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

Baked Sweetness from London arrives in Tokyo as Lola’s Cupcakes opens shop in Harajuku!

The Harajuku/Omotesando district in Tokyo is already a mecca of sweet shops from around the world, but things in the area just got even sweeter this past weekend as another internationally loved bakery opened its very first shop in Japan. Yes, we’re delighted that London’s celebrated LOLA’S cupcakes now has a shop in Tokyo, and as you may have guessed, we weren’t about to miss out on trying the sweet creations from one of London’s best-loved baking outlets, so there we were on opening day.

We already knew from the pictures that their cupcakes look simply amazing; now we couldn’t wait to try some for ourselves, and there were even going to be four original Japanese flavors too — Yum!

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Sweet and fruity taste of autumn comes to Starbucks Japan — we try the new Fruit Crush drinks!

Starbucks never ceases to delight us with their tempting seasonal creations, and here in Japan they’ve done it again this autumn with two new beverages that they released on October 1, the “Fruit Crush & Tea” and “Fruit Crush & Cream Frappuccino“. Both are fruit infused tea-based drinks that should be prefectly relaxing as the weather gets cooler heading into fall. Naturally, we had to try these, and we sent one of our Japanese reporters to a Starbucks the day the drinks were released!

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Trick or Meal? Nissin’s instant foods get Halloween makeover in four limited-edition products

With Halloween becoming an increasingly recognized event in Japan, we’re sure to be seeing plenty of products featuring pumpkins, black cats, ghosts and witches in shops across Japan as we enter the month of October. And the instant food market is no exception to the trend, as Nissin Foods, known around the world for their Cup Noodles, come out this month with four unique Halloween-themed instant food products.

That’s right, you can be sure to get a taste of Halloween this year, even if you have no time to cook!

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Expectations run high as Death Note team begins new series — this time about angels!

Opinions may be divided on the live action TV drama version of Death Note that began airing in July this year, but we think it’s still a pretty awesome series, and judging from the long-standing popularity of the manga, it’s probably safe to say that we’re not the only ones who feel that way.

And now, fans will be delighted to hear that the team of writer Tsugumi Ohba and illustrator Takeshi Obata, who created the Death Note comics  have once again joined forces and will soon be starting a brand new manga serialization titled Platinum End!

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Tokyo Disney Resort to host stunning “Imagining the Magic” photo exhibit in Roppongi!

Everyone knows that Tokyo Disney Resort is a magical place, right? Well, we’re happy to report that this fall Disney Japan will be bringing some of their magic outside their kingdom to central Tokyo. It was recently announced that a very special photo exhibit hosted by Tokyo Disney Resort in conjunction with Fuji Film and major Japanese publishing company Kodansha is coming to the Tokyo Midtown complex in Roppongi. And based on the information that’s been released, the “Imagining the Magic — Moments of Dream and Enchantment” photo exhibit looks set to be a real visual treat!

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FamilyMart’s alcohol-infused coffee drink so good, we can’t believe it’s only sold in Okinawa!

Okinawa, the tropical island at the southern end of Japan, is known for its unique culture and tasty foods like soki soba (Okinawa noodles) and rafuti (sweet stewed pork). Another local specialty Okinawa is famous for is the alcoholic drink awamori, a distilled drink made from long-grain rice.

While the beverage has its fans across Japan, it also has enough of a distinct flavor that some people consider it a bit of an acquired taste.  So you can imagine it came as somewhat of a surprise when we found out that they sell an alcoholic coffee drink in Okinawa that is infused with awamori, and at a convenience store chain, no less. We definitely had to try this!

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Dress up your smartphone for battle with these cool Evangelion phone covers!

We all need cool smartphone covers, right? Well, these might be the perfect phone accessory if you’re a fan of the hugely popular Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise. Yes, these futuristic-looking items are smartphone cases made in the image of Evangelion machines, and what fan wouldn’t want a bit of Eva armor protecting their phone?

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It’s the California Croissant … where western baking meets sushi!

Sushi … yum! Croissants … flaky, buttery goodness! Sure, we love them both, but while hybrid foods like the cronut seem to be increasingly common these days, does it mean the two foods would taste good combined together?

