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

Windows 8’s app store is infested with rip-off Nintendo titles

It’s been almost a year since the Windows 8 operating system was released to the general public. Its aim was to combine the convenience of downloadable apps with the familiarity of a PC desktop in a touch-focused environment, giving us what could have been the best of both worlds. Instead, the Win8 app store struggles against its primary competitors, iTunes and the Android app store. It’s doesn’t help that developers focus the majority of their programming prowess on developing apps for the older and more trusted operating systems, iOS and Android.

However, there is one branch of the computer app market where Win8 has a distinct advantage, and that’s its library of highly recognizable rip-offs. Just look at this list of free game apps which make nefarious use of Nintendo’s most popular video game characters!

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Hilarious stories of computer fail: Turns out not everyone in Japan is tech savvy

When it comes to technology, Japan is thought of as one of the world’s leaders in quality and innovation. Japanese cell phones, televisions and cameras have long been considered some of the best in the world. But what about personal computers? How many people whom you know would pick a Fujitsu over a Mac or an HP?

The truth is that Japan is a bit behind when it comes to using home computers. Most of the functions that a computer serves can also be performed using cell phones and word processors, so a lot of Japanese people fail to see the point of owning one, and may only gain an introduction to computers if their work requires it. Many schools do not have computer labs for the students to use, and many households do not even have so much as a home computer for the family to share. This means that many Japanese people do not come into contact with computers until they are well into their adult lives. This can lead to some strange misunderstandings, as the things we consider to be common computer knowledge become amusingly misunderstood.

Naver Matome collected a fun sample of stories from people whose friends and family had trouble with their computers. Their ignorance is our bliss in this amusing collection of computer fail.

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Japanese Internet addict almost drowns infant son by mistake

On October 9 at 1 A.M., emergency responders in Japan’s Aichi Prefecture received a call from a frantic young mother whose baby boy had nearly drowned in the bathtub. If only she hadn’t been distracted by the Internet, this horrifying ordeal could have been avoided entirely.

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New cosplay seller enters stores across Japan, just in time for Halloween

We’re well into fall now, and it’s time to start preparing for some horror-filled festivities on October 31. Japan is getting all geared-up with ghosts and skeletons clearly on display and plenty of Halloween parties planned for the days leading up to the turn of the month. But of course, what’s a Halloween party without a good costume? And what’s a good costume without a band of beautiful girls ready to promote it?

Clearstone costume maker recently released a new cosplay series called Tokimeki Graffiti, modeled and promoted by the idol group, DenpaGumi.inc. Already, whether for the quality of the costumes or the influence of idols, sales are really skyrocketing!

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Tokyo Disneyland’s cast creates magic in the kingdom

At Tokyo Disneyland and every other embodiment of Disney’s Magic Kingdom, the staff are all referred to as “cast members.” It may seem strange at first to refer to the people sweeping the sidewalks and answering phones the same way you would an actor in a play, but the fact is that all the theme park is a stage and the staff are but players, doing all they can to make the magic of Disney come alive. It’s their primary job to bring a sense of joy and wonder to every last visitor to the park, and yet the magic can manifest itself in some truly surprising ways! Here are a few of the first-person accounts given by people impressed by the Tokyo Disneyland cast.

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Magic mackerel! This bitter fish has beautifying bowels

Fall is the season for mackerel pike. In traditional Japanese restaurants and homes across the nation, it’s quite common to find a complete silvery fish, from head to tail, plopped atop one’s plate.

As an American, I was very confused the first time I found myself faced with a full mackerel for a meal, and I wasn’t really sure where to start. I knew that the meat of the fish was buried in there somewhere, but I had no idea what to do with the rest of the innards. Growing bolder with each poke of my chopsticks, I took one bite of the mackerel’s bitter bowels and promptly decided against eating fish guts ever again. Although, looking back, I might have been a bit hasty with my decision. As it turns out, the consumption of mackerel viscera actually comes highly recommended for its large supply of beautifying vitamins! Looking at the highly touted health benefits of the mackerel’s digestive organs, these particular fish guts might be worth another go.

