villain, will be sporting a “Super” version of his own this time out, and it might remind you a lot of the Monkey Idol from Indiana Jones.

Read More

Three-year-old girl perfectly recites martial arts school’s student creed, wields tiny fists of death

Don’t be fooled by this tiny martial artist’s chubby little fists and small stature – she is almost certainly destined to be kicking ass as some kind of martial arts-themed crime fighter (maybe as, “The Taekwon-Do-Gooder”) years from now. We’re guessing she’ll probably get started with all the ass-kicking right around the age of seven.

We’re certain of all of this because we recently saw the girl – who is not named because it would interfere with her keeping a secret identity later on – absolutely destroy her martial arts school’s student creed, reciting it word-for-word in her adorable little gi and punching the air with her tiny fists with the conviction we’re only able to muster when the peanut butter jar is just slightly out of reach and we really want a sandwich.

Read More

Here’s a newly-revealed character list for the 2015 Dragon Ball Z movie to geek out over

Much to the delight of series fans, Dragon Ball Z is still going strong in the form of feature-length animated films released sporadically over the years since the original series ended its run way back when people still wore Hammer pants and JNCOs.

Fans were surely pants-wettingly ecstatic, then, to learn recently that the 19th feature-length film in the series will hit theaters in 2015 and will apparently be only one of the two films personally supervised by series creator and lover of food-themed character names, Akira Toriyama.

Now more details are being released about the film, Dragon Ball Z: Fukkatsu no F, in the form of a detailed character cast sheet.

Read More

Did you know Japan actually provides some of its own supply of this surprising natural resource?

It’s no wonder that nuclear energy has kind of been dominating the news about Japan ever since the March, 2011 earthquake and nuclear disaster.

As one of Japan’s proudest domestic resources, Japan has long been an advocate for nuclear energy. Even following the 3/11 disaster, many domestic factions still push for even more nuclear energy in a country that largely imports many of its resources.

But there’s at least one more resource that Japan is capable of producing energy domestically and, in fact, it’s been doing just that for a while.

Read More

Guy’s grandpa out-nerds us all, hand-writes insanely comprehensive Dragon Quest 5 game guide

When I was a kid, all I wanted was for my dad to play Mario together with me. I remember nagging him for hours about it until he finally put down his book or whatever it was he was doing, sighed theatrically and begrudgingly played a round or two of that kinda stupid versus mode from the original games. Needless to say, I destroyed him pretty much every time.

But, even as a kid, I had a vague notion that video games were something kids and nerds did and real adults did things like go to work, cook food for kids on demand and make weird, embarrassing noises behind closed doors with other adults. And thus, as much I enjoyed playing games with Dad, if I had ever discovered that my old man had been stashing an insanely detailed set of handwritten notes serving as a strategy guide for his favorite Japanese RPG, I would have been the first to call him a nerd and give him a huge power wedgie and a swirly for being such a poindexter.

But that’s exactly what this Japanese gamer discovered when he stumbled upon his grandpa’s handwritten Dragon Quest 5 strategy notes.

Read More

High-speed photos of waves remind us of certain famous Japanese wood-block print

It’s almost guaranteed to adorn the walls of every study abroad student in Japan, plus the living room of your worldly, “enlightened” friend that minored in East Asian studies.

Of course, we’re talking about “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” – legendary ukiyo-e woodblock painter Hokusai’s most renowned work that depicts a fearsome-looking wave battering old-timey fishing boats off the coast of Kanagawa, Japan.

With its claw-like foam signaling impending doom for the fisherman and other artistic flourishes, one would think that the wave depicted is strictly artistic license, but one French photographer has captured strikingly similar-looking waves in real life.

Read More

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. ...
  9. 23
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 18,631 other followers