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.
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.
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.
Mr. Sato takes a stroll in his USB Pollen Blocker: “Felt great but it was a struggle to order coffee”
Jan 27, 2014
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.
Jan 26, 2014
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.
Among the many kinds of tasty sweets indigenous to Japan, you’ll find the monaka. Monaka consist of two wafers, traditionally sandwiched around a dollop of the sweet red bean paste called anko.
Different confectioners put their own unique spin on monaka, such as infusing it with citrus or mixing ice cream in the filling. But while we’ve eaten plenty of variations on the tasty treat, our intrepid reporter Mr. Sato recently brought back one we’d never heard of before: suicide monaka.
Jan 22, 2014
It’s a little known yet unsurprising fact that Mr. Sato loves a nice bowl of potato chips. However, much to the chagrin of his colleagues, he loves them so much that he begins to flail his limbs around wildly when he gets some.
After brushing the crumbs off the keyboards and shopping around online, the rest of the RocketNews24 staff found Gyro Bowl. For only 2,480 yen (US$24) this German-engineered bowl boasts a full 360° of spill prevention. All that combined with Mr. Sato’s inherent love of orange spinny stuff made this purchase a no-brainer. When the bowl arrived it was time to fire up the cameras and see how Gyro Bowl held up to Mr. Sato’s chip dance of joy.
Jan 16, 2014
On Monday this week, Tokyo was hit by one of the biggest snow dumps it has seen in years. Although winters are often unfathomably cold in Japan and it’s not uncommon for snow to fall even in the capital, the city of cuddle cafes, cornman and cross-dressing was entirely unprepared for so much of the stuff in such a short space of time, and within 24 hours of the snow’s arrival the ordinarily robust public transport system was on its knees and dozens of people were left nursing twisted ankles, bruised buttocks and hurt pride.
Just two days later, though, the generous blanket of white fluffy stuff had started to disappear, putting an end to all sledding, snowman building and frosty fun. As quickly as it had arrived, Tokyo’s winter wonderland was already nearly gone.
From the topmost floor of Rocket Towers, international man of mystery and reporter extraordinaire Mr. Sato watched as men with shovels worked to clear the last of the snow from the pavements and miniature mountains began to appear on each street corner, adorning the footways like dollops of sweet white frosting around the edge of a miserable grey cake. It was at that moment that a quite remarkable idea hit him.
Zipping up his wind breaker and grabbing his wallet, Mr. Sato charged out of the office like a man possessed and flew down the stairs. Bursting out of the building, he headed directly for the nearest supermarket. Moments later, he stepped back out onto the city streets armed with three bottles of thick, sugary syrup. Things were about to get tasty.
It’s been said that Christmas in Japan is for lovers, and that’s bad news for someone like our Mr. Sato. That’s not to say he’s unlucky with the ladies, but whenever he goes in for that first kiss his prickly stubble never fails to repel them.
However, Christmas is also a time for miracles, and while walking through the Akihabara streets last week, a blue Oasis appeared before him. Staffed by several sexy women clad in cute blue Santa outfits stood the Gillette Skin Diagnosis Event.
Dec 2, 2013
There may not have been any Thanksgiving festivities in Japan this past week, but the Japanese language’s ample opportunities for puns gave us two special days to celebrate. Coming on the heels of Knee-High Socks Day was the equally pun-tastic Good Meat Day on November 29.
Good Meat Day gets its name by breaking the date into its individual digits of 1-1-2-9, which can be read as ii niku, literally “good meat.” We decided the best way to commemorate our carnivorous cravings was by hitting Burger King to catch the tail-end of their all-you-can-eat burger promotion.
It has been a great year for gamers. Two new game consoles—PlayStation 4 and Xbox One— have ushered in a new generation of living room gaming, and then scientists gave us some delicious data to throw back in mom’s face about how spending all that time glued to the NES was actually making us smarter. And to add to the year of good news, a very (un)official poll of about 50 couples at Joypolis arcade in Tokyo said that playing video games actually makes you more attractive on a date!
But which games are best to impress, and does it really work? Click below to find out as well as to participate in our official RocketNews24 poll to test this theory of video games’ effects on beauty.
【Thursday Throwback】We order a Whopper with 1,050 bacon strips, Struggle to level comically huge burger
Michelle Lynn Dinh
Nov 22, 2013
Thursday Throwback is your peek into the archives of RocketNews24. We’d hate for you to miss any of the quality quirky news from Asia and Japan just because you recently stumbled on our site. And if you’re a devout RN24 reader, thank you for your continued readership! Enjoy this blast from the past!
