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

Kids these days don’t want to poop!

It’s a fact of life: everyone poops. And yet society seems to have evolved some sense of embarrassment over letting people know that you’ve dropped a stinky load. We try to assuage these issues with things like private bathroom stalls and air fresheners in public restrooms. In fact, toilets in Japan will often have automatic noise makers to mask any embarrassing sounds that might slip past your posterior.

And yet still, a recent study shows that more than half of Japanese school children refuse to go number two until after they’ve returned to the perfect privacy of their own homes! They’ll hold it for hours rather than respond to nature’s call, their embarrassment about bodily functions eventually causing them to become chronically constipated.

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Japan gives the world a lesson in showing family devotion

If there’s one thing that Japan does right, aside from taxis, trains and their abundance of vending machines, it’s their focus on the family unit. Familial piety is an important aspect of the Japanese mentality and ensures the well-being of the country’s aging population. But family devotion isn’t just about offering physical or monetary support; it’s about attitudes. And Japan is paramount when it comes to expressing humility and gratitude. Here’s a wonderful collection quotes from Japanese netizens explaining what it is to express familial piety.

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Charts reveal trends in recent Japanese working conditions: 52 percent of people want to change jobs

There are many things that we generally understand about what it is to be a Japanese businessman. The country has cultivated a careful image of men and women in black suits putting on the appearance of hard work, with their constant movement and expected overtime. But how much do we really know about what it’s like to be a member of the Japanese workforce. Why do they do it and how do they like it? What is the atmosphere like and where can the workers find joy?

To help us wrap our heads around these many mysteries, a series of helpful charts have been collected by Japanese website, Naver Matome, throwing some quantitative perspective on how Japanese workers really spend the majority of their waking hours.

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Japanese game center turns bathroom breaks into potty play!

When spending time at the arcade, no one wants to put a pause on the virtual fun. But sometimes nature calls, and the arcade consoles must be temporarily abandoned before someone suffers a busted bladder or soiled shorts. Thankfully for visitors to one game center in Japan, there’s no need to leave behind all gameplay at the bathroom doors. The establishment has posted a set of guidelines which make every trip to the squatty potty into its own sort of mini-game.

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Tekken’s latest flipbook animation will leave you crying tears of gratitude 【Video】

Remember Tekken, the balding comedian with makeup reminiscent of KISS and a talent for turning out some truly tear-wrenching flipbook animations? Well, he’s done it again, with a ten-minute piece titled A Story about Family.

As with Tekken’s previous works, the story uses absolutely no dialog, but still manages to convey a message of familial piety which transcends cultural borders and is almost certain to evoke some tears. It’ll have you scrambling for the phone to call home and show thanks to those who have supported you throughout the years.

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Boys’ love manga company now raising funds to make a Japanese textbook

Anyone who has ever studied Japanese as a second language can tell you that it’s a difficult language to learn, and the textbooks currently available on the market don’t make it any easier. Japanese textbooks are largely outdated, not to mention sleep inducing. Not even the most dedicated language students find joy in flipping open the dry and uninteresting pages of their workbooks or assaulting their ears with the drone of their practice CDs.

Luckily, that could all change, thanks to the ingenious writing of Yumiko Akeba and the online manga distributer, Otome’s Way. This start-up company specializes in “boys’ love” manga and is hoping to bring the appeal of Asian pretty boys to the learning field by creating a series of Japanese textbooks that use everyone’s favorite manga tropes as effective teaching tools. They call it A Fujoshi’s Guide to Japanese.

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Why do otaku walk so fast? “They are bound for the future!”

The Japanese stereotype for otaku is far from pretty. Hardcore fans of anime and video games are largely regarded as social outcasts and are characterized as unkempt men in button-up plaid shirts, high-waisted pants and running shoes, carrying around backpacks and shuffling quickly through the streets of Akihabara on the hunt for the latest game, hardware or erotic 2-D merchandise.

The Japanese text board 2channel appears very well acquainted with this skittish sub-section of society, so when someone asked why it is that otaku walk so fast, the anonymous responders had a lot to say, and it certainly opened our eyes!

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World stereotypes: What would you do if your boss slapped you?

Earlier this week, Chinese Netizens played a game of hypotheticals, exploring the stereotypes that define people from different countries. The question raised was this: How would people around the world react to being slapped across the face by their boss? Surely, the answer is different depending on the personality of the individual, but on the whole, what might one expect from a certain nation’s citizens? The answers are quite hilarious, and the discussion that followed, impressively thought provoking.

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45 adorable pictures of animals acting human 【Photos】

Have you ever stared longingly at your animal friends and thought, “Gee whiz. What an awesome life”? It must be nice to live in a world free from work and responsibilities, where licking your butt is a perfectly acceptable way to spend an afternoon.

But you have to admit, there are some pretty awesome perks to being a person, like driving and wearing hats! In fact, I think it’s safe to say that there’s a little envy from the side of the animal kingdom as well. Just check out these 45 images of animals acting human.

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How to peel an orange: Is mikan art the new origami?

When it comes to Japanese handicrafts, almost everyone has heard about the amazing shapes achievable with origami. But how many people are familiar with Japanese orange peel art?

In the cold winter months, it’s an unspoken tradition for Japanese people to curl up under a kotatsu (heated table with a blanket thrown over it) and eat mikan (Mandarin oranges). However, many people have found that just eating these winter treats is not enough to satisfy them, and cutting away the peel into complex shapes has become a common art form. You’ll be amazed by the creatures that can come to life from a single orange peel!

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Things Japanese people believe about British vs. American English

From elementary school all the way through high school, Japanese kids are required to study the convoluted subject of English as a second language. It’s an enormous struggle for many, as Japanese natives must familiarize themselves with not only the vocabulary and grammar points, they must adjust their ears to pick up on the plethora of sounds that do not exist in their mother tongue. To top it all off, when the existence of various English accents is brought to light, their brains can become confused even further.

A recent post on a Japanese message board asked people to list the differences between British English and American English. The comments extended far over 100. Here’s what some of the respondents had to say.

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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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10 Japanese Twitter posts that will change the way you think about the future

The future is full of uncertainty, both fun and terrifying in equal measure. In today’s global economy, there’s plenty of reason to get anxious over what’s to come, but that doesn’t stop some people from dreaming big.

Everyone has a different perspective on the future and how to face it, but by becoming aware of these personal differences, we can change our own approach to these uncertain matters. Here are 10 Japanese Twitter posts that will give you new ideas about your life and where it’s headed.

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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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Thousands of marathon runners empty their bladders against Chinese government compound

China’s Communist Party keeps a pretty close eye on the information to which the enormous nation is privy, as well as the attitude with which it spreads. But, in this modern age of technology, it seems that the government is struggling to silence all of the dissent, and issues such as air pollution and ineffective sewage systems are tainting public opinion of the communists. The nation’s self-sanctioned Twitter equivalent, Weibo, is one of the main contributors to this rapid spread of unsavory information and opinions, and while the most inflaming comments are inevitably erased from the site, by then the damage is already done.

Late last month, Beijing held its annual marathon, and observers using Weibo offered us some interesting insights into the actions and opinions of the participants. Apparently, an unfortunate lack of bathrooms led to thousands of marathon runners relieving themselves against the wall of the Zhongnanhai, a central government compound adjacent to the Forbidden City!

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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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