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Wanna sleep next to Hatsune Miku? There’s an app for that!

Up until now, lonely otaku wishing to tuck in with their favorite anime character had to rely on the cotton-blend comfort of their beloved dakimakura, aka “love pillows.” I’m sure it’s nice to wrap around the 2-D image of one’s imaginary lover, but it must be a bit of a letdown considering that a pillow only satisfies two of the major senses: sight and touch. Just think how far these fan’s crazy fantasies could carry them if sound and scent also came into play.

Well, Vocaloid fans rejoice, because a member of Nico Nico Douga’s engineering department has put together an application which allows the user to not only see and interact with a 3-D virtual model of Hatsune Miku in her bed, they can also hear, touch, and even smell her! Talk about dreams come true!

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Amazing Japanese grade-schooler enters fast track to playing soccer for Real Madrid 【Videos】

These days, it’s not uncommon for Japanese soccer players to be placed on foreign teams. Shinji Kagawa with Manchester United and Yuto Nagatomo with Inter Milan are just two examples of Japanese athletes who play for teams abroad.

Now, the island country can lay claim to a new rising star, a nine-year-old soccer player who recently signed a contract with the world-famous Spanish soccer club, Real Madrid. Read on for a full introduction to this talented young player, as well as some videos of his amazing play style!

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American casting for Hana Yori Dango (Boys Over Flowers) TV series receives harsh Japanese criticism

Starting this November, the first episode of a new romantic young adult series, Boys Before Friends, will be released to American audiences. The series is based on Japan’s hit manga, Hana Yori Dango (aka Boys Over Flowers). Already, the series has inspired the creation of anime, novels, and live action television dramas from Japan, Korea, and China. However, what should be a highly anticipated American adaptation of this much appreciated manga is encountering a lot of skepticism, especially from the Eastern side of the globe. It makes sense that some changes have to be made to implement an American setting for this Japanese tale, but how much change can the story endure before the tone of the original is totally lost?

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This cat wearing glasses is quite the looker!

There’s no discrediting the fact that dogs can achieve a wide range of expressions when you draw on some eyebrows, but the fact of the matter is that cats still maintain a higher level of sophistication than dogs could ever even dream of. Don’t believe me? Check out this fancy feline wearing some really sleek spectacles! No dog could ever achieve an expression that harnesses such critical disdain and yet sends you head-over-heels in love.

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Lost in translation: When all else fails, throw in some gestures

Thanks to Japan’s ever-increasing attempts at globalization and English education, the most recent generations growing up in Japan have all been exposed to foreign language classes. Some even started as young as preschool! However, because the island nation remains so homogenized, most Japanese citizens don’t come across many opportunities to practice and properly hone their skills. I’d say that with the exception of those who use English for work or have experienced living abroad, by the time they reach adult-hood, the majority of Japanese people only know enough English to not make any sense when attempting to speak it! They simply toss a few English words into a Japanese sentence structure and expect it to make sense.

This poses a problem for the foreign tourists who visit Japan without learning the native language and rely on English signs and helpful English speakers in order to get around. Luckily for both the lost tourists who don’t speak Japanese and for Japanese locals who can’t remember their English, there is a third language which can overcome all great language barriers and promote mutual understanding: body language and interpretive gestures. Although, sometimes these wordless conversations can seem a bit surreal in hindsight, which is why the Japanese site, Naver Matome, put together an interesting collection of Japanese people’s experiences flailing at foreigners.

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Bandai gets a head start on Christmas cakes

After years of living in Japan, I’ve noticed that the island nation has quite a few merry misconceptions about what it means to have a Western Christmas celebrationReplacing Santa’s cookies with a strawberry-topped Christmas cake is just one of their many mix-ups, though at least they have the gift-giving part right.

Now, you might be wondering why it is that we’re posting about Christmas when it’s barely even October! As it turns out, Japanese parents hoping to surprise their kids with a sweet treat from Bandai have to start planning for the holidays NOW. The Premium Bandai online store has just opened up reservations for their 2013 line of character-themed Christmas cakes called Chara Deco Christmas. These cakes come with toys and other neat treats suited to young fans of everything from Kamen Rider to Pokemon.

