【Thursday Throwback】We Cook a Big Mac Value Meal in a Rice Cooker, Triumphant Results

【Thursday Throwback】We Cook a Big Mac Value Meal in a Rice Cooker, Triumphant Results

The rice cooker. Not only does this convenient little machine prepare a pot of rice with just the push of a button, but it can also be used to steam vegetables, bake cakes, and much more! Our researchers here at RocketNews24 have been working around the clock to uncover the true potential of the rice cooker by testing a number of bold, innovative recipes . Today, we’d like to share what is perhaps the most exciting find of our research thus far: a Big Mac, french fries and chicken nuggets taste amazing when cooked in a rice cooker.

Thursday Throwback is your peek into the archives of RocketNews24, featuring articles from back when we were just getting started. We’d hate for you to miss any of the quality quirky news from Asia and Japan just because you recently stumbled upon our site. And if you’re a devout RN24 reader, thanks for sticking around! Enjoy this blast from the past!

(Originally posted on December 12, 2011 )

When we first tried this recipe, we were blown away by how miraculously well this unconventional combination came out, and therefore decided to name it the “McDonald’s Miracle Steamed Rice,” or “McMiracle Rice.”

We’ve included the recipe for you to try at home as well as a step-by-step picture guide.

McDonald’s Miracle Steamed Rice

1. Wash rice
【Thursday Throwback】We Cook a Big Mac Value Meal in a Rice Cooker, Triumphant Results*Steaming too much rice will weaken the flavor so we recommend keeping the amount to 1-2 cups. Add water after washing the rice thoroughly.

2. Add McDonald’s french fries
【Thursday Throwback】We Cook a Big Mac Value Meal in a Rice Cooker, Triumphant Results*Place on top of the rice in the water. The fries will begin to absorb the water, but you will add Coca Cola to compensate later so there’s no need to add more.

3. Add Big Mac
【Thursday Throwback】We Cook a Big Mac Value Meal in a Rice Cooker, Triumphant Results*We recommend removing the bottom bun from the Big Mac before placing it in the pot to prevent it from getting soggy. Leaving the top bun on is optional, but should be removed after cooking if it absorbs too much moisture during the steaming process.

4. Add chicken nuggets
【Thursday Throwback】We Cook a Big Mac Value Meal in a Rice Cooker, Triumphant Results
*Be sure to add an appropriate amount of ketchup after placing the chicken nuggets in the pot! We cannot stress enough how important the ketchup is to this recipe. After following step 2, it’s not like you have anything to lose anyways.

5. Top off the water with Coca Cola ZERO
【Thursday Throwback】We Cook a Big Mac Value Meal in a Rice Cooker, Triumphant Results*Be sure not to use regular Coca Cola as it causes your McMiracle Rice to turn out too sweet.

6. Start the rice cooker
【Thursday Throwback】We Cook a Big Mac Value Meal in a Rice Cooker, Triumphant Results*Use the standard setting you normally use when cooking regular white rice. It may take a little longer to cook than usual, but we guarantee it will be worth the wait.

7. Lovin’ it
【Thursday Throwback】We Cook a Big Mac Value Meal in a Rice Cooker, Triumphant Results*Before you dig in, check the buns to make sure they’re not soggy. If you’ve got soggy buns, take them out, put them in a frying pan and make some french toast. If your buns managed to keep relatively dry during the steaming process, you’ve got something to work with. Squeeze some more ketchup on for an even better taste.

We know that some of you out there are thinking that this is just a waste of a perfectly good McDonald’s meal. But think about this: how many people do you think accused Sir Alexander Flemming of wasting perfectly good mold when he invented penicillin? While McMiracle Rice isn’t quite as revolutionary as the invention of penicillin, we’re not lying when we say this is a damn good recipe.

Of course, you don’t have to take our word for it; give it a try and let us know what you think!

Photos: RocketNews24

▼You may also use BBQ sauce for a spicy Southwest flavor【Thursday Throwback】We Cook a Big Mac Value Meal in a Rice Cooker, Triumphant Results

Ba da da da~
【Thursday Throwback】We Cook a Big Mac Value Meal in a Rice Cooker, Triumphant Results

【Thursday Throwback】We Cook a Big Mac Value Meal in a Rice Cooker, Triumphant Results

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【Thursday Throwback】We Cook a Big Mac Value Meal in a Rice Cooker, Triumphant Results

Japan’s newest models are all about their busts: Classical statues reimagined as fashion idols

Japan’s newest models are all about their busts: Classical statues reimagined as fashion idols

From hyperactive pear fairies to gross mushrooms , it seems that Japanese consumers have an appreciation for the unusual. Of course, it can be hard to predict exactly what will win hearts and minds, but that won’t stop people from trying to kickstart the newest craze.

