Krista Rogers

Starting with a love of J-Pop and J-dramas when she was 13, Krista Rogers has left her quiet New England hometown in the States both to study abroad in Tokyo and to work on the JET Program in beautiful Yamagata prefecture. She misses chatting in the local dialect and staging Kamehameha battles in the hallway with her students. Although she's currently working on her master's degree in Boston, she will without a doubt be back in Japan before long and buying way too much at Book-Off and Tower Records again. When she needs a break from schoolwork, Krista enjoys eating yakiniku, figure skating, finding cute cafes, watching Big Bang MVs, and continuing on her quest to catch 'em all.

All Stories by Krista Rogers

Hatsune Miku and Pharrell Williams team up in new remix music video

All-around music guru Pharrell Williams can’t possibly get any “happier” as he continues to ride the waves of last year’s worldwide hit “Happy” into Japan. He released a special Japan-version music video for the song on May 13, and even appeared as a special guest on May 16th’s episode of popular Japanese music variety show Music Station, where he performed in front of an ecstatic Japanese crowd. And the fun doesn’t stop there, because he has yet another treat for his Japanese fans–a collaboration with everyone’s favorite Vocaloid, Hatsune Miku!

Miku, who made a splash for herself last month when it was announced that the virtual idol will be performing as the opening act for part of Lady Gaga’s upcoming world tour, stars alongside Williams in the music video for a remixed version of a Livetune song. The original song serves as the theme song for prolific Japanese artist Takashi Murakami’s directorial debut film. Just wait until you see the adorable avatar version of Williams dancing alongside Miku in the video!

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Three misconceptions guys have about how to be popular with the ladies

The media usually likes to give advice to men for impressing all the women out there. But what you don’t normally hear about is whether those tips actually work or not. Some commonly held beliefs may actually be nothing but misconceptions.

Japanese website Niconico News ran an article about three such tactics that men believe will help them attract the ladies…which will actually backfire on them, at least according to the ladies themselves. If you’re reading this and you’re a man, you may want to take note, or else you could make a serious blunder next time you’re trying to impress your date.

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What’s the deal with these new nose gadgets Chinese policemen are wearing?

What’s that man wearing in the picture above? Is it a new subculture fashion trend born in Harajuku? Or maybe some kind of bulky nasal strip? Actually, it’s an incredibly high-tech nasal air purifying device to combat air pollution.

The smog problem in several major Chinese cities is impossible to ignore, and poses colossal environmental and health risks unless drastic action is taken soon (it apparently even forces couples to take wedding photos while wearing gas masks…). There has been recent talk of using drones to fight the smog, but in the meantime the police department of one city in northern China is taking precautionary measures to protect the health of its workers by providing them with specialized breathing equipment.

It’s not quite as cool looking as the mask worn by, say, the titular character of Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, but just wait until you read everything that this little contraption can do.

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Vinyl flower vases are all the rage right now in Japan

You’ve probably never heard of vinyl flower vases before, but what’s not to love about them? They provide a practical, inexpensive alternative to traditional glass vases while still looking stylish at the same time. Even better, you can send them easily within a sealed envelope to a friend.

Japan is currently going nuts for these things. Join us after the jump to find out why.

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The country that sent the most foreign visitors to Japan in 2013 was…

In 2013, a grand total of 10,363,904 foreign tourists visited Japan! That number surpasses the goal of the Visit Japan Campaign, which began in 2003 with a goal to increase the number of overseas visitors to 10 million.

The Japanese language version of popular travel planning and information website TripAdvisor was quite excited by this news, and recently produced their own visual graphic detailing some fun facts about foreign tourists in the Land of the Rising Sun during 2013. Can you guess which country most of the visitors came from, or which country had the highest percentage jump in visitors? How about the most popular tourist destinations for foreigners traveling in Japan? Find out all that and more after the jump.

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Customer reviews on Amazon Japan are more priceless than the expensive items they’re about

Usually people search on Amazon to find the best deals, and not to spend a ton of money. But apparently there are people out there with a little too much cash to blow, as you’ll see after reading these hilarious Amazon Japan customer reviews for two ridiculously expensive products. We’re a bit worried for their sanity, but they sure can write some funny reviews!

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What everyday object has now been declared illegal to bring onto the Chinese mainland?

The People’s Republic of China has always been strict about what is  and is not allowed into the country. Now authorities can add one more thing to the list of forbidden articles after the emergence of this particular item. Some are even going so far as to say that the government fears it more than anything, and is consequently keeping certain unstable areas of the country under high surveillance.

