We’ve already mentioned how fond we are of deep sea creatures here in Japan, in particular the giant isopod that has been turned into various products from phone cases to gachapon toys. Well, now it seems that Yamaki Honpo, a maker of traditional Japanese senbei (rice crackers), has taken the Japanese love of isopods to new heights. They’ve come up with … yes, you guessed it, Giant Isopod senbei crackers! And while we can certainly understand how people might find these creatures fascinating, we have to say, we’re honestly not sure how to react to this new snack. Bug crackers, seriously?
Having lived in Yokohama for the past decade, I try to grab as many assignments as I can that are related to the city, as well as Kanagawa, the prefecture it’s located in. Also, as someone who gets hungry at least three times a day, I try to volunteer for as many RocketNews24 taste tests as my schedule will allow.
However, I graciously let one of my coworkers handle today’s project: heading to a cafe in Yokohama to chow down on a frog burger.
It’s no secret that here at RocketNews24 we are pretty big fans of vending machine toys. One the few capsule toys that’s broken out of the vending machine is Cup no Fuchiko. The adorable, demure little plastic lady who sits on the edge of your cup took Japan by storm two years ago, and can now be found in department and gift stores across the country.
You might be forgiven for thinking that this new little-girl version, named Cup no Kado no Gurimi-chan, was an official product from the makers of Fuchiko. Until you notice their tagline: “Don’t sue us!!”…
Yep, Gurimi-chan is pretty weird, in all kinds of ways.
As fun and entertaining as a night of karaoke can be, it presents a major problem for many people. If you’re not used to it, singing in front of others can be embarrassing, even when the audience is made up of your close personal friends. Practicing at home can help you build confidence, but if you’ve got roommates or an apartment with paper-thin walls, that might not be an option, especially if you’re still at a level where you’re singing is less “sweet serenade” and more “public disturbance.”
Thankfully, there’s a solution that doesn’t involve calling a contractor and adding layer upon layer of sound-proofing to your bedroom walls. Instead, all you need is this noise-blocking microphone for solo karaoke practice.
Japan is a country serious about its Kit Kat candy bars, treating them with the respect of gourmet chocolate and putting them on top of pizza. Now the Japanese fast food chain First Kitchen has brought the world its first Kit Kat sandwich, so we of course had to try what seemed like a delicious idea. Click below for our review of the dessert and why our Kit Kat taster compared it to a bad date
In recent years, the idol singer industry in Japan has put a lot of power in the hands of fans. Multi-vocalist units like AKB48 and its numerous tri-letter, dual-digit sister groups often hold “elections,” in which votes are tallied to see which members will get the most prominent roles in upcoming music videos, live performances, and the like.
The idol world isn’t a perfect democracy, though, in that concepts like universal suffrage and “one person, one vote” don’t exist within it. Ballots are often packed inside CDs, DVDs, or other commercial goods, and the more you buy, the more you can vote, which is leading one dedicated fan to try to corner the market on manga anthologies.
The future doesn’t seem all that far away anymore, especially with tablets, 3D TVs and the advent of hoverboards, as predicted in Back to the Future Part II. But it’s not just Hollywood movies that gave us a glimpse of what was to come. If we take a step back and review certain classic anime, we see some hints and foreshadowing of things that we either have todayor soon will.
The guys over at nerdy-cool fandom website Dorkly, compiled a video list of 5 Times Anime Predicted the Future, doing a great job of picking out some startlingly accurate predictions and possible inspirations. It could have been premonition, it could have been that vital element that inspired today’s scientists. Either way, it’s pretty cool, if not creepy at times.
“Empty orchestra.” What a hauntingly beautiful pair of words, but most of us know it better as karaoke, the easiest form of entertainment on a night out with friends or co-workers.
Any seasoned karaoke veteran in Japan knows that the video that plays behind the words of the song are often the best part of the night. Sometimes the song you chose is accompanied by the band’s official music video or concert footage, but more often than not, you get the confusing, yet always entertaining, background karaoke video. These gems are always good for a laugh, however, in this case the video went from “entertaining” to “distracting” to “I can’t sing anymore I’m laughing so hard.” What is cracking up potential singers in Japan? Click on through to find out.
I have a friend whose college professor was fond of saying, “Anyone can make a bridge that doesn’t fall down, but only a civil engineer can make one that barely stays up!” The point he was making is that an important task of civil engineering is designing structures that are sturdy and safe without incurring unnecessary costs and wasting materials, often in ways that might not seem intuitive to those who don’t have an engineering background.
For example, if you were building a support column for a highway overpass, you might think the base needs to be the sturdiest part, but the planners of this construction project in Yokohama beg to differ.
As a teenager, I held off on getting glasses for as long as I could, only caving once the DMV told me I’d be a danger to myself and others behind the wheel without them. Up until then, I’d figured everyone saw the world as I did, that is to say that everything became blurry and indistinct at about the distance I could accurately throw a baseball (and I was a football player, by the way).