Well, unexpected as the combination may sound, there actually exists such a product, and what’s more, enough people who have tried it seem to enjoy it. Ladies and gentlemen, we present to you the “California Croissant“, a sushi roll inside a croissant, which some people are eating with chopsticks and soy sauce!

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The cafe with a kabuki twist  — we visit Tully’s Coffee at the Kabukiza Theater

Kabuki is a traditional Japanese performing art that has been enjoyed by the masses since the 17th century  and is known for its unique make-up as well as its distinct, exaggerated poses and expressions. Kabuki is performed exclusively by male actors, and some of the more famous ones enjoy celebrity status in Japan, appearing in movies, TV dramas and commercials.

So, while it’s not nearly as big an attraction in this day of 4-D movies and theme parks as it used to be in the Edo Period, kabuki is still an established entertainment genre. And the Kabukiza Theater in Tokyo’s Ginza district, which was newly rebuilt in 2013, is still a mecca for kabuki fans. Today, one of the reporters from our Japanese sister site Pouch introduces the Tully’s Coffee shop located in the Kabukiza Theater for a look at a modern cafe that serves a menu item with a kabuki twist!

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These amazing Furoshiki Shoes from Vibram are designed to literally wrap around your feet!

Before we had bags in Japan, we used furoshiki — elegant cloths that come in various colors and decorative patterns that can be used to wrap and carry various items. While you don’t really see them in daily use now, furoshiki are quite useful in their own way, as they can be folded and tied in different ways and be used to wrap items of varying shapes and sizes, in addition to being eco-friendly.

But it turns out that the traditional cloths have recently served as the inspiration for a completely new and unexpected product — Furoshiki Shoes that wrap around your feet!

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Presenting edible cuteness from the sea — it’s cat-shaped seaweed!

What comes to your mind when you hear the word seaweed? Some of you may think of the black sheet of nori used to wrap sushi rolls and onigiri rice balls. But that’s seaweed processed into just one particular form, and there are many other ways seaweed is used in Japanese cooking — in soup to obtain stock, for example, or stewing with a variety of vegetables and meat or seafood a slightly sweet soy-sauce based sauce.

As widely used as it is in Japanese cuisine, however, one thing you wouldn’t really expect from seaweed is for it to add “cuteness” to the food; they’re mostly dark green or brownish plants that grow in the sea, after all. Well, you might want to think again, because it turns out we’ve discovered a creative seaweed product that can add tons of cute and fun to your dish. Yes, it’s cat-shaped seaweed, and the best part is, you can get it delivered to your home each month in dried form!

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Evangelion exhibit-inspired figure gives us Asuka in a beautiful kimono!

Remember the  Evangelion and Japanese Sword Exhibition that we reported on a while back? We thought the idea was pretty cool, because…well, an exhibit that brings together an internationally popular anime and beautiful deadly weapons of steel has to be awesome, right? And we think you’d agree that such a unique exhibit deserves a commemorative item that’s just as unique and artistic.

Evangelion fans need look no further, because toy manufacturer Takara Tomy has come up with just that — a series of original tie-in figures of the anime’s three female pilots as they appear in promotional artwork for the exhibit…in magnificent kimono

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Our reporter visits Kawaii Monster Cafe in Harajuku, a Kyary Pamyu Pamyu esque world of cuteness!

If you’re a fan of Japanese kawaii culture, there’s a new establishment that just opened in Harajuku this month which you may want to know about. It’s the Kawaii Monster Cafe, produced by artist and creative director Sebastian Masuda. As the name of the cafe suggests, Masuda is quite the leading figure in Japanese kawaii culture and has even handled direction and set production for solo live performances by none other than Japanese pop idol Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. So it really isn’t surprising that the cafe has attracted attention as a place where you can have the quintessential Kyary Pamyu Pamyu-esque psychedelic experience.

Well, that certainly piqued our interest, and as you may have already guessed, one of the reporters at our Japanese sister site Pouch visited the unique cafe so that we can give you a firsthand account of what the place is like!

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Short thriller by JoJo series creator Hirohiko Araki to become unique theatrical production!

