Kaguya Hime no Monogatari (The Tale of Princess Kaguya) is quite unlike any Studio Ghibli offering that has gone before it. There are no benevolent forest spirits or spritely young witches to be found here; no soft, familiar faces or bright-eyed heroes with a passion for adventure; no piles of mouth-watering street food or freshly baked bread to drool over. This is a tale set in far simpler times, and although – with its thick, bold brushstrokes, muted colours and incomplete lines – it is quite the departure from the Ghibli releases many of us know and love, it still manages to be one of the studio’s most visually striking and emotive creations to date.
Sony’s PlayStation 4 has been out in North America for over a week now, and is finally heading to Europe this coming Friday. Thanks to the efforts of our game-loving staff in the US, we managed to pick up a few units, and have been tinkering with them for about a week now, so felt it was time to share our thoughts on the new hardware.
Rather than getting all techy and giving you lists of stats or focusing on frames per second, however, we decided to take a slightly more human approach, and talk about how Sony’s newest console rates in the eyes of both a self-confessed Sony fan and a long-term Xbox lover.
Let the mud-slinging begin!
Always keen to cash in and come up with some new character-themed promotions, Japan’s 7-Eleven recently began selling blueberry and whipped cream-filled bread made to look like none other than Gomu Gomu no Mi Devil Fruit from the One Piece manga and anime.
We couldn’t resist finding out what the fruit that made Monkey D. Luffy the man he is tastes like, so when we spotted the new sweet bread at our local combini we grabbed one right away. Join us after the jump for our full taste test.
Locally owned ramen shops can be found spread out all across Japan. In fact, some of the best flavors aren’t found at the big chain restaurants, but at the hole-in-the-wall shops that you might never even notice without a proper introduction. Hence, we’d like to make it our duty to tell you about an amazing, little ramen joint in Aomori Prefecture, which is famous for its miso flavored curry milk ramen.
When we at RocketNews24 first heard about this place, we couldn’t imagine how so many different flavors could possibly achieve good balance within a single bowl of noodles, so we sent one of our adventurous Japanese reporters, Mami Kuroi, to try it out. Here’s what she had to say about the experience.
We here at RocketNews24 know that time is money and sometimes you need more than 24 hours in a day. Until we figure out how to manipulate time, we will be relying on our energy drink expert, Energy Man, to find out which beverage gives us the most bang for our sleep-deprived buck. Energy Man downs at least one or two (sometimes four, he admits) of these stimulant-laden drinks a day and wants to share with us his new favorite drink to wake us all up.
Energy Man recently saw a new drink on the market that he had to try. Being a connoisseur of these jolting beverages, Energy Man wondered if the world needed Wonda Power Blend Coffee in the already crowded energy drink market. Click the link to read why our Energy Man found himself saying “bravo!” to the new coffee drink.
It’s Thursday October 10, and that can only mean one thing: the PlayStation Vita Slim is finally here! Unveiled by Sony at the beginning of September and proudly displayed at this year’s Tokyo Game Show, the currently Japan-only handheld charmed us the moment we held it in our hands, so much so that for a moment we wondered just how strong the cable tethering it to the smiling Sony rep was and if we could make a break for it.
The new portable console went on sale here in Japan just this morning, our own unit arriving via courier delivery a little after 9 a.m.. We’ve been putting the console through its paces for most of the day now, so join us after the jump as we unbox, poke and prod Sony’s newest piece of gaming hardware, and see how it stands up against the previous model of PlayStation Vita.
As well as showing off its new PlayStation 4 console, PlayStation Vita 2000 handheld and Xperia Z1 smartphone at last week’s Tokyo Game Show, electronics giant Sony was also quietly pushing its newly designed HMZ-T3 personal viewer headset into tech fans’ consciousness, with demo units popping up in a number of booths. Since bringing its first headset to the market back in 2011, Sony has been gradually tweaking and refining its tech in response to consumer feedback, with its newest iteration due to go on sale later this year.
With the HMZ-T3, Sony has produced its lightest, most compact headset yet, retaining the ability to watch movies and play video games in both 2-D and stereoscopic 3-D, as well as boasting smartphone connectivity and, for the first time, wireless operation thanks to a portable battery pack.
Our experience of the previous model having been something of a bittersweet affair, we were keen to see whether Sony had managed to perfect its headset the third time around, so with the help of a friendly booth attendant we slipped on the new HMZ-T3 and put it through its paces.
We have to admit we fell quite in love with Puppeteer‘s visual style from the very first moment we saw it. Although essentially a 2-D platformer, the game is presented as a live puppet show, heavily influenced by Japanese Bunraku puppet theatre, with a healthy dose of pantomime thrown in for good measure, and it looked positively spellbinding.
