KK Miller

Writer After falling in love with Totoro and always thinking how delicious Satsuki’s bento looked, KK Miller continued to study about Japan all the way through university. Frequent time was spent between learning about Japanese history and rereading Harry Potter for the bajillionth time. A year abroad in Japan only cemented her decision to live in Japan, so she moved here right after completing her degree. Dressing up as a Harry Potter character every Halloween since being in Japan, KK continues to spread the magic and her love of Totoro and Harry Potter to everyone around her. While Satsuki’s bento turned out to consist of all the Japanese foods she doesn’t like (umeboshi, dembu, and whole grilled fish), she continues to enjoy Japan through traveling, photography and writing.

Posted by KK Miller

Sun, sea, and sumo: Fans of Japan’s oldest sport can soon book their dream vacation

Rikishi, oyakata, tokoyama, and Yokozuna. If these Japanese words mean anything to you, then you are likely a super sumo fan. Like any popular sport, it’s expensive to see your favorite athletes compete – and actually meeting and chatting with them seems like a distant dream. This is not so different for Japan’s national sport of sumo, with 13,000 fans at each tournament cheering for their favorites, you are just one in the crowd.

But, of course everyone wants more – more chances to take pictures and more chances to meet your favorite stars. Well, if you have nothing else planned for December, right now is your last chance to sign up for the Grand Sumo Cruise! Just be ready to open up your wallet!

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Tech FAIL – Japanese man uses butter to try and turn his normal TV into a 3-D TV

For those who have never been to Japan, the country seems like a high-tech wonderland. There are constantly reports coming out about new technologies, new robots, and new gadgets; you would think every Japanese person is some sort of tech wunderkind! We hate to shatter your dreams, but Japan is just as full of non-techy people as any other country in the world. No thread shows this better than one that recently popped up on 2channel (2ch). While the rest of the world might be trying to look at leaked photos of celebrities, one 2ch user attempted to turn their normal TV into a 3-D TV by applying…butter. Yeah, we aren’t sure how that’s supposed to work either, nevertheless, we present to you…The Buttering!

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Don’t point that camera at me! Man arrested for taking “normal” picture on train

Japanese people love to take pictures. Whenever you see them on vacation, no matter if it’s their first time or their thousandth time, they are always taking them. In fact, Japan was one of the first countries to sell mobile phones equipped with a camera back in 2000. Having a camera on you at all times sure does come in handy, as you’ll always be able to capture that special moment wherever you are.

Unfortunately, sometimes that special moment is a peep-shot or a scandalous photo which is certainly a violation of privacy. Japan has taken a very no-nonsense approach to help stop these highly inappropriate photos, and it comes in the form of the Anti-Nuisance Ordinance. So powerful is this law that the latest person to be arrested has caused a bit of commotion. His crime? Taking a picture of a fully-clothed woman sitting beside him on the train.

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Smash & Eat: We try a playful Korean sweet you have to hit with a hammer to enjoy

They say girls love sweets because the endorphins released when eating them help to get rid of bad moods and make everything better. But if we’re being honest, most people of any gender want their foul moods to be whisked away by the delightful taste of sugary sweets! However, sometimes your problems can’t be solved with just cakes and ice cream and you still have so much pent-up frustration that can only be released by DESTROYING something. If you run into this kind of situation, we have the perfect solution for you: a popular sweet from Korea that must first be smashed with a hammer before you can enjoy it.

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More than meets the eye, sushi in disguise! Check out these transforming sushi toys!

Your mother probably scolded you for playing with your food at the dinner table, but here’s one of the few times you’ll be able to get away with it! Introducing transforming sushi toys from Takara Tomy. Now, instead of playing with a floppy piece of asparagus (how’s that supposed to stand up to the forces of evil anyway?), you can play with these pieces of super robot fighting sushi. Just don’t try to take a bite out of them!

