After releasing a critical dud last fall with its first major smartwatch release, the Galaxy Gear, Samsung surprised a lot of folks in the industry when it announced an attractive new entrant into the wearable computing category, the Gear Fit, just a few months later.
I used the giant Samsung phone that Apple wants to kill — and I’m never going back to a tiny screen again
- BUSINESS INSIDER
Mar 24, 2014
When I first started using Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3, almost everything about its enormous size annoyed me. I couldn’t text with one hand. It barely fit in my pocket, or didn’t at all. I felt silly holding it up to my ear to talk on the phone. It was the least subtle or elegant phone I’d ever seen.
Even my friends were horrified. I’d plop the Note onto a table or I’d whip it out to take a picture, and anyone I was hanging out with would double-take.
“What is that thing?!” they’d gasp.
- Philip Kendall
Jan 7, 2014
We see a lot of weird stuff on the internet, but corn snacks made to taste – and fizz, no less – like the carbonated soft drink Mountain Dew are undoubtedly the oddest thing to happen since millions of adults across the globe simultaneously lied to their children about a bearded man sneaking into their home and leaving gifts for having refrained from murdering anyone or punching an otter since the previous December.
Nevertheless, as the internet chatter suggests, Mountain Dew corn snacks really do exist here in Japan, and so despite imagining that they’d taste about as good as minty orange juice, we tracked some down and, along with a can of actual Mountain Dew (or “Mtn Dew” as it’s now being branded in the US, because who has time fr vwls?) for comparison, conducted a little taste test of our own.
Full impressions after the jump.
With its new home console, Microsoft is hoping to make Kinect – the motion-sensing camera that comes bundled in the box – one of the main features of the Xbox One experience. Far superior to the original Kinect camera released in 2010, the new unit is noticeably more accurate and can be used in almost complete darkness, also boasting a field of vision 60 percent wider than the original.
But for many Japanese gamers, Kinect simply isn’t a device that works for them. Compared to Western residences, Japanese homes are much smaller, in closer proximity to others, and in some cases with walls so thin that you might wonder whether you could punch through them during moments of nerd rage.
Can Kinect for Xbox One offer the same exciting, controller-free experience in Japan that it does in America and Europe? Our man went hands-on.
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!
- Philip Kendall
Nov 15, 2013
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.
- Scott R Dixon
Oct 22, 2013
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.
- Philip Kendall
Oct 10, 2013
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.
- Philip Kendall
Sep 23, 2013
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.
- Philip Kendall
Sep 9, 2013
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
- Philip Kendall
Nov 20, 2012
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…
- Philip Kendall
Oct 26, 2012
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…
- 10 things Japan gets horribly wrong1
- Lady Gaga goes gaga for Hatsune Miku, makes virtual idol her opening act2
- Brutal four-panel comic explains why Japanese salaryman are trapped in their jobs3
- McDonald’s Japan’s new Avocado Beef, Chicken, and Shrimp burgers look surprisingly good4
- “Racist” Air France geisha poster prompts satirical home-made fixes5
- Ghibli casts its 1st film with 2 female leads & all-English theme song6
- Sailor Moon in the City of Angels at LA art exhibit going on right now 【Photos】7
- Sailors assemble! Artist reimagines the cast of Sailor Moon as Marvel’s Avengers8
- Touching commercial pulls off a hat-trick to hit us right in the feels once again9
- 20 crazy facts about North Korea10
- Chinese Photoshop Trolls and the Half-Blood Prisoner of the Deathly Phoenix Goblet (Part 6)1
- 10 incredible tiny houses in Japan: a photo tour2
- Unfortunate Google employee forced to wander alone on eerie abandoned island for Street View photos3
- The extreme lengths Samsung must go to make sure your Galaxy phone works perfectly4
- 10 things Japan gets horribly wrong5
- So, the Dalai Lama walks into a convenience store in rural Japan… 【Photos】6
- Ten-year-old illustrator getting national attention for his unique style of portraits7
- See what 13 stuffed toys look like after a wash at the home spa8
- We finally get to meet Goku’s mother — and we think she’s a real cutie!9
- Sad breakfasts the morning after a fight【Photos】10
- Japanese netizens put reality on hold for a moment, fall in love with new attorney general of Crimea1
- Chinese Photoshop Trolls and the Half-Blood Prisoner of the Deathly Phoenix Goblet (Part 6)2
- Little store managers take over FamilyMart in Taiwan, hilarity and tons of cute in store【Video】3
- Unfortunate Google employee forced to wander alone on eerie abandoned island for Street View photos4
- Daughter of Osamu Tezuka, God of Manga, discovers his stash of hand-drawn sexy mouse artwork5
- Attack on Titan’s studio head talks sequels, keys to the hit anime’s success6
- 【TBT】China’s Photoshop experts will fix your bad photos, but be careful what you wish for7
- 10 incredible tiny houses in Japan: a photo tour8
- Admirers express their love for Crimean attorney general in the purest way they can: cute fan art9
- Who’s inside those theme park costumes? In China, it could be this 75-year-old woman10
- Korean high schools allow “anything goes” yearbook photos, with hilarious results1
- Taiwan’s Gravity Max – Quite possibly the scariest roller coaster in the world2
- Don’t call them fat, call them Marshmallow Girls!3
- Beautiful gym babe impresses Chinese netizens with her incredible fitness!【Pics & GIFs】4
- Japanese netizens put reality on hold for a moment, fall in love with new attorney general of Crimea5
- Picture perfect siblings of 18 years apart melt the hearts of Chinese netizens【Photos】6
- Attack on Titan’s studio head talks sequels, keys to the hit anime’s success7
- Unfortunate Google employee forced to wander alone on eerie abandoned island for Street View photos8
- Chinese Photoshop Trolls and the Half-Blood Prisoner of the Deathly Phoenix Goblet (Part 6)9
- Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki says the anime industry’s problem is that it’s full of anime fans10
- Ghibli casts its 1st film with 2 female leads & all-English theme song
- Sailor Moon in the City of Angels at LA art exhibit going on right now 【Photos】
- Sailors assemble! Artist reimagines the cast of Sailor Moon as Marvel’s Avengers
- Touching commercial pulls off a hat-trick to hit us right in the feels once again
- 20 crazy facts about North Korea
- The extreme lengths Samsung must go to make sure your Galaxy phone works perfectly
- Amazing Lego artist spends six months bringing Hatsune Miku into the physical world
- 10 incredible tiny houses in Japan: a photo tour
- Doraemon meets Dragon Ball in the weirdest mash up we’ve seen today
- Watch the Singapore Tourism Board video that was so bad it was pulled from YouTube
- Suntory’s awesome miniature ice versions of the Golden Pavilion, Statue of Liberty and more
- 10 things Japan gets awesomely right
- Real-life barbie bares real-life face in minimal makeup selfies【Photos】