Global

【RocketRoundup】 Burgers, Bouquets, Beauties and Breasts

If you’re reading this, it means you’ve survived another week.

And what a week it’s been!

We’ve seen the arrival of a device that lets us share smells via mobile phone, members of the public quite literally caught with their hands down their pants, an invaluable list of turn-offs for girls to watch out for, and photos that reveal smoking-hot Japanese porn stars to be perfectly ordinary women and not from space after all.

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Revolutionary Speakers Made Entirely of Rubber, All the Bass without those Pesky Magnets

At this year’s CEATEC Japan, Tokai Rubber Industries Ltd. unveiled the first ever speaker made entirely of rubber – or should I say “smart rubber.”  With this technology what appears to be an ordinary strip of latex can be wired into a speaker.

There already is a range of modern products such smartphones using miniature speakers to produce decent quality sound. However, smart rubber speakers stand above with one thing they don’t have – good bass.

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Incredible New Animated Music Video “Transfer” Wins Fans the World Over

You know something’s a hit when people all over the world are taking to their keyboards to express their amazement and tweeting the links like the internet’s about to be switched off.

Created by music group Ongaku Unit and featuring the vocal talents of hugely-popular voice actor and singer Megumi Nakajima, the video, titled “Transfer”, has already found much love abroad, with many claiming that the video is nothing short of “a revolution” and “the future of music videos”.

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【RocketRoundup】 This Week’s Best Bits

Hello and good morning/afternoon/evening to you!

Welcome to the very first Rocket Roundup; your guide to the biggest stories of the week here at RocketNews24, all in one snug little post.

I don’t know about you good people, but it’s been a pretty busy week here at RocketNews24– I can’t remember the last time I saw as many crazy stories go up in the space of seven short days. That said, I think I speak for the entire team when I say that it’s been a pleasure as always, and we love discrovering new, fun, quirky and downright weird news stories almost as much as we do sharing it with you guys.

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Turn the Ocean into a Pool: 12 Products That Are Perfect for Opposite Day

A collection of 12 products from around the world that were created by reversing the product’s original concept.  From an upside-down phone to a jacket to chill your wine, all twelve items are available for purchase, but many will make you wonder, do I really need that?

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Cassette to iPod Converter Helps ‘80s Kids Keep Their Tape Collection Alive

We all love new technology, but when the arrival of a new generation of hardware signals the end of another, it can be kind of sad.

Vinyl will always be considered classic, but VHS and audio cassettes have sadly gone the way of the dinosaurs, with MiniDiscs (remember them?), and maybe one day CDs, soon to follow.

While CD quality sound is universally recognised as being superior to MP3 music, and despite MiniDiscs still hanging on in Japan years after the west turned its back on them, highly compressed MP3 is fast becoming the format of choice for millions of people, meaning that more and more of our once-loved possessions are relegated to sitting on the shelf or in a desk drawer somewhere.

So what are we to do with those Backstreet Boys cassettes? What fate awaits forgotten Bon Jovi tapes that rattle around the glove-box of a car whose stereo no longer has a tape deck? Are we destined never again to hear their muffled warbles and grainy beats?

Help is at hand!

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While Exports of Bonsai Increased 10 Fold Around the World, a Revival in Bonsai is Hoped for in Japan.

Bonsai Farmer Mr. Yamachi explains the art of bonsai to eager listener Mr. Remo a Swiss man and his family in Takamatsu’s Kokubunji cho.

The word “Bonsai” needs no translation. It is renowned internationally as a beautiful form of art which condenses nature into enjoyable little plants.

Recently, exports around the world of these little trees have increased by leaps and bounds. Hugely popular across Asia, Europe, and America, Bonsai exports to these areas have hit a record high, 10 times what they were only ten years ago.  With the onset of autumn, as exports reach full-scale, people who work in the bonsai business hope that bonsai can regain some of its popularity domestically as well.

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Why Japanese Girls Are a Better Catch Than Japanese Men: The Thoughts of a Japanese Cabin Attendant

In this age of global travel and internet communication, meeting and even getting seriously involved with someone from outside your country is a very real possibility. For that matter, how do Japanese women and men rate as romantic interests? Takako Matsushita, a Japanese cabin attendant who has also appeared on T.V. and in magazines, offers her perspective on how Japanese women may get higher marks than Japanese men in the international dating market. And her message? Japanese men need to watch out, or all the nice ladies in Japan may be snatched up by foreign men! Read More

Japanese Tourists Ill-Mannered? A Simple Request to Japanese Travelers that May Do Wonders for Their Reputation

Those of you familiar with our Japanese site are probably aware that our reporters often travel overseas to bring interesting stories from around the world to our Japanese readers. Recently, one reporter shared with us an eye-opening realization he had while traveling, one that could have serious bearing on the reputation of Japanese tourists abroad.

