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.

All Stories by Andrew Miller

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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The needle that promises to make trips to the doctor much more bearable

For those of you who are a little on the squeamish side when it comes to needles and injections, there’s some good news that might just make your anxiety a thing of the past. The solution comes in the form of a needle that promises to cut the sensation of pain by up to 20 percent. It all has to do with the use of plasma technology in the manufacturing process of the needle itself.

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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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Take a Ride on Japan’s New Amphibious Bus and See the Sites of Tokyo!

Japan’s latest tourism offering looks set to capture the attention of both sightseers and locals seeking a spot of adventure. From the Japanese company that embarked on such enterprises as the open air double-decker bus comes the “land and water bus”. The development of the vehicle is part of a new Tokyo sightseeing strategy undertaken by Japanese automobile company “Hinomaru Bus”. The service, dubbed “Sky Duck Tokyo Splash Tour”, launched on March 2013 and has been fully booked since its first day of operation.

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Transmitting Information Via the Sense of Touch: NHK Researchers Create a New Hope For the Visually Impaired

NHK, Japan’s public service broadcasting corporation, has created a technology which offers hope to the visually impaired by making use of the sense of touch in relaying information to the brain. The technology promises to be able to recreate the sense of touching an object with your fingers or hands despite the object not actually existing in the real world. It is a technology that could endow the visually impaired with a much higher degree of sensual richness.

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Japan Gets Tough on Law-Evading Hallucinogenic Herbs

In recent years, the use of law-evading hallucinogenic herbs has been becoming more popular among young people in Japan. These herbs have properties similar to those of illegal drugs like cannabis, however due to their synthetic nature, many users fail to see the real dangers lurking behind them. As an initiative to prevent widespread misuse, the government produced a comprehensive list of chemicals that are banned in the sale and use of law-evading hallucinogenic herbs on March 22, 2013. The chemical substances on the list recently rose from 92 to 851. However many shops are selling a modified version of the banned herbs in attempt to evade the issues of legalities and keep profits alive. In this way, it is a cat and mouse game where once one chemical has been outlawed, a similar substance carrying slightly altered chemical properties is quick to make its way on to the market. While effects of inhaling these herbs are similar to hallucinogenic drugs, shopkeepers claim that they are solely for aromatic purposes. Of particular concern is that the number of online law-evading herb shops is also increasing.

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Japanese Documentary Tells the Real Story of the Daiichi Nuclear Plant Evacuees

Two years after Japan’s great earthquake and the Daiichi nuclear diaster comes a documentary that tells of the citizens who still can’t return home to Iitate Village in Fukushima due to the high levels of radiation.

Over at our sister site, Pouch, film critic Kaori Saito was given the opportunity to check out the film production of “Iitate Village, the Problem of Radiation and Returning Home” (in Japanese “Iitate-mura hoshano to kison”) before it was released to the Japanese public on May 4. Kaori comments that the work deserves particular credit for its delicate treatment of the continuing problem of radiation and the depiction of the struggles of the inhabitants affected.

For the readers who are unfamiliar with Iitate, it is a village that is located 30 kilometers from Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant within the prefecture of Fukushima. While it is reasonable to believe that the level of radioactive contamination would be comparatively low for an area this far from the power plant, due to the strong winds, snow and rain that occurred directly following the disaster, the actual levels of contamination far exceeded original estimates. For Japan and Iitate Village, unprecedented levels of radiation poured down, making the land uninhabitable and thus leaving the former residents no alternative but to abandon their village and seek refuge elsewhere.
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Woman Feels Cheated After Meeting Her Online Boyfriend For the First Time, Calls Police

According to news correspondence from Wuhan City in China, a Chinese-Korean woman used the internet to befriend a man from China only to discover that on meeting face to face, he fell short of her expectations. The woman then contacted local authorities claiming that she had been “cheated.”

The woman, Ms. Chan (35), who is of Chinese descent but possesses Korean nationality and resides in the city of Suwon, Korea, first made contact with the Chinese man (37) from Wuhan, China, via the Chinese instant messenger software QQ. The man is believed to be employed part-time. After several chat sessions, the couple are said to have hit it off and as a natural course of events, the woman suggested flying over to China to meet in person. However, for one reason or another, the man would always claim to be busy and say that it was difficult for him to take time off from work.

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Black Smoke Detected From Nuclear Reactor ‘Monju’ During Test Operations

It as been reported that engineers at Japan’s fast breeder reactor plant Monju made a mistake during testing of the plant’s emergency power generator, which subsequently resulted in the release of black smoke and the ringing of the plant’s fire alarm.

