Valentine’s Day is upon us again. For those of you still searching for a gift or those who think Valentine’s Day is a big load of crap, this is for you: a toilet-shaped chocolate fondue set. Read More
Jessica Kozuka is a freelance writer and editor living in the exciting, interesting and sometimes perplexing city of Tokyo. Her work has appeared in Wine Spectator, CNN Travel, and The Japan Times, as well as numerous other print and online media outlets. She writes a column on NPO/NGOs and volunteer work for Metropolis, the largest English-language magazine in Japan, and specializes in EFL educational materials and travel writing. Kozuka is rarely to be found without a book or two within arm’s reach, though there's no telling if they will be serious literature or frivolous guilty pleasures, and she runs a monthly book club for other bibliophiles in the Tokyo area. She's also an enthusiastic if mediocre cook and daily laments the smallness of Japanese kitchens.
All Stories by Jessica
Most of us grew up being scolded about cleaning our plates at dinnertime. Some of our parents used enticements like dessert to get us to eat all our food. Others used guilt, talking about the starving children in Ethiopia. But chances are you never had to pay a fine for leaving a few morsels of food uneaten. But that is exactly what will happen if you don’t bring your big-boy appetite to Hachikyo, a seafood restaurant in Sapporo. Read More
Disaster preparedness is absolutely imperative in earthquake-prone Japan. For zoos, that means having well-practiced plans in place in the event of an animal escape amid the chaos. But surely it’s not necessary to force the new guy to run around in a zebra suit? Read More
According to a study conducted by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, about half of unmarried women report that they are not dating anyone with any serious intent. Why are so many available ladies completely unattached? Could it be that they just don’t see the appeal of having a partner? Or conversely, maybe they are holding out for an unrealistic Prince Charming.
Goo Rankings decided to look into the issue and asked the single ladies what they would ideally want a boyfriend to do for them, if they had one. The surprising answers after the break: Read More
Consumers are always hoping to get more than they paid for products and services, but in reality, the reverse is just as common. We’ve all been suckered in by a wily shopkeeper at one point or another, but what knowledge and preparation can we arm ourselves with to avoid being taken advantage of?
There are a bounty of goods and services available to us, all of which are marketed with beguiling strategies. Some of them will be such good values our hearts will delight in our own cleverness, while others will simply satisfy with their averageness. Of course, the remaining products, for all their appeal, will be deeply disappointing. Maybe billionaires can just spend for the joy of spending without worrying if something is really a good value, but for common people like you and me, making a poor decision can impact our wallets and our self-esteem for a long time to come.
In the hope of protecting their readers from it, Japanese weekly magazine SPA! has set out to discover what exactly is behind this buyer’s remorse in all its complex forms. Read More
There are train hobbyists and then there are train hobbyists. Japan’s particular breed of railway aficionados are referred to by the somewhat-affectionate term densha otaku, or train nerds, and are famous for feats like memorizing complex, phonebook-size timetables or visiting every single one of the country’s almost 10,000 stations.
Of course, when they aren’t trying to increase their encyclopedic knowledge of all things rail-related, they are out looking for like-minded people to impress with it. As it turns out, Tokyo offers the densha otaku a wide selection of appropriate watering holes, or perhaps we should call them bar cars. So grab your subway map and let’s go see this elusive creature in his natural habitat. Read More
Everyone knows what a ripe strawberry looks like: bright red and dotted with tiny pips. But strawberry pips, like all seeds, are meant to grow new plants. So have you ever wondered what it looks like when all those little seeds sprout? Read on to see the bizarre reality. Read More
It’s not surprising that in Japan, the land of cute and cuddly, pretty much everything has a fuzzy mascot. Even prefectural and city governments are getting in on the merchandising mania with adorable (or terrifying, depending on your point of view) characters called yuru-kyara meant to promote tourism and local products.
This week, 141 yuru-kyara from 25 prefectures across the country gathered in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, to make their mark on history by becoming the largest group of mascots ever to do the same dance together. Jaw-droppingly awesome video after the break. Read More
Business meetings: is there any more frustrating part of cubicle life? Sure, they are a necessity for lots of reasons, but who hasn’t sat through some interminable meeting thinking how much more they could be getting accomplished back at their desk? There’s something about the meeting format that is just ripe for time-wasting, getting off track, arguments and pointless exercises.
Large corporations have to know how to reign that wastefulness in to be successful, so we took a look at how some of the biggest companies in the world keep their meetings fast and efficient. Read on for their rules to meet by. Read More
Saitama Prefecture might be known abroad for its connection to famous anime like Lucky Star and Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day, but it’s better known in traditional art circles as a modern center for bonsai, the ancient practice of cultivating miniature trees. In fact, there is even a section of Saitama City called Bonsai Village that was once selected by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism as one of the 100 most scenic towns in Japan.
