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

March over to Yahoo! Games for the beta release of Dragon Quest Monster Parade!

Dragon Quest is a long-running series of role-playing video games with a sizeable selection of spin-offs, novels, manga, and anime adaptations. Most people recognize it for its mascot, the mostly harmless bouncing blue slime, a googly-eyed monster present in each of the title’s many incarnations.

Although Dragon Quest is usually categorized as a console game, the newest title to be added to their list of very special spin-offs is an online PC game playable through Yahoo! Games. It’s called Dragon Quest Monster Parade and is sure to draw the attention of slime lovers everywhere! Curious parties can try out the game’s open beta test starting in just a couple days, and anyone who registers to play early will get a special present from makers Square Enix!

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It’s an epidemic! Worldwide freezer diving!

Avid readers of RocketNews24 might have noticed our series of articles earlier this month about Japan’s latest fad, freezer diving. This year’s summer heat wave has inspired a whole string of idiotic people to climb into convenience store freezers as a way to beat the blazing weather.

Now, whether it’s a result of Japanese media hype or individual inspiration, pictures of people inside fridges and freezers are popping up all over the world. The latest country to join in the craze was China.

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Japan Post provides sample letters for marriage proposals and other personal messages

The Internet is full of sample sentences and letter structures to use when writing business mail, cover letters, or press releases. They’re an invaluable resource if you wish to be taken seriously, especially when you’re not used to writing letters for professional purposes.

Now, the Japan Post is extending their helpful how-to section to include more than just business examples. They’ve got sections for season’s greetings, ceremonial matters (such as invitations and notifications), and even personal letters! Apparently, the art of letter writing is so lost on Japanese people that they require a standard format to follow for the confidence of writing to one another. There are 19 categories outlined in the personal letters section, including advice, requests, and even marriage proposals! It’s like Japan has been taken back to the days of passing notes in middle school! “Do you like me? Check yes, no, or explain your decision using the standard letter format outlined by the Japan Post.” Read More

Behold: the molting man! Is this sunburn or lizard skin?

When summertime comes, it’s usually a case of the less clothing the better, and this year’s Asian heat wave has proved to be particularly cruel. It’s common sense to shed layers when working outside in this broiling weather. But I’d say that shedding an entire layer of skin is taking it a step too far!

This month, a very peculiar Twitter picture has been making the rounds. Looking at the label, it would appear that we have a real, live lizard-man on our hands! But be warned, it’s not a pretty sight.

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Imuraya brags about the stiffness of their sweet bean bars…“Watch your teeth!”

Imuraya Confectionary is a Japanese sweets company that specializes in the sale of adzuki (sweetened red bean) products. They pride themselves on sticking to traditional Japanese flavors and sticking to their strange marketing strategies just as hard.

Recently, Imuraya made a pair of official Twitter posts cautioning people against the stiffness of their top-selling Adzuki Bar! This frozen slab of bean paste is a summer favorite across Japan, but according to Imuraya’s own assertions, they can crack your teeth!

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How would America react if Japan suddenly attacked South Korea?

Here at RocketNews24 we have a major soft spot for Japanese culture and its quirks. But there’s no denying that the country has a nasty habit of glossing over controversial moments in its history. This has led to some long-lasting tension between Japan and its neighbors, namely China and South Korea.

This week Japan celebrates the end of World War II. At the same time, Korea takes a different angle on the times and celebrates the end of Japan’s colonization and subjugation of their country. This anti-Japan sentiment remains rooted in many aspects of Koreans’ psyche, and led to the creation of a certain documentary which aired on the Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) last Sunday, August 11. The program was titled The Archipelago’s Perilous Night and posed the questions, “What would America do if Japan suddenly attacked South Korea? Who would they aid?” Korean Internet users were quick to respond with their own speculations.

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Summer brings bad breath – Here’s how to beat it!

The summertime heat can often cause a loss of appetite for a lot of people. I know I have days where I’d rather drink fluids all day long and rely on energy drinks to keep me going. On those days, even the things I do eat are likely found swimming in a bowl of cold broth.