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Rare Namco robot for sale with all its junk hanging out【Photos】

An interesting auction popped up last week and at first glance it just looked like an old junkie decorative statue. But further investigation revealed it to have a bit of gamer cred. This robot was designed and built by Namco, yeah, that Namco, the one of Pac-man, Tekken and Soulcalibur fame. Unfortunately, this robot isn’t going to do some super duper awesome game playing for you. However, it is a piece of Namco history on the auction block. If you claim to be the biggest Namco fan in the world, then maybe you NEED this robot.

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Japan has cornered the market on weird but cute – a look back into history【Photos】

Japan’s history has such a huge influence on its current trends. In fact, what is old is cool in Japan. Samurai, geisha and ninja are all perfect examples of how Japan loves to romanticize their history and how the past continues to play a role in present day culture. It’s surprising that entertainment in Japan isn’t constantly just remaking old stuff into new stuff! (Oh wait, they are?)

One of the most popular things in Japan right now is Yo-Kai Watch, which combines the thrill of Pokemon with monsters of Japanese folklore. But aren’t the monsters of Japan too scary for a children’s Pokémon-like game? If you haven’t figured it out yet…Japanese folklore is a weird and wonderful place.

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Going Bananas for Bananart on Banana Day! Students create a “bananamation” movie【Video】

We know what you are thinking: “Really? There’s a Banana Day?” In Japan there is! It comes from the date “August 7” and the way you can pronounce “8” (ba) and “7” (nana) in Japanese. The two of them read together become Banana Day, an informal holiday where the amazing powers of bananas are reviewed and admired, which is mostly achieved through nutritional campaigns that teach you fun facts like “bananas are high in potassium” and “they are good for giving you a quick boost of energy”.

In fact, an elementary school in Kanagawa Prefecture took advantage of Banana Day to squeeze in a nutrition class and, surprisingly, the kids didn’t go bananas because they had to go to school during summer vacation. Instead, the students took the day to its most artistic and clever form yet by creating a stunning video that all banana lovers should watch.

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“Pirates” challenge Asian leaders to ALS Ice Bucket Challenge; Monkey D Luffy not invited

As of August 25, 2014, the ALS Ice Bucket Donations have reached a whopping US$70.2 million. The challenge has made it across the globe, with participants ranging from Benedict Cumberbatch to Kumamon. While the challenge is raising awareness of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), new participants are finding their own ways to make the challenge more interesting.

One Korean-American rock band has challenged the leaders of three Asian countries to pick up that bucket and do their part to raise awareness and money for the neurodegenerative disease.

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Manhole up! Local artist brings his creations to the streets

There are aspects of city life that people don’t want to draw attention to. Quick, what do you think of when you read “sewer”? Those who thought of the entrance to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles lair, we know what generation you’re from! Most likely though you thought of waste and sewage, something that every city probably wants you to ignore! Most places don’t want to draw attention to what is hidden underneath the manhole cover, but RocketNews24 has shown you before that Japan isn’t one of those countries. China on the other hand doesn’t have a custom sewer cover industry. Their billions of manhole covers are destined to be boring slabs of cast iron.

Or are they….???

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You’re under arrest! Mongolian beauty serves and protects【Photos】

There is no shortage of beautiful women on the internet, but nowadays you need something…else, to separate you from the crowd. We’ve introduced hotties before, ranging from a marathon runner in China to a police woman in Xinjiang. Our next looker is from Mongolia and also puts her life on the line every day to protect the people in her city, which already makes her someone you don’t want to mess with. You’ll especially want to watch yourself when you find out that her husband and the majority of her family are in the business as well!

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Japanese man fails at writing a love letter, builds machine to do it for him

Relationships in Japan start a little differently than ones in other countries. In many places, the interested party may strike up a conversation and barring any incredibly awkward small talk, might suggest another meeting at a future agreed upon time. However, if anime or manga is anything to go by, the process doesn’t usually go like that in Japan. Rather, one person likes the other from afar and becomes utterly infatuated with the girl or boy of their dreams. It all builds until a private meeting where one finally declares “I like you. Please go out with me!”