Kadokawa, a publishing company among other things, Zarigani Works, a toy and merchandise production company, and Holbein, an arts materials company, have teamed up to turn classical statues into the latest hot items. They still haven’t revealed all the items they’ll be producing and it remains to be seen just how many people actually want products with Hermes’s statuesque face emblazoned on it, but you can’t blame them for trying!

ギフトショーに来ています。カドカワさんブースに彼らがいました! #石膏ボーイズ http://t.co/uVRoDvQJJb


ホルベイン 画材 (@HolbeinArt) February 06, 2015

Meet the Sekko Boys, or “Plaster Boys,” if translated literally, the faces of Kadokawa’s newest goods lineup. As you can see in the tweet above, the company has tapped into the deep history of Europe to find the most beautiful men possible!

▼ They even have the four gents performing! Kind of…

ライブスタート!! #いしぼ http://t.co/uKIy6IosZ2


石膏ボーイズ【公式】 (@sekkoboys) March 13, 2015

While you may find the idea of replicas of ancient statues as heartthrobs absurd at best, we’d like to remind you that virtual idol Hatsune Miku exists. She is arguably more popular than most flesh-and-blood idols at this point (and although she can probably sing better than Mars)!

The lineup of Sekko Boys is somewhat more diverse than you might expect, though we were sad to see Socrates didn’t make the cute. Maybe his beard didn’t test well with potential audiences.

You can see the full lineup, which consists of Mars, Medici, Hermes, and Saint George, in the video below

The video doesn’t actually mention what goods or merchandise will be available, only that we should prepare to empty our wallets come April. However, their official Facebook page has photos of buttons that have been prepared with the faces of the four Sekko Boys. We have to say that anyone whose profile includes “God of War” has a clear advantage over the others though…

There will be other products available as well. In the photo below, which was taken at JAWA-SHOW, an industry-only event for retailers and distributors, you can see books, postcards, and a number of other items. It’s not clear if you’ll be able to buy actual busts, but they might be decent replacements for boyfriend pillows .

So far, the online reaction seems to be pretty favorable.

“The Sekko Boys are amazing. It’s actually kind of surprising.”
“I can’t help wondering if the Sekko Boys are supposed to be considered ‘foreign media personalities.’”
“Sekko Boys?! I want to collect some of the Medichi items.”
“It’s inevitable that I’m going to get hooked on the Sekko Boys. Stop it, please!”

Well, we’re not sure how we feel about these plaster boys yet. Maybe if they had used Mr. Sato , we could get behind this more. Come on! He’d look great as a statue!

Sources: Facebook (Sekko Boys) , YouTube , Naver Matome
Images: Facebook (Sekko Boys)

Japan’s newest models are all about their busts: Classical statues reimagined as fashion idols

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

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.

At about 7:15 p.m. on August 4, Japan Railways’ Keihin-Tohoku Line and Negishi Lines (which run through Tokyo and Yokohama) were shut down due to “an aerial wiring disconnection.” Something broke on the wires that run above the trains, cutting off electricity to the cars.

This meant that the lights inside of the trains weren’t working, leaving the passengers in darkness except for the outside lights. Here are some tweets of what it looked like:

▼ Pretty much like the intro to a post-apocalyptic movie…

京浜東北線車内停電。 http://t.co/BQ89aJFKho


(@OHAMAHERO) August 04, 2015

▼ …or a horror film.

車内停電 #京浜東北線 http://t.co/9RvY8lgRUR


まれっか(べまに検定5k難民) (@malecca) August 04, 2015

▼ And here’s a taste of what the crowds looked like in the station, unable to go anywhere.

品川、京浜急行大混雑の状況。ホームに入ることすら困難。京浜東北線ストップで振替客が集中してる。20:51 http://t.co/zMJd2IOJvJ


三上洋 (@mikamiyoh) August 04, 2015

To make matters worse, the incident happened at the same time as the gigantic fireworks festival at Yohohama’s portside Minato Mirai district, and the booming explosions made some passengers assume the worst. Was it an attack? Bombing? Terrorists?