Of course, this is unhealthy in a whole slew of ways, some more social than physical. Did you know, for example, that eating less can cause you to have bad breath? You’re not only doing your body a disservice when you skip a meal, you’re driving away your friends and colleagues by them breathing in their presence. Thankfully, we’ve got the full breakdown on what generally causes beastly breath and what measures you can take to prevent it.

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Seven unconventional uses for excess hand cream

It’s never intentional but often inevitable. Unused items have a way of piling up in the dusty corners of cabinets and closets. These things can be left untouched for years, forgotten in favor of newer, shinier brands.

This is something I find particularly true with lotion, of all things. I’m very picky about my moisturizers, especially in Japan where the majority of which contain unnecessary whitening. But so many beauty kits come with their own bottles of hand cream, and lotion itself is one of those go-to gifts when shopping for a distant friends. In the end, I find myself with bottles upon bottles of unopened hand creams all going to rot in the back of my closet, and apparently I’m not the only one with this particular problem. Like an answer to prayer, the people over at Naver Matome recently released a list of additional uses for the lotion cluttering our cupboards, as suggested by Japan’s creative, frugal few. Here it is: seven unconventional uses for excess hand cream.

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Air conditioning temporarily banned in Korea to counteract summer power shortage

In the midst of a severe heat wave, South Korea is facing a terrible energy crisis. And so, in an effort to save power, the government has taken the step of prohibiting the use of air conditioners – the very devices that few of us would ever dream of going without at this time of year – in public buildings for a number of days.

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Quench your thirst with these One Piece water coolers

Fans of anime and manga are most certainly acquainted with the ever-popular adventure series, One Piece. Now, the brand that brings us all of our favorite pirate-themed products is teaming up with the water label, FRECIOUS, to deliver some totally cool One Piece water dispensers.

Don’t worry, though the story of One Piece takes place on the ocean, these water coolers deliver only the freshest grade-A water from the forests of Mount Fuji. Read More

7 surprising realizations during our Japanese reporter’s trip to Turkey

Turkey! It’s more than just a giant bird. It’s a mysterious country straddling the border between Europe and Asia. Practically everyone has heard of it, for its likeness to the popular holiday dish if nothing else, but it seems that a majority of people know very little about the region’s culture.

Recently, members of our Japanese staff took a trip to the alluring land of Turkey. While they weren’t exactly sure what to expect, they were nonetheless surprised by a number of things on their visit. Here’s a list of seven things that surprised our Japanese staff on their trip to Turkey.

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Gift-giving guide: The double meaning behind everyday items

The act of gift giving is a special sort of science. Between all of the holidays, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and special moments in between, we get a lot of practice with presents, and yet sometimes it’s still so hard to pick out the perfect gift for any certain someone. Still, we’ve all heard horror stories about well-intentioned presents having the complete opposite effect. Now, not to increase your anxiety over gift giving, but did you know that many everyday items carry rude connotations when given as gifts, at least in certain cultures?

You’d like to think that anyone would be happy to receive something useful as a present, but then remember how it feels when your friend offers you a piece of gum. Perhaps it’s their favorite flavor and they just really want to share, but nonetheless you’re left with a nagging worry about how badly your breath must stink. These misunderstandings can happen on a much larger scale when cultural differences come into play. So, to help you all out, here’s a little guide to gift-giving manners.

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Championship day at the 11th World Cosplay Summit 【Photos】

About one week ago, we at RocketNews24 gave you an inside look at how things happen behind the scenes at the annual World Cosplay Summit (WCS). Now, it’s time for a follow-up!

On Saturday, July 3, in Nagoya, Japan, the WCS held its highly anticipated championship finals, wherein 20 teams of cosplayers from countries around the world competed for prizes and the prestige of being named World Cosplay Champions. This year, for the first time, the championships were streamed live on Niconico Douga, Japan’s YouTube, for the whole globe to see. But, just in  case you missed it, here’s a photo album introducing all of the teams and announcing to you the winners of this years WCS.

