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

Honey-sweet Winnie the Pooh cakes now on sale — and you’ll love the packaging! 【Taste Test】

Honey-sweet Winnie the Pooh cakes now on sale — and you’ll love the packaging! 【Taste Test】

Winnie the Pooh definitely loves his honey, doesn’t he? Well, here in Japan, August 3 is apparently “Honey Day” (Hachimitsu no Hi),  based on the fact that the numbers eight (hachi) and three (san, or sometimes pronounced mittsu when counting objects), sounds like honey in Japanese (hachimitsu) when combined. And in honor of the day that celebrates his favorite food, Pooh bear has teamed up with Japanese confection maker Ginza Cozy Corner to offer the sweets-loving Japanese public some  honey-flavored goodness this summer. It’s the Honey Lemon Madeleine featuring adorable Winnie the Pooh packaging,  and of course, we had to try some ourselves!

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We travel to Shizuoka to come face to face with the real-life Thomas the Tank Engine locomotive!

We travel to Shizuoka to come face to face with the real-life Thomas the Tank Engine locomotive!

Well, it looks like train fans in Japan have something to be excited about — the real-life Thomas the Tank Engine, which has already attracted considerable attention on the Internet and media, is now in service! The Thomas steam locomotive, designed with a large face in the front to quite accurately recreate the well-known children’s character, started on its very first journey on July 12 with about 560 passengers on board. And since we knew this was a ride that would be sure to delight kids as well as adult train fans, one of the reporters from our Japanese site traveled to Shizuoka Prefecture in the center of Honshu, the main island, to see the “real Thomas” on his very first day in operation!

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Get a little Harry Potter-esque owl action at a bird cafe in Asakusa

Get a little Harry Potter-esque owl action at a bird cafe in Asakusa

With the highly anticipated Harry Potter attraction at Universal Studios Japan having just opened this week to great fanfare, owls seem to be the hot “animal of the hour” at the moment in Japan. (Plus, we think owls are pretty cool-looking birds to begin with even without the Harry Potter factor!) In that spirit, one of the reporters from our sister site Pouch recently visited a bird cafe in the Asakusa area of Tokyo, where you can interact with numerous species of owls, yes, but also parakeets and even some falcons as well! Since we’d already had such an awesome time at the owl cafe in Tsukishima, we knew we were going to thoroughly enjoy this visit too. And you can’t really blame us for wanting to share our photos of all the cute owls with you, can you? If you’ve ever been fascinated by owls, we think you’ll be impressed at how up-close and personal you can get with the birds once you’ve seen the pictures!

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Disney meets manga — never before seen crossover announced for new Big Hero 6 movie!

Disney meets manga — never before seen crossover announced for new Big Hero 6 movie!

Back in May, we reported to you about how we would be getting our first Japanese Disney hero in the upcoming film Big Hero 6 based on the Marvel comic of the same title. Since then, we’ve found out that the film will be titled Baymax in Japan, after the protagonist Hiro Hamada’s white fluffy company robot. We’ve also learned from a recent announcement that Disney will be getting involved in a highly unique crossover for Big Hero 6 that’s never been done one with any of their other movies before — in advance of the movie release, Big Hero 6 will be serialized as a manga here in Japan starting in the beginning of next month, and there will even be a prequel manga published as well!  Now, that’s a piece of news we’re certainly excited to hear!

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Adorable Thai fashion with plenty of Flower Power now available on Japanese shopping site BUYMA!

Adorable Thai fashion with plenty of Flower Power now available on Japanese shopping site BUYMA!

Just recently, we brought to you the sailor swimsuit which seemed to masterfully combine two well-loved fashion elements into one. Well, we’re happy to say that one of the reporters from our sister site Pouch have found more adorable swimwear to share with you, and this time, they come in some very “flowery” designs!

We’re not talking about ordinary flower prints here, though. These beautiful swimsuits are actually from Thailand, and we think you’ll understand why they’ve been selling extremely well online here in Japan once you see the amazing three-dimensional patterns which really look like flowers have blossomed all over the suits. So prepared to be dazzled by some eye-opening bikinis — plus, they have some adorable accessories to match the swimwear perfectly as well!

