Fran W

Fran grew up on a farm in Northumberland, England’s most northern and least populated county. She relocated to Nagoya in 2011 to teach English and find better edamame beans. On arriving in Japan, she enthusiastically abandoned a lifetime of vegetarianism and now spends her weekends on the trail of the perfect miso katsu. When not attempting to sing k-pop at karaoke, Fran can often be found loitering in old camera shops, or on a hike wishing the manual camera in her backpack wasn’t so heavy.

Posted by Fran W

Anime cover band Inheres has us rocking out to Dragon Ball, Slam Dunk and more…in Spanish!

Cover versions are tricky to get right. Sound too different from the original and you risk alienating those who prefer the original; mimic the original version and you’re not bringing anything new to the table. And covers in a different language are a whole different kettle of pescado.

So we’re seriously impressed by these tracks from Inheres, a three-piece rock band hailing from Valparaíso, Chile, who specialise in covers of anime themes. Join us after the jump to hear anime themes as you’ve never heard them before, from Detective Conan to Saint Seiya.

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Sukāto haki-wasure! Japanese women reveal the horror of realising you left your skirt at home

What with all the kabe-don pictures and that cat that looks permanently surprised, 2014 was a busy year for us here at RocketNews24. But it seems there is one more important story from last year that we have entirely neglected to bring to your attention – until now.

In blogs, on Twitter and in one hugely-popular article on website Naver Matome, Japanese women have been talking about sukāto haki-wasure – the act of accidentally going out with no skirt on. But what on earth is the cause of this phenomenon? And what can be done about it?

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We grab a bargain with the Muji Fortune Can, because Lucky Bags are so 2014

With its classic, minimalist style and unbranded goods, Muji is a popular and enduring brand. And whereas its international stores tend to mainly sell household goods and furniture, Muji in Japan has dipped its toe in a wide range of sectors, from show houses to cafés to a Muji car.

While Muji’s Lucky Bags always sell out, the store also sells this Fortune Can for, appropriately, 2,015 yen (around US$17)! As well as a 2,015-yen gift card – that’s right, every can contains a gift card that’s the same value as the retail price of the can! – each one also contains a traditional Japanese ornament from the Tōhoku, Kansai or Chūgoku regions.

Well, when our Japanese reporter Sachi Ojiya heard about that, he rushed down to Muji and bought not one but three Lucky Cans! This is his report.

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We buy a $45 Lucky Bag from posh chocolatiers Godiva so you don’t have to

New Year in Japan means family time, food with very specific meanings, and of course shopping. And one of our favourite things about this time of year is the opportunity to buy Lucky Bags (fukubukuro). As the name implies, these are bags containing a lucky dip of items from your store of choice – so you don’t know what loot you’ve got until after you’ve parted with your cash.

Sometimes, you can hit the jackpot with fukubukuro – last year, for example, our very own Mr. Sato was ecstatic to get his hands on a MacBook Air. But here at RocketNews24 we like our tech to come with a side order of luxury chocolate, so when we heard that upmarket chocolatier Godiva were selling Lucky Bags for 5,400 yen (US$45), we sent our reporter P.K. Sanjun down to buy one. Here’s what he got!

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Monkey pulls electrocuted buddy from train tracks, revives him as onlookers cheer【Video】

Tales of animals exhibiting unusual behaviour are too often the result of being kept in unnatural conditions in captivity – like that poor “headbanging” bear that was doing the rounds last summer. So we’re pleased to bring you today an interesting video of an animal being a total badass hero and rescuing his friend from a dangerous situation.

After a monkey was electrocuted and fell onto train tracks at a railway station in Northern India, another monkey spent 20 minutes resuscitating him, to the delight of cheering onlookers.

Join us after the jump for video of the dramatic rescue.

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From Dad’s autograph to a pack of peanuts: People in Japan reveal their worst Christmas presents

Christmas in Japan is more of a romantic date night than a family gathering, and comes with its own set of new(ish) customs, from KFC to strawberry shortcake.

There are some aspects of the modern western Christmas that Japan has adopted unadulterated, however, and one of those is the shopping. And while we’re sure there are plenty of awesome presents exchanged at this time of year, a recent report from Japanese magazine Peachy showed that almost fifty percent of Japanese people surveyed have received a disappointing present from Santa-san.

So what kind of rubbish presents have Japanese parents been putting in their kids’ stockings? Join us after the jump to find out!

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Why making kids cry on camera never gets old

It was a viral hit in China back in 2010, but with 12 million views and counting, ‘Cute Little Chinese Girl Scared To Death On TV Show’ is a video that shows no sign of going away. The video of a little girl’s frightened reaction to a fake criminal, which recently resurfaced on the Japanese internet after being reposted to Liveleak, wasn’t the first funny crying kid video to stack up hits online, and it won’t be the last. From Charlie Bit My Finger Again, to the Reasons My Son Is Crying tumblr, to the recent video of a toddler left inconsolable after she realises a newborn can’t come to her birthday, it seems we just can’t get enough of weeping toddlers.

So why are videos of kids crying so popular?

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Japan’s biggest online retailers now have more smartphone traffic than desktop site users

Japan’s most visited sites saw PC traffic decline by between 10 and 20 percent in 2014, while access from smartphones rose rapidly, according to a Nielson survey published this week. Online retailers saw the most marked changes, with some experiencing as much as a 60 percent rise in mobile internet traffic.

