Scott R Dixon

Scott Dixon is a writer/reporter living in New York and misses his celebrity lifestyle in rural Sasayama, Hyogo where he taught English and remixed the junior high English textbook's videos into an H.P. Lovecraft soap opera. His first experience with Japan was at 14 when he accidentally signed up for Japanese class at his Kansas high school. Two school district Kanji competition championships, one study abroad year in Tokyo, several home-stays in Iwate prefecture, three years of Sasayama boar meat and a few chuu-hais later, he considers it a pretty good mistake.

All Stories by Scott R Dixon

Going to Japan? Be sure to check out our official RocketNews24 travel guide!

Are you planning to make that trip to Japan in the new year and in need of a few travel tips? Well, look no further because we here at RocketNews24 know a little bit about the Land of the Rising Sun and want to share our collective knowledge with you about unique restaurants, free Tokyo attractions, haunted places and surprisingly interesting tours.

So whether you are planning a first-time visit to Japan or you are looking for something new on a return trip to the country we all have come to love, click below and bookmark this post to jumpstart your 2014 travel plans to Japan!

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10 cringeworthy habits of English-speaking Japanese

As Japan sees more and more people being exposed to English through making foreign friends, working with colleagues from overseas or even just watching more American films, some Japanese people feel left behind in this English “boom.” They see more and more of their friends picking up certain habits that some may see as cosmopolitan, but they interpret as bragging about a new “international” lifestyle.

Click below to find out 10 things English-speaking Japanese do that make their friends and family roll their eyes!

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Japanese explorer to attempt harrowing solo trek to North Pole

Do your eyes light up with excitement at the prospect of exploring remote land untouched by humankind? Even if your idea of adventure is a new brand of cup ramen, we think everyone can be impressed by Japanese explorer Yasunaga Ogita, who will make a second attempt at a gruelling solo trek to the North Pole. And the nearly 800-km journey will be made all the more difficult since Ogita plans to hike through some of the world’s coldest and harshest terrain without any supplies other than what he alone can carry.

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Cowardly dogs unable to face their greatest enemy: Cats【Video】

In the important world of Internet hierarchy, the battle between cats and dogs for the title of cutest animal is a fierce one. But someone must have told the dogs that they are losing because there are some canines out there with some inferiority issues so severe that they become frozen with fear at the mere sight of a cat. Japanese netizens are feeling nothing but pity after seeing a video of dogs, many of whom are much larger than their feline foe, timidly trying to tip-toe past a scowling cat.

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Survey shows Japanese workers least likely to take vacation time, most likely to hate their job

With the abundance of public holidays and an average of 18 vacation days per year, the stereotype of the overworked and exhausted Japanese worker may seem like a relic of the past. But a recent survey by Expedia Japan comparing the vacation schedules of 24 countries proves yet again that the stereotype is alive and well.

For the sixth year in a row, Japan came in dead last as workers are only taking an average of 39% of their annual paid leave. And perhaps unsurprisingly, Japan ranked last in worker satisfaction.

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Days of thick smog leave Shanghai residents gasping for fresh air

Air pollution in China is a serious problem, especially in urban areas in the east like Shanghai. Over the past week, the city has been dealing with a particularity nasty bout of smog that has far exceeded safe levels according to its own Air Quality Index. The smog has been heavy since around the beginning of the month, with one of the worst days on December 6 that saw pollution levels over ten times that of the air in neighboring countries.

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Tokyo enlists civilian “water monitors” to prove its water is delicious

Even though tap water in Tokyo is perfectly safe to drink, and in most cases indistinguishable from bottled water, the metropolitan government is concerned about the bad rap it gets from citizens who will not give it a try. In October, the Bureau of Waterworks, charged with providing clean and tasty water for Japan’s largest metropolitan area, wrapped up a 25-year-long project to connect the majority of Tokyo residents to great-tasting and specially treated water from the Tone River system.

According to an NHK article, the government agency wants to get the word out that their water is just as good as any store-bought bottled water and has asked 700 private citizens all over Tokyo to become “water monitors” and test their home’s tap water for minerals and judge its quality.

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The 6 best frozen foods at a Japanese grocery store

Have you taken a look in your freezer lately? Has that carton of ice cream from last summer grown into an ice fortress yet? What about that mean-looking freezer burn on that mystery meat? Maybe it is time to clean out the chiller and fill it up with some surprisingly yummy frozen foods from your local Japanese grocery store.

While this is far from world-class gourmet dining, the following six foods will definitely make your stomach happy on a night when pushing the microwave’s “start” button is all the cooking you want to do. Click below to find out which Japanese frozen foods are worth your hard-earned yen!

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Adorable chinchilla causes Japanese netizens to have cute attack 【Photos】

Step aside cats, your reign as the cutest animal on the Internet is being challenged by a six year-old chinchilla from Singapore named Bubu. After seeing pictures of the adorable Bubu’s adventures from nuzzling up with a snowman to having a tea party with Hello Kitty, Japanese netizens were overcome by cuteness and went crazy for the fluffy, white chinchilla.