Warning: The cosplay featured in these photos will take your breath away.

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Completely unscientific study suggests that Korea is full of psychopaths! 【Quiz】

Early last month, news of a particularly grotesque murder unsettled the people of South Korea. Not only was the under-aged victim raped and killed by her 19-year-old assailant, the boy went on to mangle her corpse and send pictures of the broken body to his friends using his phone. As if killing another person wasn’t bad enough, to further violate the body and broadcast this fact without any hint of remorse can only mean that this fellow is one truly deranged psychopath.

Now, all of South Korea is on high alert for psychotic behaviors. Online quizzes such as the “Psychopath Test” have been trending in Korean forums, helping Internet users identify the mentally disabled, starting with themselves. Take a look at the test and see how you rank.

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30 things that single women don’t want to hear

There are both good and bad things about being a single woman later in life, though living free is not always the lady’s choice. Years and years may pass, and relationships fail to find us. That doesn’t mean we don’t want companionship, it just hasn’t happened to us yet. Often, the time and place just never feel right for establishing that love connection, or maybe a worthy companion has yet to appear.

Regardless of the circumstances, there’s one thing that single women never want to hear, and that’s relationship advice. Sure, it’s fine if we ask for it, but otherwise, do us all a nice favor and keep your opinions to yourself. Your intentions may be noble, but your assumptions and attempted assurances are really just reminders of exactly how lonely we single women are. Trust me. Whatever you have to say, we’ve heard it all before. Here’s a list of 30 things you really shouldn’t say to a single woman, as told by the lovely ladies over at our Japanese sister site, Pouch:

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Elementary school principal resigns after responding to knife threat with a heavy smack

The principal of an elementary school in Osaka recently resigned under pressure from the city’s board of education after using physical violence as a disciplinary measure against seven of the school’s students for enacting and concealing the event of a knife threat within the school.

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Cosplayers let loose behind the scenes before the World Cosplay Summit championships

Every year the city of Nagoya plays host to the World Cosplay Summit (WCS), a large-scale competition between cosplay representatives from around the world. Teams of two from 20 different countries are all brought to Japan to take part in this life-changing opportunity. The championship finals will be held on the outdoor stage of Oasis21 on Saturday, August 3, starting at 7 p.m. Japan time. Tickets are available, though they are not required to watch the event. In fact, you don’t even have to be in Japan to watch this year’s world-class cosplay performances. It’s been announced that for the first time Niconico Douga will be stream the entire event on the World Cosplay Summit’s official channel.

But you know, not everything to do with the WCS involves competition. Cosplay itself is about bringing together people of similar interests and building a sense of community between those who like to dress up as Japanese characters. These cosplay teams must prepare not only as performers but as representatives of cosplay culture in each of their respective countries. Before the finals even take place, teams must take part in a week’s worth of parades, photo shoots, and official meetings. it’s a good thing there are some opportunities to relax worked into the schedule as well.

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Top seven Tokyo oases providing shelter from heat of the city

In the great city of Tokyo, the summer heat is particularly pervasive. Everywhere you look, people are bustle between crowded buildings and the hot pavement. The heat and the tension get trapped within that city bubble. You might think there’s no escaping it without a trip to the countryside, but as it turns out, there are a few grand oases within Tokyo’s boundaries. Here are seven such spots, guaranteed to bring the temperature down while raising your city-worn spirits up.

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Counterfeit cash: Chinese ATMs distributing bootleg bucks?

Of the many things that China is known for, one of them is most certainly bootlegging. Sometimes it works to our smalltime benefit by introducing us to almost familiar films and imitation iPhones, but only trouble can be bought when China’s system begins circulating bootleg bills.

Recently, counterfeit money in China has reached a point where not only are people being fooled by fake cash, money-checking machines are too, as Chinese ATMs appear to be distributing bogus bills to honest civilians.

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