Master Blaster

Writer / Translator

Master Blaster is the two-man translating team of Canada’s Steven Le Blanc and Japan’s Masami M, a pair who in addition to writing work are in English education and created the StudyNow app for Japanese students of English.

Together they have written somewhere around 1,500 articles for RocketNews24 covering such diverse topics as Chinese men selling sanitary napkins to each other and a Japanese guy dragging an ear of corn around the Tokyo train system. A few of these were actually good, but don’t take our word for it! Here’s what our beloved readers had to say:

“One isn't always in the mood for bold tastes. But when I'm in the mood for bold flavor I turn to you.”
“Stupid article. Who cares what the Japanese think it's cool. You don't call a monkey, "gorilla".”
“You know, this is about the most cogent explanation of how a turbocharger works that I have ever seen in the non-motorsports world.”
“Thanks for the article peter!”
“It's people like you who make exploitation possible.”
“It looks yummy and the story was great. Thank you for the smile.”

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All Stories by Master Blaster

Even Non-Alcoholic Drinks Should be Limited to 20 Years Old and Up According to Survey

To all our under-age readers, I feel for you.  Understandably, alcoholic drinks are off-limits as they can be harmful to your growth at a young age.  But now, it seems the adults want to take away your non-alcoholic drinks as well according to a recent survey.

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We Take a Slow Ride to the Disputed Russian/Japanese Island of Sakhalin, Taking a Boat Can be Much More Enriching than a Plane

While in Hokkaido I decided to go to the Sakhalin Island just North of Japan.  This island has had a long history of passing between Russian and Japanese control for centuries.  In the closing days of WWII Russian forces took the entire island although no treaty was made to officially declare their ownership.

As a Japanese person it stung a little to need a visa to visit this Sakhalin but the dispute over this island has been quieted recently.  A Japanese Consulate was established there and businesses in Japanese frequently make the trip thanks to warming ties between the two countries.

And so I decide to make the most of this journey by taking a ship rather than a plane.  Ultimately it was full of surprises – good and bad.

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[Olympics] Chinese Media Attempts to Annex 2 Kazakhstani Gold Medalists, Chinese People Wish Their Media Would Give It a Rest

During the London Olympics, two young ladies from the Kazakhstani team Zulfiya Chinshanlo (19) and Maiya Maneza (26) each earned gold medals in their respective weight classes as well as setting a World and Olympic Record respectively.

However, their celebrations were short lived as China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency declared that they are in fact secret Chinese nationals, Zhao Changing (19) and Yao Ling (26) who were sent on a clandestine mission to Kazakhstan to spread the sport.

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America Flexes Its Marketing Muscles by Turning a Bland Japanese Condiment into the Hippest New Diet Food

A common addition to many Japanese dishes is a substance called Konjac (Konnyaku in Japanese which may sound confusingly like Cognac). It’s a peculiar, virtually tasteless gelatinous mass that admittedly has an excellent texture to it.

What may come as a shock to millions of Japanese people is that America is beginning to embrace this garnish not as the Japanese have, but as a replacement for conventional pasta.

Thanks to the West’s keen marketing sense, Japan’s often underappreciated purplish-grey slab gelatin has been reborn there as Miracle Noodles!

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We Head to the Location of OS X Mountain Lion’s Desktop, “Blue Pond” and Soak In the Mysterious Beauty First Hand

Installed on the recently released OS X Mountain Lion is a breathtaking image of an aquamarine pond with trees growing out of it.  We previously gave you the impressions of the photographer Kent Shiraishi, but now we went straight to the real Blue Pond in Biei, Hokkaido to see if it lives up to the photo.

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Meet Family Mart’s Newest Employee, Hatsune Miku

A while back we reported on Hatsune Miku’s hijacking of four Family Mart convenience stores.  This time, however, Family Mart has turned the tables by hijacking Hatsune Miku herself and hiring her as a store clerk.

The news comes during a display at Wonder Festival (Wonfes) Summer 2012 by figurine makers Good Smile Company.  In the display figures of Miku sporting a Family Mart Uniform (with a few cute alterations) could be seen.  These will be part of an upcoming promotional event between the popular Vocaloid and convenience store chain.

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Novel Anti-Cheating Technology Surfaced on Twitter, Look for It at a School Near You

Students cheating on tests is as natural and inevitable as the sunrise, and with the aid of technology like smartphones there are even more ingenious ways to get around failing.  It’s a global problem with no solution in sight.

However, it looks like one innovative teacher has found a simple, cheap, and seemingly foolproof way to curtail their students from cheating.  This is based on a photo that is making the rounds via Twitter recently.

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We Test Drive the World’s First Augmented Reality Car Navigation System “Cyber-Navi,” It’s as Good as We Hoped

In May 2012, Pioneer announced the newest model of Carrozzeria Cyber-Navi.  This breakthrough device, which is set to hit stores soon, has been getting a lot of buzz for moving car navigation from the dashboard to about 3 meters in front of your car.

I (Mr. Sato) was able to get an sneak peak test drive in a car equipped with a Cyber-Navi, and it was a surprisingly comfortable ride with clear visibility.

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Land Yourself an Educated Partner with “The Smell of a Freshly Printed Book”

A new perfume has been created inspired by this quote of Karl Lagerfeld, a heavy hitter in the fashion world working with the likes of Chanel and Fendi among others.

“The smell of a freshly printed book is the best smell in the world.”

Well, hmmm, I never really thought about it before, but I can distinctly recall the smell of a fresh book after reading his words – so he could be onto something.  But does it really make you smell like a book?  And would people actually go for it?

