Rachel Tackett

Despite being born and raised in one of the more sparsely populated regions of the U.S, Rachel has found her true home in the bustling metropolis of Tokyo, where all of the narrow truths that she grew up with no longer apply, and she is free to experiment with a wealth of exciting new pastimes. Highly qualified as a “Dabbler in Many Things,” Rachel’s hobbies include reading, blogging, singing, cosplaying, attending theater productions, and drawing for her doujinshi circle, Amyused. She also does work translating and typesetting manga for a number of (legal, I swear) digital distribution sites and boosting their popularity through social networking management.

All Stories by Rachel Tackett

This inappropriate lamp gives new meaning to the phrase “turn you on”

In 1994, the product design company, Propaganda, was established in Thailand to fill the need for playful products in home and work environments. Since then, the fun-loving brand has expanded immensely. Stores can be found in more than 30 different countries, including Japan, the US, and many parts of Europe.

Today we’d like to focus on one of Propaganda’s many tongue-in-cheek trinkets. This peculiar lamp is certain to brighten your day.

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Vocaloid’s fandom evolves beyond the music and becomes the face of young Japanese otaku

Last month, we posted an article capturing the changes in anime art style over time. These adjustments in overall style can come on so slowly, but when laid out side-by-side, they become so blatantly apparent, it’s amazing that such a large breadth of drawing styles could all come under the umbrella of Japanese anime. It would seem that with every passing decade there comes an attraction to a different art style.

In the special interest magazine, Febri volume 19, there is an interesting report called Portrait of a Modern Otaku, which classifies these trends in popular Japanese anime according to “generations,” starting with Space Battleship Yamato and all of its fans falling into generation one. Generation two is represented by Gundam, while fans born of Evangelion and erotic dating simulators belong to generation three. Today’s twenty-somethings likely identify with the fourth generation of fans frontlined by The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. And finally, the youngest bunch, teenagers and below are classified together with none other than Kagerou Project.

But wait. How could it be that an offshoot of Vocaloid, the computer voice simulator, is the poster child for this most recent generation of otaku? The development of Vocaloid fandom itself, holds the answers.

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Fan of recent swimming anime, Free!, finds clever way to crawl into bed with the characters

September 26 of this year marked the end of the series finale of the popular swimming anime, Free!, though fans of the series remain highly active on the Internet and at doujinshi (fan comic) events.

Recently, there’s been a real flurry of excitement within the Free! fandom on Asian blogs and online gossip columns over one fan’s genius idea to get the series’ token sweetheart to lie between her sheets. Because who wouldn’t want to sleep next to such beautiful 2-D biceps, right?

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Glico gets some cute new mascot characters, but no one can figure out why

For decades snack company Ezaki Glico has supplied Japan with delicious munchies such as Pocky, Pretz, and Papico, not to mention a slew of other snacks that don’t happen to begin with the letter P! Until now, the company name was enough to grab people’s attention and promote the purchase of their tasty products. If pressed to choose an icon with which to represent the well-known brand, many might choose the 300-meter running man, as seen along the Dotonbori Canal in Osaka. However, not even he could be considered a true mascot.

Now, breaking tradition, Glico has just released official images of their all-new official mascot characters, Lico and Guri. These anime-style characters are the embodiment of cute and cool, but are pulling some conflicted reactions from Japanese Internet users. Take a look at their introduction video and decide for yourselves whether the creation of these characters is welcome or just plain weird.

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Some Japanese school regulations don’t make any sense!

Stereotypically, Japan really loves their sense of social conformity and the comfort of their unchanging rules. The socialization of Japanese children into upstanding and unobtrusive citizens starts young and is encouraged by the country’s educational system. Rules regarding clothing and classroom behaviors are necessary in any nation’s school setting, but the institutions’ attempts to control their students seem particularly far-reaching in Japan.

Still, there are some rules that even the people who grew up within the Japanese system find particularly confusing, if not downright misinformed. When asked in an online survey how many people felt that their school had some weird sorts of rules, 12.5 percent of respondents answered, “yes.” That may not seem like a very high number, but when asked to go into detail about these unconventional guidelines, the results were still rather surprising. Here’s a short list of weird guidelines upheld by some of Japan’s schools.

