Mr. Sato

Hard Ku**mon is here to put lazy mascots out of work with his creepy latex hugs

Hard Ku**mon is here to put lazy mascots out of work with his creepy latex hugs

Over the years the mascot industry in Japan has swelled considerably. An uncountable number of people in big-headed costumes currently represent the nation’s prefectures, cities, government offices and private companies. Then on top of all that we have independent mascots running around too like Funasshi and Teruhiko.

However, the editors at RocketNews24 feel they have come up with something that will bring the entire mascot world down to its knees. His name is Hard Ku**mon and he is prepared to do something that no other mascot has done before: actual labor.

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Funasshi’s unofficial mascot Satosshi grabs a pear burger and risks getting beaten up

Funasshi’s unofficial mascot Satosshi grabs a pear burger and risks getting beaten up

Those familiar with Japanese pop culture have probably come across the jiggly pear mascot Funasshi, and those living in Japan probably can’t escape his image on TV, T-shirts, and tea. The unofficial mascot of Funabashi City had a grassroots rise to fame which was very unique in the world of mascots and stands as an inspiration to many.

Our very own Mr. Sato stands as one of those inspired by the giant dancing fruit, and decided to emulate Funasshi’s success by becoming a self-starting mascot himself. Of course, what better thing to represent than Funasshi himself! So by donning yellow make-up and leotards, he transforms into Satosshi, the unofficial mascot of Funabashi’s unofficial mascot Funasshi.

First stop on his road to riches is Funabashi City where the legendary “Funasshi Burger” topped with a slice of pear is said reside. There couldn’t be a better place to get some exposure.

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Mr. Sato gives his first ever autograph, gets a broken heart in return

Mr. Sato gives his first ever autograph, gets a broken heart in return

Last year, our intrepid Japanese correspondent, Mr. Sato, basked in the limelight as he became the first person in Japan to buy a Docomo iPhone 5S. Now, with the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus going on sale, he’s determined to capture another five minutes of fame, so he’s been camping out in front of the Docomo store in Tokyo’s downtown Marunouchi district since four days ago.

Lining up so early meant a lot of lonely downtime, but recently Mr. Sato’s day was brightened when a young lady asked him for his autograph! At least, it was brightened for a moment, before he learned the sobering secret behind her request.

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N.Y. man’s Japanese T-shirt announces “I am not Sato,” we couldn’t agree more

N.Y. man’s Japanese T-shirt announces “I am not Sato,” we couldn’t agree more

Among RocketNews24’s bilingual writing team, you won’t find a single person who hasn’t, at some point, linguistically crammed their foot in their mouth (personally, I know I’ve gotten my knee and most of my thigh past my pearly whites on at least three separate occasions). So while we can definitely appreciate the humor involved in a strange language screw-up, we know we’re not immune to such things ourselves, and that the rest of the world can weird up its Japanese just as often as Japan stumbles over English.

Case in point: this man spotted napping on the subway in the U.S., who felt the need to inform his fellow passengers who can read Japanese that he is, in fact, not Mr. Sato.

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It’s all about the isopod – Company pushes gifts and fashion featuring weird, sexy marine bugs

It’s all about the isopod – Company pushes gifts and fashion featuring weird, sexy marine bugs

In Japan, where the market for character-based merchandise is intensely competitive, it’s not always easy to predict what’ll take off. Sure, it was easy to see Hello Kitty and Pikachu coming, since either one could serve as the accompanying illustration for the definition of “adorable” in the dictionary, but who’s going to be the next big star?

There’s a new dark horse entry to the character goods arena, with one company hoping Japanese consumers’ ravenous hunger for all things kawaii will lead them to embrace something so ugly it just might be cute, in the form of T-shirts, notebooks, and purses all featuring the humongous marine bug called the giant isopod.

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Your turn, Samsung – Mr Sato returns the Ice Bucket Challenge to Korea’s electronics giant【Video】

Your turn, Samsung – Mr Sato returns the Ice Bucket Challenge to Korea’s electronics giant【Video】

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is still going strong, thanks to its mix of suspense, physical comedy, and contributions for a worthy cause. Business and entertainment moguls from around the world have participated, and recently even inanimate objects have started taking part with Samsung’s Galaxy S5 smartphone being doused by the Korean conglomerate’s U.K. division.

As per the rules of the challenge, Samsung then exercised its right to pass the dare onto someone else, and it designated rival Apple’s iPhone 5s. A quick comparison of the spec sheets for the two competing phones has some people crying foul at singling out the iPhone 5s, though. Today, we’re offering Samsung a chance to make things right.

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Mr. Sato goes discount women’s clothes shopping and discovers a shocking secret

Mr. Sato goes discount women’s clothes shopping and discovers a shocking secret

One day, while Mr. Sato was off-duty, he was doing some shopping around Nakano Broadway in Tokyo. This shopping plaza is sometimes called a “mecca of subculture” for its various stores peddling old books and figures. Of course, Nakano Broadway has many other shops including grocery and household item stores.