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Have you seen this runaway robot?

Owning a Roomba or other automated cleaning robot to take care of floor dust can be such an awesome convenience. But you’d better take care and show them some appreciation, because these handy tools have been known to escape when overworked and left unattended. Remember the rogue Roomba that restlessly cleaned the streets around Tokyo’s Kanda train station? Well, it’s happened again in a different part of the world, but this time it’s the owners who sounded the alarm.

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Before Dragon Ball: See the 1984 advertisements announcing the creation of this now classic manga

Anyone remotely familiar with Japan’s comic culture has likely seen or at least heard of the world-renowned adventure manga, Dragon Ball. Honestly, thanks to the anime, the TV specials, the films, and the Hollywood movie adaption, it’s hard to find anyone without at least some awareness of this awesome title. The impact that Dragon Ball has had on Japan’s comic industry is so great that a world without Super Saiyans is hard to even imagine. But, every series has to have begun somewhere, and before the 51st issue of Weekly Shonen Jump Magazine for the year 1984, there was no such thing as Dragon Ball!

…Actually, that’s a lie. Issue number 51 certainly contained the first chapter of the Dragon Ball manga, but the hype began a short time before that. After all, it’s hard to sell an all-new series without some form of advertising. We found this to be true when the Japanese side of our RocketNews24 staff managed to dig up a copy of 1984’s Weekly Shonen Jump volume 50, one issue prior to the release of Dragon Ball. Inside, we found some awesome illustrated spreads announcing the creation of this comic wonder. It’s fascinating to see just how highly the series was anticipated, though the comic’s branding might have been a little off the mark at first.

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Final homework assignment from dearly departed teacher will bring you to tears

Death is indeed the final departure, but that does not mean that the echoes of our lives can’t have some lasting effects on the lives of those who survive us. One Japanese school teacher understood that he was nearing the end of his time on earth and did what he could to dispel the certain grief of his beloved students the only way he knew how. He gave them one last homework assignment.

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Handicapped man draws beautiful and detailed trains entirely from memory 【Photos】

Hisashi Fukushima, a 44-year-old man from Hidaka City, was born with a serious learning impediment, but this handicap has in no way gotten the better of him. This truly gifted individual is an awe-inspiring artist with an unbridled passion for the beauty of the railway system. Fukushima’s photographic memory and steady hands have allowed him to recreate many life-like scenes of trains upon their tracks in paintings as well as paper craft. His faithful renditions of Japan’s railways have earned him a number of prizes in art exhibitions, and one glance at his work makes it obvious why! Keep reading for a sample of Hisashi Fukushima’s stellar art portfolio.

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Become your favorite Sailor Scout with new Sailor Moon T-shirts!

Many of us girls, who grew up with magical girl anime, held tight to the fantasy that we too could become a super-powered Sailor Scout and fight evil in the name of the moon. Well, dig those magic rods and transformation toys out of the closet, because it’s not too late to transform! In conjunction with the upcoming anime and the recent Sailor Moon Musical, Premium Bandai has begun accepting pre-orders for a new line of Sailor Scout T-shirts that promise to turn you into a Sailor Scout just by putting one on!

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Achieve a super saiyan style with Dragon Ball Z hair wax

Japanese beauty product manufacturer, Creer Beaute, has just come out with a new line of professional-grade hair wax with the strength to hold your hair nice and stiff, even in the midst of an hours-long death match. Their Dragon Ball Z Hair Wax promises to hold your spiky hair chunks in place throughout even the most rigorous battles and is a real must-have for any fist-fighting, world-saving hero.

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Try this squeaky clean personality test based on bathing habits!

The unconscious mind is an interesting thing. Our natural tendencies can often say a lot about who we are as people. For example, could it be that the way we bathe ourselves gives insight into our personalities? Japanese new compilation site Naver Matome seems to think so. They’ve posted a detailed list which explains exactly what your bathing habits have to say about your brain functions. See for yourself what the order that you bathe in and the attention you give to each body part has to say about your basic personality.

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