(Originally posted on April 19, 2012 by Steven)
Well that didn’t take long. Just yesterday we shared the story of how our own Mr. Sato capitalized on Burger King Japan’s current 15 bacon strips for 100 yen (US $1.20) promotion by ordering a Whopper with 105 bacon strips. While Mr. Sato managed to finish the burger, he didn’t seem to be in the best shape afterwards, falling into a meat-induced coma and then suddenly breaking out of it only to run out of the room with his hand covering his mouth.
Surely we thought Mr. Sato had finally learned his lesson that consuming stacks of bacon is a task better left to professionals. So imagine our surprise when he came in the office holding a plastic bag sagging under the weight of a 1,050 bacon strip Whopper.
Oct 19, 2013
Though the brand hasn’t gained much popularity outside of Japan yet, earth music&ecology has propelled itself into the mainstream Japanese fashion world, thanks in large part to their ad campaigns featuring actress Aoi Miyazaki. With a focus on being “colorful and useful,” the brand seems mostly targeted at young women who aren’t looking for anything too extravagant.
Recently, the company rolled out a new smartphone app that allows users to add marketing text over their own photos, giving their patrons a chance to stand in Ms. Miyazaki’s place. A rather clever bit of marketing, we thought…until Mr. Sato decided to try it out!
Oct 18, 2013
Have you ever wanted to start dancing like a madman in the middle of a crowded urban street, but felt restrained by the conventions of society? Our reporter Mr. Sato sure has. So when he learnt about the Halls throat lozenges’ YOUareLIQUIDMAN campaign, he got right on it.
YOUareLIQUIDMAN encourages sheepish individuals to upload a photo of themselves to the Halls website. Their photo is then displayed on liquid man who proceeds to dance like Michael Stipe in front of total strangers.
Oct 18, 2013
On a recent evening in the RocketNews24 offices, while the rest of the team was discussing such weighty topics as neuroscience, classic literature, and Gundam-themed cakes, we noticed our most intrepid reporter, Mr. Sato, staring longingly at some reading material with a lascivious grin plastered on his face.
Usually when a man holding print media has that kind of expression, the cause is a photo of an attractive woman, and Mr. Sato’s case was no exception. But he wasn’t perusing some skin mag filled with spreads of F-cup teenagers, but instead a pamphlet for the movie R.I.P.D. Mr. Sato had become smitten by its photos of actress Stephanie Szostak and was determined to meet someone like her, even if that meant facing some paranormal dangers.
Sep 20, 2013
In the early days of the iPhone in Japan it was under an exclusive contract with telecoms giant Softbank, which gradually gave way to AU availability as well. This left NTT’s Docomo, as the only big mobile carrier without any Apple product of its own.
However, coinciding with the Japanese launch of the new iPhone5S and iPhone5C today, Docomo has finally jumped on the iPhone bandwagon and is carrying the unit that so many people have been clamouring for. No one was more thrilled at the news then our own Mr. Sato, a long time Docomo subscriber. So he headed down to the Docomo store in Marunouchi to get one as soon as it came out. Turns out he was their very first customer.
Japan has a long way to go when it comes to eliminating the public health hazards associated with smoking, but recent public policy efforts have caused a serious change in attitude toward smokers.
Smoking sections in restaurants and cafes are becoming smaller and increasingly more isolated, while fleets of bike-mounted enforcers hand out humiliating fines to those caught smoking on designated no smoking streets.
Finally, however, smokers can indulge in their pastime in peace at the Koshigaya Laketown shopping mall in Saitama Prefecture. A new specialized café, Smoking Café Briquet, caters specifically to tobacco connoisseurs with a variety of smoking merchandise and cigar and cigarette selections, with every seat in the house safe to light up in. It’s almost like being a character in Kaze Tachinu…
When out on the town many drinking establishments in Japan offer yakitori, which is basically grilled marinated chicken on a stick. These are offered in a wide variety using different parts of the chicken, added vegetables, or different sauces, salts and spice blends.
Now Zenyaren Sohonten Tokyo is offering a one-of-a-kind type of grilled chicken called The World’s First Mega-Yakitori. This limited edition menu item is said to contain 30 times the meat of a regular stick of yakitori. This isn’t a simple case of quantity over quality either as the chicken is specially selected from regions across Japan.
Before anyone even asked him, Mr. Sato was digging out his most loose-fitting jeans and on his way to try it out.
On July 16th, the Japanese beer company, Kirin, released an all-new brand of gin-based alcohol called Kirin Dry Rickey. To build up hype for their new product, Kirin ran a very unique sort of promotional event on Tokyo’s Yamanote train line. When most companies would have thrown their entire advertisement budget into posters, billboards, and commercials, Kirin organized a special event known as nothing more than an “escape game.” Our very own Mr. Sato, lured in by the mystery and the smell of booze, decided to take part in this very special game and discover what it takes to “escape” from a train on the Yamanote Line.
