Some words about cafe camping, a bully with a comb-over, and a man in a blue sweater vest

Back when I was still living in the UK, I would have never dreamed of spending an entire afternoon working on my laptop in a cafe. Places like Starbucks or homegrown coffee chain Costa are places to go, pay slightly too much for caffeinated beverages, leaf through a book or newspaper, then be on your way. They’re not for doing your homework or earning a living.

Thanks to the birth of WiFi and ultra-light laptop computers, however, the sight of people commandeering tables for hours on end is no longer such a rarity, and I, it has to be said, am one of them. Which is where I witnessed an unusual little episode involving a grumpy old man with a comb-over, his quiet, sweater vest-wearing friend, and a young woman who may or may not have been a matcha-drinking guardian angel.

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Some words about the evils of alcohol and the superhuman powers of drunk Japanese businessmen

After living here for the best part of eight years (five in the country, the rest in the capital) I’ve come to realise that for all the talk of Japan being kind of an oddball nation, it’s no weirder than anywhere else, and perhaps the only reason people here sometimes come across as so quirky is because the rest of the time they mind their own business and just get on with things quietly.

One thing that never fails to astound me when I go out at night in Tokyo, though, is the almost superhuman way in which some businessmen – despite looking like they’ve consumed more alcohol than I ever could without ending up in hospital or featured in the local news – still manage to remain upright and even have the wherewithal to navigate the city’s labyrinthine stations, board a train and get themselves home.

Here are some words about this. Read them if you want to.

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Nosebleeds, food, and fear: How a popular manga became the centre of a debate about Fukushima

In the West, comics are often considered predominantly for younger audiences, and adults who spend more time scrutinising the contents of speech bubbles than printed paragraphs might be looked down on by some. But in Japan, comics are considered a perfectly acceptable pastime whatever one’s age.

More often than not, comics, or manga to use the Japanese term, provide their readers with a break from reality, much like a TV drama or soap, and allow readers to peek into the kinds of worlds that they might not ordinarily be able. But there are times when fiction and reality come together, and real-world events become fodder for a writer’s imagination or in some case the main focus of a story. In the case of popular manga series Oishinbo (美味しんぼ), one particular plotline has raised not just eyebrows but objections on a national level, and what was once just a comic about food has become the centre of a debate about health, radiation, and whether the Japanese government is telling the truth about Fukushima.

Today, we delve a little deeper into the “Oishinbo Nosebleed Problem”, as it has become known, and consider whether, after the resulting backlash, this controversial topic is one that the manga’s writer perhaps ought to have left well alone.

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A Japanese Woman’s Guide for Getting a Date: The Omurice Trick Works Every Time!

What kind of person are you attracted to?  Good looking and intelligent may be at the top of many people’s list of attractive attributes, but not all of us are blessed with an abundance of physical beauty and/or high intelligence.  

Self sufficiency and outspokenness would normally be good characteristics to have but are also widely overlooked by the male species when searching for a female to spend time with.  ‘Ah she doesn’t need me’, would be a likely initial reaction.  This could be one of the great universal truths: cultural boundaries disappear in the need for us to be needed.

Alright, so something has to be done and since it takes time for someone to find your ‘inner beauty’, you may want to try these sure-fire tactics, courtesy of our female Japanese editorial staff, for getting someone you’re interested in to be interested in you.  Ladies, arm yourselves!

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Mayo, Nail Clippers & Vibrators, Oh My! 8 Uncommon but Highly-Rated Japanese Products You Can Buy on Amazon

Sony electronics, Nissin Top Ramen, Kikkoman soy sauce; there are plenty of Japanese products that people overseas have come to use in their everyday lives.

But those are just the tip of the iceberg! There are so many more Japanese snacks, gadgets and trinkets so amazing that it’s a wonder they haven’t become international household names as well.

MyNavi has compiled a list of Japanese products available for purchase on Amazon that, while not very well-known overseas, are certainly well-loved by those who do. We’ve translated the list below (and added a bit), so get your credit cards ready and see what you’ve been missing out on!

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Thousands of Paper Lanterns Illuminate the Night Sky in Poland to Celebrate Summer Solstice

If you were to measure your life in sights that left you spellbound, whether they be of natural beauty or formed by the hand of man, to what extent could you say you have truly ‘lived’?

