Rona Moon

Writer / Translator

As a Kiwi kid growing up in the green hills of New Zealand, Rona Moon never dreamed she would end up packed in like sushi on the Yamanote line every morning, wearing a suit with discreet underarm sweat pads. Moving to Japan in 2005, she survived a tough initiation of hazing as a Japanese company employee in the pumping heart of Tokyo, did her best to become as Japanese as possible and succeeded in acquiring a great love for karaoke and a cute way of hiding her smile with her hands. Rona now works as a freelance writer and translator, with a special interest in literary translation and the erotic side of Japan (no tentacles barred).

All Stories by Rona Moon

Milf or maiden? One third of single Japanese men surveyed say they prefer an older lover

From December 6-9 of this year, Japanese Facebook dating app Match Alarm quizzed 2,944 singles in their twenties and thirties about their dating habits. They were asked to identify if they prefer to date someone of the same age, older or younger. Hmmm…Do we have to pick just one??

A resounding 81.3% of women replied that they would rather be with a silver fox than a younger stud. And one in three men said they preferred an older lover.

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Bona fide pork ice cream put to the taste test: “Good for diabetics!”

There are some extreme flavours of ice cream out there: all the flavours of the meat rainbow. Ice cream chock-full of pork, beef, or even chicken. We’re not talking about ice cream that adds a little meat extract to approximate the taste. We’re talking about a carnivore’s wet dream, the meat ice cream that practically walks on all fours; a dessert confection that blasts chunks of meat into your mouth with every spoonful. That’s the kind of pork ice cream our Japanese RocketNews24 reporter Kuzo found in Taiwan, sampled, and wrote this article about.

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We wish you an age-appropriate Christmas and a happy Pokémon tree!

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a Pikachu in a Christmas tree. At the Pokémon Center in Tokyo!

This amazing tree was recently spotted on Japanese site Pokésoku, with the question: “I thought I’d buy my nephew a Pokemon for Christmas, but can a six-year-old child handle it?”

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Is this as fauked up as it looks?

To the casual observer, this might look fauking ridiculous. Posing for a gangster-style purikura (photobooth) pic, it looks like these two cute high school girls still haven’t learned to spell one of the first words English students learn (you always start with the “bad words” when learning a language, right?). But don’t be so quick to judge, it may not be such an open and shut case!

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Sat on cat: giant cat couch for humans

Ever wished you could snuggle up and be totally enveloped in your cat’s warm embrace, or just lie on them like a sofa? If only cats were big enough for that. Wait… if cats were that big, you’d feel mouse-sized. Which I think is a little creepy. Still, you could achieve the impossible dream… to sit on your cat, and not the other way round.

Here we have a giant cat sofa to snuggle up on. I don’t know, I imagined it a lot furrier, more like a Persian longhair, and less limp. Cattiness aside, how many cat couches are out there? This is the first one I’ve seen.

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Hard-to-swallow cannibal manga Pupa to be released as anime for public consumption

Pupa is the touching (horror) story of extreme devotion between siblings, chronicled in a manga series. It tells the remarkably original tale of how a young girl became a monster craving to feed off human flesh, and how her older brother offered up his own living body as her “food source”. Spoiler alert: it takes a lot more than one meal to finish him off! If you’re anxious to check out it out, the anime version of Pupa was previously scheduled for autumn 2013, but a new release date of January 2014 was just announced via Twitter.

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Mysterious sport “speed ball” causes chuckles in Japan

Speed ball, the competitive racquet sport. Not to be confused with the narcotic, boxing, paintball or video game varieties of “speed ball”, this mysterious sport involves one, two, or four players frantically swatting the air as if chasing mosquitoes. In fact, if you live in a country where flies and mosquitoes abound, you probably have a natural advantage and could be the next world champion. Similar to squash in speed and intensity, a latex ball is attached to a nylon thread and swings around a pole. Players take turns smashing the living daylights out of the ball, causing it to spin wildly—this sport is not for the fainthearted or slow-moving.

Invented in Egypt in 1961 by Mohamed Lotfy, speed ball was first designed as a way to train tennis players. Now a sport in its own right, the International Federation of Speed-Ball (FISB) was founded in 1984 by Egypt, France, and of course Japan.

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Toyota’s new vehicle changes colour and suggests destinations according to your mood

Toyota Motor plans to unveil a new vision of an astounding future reality at the Tokyo Motor Show (23 November to 1 December): the Toyota FV-2, a vehicle that can read its driver’s mood and changes colour accordingly. Imagine how this could work—you’re cruising down the road in a great mood, with your car a friendly, sunny yellow. Suddenly, you spot another vehicle in a messed-up shade of dark red. Uh-oh, road rage alert, better give that one a wide berth. You start to feel nervous, so your car turns a sickly green. Then you notice a hottie in the car next to you as you pull up at the lights, and your car blushes bright pink.

