Kay

Writer / Translator

Kay is a native Japanese who has lived in Honolulu, Hawaii and Los Angeles, California. She currently resides in Tokyo and enjoys writing about a wide range of topics, including all things cute and glamorous. She also loves stories about any type of food, from gourmet cuisine to junk food. Her favorite pastimes include reading, going to the movies, watching American T.V. dramas and shopping. (Yes, she is painfully aware that she owns too many bags and shoes.) She also loves to travel and has visited over 25 different countries. Her favorite place to go on vacation is New York, an amazing city where you can enjoy the best of shopping, dining, art and theater.

All Stories by Kay

We love Gudetama so much, we turn him into adorable okonomiyaki pancakes and eat him!

Remeber Gudetama, the lazy egg character from Hello Kitty owner Sanrio? Well, it turns out that the unmotivated egg with an extremely unmascot-like personality has gained quite a following in Japan. Apparently, his soft appearance and to an even greater extent, his lazy disposition, which prompts him to mutter phrases like “I have no strength” and “I can’t feel motivated enough to do anything” have earned him considerable popularity. In fact, he’s popular enough to have had his very own character cafe for a limited time in the past, and recently, he’s been collaborating with Dotonbori, a chain of restaurants that serves okonomiyaki, which are Japanese pancakes containing various ingredients such as cabbage, meat and seafood.

That’s right, at Dotonbori, you can use actual eggs to add realistic Gudetama faces to your food. Now, that sounded like too much fun to pass up, so our reporters from our Japanese sister site went to one of the Dotobori shops and actually tried it!  Read More

Love Ghibli? Meet Kurosuke, the man who just might have the most amazing Ghibli collection in the world!

Needless to say, the magical animated works of Studio Ghibli have long enchanted fans around the world. But today, we’d like to introduce to you one very special Ghibli fan in particular.

Meet Kurosuke, who at first glance may not seem like an exceptional Ghibli enthusiast. In fact, we’d say he looks like an average 40-year-old man who happens to work as a production operator. But take one step inside his apartment, and you’ll immediately see that his home and the way he lives is far from ordinary. You see, his entire home is filled with countless Ghibli memorabilia, and what’s more, most of them are rare, not-for-sale items. RocketNews24 visited him for a personal interview, and of course, to see his amazing Ghibli collection!

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Hooray! Taco Bell opens in Japan and we’re there to get the commemorative T-shirt and free taco!

While you can certainly find countless restaurants offering a seemingly endless range of cuisines in Japan, if you’ve spent some time in the country, you may have noticed that options for Mexican food (or at least American-Mexican food) can be somewhat limited. So when news went around that American fast food chain Taco Bell was going to re-open in Japan, the response on the Japanese Internet was huge. And while we understand that not everyone is a fan of Taco Bell, there certainly seemed to be enough people overjoyed that the chain was finally returning to Japan after having opened shop here once for just a short time in the 1980s.

All of this meant that the opening of the new Taco Bell shop in Shibuya, Tokyo was bound to attract lots of attention as well as a good crowd, and not to miss out on the excitement and tacos, our very own Mr. Sato from the Japanese arm of RocketNews24 was there on opening day to bring you the following report!

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We spend a morning with an expert wagashi chef creating no-bake traditional Japanese sweets!

If you’re someone who enjoys making treats like cakes and pastries, then perhaps you have first hand knowledge of how baking can sometimes be a tricky affair. Well, in Japan, we have a whole category of wagashi, or traditional Japanese sweets, that aren’t baked at all, called namagashi (literally, “raw confectionaries”). Namagashi are typically made from various colorful bean pastes and often crafted into delicate seasonal-themed shapes.

Earlier this month, we participated in a seminar to experience what namagashi-making is like. Join us as we see how a master chef creates beautiful flowers from bean paste, and then try our not-so-expert hand at creating our own confections!

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Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ opens – We attended screening with voice actors, Momoiro Clover Z

Okay, folks! Remember what day this past April 18 was? Well, here in Japan, April 18 may be Invention Day, but this year, it was also the opening day of the movie Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’! Since we’d already reported a fair bit of information about the new Dragon Ball movie, we thought it was only appropriate that we go see it on opening day and give you our impressions.

This time, fortunately, we didn’t have to wait 17 years for a new Dragon Ball movie like we did for the previous film, Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods. What’s more, we managed to get a ticket to a screening with special appearances by voice actors and idol group Momoiro Clover Z! Join us for our take on the movie and a report on all the excitement on opening day.

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Introducing…instant Matcha Green Tea Curry (and yes, it’s green)! 【Taste Test】

It’s well-known that people in Japan are fond of green tea, especially the precious matcha green tea made from tea leaves grown in the shade. Matcha flavored Kit Kats have grown popular in Japan as well as overseas, and celebrity pastry chefs like Sadaharu Aoki have turned matcha confection making into an art. We’ve even tasted matcha-flavored ramen, so it’s not just sweets we’re talking about either.

Well, we recently found another fascinating matcha product that once again shows how much the Japanese love the green stuff…matcha green tea curry! What’s more, it’s instant curry that comes in a heatable pouch, so you can have it right at home in less than 10 minutes. A quick and easy, green-colored curry? Of course we had to try it ourselves!