Jul 11, 2013
Although it’s often overshadowed by ramen and soba, udon is the final member of the triumvirate of Japanese noodles. With a spongy, absorbent texture, it allows diners to really enjoy the flavor of the broth or dipping sauce it’s served with. This airier structure also means you might need a larger serving to get as full as you would from a meal of ramen or soba, however.
With this in mind, and very little in his stomach, our reporter Mr. Sato headed to a branch of popular udon chain Marugame Seimen, where he fearlessly ordered the largest bowl of udon on the menu, the Family Udon.
- Korean illustrator gives Western fairy tales a whimsical Eastern makeover【Pics】1
- A farewell to fries: Twitter users document their last meal of L-size Mcdonald’s potato snacks2
- Evacuation orders issued as town in northern Japan is flooded by rising tidewaters3
- Artist magically transforms Sailor Moon characters into black women4
- Catatsu is one of the ridiculous new “hot” items for your pet to wear (yes, wear) this winter5
- This crazy 4-minute clip is the most epic fan-made anime tribute we’ve seen this year6
- Station in China reminds us to kindly “wait outside a noodle”7
- Dating websites offer advice on how to land a famous Japanese boyfriend (or at least stalk him)8
- Why aren’t there more female entrepreneurs in Japan? Pull up a chair… [Women in Japan Series]9
- Commercial reminds Japan’s tired commuters about the drawbacks of living far away from work10
- Self-taught Singaporean artist creates unbelievably realistic art on plywood1
- Character images of new Digimon Adventure series released, expected to air in spring 20152
- Chinese dude bags super hot Ukrainian wife, generates major envy online3
- Korean illustrator gives Western fairy tales a whimsical Eastern makeover【Pics】4
- Alice in Moeland! Japanese netizens react to art style of new US book cover5
- Director of Summer Wars and Wolf Children announces new anime film: The Boy and The Beast6
- Japan’s cutest rodent commuters take the high-road【Video】7
- Life imitates (Sword) Art (Online) as Japanese gamers find they can’t log out of online RPG8
- Oppai Taisou Hand, the pink plastic hand that will exercise your boobs to new heights9
- Hayao Miyazaki reveals the kind of otaku he hates the most10
- Self-taught Singaporean artist creates unbelievably realistic art on plywood1
- Buyers’ remorse in China: After a record-breaking day of online shopping, the angry selfies begin2
- 1,200 Japanese workers convert above-ground train to subway line in a matter of hours3
- Tiny town in northern Japan creates gorgeous, gigantic artwork out of rice paddies 【Video】4
- How to say “I love you” in Japanese – 47 different ways 【Videos】5
- Japanese man proposes to girlfriend with Guinness World Record-winning GPS drawing6
- Historic Kyoto temple first in Japan to offer gay weddings7
- A Ghibli mystery solved — the identity of exotic looking food in Spirited Away revealed!8
- Hayao Miyazaki comments on Chihiro’s final test scene in Spirited Away9
- Fashion gone wrong? Boob shirts take Twitter by storm10
- “No one sleeps in her class!” Internet goes gaga for gorgeous Chinese science teacher1
- Hayao Miyazaki working on new project, says “I’m going to continue making anime until I die”2
- Mickey and friends in human form are more charming than we had imagined! 【Pics】3
- A sad turn of events at a butterfly exhibition in China4
- Self-taught Singaporean artist creates unbelievably realistic art on plywood5
- Buyers’ remorse in China: After a record-breaking day of online shopping, the angry selfies begin6
- Chinese cat with unfortunate dark patch of fur tired of people asking why it’s shocked7
- Artist turns innocent Disney princesses into flirty pin-up girls8
- 61 more images of cosmetic surgery from South Korea9
- 1,200 Japanese workers convert above-ground train to subway line in a matter of hours10
- This crazy 4-minute clip is the most epic fan-made anime tribute we’ve seen this year
- Station in China reminds us to kindly “wait outside a noodle”
- Dating websites offer advice on how to land a famous Japanese boyfriend (or at least stalk him)
- Why aren’t there more female entrepreneurs in Japan? Pull up a chair… [Women in Japan Series]
- Commercial reminds Japan’s tired commuters about the drawbacks of living far away from work
- Life imitates (Sword) Art (Online) as Japanese gamers find they can’t log out of online RPG
- Character images of new Digimon Adventure series released, expected to air in spring 2015
- Shippers rejoice! 10,000 anime fans pick their favorite same-sex pairings
- Hate Frozen? Then you’ll love these photos of the Disney hit’s Olaf being murdered in pastry form
- Bizarre otaku dancing catches on as Wotagei spreads around the world【Videos】
- 20 crazy facts about North Korea
- Sayonara, spuds! McDonald’s Japan halts sales of medium and large orders of French fries
- Japan’s cutest rodent commuters take the high-road【Video】
- The cold getting to you? Have a warm drink — from a vending machine!