京浜東北線で爆発音がして停電してしまいました\(´・_・`)/ http://t.co/dWN9nRrqOi


ともえやまゆうた (@Tomoe_131014) August 04, 2015

Thankfully, it was another peaceful day in Japan, and the cause of the power outage was none of the violent scenarios listed above. But while the situation is still under investigation, one tweet made by a high school girl has led the Internet to believe it knows the culprit: a high school boy and his friend’s bag.

We can’t show you the tweets themselves, for two reasons. One, they’ve been deleted, and two, since the tweeters are minors, they are protected under Japanese law and we can’t release their names to the public.

But! We can recreate the tweets here, translated into English:

The original tweet, by a high school girl:
“[Boy’s name] got crazy all of a sudden and threw my bag into the electrical wires. It got stuck and sparks came out and then it shut off lol.”

And then:
“I was so flustered. I ran too much and got sweaty. I think I’m gonna kill [boy’s name]. Sorry to everyone whose train stopped because of it lol.”

And a response tweet, from the boy in question:
“I didn’t do it on purpose lol.”

The girl then tweeted a picture of the extremely crowded train station, with this caption:
“This is all [boy’s name]’s fault! I wonder if he even knows what he did lol.”

Of course their tweets were caught pretty quickly and suddenly the high school boy and girl found themselves facing the wrath of thousands of angry netizens. Before deleting her account, the girl made a few more tweets, including:

“Actually me and [boy’s name] didn’t do anything lol. That tweet was a lie. I don’t know who thought it was real but I guess I respect the power of Internet otaku now.”

The boy hasn’t deleted his account yet, and he’s been updating on what’s been happening since the night of the train incident:

“I’ve gotten so many more followers….”

“The power of otaku is really amazing.”

“Uh oh lol. I got a call from the Nishihama High School principal today. I’m so popular lol. Ever since this morning I’ve been getting nonstop calls from guidance counselors and the board of education lol.”

“I hope I don’t get expelled from Nishihama High School. That’s the one thing I don’t want to have happen.”

While the Yokohama branch of Japan Railways is still looking into the exact cause behind the power outage, they are aware of the tweets from the high school students. Their only comment on the matter so far has been: “We cannot say that it is not a possibility.”

Of course Japanese netizens are much quicker to jump to conclusions. Here’s a smattering of comments:

“I had to walk all the way home that night. I can’t forgive them.”
“Wow. Their lives are over.”
“Is this real? Seems pretty sketchy, but if it is, they’ll have to pay a huge fine.”
“I don’t think they could ever afford to pay a fine that big.”
“Oh man I can’t wait to see how this one turns out!”

So what do you think? Did a high school boy and a bag really take down several train lines? Or did a stupid tweet just get completely out of hand? Let us know in the comments!

Source: Hachima Kiko ( 1 , 2 ), Yahoo! News Japan
Featured/top image: Twitter (@mikamiyoh)

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

Hello Kitty’s Superhero Alter Ego Gets Latex Slave…er, Sidekick

Hello Kitty’s Superhero Alter Ego Gets Latex Slave…er, Sidekick

Last year, Sanrio unveiled Hello Kitty’s strawberry-eared superhero alter ego, Ichigoman (‘ichigo’ means ‘strawberry’ in Japanese).

According to official canon , Hello Kitty transforms into Ichigoman when she raises her strawberry smartphone into the air and, together with a crowd of enthusiastic supporters, shouts “power the kitty!” with the force of several million hertz.

As Ichigoman, Kitty uses her strawberry powers to fight monsters and other evils born from the hearts of the wicked. She’s also known to do quite a number on consumer’s wallets.

Now, after a year of going solo, Sanrio has finally given Ichigoman a partner to fight crime with: Darkgrapeman, a sidekick whose passion for justice is matched only by his fetish for latex.

Hello Kitty’s Superhero Alter Ego Gets Latex Slave…er, Sidekick

Darkgrapeman rides around in a sidecar motorcycle and casts fear into the hearts of evil-doers with his battle cry: “Fruity freedom fighter! Darkgrapeman!” Fruity indeed.

Riding alongside Darkgrapeman is his sexy secretary, Honeymomo:

Hello Kitty’s Superhero Alter Ego Gets Latex Slave…er, Sidekick

Honeymomo’s duties are usually confined to managing Darkgapeman’s crime fighting schedule, but she’s known to dabble in a bit of ass-kicking herself from time to time.