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Members of idol Group Momoiro Clover Z turn into Frieza! But wait, what exactly happened here?

Dragon Ball’s über cool villain Frieza has been in the news quite a bit lately, owing to the upcoming release of the new Dragon Ball movie Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’, in which he plays the lead antagonist. But then, Frieza has always had a bit of a following with his quirky personality and ruthless yet polite ways, and we’re sure plenty of fans are thrilled that he will be making a huge come back in a feature-length film.

So, it wouldn’t really be surprising if popular idol group Momoiro Clover Z, who performs the theme song for Resurrection ‘F’, was involved in a promotional tie-in with the movie, and one with Frieza in particular. And that’s exactly what seems to have happened earlier this week when  the group’s official site was filled with … images of the idols as Frieza!

It looks like they’ve really gone all out with their promotion. But wait, is that what really happened here? We’ll give you a hint — the Frieza collaboration image was released this past Wednesday.

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Here’s what we got when we ordered the chef’s recommendation…at McDonald’s!

If you’re a foodie who dreams of eating at Michelin and Zagat rated establishments, perhaps you’ve also fantasized about saying to the Maitre d’ at a fancy restaurant, “Can I speak with the chef? I’d like to thank him/her for a superb meal.”  Granted, such a dining situation may not come up very often, but what you may be able to do more easily instead is to order “whatever the chef’ recommends.

And that’s exactly what our RocketNews24 Japan staff decided to do at a series of restaurants, the first one being  none other than…McDonald’s! Now, we’d like to think that all people working in a kitchen, whatever the type of restaurant, actually want to serve tasty food, and to that end would likely have a definite opinion on what they would most like customers to try.  So, asking for the chef’s recommendation should result in a more than satisfying meal, right? Well, we were certainly excited to find out what the recommendation would be at one of the world’s best-known fast food chains!

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New Sailor Moon cafe in Tokyo has live public anime viewing and themed food and drinks

Last year, we brought to you all the excitement surrounding the broadcast of the Sailor Moon Crystal anime, coming some 22 years after the original series it rebooted was released. The new anime has so far been streaming on Japanese video sharing site Niconico, but starting April 6, Sailor Moon Crystal will finally air on Japanese TV.

To commemorate the TV broadcast of the new anime, a Sailor Moon themed cafe will appear for a limited time at the Anion Station, a unique cafe and bar located in Shinjuku that caters to fans of anime songs. For one month, the Sailor Moon cafe will be offering special treats and drinks inspired by the anime, as well as  live public viewing of the TV broadcast. Now, that’s bound to attract some ardent Sailor Moon devotees!

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How to perfectly recreate the death of Dragon Ball’s Yamcha using baked goods

With the release of the new Dragon Ball movie now less than a month away, the popular manga/anime series has had quite bit of exposure on the Japanese Internet recently. One related product that’s getting a lot of attention is a figure of Yamcha, one of Goku’s rivals- turned-friends.

But this particular figure doesn’t have the look of your typical toy. As a matter of fact, it shows Yamcha in quite a pitiful state. Nonetheless, fans seems to be getting a huge kick out of it, and one fan has even tweeted an easy way to create a realistic diorama scene with the figure using quite an unexpected item — apple pie!

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Oh… yummy! New snack to hit Japan: giant isopod senbei rice crackers!

We’ve already mentioned how fond we are of deep sea creatures here in Japan, in particular the giant isopod that has been turned into various products from phone cases to gachapon toys. Well, now it seems that Yamaki Honpo, a maker of traditional Japanese senbei (rice crackers), has taken the Japanese love of isopods to new heights. They’ve come up with … yes, you guessed it, Giant Isopod senbei crackers! And while we can certainly understand how people might find these creatures fascinating, we have to say, we’re honestly not sure how to react to this new snack. Bug crackers, seriously?

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We love wagyu! We spend an evening learning about (and eating) Japanese beef

Japanese beef, or wagyu, as it’s also known, is certainly something the people of Japan delight in and cherish. Quality wagyu is a special (and pricey) treat, even for those of us living in Japan. WAGYU DIRECT,  an online service operated by retail company VIVA JAPAN and dedicated to exporting wagyu and bringing its lovely taste to the rest of the world, held a seminar and cooking/tasting session on wagyu earlier this month at the Shinjuku Isetan Department Store.

The seminar was open to just 10 people, and as fond of beef as we are, we promptly entered the draw to participate in the session, which promised to be both informative and delicious. Well, we were in luck, as we were one of the fortunate ten selected to attend the seminar. Join us as we spend an evening learning a little about wagyu and enjoy a feast as well!

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See, hear and taste at the L’art de Rosanjin exhibit, where projection mapping meets fine cuisine

If you have an interest in modern Japanese art, you may be familiar with the name Kitaoji Rosanjin (1883 – 1959). As it happens, the versatile Japanese artist is currently the subject of a an innovative and unique exhibit being held at the Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall in the Coredo Muromachi shopping, dining and entertainment complex.

