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 try Lotteria’s new shrimp burger with unique crust, end up seriously impressed【Taste Test】

Alongside tuna (maguro), shrimp is also another ingredient that we love here in Japan. From fried shrimp, called ebi furai, to Chinese-style stir-fried shrimp cooked in sweet and spicy chilli sauce, affectionately referred to as ebi chilli in Japan, there are a host of shrimp dishes widely loved by the Japanese public. The tasty crustaceans also have a presence in the Japanese fast food scene, and Lotteria’s long-selling fried shrimp burger (Ebi Burger) is just one example. Now, Lotteria has just this week released a special version of their popular shrimp burger, in collaboration with another well-loved Japanese snack that also contains shrimp — the Kappa Ebisen shrimp chips from snack maker Calbee. Well, we certainly had to see how this collaboration turned out, and we had our very own Mr. Sato take on the task!

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First Kit Kat Chocolatery shop with cafe opens in Kyoto! New Chocolatery items released too

Chocolate lovers around Japan were understandably thrilled when the Kit Kat Chocolatery, the world’s first Kit Kat specialty store, opened in the Seibu Ikebukuro Department Store about a year ago. Of course, we were pretty excited too, and when we visited the shop on opening day, we could see from the crowd that plenty of people felt the same way.

After a year, it seems the Kit Kat Chocolatery has been a success so far, as they’ve just opened their fourth shop in Japan, this time in Kyoto. And what’s even better, this Kit Kat Chocolatery comes with a cafe attached! Plus, they’ve released some new Chocolatery products as well, so we thought we’d share the news with all our sweets-loving readers!

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Hello Kitty keeping as busy as ever — this time she collaborates with…money itself!

We all know that Hello Kitty is one busy and extremely capable, well, business…cat, shall we say? And yes, we love her for it, too. So, what new adorable form has she taken this time?

Well, it seems she’s now gotten close and personal with money — Japanese coins, to be exact. But not to worry, she hasn’t gotten involved in the counterfeiting business. She’s come up with magnets on which she appears attached to different Japanese coins, and as always, she manages to look cool and cute in the process!

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Sailor Moon sweetness arrives as Babbi chocolates for Valentines, and with extra goodies too!

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, stores across Japan are sure to be painted chocolate-brown in the coming weeks. Yes, chocolate makers here can count on doing brisk business in the days leading up to February 14, as Valentine’s Day is traditionally a day in Japan when women give gifts of chocolate to men, and shops will typically have whole areas devoted to chocolates of every shape, flavor and price range imaginable. Isetan Department Store is no exception, and one of the chocolates they’ll have on offer this year is … a beautiful creation from popular Italian chocolate manufacturer BABBI that features Sailor Moon and her guardian soldiers!

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Sailor Soldiers assemble! Pullip’s line of Sailor Guardian dolls is now complete

Okay, we know there are plenty of Sailor Moon goods out there, but for those of you who can’t get enough of the pretty soldiers, we have some more moon prism power studded goodies to share with you! This time, they’re additions to the line of precious looking Sailor Moon Pullip dolls that we’ve previously introduced, and we think the dolls may captivate you with their charm even if you’re not a Sailor Moon fan!

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Calling Sailor Moon fans! Heart-shaped custom decorated Sailor Moon phones now available

Okay, we admit we never thought we would be genuinely impressed with how “cute” a mobile phone is, but there’s no denying it — toy maker Bandai and telecommunications companies Y!mobile and Willlcom Okinawa have collaborated to come up with what can only be described as an utterly adorable cell phone. Yes, it’s an eye-catching, bright red, heart-shaped phone called the Heart 401AB model, and what’s more, it comes in a special Sailor Moon edition that you can custom decorate!

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We try “Chilli Crab Seafood Noodle” — Nissin’s new cup noodles with a Singaporean twist【Taste Test】

If you’ve ever visited Singapore, you’ll know that the country has an incredible range of culinary delights to offer. And if you enjoy seafood in particular, one of the county’s numerous signature dishes you’ll definitely want to try when you’re there is the savory Chilli Crab. So when we heard that Nissin was going to come out with a new cup noodle in Chilli Crab flavor, well, we just knew that it was time for another RocketNews24 taste test! So, how did the famous seafood dish taste as a cup of instant noodles?