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Totoro airs on TV … and Japanese Twitter users have a blast sharing fan parody art!

Totoro airs on TV … and Japanese Twitter users have a blast sharing fan parody art!

If you’ve spent some time in Japan, you’re probably aware that there are several things you can count on in Japanese TV — that there’ll be tons of crazy-looking commercials, there’s more than likely to be at least one channel showing footage of a reporter or celebrity eating some gourmet dish and exclaiming “Oishi! (Delicious!)”  and that broadcasts of Studio Ghibli movies constantly seem to do relatively well, with a certain percentage of the population always eager to see a Ghibli film at any time. Last Friday was no exception when My Neighbor Totoro, the hit Ghibli classic loved by kids around the world, was aired on TV, and it looks like Japanese Twitter users had a great time sharing some silly parody Totoro images. Here are a few we thought we’d share with you!

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Out with the bikinis! Could these sailor swimsuits be what we’ve been waiting for?

Out with the bikinis! Could these sailor swimsuits be what we’ve been waiting for?

Most of us probably don’t mind seeing girls in cute swimsuits, right? But these swimsuits in particular seem to have attracted a good deal of attention on the Japanese Internet. Why? Well, other than that they look awfully charming, they manage to combine swimwear with another fetish fashion item that’s extremely popular in Japan — the sailor uniform. And they’re apparently selling quite well too! So, let’s see just how cute they really are.

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Beautiful snow-white doughnuts from Mister Donuts Japan — can you guess what flavors they are?

Beautiful snow-white doughnuts from Mister Donuts Japan — can you guess what flavors they are?

What’s white and sweet and makes you feel happy all over? Well, Mister Donut Japan’s new line of doughnuts that has just been released this week certainly fits that description! While Krispy Kreme Japan may have added a little zing to their doughnuts by combining them with ice cream, Mister Donut has come out with a new series of white doughnuts created in collaboration with Calpis – known as Calpico in some countries, perhaps due to its unfortunate pronunciation — the popular yogurty-tasting white drink loved by people of all ages in Japan.

So, let’s see what delectable milky-white treats Mister Donut has in store for us this summer!

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New Happy Meal in Japan lets you play with your food — and comes with a Pokémon toy to boot!

New Happy Meal in Japan lets you play with your food — and comes with a Pokémon toy to boot!

Sure, we know we’re not supposed to play with your food, but the temptation can be great when there are gadgets around like the Direct Food Printer that lets you draw and write as you choose directly onto food. But now, for a limited time starting this week, McDonald’s Japan will be offering a new menu item that allows you to draw directly on your food using … chocolate sauce! It’s the “Oekaki Happy Hotcake” (Draw and Happy Hotcakes) set, and if you think drawing on hotcakes with chocolate sounds like fun, we completely agree! What’s even better,  the set can be ordered as part of a Happy Meal that comes with a Pokémon toy — now, what kid can resist that?

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Morinaga releases Attack on Titan ChocoBalls — packages feature mascot bird Kyurochan in cosplay!

Morinaga releases Attack on Titan ChocoBalls — packages feature mascot bird Kyurochan in cosplay!

Who doesn’t love light, crunchy chocolate snacks that you can pop easily into your mouth, right? The Chocoball chocolates, from major Japanese snack maker Morinaga, have long been a popular snack in Japan and available in a wide range of flavors over the years. And what do you get when you cross over a well-loved snack like that with one of the biggest manga/anime hits in recent years? You get an awesomely cool snack, like these Attack on Titan ChocoBalls that have just been released this week!

Yes, this chocolate and manga collaboration comes in three exciting flavors for a limited time, and we have to say Kyuro-chan, the mascot bird for the ChocoBall brand, definitely looks dashing and ready to take on some Titans as he appears on the packages cosplaying as the main characters from the manga! So, ready to take a look at the special collaborative ChocoBall products?

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Krispy Kreme Japan brings us more doughnut ice cream sundaes and sweet tea summertime treats!

Krispy Kreme Japan brings us more doughnut ice cream sundaes and sweet tea summertime treats!

