Japan

The PS4 is selling like hot cakes all over the world…except in Japan. But why?

To say that gamers looked forward to the launch of the PlayStation 4 would be a huge understatement. The hype that built up in the months prior to the console’s November 2013 release date was nothing short of phenomenal, with over a million pre-orders being placed and Sony revealing that it had sold just as many units during the console’s first weekend at retail in the US alone.

Now, over a year after its release, Sony has announced that it has sold more than 20 million units to customers around the world. It’s not exactly an objective source, sure, but that’s still a lot of plastic boxes sitting under TVs. Of course, a huge chunk of those sales were gobbled up by Europe and North America, but we bet Japan – PlayStation’s homeland – also accounts for a fair slice of the pie chart, right?

Well, apparently not quite as much as you might expect…

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There’s a temple in Yamaguchi that keeps a dog as Chief Priest

Maru is an eight-year-old Kishu Inu from Wakayama Prefecture, and by all reports he’s a bit of a grumpy old chap. But Maru’s cantankerousness has a little more bite to it than most guard dogs, because he also happens to be the chief priest of Yamaguchi City’s Toshunji temple!

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At last, the solution to a warm can of beer: A cup that chills its contents instantly

With all it does for us, it’s hard to find fault with beer. If you wanted to be nitpicky, though, you could point to the opinion held by many that its flavor rapidly worsens as the beverage gets warmer.

At the same time, most beer drinkers are averse to dilute their beer by tossing ice cubes into it. So what do you do when you’ve got a rogue can of beer you forgot to stick in the fridge or cooler? Simple, you pour it into this new cup that instantly chills any liquid inside of it.

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Mixing anime with travel — the ultimate girls’ Evangelion trip is happening in May!

If you have even a passing interest in Japanese pop culture, you’re probably aware that Neon Genesis Evangelion has been a long-standing hit anime series with a huge fan base. It’s been 18 years since it originally finished airing on TV, but the anime still has a strong following, with many female fans. Now, Japanese travel agency Musee Travel has come up with the perfect break from reality for such female Evangelion lovers — the “Evangelion Hakone Trip for Girls“!

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RocketNews24: The Book hits shelves on 25 March, Amazon pre-orders already open!

The year 2015 is officially the year of publishing here at RocketNews24. Readers of our Japanese sister site may already be aware that our reporters Mr. Sato, Hatori GO, and Takashi Harada have each released books in the past two months alone.

And that was all just a prelude to our grand release: The Secret of RocketNews24 (RocketNews24 No Himitsu). It’s a compilation of the Japanese website’s greatest hits along with all new exclusive content – all for the low, low price of 500 yen (US$4.13).

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Popstar nun Sister Cristina tries Japanese potato chips for first time, ranks them for us

Sister Cristina the nun popstar first came to Japan just the other day to promote her new album, give a small concert, and of course bestow some spiritual advice to questions taken from the audience.

One of those questions was about a man’s addiction to potato chips, and what he could do to overcome it. In suave sister-style, Sister Cristina advised him to try eating some other foods, and perhaps limit his chip intake, though she did mention that she is a fan of potatoes in all forms herself.

That set off a lightbulb in our heads, and we here at RocketNews24 wasted no time in sitting down with Sister Cristina to ask her the real hard-hitting question that everyone wants to know: would she be willing to try some Japanese chips and rank them for us? Watch the video after the jump!

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Awkward: Teacher tries to show his students space DVD, accidentally shows them porn instead

Sometimes it’s hard work being a teacher, especially when you’re passionate about a subject and your students couldn’t care less. No wonder some teachers find themselves just going through the motions and counting the days until the next school break.

But sometimes, being a little TOO passionate can be even worse than phoning it in. And that goes double when you fail to check your lesson material in advance and wind up sharing a little too much with your students, as one teacher in Japan learned when he tried to show his kids a science video but accidentally gave them a peak at his porn stash instead.

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Sonic Hour series returns with new portable device to make your beer foamy no matter where you go

Remember Takara Tomy A.R.T.S’ punnily-named product, the Sonic Hour (“hour” sounds similar to awa, or “bubbles” in Japanese) that we introduced you to two years ago? That device created a foamy head on a glass of beer in seconds, making it the perfect present for any beer lover in Japan.

Those same beer lovers now have cause to rejoice again because this time around, the Sonic Hour is back with a handy new portable version! 

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Japan’s Mos burger releases inaugural tower burger to celebrate new Tokyo Tower outlet opening

For years, fast food chain Lotteria has reigned supreme as the tried-and-tested purveyor of the loveable monstrosity known as the Tower Burger. Now it’s shouldering up to some heavy competition, as Japan’s most successful home-grown burger franchise, Mos Burger, is set to release a tower burger of their own. And it’s all in celebration of the opening of their newest location at Tokyo Tower.

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Planetarium holds Evangelion matchmaking event

In support of the “Project to Pierce the Moon With the Spear of Longinus,” which is the fastest-growing crowdfunding project in Japan, Linkbal is hosting an Evangelion singles mixer at the Planetarium Starry Cafe at Haneda Airport. It’s the perfect chance to gaze at the stars, all while finding your perfect otaku soulmate.

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Charge your phone with Mickey: Cute new Disney USB cables now on sale

You can recite nearly every Disney movie by heart. Disneyland is your second home. You’ve got Mickey and all of his friends adorning nearly every item you own. No doubt about it, you’re a Disney fan. Now there’s something more to add to your collection and let you show your love of the mouse: these cute new Mickey ear USB cables!