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The animated meals in Ghibli’s movies have our mouths watering

Ghibli films are celebrated the world over for their enchanting art, beautiful world-building, and family friendly plotlines. Stylistically, there are many things that set these movies apart from other animated titles, both in terms of common themes and art quality. The backgrounds will be scenic. The children will fly. Tears will fall like big, fat drops, and the food will always, always look enticing.

Latching on to that latter truth, Japanese news source My Navi Woman asked its readers which of Ghibli’s mouth-watering morsels they would most like to eat. 225 women responded, leading us to six of the most desirable dishes featured in Ghibli films.

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Elitism divides otaku culture as the popularity of Japanese pop idols expands

Japan’s idol industry is a unique beast of a moneymaker. The girls who succeed on this cut-throat career path are supported entirely by their fanbase. While they may sing and dance, their live shows have more to do with their idol image than their actual talents, and it is ultimately their popularity which determines their level of success. These girls are famous for their popularity, rather than popular as a result of their fame and talents.

Supporting this industry at its core are the idol otaku, men and women who are obsessed with the girls in idol groups. Functioning as a sub-set of otaku culture, which is already criticized by greater Japanese society, one might expect these idol fans to band together tightly, and share in harmony their mutual love for miniskirts. But, this has not been the case. In fact, a large rift has apparently formed between long-time supporters of the idol industry and newcomers to the scene. According to the old-timers, it would appear that these fresh, new fans don’t understand what it really means to be an idol otaku. Just look at what they had to say about these newbies infringing on their turf!

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Taiwan throws lively funerals, complete with miniskirt-clad marching bands 【Video】

In countries like Japan and America, funerals are generally thought of as very somber affairs. No one wants to say goodbye to their friends and loved ones, and that final parting is something that cultures across the globe take very seriously. However, in some parts of Taiwan, this undesirable situation is occasionally met with marching bands wearing miniskirts! A series of videos have surfaced on YouTube, portraying Taiwanese funerals as rather enjoyable affairs. Whose idea was it to treat such a serious ceremony to the same sort of flair that’s found at an American football game?

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Japan to sell special cardboard boxes for singing in solitude

Japan has a real problem with noise pollution. The walls of their houses are so thin that even the sound of a sewing machine late at night can cause trouble with one’s neighbors (yes, I’m speaking from experience here). For people with a penchant for singing, this can put a real damper on their daily lives. No one wants a warning from the family next door or landlord after wailing along with Whitney Houston in the privacy of their own home.

That’s why VIBE, a subdivision of the BANDAI NAMCO Group, is releasing the Danbocchi this November! This glorified example of a cardboard box has soundproofing abilities and room for one occupant, so no one has to worry about bothering their neighbors with vocal practice, sound recordings, or voice-based video games any longer.

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Twitter user names Japan’s three worst fandoms

Whenever fans of a particular thing gather, there are bound to be some people who act out and reflect badly on the rest of the group. Usually, these people are the outliers, largely ignored by the majority of the fans. However, some select fandoms seem to attract a disproportionate number of bad-mannered crazies and develop a terrible reputation on the whole. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a comic, anime, movie, musician or a sports team at the source, I’m sure there’s at least one fandom for which you can relate.

Japan certainly has its fair share of obsessive fan bases. One Twitter user decided to put together a graphic for the country’s three worst offenders and their reasons why. Now, while we don’t want to over generalize and say that everyone in these fandoms is as rude as described, we can certainly see where they’re coming from…

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Ryu-chan and Chun-kun? Welcome to the weird world of genderswapped Street Fighter 【Video】

Imagine if the characters from Street Fighter, Capcom’s classic fighting game, were born as members of the opposite sex, with the same amount of physical strength and fighting spirit but a decidedly different physiques. Thanks to a fan-made short movie by Really Clever Androids, we don’t have to wonder what to expect from a world like that. This awesome three-minute clip gives us a pretty good idea of the conflict and copious cleavage we might encounter. Let’s just say that these genderswapped Street Fighter folks really know how to bring it!

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Adorn your legs with JoJo’s Bizarre tattoo tights

Female manga fans understand that there’s more to Japan’s comic industry than the schoolyard romances and shojo sparkles with which we are targeted. A lot of us really love the action, the fighting, and the hero adventure stuff too! Thankfully, there are at least a handful of manufacturers out there who understand where we’re coming from. One such company is catering to us girls with less feminine fandoms by bringing us tattoo tights from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure!

