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

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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Japanese bad boy wows foreign audiences with his beautiful Ghibli fanart 【Photos】

They say that beauty is fleeting and withers with age, at least in the personal sense. Perhaps that’s why Takumi Kanehara walked away from a life of charming women as a professional host in order to pursue a career as a comic artist. Now, the self-made illustrator is gaining international attention for his beautiful re-interpretations of the characters created by Studio Ghibli. The combination of recognizable characters and subtle symbolism shows the artist’s deep love of the source material, and the artistic execution is positively stunning, ensuring that these works will never lose their luster no matter how many years ago by.

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A comprehensive gallery of transformation toys from Sailor Moon! 【Photos】

Since the announcement of a new Sailor Moon anime, fans of the franchise have grown super hyped for some awesome new adventures with the magical moon princess and her sailor scouts. Speculations about the next installment of the anime are soaring, and merchandise marking the 20th anniversary is similarly flying off the shelves. Playing to the growing age of their former audience, product marketers are eager to put an adult spin on all of the imagery that we fans of the series were so enthralled with while growing up.

But, let’s not forget the excitement we also held for the Sailor Moon toys they sold back in the day. Ten to twenty years ago, every transformation brooch and attack wand could be yours in real-life plastic, complete with light-up gemstones and tinkling chimes. Many of the items produced in Japan never actually made it overseas, and the majority of those are now considered collectors’ items, worth hundreds of US dollars! Look here for a comprehensive gallery of all the Sailor Moon toys taken straight from the anime! Read More

A whole new world: Japan captures fantastic view of the earth’s stratosphere using an iPhone 【Photos】

On August 29, for only the second time in the country’s history, Japan’s aerospace researchers managed to successfully retrieve a video capture module from the Pacific Ocean, bringing home some positively beautiful pictures from the Earth’s stratosphere. Amazingly, they accomplished this feat relying mostly on balloons and an iPhone!

More details about this awesome accomplishment and a collection of photographs taken by the space balloon after the jump.

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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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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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