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

Six incredibly interesting items inspired by origami

The art of origami is one of Japan’s most widely recognized cultural contributions to the international world. Although the practice of paper-folding has many possible roots, the Japanese approach to sculpting three-dimensional shapes from flat squares has had a large impact on many people’s approach to not just art, but also packaging and product design. Here are six very special items, designed both in and out of Japan, which claim inspiration from the practice of origami.

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What’s the excuse for China’s bizarre painted-on apartment windows?

There’s something to be said for keeping up appearances and making good impressions, but what underlying defect is this string of apartment buildings trying to hide by painting on pretend windows?! These high-rise housing complexes in China’s Shandong Province aren’t fooling any prospective tenants with their fake windows, so really, what’s the point?

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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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Japan’s stunning light displays replace blossoms with light bulbs for winter beauty

In Western countries, when the time comes to decorate the streets with strings of sparkling lights, it’s a sure sign that Christmas is drawing near. But for countries like Japan, where Christianity has far less presence, though the desire to adopt Western practices is pervasive, what many of us think of as “Christmas lights” or simply “holiday lights” are embraced as annual “winter illuminations.” Every year, parks and town districts across Japan light up the night with large-scale displays, bringing a new sense of beauty to the barren, winter landscape. The greatest of these is undoubtedly Nabana no Sato, located in Mie Prefecture.

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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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Why can’t Hello Kitty seem to keep a steady job?

Starting with Hello Kitty’s first appearance on a vinyl coin purse in 1974, Japan’s favorite cartoon cat has been popping up all over the place! Her trademark image graces a wide range of items, from apparel to accessories and a vast array of tools and trinkets, not to mention toys and sometimes food. Sometimes she appears as a fashion-forward feline, or a cutesy maid, maybe an accomplished office worker, or even an Eva pilot!

We now understand that she works so hard to pay off her company’s debt, but that still begs the question of why the cat-woman can’t build a career in a single line of work. If I jumped ship and found new jobs as fast and frequently as Hello Kitty, I could never gain the trust of any future employers, so what is it about Hello Kitty’s methods that rakes in the moolah?

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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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New Crescent Moon Wand from Sailor Moon is as real as a toy gets

It wasn’t too long ago that we posted an article here on RocketNews24 cataloging the entire collection of Sailor Moon toys. Well, it looks like the people over at Proplica wish to add another item to the list. Fans of the Sailor Moon franchise are frothing at the mouth, hoping to get their hands on a real-life Moon Stick, more commonly referred to at the Crescent Moon Wand, Sailor Moon’s first attack item. This playful prop is being marketed toward adult toy collectors and comes packed with some pretty neat features.

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Niconico user makes cute, petable Pokémon with needle-felted plushies 【Videos】

This fall has people across the globe down with a case of Pokémon fever, ever since the release of Nintendo’s first 3-D Pokémon game set, X and Y. Thanks to one of the game’s brand-new features, Pokémon Amie, it’s possible to build greater bonds with our battling monsters than ever before, by petting, feeding, and playing games with them. Still, not even that comes close to the adorable magic of having an actual creature to cuddle.

Niconico Douga user, Tatsuno’otoshigo (meaning seahorse), filled that hole in her heart by crafting her own Pokémon plushies with needle felting! Her ever-expanding pokédex of wooly little monsters is the envy of many collectors. But it’s hard to say if she’d be willing to trade. Her videos reveal exactly how much love she puts into each and every pokémon.

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Japan’s first black cat café feels appropriate for the season 【Photos】

Halloween is just around the bend, and Japan has us up to our eyeballs in ghosts, skeletons, spider webs, and black cats. Especially black cats, much to our delight!

In the city of Himeji in Hyogo Prefecture, our RocketNews24 sister site Pouch has discovered what has to be Japan’s first exclusively black cat café. It’s called Cat Café Nekobayaka -black cat centimeter-, and in the spirit of Halloween, how about dropping in for coffee and a bit of playtime with their jet black beauties?

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Wear your love of Madoka Magica to work with these discreetly nerdy neckties

Being an anime fan in a Japanese business environment can be rough. Due to the terrible stigmas still surrounding otaku, being open about one’s two-dimensional interests can sometimes lead to discrimination in the workplace. Luckily, for those hard-working anime lovers who wish to wear a symbol of the series that they adore without attracting unwanted attention from their office peers, Cospa has a new line of anime-themed neckties, which capture one’s true otaku spirit while putting up a professional front.

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This Japanese island is filled to the brim with felines!

About eight miles off the coast of Ozu City in Japan’s Ehime Prefecture, there lies a tiny landmass, less than a mile wide, which is completely overrun by cats! This little island is home to only 15 human residents, all of retirement age, but houses more than 100 kitties! These frisky felines have been multiplying like mad over the past 10 years or so, but only in the past couple weeks has the island caught the attention of the Internet, immediately becoming a hit tourist attraction, in spite of not having any hotels, restaurants, or even vending machines! Keep reading to see what locals and visitors alike have to say about the island’s “catty” conditions.

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Popular new Japanese love pillows seem dirty but promise to smell clean

Well, wouldn’t you know it? Just because app developers are releasing a program which would allow otaku the interactive experience of sleeping next to Hatsune Miku doesn’t mean that Japan’s commonly found love pillows are losing any ground. In fact, two of Animate’s most recent pillow case and perfume sets sold out within a day of release! There’s nothing about this item set that isn’t to some extent creepy.

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