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Snow Cone Inspired Pasta May Deliver Us From the Heat, The Best Part Comes After You Finish!

This summer isn’t even half way through, but everyone in Japan can firmly agree that it sucks – hard.  For the past two weeks the temperature has hovered around 35℃ in many parts of the country with a hardly a cloud to weaken the scorching sun.

Walking around in the streets, heat exhaustion has me pining for winter like it was a long lost lover whom I’m willing to forgive for cheating on me with 10 dudes as long as she comes back for one precious moment to ease my soul.

Just then some news hit me like a bucket of cold water.  There is a restaurant in Ginza called Fresh Pasta Monster that is serving “Shaved Ice Fresh Pasta” for a limited time Now that’s something to make me forget about that tramp, winter.

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Newly Developed Projector Lets You Make 3D Animations That Can Interact With Real Objects

A couple months ago when Tupac “appeared” at the Coachella Festival, they incorrectly called it a “hologram” when in fact it was a style of 3D projection—the same that is used when Hatsune Miku makes live appearances.  Now you can make your favorite murdered rapper or vocaloid come to life with similar 3D projections using your tablet computer and “Hakoani!”

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Taiwan Fans of Japanese Singer Make an Odd and Possibly Rude Cosplay Homage During Concert

While touring Asia this July, Japanese Singer and television personality Shoko Nakagawa (often called Shokotan) was confronted by two young fans with a costume that could be interpreted as brashly mocking her were instead praised by the artist as Genius.

Looking at the picture, though, it might be hard to see what the problem is. People with a background in art might be able to figure it out.

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[Biography] The Life and Times of Pedobear

Pedobear’s most recent appearance on Nestle’s Facebook page for Kit Kat got them in a heap of trouble.  It appeared that the chocolate maker had posted a photo of a man wearing a suit resembling that cute bear with a reputation for having a penchant for minors.

Many who know of Pedobear, also know of his roots on the meme factory internet site 4Chan.  A percentage of those people probably know that he was imported from its Japanese precursor, 2Channel, where he is known as “Kuma” even to this day.

But what is known of his life then?  To answer that RocketNews 24 is prepared to peel back the layers of Pedobear’s surprisingly wholesome – if not heroic – roots.

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RocketNews Begins “Hyper-Gentleman’s Cool Biz” Campaign, Results in 1 Arrest

The summer of 2012 is shaping up to be the hottest in recent years, and with nearly all nuclear power plants still shut down here in Japan, energy conservation is a necessity.  Here at RocketNews24, we believe wholeheartedly in saving mon… I mean protecting the environment, which is why we’ve made an effort to shut off all air conditioning in the office.  To compensate, we have elevated the concept of “Cool Biz” to “Hyper-Gentleman’s Cool Biz.”

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Brighten Up a Rainy Day by Shooting a Fireworks Party from a Bazooka, Results May Vary

Who doesn’t love a good fireworks display?  It’s a great way to relax on a warm summer evening with a BBQ and some beers.  However, with a stagnating economy and tightening safety regulations these majestic works of gunpowder art seem to be slowly fading away.

Light-based toymaker Uncle Milton has tapped into this by combining people’s innate love of fireworks and bazookas with Fireworks Lightshow (called Anywhere Fireworks Bazooka in Japan).  But can they really pack the beauty of a fireworks show into a plastic gun wieldable by a child?  Let’s start by watching the advertisement for it.

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Controversial Results of Beauty Pageant Lead to Do-Over, Previous Winners Deemed “Way Too Ugly” by Public

On June 30 the Miss International Regional Qualifying Pageant was held in Chongqing, China.  However, as the winners (pictured above) were announced, backlash from scores of confused spectators and an allegation that the contest was fixed has prompted organizers to hold a second pageant.

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The Apex of Eraser Technology Has Been Met with “Resare Premium Type Plastic Eraser”

I’m a man of fine taste and refinement.  I write only the highest quality documents on the highest quality paper with the highest quality pencils.  However, when I make only the highest quality mistakes I demand that only the highest quality eraser be used to correct them.  That is why on 10 August, I will be going to the highest quality stationary store to buy the Resare Premium Type Plastic Eraser – the eraser to end all erasers.

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Olympics-Schmolympics, Who Makes the Better McDonald’s Burger; France or Japan?

Fresh off the most recent stint of Big America burgers released in McDonald’s restaurants across Japan like the Texas Burger, Idaho Burger, and Broadway Burger, the taste of the month now has turned its eye toward France.

This time though McDonald’s Japan has completely copied one of French McDonald’s sandwiches, the Le GrandTo see if it lives up to the original I tried one in France and Japan for a tête-à-tête taste test.

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“Lina Blue Cooled Ramen” is More Than Just a Slick Name, It Might Add Years to Your Life While Keeping You Cool This Summer

On 18 July, a ramen shop in Nipponbashi, Tokyo called Bee Hive Genki no Moto had introduced a novel chilled ramen that’s equally cooling to the eyes, ears, and stomach – perhaps even the life.

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Japanese Civil Servants Can’t Have Tattoos While Chinese City Workers Can’t Receive a Piece of Hard Candy; Regulations Run Amok

With just one week left to vote for the most evil employer of 2012, we’d like to shed some light on an overlooked “black corporation” – city governments.  Sure, government workers often get a bad rap as being slow and overpaid with ridiculous job security.  But in the words of Bob Dylan “the times they are a-changing.”

In Osaka, government workers will be forbidden to have any tattoos and a drinking ban is in talks for all the city workers of Fukuoka.  But to really see the slippery slope that these labor reforms can lead to, we should turn our attention to the People’s Republic of China.

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