Wearing glasses for the first time, I was amazed by how much detail I could see in the world around me. I could see the individual leaves on trees, for example. But as great as all the details that come with naturally good or corrected vision are, there’s apparently a tradeoff, as shown by this optical illusion that’s said to only be visible if you have poor eyesight.
April Fools’ Day, every prankster’s favorite event of the year, is just around the corner, but what kind of amusing tricks will we see this year? Fast-food chain Burger King seems to be well prepared already, announcing a delicious meaty smelling perfume for their burger-loving customers, to be sold exclusively on April 1.
When hunting for an apartment in the Tokyo area, it’s important to keep in mind what you’re really looking for in a living space. Housing is expensive in general in Japan, and that goes double for the neighborhoods in and around its biggest city, so after picking out a few features or aspects you have to have, it’s best to be willing to compromise on other factors.
For example, you might have your heart set on a corner room, but don’t mind tatami reed floors. Maybe you can deal with having a wall-mounted water heater if your living room gets a lot of natural light. Or perhaps being less than a 15-minute train ride from downtown Tokyo will instantly seal the deal, even if the trade-off is that the apartment’s bathroom doesn’t have any walls.
There are “impressive” people in every fandom, but Japanese anime, manga and game fans certainly know how to take things over the top. There are more volumes to read, more episodes to watch, and more merchandise to buy than for just about any other fandom out there. You never knew you wanted a mint case cover adorned with your favorite character until you saw it there in the store.
If you have the money to spend, Japan will have made something for you to buy. A self-proclaimed Swiss otaku seems to have some extra cash, and he often uses it to take his fandom beyond anything you could possibly imagine. His recent set of tweets are causing a ruckus on the Internet and most people can only muster one simple question: Why???
Hokkaido, Japan’s rural, northernmost island, has a wealth of tourist attractions. But while most travelers spend their time enjoying the natural beauty of the region’s mountains, forests, and oceans, visitors to the city of Abashiri often spend their time in a very different way.
That’s because in contrast to the sense of freedom Hokkaido’s wide-open vistas are so evocative of, Abashiri is home to the Abashiri Prison Museum. Aside from exhibits on the history of incarceration, the museum also has a cafeteria, where diners can eat a recreation of modern Japanese prison food, and even knock back a bottle of Abashiri Prison Stout beer.
Last Saturday was White Day, the annual Japanese celebration in which men give gifts to women who gave them gifts for Valentine’s Day. As such, confectioners rolled out a huge selection of special offerings for the occasion, and while chocolate is a perennial favorite, shoppers could also choose from strawberry, green tea, cherry blossom, and a variety of other gourmet options.
Among female dating simulator fans, though, the big hit flavor this year seems to have been “kisses.” No, not Hershey’s Kisses, but candy that actually claims to tastes like locking lips with one of six virtual boyfriends. Even stranger, gamers were clamoring to buy them even though no one really knows what “kiss-flavored” means, except that apparently the anime-style heartthrobs’ kisses don’t taste like shellfish.
Japan is in the middle of a luxury train boom, but that doesn’t mean every station in the country is a palace of creature comforts. In the most rural areas, the station is often little more than an unstaffed slab of concrete poured next to the rails.
Things are just a bit more infrastructure-intensive at Tsutsuishi Station, however. That’s because while its above-ground facilities may not be much to look at, the platform is located at the bottom of a stairwell that descends 40 meters (131 feet) into the earth.
It’s probably common knowledge by now that South Korea is one of, if not the most, cosmetic surgery-obsessed countries in the world. It’s a topic that has been touched on pretty regularly here on RocketNews24; last year alone we brought you news of a Korean clinic that makes art out of patients’ jawbones, a girl who underwent an enormous amount of plastic surgery to turn herself into Miranda Kerr, and a Korean reporter who changed her looks so drastically that many were left aghast.
Korean cosmetic surgery, on the whole, is geared towards achieving a standardised set of features that are considered beautiful. And while the entries for Miss Korea may or may not have had a little bit of work done at some point, it’s startling how similar they all look in their competition portraits.
It’s probably safe to say Yukihito Nakanishi’s life hasn’t turned out exactly ike the 37-year-old Kyoto native planned. A baseball player in his student days, he was selected by the Nippon Ham Fighters with the overall seventh pick in the 1996 draft, but struggled to raise his game to the level required to be a star, or even a regular, in the Nippon Professional Baseball league.
Nakanishi was cut in 2000, having never pitched in an official game. Still, he’s managed to transition to life as a non-professional athlete, finding a job and moving back to Kyoto. He even seems to have found a new hobby, fishing, which ordinarily would be great, except that the police are claiming that instead of going after bass or trout, Nakanishi recently cast his line in hopes of hooking the lingerie his neighbor had hung out to dry.
A while back we reported that Japan’s Twitter users couldn’t stop eating peaches with mozzarella cheese. We were creeped out at first, but the flavour combo even made its way into the legitimate snack companies’ repertoire, so there must have been something in it. This time, however, it seems the crazy tastebud thrillseekers out there have gone a step further by combining vanilla ice cream with avocado (and occasionally, even soy sauce).
But why would any sane person do this, and what does it taste like?