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Report Detailing Potentially Infected Chinese Poultry Used in Japanese Fast Food Sparks Fears

An article published in a special edition of Japanese weekly Shukan Bunshu has suggested that  potentially hazardous chicken sourced from China may be finding its way into fast food in Japan. The article, composed by writer Shuuji Okuno, begins by posing the following question:

“Would you still be willing to put a chicken nugget in your mouth if you knew the real story? The hazards of China’s domestic chicken meat!”

Our attention well and truly grabbed, we delved inside. Read More

Japanese Women Short On Cash Use Smartphone Games to Lure Men Into Paying for Their Food Expenses

The number of Japanese women who are struggling with food and living expenses is reported to be on the rise. While most women try to increase their earnings by taking on an extra part time job or even changing occupations completely, there are others who resort to some rather unscrupulous methods. One such method is to use interactive smartphone games to trick men into buying them dinner to reduce the burden of their food costs.

All the men out there, brace yourselves as what is about to unfold will leave you squirming!

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As the Value of the Yen Drops, Korea Sees a Marked Decrease in Numbers of Japanese Tourists

The beginning of May is host to a long holiday period in Japan known as “Golden Week”. Originally given the moniker by shopkeepers and business owners on account of the amount of custom they received during the holidays, Golden Week provides many a hard working Japanese person with the chance to put their feet up and rediscover what it feels like not to have to clock in, don overalls or stare at a computer screen all day, with many instead heading back to their home towns for family reunion or taking trip to  tourist attractions.

With China’s May Day holiday also coinciding with Golden Week, the Korean tourist industry usually sees an influx of tourists from both countries eager to relax, see the sights and spend their hard-earned cash. Due to the yen’s sudden drop in value, however, many Japanese tourists are putting their travel plans on hold this year, opting to stay closer to home where their money with stretch further. Korea, it would seem, has been left looking to Chinese tourists alone to boost its economy this holiday season.

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Japanese Fashion Chain UNIQLO Introduces Worldwide Equal Pay System Across Its Stores

Tadashi Yanai, chairman and director of Fast Retailing and the main force behind the expansion of Japanese clothes retailer UNIQLO, has recently made public his intentions to introduce a worldwide universal wage system for shop managers and high ranking employees. This would effectively mean that regardless of the country in which a worker is employed, while working for UNIQLO they would receive the same amount of pay. Yanai believes that regardless of a country’s political and social circumstances, an equal amount of work deserves an equal wage.

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Samsung Admits to Stealth Marketing Tactics: Hiring of University Students to Slander Rival Taiwanese Smart Phone Manufacturer HTC

According to an AFP report dated 16 April, 2013, Korean electronics company Samsung hired Taiwanese university students to publish slanderous articles on the internet about Taiwanese smart phone manufacturer HTC. Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission is currently investigating the matter and there are already reports that Samsung is admitting outright to the misconduct in its marketing strategies.

After careful deliberation, if Taiwan’s Fair Trade Committee deem Samsung’s most recent stealth marketing strategy to be illegal, it will mean Samsung paying a US$835,000 penalty.

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Fukushima Prefecture Produces First Thesis on the Effects of Internal Radiation Exposure: Children of Fukushima Unaffected?

A thesis which assesses the risks of internal radiation exposure within Fukushima Prefecture following the explosions at the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, suggests that the effects of internal radiation fall far below that recorded after Chernobyl.

Ryugo Hayano, who works as a professor at Tokyo University’s Science Research Department, has collected the findings of doctors who conducted research into internal radiation exposure among those living inside of the Fukushima Prefecture. He consolidated these findings into an English journal entitled ‘Proceedings of Japan Academy Series B89’, which is available on the net.

The latest journal is a collection of reports that looks at the degree of radiation exposure through daily food consumption and it is reported to be the first of its kind.

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Japanese Permanent Resident Status to be Awarded to Overseas Students? A New Appeal by the Mayor of Kyoto

On April 10, the mayor of Kyoto Keiji Yamada made public his intentions to appeal to the government to award overseas students who graduate from Kyoto University with the right to permanent residence. It is a proposal entitled ‘Kyoto University Special Ward’ and also incorporates other supportive measures for foreign students. With a decrease in student intake within Japan in recent years, it is hoped that by providing incentives for academically skilled overseas students, Kyoto will not only be able to compete with other cities like Tokyo but will also be able to add a new lease of life to its cultural city.

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The Worrying Aging Effects of Too Much Computer Work

In the past decade or so, the widespread use of computers in both the public and private sphere has seen the personal computer become an indispensable part of our daily lives. Whether it be creating a chart of company expenditures or simply recording important appointments in a software-based diary, almost all of our work has been a layer of digital varnish. The birth of the laptop computer has meant that work can be done virtually anywhere, with a wealth of information available in a few clicks and taps of the keyboard. As wonderful as all this is, it’s easy to overlook some of the problems that arise from a computer-centric life. Here we’ll take a good, hard look at the downside to spending the vast majority of our day plugging in and screen-facing.

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