Okay, when Krispy Kreme Japan came out with the sinfully delectable-looking doughnut ice cream sundaes in April this year, we kind of thought they were the dessert of our dreams. Well, the original doughnut ice cream sundaes we introduced to you in our previous article may be available only until July 14, but luckily for us, sweets makers and pastry chefs always seem to have a way of coming up with another new dream dessert. This time, it’s still a lovely doughnut and ice cream creation, but in a new refreshing flavor with a Japanese twist — matcha green tea! And they also have other new delightful snacks and drinks as well that will all be coming out later this month, so let’s take a look at the new Krispy Kreme offerings, and hope the wait until they become available won’t drive us crazy! Read More

Feel like being creative with your food? The Direct Food Printer may be the gadget for you!

Feel like being creative with your food? The Direct Food Printer may be the gadget for you!

Okay, so you may have grown up being told not to play with your food. But now, there’s a gadget that takes the concept of being creative with your food to a whole new level, making it in fact quite irresistible even if you’re not as artistically inclined as food artist Tisha Cherry. It’s the TP-101E Direct Food Printer sold by ink and printing material maker Creative Print.com, and … you guessed it, it prints letters and pictures directly onto food! Now who wouldn’t want to play with a machine like that?

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We attend Sailor Moon’s birthday bash — and watch a preview of Sailor Moon Crystal!

We attend Sailor Moon’s birthday bash — and watch a preview of Sailor Moon Crystal!

Do you know what June 30 is? Well, it may be the day where you say to yourself, “Oh my gosh, half the year is over! How could it have gone by so quickly?” but you just might find yourself being punished in the name of the moon if you don’t remember one other important event that takes place on that day. Yes, June 30 is Sailor Moon’s birthday, or Usagi Tsukino’s birthday if you prefer to call her by her “human” name.

With the new Sailor Moon Crystal anime series soon to be released, this year’s birthday was bound to be a special one for our Usagi-chan. And special it was! A huge birthday event in honor of our beloved warrior princess, including a preview screening of the first episode of Sailor Moon Crystal, was held in collaboration with fashion magazine ViVi on June 30 in the Tokyo Odaiba area. And since it was supposed to be kind of a girls’ night out, the event was apparently only open to women, or men accompanied by women.

We definitely couldn’t miss out on this party, and we promptly sent one of our reporters from our Japanese sister site — we couldn’t wait to see what the huge do would be like!

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Watch out for feline black magic — “supernatural” cat photographed!

Watch out for feline black magic — “supernatural” cat photographed!

Ask any cat lover and they’ll tell you cats just seem to have a mysterious magical power. Yes, it feels like you can fall under their spell simply by looking at them. And as cute as they are, cats certainly act like they know the power they have over us feeble humans, who are only too happy to be slaves to their charms.

But this particular cat whose picture has been attracting attention on the Internet, actually looks like he (or she, we unfortunately don’t know) could very well have supernatural powers — behold the “cat from the underworld” who looks like he has horns!

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We travel to Yamanashi to try the water cake that disappears in 30 minutes!【Taste Test】

We travel to Yamanashi to try the water cake that disappears in 30 minutes!【Taste Test】

You may recall that we introduced a very unique and delicate cake in one of our articles earlier this month — the mizu shingen mochi, which looks like a huge drop of water magically suspended in solid form. Seeing how the cake seemed to have received a good deal of attention from Japanese internet users and readers of our English site as well, we decided we needed to try the cake ourselves, and promptly sent one of our Japanese reporters to the shop in Yamanashi Prefecture where they served the surreal-looking mizu shingen mochi. So, how did the “water cake” actually look and taste?

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We try Häagen-Dazs Japanese-style — and the rich sweetness makes us swoon!【Taste Test】

We try Häagen-Dazs Japanese-style — and the rich sweetness makes us swoon!【Taste Test】

Now, we may have a fondness for unique Kit Kat flavors here in Japan, but we also love original Häagen-Dazs flavors as well, from rose and sakura flower to vegetable flavors featuring carrots and tomatoes. Well, once again, Häagen-Dazs tempts us with an offering of cold, sweet goodness, and this time it’s the Häagen-Dazs Japonais “Vanilla and kinako soybean powder with brown sugar syrup”. That’s quite a name for an ice cream flavor, isn’t it?

