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

Asuka’s official underwear sells out quickly on Evangelion’s online store

Currently, the new arrivals section of the Evangelion Store, an online shop filled all our favorite robot-driving, angel-fighting merchandise, lists a very special lingerie set based directly off of a camisole worn by Asuka in the second new Evangelion movie. Unfortunately for fans of the second child, the item is already sold out and in need of restocking. We’ll try to pretend that’s not creepy, considering the character is only 14… Read More

NPO lobbies to rebuild Edo Castle at the cost of 50 billion yen (US$500 million)

Naotake Odake, former managing director of the Japan Tourist Bureau (JTB) and once director of the Tokyo Convention and Visitors Bureau, spent years of his professional life traveling to cities across the globe in order to promote Tokyo as a worthwhile tourist destination. In his travels, he noticed a trait shared by all the major cities: they each had a unique and well-recognized landmark embodying the history and culture of the land. According to Odake, a structure of this sort is vital to bolstering a spirit of pride in any given population. Unfortunately for Tokyo, he believes that this sort of historical landmark is something that Japan’s capital city severely lacks. What he has against Asakusa Temple, Tokyo Tower, or Tokyo Skytree, I’m really not sure. But, it is for this reason that Odake has taken the lead as the chairman of a non-profit organization which hopes to rebuild the Edo Castle’s innermost tower. “In order to present Tokyo as a proud tourist city, we need something like Edo Castle,” he says. But will the payoff really outweigh the costs?

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Top 27 ugliest album covers from Yugoslavia 【Photos】

As with any major business venture, presentation is very important when working in the music industry. Cool covers on brand new CD albums can inspire one to make a purchase without ever having heard the band. Granted, the Internet makes it easy to find a few demos before handing over your cash, but a well-designed jacket still makes a big difference. A great, eye-catching cover can make even the most mediocre album famous for its genre by drawing in attention from fans.

Then again, ugly covers can be just as eye-catching and somewhat endearing in their own way. Here we have a collection of hideous, old CD and record jackets that were probably purchased out of pity alone. Get ready to laugh at this collection of music covers that really missed the mark. From a list initially provided by a French entertainment site, we now bring you 27 of the ugliest album covers from the former Yugoslavia. Read More

“You’re taking peeping photos, aren’t you?” Smartphone extortion scam hits hard in Shinjuku

Many would agree that smartphones are the easiest and most convenient way to stay entertained no matter where you go, provided there’s reception. Although, they do distract us from what’s happening in the immediate vicinity. Texting and checking apps while walking through the streets of a busy city can lead to collisions with people or signposts, or even traffic if one isn’t careful! Now, a recent string of scams in Tokyo shows that the distractedness we experience when on our phones also make us a target. Read More

Why old Japanese women have names in katakana

Amidst all of the controversy flaring up in Japan over “kirakira names,” the question was raised concerning a rather peculiar name trait shared by many old Japanese women. A large number of aging grandmothers have names written in katakana, the phonetic alphabet that modern Japan usually reserves for foreign words. It’s a trend attributed to the Meiji and Taisho eras (roughly spanning the years 1868 to 1926), and sure enough, it’s no coincidence. Read More

Foreigners in Japan must grow accustomed to distinctive Japanese designs

When raised within relatively homogenous culture like Japan, one rarely ever considers how their everyday surroundings might seem strange to someone from another country. And I don’t just mean the historical landmarks and traditional clothing. I’m talking about items encountered in everyday life like home toilets, product packaging and cell phones. Japan’s culture has shaped the designs of these various places and products in ways that most Japanese people would never think to realize are different from their foreign counterparts.

Hoping to shine light on a few of those surprising little differences, My Navi News recently conducted a survey asking 20 foreigners living in Japan which things they considered to be of a “totally different design” when comparing Japan to their home country. Here’s what a handful of the respondents had to say.

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Download punk rock classics played in 8-bit – for free!!

Who here is a fan of ‘90s punk rock? How about old school gaming from the NES and Sega Genesis eras? If you have an interest in one or both, there’s a new album up on Bandcamp, music community and selling outlet for self-releasing musical artists, called Punk Goes 8-Bit: Level 1. Tracks include popular punk hits from well-known artists, such as Blink 182, Less Than Jake, and The Offspring as you’ve never heard them before. Better yet, they’re absolutely free!

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How to produce good quality sperm: view hardcore pornography

Is it a sign of manliness to have highly potent semen? It’s certainly a valuable trait for heterosexual men hoping to exercise their virility and extend their hereditary lines, though it seems a bit more difficult to measure and compare than, say, the length of one’s third leg.

Evolutionary biologists worldwide have a particular interest in the quality of common spunk, and some have dedicated years of research to discovering the secrets to producing potent semen. Turns out it’s perfectly possible to both train and trick your body into making better sperm. So, whether it’s for the bragging rights or a better chance at fatherhood, here are a few tips to turning out top-notch sperm.

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Amazing! This 3-D itasha looks like a portal into the anime world

A true symbol of status for a whole lot of folks is the kind of car they drive. So what does it say about a person when a larger-than-life magical girl is bursting out the back of their van?! Someone is either absolutely amazing or amazingly disturbed to have so much love for an animated character. Either way, this has got to be one of the most awesome things we’ve ever seen rolling down the Japanese highway!

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“Thank you Jesus!” Foreigners’ awesome reactions to Japanese foods 【Videos】

I still remember my first time coming to Japan, when my host family sat me down for dinner with nothing but chopsticks to tackle an entire grilled fish complete with head, tail, and everything in between. They watched me expectantly as I stared down at my plate, unsure of where to start. Was I supposed to eat the head? Should I scrape the scales off first? Was it customary to bite into the middle, bones and all?! I hoped that one of them would start eating first, to give me some sort of clue as to what I should do, but they kindly urged me to dig on in, laughing heartily when my only response was a meek little, “How?”

