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

A serious issue of contention between the countries of China, Taiwan and Japan was further fueled by banners held up during an AFC Champions League soccer game between the Guangzhou Evergrande and the Kashiwa Reysol.

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Why is Japan Turning Blue at Night? More and More Streets Being Draped in Peacefully Bizarre Azure Lights

A growing number of people all across Japan have been noticing their neighborhoods getting a little jazzier these days.  If you live in Japan and haven’t seen them yet then just wait.  But why have cities all over the country been trading in their traditional yellowish lights for the blue light special?

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How to Commit Seppuku, Now Available in English!

Samurais are one of those Japanese cultural exports that foreigners can’t get enough of.  The hair style, swords, and that bad-ass armor that makes a European knight look like the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz.

Samurais are also responsible with that Japanese form of ritual suicide that equally fascinates and horrifies people around the world, seppuku.  Equally well-known as Harakiri (but often horribly mispronounced to sound like MLB sportscaster Harry Caray) it evokes darkly romantic images of opting for gory self-disembowelment over losing one’s honor.

A recent posting of an instructional diagram teaching how to perform seppuku has caught further caught the attention of people in countries around the world.  Even on the internet, home of some of the most disturbing sights imaginable this age-old ritual retains its shock value.

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Visit the US Navy Ship Held Prisoner for Over 30 Years in North Korea

In 2012, a Japanese man was allowed to take a supervised tour of the secretive country of North Korea, we’ve reported some of his observations about their fine dining, public transportation, and more.  And now we bring you coverage of one of the most unique tourist spots in the world: the only currently captured United States Navy Ship, the USS Pueblo.

Our correspondent’s tour guide and government appointed escort took him to the ship moored in Pyongyang where the guide told him “even today, America continues to beg the ship be returned.”

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Welcome to the Crappiest Toy Store in Thailand

Disclaimer:  This article contains some graphic depictions of doo-doo and is not  for the faint of stomach.

One of the great things about visiting Thailand is that everything is so cheap.  Especially if you want to buy souvenirs for a lot of people, it’s a very shopping friendly country.  However, even with these low prices, travelers are still faced with the dilemma of what to get loved ones.

You don’t want to spend your whole vacation picking out the perfect gifts but you also don’t want to be like your aunt Grace who gave you a lame souvenir spoon from her trip to the Grand Canyon last year.

Luckily we stumbled upon a toy store in Thailand that lets you confront your fear of buying a crappy present by selling literal pieces of crap.  Small coilers will run you about 50 baht (US$1.60) but a larger log will cost 150 baht ($4.80).

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New iPhone Attachment Takes It Back to ’07, By Which We Mean 1907

Apple has had their share of run-ins over patent infringement these days, but it looks like Sanyo Transport’s recently released iPhone attachment may get an angry letter too – from the Edison Speaking Phonograph Company.

The iPhone 4S/4 Exclusive Bugle-Type Speaker certainly doesn’t win points for a catchy name, but it may hook you in with its low price, simplicity and heck even for its retro charm.

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Newspaper Companies Rally Against Inevitable Demise by Giving a Few Free Copies Away with the Purchase of an Egg McMuffin

McDonald’s may not be the best place to get nourishment for your body, but for one week at selected branches you could get some food for thought, in the form of a free newspaper.

That’s right, McDonald’s restaurants and the Japan Newspaper association have collaborated to bring you Spring Newspaper Week (April 6 to 12), which many are lauding as a glorious waste of time.

The purpose of Spring Newspaper Week is to combat the growing trend of young people not using newspapers.  Strangely, more and more younger people prefer reading their news on phones that fit in the palm of their hands rather than cumbersome sheets of paper that make their fingers black.

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Fukushima Refugees Rather Gamble than Work, Claims Iwaki City Mayor

The city of Iwaki lies 30km south of the Fukushima Daiichi just outside of the evacuation zone created after the nuclear disaster struck.  As such it has become home to approximately 25,000 displaced people from Futaba District, where the Daiichi reactor is located.