In particular, the first floor is filled with women’s clothing shops selling items at rock-bottom prices. On a complete whim Mr. Sato steered into one shop boasting every item for only 575 yen (US$5.60). As if guided by a mysterious force, Mr. Sato entered this store. Little did he know that he was being guided… by the god of rock.

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We test our iPhone’s new protective sheet against the legendary sword Excalibur

We test our iPhone’s new protective sheet against the legendary sword Excalibur

The touchscreen is both the greatest and most annoying part of a smartphone. On the plus side, you’ve got clear images, vibrant colors, and the simplicity that comes from bypassing a bunch of buttons and menus. At the same time, though, you’ve also got to deal with unsightly scratches and cracks.

We recently heard about a new protective sheet that’s supposed to be able to withstand almost any kid of abuse, so we put it to the test against a variety of damaging instruments including what one shopkeeper told us was the legendary sword Excalibur.

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Mr. Sato tries top secret rated-R fried chicken from popular Japanese convenience store

Mr. Sato tries top secret rated-R fried chicken from popular Japanese convenience store

As we’ve declared before, convenience stores are one of the many things Japan gets awesomely right. And out of all the conbini in Japan, one of the greatest things housed within the walls of popular convenience store, Lawson, isn’t found on the shelves, but nestled safely behind the counter. Yes, their perfectly plump, consummately crispy fried chicken dubbed “Karaage-kun” costs a mere 210 yen (US$2.05) for hot, salty bliss. With a heart full of love for Karaage-kun, we could barely contain our jealousy upon learning that Mr. Sato, the most…unique reporter from our Japanese site, was invited to the Lawson headquarters to try out their new grilled Hokkaido corn-flavored Karaage-kun.

And so Mr. Sato marched down to crispy chicken HQ, still rocking his post-apocalyptic haircut, to try our most favorite convenience store snack. Little did he (or we) know that he would also be presented with an ultra-top-secret fried chicken unfit to be consumed by children younger than 15 years of age.

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Mr. Sato goes post-apocalyptic at Fist of the North Star event

Mr. Sato goes post-apocalyptic at Fist of the North Star event

Although now a man in his 40s, Mr. Sato has long held a special place in his heart for the Fist of the North Star series. He recalls picking up a copy of the manga 20 years ago and heading straight out to the gym for two sets of 18kg (40lbs) bench presses.

After two weeks of that, he felt he had reached his full potential, but was still nowhere near as cool as the series’ protagonist Kenshiro. Decades later came word of the Fist of North Star bi-weekly DVD collection beginning at Kinokuniya in Shinjuku. The first day of sale was to be rung in by a gathering of cosplay characters from the series. Mr. Sato’s mind raced at the possibility of truly becoming his long-time hero Kenshiro.

Just then Mr. Sato’s editor approached him saying, “Hey, you like North Star don’t you? How’d you like to go down there and cosplay as…”

“You’ve stood in my way long enough! I’m going to Shinjuku to become as awesome as Kenshiro is whether you like it or not!” shouted Mr. Sato snapping out of his daydream and crushing a paper cup in his mighty fist.

“Yeah, that’s what I was going to sa…”

Mr. Sato interjected, “You’re already dead.” He then flicked the paper cup at the editor’s forehead and walked determinedly out of the office without looking back.

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Mr. Sato celebrates Gokusen Day with one of 59 Premium Gokusen Bananas

Mr. Sato celebrates Gokusen Day with one of 59 Premium Gokusen Bananas

Happy belated Gokusen Day!

What, you forgot that the first ever Gokusen Day was held last Friday (5/9 [“go-ku”]) after being created by fruit brand Dole? It’s okay, I’m sure after reading our previous announcement that little tidbit of trivia fell into the recesses of your memory banks along with the dates of International Lefthanders Day (8/13) and World Wetlands Day (2/2).

That’s sad news, however, because you missed the chance to pick up one of the limited edition 59 Gokusen Premium Bananas sold for one day only. Of course, if it’s limited our own Mr. Sato will be there to get one. He even goes out in search of certain strains of influenza that are available for a limited time only.

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Mr. Sato takes on Family Mart’s “All-You-Can-Eat Convenience Store Challenge!”

Mr. Sato takes on Family Mart’s “All-You-Can-Eat Convenience Store Challenge!”

Imagine if you had ten minutes to run amuck in a convenience store and could eat whatever you wanted and as much of it as you could. Now imagine it’s a Japanese convenience store where the unwritten rule is: If you can’t find something you want to eat, you aren’t hungry.

Our well-seasoned convenience store correspondent Mr. Sato had just gotten such an experience recently in the FamilyMart booth at Niconico Super Party III, but discovered that an all-you-can-eat convenience store experience isn’t without its difficulties.

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Our Japanese staff try British cup noodles, didn’t completely hate the experience

Our Japanese staff try British cup noodles, didn’t completely hate the experience

Throughout the world, Britain is known for many things–great music, excellent literature, and sexy men. One thing the country isn’t known for, though, is their good food. In fact, if you ask nearly anyone what they think of British food they’ll probably stick their tongues out and make gagging noises.