Any guesses as to what this banned item could be?

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New apartment building in South Korea takes on ‘a different angle’

How would you like to live in the Leaning Tower of Pisa…or something close to it? That pretty much fits the description of this newly constructed apartment building in South Korea that inexplicably tilted to the side just days before completion. So if you’re looking for a slightly unconventional place to live, why not give this building a try? Just beware of sliding furniture…

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Costars rave about Ryunosuke Kamiki’s dedication to his role in upcoming Rurouni Kenshin films

When novels are adapted into live-action movies, it’s hard to maintain the fine balance between keeping things faithful to the original story and realistic enough to fit into the real world. There have also been countless flops of manga to live-action movie adaptations in the past as well. Therefore, I had relatively low expectations for the 2012 live-action film adaptation of Nobuhiro Watsuki’s beloved semi-historical manga Rurouni Kenshin. I went into the theater not expecting much, but came out pleasantly surprised! The casting was overall spot-on, and the characters kept many of their signature mannerisms that had made them popular in the original manga and anime series.

Last week here at RocketNews24, we released an article showcasing the rocking new trailer for the 2012 film’s two upcoming sequels. One of the major characters of the next two films is Sojiro Seta, the assassin companion of primary antagonist Makoto Shishio. Sojiro will be portrayed by young actor Ryunosuke Kamiki. Furthermore, his costars can’t seem to stop gushing about his love for his part and the extreme efforts he takes to give the best performance possible. 

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Pulling up the Sewol could take six months and cost US$98,240,000

It is now approaching one month since the passenger ferry Sewol sank off the coast of Jindo, South Korea. The whole world has watched the death toll rise to an official count of 275, with several dozen people still missing. Compounding the catastrophic loss of life is the fact that the majority of the victims were mere high school students on a field trip to popular Jeju Island.

Many South Korean citizens are lambasting the government for its response to the disaster. Several crew members, including the captain, have also been arrested during the ongoing criminal investigation.

In light of these events, one question that is currently on everyone’s mind is how on earth is the ship’s operating company going to handle the financial burden of this disaster? Join us as a lawyer knowledgeable about shipwrecks gives his preliminary monetary estimates.

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Kids today get all the best toys! “Sketch Aquarium” turns doodles into lifelike swimming fish

Remember all those toys you had as a kid that seemed so cutting-edge at the time? They probably don’t seem quite as exciting any more with all the advances in technology over the years. In fact, you’ll be willing to trade your Furby in a heartbeat once you see what these Japanese kids get to play with nowadays!

Take the “Sketch Aquarium” for example – a play area where children can foster their creative skills by designing a fish and then interact with it in a virtual tank. I wonder if adults are allowed in, too…

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Japanese Twitter user discovers the perfect Halloween decoration in the form of…a flower?!

Who’s afraid of the big bad…flower?! Sure, we’ve seen the pitch-black Turkish rose that would harmonize perfectly with the home decor of any hardcore heavy metal fan…but we never thought that a flower could be downright terrifying! The following pictures posted by one Twitter user prove that Mother Nature has cooked up some pretty creepy recipes. You might even have nightmares after seeing what this certain kind of flower looks like after wilting. On the bright side, you can make a veritable Halloween bouquet!

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Nine reasons why Japanese men hesitate to say “I love you”

Whenever someone asks me, “How do you say ‘I love you’ in Japanese?” I’m always at a loss for what to say. In short, there is no good Japanese equivalent. Textbooks and other resources will tell you to say ai shiteru, but in reality this phrase is used very rarely due to cultural and linguistic differences. You would never throw it around casually throughout the day to your friends or family in the way that English speakers use “I love you.” More appropriate perhaps is the phrase suki da, which translates roughly to a strong “I like you” in a platonic or romantic sense. Either way, the specific connotations of each saying get lost in translation.

Enter Sugoren, a Japanese dating advice site. Earlier this year they conducted an online survey asking 165 bachelors in their teens and twenties to provide reasons why they don’t say ai shiteru to their girlfriends. Based on the results, they were able to compile a list of nine common patterns that prevent men from saying ai shiteru. If you’re dating a Japanese man and have yet to hear the fabled words, you may find yourself in one of the situations below!

