Scott Wilson

After getting bored with high school French, Scott came to a crossroads in life whether to study Japanese or Native American Mohawk instead. Mohawk's lack of kanji was its ultimate downfall, and Scott hasn't looked back since. After years of non-stop sweating while working as a translator in sweltering Okinawa, he moved back to his native, delightfully frigid Massachusetts to work as a private Japanese tutor. His hobbies include re-reading One Piece for the hundredth time, dreaming about Shakey's Pizza, and getting feedback on stories he's written from both his wife and cat.

All Stories by Scott Wilson

Did a Japanese high school student stop 350,000 people from getting home by throwing a bag?

Imagine you’re taking the train home from work at 7 p.m., finally getting to leave after being there for almost twelve hours. You can’t wait to just eat some dinner, relax, and then get some much-needed sleep.

But then bam! The train stops and the electricity goes off. You’re stuck, and you’re not getting home for a long, long time.

That’s exactly what happened on August 4 to many passengers in the Tokyo/Yokohama area. An accident shut down entire lines, affecting over 350,000 people’s commute home.

What caused it, you ask? The answer may be a single high school student and his friend’s bag.

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Say konnichiwa to Erica, the android who can have “completely natural” conversations 【Video】

We’ve known for a while that Japan is busy at work creating life-like human robots that will one day take over the world. But for the most part they’ve seemed pretty silly, like malfunctioning children that don’t quite know what they’re doing.

However the most recent Japanese android creation, Erica, might put a stop to that. She was created specifically with the goal of imitating human speech and body language patterns, in order to have “completely natural” conversations.

Will she be able to trick her inevitable suitors into thinking she’s real? Read on to find out!

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Attack on Titan: Junior High is the most confusing yet amazing spinoff we’ve ever seen 【Video】

Attack on Titan is no stranger to the world of spinoffs. Its immersive world and plethora of rich characters easily lend themselves to new series with new viewpoints, such as an anime focused on fan-favorite Levi or the manga that focuses on the female point of view with Mikasa and Annie.

But there’s one spinoff coming out soon that’s a little… different: Attack on Titan: Junior High. And yes, we mean that Junior High. Yes, it is cute and silly and stupid in all the right ways. And yes, you need to watch the preview video right now.

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Critic reviews Attack on Titan movie: “I wished the titans would eat the kids so it would end”

We here at RocketNews24 been waiting for the release of the live-action Attack on Titan movie with cautious optimism. At first it looked great, but as we’ve received more information, it has begun to sound less and less promising.

But now the wait is over: tomorrow is the official release date, and reviews have started coming in from critics given advanced screenings. Unfortunately, the early response isn’t great.In fact, one popular Japanese movie website wrote such a scathing review of the film that even the director felt compelled to respond to it on Twitter.

Read on and see all the drama for yourself!

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Wonder Festival Summer 2015 figure exhibition completely dominated by hot male swordsmen

Japan loves showing off the reasons why it is the king of the plastic model world. Two months ago we saw some amazing creations at the Amazing Japan Model Expo 2015, and now this month that tradition is continuing with Wonder Festival Summer 2015, an exhibition for artists to show off their sculpted creations.

But there’s something special about Wonder Festival. Whereas other plastic model exhibits focus on scantily clad female figures, Wonder Festival was completely dominated by sculptures of male characters, ranging from the dashing and handsome to the outright seductive.

Curious to see what an exhibit full of these plastic hunks is like? Read on!

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Documentary about sushi chef in NYC will make you laugh, cry, suddenly want to eat lots of sushi

Sukibayashi Jiro is probably the most well-known sushi restaurant in the world, thanks to the popular documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi. In it we see the passion and hard work of Jiro, the restaurant’s owner, in his constant quest to create the perfect sushi for his customers.

But Jiro isn’t the only one who is passionate about sushi. YouTube channel Munchies recently put out a great short documentary about a sushi chef closer to home for many of us: Toshio Oguma in New York City. Be forewarned though: after watching, you may feel an intense urge to immediately purchase a bus or plane ticket to get to Manhattan as quickly as possible for a taste of what he and his apprentices are serving up.