Sanrio revealed Darkgrapeman and Honeymomo last month in this exciting, but bondage-free, short animated film:

The two will join Ichigoman on the shelves of Sanrio retails stores across the country with a new line of character goods set to go on sale November 14.

Hello Kitty’s Superhero Alter Ego Gets Latex Slave…er, Sidekick

In addition, fans can meet the three caped Kitty crusaders live during a “Hero Show” running until March 17 at the Sanrio Puroland theme park in Tokyo. It is a children’s show, however, so cosplaying as Darkgrapeman is not encouraged.

Source: Narinari , Sanrio

▼ Anyone else think the positioning of Honeymomo’s lower peach is a little awkward?

Hello Kitty’s Superhero Alter Ego Gets Latex Slave…er, Sidekick

Hello Kitty’s Superhero Alter Ego Gets Latex Slave…er, Sidekick

We try Häagen-Dazs pancakes and love ’em!

We try Häagen-Dazs pancakes and love ’em!

April 25 was a sad day for Japanese ice cream lovers, as that was the day the final Japanese Häagen-Dazs store closed shop . The company had achieved its goal of spreading their packaged ice cream through convenience stores and supermarkets, and, after thirty years, decided that the Japanese locations were no longer necessary.

Many a frozen, delicious tear was shed that day.

But you can stop your crying, at least until September 2, thanks to a collaboration between Häagen-Dazs and j.s. pancake cafe!

After hearing that Häagen-Dazs was collaborating with j.s. pancake cafe, offering pancakes topped with Häagen-Dazs ice cream, Mr. Sato, our hungriest RocketNews24 reporter, decided to brave the Tokyo heat to try it out for himself. Here’s his report on the breakfast food treats!

j.s. pancake cafe and Häagen-Dazs

We try Häagen-Dazs pancakes and love ’em!

j.s. pancake cafe, for those unfamiliar with the chain, is a pancake specialty store from the fashion brand JOURNAL STANDARD, with branches in Tokyo, Kanagawa, and Osaka. The Häagen-Dazs collaboration will last until September 2, so now you have plans for the summer holiday!

A taste you can only get at the cafe

As Mr. Sato pointed out, the packaged Häagen-Dazs ice cream you can get at the convenience store or supermarket is delicious. There’s certainly no question about that! However, there are a lot of flavors that aren’t available in those packages. And even with those that are, there’s still something just a little different. So, for many ice cream fans, knowing they can’t get that fresh Häagen-Dazs ice cream is almost too much to bear, which makes this extremely limited collaboration so exciting! Mr. Sato was certainly thrilled to get the chance to have fresh Häagen-Dazs ice cream again.

The three choices

We try Häagen-Dazs pancakes and love ’em!

As we mentioned, this collaboration is very limited–both in terms of time and in options. There are only three items available: maple vanilla, berry strawberry, and green tea milk. And even these options are limited! While the maple vanilla selection is available until September 2, berry strawberry won’t be available after August 18, being replaced with the green tea milk on August 19.

So, all you strawberry lovers better check it out quickly!

How was it??

Okay, enough chit-chat, let’s get down to business! How was the Häagen-Dazs ice cream and pancakes?!

Mr. Sato had this to say about the maple vanilla:

We try Häagen-Dazs pancakes and love ’em!

When it came to eating the ice cream, it wasn’t really different from the ice cream that you can get in the stores, so you needn’t worry about it being bad. The vanilla had a reserved sweetness with a rich milk taste. It went well with the fruit arranged on the pancake. In particular, the banana helped accentuate the ice cream’s sweetness and creaminess.

As for the berry strawberry, Mr. Sato said this:

We try Häagen-Dazs pancakes and love ’em!

It goes without saying that the strawberry ice cream went well with the actual fruit. After stuffing my cheeks with the ice cream, and then tossing in the strawberries, it was like paradise in my mouth! The sweetness and the sourness, plus the texture of the strawberries create a truly complete universe! It wouldn’t be too much to say that this combination is simply unriveled.

The star of the show

We try Häagen-Dazs pancakes and love ’em!
Ultimately, though, he found that the main event was, for better or for worse, the pancakes. While the pancakes made a perfect match for the ice cream, there was still a problem. The ice cream simply disappeared too fast! As you might imagine, there’s way more pancake in these dishes than ice cream.