Click below to see 25 pictures of Bubu and see if you can overcome the natural reaction to scream out in joy at the sight of super cute cuddly creatures!

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16 films based on popular manga series hitting Japanese cinemas in 2014

Manga fans have plenty to look forward to in 2014 with 16 live-action films adapted from well-loved and popular manga series being released next year. From action comics about police robots to romantic stories about high schoolers who bond over body hair removal, there is something for everyone in these upcoming manga-based films. And since some in the academic world are beginning to see the positive side of Japanese comics, you have one more reason to get your non-manga-loving friends hooked through the power of the silver screen.

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“Knockout Game” invading Japan? Violent attacks in Kobe, Osaka spark debate

With so many cool toys coming to stores this year, it is hard to believe kids would be so bored that they create a game where the “players” score points for each real-world stranger they render unconscious. But two recent attacks in Kobe and Osaka are making Japanese netizens scared that the so-called “Knockout Game,” which has been widely reported in American media, has now landed on Japanese streets. Some academics are concerned that this is just another sign of America’s “society of violence” importing itself to Japan.

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Bedroom tents helping South Koreans keep warm this winter

We here at RocketNews24 are no strangers to finding new ways to both keep warm and save a few yen on our heating bill through the harsh winter months, but our friends in South Korea, encouraged by a recent unusually cold spurt, have found an ingenious way to lower their thermostat and stay toasty all night—indoor tents. And the tents are becoming so popular that some retailers are selling out!

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8 endangered foods you should probably appreciate a lot more

There are few things worse nothing worse than going to the grocery store and finding out that your favorite food item is sold out, but with rising food costs, climate change and increased demand around the world, get ready for a new reality of some of your favorite foods getting a whole lot more expensive and harder to come by. Click below to find out which eight foods you should probably put in your shopping basket before they run out!

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50 stunningly spooky scenes of abandoned sites in Japan 【Photos】

Even though abandoned buildings seem more appropriate for movie villains, there is something undeniably soothing about seeing the quiet and still remains of a place abandoned by people. These deserted places, called “haikyo” in Japanese, can be stunningly beautiful in their serenity.

After documenting rundown schools, forgotten amusement parks and abandoned hospitals in Japan for his blog Totoro Times, French photographer Jordy Meow has turned his urban exploration into a book, “Nippon no Haikyo.” From haunted hospitals and silent schools to deserted hotels and creepy fun parks, click below to check out 50 images of these amazing haikyo sites throughout Japan.

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7 odd and uniquely Japanese restaurant experiences


Although visitors to Japan routinely compliment the country for its world-class hospitality and excellent customer service, dining in Japanese restaurants can be a confusing experience for tourists and residents alike. Even the most seasoned long-time expats can still be put off by some of these strange behaviors. Of course, everything is relative as Japanese tourists overseas complain about the opposite, but click below to find out seven ways that a visit to a Japanese restaurant may surprise you!

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Anime fans ecstatic over Taiwanese fan-made short “Attack on Railgun”

A Taiwanese film production group has released their short film Attack on Railgun, which merges two popular anime series into an incredibly well made and high quality homage. The short combines the worlds and characters from Attack on Titan and A Certain Scientific Railgun to create an exciting new story in the live action movie. Japanese fans of the anime series have been impressed with the CGI, the plot line and especially the fact that all of the actors speak Japanese in the short film!

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Samsung’s naughty ad: When autocorrect strikes back

Typographers and moral crusader beware! A risqué Samsung billboard promoting their Galaxy 3 notepad has been, ahem, erected in four countries, leaving the South Korean company with a potentially embarrassing public relations mess. The offending ad must have been designed by someone who forgot to turn off the autocorrect feature before editing, making for an unintentionally hilarious billboard. Click below to find out what the racy sign says!

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Teacher accidentally fires confiscated “fake” gun in Fukuoka Prefecture school

In Japan where guns are an incredibly rare sight, toy guns and replicas can often look like the real thing. So when a teacher at a middle school in Fukuoka Prefecture confiscated what they thought was a fake gun from a student, the teacher handled the “toy” with very little care, and ended up accidentally discharging it in the staff room.

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Check out this nightmarish sea creature caught in the Canadian Arctic

With all of the weird and horrifying animals that seem to be coming out of the ocean recently, we thought we had seen it all. But a Facebook user recently posted a picture of a fish that looks straight out of Silent Hill.

The mysterious sea creature was caught in the Arctic water of the northern territory of Nunavut in Canada. Are you ready to see a fish that could give you nightmares?

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Can memes on gender stereotypes bring the world together?

As the 1990s-era self-help book taught us, something it seems like men are from Mars and women are from Venus. But where are the stereotypes about men and women coming from? Whether or not perceived gender differences are a product of biology, environment or an outdated patriarchal worldview is an argument for another day, but it certainly seems like men and women worldwide think the same about the opposite gender. Some male and female behaviors know no international borders and we have found the memes to (somewhat unscientifically) prove it!

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