Siri Does Not Recognize English, Leads To Loss Of Self-Confidence

The iPhone4S finally arrived in Japan today, and thousands of people lined up outside their local Softbank or AU store, eager to get their hands on the phone when it hit the shelves at 8 am.

The most appealing new function of the iPhone4S for many people is the integrated voice interface, Siri. Apple claims that Siri enables you to easily send messages, check the weather, schedule meetings, and take care of a number of other traditionally text-based tasks just by using your voice.

Though it is currently not compatible with Japanese, the program is still available for use on Japanese iPhones. I made my way to an Apple Store to see if Siri would respond to my heavily-accented English but I had no luck. In fact, my broken attempts to inquire about the weather in English were interpreted so far off that I couldn’t help laughing.

Take a look at my techno-lingual struggle below. Read More

New AKB48 Cafe & Shop Fun Experience For Fans and Non-Fans Alike

It seems like there is no stopping the phenomenon that is Japanese female idol group AKB48. The group’s popularity continues to snowball in both Japan and overseas, they recently launched their own sketch comedy program, and just about everywhere you go you’ll find merchandise labeled with the girls’ smiling faces.

Keeping up with this unrelenting march is AKB’s newest attraction, the AKB48 Café & Shop, which had its grand opening September 29 in Akihabara, Tokyo.

The venue, located right outside the Denikigai Exit of Akihabara Station, is a large, one-floor space that holds a theatre area with regular showings of AKB48 concert videos and a buffet to eat while you watch, a shop stocked with exclusive AKB48 merchandise, a private event room where it is said members will come and visit, and a café.

Customers may enter the café portion without reservation and entrance to the shop is limited to café customers. The theater area and private group room require reservation and cost 2700 yen and 10,000 yen respectively.

On opening day eager fans waited to get in the cafe in a line that didn’t get any smaller even after it turned dark.

To be honest, I only know about AKB48 as the average person. However the café is about much more than just eating and does an excellent job at providing an enjoyable experience – even if you aren’t a die-hard fan. Read More

Lady GaGa has gained international fame for her often-bizarre and always-dazzling performances.

In China, there is word on the street of a new performer in town who rivals Lady Gaga in audacity of dress and performance with one not-so-subtle difference – he’s a 70 year old man. Read More

Ambiguous Young Chinese Male Baffles China, Looks A Little Like Justin Bieber

While many people use CG to fulfill their anime-like delusions of beauty, a young Chinese male by the name of Ma Lishan has become an internet sensation for being able to pull off the unnatural look in reality. Read More

If it suits him on a particular day, a spray-painting artist appears underneath the bridge at the Odakyu Department Store at the West Exit of Shinjuku Station. The elusive wizard with the spray cans handles his tools deftly and produces stunning works of art.

To put it bluntly, the way he paints is crude, and it seems as though he is cooking without a cookbook. His hands are sticky with multiple colors of paint as he manipulates the paper, cans and various props.

Read More

Attention, gluttons on holiday in Japan: RocketNews24 has compiled a list of five restaurants that feature signature dishes with gut-busting, imagination-defying, comically-oversized portions.

First, some vocabulary to help you enjoy your eating spree. You probably already know to ask for o-mori when you want a large portion of rice and an extra helping of the main dish, but there’s still one level to go: deka-mori.

Read More

Man Advocates “Fart Smeller Movement” During New York Protest In Zucotti Park

On October 3, the day after more than 700 people were arrested for blocking traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge as a part of a protest against Wall Street, protesters boldly moved on to occupy Zucotti Park to continue their rally.

When our reporters visiting New York stopped by Zucotti Park to see what the great American protest was all about, there was one sight amongst the madness of protesters and press that seemed to be grabbing attention particularly among female passersby: a lone man representing what he calls the “Fart smeller movement.” Read More

iPhone4S Japanese Poll Results Reveal 71% Do Not Intend To Purchase

The recent announcement of the iPhone4S was met with mixed reaction across the internet, with more than a few people expressing disappointment that Apple was releasing only an upgrade and not a new model.

Still, Apple followers are known for their loyalty and soon after the announcement we surveyed 240 of our Japanese readers to see if consumers plan on forgiving Apple and buying the iPhone4S anyway. Read More

Yakiniku Restaurant Offers Free Tongue To Customers Who Tongue

It’s a common business strategy for restaurants and bars to offer discounts or free food and drinks for customers who come in groups or dress up as the opposite gender.

