music

Sex doll idol singer’s public debut draws a shocking yet sane number of fans

Sex doll idol singer’s public debut draws a shocking yet sane number of fans

Some say that pop idols in Japan aren’t so much born as they are manufactured. A skilled producer can carefully tailor almost every aspect of his rising star’s appearance and public persona by tightly controlling how she’s presented in the mass media, which generally has a cozy, cooperative nature with recording companies.

If you’re feeling cynical enough, you might even ask what the point is in even working with a human being, if all of the individual’s uniqueness first has to be washed away in order to produce a blank slate for the producer to work with. It’s a question that, apparently, executives at record company Pony Canyon couldn’t come up with an answer to, as suggested by its newest idol, a sex doll, and the event it held for fans to come and meet her face-to-face.

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Amazing Lego artist spends six months bringing Hatsune Miku into the physical world

Amazing Lego artist spends six months bringing Hatsune Miku into the physical world

As so much of video game and animation character design shifts from sketching on a piece of paper to modeling on a computer, I’ve often wondered about the differences in the two skill sets. Not long ago, designing a character was about imagining how to express the three-dimensional human form using lines on a flat surface, but now, the arguably more valuable skill is being able to break that form down into minute building blocks, then render and reassemble them digitally.

The 3-D graphic method is a lot closer to building something out of blocks than drawing a portrait, so it’s actually quite fitting that one Lego enthusiast decided to use Japan’s favorite digital diva, Hatsune Miku, as his muse in making a life-size recreation of the virtual idol.

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Touching commercial pulls off a hat-trick to hit us right in the feels once again

Touching commercial pulls off a hat-trick to hit us right in the feels once again

We should probably start a new series here at RocketNews24 featuring “commercials that are bound to make you dissolve in a puddle of tears unless you’re actually an android in disguise.” In addition to Intel Japan and a Thai insurance company’s advertisements earlier this year, these tear-jerking commercials have made us break down sobbing for a third time with a new entry by music company Tosando about a father’s very special message to his daughter on her wedding day. Whether you’re a classical music buff or not, be ready with a box of tissues nearby before watching it – you’re guaranteed to let out a few sniffles at the very least.

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Six ways science-minded and art-minded Japanese people see the world differently

Six ways science-minded and art-minded Japanese people see the world differently

Just as you can broadly divide academic subjects into arts and sciences, in Japan people are often referred to as being “science-type” or “art-type,” with the first describing someone who holds everything up to the light of logic, and the latter for someone who applies more romantic standards.

Recently, Japanese Twitter users have been sharing their theories on the way this difference in fundamental mentality can affect a person’s attitude and feelings about such a wide range of topics such as not being too busy to see their dating partners, what happens when snow melts, or even their reactions to famous anime movie lines.

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BABYMETAL invasion of the West marches on, everyone welcomes new kawaii overlords【VIDEOS】

BABYMETAL invasion of the West marches on, everyone welcomes new kawaii overlords【VIDEOS】

It’s been less than a year since we interviewed BABYMETAL and prophesied their coming domination of the globe, and in that time they’ve released a new, full-length album, racked up over five million views on one video alone, and made plans to invade England. While the UK probably isn’t the best target for a military attack–we hear they get pretty grumpy and call the RAF on you–the country seems particularly susceptible to cultural aggressions, making the group’s British debut at Sonisphere Festival UK the perfect opening offensive!

But the group’s popularity isn’t limited to the metal community. They’ve gotten attention from major media outlets around the world–it’s only a matter of time before we see the girls jumping around on Oprah’s coach, declaring their love for chocolate.

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Up-and-coming band combines traditional Japanese instruments with pop metal and awesomeness

Up-and-coming band combines traditional Japanese instruments with pop metal and awesomeness

These tattooed badasses are not, in fact, extras from that bafflingly misguided 47 Ronin movie. They’re the members of the newly-signed Wagakki Band, which combines the chunky guitar chords and shredding of pop metal with traditional Japanese instruments for a totally awesome sound.

While the name Wagakki Band (Literally, “Traditional Japanese Instrument Band”) isn’t going to win any awards for creativity, the group’s head banging videos are a spectacle to behold; Sure to please fans of J-Pop, metal and old-timey Japanese imagery at once.

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I need gum, milk, and a verse of “Let It Go”: Special karaoke convenience store to open

I need gum, milk, and a verse of “Let It Go”: Special karaoke convenience store to open

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been buying beer, bread, or ice-cream at my local conbini and thought to myself, “If only I could scream a few lines of verse into a microphone without having to leave the building.” In the past, the closest I could ever get to combining convenience store shopping with singing was choosing karaoke booths located immediately next door to a 7-Eleven, but now all that is about to change.

