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

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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Bunnies, birds of prey and ice cream: These novelty cafés in Tokyo are worth your attention

In a city as big as Tokyo, you can visit thousands of stores for a simple coffee and a light snack. If a café or coffee shop wants to earn itself some online attention or news coverage, it has to bring something truly unique to the table. These four specially themed cafés have managed to do just that, earning themselves a spot on Naver Matome’s list of “Novelty Café’s that I’d like to Take a Peak at.” Let’s see for ourselves what the Japanese Internet found so interesting.

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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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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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Is Asia still so surprised by the power of Photoshop?

It’s an issue we encounter almost every day. From endless media outlets, we as consumers are constantly barraged with unrealistic beauty standards, which women and men alike must struggle to attain…that or become masters of Photoshop and exist on the Internet as a doctored illusion. Yeah, the professional paint program wasn’t quite enough to turn this unfortunate-looking man into a beautiful babe, but as long as there’s a working base to build from, the level of perfection that a bit of digital editing can help one attain is approaching divine. And yet, so many people are still surprised—horrified at times—to see a person’s “true” face after getting to know them as they appear in their profiles.

The following set of photos has been showing up on Asian news outlets as a sort of shocking reveal. But all we’re shocked by is the fact that a bit of make-up and basic Photoshop is still considered breaking news.

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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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