It’s easy to see this shift to mobile as part of a wider global trend – after all, Americans already spend more time accessing the internet via mobile and tablet apps than with computers. But smartphone use in Japan looks a little different. When Japanese consumers use smartphones to access the internet, it is mostly via mobile web browsing, rather than dedicated apps.

Join us after the jump as we take a closer look at the what and why of these suprising survey results.

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Model and TV star Kayo Police went to Singapore to wish you a hot Christmas from the beach

One of the most envied perks of being famous has to be international travel. So while we’re sure being a model is just as hard work – if not more so – than heaps of other jobs, we can imagine that opportunities to escape the recent cold weather in Japan and jet off to warmer climes goes some way to make up for it.

So forgive us for being more than a little jealous of these pics from Kayo Police’s trip to Singapore. Sure, posing for pictures is work. But she also got to go to Universal Studios and go to a bubble spa. Merry Christmas!

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‘Parasyte’ opening gets re-animated in the style of the original manga【Video】

When the anime adaptation of early-nineties horror manga Parasyte hit the small screen in Japan this year, the contrast between the artwork of the original manga by Hitoshi Iwaaki and the updated new-style character designs of the anime left some fans disappointed.

Inspired perhaps by this same sentiment, Niconico user kurobaru has hand-drawn the opening sequence of Parasyte -the maxim-, staying as close to Iwaaki’s original old-school manga style as possible. Join us after the jump for a look at how it turned out!

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Enter the double! This is “Afghan Bruce Lee”, and he’s a high-kicking sensation【Pictures】

A 20-year-old Afghan man is being described as “the reincarnation of Bruce Lee” after photos and videos of him striking iconic poses and wielding nunchucks were posted online.

Abbas Alizada, who goes by the name of Afghan Bruce Lee due to his striking resemblance to the star, hopes to show another side to his war-torn country. “The only news that comes from Afghanistan is about war,” he said in a recent interview.

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Japanese university English teacher fights student misbehaviour with eccentric new rulebook

“All students must play with their cellphones constantly for 90 minutes” and “Any student bringing the appropriate textbook will be removed from the classroom” were among the new rules announced in a Japanese university English class last week as one lecturer attempted to tackle lazy, inattentive students who text in class and forget homework. The beleaguered teacher distributed her new anti-manifesto for classroom behaviour along with a gloriously bizarre expletive-laden worksheet, both of which were posted by a student on Twitter with the caption “Sensei finally cracked”.

I did say expletive-laden. So if you’re reading this in class, make sure your teacher doesn’t catch you reading the swear words.

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If The Avengers could have one Japanese superhero, who would it be?

It was a veritable who’s who of Marvel superheroes: Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America, Thor… but some fans from a country with its own rich history of superhero characters have been asking, couldn’t there have been a Captain Japan in The Avengers?

Join us as we delve into a parallel universe, asking, “If The Avengers had a Japanese superhero, which one would it be?”

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South Korean ferry disaster: Rescue ship was fitted with salmon-fishing sonar

Criticism of South Korean naval authorities has intensified as it is revealed that the country’s only salvage and rescue ship was equipped with a fish-finding sonar instead of military-grade equipment.

ATS-II Tongyeong, a naval rescue vessel, was completed in 2012 at a cost of 159 billion won (US $150.7 million). But when the Sewol ferry sank on April 16 this year, Tongyeong was back in the construction yard, unable to be deployed to the rescue mission.

Now, defence suppliers face allegations that in the weeks following the ferry disaster, they knowingly attached a commercial sonar only suitable for salmon-fishing to Tongyeong, and tried to pass it off to the navy.

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Theatrhythm: Dragon Quest announced for Nintendo 3DS

Following Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy, Square Enix has announced a new rhythm game for 2015, this time using music from the Dragon Quest series.

When Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy was announced in 2011, some commenters thought it was a joke. But the game has been an unlikely hit, and Square Enix will be looking to repeat that success with Theatrhythm: Dragon Quest.

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New ‘Yu-Gi-Oh!’ film site launches countdown to…something!

After months of silence, Yu-Gi-Oh! launched an official movie teaser site on December 8, featuring a mysterious countdown clock and two silhouetted characters.

4K Media announced that a new Yu-Gi-Oh! movie was in development back in June, and that they were seeking a distributor for countries outside of Asia. Well, it looks like they’ve got something else to announce now!

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Now even cats in Japan are taking post-breakup selfies!

Twitter photo comics were the platform for a six-panel post-breakup transformation meme earlier this year.

Using the tagline “you broke up with me ’cause that girl’s cuter?” (‘ano ko no hou ga kawaii kara’), the comics typically show a girl transforming herself from a bookish persona into a fully made-up “cute” version of herself.

Then, men started doing them too. And cats. And babies.

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New video for Hikaru Utada’s ‘Beautiful World’ is a slice of Evangelion awesomeness【Video】

Hikaru Utada’s anniversary cover album is out next week, and to celebrate, Evangelion co-director Kazuya Tsurumaki has made this music video for the Japanese American artist’s song ‘Beautiful World’.

The resulting video is made of beautifully spliced-together Evangelion clips, and it fits Utada’s track perfectly.

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All we want for Christmas is a 1/6 model Spider-Man to take photos with

They say a dog is man’s best friend. But if these pictures are anything to go by, Spider-Man’s best friend is a cat.

Not only does this 1/6 scale Spider-Man come with a puffer vest, he’s also the perfect size to take all kinds of adorable pictures. Join us after the jump for Spider-Man hanging out with pets; tucked up in a cat bed; and showing what an awesome dad he is.

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