In a special collaboration between Japan’s third-largest convenience store chain FamilyMart and nationwide operator Karaoke Club DAM, a one-of-a-kind conbini x karoke parlour will open its doors on April 17 in Tokyo.

Yes, thanks to Japan you can now shop and sing all in the same place.

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You ain’t seen North Korean calisthenics ’til you’ve seen it done to Final Fantasy IV boss music

You ain’t seen North Korean calisthenics ’til you’ve seen it done to Final Fantasy IV boss music

Every once in a while we experience pleasant beauty of synchronicity in life, whether it’s listening to Pink Flyod’s Dark Side of the Moon while watching The Wizard of OZ or just listening to The Police’s Synchronicity.

Another such case is the uncannily fitting combination of a North Korean calisthenics video for children with the background music to a Final Fantasy IV boss battle. A video of it was posted on YouTube quite a while ago, but it’s worth revisiting again and again.

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Want to play piano or guitar by ear? There’s an app for that too and we tried it out

Want to play piano or guitar by ear? There’s an app for that too and we tried it out

Playing by ear is truly an enviable skill. To be able to just hear something then play it yourself is almost like a super-power to many a musical layman. With enough time and practice I could probably develop such an ability too, but come on. I got too many ice cream and animal dating games to write about already.

So I rely on computers to do it for me. There are a variety of software applications on desktop computers that can take a song and at least attempt to break it down into its components, but they can be rather complicated and difficult to use. Now Casio has come out with an iOS app called Chordana Viewer that can reverse engineer songs right on your Apple device for piano or guitar.

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Japanese violinist whose face and music are equally beautiful causes a stir online

Japanese violinist whose face and music are equally beautiful causes a stir online

Meet Machi Okabe, the gorgeous violinist whose music is just as beautiful as her face (or is it the other way around?). Her exceptional musical talents combined with her breathtaking beauty have been attracting a lot of attention from netizens around the world this week.

Watch the following videos to see for yourself what’s everyone’s been talking about!

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New music video from World Order helps you have a nice day, see the sights in Akihabara

New music video from World Order helps you have a nice day, see the sights in Akihabara

Japan has long been a hotbed of musical experimentation, with everything for J-pop metal to folk music to bizarre rap available to anyone willing to look. Some experiments have worked out better than others, but one of our favorite success stories is the appropriately named Genki Sudo and his music/dance group World Order. Even if you don’t recognize the name, you’ve surely seen the videos of sexy young men dancing like robots through the streets of cities around the world.

This time, Genki and the gang are back in Tokyo–Akihabara, to be precise–and they’re not alone, thanks to a special guest appearance by…AKB48?! Check the madness out below!

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Ad has triple helping of Japanese commercial, anime, and music stereotypes, is still awesome

Ad has triple helping of Japanese commercial, anime, and music stereotypes, is still awesome

Commercials in Japan often portray Japanese products as being far and away the best in the world, and are so overly earnest in doing so they frequently make no sense. Anime is packed with cute characters who, again, make no sense. And a lot of J-pop songs are hyperactive melodies with lyrics that, you guessed it, make no sense.

So how is it combining all three makes for just about the perfect ad for Japanese meat?

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Frozen’s “Let It Go” sounds just as impressive sung in Japanese 【Video】

Frozen’s “Let It Go” sounds just as impressive sung in Japanese 【Video】

I’ve honestly never been much of a Disney fan (anyone else just want to punch Mickey in the face? Just me, eh?), but after having passively listened to Frozen‘s “Let It Go” as my wife played it a good 30 or 40 times over the last few months, I have to admit, it’s a superb song.

The movie finally released here last Friday as Ana and the Snow Queen (didn’t I tell you Japan was always late with movie releases!?) in 2-D and 3-D, with both dubbed Japanese and subtitled versions available. Something of a purist, I insisted on watching the film in its original English if I was to see it at all, but having just caught the Japanese version of “Let It Go”, it almost makes me want to watch the film in its translated version too.

Check out the Japanese version of arguably one of Disney’s best tracks ever after the jump.

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Things to put on your resume: college attended, previous work experience, favorite pop idol

Things to put on your resume: college attended, previous work experience, favorite pop idol

Job hunting is a concentrated, intense process in Japan. In general, major companies all do their recruiting during the same, single stretch of the year, which runs through winter and early spring. Most college students try to line up a job roughly a year before graduation, and those who fail to have a doubly difficult road ahead, as not only will they have to wait a year to try again, being a year or more older than other candidates is considered a black mark against an individual.