For people like me who distinguish cars mainly based on their colour—“uh, it’s a blue one”— this chameleon trick opens up a whole new world of confusion. How are you supposed to spot your friend’s car if it’s constantly changing colour? Oh right, he’s always in a bad mood, so it’s probably the black one. Anyway, I’m sure they’ve already thought of this!

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Lonely or in need of female assistance? Try a rental friend in Tokyo!

It can be difficult to get along without female friends.

In Japan, work ethic and subsequent exhaustion tends to tie many men to their work places beyond the call of duty, and gender roles can be highly restrictive. If you’re a single man who is not socially confident, how do you get enough positive human interaction? We all need to tell someone about our troubles, and yarn about the day-to-day minutiae that friends and family share.

Maybe you want to go out to a nice restaurant… but how can you go alone? Maybe you have relationship difficulties and want to confide in someone. Maybe you need help with your computer, or organizing your stuff, or careers counselling. Everyone needs a female friend… and in eastern Japan, Client Partners KK is one company which offers a rent-a-friend service. Billed as “women-only odd-jobbers” (josei dake no benriya), the services they offer do not include anything untoward. In the commodification of today’s world, “rental friend” should come as no surprise. What is surprising is just how much this kind of human contact benefits lonely people.

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Since when was Halloween so popular in Japan?

Just like in many Western countries right now, in Japan ’tis the season to be spooky. Halls in Tokyo are decked with orange; cute pumpkins, witches and ghosts wink from shop windows; and you might even find a special seasonal pastry in your local bakery or supermarket.

Now firmly established in the annual Japanese calendar, not so long ago hardly anyone even knew that such a thing as Halloween existed. How could this day, which has become more like a month-long festival in Japan, go from zero to hero so quickly? What brought this on, and why is it so big in Japan? Japan’s Madame Riri looks at four different reasons.

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Tribute to Nausicaä: Ohm-rice of the Valley of the Wind

The post-apocalyptic Japanese fantasy film Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind (Kaze no Tani no Naushika) came out in 1984. If you watched it as a kid, the odds are that your life was changed in some drastic way. Maybe you decided you wanted to be just like princess Nausicaä when you grew up, and learned how to fly. Or, you might have secretly decided to move to Japan, where those amazing creatures might live. Or, like one Niconico contributor, you were inspired to create an incredible replica of the king of the giant insects… the gigantic, trilobite-like Ohm… in the form of a rice omelette.

Omu-rice is an omelette made with fried rice—a popular Japanese dish, commonly served up with ketchup on top in a zigzag or smiley-face. This Ohm-rice tribute to Nausicaä looks a lot more ominous. If you’d like to try making Ohm-rice with squid ink sauce and spinach powder, you can have a go with the rough recipe provided below!

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Malaysian food artist Samantha Lee serves up more platefuls of amazeballs

Imagine if your mom made you meals that became famous all over the world… you’d probably belong to the Clean Plate Club, right?

Malaysian food artist and mother of two Samantha Lee began by making Japanese lunch boxes (bento) in 2008 to encourage her elder daughter to eat independently. Bento boxes may be stylishly arranged and decorated to look like popular movie, TV or video game characters (kyaraben) or people, animals or buildings (oekakiben). There is some amazing bento art out there, but soon Lee was taking it to a new level on a daily basis.

Despite her lack of formal training, Lee’s creativity found an outlet in the incredibly detailed, cute and nutritious meals she painstakingly put together for her two girls, using only run-of-the-mill household tools like scissors and knives. She describes herself as “an ordinary, regular and average mom, crazy about making a mess in the kitchen.” Although she’s keeping her feet on the ground, her star has risen quickly in the international media in recent months, from Belgium to the Ukraine and all over the world. She now works as a kids party planner, doing sewing, crafting, baking and doodling in her spare time.

Check out her latest creations, including a step-by-step pictorial guide to crafting your own!

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Haters gonna hate! Writer conducts experiment, discovers that responding to internet dissing is futile

Maybe you wrote an article, a story or a novel. Perhaps you created a website, blogged, put a video up on YouTube, or you’re an actor, fashion designer, musician, film maker… Whatever you’re doing, you’re putting yourself out there creatively and daring to make something new and explore. And then your work is uploaded onto the internet and exposed to the merciless gaze of millions of potential viewers…

If your work attracts any interest at all, next thing you know, the haters are all over you, getting up in your face. “I can’t BELIEVE you killed off Mr Darcy, what were you thinking?!” “Your eyes are too far apart,” “Why don’t you eat makeup, so you can be beautiful on the inside,” Or even, “Drink petrol and die.”