It so happens they’re only available from the 7-Eleven convenience store chain, and naturally we had to try one when they came out earlier this week. So, how was the ice cream? Sweet, syrupy heaven!

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We went to the Ozashiki Cafe to see professional geisha perform — and we had an amazing time!

We went to the Ozashiki Cafe to see professional geisha perform — and we had an amazing time!

Last month, we ran a story about the Ozashiki Cafe, a one day event that would offer a unique opportunity for the Japanese public to take a look into the usually exclusive world of geisha and the traditional Japanese restaurants known as ryotei, where they perform. Much to our delight, we received comments from readers encouraging us to sign up and attend the event, so that’s exactly what we decided to do! And we were quite excited to do so too, since the average person in Japan usually doesn’t have the chance to interact with professional geisha. So, here’s our report on what we experienced at the Ozashiki Cafe, which took place at the ryotei Miyakodori in the Asakusa district of Tokyo — and we have to say, it was quite a treat to be entertained by professional geisha, even it was for just one fleeting hour!

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Soft and sweet — adorable Hello Kitty bread now available in western Japan for limited time!

Soft and sweet — adorable Hello Kitty bread now available in western Japan for limited time!

What’s cute, sweet, soft and golden brown? Why, Hello Kitty bread, of course! Yes, we’ve seen the internationally famous cat transform into numerous forms, including many delectably edible ones, and once again, we get to be treated to another example of Ms. Kitty doing a bit of business while filling our stomachs with sweet goodness.

Now, we know Hello Kitty’s been busy with her 40th anniversary celebrations, coming up with collaborative products like the special edition Super Alloy Kitty and even helping out with charity, but we always love to see her transformed into tasty treats, whatever the occasion. Let’s take a look at what she has in store for us this time!

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Extreme vacationing: How to enjoy a trip to Hong Kong in just 12 hours

Extreme vacationing: How to enjoy a trip to Hong Kong in just 12 hours

Now, it’s something of an accepted fact that Japanese companies expect their staff to work hard and put in a lot of overtime. Long hours are the norm, and it can be difficult to get time off from work when resources are already stretched thin and doing so could very well mean making your coworkers’ lives harder. The truth is, with the exception of the New Year’s holiday and the obon period in summer, the majority of Japanese workers don’t take time off unless they absolutely have to. So it can be a bit tricky if you want to take an overseas vacation.

But how far would you be willing to go to take a trip abroad? Would you be prepared to take a trip so short that you’re at your destination for just 12 hours? Well, that’s exactly what our reporter Meg from our Japanese sister site did. Read on to find out what it was like to travel to, enjoy, and fly back from a foreign destination in the space of 24 hours, and whether she thought it was worth making the trip!

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It’s sweet cupcake heaven — Magnolia Bakery opens very first shop in Japan to huge crowds!

It’s sweet cupcake heaven — Magnolia Bakery opens very first shop in Japan to huge crowds!

Before we had mouth-watering croissant doughnuts and doughnut sandwiches, we had … good ol’ cupcakes! But we’re not talking about just any ordinary cupcake here. We’re talking about cupcakes from the Magnolia Bakery in New York, made famous the world over by the hit TV Series Sex and the City. And yes, the TV series was an enormous success in Japan too, meaning that countless Japanese fans were left coveting not just gorgeous Manolo Blahnik shoes, but the delectable looking Magnolia Bakery cupcakes as well.

So, you can imagine how absolutely thrilled fans of the cupcakes were about Magnolia Bakery opening their very first store in Japan in the Omotesando area of Tokyo this week. And prove their enthusiasm they did, as throngs of fans showed up on opening day of Magnolia Bakery Tokyo on June 16. Now, as a passionate fan of all things sweet, as well as a devoted follower of American TV dramas — Sex and the City in particular — I knew I simply had to be there for the grand opening. And while the wait was long, the sight that greeted me in the shop was sweet indeed! But first, let us tell you just how long the wait was …

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