Train enthusiasts gone wild! Are Japan’s train photographers losing their social graces?

Train enthusiasts gone wild! Are Japan’s train photographers losing their social graces?

Back in the day you might have called them “train otaku” but they would have preferred “tetsudo fan” a Japanese translation of the British “railfan” label for those who enjoy riding, viewing, and appreciating everything about railway transportation.

Around the turn of the millennium a new Japanese term for train buffs arose: tetsu (iron).  The name also has many derivatives such as “tetsuko” for a female train enthusiast, and “hitetsu” (non-ferrous) for people who are train laymen. Two main groups of tetsu are noritetsu (iron riders) and toritetsu (iron filmers).

The latter of these two are the focus now, as there has been an increasingly troubling trend of rude and dangerous behavior from what many would assume to be the tranquil hobby of train photography. The following are five examples.

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Japan Post assembles motorcycle gang to deliver New Year’s cards

Japan Post assembles motorcycle gang to deliver New Year’s cards

As you might expect, people in Japan don’t send out Christmas cards. When you’re spending the month of December preparing for the 25th, the most romantic day of the year in Japan, who has the time to write cards for a foreign holiday? Instead, people from Sapporo to Naha send nengajyo, traditional New Year’s postcards. When every single card is guaranteed to be delivered on the first of the year (if sent out by December 25), the post office has to get serious. What better way than with an army of motorcycle-riding postal workers?

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Romance tips for the guys: 10 reasons why ladies love a Ghibli gent

Romance tips for the guys: 10 reasons why ladies love a Ghibli gent

Ghibli’s influence on both Japanese and global culture is hard to understate. The animation studio’s films are loved by young and old, male and female, and nearly anyone who’s ever even heard of anime. So, is it any surprise that women love the gentlemen that appear in Ghibli movies? Not really.

And if you’re feeling unlucky in love, there’s nothing better than some advice from women themselves. So read on, guys, for some Ghibli-inspired tips on impressing the ladies!

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Study reveals too much Internet and video games is bad for your grades

Study reveals too much Internet and video games is bad for your grades

How much time do you spend on the Internet every day? An hour? Less? If so, great for you! For the rest of us Internet addicts, there’s a little bit of bad news: The Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, or more briefly the Monbusho or MEXT, and the National Institute for Educational Policy, or NIER, have released their results of a study into the impact of Internet use on scholastic performance. The results were not particularly surprising, unfortunately.

If you’re thinking all your hours spent looking at doge memes (“Wow! Such tests! Much knowledge! So smarts!”) and pictures of Taiwanese McDonald’s employees were hurting your grades, well, unfortunately, there’s a very good chance that you’re right!

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Celebrate the Year of the Horse with a creepy horse mask

Celebrate the Year of the Horse with a creepy horse mask

It’s 2014, which means it’s time to say “sayonara” to the snake and holler a great big “hello” to the horse. The year’s been off to a pretty boring start, so we’re hoping to liven up the first few days of January with a photo gallery featuring animals and humans wearing horse masks…it is the Year of the Horse afterall.

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Handsome Comiket newbie inspires other fans to clean up their act

Handsome Comiket newbie inspires other fans to clean up their act

Another winter Comiket has come and, unfortunately, gone. Though we have to say that fans probably welcome a break after a few days of hustling from booth to booth, and the convenience stores are most definitely glad for some respite. On the other hand, we can only imagine how overwhelmed the cleaning crews must be right now.

If only more fans were more like this sexy, young gentleman; the cleaning crews’ work would be cut by half!

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“Kind Chinese” vs “Greedy Chinese”: Efforts to save wild carp instantly nullified

“Kind Chinese” vs “Greedy Chinese”: Efforts to save wild carp instantly nullified

Wildlife conservation is never an easy task. Too many obstacles stand in the way, such as modernization, human activity, pollution, and climate changes, just to name a few.

A group of kind citizens bought 800 live carp, releasing them into the Yellow River in China in hopes of rejuvenating the dwindling numbers of the native species, but little did they expect the fish to flow straight into fishing nets of the greedy fellowmen waiting downstream.