Being Japanese and also very fond of traveling myself, this was a story I couldn’t take lightly! Read More

Chinese Super Mario: Wonderful Things Can Happen When Martial Arts Meet Mushrooms

OK, Rocketeers, the first person who can count the number of times I’ve mentioned Super Mario in my articles since joining the RocketNews24 crew gets a prize!*

Maybe it’s because I grew up with the games; maybe it’s because I wanted an NES for so, so long but had to be content with occasional two-minute stints on my friend’s console until my parents finally caved in and bought me one years later…

Whatever the reason, Super Mario is kinda my thing. So when my editor mentioned that someone had made “a Chinese Mario movie”, I was on it in a flash.

This movie is immensely silly, and it’s not Super Mario Bros. But even so, it is kind of wonderful…

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Hitachi’s New Quartz Storage Technology Lets You Keep Your Data Safe for a Long, Long Time

At the recent International Symposium on Optical Memory in Tokyo, Hitachi, working with Kyoto University, presented their new type of digital storage.  It works on a principle similar to CDs but with a few added benefits like withstanding over 1000℃ temperatures.

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Kiss Scarecrow Found In Japan, Next Step for the Kings of Merchanidse?

Legendary rock band Kiss has been enjoying decades of success both with their infamous live shows and their unbelievably prolific line of merchandise.  Sure you have your Kiss Army badge and Love Gun belt buckle (for the ladies *wink*), but where’s your Kiss Mini Cooper?

If you’re a true Kiss fan do you only play bingo using the official Kiss Bingo set? When you go to Sotheby’s do you take your Kiss auction paddle?  Is your last will and testament set up to have you spend eternity in your very own Kiss coffin or urn?

At this point a Kiss scarecrow doesn’t seem so wild an idea does it?

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The Wild World of Weird Wristwatches

Watches used to be unique in their blend of fashion and function. They were a necessary part of daily life, but also a way to express yourself.  This is a custom that may be dying out as mobile phones take more of a hold in our lives.  Personally I haven’t worn one in about three years.

With an ever shrinking market, watchmakers are having to come up with completely new, off-the-wall ideas to get people into their product.  The following is a collection of their results watchmakers, ranging from the beautifully exotic to the mind-bendingly weird.

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Public Transport Tactics: How to Deal with Shoulder Sleepers

Anyone who’s taken public transportation has had a run-in with shoulder sleepers, the people who sit next to you on the train, bus, plane and decide your shoulder is their next stop to dreamland.

Some people deal with this threat by taking up the neighboring seat with their bags. However justified that tactic might be, you’re left looking selfish to the rest of the passengers.

So you leave the seat open. And like clockwork some dude with pit stains plunks down next you, eyelids half-raised and wobbling like a drunk during an earthquake.

 Japan, having one of the most used public transportation systems in the world. knows a thing or two about people sleeping on your shoulder. The following is a collection of strategies posted online by Japanese commuters for shrugging off shoulder sleepers.

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“Blue Dragon” Sea Slug Reminds Us That the Ocean is Filled With Strange Creatures That Look Like Pokemon

The strange blue creature in the photo above may look like a monster from a Japanese RPG, but is actually a real animal—the Glaucus atlanticus sea slug, to be exact.

Commonly known as the blue dragon or blue sea slug, this beautiful little mollusk can be found off the coast of South Africa, Australia and Mozambique, floating on the surface tension of the water.

Glaucus atlanticus got quite a bit of attention on the internet in April after a stunning up-close photo was posted to imigur (above). While we only just stumbled upon the blue dragon today, the moment we saw it we had the feeling this wasn’t the first time we had seen a sea slug that looked like something out of a fantasy world.

That’s right! I choose you, thecacera pacifica!

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“And the Winner is…”: A Selection of Some of the World’s Fascinating No. 1s!

Everyone knows Mt. Everest is the tallest Mountain in the world!  It is named after Colonel Sir George Everest, a surveyor who surveyed Mt. Everest in the mid 1800s.  Edmund Hillary and his Nepalese Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay were the first to reach its summit in 1953.

Here are some of the world’s most fascinating Number ones!  Some of them are familiar, others not.  All  23 are number one in one way or another.  Read More

Why do Foreigners Like Japanese Manga so Much? We Head to Comiket to Find Out!

While manga is ubiquitous in Japan — just ride the subway in any major city and you’ll see people from all walks of life flipping through a comic book — many Japanese people are surprised to hear how popular manga has become overseas. After all, aren’t Westerners only interested in macho superheroes or short comic strips?

Perhaps that was the case in America before, but in recent years many major bookstores have begun to reserve more space near the front of the store for Japanese comics and in some European countries like France and Germany manga occupies a large portion of overall comic sales.

But why?

Earlier this month, we sent one of our Japanese reporters to Comic Market (or “Comiket“), the world’s largest self-published comic book fair and otaku mecca, to interview real live foreigners and ask them why they like Japanese manga so much.

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Only 36% of Japanese High School Students Feel They “Have Worth as a Person”, MEXT Survey Says

According to a report published by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) Japanese high school students have markedly lower self-esteem and self-confidence than students in America and other Asian countries.

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