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Johnson Town: A little piece of America in Japan… where all the residents are Japanese 【Pics】

Groups of people moving to a new country often settle in the same area together, creating a little neighborhood reminiscent of their old lives in their new homes. In the U.S., we have a Chinatown or Little Italy in almost every big city, and Japan has the same thing too. They even have something you may have never heard of: Little America towns that used to house U.S. military personnel.

But what happens when the military decides they don’t want to live there anymore? Then you get a place like Johnson Town in Saitama Prefecture, where you’d swear you were walking around rural America, if not for the fact that it’s entirely populated by Japanese people.

What is one of these Little America towns in Japan like? And, most importantly, do they have good American-style food? A reporter from our Japanese sister site went to investigate and bring you all the answers, some of which may surprise you.

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New Japanese luxury bus tour seats only 10 passengers, tickets cost over US$1,200 each

How do you picture being transported to your fantasy vacation spot? A giant cruise ship? A seat in the first-class section of a jumbo jet? How about… a bus?

Not quite sure about that last one? Well the Japanese company Isetan Mitsukoshi Travel is trying to change your mind by offering luxury bus rides from Tokyo to all over Japan. And we’re not exaggerating with the use of the word luxury here: each bus seats only 10 people, and the ticket will cost you around 150,000 yen (US$1,211).

Can such a price tag possibly be worth it? Read on to find out!

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Japanese Twitter celebrates new “Muslim Lolita fashion” trend 【Pics】

Japanese culture has spread throughout the world with food, anime, video games, and more. But one region that hasn’t taken in as much of what Japan has to offer as the rest of the world is the Middle East and other Muslim countries.

Until now. Pictures of young Muslim women incorporating Japanese Lolita fashion with their traditional hijab head scarves have been exploding in popularity online. Could this start a new trend toward Muslim idol groups and cosplay conventions?

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New anime Gate entertains, tries to recruit you to the Japan Self-Defense Forces at the same time

We’ve seen the Japanese Self-Defense Forces get quite creative with trying to entice new recruits, but never before have we seen them do an all-out official collaboration with an anime.

And Gate is the perfect anime for them to team up with. It’s about the JSDF traveling through a portal to another world, taking down monsters, teaming up with cute girls, and just generally making it look like joining them would be the most amazing thing ever.

You can bet the JSDF is milking it for every last drop they can, starting with posters that are giving us a strange urge to visit our local recruitment center.

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Want a souvenir from the ocean? Take part of it home with a realistic resin replica!

We’ve seen some amazing things Japanese artists have created out of resin before, but the one problem with them is just that: they’re too amazing. They’re all miniature masterpieces that you’d be too scared to touch, much less carry around with you.

But now artist and Twitter user @tokibo has come up with a solution: creating beautiful, realistic resin replicas of the ocean that you can put in your pocket to feel like you’re at the beach anytime you want. Skeptical? Take a look at some of the pictures; if they don’t make you feel like you’re in an underwater paradise, then your (unspent) money back!

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Japanese reporter interviews college students to find out why anyone would study Japanese

Why do we love Japan so much? What drives us to obsess over its culture, language, food, and everything else? Why do we keep coming back day after day to read articles about a country that, for many of us, is on the other side of the planet? For some the answer is easy, but for others, not so much.

One group for whom foreigners’ love of Japan is especially difficult to comprehend is the Japanese people themselves. Many of them have no idea why so many of us would bother to take an interest in Japan, much less learn its intimidating language. In an effort to try to figure this out, one of our RocketNews24 Japanese writers who lives in England did some investigate journalism and interviewed three students studying Japanese at the University of Cambridge.

Do their reasons for loving Japan match yours? Read on to find out!

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Japanese Ghibli fan spends four years perfectly recreating Castle in the Sky in Minecraft 【Video】

We’ve featured a lot of incredible Minecraft creations before here on RocketNews24. There have been video games, entire cities, and whole countries, but never before have we seen an entire world.