Japanese writer Sebuyama from comedy news site Omocoro recently carried out a social experiment aiming to demonstrate just how useless it is to respond to haters on the internet and use reason. He tried to find out why they were hating, and discovered three different flavors of hater!

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Could you eat a horse… raw? Try home-made horse sashimi straight from the butcher!

Basashi is raw horse meat cut into slices–“horse sashimi”, and a delicacy consumed in some parts of Japan. The most famous place to experience basashi is Kumamoto Prefecture in Kyushu, southern Japan.

You can order a plateful of the stuff in Japanese pubs (izakaya), and it’s said to go incredibly well with nihonshu, but our intrepid RocketNews24 reporter Mami Kuroi couldn’t find any horse meat in Tokyo supermarkets to slice up to make her own basashi to try at home. Eventually, she happened to be visiting Komoro City in Nagano Prefecture and stumbled on a butcher who stocked it. There was even a poster outside proclaiming that the shop sold the “best-quality basashi“! Seizing this once-in-a-lifetime chance for home-made horse sashimi, she bought some, sampled it and wrote about her horsy adventure for us to enjoy. Of course, it was totally raw!

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Recently on stage at Korea at the 2013 NABBA/WFF Korea Championship… tanned, toned and oiled goddesses flowed across the stage, flexing their sinuous musculature to compete for the Bikini and Sports Model categories. One would be chosen as their queen, but who would it be?

These images combine superhuman abs and rockhard thighs with other areas of alluring softness. Like fine bronze sculptures, these women (and men!) have made their bodies their art.

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Beware of cost-cutting cosmetic surgery! Young Chinese woman pays a steep price for a cheap fix

As modern techniques get more advanced, cosmetic surgery, which promises to fulfill the desire to be beautiful, is increasingly accessible at more reasonable prices. You can even go home the same day. Some who wish to go under the knife or needle elect to travel to countries like South Korea, where plastic surgery is highly advanced and it costs much less than having it done at home.

Of course, selecting a plastic surgeon based on their price alone is a recipe for a horrible surprise when the bandages are removed. Sadly, one young Chinese woman had a minor procedure botched at 17, and now in her twenties could be mistaken for a woman in her sixties or seventies.

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Cats in bowls, buckets and boxes: smile guaranteed!

Feeling blue? Is Monday ruining the week for you? Try a bowlful of snuggly warm kitty, cozily comfortable and soooo cute, in a ridiculously small vessel. It’s good for what ails you.

These cats should feel right at home in an average Tokyo apartment!

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Why reading their own language gives Mongolians a headache

Being able to read is something many people take for granted. I mean, English with its Latin alphabet only consists of 26 letters. Now imagine that the writing system (or script) of your country was changed for political reasons. Cities and towns across the border share almost the same spoken language, but with a totally different way of writing it down. This has been the situation in Mongolia. Drastic changes in scripts throughout the twentieth century have led to recurrent headaches for native readers.

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How not to build client relationships: Barber in Japan steals kisses from towel-blinded client

Getting your hair cut can be a traumatic experience, but as a paying customer you would expect at least to be safe in your barber’s professional hands. Sadly, that has not always proved to be the case.

On 17 September, suspect Satoshi Okubo (40) was arrested on a charge of harassment by Hyogo Prefectural Police in Takarazuka city, Japan—for kissing a female customer at his barbershop. Okubo admits to the charge.

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Must try before you die: Fugu and shiokara from Japan make bizarre food “bucket list”

When you’re hovering on the verge of leaving this world, the last thing you want to feel is lingering regret about those unique foods you never had the chance to try and all those unimaginable flavours and textures you missed out on, or never knew existed. To avoid such a terrible fate, a list of 20 strange bucket-list foods has recently been compiled by a British news site and has been widely commented on in Japan, as it features two home-grown favourites: fugu and shiokara. Fugu is the poisonous pufferfish of Simpsons fame, while shiokara is a relatively harmless dish composed of shreds of meat from a sea creature (commonly squid) in a slimy paste of its heavily salted, fermented raw guts. I mean, viscera.

So my taste buds won’t spend an eternity regretting the tragic circumstances that left their fugu and shiokara cherry unpopped, I aim to get to the bottom of these Japanese dishes! Er, okay, maybe not right to the bottom. I’ll have a few cautious bites and see how it goes.

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