With so much pressure on them, job hunters should be happy to learn of what may be a new secret weapon they can implement in trying to land their dream job: make it completely clear that they love idol singers.

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Jackie Chan produced K-pop group set to debut this month

Jackie Chan produced K-pop group set to debut this month

Earlier this year international action star Jackie Chan had been making some unusual appearances in the South Korean media. First, on the red carpet for Police Story 2013 he blurted out “I’m half Korean!” Although it was later revealed to be a metaphorical sentiment lost in translation, the statement ruffled some feathers back in China.

Later that month, Chan appeared on a South Korean variety show where he confessed to having a love affair with a Korean woman for eight years in his younger days of working as a stuntman. So why is Jackie Chan showing so much love for Korea these days?

Let’s just say if I asked you to name five things that aren’t Jackie Chan and you said K-pop, you’d be wrong.

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Are you ready to watch the first music performance broadcast via PlayStation??

Are you ready to watch the first music performance broadcast via PlayStation??

While North America has had the PlayStation 4 for a few months now, Japan had to wait until February 22 to pick up the (arguably) hottest console in the world. Now that the long wait is over, Japanese gamers can hunker down and get some serious gaming done!

And, thanks to the PlayStation 4′s snazzy new streaming technology, they don’t even need to leave the house to catch a live idol show! This Thursday (March 6) at 6 pm JST, the game-centric group Game Girls will give their debut performance–and be the first to stream a live show via PlayStation 4! Because…umm…well, why the hell not, right?

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Taste the mad flavas of DJ Misoshiru & MC Gohan’s recipe raps 【Videos】

Taste the mad flavas of DJ Misoshiru & MC Gohan’s recipe raps 【Videos】

Recipes are invaluable resources for daily life that with just the right focus can empower even the most kitchenphobic person to slap together semi-decent meal. However, recipe books can be unwieldy and weak to the heat and fluids flying around the cooking space. The advent of the internet has helped, but we’re still left nervously trying to swipe at a touch screen with flour-and-egg-caked fingers.

This is where DJ Misoshiru & MC Gohan (DJ Miso Soup & MC Rice) come in. Their unique brand of recipe rap takes up only the space in your ears and with their nostalgic old-school beats those instructions will be hard to get out of your head afterwards. Come, join us on this Japanese hip-hop gourmet journey.

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Soccer fan’s Attack on Titan parody is so awesome it got him a job 【Video】

Soccer fan’s Attack on Titan parody is so awesome it got him a job 【Video】

The other day, faced with another bleakly overcast, freezing cold day, we wife and I decided that the local video store was as far a trip as we were willing to brave the elements for, and came back with a stack of Attack on Titan DVDs. After watching a dozen episodes of the biggest anime hit in recent memory, the only time I’m not bugging her with my rendition of the show’s opening theme is when she’s singing it herself (thankfully, she does a much better job of staying on-key than I do).

There’s just something infectious about the show’s anthem, “Guren no Yumiya.” It’s helped its performers Linked Horizon get famous, thousands of fans get pumped up, and even one soccer fan get a job.

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BABYMETAL releases full album, metalheads and idol fans headbang in unison

BABYMETAL releases full album, metalheads and idol fans headbang in unison

After years of boggling the minds of metalheads and J-pop fans around the world with their idiosyncratic music videos, BABYMETAL have finally released their first full-length album. Of course, we got our hands on a copy as soon as we could, and we are happy to report that it is everything we’d expected it to be!

With the album now available world-wide, you too can turn your day from “average” to “dangerously kawaii” with this soundtrack to the adorable apocalypse. And if you’re on the fence about picking the album up, check out some of these reviews found on the Japanese side of the Internet.

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Ancient Chinese instrument can mimic Super Mario Bros. music with startling fidelity

Ancient Chinese instrument can mimic Super Mario Bros. music with startling fidelity

Searching “Super Mario Theme” on YouTube will yield many unique renditions on a range of instruments including guitars, pianos, church organs, ukuleles, wine glasses, flutes, and 11-string basses. And while they’re all special and unique in their own way, no non-electric instrument can truly replicate that distinct 8-bit sound of the original game.

…Or can it? The sheng (shou in Japanese) is a Chinese musical instrument whose origins date back to 1,100 BC, and in a YouTube video that has recently taken Japan by storm we can see that this traditional instrument was way, way ahead of its time as it perfectly imitates the background music and sound effects of the original Super Mario Bros.

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