Japanese Minecraft player Mocchi Hajikura recreated the entire world of the Studio Ghibli film Castle in the Sky… taking an incredible four years in order to complete it. You can see his creation via some spectacular videos that he’s created, making it feel like you’re really there.

Hardcore fans of the film, prepare to cry blocky, 3-D tears of joy.

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Five things that were once taboo in Japan but are now (mostly) okay

Japan has gone through a lot of changes in the past half-century. It emerged from the end of World War II willing to become a part of the international community, but not willing to give up some of its stranger quirks, some of which are part of the reason that we love it for today.

But some of those quirks are more annoying than others, and they’ve slowly faded away as people have realized they’re not really necessary. So with that in mind here’s the list of five things that were once taboo in Japan, but are now (mostly) okay today. Read on and find out if something you do would have once been frowned upon!

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Retired Japanese man who saved over 500 from suicide to become star of worldwide documentary

It’s no secret that Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the world. There are even popular “suicide spots” within Japan where many people go every year to end their lives. One such area is Tojinbo in Fukui Prefecture, where the tall seaside cliffs overlook the ocean, and as many as 100 people every year choose to fall to their deaths.

However that number has been declining in recent years, thanks to Yukio Shige, a 70-year-old retired police officer. He has made it his personal duty to patrol the area and talk to anyone who looks like they may want to jump over the cliffs, and he’s saved over 500 lives in the 11 years he’s been acting as personal seaside lifeguard.

And now he has a new role: the star of the movie that’s being made about his life.

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Epic Studio Ghibli exhibit to feature 3-D sets, artwork from every Ghibli film spanning 30 years

Regular readers will remember that we recently reported about an exhibit featuring life-size recreations of sets from the most recent Studio Ghibli film, When Marnie Was There. Well, the exhibit has proved to be so popular that they’ve decided to do it all over again, this time in Aichi Prefecture.

But being Ghibli, they can’t just do the exact same exhibit twice. This time, in addition to featuring life-size sets, they’ll also have artwork and props from every single Ghibli film, going back 30 years all the way to Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.

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Beautiful, tear-jerking tributes to late Nintendo president Satoru Iwata

As you’ve no doubt heard by now, Nintendo’s president and CEO Satoru Iwata passed away on July 11 at the age of 55. He was much beloved by the public, both for his warm, friendly personality, as well as always being a gamer first and businessman second.

Since Iwata’s death, there has been an outpouring of support from those who have been touched by the games he personally worked on and the projects he oversaw during his lifetime. Many fans have created stunning – and in some cases downright heartbreaking – tributes to Mr. Iwata, and tweeted them to share with others affected by his passing.

Here we have a compilation of some of the tributes we’ve seen, so you can get the same gut-wrenching smiles of sadness from looking at them that we did.

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Five things Japanese people do that some expats and foreigners can’t 【Video】

Culture shock is a strange yet wonderful phenomenon. Nothing can really compare to the feeling of seeing a group of people doing something you never thought possible for the first time.

And sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you don’t get over it. American YouTuber Strawberry Mochi recently posted a video about the top five things Japanese people can do that she simply cannot. Do you share the same hardships as her? Watch the video and find out!

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Hold on to your straw hats, kids! One Piece to hit the kabuki stage this winter

Last December, we here at RocketNews24 gave you the scoop on manga and anime smash One Piece being adapted into a fully-fledged kabuki play. With the performance dates coming up within a few short months, the official kabuki website Kabukibito has released a Laboon-sized amount of new details.

Although a warning before you click ahead: if you have not read or watched One Piece up until the time skip, be aware that thar be spoilers ahead!

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World-famous soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo’s reaction to Japanese concert: Do not want 【Video】

Portuguese celebrity soccer/football player Cristiano Ronaldo is no stranger to the bizarre side of Japan. And usually, he’s a real trooper about it. Whatever you may think of the man, you can’t deny that he’s done some pretty amazing things while in Japan, and has won the hearts of all soccer fans all over the country.

Except for the most recent event he’s participated in. Ronaldo attended a small concert broadcast on Japanese TV, and he was not looking thrilled about it at all. Just how miserable was he – and how miserable was the concert too? Watch the video after the jump and find out!

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