We suppose this normally wouldn’t be such a big deal, but for many customers, the Häagen-Dazs ice cream is going to be the bigger draw. Our poetic Mr. Sato put it thusly:

It’s like having a chance meeting with an old girlfriend on the street and only being able to exchange brief greetings before heading on your way. You want to chat some more! What’s she doing now? Is everything going well? You want to tell her to come see you some time!

The point is, as good as the pancakes are, everything would be better if there was a little more Häagen-Dazs on top!

We try Häagen-Dazs pancakes and love ’em!

Those almonds…

Unfortunately, there was another problem: the almonds. Mr. Sato discovered that the cafe had added a layer of caramelized almond slices between the pancakes. While the crunchy nuts certainly did accentuate the fluffy pancakes, they didn’t seem to go well with the sourness of the fruit. Also, they kind of got in the way of enjoying the soft sweetness of the ice cream. Maybe you’ll disagree, but Mr. Sato felt the dish would have been better without them.

We try Häagen-Dazs pancakes and love ’em!

In the end though, he was quite satisfied overall and happy to get some fresh Häagen-Dazs. The collaboration, though not quite perfect, is still unique—and delicious. So for all of you with a hankering for Häagen-Dazs, get to j.s. pancake cafe!

Location information
Here’s the specifics on the location Mr. Sato visited in Tokyo:
Address: Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Jingumae, 5-52-2 Aoyama Oval Building 1F
Hours: 11:00 to 21:00
Holidays: No set days off

And if you’re still not hungry, here’s some more photos to get your stomach growling!

▼Breakfast foods need not be eaten in the morning, right?We try Häagen-Dazs pancakes and love ’em!

▼I just ate…but I think I could eat again.We try Häagen-Dazs pancakes and love ’em!

We try Häagen-Dazs pancakes and love ’em!

▼Strawberry fields forever!We try Häagen-Dazs pancakes and love ’em!

▼Strawberry avalanche!!We try Häagen-Dazs pancakes and love ’em!

[ Read in Japanese ]

We try Häagen-Dazs pancakes and love ’em!

Who is this mysterious sumo wrestler and why has he “sunk” Japan?!

Who is this mysterious sumo wrestler and why has he “sunk” Japan?!

It’s no secret that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover–but anyone who says they never do is probably a liar (or at least prone to exaggeration). After all, if you’re not a fan of fantasy, a Dragonlance cover illustration should be all you need to know to stay away. By the same turn, if you’re looking for some Japanese fiction, grabbing a book with a sumo wrestler on the cover seems like a safe option.

Though that doesn’t make the cover any less absurd if it’s actually a science fiction novel, though, as these Japanese Twitter users discovered!

Nihon Chinbotsu, titled Japan Sinks in English, was a Jerry Bruckheimer disaster film in novel form, although it was released a few decades before the producer became a household name. The book, which has spawned a sequel, TV show, film, and manga, is literally about Japan sinking completely into the ocean after a series of devastating earthquakes and the flight of people from the island nation. Authored by Sakyo Komatsu, the novel garnered acclaim world-wide thanks to its translations in the 1970s.

Of course, one of the problems with a book with such a large scope is encapsulating it in a single, attention-grabbing cover. While we might have gone with something like the tip of Mt. Fuji sticking up out of the ocean, the publisher of the French translation went with something altogether more…baffling. Take a look for yourself.

小松左京著「日本沈没」
フランス語版 http://t.co/moIz1gf5MH


ヤマザキマリ Mari Yamazaki (@Thermari) March 12, 2015

The photo above was tweeted by Mari Yamazaki, the manga artist responsible for the hit Thermae Romae, who wrote only: “Sakyo Komatsu’s Japan Sinks, French edition.” And, yep, that’s a sumo wrestler seemingly standing on a giant globe with a red sun low in the sky and shrouded in clouds. If you’re confused, don’t worry, you’re not alone!

@ Thermari 沈没はこの相撲取りの仕業なのかと表紙だけ見て思ってしまう読者も少なくなかった筈


ヤマザキマリ Mari Yamazaki (@Thermari) March 12, 2015

Yamazaki followed up her tweet with a bit of speculation.

“I bet more than a few readers thought the sinking was this sumo wrestler’s doing upon seeing this cover.”

Well, now that you mention it…

She then sent out another tweet with a slightly more zoomed-in photo.

じっくりご覧になりたい方のために。
Illustration de Machida, 1916.D.R.
としか表記されていません http://t.co/PxSpWHlRqB


ヤマザキマリ Mari Yamazaki (@Thermari) March 12, 2015

She also added some information about the enigmatic cover. “This is for anyone who wants a really good look at the cover. ‘Illustartion de Machida, 1916.D.R.’ is all that’s written here.”