On 9 April, Iwaki Mayor Takao Watanabe had this to say about the evacuees: “With the compensation money they received from TEPCO, most people are choosing not to work.  The pachinko parlors, however, are packed every day.”  Pachinko is a highly popular game similar to pinball that is often used for gambling much like slots or video poker in other parts of the world.

Although this may sound like another case of a Japanese politician putting his foot in his mouth, it appears Mayor Watanabe is not alone with his opinion.

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IT Company’s Recruitment Ad Offers Sexual Healing to Unemployment

Anyone who’s ever clicked through corporate recruitment pages is well accustomed to the stock photo montages of multicultural, gender neutral, in colorful-but-not-too-colorful blue shirt business people shaking hands with unrealistically large smiles on their faces.

They’re so bland and innocuous that they become the visual equivalent to white noise.  That’s why when a company tries something different, they stand out big time, and the reason why I now know who Telecom Support Inc. of Tokyo is.

Their recent recruitment ad posted on a website for job hunters, displays an employee seemingly reaching the height of sexual ecstasy over how awesome his job is.  Intrigued? Me too.

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Is Fizz Saver the True Savior of Cola Fizz or Does It Fall Flat?

Now that it seems spring has slowly arrived and summer is around the corner, cold drinks are on everyone’s minds.  It’s especially hard to resist all the dirt cheap soft drinks that can be found in convenient 1.5L bottles.

But for most of us, our eyes are bigger than our stomachs and what’s left of the massive bottle gets stored in the fridge.  Here it inevitably falls victim to the scourge of carbonated beverages everywhere – flatness – and ultimately is poured down the drain.

A new product called “Fizz Saver” has arrived on the scene to help keep your large bottles of cola alive a little longer.  I decided to try one out and see in the hopes of a bubblier tomorrow.

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Amazon Buys Robot Company for $755M Reducing Warehouse Staff’s Duties to Standing Still and Pushing Pretty Red Buttons

Kiva Systems is a company that found some success selling their warehouse robots to many major retailers looking to keep up with the juggernaut that is Amazon.com notable clients of their included the GAP and Toys “R” Us.

However, just recently Amazon responded with a big capitalistic FU to their competitors by buying Kiva Systems. This means that Amazon now kind of owns the distribution systems of many of their rivals.  The price of $755 million doesn’t sound too crazy now, does it?

But as we shall see, the real loser in this deal is the human race.  This is because along with this acquisition, Amazon is now the proud father of Kiva’s army of tiny orange warehouse robots.  Kiva’s promotion video gives us a bleak view of how the world will look when the robots take over.

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Algae Found Capable of Removing Radioactive Matter from Water

Necessity is the mother of invention, and the damaged created by the Tohoku earthquake and subsequent Fukushima Daiichi disaster has created an urgent need for solutions to the environmental problems Japan faces.

Working with various universities across Japan, the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research, better known as RIKEN have developed a new method of decontaminating water containing radioactive materials.  It uses a type of algae that has been shown to “eat” radioactive cesium.

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An In-Depth Look At Japan’s Premier Horror Idol Group, Alice Juban, Sinister Sisters Who Enslave Salivating Supporters

It’s a hard road to become a successful pop idol group these days, especially in Japan where the AKB48 divisions have a stranglehold on the market.  What’s left of it generally goes to the Korean invasion.  When the pop scene reaches a peak like it is at now, it becomes nearly impossible to distinguish one act from the other.

Every day when you flip on the TV or thumb through a magazine there are gaggles upon gaggles of young girls and guys with almost identical clothes, hairstyles, songs, and dances all vying for your attention.

Applying the Tony Montana formula of success to idol groups; you got to get the attention first.  Then when you get the attention, you get the fans.  Then when you get the fans, you get the money.  The girls in Alice Juban (Alice Number 10) are doing just that in a way that would make Scarface proud – with chainsaws and hockey masks.

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Help the Police Find Grenades and Land Yourself  $1250 – Per Grenade!