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Häagen-Dazs Japan comes out with sticky-sweet new line of ice cream containing … mochi!

Every time Häagen-Dazs comes out with a new ice cream flavor, we swear we can almost hear the collective groan of sweets lovers across Japan saying, “Darn it! Why do they have to come up with something so insanely tempting?” Well, it looks like they’ve done it again, this time using a traditional Japanese ingredientmochi rice cakes! What? Cold, creamy ice cream and soft mochi, did you say? Now, that’s certainly caught our attention!

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This special noodle for hard-core Youkai Watch fans is full of Jibanyan … literally!

Love noodles? Love Youkai Watch? We’re guessing that there are plenty of people out there who would answer yes to both of those questions. It then shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise if someone decided to combine the two in a tasty-looking original creation.

Well, that’s exactly what Twitter user @takusan_neru did with the unique bowl of noodles in this picture she shared. And just what makes the noodles so special? Well, as you can see, the bowl is filled with … smiling Jibanyan faces!

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Pet Bird Exhibit at Tokyu Hands Ikebukuro offers adorable Parakeet cakes and much more!

If you like cute little pet birds and happen to be in the Tokyo area, we have some good news for you! There’s now a special exhibit going on at the Tokyu Hands Ikebukuro shop until January 22 titled the “Parakeets and their Friends Exhibit (Inko to Nakama-tachi Ten)”.

Yes, pet birds seem to have quite a following in Japan, enough at least for a unique product like “pet bird flavored ice cream” to have come out in the past. Now, at this Tokyu Hands exhibit featuring pet bird-themed items from various artists and creators, you can apparently enjoy a set of “parakeet cakes,” and judging from the pictures we’ve seen, the cakes certainly look almost too cute to eat!

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These stockings should keep fans of naruto happy — but we’re not talking about the manga!

Yes, naruto stockings have arrived! But before you get all excited, we’re not talking about the hit manga and anime here, but about a different naruto — these stockings actually feature naruto the food. That’s right, these stockings are all about the naruto fishcakes commonly used as ramen toppings, and their unique design is sure to catch everyone’s eye!

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A delicious way to celebrate the Year of the Sheep — cute sheep bread!

As we follow the Chinese zodiac here in Japan, we too are celebrating the Year of the Sheep this year. Not surprisingly, that means we’ve seen an abundance of sheep-themed products for the New Year, including some in edible form. Famous bakery chain DONQ is just one of the many companies that offered such sheep-related food items, and their selection of sheep breads was so cute, we simply had to share them with you. Just take a look at the pictures, and we think they’ll get you in the mood to start off the Year of the Sheep in good cheer!

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Cool and fun paper craft from the makers of Akafuku — one of Japan’s favorite sweets!

If you’ve lived in Japan for some time, you may have heard of the popular traditional sweet called Akafuku. It’s basically mochi rice cake topped with a rich and incredibly smooth sweet red bean paste. Well, it’s come to our attention that the makers of this long-selling confection are also offering on their website something you may not expect from a sweets manufacturer — awesome paper craft templates, and all free too! So, are you ready for some serious cutting and pasting?

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Updates on new Dragon Ball Z movie has fans excited but also asking plenty of questions!

We’re sure that Dragon Ball fans around the world are anxiously waiting for the release of the latest feature-length anime installment in the series, Dragonball Z: Resurrection of F. As we’ve already reported on our site, the new movie is scheduled to be released on April 18 this year, and we also know that the film will feature an intensely cool battle song by the rock band Maximum the Hormone. Now, as more information on the movie has started to become available, though, fans seem to be finding that there are many questions about the plot and characters just begging to be asked — some of which may not be so straightforward to answer. So, what is it exactly about the movie that’s bugging fans? Well, quite a lot, apparently!

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Happy Kentucky Fried New Year! And this year’s KFC New Year Lucky Bag contains…?

Every New Year’s, people across Japan flock to stores for special bargains, and in particular, the “Lucky Bags” known as fukubukuro. From electronics and chocolate shops to up-scale department stores, Japanese shops and businesses of all kinds come up with original Lucky Bags at the beginning of each year to tempt those of us out for some new year’s shopping. Now, these bags are supposed to offer good value, containing products worth more than the price you pay for the bag. Well, the bags may be a good value, but the catch is that you can’t choose what you get in your bag, and each year there ends up being much online discussion on whether the Lucky Bags from different shops are a particularly good or bad deal.