But that’s just the beginning of the speculation!

@ Thermari この相撲取りがKOMATSU Sakyoなのかと思った人もいたにちがいない


二番頭 (@mogumogugombo) March 12, 2015

Another Twitter user weighed in, suggesting:

“You just know there were some people who thought that the sumo wrestler was KOMATSU Sakyo.”

We imagine there were a few people who thought that…but it’s a forgivable mistake! That cover makes as much sense as having a pig as the mascot of a pork restaurant .

Fortunately, another Twitter user added some helpful information about the original illustration.

@ Thermari 大正五年の大阪商船のポスターに使われた絵ですね。力士は太刀山関です。 www6.ocn.ne.jp/~sumokobi/item…


風野春樹(『島田清次郎』発売中) (@hkazano) March 12, 2015

According to @hkazano:

“This poster was used as a poster for Osaka Shosen [a Japanese shipping company that later became Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd.] in 1931.”

Finally, Mari chimes back in with a bit more information on just who the mysterious giant sumo wrestler is.

先ほどの表紙は小松左京さんでも田所博士でもなく
太刀山という力士でした http://t.co/KIf3rYJhKN


ヤマザキマリ Mari Yamazaki (@Thermari) March 12, 2015

According to her tweet, the sumo wrestler on the cover is the wrestler in the photo above.

“The cover I tweeted just a bit ago wasn’t Komatsu Sakyo or Professor Tadokoro [the protagonist of Japan Sinks], but the sumo wrestler Tachiyama.”

It kind of makes you wonder how Tachiyama would have felt about being the face of the ultimate destruction of Japan…

Of course, bizarre promotional images cut both ways, as we learned with the release of Birdman in Japan . Either way, this is a good reminder not to judge a book by its cover, at least most of the time.

Source: Togech
Image: Twitter (@themari)

Who is this mysterious sumo wrestler and why has he “sunk” Japan?!

Nintendo DS on the menu as Japanese prisons get creative to keep ageing prisoners’ brains active

Nintendo DS on the menu as Japanese prisons get creative to keep ageing prisoners’ brains active

As Japan’s penal system struggles to cope with a rising number of older inmates, a number of prisons are taking unusual steps to help inmates stay healthy in mind as well as body.

The number of prisoners in Japan aged 65 or over increased almost five-fold in the twenty years up to 2013. This ageing prison population means institutions are bringing in innovative programmes to slow the onset of dementia in inmates, from yoga to hand-held video games.

Oita Prison, on the eastern coast of Kyushu, is one such institution taking steps to combat this growing problem. 21 percent of inmates at Oita Prison are over 65, slightly higher than the national average of 18.2 percent. For point of comparison, just 2.2 percent of the prison population in the United States is over 65. “After they [prisoners with dementia] are incarcerated, their condition worsens,” a prison official told the Mainichi Shimbun , who said he’s observed inmates calling out in confusion, hallucinating and hearing voices.

In October 2010, Oita Prison began a special programme aimed at preventing dementia in the prison’s ageing population. Inmates attend sessions two or three times a month, on a voluntarily basis. As well as lectures and exercise sessions such as stretching, the programme includes brain training with a Nintendo DS for each inmate in the programme.

“The DS is the most fun part,” says one inmate in his sixties who is serving time for fraud, adding,”I want to keep my brain sharp by practicing like this.”

In 1994, there were 450 over-65s in prisons in Japan; by 2013, that had risen almost five-fold to 2,228 (if that number still sounds low, it’s because Japan has a low prison population compared to other developed countries – 59 prisoners per 100,000 people). The overall prison population in Japan is actually declining, but the number of older inmates continues to rise.

Other prisons are offering aerobics and yoga sessions targeting older inmates, and programmes aimed to equip older people with the skills and knowledge to avoid alcohol abuse, another common problem.

But reoffending amongst older released prisoner remains a key concern, Hirofumi Nojiri, the warder in charge of the over-65s programme at Oita Prison, told Mainichi. “After they get out of prison, I hope they will take steps to continue to look after their [mental] health, such as using the DS. We need a support system for prisoners once they are released, too.”

Source: Mainichi Shimbun
Featured image: wonderhowto

Nintendo DS on the menu as Japanese prisons get creative to keep ageing prisoners’ brains active