Andrew Miller

Andrew, who is from London, England, first came to Japan in late 2006 where he worked as an English teacher in the Tochigi prefecture. After becoming a little more accustomed to the culture and the language, he moved to Tokyo in 2009 where he has been residing since. He has a passion for the Japanese language and has even created himself an “unofficial” Japanese name(安努龍). In addition, Andrew has an interest in a wide genre of news and as a freelance translator is keen to relay the subtle differences between cultures to readers around the world.

Posted by Andrew Miller

Court ruling orders anyone with a TV-equipped device to pay NHK’s public broadcasting license fee

On May 27, Sagamihara District Court in Yokohama, Japan, ruled that regardless of whether or not someone has entered into a contract with NHK (Japan’s public broadcasting station), being in possession of a TV-equipped device, like a smartphone or car navigation equipment, is enough by law to be obligated to pay NHK’s licensing fees.

According to NHK News, the same district court ordered a household in Kanagawa Prefecture to pay a TV license fee that was calculated back to when they first bought their TV set many years ago. The total fee came in at a whopping 109,000 yen (US$1,100). Such a ruling is a first of its kind; up until now if you could somehow avoid signing the TV license contract, you could rid yourself of any obligations to pay.

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Pensioner in China discovers six human heads in suitcase floating on park lake

According to Chinese media, a 68-year-old woman in the city of Bengbu made a somewhat gruesome discovery on Saturday last week when she opened a suitcase floating on a park lake to discover six human heads. Could there be any explanation for such a stomach-churning find besides murder and horrific gangland killings? As it turns out, quite possibly!

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Kyoto high school students detonate homemade explosives in public space

High school students from Kyoto, Japan, placed what was reported to be a homemade explosive in the middle of a street and then detonated it. It came to light on June 24 that the students also filmed the explosion, which they uploaded to YouTube. The incident is creating much controversy online, and has even caught the attention of Kyoto police who have called the suspects in for voluntary questioning, following a series of similar videos uploaded by the same youths.

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Villagers on their guard as crocodiles escape from breeding farm in China

According to Chinese media, around a hundred crocodiles escaped from a breeding farm in the Guangdong province of China late last week. Inhabitants of the area, who include young school children, are said to be fearful for their safety.

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Police in Tokyo search for a man who called out to a child in a park, netizens scratch their heads

Tokyo police released a statement earlier this week asking the public for any information they may have regarding an incident that occurred on June 15 at approximately 9:20 a.m. wherein a man called out to a child playing in a local park.

As it transpires, though, all the man is believed to have said to the boy was, “You’ll never play for your country doing it like that!” leaving netizens wondering exactly why there should be any cause for concern.

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Photos of karaoke customers getting frisky circulated online by unscrupulous staff

If you thought the darkness of a private karaoke box was a safe place to get it on, think again! One poor couple recently found themselves plastered all over the internet after one thoughtless employee decided to share photos of them getting fresh between bouts of singing J-Pop hits.

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Correct short-sightedness without surgery: our reporter tries out orthokeratology

If you were asked to name a type of surgery to correct short-sightedness, most likely the first thing that would come to mind is laser eye surgery. While in recent years the precision levels and success rates of laser surgery have risen like never before, the idea of zapping your eye with a laser isn’t one that everyone is comfortable with. Recently, however, “orthokeratology”–a new form of vision correction which uses hard contact lenses to shape the cornea and requires no surgery whatsoever–is becoming increasingly popular.

Find out how our reporter Kuzo got on with a pair of the unique lenses after the break.

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The Mexican street peddlers who make a living selling their wares on the border

The town of Tijuana in Mexico is a rather unique place in the sense that it is located just before the border that separates Mexico and the U.S.. Here you can see souvenir shops boasting a wide array of merchandise. There’s everything from silver jewelry or wrestling goods, right the way across to authentic Mexican tacos. What’s more, the price of goods in Mexico is just one third that of America so it’s easy to see how they could appeal to potential visitors crossing the border. The number of people who come just to get a bargain alone is quite astounding.

Here at RocketNews24 our very own Japanese reporter, Yoshio, went ahead and checked out what all the fuss was about. He reported that of all the things that you’ll come across in Tijuana, there’s one particular spectacle that’s likely to catch your eye…

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Experiment hints that humans aren’t necessarily evil after all

A research group from Kyoto University conducted an experiment into the behavior of babies when shown an animation depicting a scene of bullying. During the experiment, a high percentage of the babies showed a deep interest in the party being bullied. It is thought that the tendency to sympathizing with the weaker party reveals the essentially benevolent nature of humankind.

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Are pre-cut vegetables doing our bodies more harm than good?

With a wealth of health information at our fingertips, most of us try to take good care of our bodies, getting our five fruit and veg a day and enjoying coffee and alcohol in moderation. It’s not always easy to maintain a healthy lifestyle while holding down a job or taking care of a family, though, so foodstuffs like pre-cut vegetables or ready-made side dishes often find their way into our fridges. But despite carrying a healthy image, are the ready-to-eat vegetables and ready meals found at your local convenience store really as nutritional as they’re thought to be?