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This Disney lingerie will make you feel like a princess

This Disney lingerie will make you feel like a princess

It seems like Japan has all the cool lingerie. That notion popped into our heads the moment we saw Sailor Moon bras and panties. Now we feel it even more with the discovery of Disney princess lingerie with designs inspired by the dresses of Belle, Cinderella, Aurora, and Rapunzel.

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Samsung offers us TV the way it’s meant to be seen: on a 110-inch monster screen

Samsung offers us TV the way it’s meant to be seen: on a 110-inch monster screen

You know that feeling when you’re watching Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and think to yourself, “this is great, but I really wish I could see Lisa Vanderpump’s face seven times its actual size”?

As luck would have it, just a few days ago, Samsung began selling a 110-inch UltraHD4K monster of a TV. That means your dreams can be a reality as long as you live in the right place and have the necessary funds–and we have a feeling it’d be totally worth it because as well as boasting amazing picture quality, this thing is absolutely enormous.

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We purchase a Starbucks Lucky Bag, makes us look at the big picture

We purchase a Starbucks Lucky Bag, makes us look at the big picture

A New Year’s Tradition in Japan is the fukubukuro (lucky bag) sold in most businesses in the country. Basically it’s a bag full of merchandise sold at a fixed price, but the catch is you don’t know what’s inside. For example, last your our reporter waited eight days to get an Apple fukurobuko only to get some measly accessories, while the guy in line behind him scored a MacBook Air (don’t worry the story had a happy ending, and this year turned out a lot better).

This year our food reporter Kuzo got a Starbucks lucky bag in hopes of some high quality coffee and related gear. Did fortune smile on him? Let’s find out.

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Bras and panties for men – Online retailer in Japan offers men the chance to feel pretty

Bras and panties for men – Online retailer in Japan offers men the chance to feel pretty

When we first laid eyes on the following photos, we thought they were part of some kind of elaborate joke, but our Japanese sister site Pouch has it on good authority that one online retailer is now selling bras, panties and even silky nightgowns that, despite looking exactly like something you’d find in a lady’s bedroom drawer, are actually intended for men.

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This Apple store gave away 15 Macbook Airs, stacks of iPads and accessories in “lucky bags” this morning

This Apple store gave away 15 Macbook Airs, stacks of iPads and accessories in “lucky bags” this morning

It’s January 2 here in Japan, and for most major stores and savvy consumers alike, that can mean only one thing: fukubukuro! Literally meaning “lucky bag”, fukubukuro give stores a chance to bundle items together – some great, some not so great – to sell off at a massively discounted rate and make room for incoming stock. The catch? Customers have no idea what they’re buying until after they’ve handed over their cash. Usually, though, they get far more than what they pay for.

For larger companies like Apple, lucky bags are also a great opportunity to drum up a little additional publicity and get people lining up outside their stores hoping for the chance to buy one. Ever the Mac and iPhone fan, our reporter extraordinaire Mr. Sato was there to grab some swag for himself.

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Five of Japan’s most unique snow-covered hot spring bathing sites

Five of Japan’s most unique snow-covered hot spring bathing sites

If you’ve ever experienced a soak in a hot outdoor spring, or rotenburo, in the middle of the snow, you’ll know the incredible sensation of extreme cold and heat on your body is an experience that’s hard to beat. With the best of the snow still to come in January and February, we’ve found five of the best snow-covered hot spring destinations perfect for a weekend getaway. From water slides to goblin masks, this collection of winter snowscapes will help you beat the winter chill in the most unique way possible.

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Why does Japan love fictional characters so much?

Why does Japan love fictional characters so much?

A lot of surprising things about Japan actually have pretty simple explanations. People eat fish raw because it’s delicious that way. Public intoxication isn’t frowned upon because the publicly intoxicated are generally well-behaved, even when they are incoherent. And late-night TV features plenty of young female skin, because young males make up the vast majority of viewers in that time slot.