One industrious man decided to put his own unique spin on the confession in hopes of gaining the love of his life! Let’s take a look at what he did!

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Flappy bird creator releases his next creation on the world, world productivity plummets

Nguyen Ha Dong, creator of Flappy Bird, has been teasing his second game recently and it has finally been unleashed upon us! The game, called “Swing Copters“, shares many of the same gameplay elements of his first game, but might be even more annoyingly difficult than Flappy Bird! Is Swing Copters going to become the next Flappy Bird? Is it “fun” enough to warrant your time? Find out with some hands-on impressions!

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Fear Factor meets Next Top Model in China’s modeling competition extravaganza

Modeling is a tough business. You need the body, the face, and perhaps the most difficult thing to achieve: the walk. All the top models must combine these three components perfectly. In an industry that is so difficult to break into, a reality TV competition where the winners are whisked off to Italy for a potential professional modeling career could be just the chance an aspiring model is looking for! But these contestants will have to show off more than just their good looks to win this competition. What do these model wannabes have to do to prove their worth for this Chinese TV show? It might just bug some people.

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Lose hair, save big! Hokkaido hotel offers discounts for bald guests

In a society that celebrates long and luscious hair, those who lose their locks prematurely are at a bit of a disadvantage. A person’s lack of hair can be caused by any of number of things: stress at work, illness, shaving it off for charity, or simply plain old genetics. But with so many products out there that promote flowing locks and even more for hiding hair loss, it’s easy to feel like a loser when you don’t have hair in Japanese society.

Well it’s time to start turning “less hair up there” into “more money in your wallet”! Hot on the heels of the Tokyo bar that gives generous discounts to bald patrons comes a hotel in Kamikawa, Hokkaido which is set to offer reduced rates to the follicly challenged! And it’s not just pure generosity behind these savings, either!

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Ninety-nine problems, but looking like a 5-year-old playa ain’t one of them

Preschool. That tender age between three- and five-years-old where kids cry whenever they are separated from their parents but change moods instantly when something entertaining happens. They are only beginning to discover the crazy mad, mad world around them. It’s like they don’t have a care in the world! They can eat what they want, wear what they want, and do what they want! They should cherish these worry-free years before they start encountering the real world problems of an elementary school first grader…right?

 Well…we hate to break it to you but…

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Japan gets skimpy, slippery and wet at “lotion x music” festival

Normally, Shinkiba 1stRING features the physical feats of Japan’s pro-wrestling circuit. The ring is always packed with wrestling fans whenever there is an event, but what happens when there is no wrestling? Partying, obviously! On August 9, with the looming threat of Typhoon 11, people gathered for a one-of-a-kind party in Japan, possibly the first of its kind: a music festival that mixes bumping beats with…clear lube?!?

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Speak like a samurai with these four antiquated words

The age of the samurai makes one of the best thematic settings for any Japanese movie or TV show. There are so many great historical figures to profile, and even more fictional characters to imagine ourselves as! We might have the look, but how did they talk? What words did they use?

The Japanese language has a word for this “samurai language” called monofu-go. An accidental de gozaru (samurai for “to be”) and a parting katajikenai (samurai for “grateful” or “indebted”) is only the beginning of being “old school” cool. Well fear not, RocketNews24 brings you level two! Here are four more phrases and words that were used back in the day that will help you expand your monofu-go vocabulary!

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LadyBeard is stirring up a storm with a “dangerous” new tweet! 【Photos】

LadyBeard is certainly making a name for himself in Japan. RocketNews24 has covered some of his antics before, here and here. His popularity in Japan continues to grow and grow as evidenced by his Twitter account which has almost 45,000 followers! One of his latest tweets has been shared across the twitterverse over 1,000 times! What in the world could this be about? The answers and more, so much more, after the break!

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