The prefecture has now created a smartphone game called Twit Bonsai to promote Saitama’s bonsai attractions, and although you may think pruning a virtual tree sounds like the height of boredom, the app is gaining an unexpectedly enthusiastic following. Read More
OK, file this one under “and how exactly did they figure that out?” but apparently you can operate your iPhone touch screen with a mushroom. Read More
It made the news over the weekend in Japan that middle schoolers in Gamagori City, Aichi Prefecture were forced to drink diluted hydrochloric acid as punishment for failing to perform a lab experiment correctly. Read More
It’s not often that a piece of clothing makes you feel sick to your stomach, but this one does, and not just because it’s creepy as hell. The bizarre suit has become a topic of conversation on the net in Japan and abroad, and if you look at the response, it seems readers are not enjoying the visual effect whatsoever, calling the body sock “a nightmare,” “too scary” and “an offense to Ghibli.” Read More
There is a chic French restaurant in Tokyo’s Gotanda district known to those in-the-know. It’s called Ne Quittez Pas, and it is famous for using high-quality seafood and produce from Kanagawa’s Misaki region. However, they’ve just unveiled a new full-course menu created around a rather peculiar ingredient: actual dirt. Of course, we had to check it out. Read More
McDonald’s is already known for cheap prices, but it’s about to get a whole lot cheaper: as in free. At least it will if you stop by for breakfast on your way to work Monday. Read More
In Japan, people generally eat jellyfish, not decorate with them, but if you are the kind of person who eschews conventional interior design, you’ll want to have a look at these charming hanging lamps made by California-based Roxy Russel Designs. Faithfully modeled on real jellyfish, these translucently luminous creations will enchant even the most jelly-phobic decorators. Read More
It’s so hard to know what kind of gift to bring for a baby shower. You have to know what the expectant parents need, the sex of the baby, the colors they like, what other people are bringing… It can take a lot of thought. Or you can just bring them something guaranteed to be original, useful and cute: Diaper Sushi! Read More
This site has covered some frankly ridiculous foods in the past. Who could forget our articles on deep-fried caterpillars, the 1050-bacon strip Whopper, or the bright blue curry challenge? But this is the first time we’ve covered something that actually made me throw up in my mouth a little.
A sandwich shop in Suzuka City, Mie Prefecture, has conjured up this ungodly creation and, even more strangely, it seems people want to eat it. It’s called the Natto-Coffee Gelatin Sandwich, and that is exactly what it is: natto and coffee gelatin slathered with whipped cream and plopped on some unoffending white bread. For those of you unfamiliar with natto, it is an extremely stinky and sticky food made from fermented soybeans. Yes, rotting soybeans.
Inexplicably, this sandwich has become one of the shop’s most popular items, leading the representative director Koji Suzumura to explain their motivation in creating this abomination. Read More
In a woman’s life, she has perhaps no greater teacher than her mother. As she encounters and overcomes life’s various twists and turns, a woman may begin to realize her mother told her things that are important and sometimes even a little profound.
And now everyone can share in this maternal wisdom (if you speak Japanese) thanks to a new Twitter account called Shit My Mom Says. Read More
During an interview at his Kyoto headquarters this week, Nidec Corporation CEO Shigenobu Nagamori was quoted as saying, “Due to Japan’s strict labor laws, we cannot compete with enterprises in Korea and China.” He intends to lobby the government to relax labor regulations to allow for more flexible working conditions.
He additionally said that the government and the Bank of Japan need to weaken and maintain the yen to around a 90-100 yen to the dollar exchange rate in order for Japanese export companies to compete with booming exports from China and Korea. Read More
- Japanese men have spoken: they don’t like your nail art
- Time for Your Hump-Day Treat! Kitty Shows Us How to Relax 【Video】
- South Korean media alarmed as study shows 1 in 5 young people is NEET
- Japan’s abandoned bicycles find new homes in developing countries, helping save lives
- Man’s job threatened over anonymous anime-related blog posts
- Horrifying Hello Kitty soap dispenser makes every restroom visit a test of will
- Japanese woman found guilty of murder after refusing to accept welfare
- Chinese Photoshop Trolls Part 3: This Time It’s Personal1
- Chinese Photoshop Trolling Part 2: Now with 20% More Shirtless Men!2
- The Starbucks tumbler limited to one place in the world: Haneda Airport3
- China’s Photoshop Experts Will Fix Your Bad Photos, But Be Careful What You Wish For4
- Japanese men have spoken: they don’t like your nail art5
- Chinese Photoshop Trolls Part 3: This Time It’s Personal1
- Fashion Friends: Twitter Proves Almost Every Japanese College Student Wears the Same Exact Outfit2
- China’s Photoshop Experts Will Fix Your Bad Photos, But Be Careful What You Wish For3
- Chinese Photoshop Trolling Part 2: Now with 20% More Shirtless Men!4
- Oozing up From Below, Mysterious Marshmallow-like Substance Covers Nanjing Street5
- Disney Villains Clean Up Well, Wow Japan1
- Crime of Passion: Three Men Forcibly Deported from Saudi Arabia for Being “Too Handsome”2
- Real-Life Barbie Gives Her Friends and Family a Makeover, Turns Them into Dolls3
- Oozing up From Below, Mysterious Marshmallow-like Substance Covers Nanjing Street4
- Chinese Photoshop Trolls Part 3: This Time It’s Personal5
- We Made Coca-Cola Transparent and Colorless. It Tastes Like…1
- Peenzilla Worship! Japan’s Kanamara Festival Coming Up this April!2
- Chinese Woman on Trial for Killing Man by Squeezing His Scrotum3
- Chinese Student’s Bicycle Seat Breaks and… Gyah!4
- Before and After: 31 Startling Images of Plastic Surgery in Korea 【Photo Album】5
- Fashion Friends: Twitter Proves Almost Every Japanese College Student Wears the Same Exact Outfit
- Japanese iPad artist is the Leonardo da Vinci of digital finger paints 【Video】
- South Korean media alarmed as study shows 1 in 5 young people is NEET
- What Talent! One Student’s Amazing Short Animated Film Sets Internet Abuzz With Excitement 【Video】
- 84 Percent of Women Don’t Want to See Nipples at the Office, World’s Least Surprising Survey Says
- Star Wars Characters Journey to the West as Classical Chinese Warriors
- We Order Whopper With 1050 Bacon Strips, Struggle to Level Comically Huge Burger
- When Two Amazing Worlds Collide: Welcome to the World of Cat Sushi!
- Pigs fly (in broth form) as ANA serves up in-flight Ippudo ramen
- Fast Cars, Tree Houses, Anime, and Secret Rooms: Crazy Beautiful Cafes in Tokyo and Yokohama