Okay, existential conundrums aside, a beautiful view can be a pretty life-affirming experience. On June 21, the sky above the Polish city of Ponzan was transformed into such a view when 50,000 paper were released into the night sky to celebrate the summer solstice, known as St John’s Night.

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Get Big in Japan With Our Monthly Instagram Photo Contest, #pouchgram

Instagram is a great way to get addicted to taking pictures. While it’s enjoyable enough to simply snap a picture, fancy it up with a filter and share it with your family and friends, the real photographer’s high comes from having a broader audience. After all, what could feel better to the amateur phonetographer than a collection of “likes” from strangers and comments left in foreign languages?

The problem is since everyone and their mother seem to be on Instagram these days it can be difficult to get your photos noticed by anyone other than…well, your mother.

We’ve found that the best solution to this problem is hashtags. And not just any hashtags: if you really want people to see your work, you need to participate in one of the many Instagram photo contests on the net.

In particular, you should probably participate in our very own monthly Instagram photo contest, #pouchgram If you win, tens of thousands of Japanese people will see your photo.

This could be your first step to becoming huge in Japan!

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The Top 25 Things In Japan Most Likely To Blow Foreigners’ Minds

The following is a list of things in Japan that have surprised, fascinated, and shocked the outside world.  Some of these things you’ll wish you had in your home country and a few you may never want to see in person.  So, without further ado, here are the top 25 Japanese things, from obscure to notorious, that leave foreigners mouths agape.

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An Illustrated Guide to the Implications of not Washing Your Hands After Using the Restroom

Earlier this month, we shared the following graphic illustration on our Japanese site depicting the shocking truth about what happens when you don’t wash your hands after using the restroom:

The picture had quite an impact on our cleanliness-obsessed Japanese audience, who began to wonder: if, shaking hands with someone who didn’t wash their hands after using the restroom is virtually the same as shaking their junk, what are the implications for other things we touch with out hands on a day-to-day basis?

We here at RocketNews24 also value good hygiene and think the image above does a great job at visualizing why you should too. However, we realize that not all people are as passionate about hygiene as the Japanese, which is why we gathered our most artistically inclined staff members (so, the one guy who doesn’t draw stick figures) to compose this illustrated guide to the implications of not washing your hands after using the restroom.

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The inability to understand women is a struggle shared universally by men across the world. Luckily, our friends at Omokoro have put together a detailed report titled A Simple Approach to Understanding Women that should offer some insightful help to the clueless male masses.

Our full translation of the report follows below.

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Apologizing like a Japanese woman: A practical guide

All couples fight. But what separates a good couple from a bad couple is that with a good couple, someone will usually step up and apologize before the awkward atmosphere devours their relationship whole.

Today we’d like to share several tactics that Japanese women apparently employ to apologize to their boyfriends when they’re in the wrong.

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The Tao of Toilet Cleaning: Beautiful Message of Humanity Or Ramblings of an Eccentric Anal-Retentive? You Decide

Many people probably aren’t aware of Mr. Hidesaburo Kagiyama.  Some people in Japan may know him as the President of Yellow Hat, an auto supply and parts retail chain in the country.  People outside of Japan may have heard of him for another reason as a founder of the now international Learning by Cleaning Association, and if you couldn’t tell by the name, this guy loves cleaning.

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Pop Star’s First Pitch Induces Laughter, Ignites Shameful Flame War

Korean pop group Girls’ Generation’s Jessica had everything going for her as she stepped to the mound last week at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul. She went into a semi-accurate windup with her white glove, pink shoes, form-fitting jeans and perfect smile aaaaaaand . . . she spiked the ball into the ground three feet in front of her.

Big deal, right? Lieutenant Dan did basically the same thing in Texas a couple nights ago, proving to us that a ceremonial first pitch is like a box of chocolates – you never know what kind you’re gonna get.

And what’s better, throwing like a T-baller or collapsing in a heap a la Sadako last month in the Tokyo Dome?