If Japanese food specialist Kiyotaka Minami’s latest book “The 19 Food Habits that are Bad for the Body” is to be believed, these pre-packed time-saving gems could actually be doing our bodies more harm than good.

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Two Japanese youths arrested for placing an exploding bag of dog poop in a local police box

Two youths were arrested by Aichi Prefecture police on June 11 after they placed a plastic bag full of dog feces and lit fireworks inside a police box, showering the small room with the bag’s contents.

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Some McDonald’s customers in China are getting a little too close for comfort

As part of healthy human relations, it’s necessary to know just how much of a physical distance you should keep between yourself and someone you don’t know on an intimate level. If the distance is too great, there’s the risk that you’ll appear uneasy. Likewise, if you draw in so close that the other party can literally feel your breath on their face, you can forget about making any positive impressions.

Apparently, some McDonald’s customers in China are creating a reputation for themselves by exhibiting “overly familiar behavior” towards the staff. This problem became a hot topic online recently when someone snapped a customer completely ignoring the rules of distance etiquette.

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Woman falls onto Subway line, mistaken for hand luggage by station employee

On June 10, Japanese underground railway network Tokyo Metro made an official statement about an incident in which a woman, who fell onto the Hibiya subway line at Roppongi station, was mistaken for hand luggage by the employee on duty at the time. Not realizing the full seriousness of the matter, the station employee then gave the go ahead for the train, which was stationary at the platform at the time, to continue forward on to its next destination.

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Teacher confesses to installing camera in girls’ restroom, ‘Just wanted to test out the equipment’

The Kusatsushi Board of Education in Shiga Prefecture, Japan made a public announcement on June 3 that a teacher employed at an elementary school within the Kusatsushi area was being questioned after installing a small, compact-style camera inside the girls’ toilets at the school where he worked.

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Chinese teen defaces ancient relief in Egyptian temple, tracked down by irate netizens

With photos of people doing unsightly things on public transport and reports of cockroaches floating in smoothies, it’s true that China hasn’t been painted in the best light recently. However, an incident occurring in Egypt has caused outrage both at home and abroad after it was discovered that a Chinese tourist had scrawled a message on a wall in an ancient Egyptian temple.

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Ever wondered what Japanese prison food tastes like? Try it firsthand at the “Prison Cafeteria”

Without actually getting arrested and being thrust into the confines of a prison cell, there is little if any chance of us being able to taste real prison food. However, this doesn’t stop many of us wondering on the odd occasion what all those guys doing hard labor actually eat day after day. It could possibly be the most revolting thing known to man but if only there were a way to at least try it…. In this vain, our RocketNews24 reporter Kuzo searched high and low for a place where all of us upstanding citizens can try the stuff without resorting to breaking the law. Thankfully, this is Japan, so it didn’t take long for him to track down a cafeteria in northern part of Japan that specializes solely in Japanese prison food.

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Future idols collect 100 million eco-friendly bottle caps in just two weeks in the quest for fame

When a handful of Japan’s wannabe starlets made a plea to their limited fan base to send them as many plastic bottle caps as possible, it was generally assumed that nothing much would come of it. However, imagine our surprise when, keen to see their favorite idols hit the big time, passionate fans stepped up to donate over 100 million caps towards their case.

In Japan, fans with this level of dedication are known as “aidoru otaku”, meaning idol or star fanatics. Their enthusiasm often goes beyond the boundaries of casual fandom and enters into what can only be described as the realms of what some might deem obsessive. Even so, you’ve got to admire their team spirit- that’s an awful lot of drinks to consume!

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Is it safe for minors to drink non-alcohol beer? We turn to Japan’s top breweries for answers

As a measure to prevent drink driving and to improve people’s health, many Japanese beer manufacturers have released non-alcohol versions of their products, with such products seeing surprisingly strong sales in the marketplace. Since the products on sale contain no alcohol, it is safe to say that there is no fear of the law being broken by underage drinkers enjoying them. In fact, it’s not uncommon to find alcohol-free beer in the soft-drink section of the menu.

Nevertheless, when it comes to minors and the consumption of non-alcohol beer, the exact legalities of it all become rather confusing. The reason being that it is still necessary to show proof of your age when purchasing non-alcohol beverages. So what’s the deal here? Is it really safe for those under age to drink non-alcohol beer? RocketNews24 got to the bottom of it all by speaking to Japan’s top beer manufacturers directly.
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Start your engines! The traffic light in China that gives drivers just one second to move

Drivers in China are being left completely dumbfounded as to how to navigate a busy junction without violating the law or getting themselves killed. The reason being that a traffic light installed in one town gives them just one second to pull out before turning back to red.

We hope you have a car with a decent engine.

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Japan’s abandoned bicycles find new homes in developing countries, helping save lives

In Japan, countless numbers of bicycles are abandoned outside stations and on roadsides each year. While many will be turned into scrap metal and recycled, a percentage that are still deemed functional after a few repairs are being put to effective use as a mode of transport for nurses and midwives in developing countries like Ghana.

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