In these hard economic times there aren’t many ways to make a buck.  The Fukuoka Prefectural Police are pitching in during these cash strapped times.  All you have to do is help them locate some deadly unexploded ordnance.

Yes, on 30 March, Fukuoka Prefectural Police announced that they will be giving cash rewards to anyone who can provide tips leading to an arrest of anyone in possession of grenades.  And I’m announcing that I’m cancelling my trip to Fukuoka.

In what’s called the Grenade 110 Incentive Program (110 is the emergency number for police in Japan) you can receive a whopping $1250 (100,000 yen) per grenade that they find on a suspect. It starts on 2 April and is open to anyone in the country.

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Take Your Relationship With Your iPhone To Strange New Levels With Bandai’s Smartpet App and Robot Dog Body

They say that dog is man’s best friend. However, as the number of smartphone users continues to grow that title may soon be challenged, especially if you consider Bandai’s newest iPhone development, Smartpet.

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Lil’ Miss Environmentally Friendly Can Wash Away All Your Unwanted Toilet Sounds

Let’s face it; using public toilets is never a pleasant experience.  Putting aside all the legendary messes you have encountered, even if the restroom is immaculate you still have to worry about yourself.  As stealthily ninja-like you try to be on the can it is virtually impossible to do it without making any embarrassing sounds.

This is especially true of the fairer sex who often do a courtesy flush but in these ecologically sensitive times it’s hardly a sensible use of a gallon of water.

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Do These 25 iPhones Make Me Look Fat? Yes, According to Customs Officers Who Discovered Teen Girl Mule

Most people casually think of China and Hong Kong as basically the same place since Britain’s lease on it expired in 1997.  However, Hong Kong and mainland China coexist with extremely different lifestyles and governments.

For example, a 16GB iPhone4S costs about US$145 less in Hong Kong than just across the border in Shenzen City.  Naturally duties are set up to avoid people taking advantage of this price gap with cross border shopping. Nevertheless, when this situation arises you are bound to see a lot of smuggling going down.

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Daiwa House To Sell “Vegetable Factory” Capable of Growing 10,000 Heads of Lettuce Per Year

Produce prices are almost impossible to predict, mostly because of crops ruined by El Nino, global warming, or whatever cause de jour we hear about in the news. The rest of the time we’re hit with stories about E. coli in our spinach or other edible plants being the subjects of genetic manipulation.  Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to avoid all of these problems?

Japan’s largest homebuilder, Daiwa House has come up with a solution to all of these produce related problems wrapped up in a 30 cubic-meter wonder box.  Dubbed the “agri-cube”, this little veggie factory lets you grow 23 different varieties of edible plants from lettuce to basil.

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Japanese City on the Verge of Bankruptcy Puts Name Up For Sale

They say the only thing you have after losing everything is your name.  Not so, says the Izumisano City officials who in the dying moments of their failing economy are considering a plan to sell their naming rights off amongst other ideas.

Residents of the Osaka Prefecture city will be pleased to know that they wouldn’t be selling it to just anyone with money, so the threat of the name becoming Poopiehead City is minimal. From June till the end of November they will be accepting proposals from both foreign and domestic businesses interested in unique ways to advertise using their city’s government and resources.

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Hello Katie the Triumphant Fruit Stem Cat!  Hello Kitty’s Life on the World Stage Sometimes Gets Confused in Translation

Most of the world is familiar with Hello Kitty as she puts her stamp of cuteness on backpacks, shirts, posters, and the occasional jumbo jet or hotel room.  But how much do people outside of Japan know about her personal life.

As the Japanese lovingly refer to her as Kitty-chan she is also occasionally known by the name she uses on her British passport, Kitty White.  This info is provided by her owners at the Japanese company Sanrio.

However, when we look at Hello Kitty’s bio on Sanrio’s Taiwan website, we discover that Japan may have been wrong all this time.  Their translation of the infamous cat’s real British name is not Kitty but in fact Katie.

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