None of it should come as a surprise; Jessica showed us the extent of her athletic prowess at 0:20 with that strong, convincing fist pump. What is surprising is the harsh criticism piled on poor Jessica by the peanut gallery.
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Tokyo Disneyland (TDL) has recently announced that they will offer weddings for same-sex couples, including the option to hold the ceremony at the iconic Cinderella’s castle. It seems that Disney really does make dreams come true, at least for one gay couple. Read More

Govt Website Gets 45 Million Yen Redesign, Righteous Anger of the Taxpayers

On the second of April, the official website for the Japanese prime minister and his cabinet underwent a major update and redesign. According to Chief Cabinet Minister Osamu Fujimura, the update will allow them to disseminate easily understandable information to the public by gathering together all policy explanations prepared by individual agencies in one place. They have also added a section of the website aimed at children, which includes some specially developed games. The cost of all this? About 45 million yen (about $547,000). And that’s what has Japanese taxpayers’ attention.
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Your reporter (male) was walking through Shinjuku Ni-chōme, Tokyo, Japan’s most well-known gay neighborhood, at around 7-8pm on business the other day when a man in a suit with his hair dyed brown approached me casually at an intersection. The man, who looked like he worked at a host club, glanced at me and then put his hand out to offer me something. At the time, I figured he was just trying to hand me a pamphlet for his club, and ignored him as I walked past. However, I later learned that it was actually a secret signal used by homosexual men in Japan to indicate interest in a potential partner—a practice known in English as “cruising.”

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Tokyo Mob Blocks Ambulance. “You should be ashamed, Japan!”

There’s a shocking video that has people talking. Titled, “緊急走行を妨害する歩行者Unreasonable walkers interfering with an urgent run“, it shows an ambulance with its sirens blaring. But the thing is, when it comes to a six-way crosswalk (likely in Shibuya, Tokyo), the pedestrians just keep walking, preventing it from going through.

And it’s not just one or two people either, but dozens, maybe hundreds of people completely ignoring the ambulance, crossing the street at a normal walking pace. Read More

Lovers’ Final Emails Moments Before Tsunami: “Don’t get yourself killed!”

Text messages sent from Arisa Miura, a city worker who died in the tsunami that struck Minami-Sanriku in Miyagi Prefecture, and her boyfriend were released to the press on March 5th. In the 5 texts, which were sent between the two lovers after the earthquake and before Miura was swept away, one can see the depth of their affection in their consideration for the other’s safety even in a hectic emergency situation. Read More

An Illustrated Guide to the 12 Creatures That Haunt the Crowded Trains of Tokyo

Tokyo. Japan’s capital and home to roughly 12,790,000 people, making it the world’s most populous metropolis.

Running through this great city is one of the world’s most extensive urban rail networks, composed of surface trains and subways that carry some 40 million passengers daily. Cheap, safe and efficient, trains are undoubtedly the most convenient form of transportation in this concrete labyrinth—if you know how and when to use them. 

Depending on what lines you take and when you take them, boarding a train in Tokyo can easily feel like voluntarily walking through the gates of hell.

This is especially true of the crowded cars of the morning and evening commuter rush and many people therefore try to avoid these trains when possible. This is not only because they are packed shoulder-to-shoulder with passengers, oh no. Even more unpleasant are the bizarre and unnatural creatures that lurk exclusively on these trains.

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What Do Pickup Artists Around The World Think Of Japanese Girls? “Easy Targets”

For a single Japanese girl like myself, nothing is better than a trip overseas. Those unreal moments in an unknown land that provide an escape from the daily grind or, better yet, those romantic encounters with local men!

I mean, foreign guys are just so kind and gentlemanlike, yet so passionate and sexy!

Okay, but wait. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There are obviously some foreign guys in the mix who are just looking to pick up a girl for an easy lay. And there are many of my fellow Japanese girls who have been fooled by good looks and a smooth tongue only to regret it later.

So what exactly do these foreign guys think of us?

I recently spoke with a male Japanese backpacker who, in his travels around the world, has infiltrated the ranks of foreign pick-up artists and had them divulge their true feelings about macking on Japanese girls.

What he revealed may (or may not) be common knowledge to our readers abroad, but it came as a shock to me: “I’m sorry to say it, but most foreign pick-up artists see Japanese girls as easy targets.”

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