It’s a bit unfair, but even in Tokyo–where you can find restaurants serving cuisine from all over the globe–the closest you’ll find to British food is a pub. Although, we have to admit, our friends from the Queen’s country at least know how to serve a good drink.

Recently, though, Mr. Sato and Yoshio, both writers for the Japanese side of RocketNews24, got their hands on a carton of Pot Noodle, a brand of instant noodles so awful “it was voted the ‘most hated brand’ in the UK in a 2004 poll.” And what did our Japanese colleagues think of these awful noodles?

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Mr. Sato sacrifices his hands on the altar of all-you-can-eat shrimp

Mr. Sato sacrifices his hands on the altar of all-you-can-eat shrimp

We all have foods that we love perhaps a little more than we should, but for Mr. Sato, a man whose love of food in general has taken him on many a colorful, abdomen-abusing adventure risking his health and even his sanity, the gustatory passion that tops all others is shellfish. So when he headed off to report on an all-you-can-eat shrimp restaurant for us, we feared for his life.

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People of the world, brace yourselves: Mr. Sato… has a twin!

People of the world, brace yourselves: Mr. Sato… has a twin!

You’ve seen his antics on our pages for years now, and he’s always our go-to guy when there’s a mission that the rest of us simply aren’t brave enough to undertake. We’re talking, of course, about our loveable, adventurous, charming, sometimes frightening in-house reporter Mr. Sato.

But did you know, dear reader, that Mr. Sato actually has a twin brother!? Just look at that photo–we bet you’d struggle to say which of the two is our reporter and which is the brother!

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【TBT】Badass full metal rubber band guns: We visit factory for some shooting practice

【TBT】Badass full metal rubber band guns: We visit factory for some shooting practice

Give a young boy a rubber band and chances are he’ll try and find a way to fling it across the room. The more ingenious of them will use resources like clothespins, popsicle sticks or Legos to craft a rubber band gun (here in Japan, many of us use disposable chopsticks). And, when they’ve grown up and gained access to all the big-kid toys, some of them will make an arsenal of semi automatic rubber band firearms from aluminum and stainless steel.

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Mr. Sato shows us how a real man opens his snacks 【Video】

Mr. Sato shows us how a real man opens his snacks 【Video】

The intense competition in the Japanese snack food market means that every week some product is getting kicked off convenience store shelves to make room for another one. Somehow, though, the puffed corn snack umaibo has remained consistently popular for over 30 years.

Umaibo’s biggest fans are elementary school kids, and the tasty little cylinders were a major component of some of our writer’s childhood diets. Recently we came to the realization that it’s time for us to grow up, though. Not by giving up our umaibo, of course, but by learning to open our snacks like a man.

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Adding a mosaic makes almost anything NSFW

Adding a mosaic makes almost anything NSFW

Ah, the power of the mosaic – that little clump of pixels used by news networks to blur out the faces of anonymous sources and by Japanese porn producers to conceal people’s sexy parts. They can pretty convincingly hide most sensitive visuals from public scrutiny, while still offering us just a little tantalizing glimpse of the features beneath.

They can also, it turns out, serve as a pretty good litmus test for how gutter-minded you are; because when applied to everyday scenes, such as chefs preparing meals, athletes celebrating victories, even something as innocuous as folks making pottery, the scenes are suddenly transformed into something that appear, at first glance, much dirtier than they should.

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Mr. Sato takes a stroll in his USB Pollen Blocker: “Felt great but it was a struggle to order coffee”

Mr. Sato takes a stroll in his USB Pollen Blocker: “Felt great but it was a struggle to order coffee”

A few days ago we brought word of a revolutionary hay fever remedy from the folks at Thanko. Harnessing the mighty power of nylon and universal serial bus ports, the USB Pollen Blocker may be our savior for this impending allergy season in Japan.

To be sure, we picked one up in Akihabara and gave it to our resident ace-reporting guinea-pig Mr. Sato for a road test. Did it cure him of his seasonal sniffles or did it simply make him look like an demented bee-keeper on the streets of Tokyo? The following is his report.

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AKB48 to hold exclusive show for coffee contest winners, Mr. Sato immediately buys over 300 cans

AKB48 to hold exclusive show for coffee contest winners, Mr. Sato immediately buys over 300 cans

Recently the walls of the RocketNews24 office have been echoing with giddy squeals of “Eeeeeee… Takamina!” at a rate of about once per hour. In between, we have been treated to a middle-aged man’s song-stylings of AKB48’s single Koisuru Fortune Cookie.

It all started last year when our reporter Mr. Sato had entered a dance contest to meet graduating AKB48 member Tomomi Itano, but despite his best efforts he lost out. Now, he has his sights on Minami Takahashi (“Takamina”) and the chance to see her and other members in an exclusive show only available to the winners of a contest held by Japan’s Wonda Coffee.

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