But what about Japan’s love affair with cute, fictional characters? How is it that lingerie based on Sailor Moon sells out in a day? Or that a salaryman can pull out his cell phone with a strap featuring a chubby regional mascot and nobody bats an eye?

Scholars and commentators point to two of the strongest forces in shaping society: religion, and business.

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Nullify your New Year’s weight loss resolution with Year of the Horse roll cake

Nullify your New Year’s weight loss resolution with Year of the Horse roll cake

In Japan, 2014 will be another “Horse Year” on the Japanese zodiac calendar. Last year, Japan celebrated the snake, which is said to bring wisdom and good monetary fortune to businesses. The horse, however, brings leadership, good business partnerships, and instant failure to all weight loss resolutions in the form of this adorable customized roll cake from Tokyo’s renowned Rihga Royal Hotel.

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Saitama man sues police after getting pulled over for picking his ears while driving, wins about three bucks

Saitama man sues police after getting pulled over for picking his ears while driving, wins about three bucks

In the middle of this month, 41-year-old Kazunori Terashima must have felt some sense of satisfaction as his bankbook showed a transfer of 350 yen (US$3.33) from the Saitama Public Safety Commission. After struggling against the police for two and a half years over an improper traffic stop he had finally won his inalienable right to clean his ear in traffic.

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Thomas the Tank Engine locomotive coming to Japan in 2014!

Thomas the Tank Engine locomotive coming to Japan in 2014!

Thomas the Tank Engine has a huge following in Japan. Known here as Kikansha Tomasu, literally Tank Engine Thomas, the cheeky train and his group of hard-working friends are so popular they even have their own amusement park and a hotel dedicated to them with unique, train carriage-themed rooms. Now Japanese fans are looking forward to their biggest present yet: a chance to ride on a fully-working Thomas the Tank Engine steam locomotive. Set to take passengers down the hills and round the bends of the Oigawa Line in Shizuoka Prefecture, this is a really useful engine we adore!

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Happy New Year from the RocketNews24 Team!

Happy New Year from the RocketNews24 Team!

As 2013 comes to a close, all of us at RocketNews24 have been taking time to reflect on the past 12 months. We’ve gone through a lot of changes as a site and staff and we’re all so grateful for our steadily growing readership. Most of all, we’re proud to have brought you an entire year’s worth of funny, interesting, and at times downright crazy news from Japan and Asia. Looking back, 2013 was our biggest year yet and we hope for your continued support of our small site of translator/writers who just can’t get enough of Japan.

Wishing you all a wonderful 2014 and thanks for being the best bunch of readers our humble site could ever hope for! Here’s to a wonderful new year filled with even more dancing Tokyo granniesotter handshakes, and Mr. Sato adventures…and of course a bit of Japanese language and culture sprinkled in for good measure!

Love always and forever,

The RocketNews24 Team

Image: 58 Pic

The newest member of the Sailor Moon cast: Iron Man!?

The newest member of the Sailor Moon cast: Iron Man!?

One of the most iconic scenes from the recent Iron Man films is that of the Jarvis-infused suit attaching itself to Tony Stark as the billionaire walks, falls, or just stands around looking sexy. It might be one of the coolest ways of getting dressed in the history of cinema, but, if we’re being honest, we always thought something could be done to make it appeal a bit more to shojo anime fans.

Well, thanks to a team of South Korean college students, our dreams have been answered…and we can finally find out what a Sailor Moon-style Iron Man transformation would look like. Spoiler alert: Freaking amazing!

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Survey suggests the top sounds of 2013 in Japan

Survey suggests the top sounds of 2013 in Japan

Let’s see… We got Amazon sales, YouTube videos, pet breeds, video games, and search terms. What else can we rank up for this newest of new years?

How about something a little less quantifiable like sounds? Rion Co. asked 1,000 Japanese people what sounds linger most in their minds when looking back at 2013. Two years ago, the sounds of the Olympics were stuck in people’s heads. A year before that it was the Tohoku Earthquake. Now, here are the 10 most resonant sounds of 2013.

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