Rosanjin, who was known not only as an artist, but as a very discerning food connoisseur and a man well ahead of his time, is considered to have had a huge influence on modern Japanese art and cuisine. He has even been the inspiration behind one of the central characters in the popular gourmet comic Oishinbo, so when we heard that the exhibit combined digital technology with elements of both his art and love of food, we knew we had to go and experience it ourselves. And from what we’d already heard,  this was going to be an exhibit that you not only see, but hear and taste as well!

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McDonald’s hopes to make kids happy — by teaming up with Japan’s favorite blue friend Doraemon!

It’s no secret that McDonald’s Japan has been enthusiastic about collaborating with various anime and character franchises to come up with goodies for children. In the past we’ve seen toys featuring Pokémon and Yokai Watch, as well as Pretty Cure, Super Mario and Transformers, among others, being offered with their Happy Meals, and kids certainly seem to be, well, happy with their Happy Meals, since almost 100 million of these sets are apparently sold in Japan each year.

This month, none other than Doraemon, the time-travelling blue cat robot, makes an appearance as six different Happy Meal toys, and they definitely look ready to delight children across Japan!

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Mixing anime with travel — the ultimate girls’ Evangelion trip is happening in May!

If you have even a passing interest in Japanese pop culture, you’re probably aware that Neon Genesis Evangelion has been a long-standing hit anime series with a huge fan base. It’s been 18 years since it originally finished airing on TV, but the anime still has a strong following, with many female fans. Now, Japanese travel agency Musee Travel has come up with the perfect break from reality for such female Evangelion lovers — the “Evangelion Hakone Trip for Girls“!

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Since chocolate ramen was so good, we went back for … strawberry ramen! 【Taste Test】

Readers who saw our story about the chocolate ramen we tried last month were probably able to tell that we were quite impressed with the unusual noodle creation. So when we heard that the very same ramen shop Menya Musashi had come out with yet another singular ramen dish, you can bet our interest was piqued. This time, the ramen involved fruit — yes, we were ready to make another visit to their shop in Shinjuku to try their … strawberry ramen!

But do berries and ramen mix well? We were about to find out!

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Blue Bottle Coffee opening [Round 2]: We wait an hour and a half, but this time we get in!!

Last month, we brought to you the story of how our very own Mr. Sato went to the opening of the very first Blue Bottle Coffee shop in Japan … only to give up on the idea of having coffee there as the huge crowd turnout meant a two-hour wait, which was just too long for our busy reporter. Well, we weren’t about to give up on trying the coffee from the popular American coffee roaster and cafe chain that easily! As it happens, Blue Bottle Coffee opened their second shop in Aoyama this past Saturday, and this time, we were determined to get a taste of their famous coffee, even if it meant waiting outside for an hour and a half in freezing weather!

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Creepy or cute? Come face to face with deep sea creatures as gachapon sushi toys!!

Perhaps befitting an island nation surrounded by the ocean, Japan seems to have a fascination with deep sea creatures. One of our favorite deep ocean dwelling critters, the giant isopod, has made regular appearances on the Japanese Internet in various forms from toys to sausage snacks, and even as actual cooked food.

Other creatures of the deep such as the oarfish and the giant squid are also relatively popular here in Japan, possibly because much about them remains an elusive mystery. So it’s not entirely surprising that someone should come up with a series of gachapon toys featuring deep sea creatures. But these particular vending machine-dispensed trinkets that have recently been released from Japanese toy manufacturer Re-ment come with a  twist — they’re sushi-shaped and seriously bizarre-looking!

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We follow Twitter recipe to cook “coffee rice”! 【RocketKitchen】

As many of our readers are undoubtedly aware, white rice is an essential part of the Japanese diet, a food that we Japanese treat with reverence. It so happens that we also enjoy various flavored rice dishes known as takikomi gohan, in which rice is cooked with different ingredients to give it a distinct taste. Some of the  common takikomi gohan flavors that we like to have include kuri gohan made with chestnut and  matsutake gohan made with matsutake mushrooms. But a particularly unique kind of flavored rice causing a buzz on the Japanese Internet has come to our attention recently, and as unconventional and unexpected as it sounded, we decided we had to cook and try it for ourselves. The ingredient used in this unusual flavored rice?  It’s something you would ordinarily never associate with rice: coffee!

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Mini bakeable Kit Kats return — this time in cheesecake flavor! 【Taste Test】

Some of our readers are undoubtedly aware that we here at RocketNews24 are quite fond of Kit Kats. And while we’re used to seeing the popular chocolate snack in an array of interesting flavors, we have to say we were genuinely intrigued when we heard about “bakeable” Kit Kats last year, as were many other Kit Kat fans across Japan, judging from the fact that the unique sweet attracted enough attention to be turned into pizzas.  Now, the bakeabke Kit Kats have returned, and in a new flavor to boot! Of course, we weren’t about to be kept away from such sweetness.  Join us as we try the new “Bake ‘N Tasty Mini Kit Kats Cheesecake Flavor” (Kit Kat Mini Yaite Oishi Cheesecake Aji)!

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