Not to miss out on the action, the team at the Japanese RocketNews24 site has also joined the Lucky Bag rush, and as we’ve already started reporting, we’ve taken a look at the contents of quite a few of the bags being sold this year. And one of them happens to be a bag from none other than … Kentucky Fried Chicken Japan. Let’s see what “finger-lickin’ good” items were included in their Lucky Bag for 2015!

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What would Youkai Watch look like drawn by famous manga artists? Well, it would look like this!

Many of you will undoubtedly have heard about the social phenomenon that is Youkai Watch. Indeed, the game, manga and anime series has been so immensely popular that some may even say that it has taken over Pokémon’s role as Japan’s favorite character franchise. Naturally, with that kind of popularity comes an abundance of fan art, so Japanese social trend and information compilation site Naver Matome has put together an article introducing selected works found on Twitter that stand out for a specific reason — for giving us an idea of what Youkai Watch may look like in the hands of some famous manga artists!

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Oscar and Andre tie the knot? The manga wedding that’s been 40 years in the making

As many of our readers are undoubtedly aware, manga is one of the biggest industries in Japan, and there are literally thousands of manga to be enjoyed out there. But among all those countless comics, there are a select few that have withstood the test of time and have been read and loved over periods spanning decades.  Comic artist Riyoko Ikeda’s classic Rose of Versailles is one such work, the title and characters still widely recognized by the Japanese public more than 40 years after its first serialization in the girl’s comic magazine Margaret. In fact, a new volume of Rose of Versailles containing a selection of omnibus stories was released in August this year, making it the first new comic to come out from the series in four decades!

Now, Ikeda has collaborated with Japanese marriage and wedding information magazine Zexy and created a sweet little side-story that also doubles as a leaflet for couples preparing for their wedding. And what makes it extra delightful for fans of the manga is that it involves Oscar and André, the two main characters, finally getting married! Well, we can almost hear the fans collectively crying out, “It’s about time!

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Japan’s love affair with sea bugs continues — sausage isopods now available as gachapon toys!

For some reason, Japan has a deep fascination with giant isopods, the deep-sea creatures that look like, well … giant roaches. Perhaps it’s because of their “unique” appearance, or because one of these critters at the Toba Aquarium in Mie Prefecture became famous for going over five years without eating at all (although that individual is sadly no longer with us), but whatever the cause, these marine creatures seem to make regular appearances on the Japanese Internet in one form or another. In fact, their popularity is such that making cocktail sausages shaped like one of these sea bugs became a hugely popular topic on the Japanese twitterverse earlier this year.

Now, it seems one toy manufacturer has taken Japan’s fondness for isopods one step further and come out with a product modeled after not the actual sea bug itself, but its sausage incarnation — and as a gachapon toy you can buy from a vending machine, no less!

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Hot and cold and sweet! McDonald’s Japan’s Pie a la Mode is back for the winter!

McDonald’s Japan may not be able to offer you medium or large-size fries right now, but if you’re into sweets, it may be some consolation that they’ll have some special desserts on the menu for a limited time early next year. Yes, back by popular demand, two flavors of Pie a la Mode will be offered by the hamburger chain, and we’re sure there are fans out there already feeling their mouths water at the thought of a hot apple pie mixed with sweet, cold ice cream!

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Red bean paste and cream cheese — a divinely sweet combination?

If you’re interested in Japanese foods, you may be aware that red bean paste, or anko in Japanese, features widely in traditional Japanese sweets. From soft daifuku rice cakes filled with the sweet paste to anmitsu jelly served with pieces of fruit or the dorayaki cakes that Doraemon loves so much, red bean paste is indispensable in making Japanese confections. But now, it seems that giving the traditional paste a bit of a western twist by combining it with a certain ingredient has become all the rage, as seen in a recent post on Japanese trend and information compilation site Naver Matome. Apparently, an increasing number of people seem to be recommending products and recipes online that mix red bean paste with … cream cheese!

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