Due to go on sale both on disc and as a digital download via PlayStation Store in North America and Europe this week, the game was in fact released in Japan on September 5, so naturally we rushed out to grab a copy right away. Three days of platforming, applause and magical scissor snipping later, we’re delighted to say that Puppeteer is not just a superb platformer, but one of PlayStation 3′s most inspired titles to date.
There are few things with the power to excite and abhor travellers more than foreign versions of sweets and cookies that exist back home. Even though we pass them by dozens of times a day in supermarkets and convenience stores in our own country, spot M&M’s, Doritos or even a Kit-Kat in a land where everything else is alien, and immediately we feel like home is not so far away; it’s like running into a friend from your home town during your first week of college where everything else is scary and unknown. What happens, though, if that same friend has a weird new haircut and is affecting some peculiar accent just because they’re in an unfamiliar town?
Oreo Sticks, a snack exclusive to Japan, will likely have the very same unnerving effect on snackophiles. With packaging familiar to millions, yet containing a snack entirely different to those we’re used to, Oreo Sticks have the potential to shatter cookie fans’ dreams, but with a little courage they could also be something quite wonderful.
Though we haven’t gotten our flying cars or cyborg super-strength arms yet, the future has kind of arrived in the form of robot cleaning machines. The Jetsons this isn’t, but at least it’s quiet, right?
One of our distinguished reporters over on the Japanese side of RocketNews24 happened to pick up the “Hom-bot Square” and wrote the following review. Now you’ll know what to put in your home so you can more like us! (A worthy ambition indeed.)
McDonald’s Japan’s Texas burger is back, but it won’t be around for long! Having missed out on the chunky beef sandwich the last time they invaded the country, our man Kuzo headed down to his nearest restaurant and grabbed a couple to poke, prod and shove down his gullet. The experience left him confused: there’s plenty here to delight burger fans, that’s for sure, but not everything about this little slice of Texas is worth writing home out. Kuzo’s full impressions after the break.
Telling the age-old story of a hero born from a giant peach, Ghost Hand Games’ new app The Legend of Momotaro landed on our iPad last weekend. Promising an inspiring interactive experience while telling the classic Japanese tale, we fired it up right away. A couple of hours of reading, listening and screen-tapping later, we were left with no doubt in our minds: technology really can do great things for an old reading experience.
Despite having visited the town of Kichijoji in Tokyo on a near daily basis for over a year, it wasn’t until I sat down with video game developer James Kay and started chatting about our mutual love of pixels and coffee that I learned about Pico Pico Cafe, a cosy corner perched at the top of a eight-storey building just minutes from Kichijoji station.
After dropping the staff a line, RocketNews24 headed over for a coffee and a chat. We hadn’t gone two steps inside, however, before we found ourselves completely enamoured with the unique cafe’s warm, homely interior and – perhaps most of all for this life-long gamer – the subtle dashes of video game culture in every other nook and cranny.
Tons of cool photos after the jump.
Generally speaking, cafes are good places to grab a cup of coffee and relax a bit, but a truly great cafe will have such delicious food and such a chill atmosphere that you can while away hours in complete contentment. If you are looking for a place like that in Tokyo, let us introduce you to Shinjuku’s Brooklyn Parlor. Read More
There’s no denying that 100 yen shops in Japan are great. They sell everything from soft drinks and chocolate to reading glasses and ashtrays, all for ridiculously low prices, and the quality of their merchandise is surprisingly good.
Of course, not everything is 100 yen (US$1.20), but it’s rare to find anything costing more than 400-500, and the variety of products available is astounding. But with so much on offer at such a low prices, it’s easy to throw things into our baskets without really thinking about how much we’re spending, and on more than one occasion I’ve found myself buying things that I didn’t even know I wanted.
A six-pack of AA batteries for 200 yen? You never know when they’ll come in handy! A pair of mugs featuring the Japanese and UK flags? How could I not? An in-car charger for my iPhone? At that price I’d be mad not to buy one, right!?
But are these things really worth buying? As cheap as they are, in the long run are we actually wasting our money?
Well, luckily for us, Japanese website Zasshi News has, with the help of an extensive consumer survey, compiled a list of items to avoid and things that we should snap up from 100 yen shops whenever we can…
While browsing online store Amazon, you’ve no doubt stumbled upon a few interesting or downright strange reviews of products written by fellow shoppers. Some of the reviews are both well written and informative, helping us make the best purchasing decisions possible; others, meanwhile, might cause us to wonder how the human race has survived this long, or make us consider contacting the authorities.
One review on Amazon Japan, however, has caught the attention of hundreds of shoppers and has become something of a talking point online.
The review, written by a self-professed middle-aged man, is of a videogame that sees gamers select clothes for, dress and style young women as fashionably as possible, and is intended mainly for the younger female audience.