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We try surprisingly delicious Miso Curry Milk Ramen in Aomori

Locally owned ramen shops can be found spread out all across Japan. In fact, some of the best flavors aren’t found at the big chain restaurants, but at the hole-in-the-wall shops that you might never even notice without a proper introduction. Hence, we’d like to make it our duty to tell you about an amazing, little ramen joint in Aomori Prefecture, which is famous for its miso flavored curry milk ramen.

When we at RocketNews24 first heard about this place, we couldn’t imagine how so many different flavors could possibly achieve good balance within a single bowl of noodles, so we sent one of our adventurous Japanese reporters, Mami Kuroi, to try it out. Here’s what she had to say about the experience.

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Need a pick-me-up? Check out this magnificent and adorable dog butt!

Dogs are often referred to as “man’s best friend,” and it’s no wonder! Dog-owners spend so much time tethered to their pups: walking, eating, and sometimes sleeping together. It’s so calming to stare into those big, soulful eyes, filled to the brim with undying affection and emotional character.

But did you know that admiring the magnificence of their tail-ends can also leave one feeling refreshed? One of Japan’s Twitter users at least thinks her pup’s posterior has a lot to offer the world and recently decided to share…

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Prison Culture Festival: All the fun of incarceration, none of the crime!

The first weekend in November, Japan’s largest prison facility, Fuchu Prison, will be holding its annual culture festival! Everyone’s invited to visit the grounds and experience all the fun, food, and friendly atmosphere – things that are not often attributed to prison life. It’s just like the cultural festivals run by high school students, but imagine that the students are all convicts dressed in grey pajamas and locked up in their classrooms. Flyers for the event list educational exhibitions, musical guests, and even a “prison adventure” bus tour behind the heavily guarded walls!

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Japanese blog titled “God’s Defective Goods” sparks debate over Down syndrome babies

Every loving parent wants what’s best for their children. For the parents of those born with a mental disability, it must be so difficult to come to terms with the knowledge that their offspring will struggle to keep up with their peers. One such mother decided to cope with her feelings by documenting her experience raising an infant with Down syndrome in an online blog. However, in recent weeks the title of this personal report has become the topic of some nasty dispute on Japanese public forums. For better or worse, the woman calls her blog God’s Defective Goods.

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Marvel’s mighty Avengers to become an anime

Walt Disney Japan has just announced that they’ll be making good use of their rights to Marvel Comics’ creations by producing their own TV anime of “the earth’s mightiest heroes,” the Avengers. The series is scheduled for nationwide release on Nihon Terebi starting in spring of 2014 under the title, “Disk Wars: Avengers”.

This is exciting news for fans of the franchise, but comic book buffs might want to reign in their expectations. This animated series has a distinctly Japanese flair, like nothing we ever felt from the original comics. See what changes are in store for our superheroes in this all-new Asian take on an American classic.

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Internet reacts to attractive otaku: “Hot guys should be banned from watching anime”

Meet Yuya Uchida, part-time employee at Animate, a Japanese chain of large-scale stores that carry a full range of anime and manga-related merchandise. Lately, Yuya has been getting a lot of attention from the Internet and other media for his surprisingly good looks! This anime-loving ikemen (hot guy) is breaking the otaku mold and capturing the hearts of women across the nation. Can a guy be allowed to keep his nerd cred when he happens to be such a looker?

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This adorable hopping hairball will steal your heart

Would you believe that at the center of this massive hairball is a little life form?

I promise you it’s not a tribble or some other alien creature, so put away the laser guns and take a closer look! There’s a tiny nose and mouth peeking through that impressive amount of fluff, and it belongs to one of an adorable breed of ultra-soft bunnies.

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Vocaloid’s new automated composer set to simplify songwriting

Yamaha Corporation, creator of audio equipment, instruments, and synthesizers including the immensely popular voice synthesizer series known as Vocaloid, announced yesterday that it is developing an automated song generator called VOCALODUCER, which will automatically compose a song, given lyrics and a few basic parameters. It sounds like pretty soon anyone can be a Vocaloid song producer in no time!

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