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Good times for gyaru – Fashion “bible” Koakuma Ageha is back!

There are so many fashion trends in Japan that it’s hard to keep up with them all. In the past you could walk into virtually any bookstore and see a ton of fashion magazines staring back at you, begging to teach you how to dress and why your eyeshadow is all wrong for your skin tone. But print media, especially magazines, has been struggling recently and many of these fashion guides have shut up shop over the past year, never again to inform the public of the latest styles or urge us all to buy crimson deck shoes.

But fear not! Much-loved fashion mag Koakuma Ageha is returning to print and it’s apparently better than ever. From now on, it will be easier than ever to find out what set of nails are “in” and which fake eyelashes are best! So when is the first new issue out?

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Edible H20: we try quivering water jelly sourced from holy mountains

We thought we’d found Japan’s purest dessert last year, following our discovery of an amazing water cake from Yamanashi. Now it turns out there’s something even purer – jelly made with water from Dewa Sanzan, three holy mountains in Yamagata.

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Traditionally dressed Japanese waitress runs so fast her kimono flies off in cheeky Wi-Fi advert

Kimono are beautiful, often brightly-coloured intricate works of art as well as being items of clothing. But if you’ve ever tried one on, you’ll know that the sensation is at first somewhat akin to being wrapped in a sleeping bag or heavy roll of carpet. Even walking in a kimono can take some getting used to, and it beats me how Kyoto’s Maiko are able to dance in those things.

But in this slightly naughty commercial by Japanese internet provider UQ-WIMAX, a kimono-clad waitress at a traditional Japanese restaurant actually manages to run so fast, her kimono goes flying off!

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“Otoko no ko” Satsuki tells her story, explains how Japan’s hospitals aren’t trans-ready

We’ve seen several gender stereotype-destroying otoko no ko (girl-boys) recently, from Kaoru Ishima who models as both a man and a woman, to Nong Poy the stunning transgender Thai actress.

The latest otoko no ko to take the internet by storm is Satsuki, a transgender woman who has a large online following, and has undergone sex reassignment surgery – a rarity in Japan. She blogs about her experience transitioning from a man to a woman, explaining her conflicts with Japan’s medical system, and how she eventually abandoned it altogether.

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Want to copy Sailor Moon’s hairstyle? This video will show you how

Whether you got into Sailor Moon through its English-language TV broadcast version and think of the main character as “Meatball Head” or you’re a Japanese original purist who calls them odango, there’s no denying that anime’s most famous magical girl has an instantly recognizable hairstyle. Not only is it iconic, it’s actually pretty cute too.

Even better, unlike many of anime’s most well-known looks, it’s pretty easy look to achieve in real life, as shown by this short instructional video of how to give yourself the Sailor Moon hairdo.

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Are you holding your chopsticks correctly? Chopstick Man will show you how 【Video】

For many of us born outside of Asia, eating with chopsticks is not a skill we’re taught from a young age, and is something many people may go their whole lives without mastering. In Japan, however, kids are started on chopsticks from as early as a year old, and whether or not a person holds their chopsticks correctly reflects on that person’s upbringing (because only a lazy, incompetent parent would allow their child to hold chopsticks like a heathen!).

Not to worry though–foreigners in Japan are given a lot of slack in the chopstick department, since it’s generally assumed that chopsticks are pretty much non-existent in the west. But even if you don’t know how to use chopsticks doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn how, and if you can use them, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re doing it correctly. That’s where Chopstick Man comes in, with his tutorial on the proper way to hold your hold your chopsticks!

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Since chocolate ramen was so good, we went back for … strawberry ramen! 【Taste Test】

Readers who saw our story about the chocolate ramen we tried last month were probably able to tell that we were quite impressed with the unusual noodle creation. So when we heard that the very same ramen shop Menya Musashi had come out with yet another singular ramen dish, you can bet our interest was piqued. This time, the ramen involved fruit — yes, we were ready to make another visit to their shop in Shinjuku to try their … strawberry ramen!

But do berries and ramen mix well? We were about to find out!

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Official Evangelion bath salts are just as crazy and mentally scarring as the anime itself

For such a bleak anime, the visuals of psychological sci-fi saga Evangelion can be incredibly colorful. There’s mecha pilot Rei’s ethereal blue hair, the vivid purple of Eva Unit 01, and the mysterious white liquid that adorns protagonist Shinji’s hand in the End of Evangelioon theatrical feature (though not in its broadcast version).

Even the sea has a surreal hue in the anime, as the cataclysmic events that precede its first episode have turned the waters of Earth’s oceans blood-red. But while the effect is striking enough that it’s hard to take your eyes off it, it turns out filling your bathtub up with one kind of Evangelion bath salts water doesn’t make it a particularly tempting place to take a soak.

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Make your best-tasting onigiri taste even better with this easy recipe! 【RocketKitchen】

Onigiri, or rice balls, are one of the easiest ways to dabble in Japanese cooking. It’s almost as easy to make homemade onigiri as it is to buy from a store. The popularity of the simple rice ball is so great, there is even a store that sells one from each of the 47 prefectures.

In the RocketKitchen, our aim is to show you the best way to make fabulous Japanese dishes right in your own home. This time, we’re going to share with you foolproof way to create the best-tasting onigiri you’ve ever made. Hope you’ve got some rice cooking–it’s time to level-up that onigiri!

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