It was an embarrassing experience and felt a little demeaning at the time, but the fact remains that Japanese cuisine features a lot of mainstream dishes that we simply don’t find in the Western world. While some cultural favorites like sushi, have more-or-less made their way onto the world market, common dishes such as zaru soba and shabu shabu are rarely found outside of Japan.

Keep reading for a look at some of the interesting reactions foreigners have to Japanese food, as well as some helpful how-to’s on how to proceed, should you find yourself faced with one of these unfamiliar Japanese dishes.

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Saga Prefecture broadcasts its appeal by dancing to AKB48 【Video】

Saga Prefecture lies in the northwest corner of Japan’s island of Kyushu. This past week, in an unusual attempt at self-promotion, the Saga Prefectural Office uploaded a video of hundreds of workers from its various divisions happily dancing to the new AKB48 single, Koi Suru Fortune Cookie (Love Fortune Cookie). With more than 480,000 views on YouTube so far, the up-beat video certainly beats a boring old poster campaign!

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Japanese pro boxer condemns the law for classifying him as a dangerous weapon

On September 9, Hozumi Hasegawa, a second-division professional boxer competing successfully at a world level, made a very angry post to his blog condemning the nation’s laws for preventing him from raising his hand against anyone outside of work, regardless of the circumstances.

We’ve probably all heard the story in unspecific terms: rumor states that a trained fighter must register his own fists as lethal weapons. It would then stand to reason that any scuffle involving that person would put him on the receiving end of severe charges for battery and assault with a dangerous weapon. Could it be that all the hearsay is actually true?!

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Brighten your day at the Magical Art Museum in Ueno 【Photos】

From now until October 6 at the Ueno Royal Museum, a very special art exhibit is on display called Trick of the Light『Magical Art Museum』~Art in Wonderland. This unique collection of modern art encourages participation from visitors, rather than mere observation, creating an individualized artistic experience for every person taking part.

The magical exhibit houses 19 installation art pieces put together by 11 very talented artists. Felix Sayaka, talented reporter for our Japanese sister site, Pouch, visited the museum to give us all an illuminated introduction to four of the exhibition’s stellar works.

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Japan waits with baited breath for local distributor of spreadable beer

These past few days, the Internet has exploded with word of Italy’s new beer spread. For a land like Japan, where beer is more than just a popular choice of beverage and is more-or-less central to their lifestyle, the invention of spreadable beer is cause for great excitement. Soon, rather than have a handful of snacks with their mugs full of beer, they’ll be spreading blobs of beer over their favorite snacks!

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Best job ever? Japanese man makes 1 million yen for three months of gaming

For all you fellow gamers out there, both hardcore and casual, how many hours have you wasted away powering up the pixels on your computer screens and game consoles? How many paychecks have disappeared into the latest expansion packs? How many hours of sleep have been lost to an addiction to online multi-players? Society doesn’t always understand, but we know it’s worth the time and the money when we get the fierce gratification of overcoming an in-game challenge. If we could, I’m sure many of us would love to make a living off of the lives we lead in the virtual world.

For one Japanese man, referred to by his handle name, Moru-chan, that dream is a reality. Moru-chan spends approximately 12 hours a day doing nothing but gaming for a paycheck of one million yen (US$10,043)! He’s earning this money by basically living out three months of his life in the online world of fantasy role-playing game, ArcheAge. RocketNews24 has the scoop here in an exclusive interview with this very lucky man at the one-room apartment provided to him by his company.

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These misshapen breads have questionable “character” 【Photos】

Whether it’s a ploy to improve sales figures or a means to satisfy their own creative urges, these Japanese bakeries have a thing for character-inspired breads. They’ll produce pastries of any given shape, from Pokemon to pandas and even the famous Mt. Fuji! However, some shops exhibit a bit more skill than others. Here’s a look at some of Japan’s more unfortunate attempts at baking character bread. Read More

Korea’s elementary schools witness worrying trend of do-it-yourself face-lifts

It’s no secret that South Korea has an astounding affinity for plastic surgery. While it would be unfair to suggest that the entire population is keen to go under the knife, the percentage of Koreans calling in for a nip and a tuck is literally eye-widening and jaw dropping, in addition to nose elongating and chin altering.

Unfortunately, this attitude towards altered appearances has apparently caused a curious trend in elementary school students. In an effort to appear more like the celebrities they see on TV, grade school students in South Korea are practicing something they call “self-cosmetic surgery.”

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Press conference about Miyazaki’s retirement streaming live on Niconico

For those who haven’t heard the news, Hayao Miyazaki, often referred to as “the Walt Disney of Japan,” is formally retiring from the feature film industry. To address the countless questions and concerns of disappointed fans, Miyazaki will be attending a press conference on Friday, September 6, to discuss the details of his retirement. This meeting will be streamed live on website, Niconico, for the whole world to watch.

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Daruma dolls now in 30 different colors to decorate your homes and bring you good luck

How much do you know about daruma? Historically, there was the man called Daruma-daishi (aka Bhodhidharma), a Buddhist monk who is credited with spreading the practice of Zen Buddhism into China. Then, there are the daruma dolls, paper mache prayer tokens made and distributed throughout Japan for the sake of health, longevity, and success. These limbless dolls have an approximate 400-year history of bringing encouragement and good fortune to the people of Japan. However, in recent years the production and subsequent purchase of daruma has fallen. People are losing track of their daruma dolls, forgetting the purpose for which they serve, or at a loss of where to buy them in the first place.

Now, in an effort to bring back appreciation for the humble daruma, the Kagoyaka company in Yamanashi Prefecture is modernizing the traditional doll into something they call the Koshu~Color Daruma.

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