Beijing yakiniku restaurant Yakinikunin (烧肉人) promises customers a little literal tongue for a little metaphorical tongue. Read More

“Celebrate the Great East Japan Earthquake” Banner Hung During Japan-Korea Soccer Game Exasperates Japanese and Koreans Alike

In the second round of the 2011 AFC Asian Cup quarterfinals, Japanese team Cerezo Osaka suffered a staggering 1-6 defeat by the Korean team Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. While the loss was disappointing for Japanese soccer fans, a separate incident has caused an uproar among Japanese and Koreans alike: during the match supporters of the Korean team hung a banner that read, in Japanese, “We celebrate the Great East Japan Earthquake.” Read More

While most of Japan is chattering about the announcement that cell phone provider au will bust Softbank’s monopoly on the iPhone when it begins to sell the iPhone 5 later this year, a new phone model released by PHS operator Willcom may be making an attempt to change the Japanese cellular landscape from a different angle.

The model in question, which was announced as a part of Willcom’s 2011 fall-winter lineup, is the Iedenwa – a portable version of the standard household landline phone, complete with a receiver, large buttons, and a state-of-the-art 2.7 inch monochrome display. Read More

New AKB48 Sketch Comedy Program Features Cute Girls Making Silly Faces And More!

On September 29, Yuko Oshima and several other high-profile members of popular Japanese idol group AKB48 stepped off the dance stage and into the studio to commemorate the launch of their first ever sketch comedy and variety show, Bimyo~, with a special press conference broadcasted live over television and Japanese video-sharing site Nico Nico Douga. Read More

Man Smuggles Live Hummingbirds In Pants

A Dutch man was caught attempting to smuggle live hummingbirds from French Guiana into Brazil by taping them to the inside of his pants. Read More

Why do the Japanese love ramen so much? It seems like every week television programs, magazines and websites are ranking and reviewing the countless ramen shops across the country; and every week thousands of people set off to see what all the fuss is about.

Today we’d like to offer you a list of 5 ramen shops in Tokyo (and 1 in Chiba) that we’ve been fussing about. However, instead of ranking the tastiest broth or thickest noodles, this list aims to give our fellow ramen-lovers a few unique recommendations for the next time they’re looking to try something a little different. Read More

New Japanese Lighters Safe For Children, Frustrating For Adults

Lightweight and easy-to-use, the disposable lighter is an indispensible dispensable tool for any smoker on the go. However, in the hands of an unsupervised child, the small flame of a lighter can quickly lead to burns, uncontrolled fires or death – which has been the case in a series of fires caused by children playing with standard 100 yen (1.20 USD) lighters.

With this in mind, the Japanese government mandated that starting September 27 all disposable lighters sold in the country must be equipped with additional safety devices that meet the standards set by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

As convenience stores in Tokyo have already begun to sell the new lighters, we picked one up to see just how difficult they are to use. Read More


On September 17 an exhibition showcasing the new product collaboration between fashion brand Gucci and manga artist Hiroki Araki, known worldwide for his ongoing manga Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure, opened at the GUCCI store in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The event is being held to commemorate Gucci’s 90th anniversary. Read More

Convenient Suit Gundam: 7-11 Celebrates Gundam’s 30 Year Anniversary With Crossover Figurines

On September 23 major convenience store chain 7-11 launched a promotion to celebrate the 30 year anniversary of the Gundam series. In addition to a plethora of Gundam-themed food products from Pringles chips to Cup Noodle, the company is also selling two limited-edition figurines of the mobile suits Gundam and Zaku redesigned in the image of 7-11. Read More

Camel Steaks & Gecko Burgers: The Top 5 Rare Meats Available For Purchase On

Fast, convenient and a selection of products large enough to make shopping malls obsolete, is the Mecca for internet shoppers.

The site is particularly useful for purchasing products you may not be able to easily find at local shops, such as rare books, collectibles and a unique variety of butchered animals.

That’s right – while they may not show up on the front page’s daily deals, the internet retailer does offer a hefty selection of rare meats. We’ve searched to see just what we can have shipped to us in that happy brown box and today we’d like to serve you our top 5 choice cuts. Read More

Free Admission – Twelve of Tokyo’s Best Kept Secrets

Expensive Tokyo living got you down? Are you staring another three-day weekend in the face and wondering what havoc it will wreak on your wallet?

There are places to enjoy yourself for free all over Tokyo, if you know where to look. RocketNews24 has sifted through the many options and has come up with 12 suggestions that will not disappoint. Try them next time you have a last-minute date or cobwebs in your billfold! Read More

Timeless Fukuoka Ramen Shop Serves Up Good Memories, Cheap Eats

Part the curtains at the simple storefront of Shoryuken, wrestle the creaky, swollen sliding door open, and step back in time to 1972.

A worn, handmade menu at the Fukuoka City ramen shop advertises ramen bowls for 100 yen, and it is clear that that price has persisted through the restaurant’s 39 years of existence. Read More

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