This male reviewer, however, was incredibly taken with the title, going so far as to say that it has changed the way he sees the world…
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Times are tough in Japan, and, as reported here on RocketNews24 earlier this week, the country’s two biggest gyūdon chains, Sukiya and Yoshinoya, are tightening their belts after seeing financial losses in the first half of the tax year.
The restaurants’ response to the decrease in profits? Stop cutting costs, end the focus on dirt-cheap dishes and instead launch new, fancier menus in the hope of enticing new customers and squeezing a few extra yen out of regular patrons.
Both Yoshinoya and Sukiya’s new dishes that are more than twice the price of their regular gyūdon staples, but the restaurants claim that they are a cut above the rest as a result. But will the average salary-man, with just 500 yen per day to spend on lunch, want to pay extra for a fancier menu? And if they do, which dish should they choose?
Armed with a camera and grumbling stomachs, we headed out to both restaurants on two seperate days to try the new dishes for ourselves.
Let the New Gyūdon Wars begin!
We don’t know about you fine people, but when our old bulletproof riot shields start looking a little worse for wear, we usually turn to good old Amazon for a replacement.
Just last week, in fact, I was buffing a few scratches out of my trusty ArmaLite-R50 model when my boss informed me that he’d stumbled upon a bargain on Amazon JP- a brand new bulletproof shield for just 650,000 yen (US$8,300 )…
Rather than the item itself, however, it’s one particular customer review of the shield that’s making headlines online this week… Read More
- 16 films based on popular manga series hitting Japanese cinemas in 20141
- Live-action Attack on Titan gets release date, new director2
- 10 Japanese foods you can make at home!3
- Girl runs away from home to stop her parents from buying a Japanese car4
- 12 urban legends about Tokyo Disneyland5
- Freshman facepalms: Japanese college students struggle to answer basic astronomy questions6
- Let’s learn a little Japanese with this dead squid in a parking lot7
- 【Monday Kickstart】”Wow, what a huge double bed!”8
- The 6 best frozen foods at a Japanese grocery store9
- 10 incredible tiny houses in Japan: a photo tour10
- “Wait, you’re a dude? Meh, marry me anyway.” New male princess stealing hearts in China1
- Beautiful Chinese boy “traps” the hearts of Korean netizens 【Photos】2
- Nine unusual products from Japanese designer, Oki Sato3
- Cute credit cards could send you to the slammer4
- 10 incredible tiny houses in Japan: a photo tour5
- Woman with alone time on an elevator does something incredibly unexpected6
- The last photo of faithful dog Hachiko breaks our hearts7
- Live-action Attack on Titan gets release date, new director8
- 61 more images of cosmetic surgery from South Korea9
- 10 things Japan gets horribly wrong10
- What the hell is this monster?? 【Updated】1
- Before and After: 31 Startling Images of Plastic Surgery in Korea 【Photo Album】2
- Chinese designer depicts Eastern vs. Western human behaviors in clever pictographs3
- 45 adorable pictures of animals acting human 【Photos】4
- When Two Amazing Worlds Collide: Welcome to the World of Cat Sushi!5
- 10 things Japan gets awesomely right6
- 10 things Japan gets horribly wrong7
- “Wait, you’re a dude? Meh, marry me anyway.” New male princess stealing hearts in China8
- Beautiful Chinese boy “traps” the hearts of Korean netizens 【Photos】9
- The amazing disaster relief equipment of Japan’s Self Defense Force10
- Before and After: 31 Startling Images of Plastic Surgery in Korea 【Photo Album】1
- 252 of Japan’s favorite animated gifs2
- What the hell is this monster?? 【Updated】3
- 10 things Japan gets horribly wrong4
- Chinese designer depicts Eastern vs. Western human behaviors in clever pictographs5
- Thinking about plastic surgery? This ad may make you laugh – or it could make you think twice!6
- Meet the new model set to make manga artists’ lives a whole lot easier7
- 10 things Japan gets awesomely right8
- When Two Amazing Worlds Collide: Welcome to the World of Cat Sushi!9
- Snake being pickled to create healing liquor awakens after 3 months and bites woman10
- Freshman facepalms: Japanese college students struggle to answer basic astronomy questions
- Let’s learn a little Japanese with this dead squid in a parking lot
- 【Monday Kickstart】”Wow, what a huge double bed!”
- The 6 best frozen foods at a Japanese grocery store
- 10 incredible tiny houses in Japan: a photo tour
- Sexy sapphire Santas smoothly shave Sato’s stubble
- 10 things Japan gets horribly wrong
- Adorable chinchilla causes Japanese netizens to have cute attack 【Photos】
- Humidify in style with artsy, all-natural humidifier
- Virtual date DVD features real crab and tons of creepiness
- “Wait, you’re a dude? Meh, marry me anyway.” New male princess stealing hearts in China
- Byoudo Temple’s Phoenix Hall rebuilt as stunning papercraft project
- Tokyo enlists civilian “water monitors” to prove its water is delicious