Manga artist Hirohiko Araki is best known for his hugely popular JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure comic series, which began in 1986 and is still going strong today, after nearly 30 years. But now fans of the series can look forward to enjoying one of Araki’s works in a different form this fall — as a theatrical production! This is actually the first time a manga by Araki will be turned  into a play, so fans are bound to be excited, but, as it turns out, it’s not a story from the JoJo series that we’ll be seeing on stage. Instead, it’s a short story with a fast-paced and bizarrely creepy plot, known in English by the title Under Execution, Under Jailbreak, and fans are already abuzz with speculation about the upcoming production!

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Prestigious Japanese university comes up with cheesecake … made with Gorilla bacteria!

Alongside the famed Tokyo University, Kyoto University is definitely one of the top universities in Japan, known in particular for their innovative scientific research. It so happens that the university is currently holding its annual Open Campus event from August 6 to 8, and many prospective students are sure to be visiting for a chance to take a look inside one of the most prestigious institutes of learning in Japan.

Visitors to this year’s event may be surprised to find out, however, that they’ll be able to try a dessert made using a very unique ingredient indeed, and one that was discovered by one of the university’s own research teams — a bacterium found in the gut of gorillas!

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The Zenyaren restaurant in Otemachi offers water jelly for the summer … with chicken inside it!

In the mood for some cool, refreshing jelly to beat the summer heat? Well, that’s certainly what the clear, Jell-O-like item in the picture here looks like, right? But you won’t find this delicate-looking item in a cafe, or any regular restaurant for that matter, as a dessert.  From the same folks at Zenyaren who brought us “cool yakitori” last year, which were basically chilled chicken skewers in collagen blocks, we now have the “water jelly yakitori“, another visually interesting dish that involves grilled chicken encased in a transparent jelly!

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Hayao Miyazaki speaks out against relocation of Okinawa U.S. base, criticizes Prime Minister Abe

Internationally renowned Studio Ghibli co-founder and director Hayao Miyazaki, who announced his retirement from feature films in September of 2013 but is now reported to be working on a computer generated animated short, pretty much attracts attention for whatever he does or says. And while it’s nothing new, this time, it’s Miyazaki’s anti-war and anti-military statements, and not his animated works, that have recently been making headlines on the Japanese internet, especially as he referred to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in his statements, and not in a positive light.

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Who knew chipmunks eating corn could be so heart-meltingly cute? 【Video】

Sweet corn is now in season in Japan! Grilled or boiled, it’s juicy, sweet and delightful — and guess what? Humans aren’t the only ones crazy about the golden yellow vegetable.

Yes, some of our furry little friends are also passionate corn lovers, at least from what we can see in this video we found which we hope will satisfy your cute quota for the day, or even the week! Seriously, who would have thought that a simple video of a chipmunk eating corn could be so devastatingly adorable?

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Goku’s new adventures begin! Dragon Ball Super begins airing amidst huge anticipation from fans

Back in April, we brought to you the news that an all new Dragon Ball anime series was going to start airing on TV in July. Well, the day Dragon Ball fans have eagerly been waiting for finally arrived.

The very first episode of the new series, titled Dragon Ball Super, was broadcast last Sunday, and of course, we checked it out to witness the start of Goku’s new adventures. Dragon Ball fans, get ready for a brand new chapter in the timeless saga that has become a manga and anime classic around the world!

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Wait, just what exactly have they done with the new Death Note drama? 【Impressions】

We think Death Note is a pretty cool manga and anime series. The delicate artwork is beautiful to look at (you have to admit, the protagonist Light is one fine-looking character, even if he turns out to be, well … seriously psychotic), the Death Gods look creepy in an awesome way and the story expertly combines a fierce battle of the minds with elements of the supernatural to create an engaging and entertaining plot.

Judging from the hit the franchise has become, including two successful live action movies, we’re apparently not the only ones who feel this way, and it’s understandable that  fans were excited when it was announced back in April that Death Note was going to become a TV drama. However, just last week, newly released information about the drama caused concern among fans about what exactly the creators of the TV version were doing with the well-loved series. And so, when the drama’s very first episode aired this past Sunday, we checked it out to see for ourselves whether fans’ worries were unfounded or not.

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