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Karate’s long fight to make the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games

Question: Which of the following is not an official Olympic medal sport? Is it A) Judo, B)  Taekwondo, or C) Karate? If you guessed C) Karate, then you answered correctly.

It may come as a surprise to you that karate is not an official Olympic sport, despite its widespread popularity throughout the world. In fact, karate has been rejected by the International Olympic Committee on three separate occasions. However, the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics have created a new movement for official adoption, along with a new strategy.   

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We know the human names of Dragon Ball’s Androids 17 & 18!

When I was in middle school, I used to watch Dragon Ball Z every single day. I’ve seen all 291 episodes of the series and without a doubt can say that my favorite story arc begins with the arrival of future Trunks until the end of the Cell Games. Why? Because the villains are awesome, of course (sorry, Frieza)! Everyone loves Cell and the attractive-but-deadly android siblings, known as Numbers 17 and 18.

Speaking of the androids, Akira Toriyama, the author of Dragon Ball, has recently released an interesting bit of trivia for the first time ever – Number 17 and 18’s true names! Even cooler is how their names combine to create something new. Do you have any guesses?

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Got milk but no fridge? No problem! Just throw in a frog

Yep, we’re being entirely serious here. New research has shown that an old Russian practice of putting frogs into a bucket of milk to keep it from spoiling may actually be right on the money. In fact, frogs may even be the key to finding a new source of antibiotics for humans.

Still skeptical? Keep reading to find out more!

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Food and decor at Kiki & Lala Cafe in Shibuya is sure to melt your heart, despite long wait time

Earlier this month we posted an announcement about a special limited-time Kiki & Lala Cafe in Tokyo’s trendy Shibuya district. The photos from the preview were just so adorable that we almost had little hearts spilling out of our eyes, and had to send a writer from our Japanese sister site Pouch over to get the inside scoop. After four failed attempts, she finally managed to make her way inside and discover the magical secrets within for herself. The reason it took so long for her to get in? It’s because the place is just too darn popular!  

If you’re a fan of Sanrio’s cute characters and are anxious to go for yourself but are a bit hesitant about the long wait, you’ll definitely want to check out our writer’s comments and eight practical tips for planning a visit.

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“Yankee Anthropology” exhibit in Hiroshima now open to the public

To most people around the world, the word ‘Yankee’ is used as a (sometimes derogatory) slang term for Americans in general. To most Americans, ‘Yankee’ refers to a person living in one of the six northeastern states of New England. To die-hard Red Sox fans, just hearing the phrase ‘New York Yankees’ is enough to make their blood boil. But that’s a different story…

Curiously enough, the word ‘yankee’ (ヤンキー) has also established itself within the Japanese lexicon, albeit with extremely different connotations. In Japan, a ‘yankee’ conjures up images of juvenile delinquents and biker gangs (more on that later). While this Japanese subculture may have died down considerably since its heyday in the 1980s, one museum in Hiroshima Prefecture has just opened a special exhibit titled ‘Yankee Anthropology’This exhibit explores Yankee culture from a serious, academic perspective and includes various related realia. If you’ve always been fascinated by this aspect of Japanese subculture, now’s the perfect excuse to head over to Hiroshima!

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Man sues mother for breaking promise to let him wed 8-year-old daughter when she came of age

We’re not really sure what to make out of this recent bizarre news out of Taiwan. Nine years ago, a man who was 32 years old at the time claimed to have fallen in love with an eight-year-old girl, even receiving a promise from the girl’s mother that he could wed the girl once she came of age. He then reportedly spent the next several years providing the girl’s family with financial assistance.

Fast-forward to the present, where the man learns that not only has his “betrothed” secretly married another man, but even has her own child. His next course of action is to file a lawsuit against the girl’s mother for fraud. How do you think his case turned out? More details after the jump.

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The top five places to survive a real attack by Titans in Japan

It’s a thought that’s bound to have crossed the mind of anyone who has read or watched the wildly popular Attack on Titan series. And if it hasn’t yet, the realistic special effects in next year’s live-action film adaptation are sure to do the trick: In the extremely unlikely event of an attack on humanity by colossal Titans, where the heck can we go to be safe?? 

While this hypothetical possibility alone may strike enough fear into some people to make them go live under a rock, others have taken up the challenge and are using their creative thinking skills to plot out a course of action before disaster strikes. We asked one such Titan fan for advice, and she was kind enough to share the top five safest places from an attack by Titans in her opinion. Do any of your ideas make the cut? 

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